Friday, December 12, 2008

Compendium

Benjamin Button
So, there I was last night, doing some online banking or something, and Liz was fast forwarding some commercials to get to the meat of the latest John Stewart (we videotape the previous night’s shows—no tivo for us) when she stops at a commercial. The commercial quick cuts to some pop song I’ve never heard and features more production value than your average Coke commercial (although you’d be shocked at the price tags for those babies). I sit mesmerized at the breadth of the thing. What the hell is…oh, it’s a preview for Benjamin Button, the new David Fincher movie. Or the new Brad Pitt movie, depending on your preference. It’s based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, of all things. But the trailer makes it look grandiose, epic.

Here's another trailer to the movie (not the one I caught on TV):


I used to go see every movie that came out. Every Friday night I’d head over to the Orleans Cinema on the Cape and check out the latest lame-brained comedy, monster movie, or thriller, no matter what it was. I may not have even heard of the movie, the reviews not having made my little outlying burg two hours from the nearest major city. Today I just can’t see every movie that comes out. Physically or fiscally. There are too many movies. Too few art house cinemas. Just too much product.

So, I’m admittedly intrigued by this Benjamin Button movie, based on a few things. No, I won’t see a movie based solely on a trailer. But, it will focus my attention to take a closer look. As a filmmaker, David Fincher has a singular style and is drawn to particular types of material that often align with my interests as a movie goer. His movies are always beautifully rendered slabs of celluloid magic. His attention for detail and for the craft of storytelling is pretty enviable. So, you sort of know what you’re in for when you see his movies. I will probably go see this movie. I’ve read an early review (Variety is a good source) and it was mainly positive. I don’t go to a movie based solely in a positive review either, but when there are so many movies to choose from, yes, a litany of predominantly good reviews may send me to a movie faster than an army of bad ones.

Benjamin Button comes out Christmas Day. I’ll let you know what I think. Maybe I’ll even read the Fitzgerald story, too.

2666 on Bestseller List. Savage Sold Out.
With Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 perched on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller lists (33 the last I checked) it is apparently affecting sales of his other work, specifically the already successful The Savage Detectives. Frequenting bookstores this past weekend, I discovered that at least two book stores were sold out of the title. You’d think these savvy booksellers would have seen the interest in ancillary Bolaño some distance off and made preparations. Note to booksellers: Get Bolaño savvy. It just makes good business sense.

Harvard Book Store Warehouse
Discount bookstores must be the shit these days. I visited my third one in the past month or so. Sunday I drove into Somerville in not-so-bad holiday shopping traffic to brave the Harvard Book Store Warehouse. Harvard Book Store is wonderful independently-owned bookstore in Harvard Square, not affiliated with the university as far as I know. They carry new and used books along with an impressive, thoughtful selection of remainders.

The warehouse version of their store has remainders of every stripe (including some great deals on art and photography books), plus stacks upon rows upon more stacks of used books, including dollar aisles and rare used books. I admit I only bought one book. A gift. For 50 cents. I was ashamed to check out with one piddly book, but the checkout girl told me she and her cohorts had been reading the book out loud all morning and deemed it hilarious. Also, a bell should ring every time somebody buys the book. She thought. That made me feel better.

Note: this may have been a special event. Not sure their warehouse is open to the public on a regular basis. In case you were ready to run off to Porter Square to track them down.

Here's a shot of their Harvard Square location:

Miss Lonelyhearts Pays a Visit
I know there are millions of blogs all over this series of tubes and wires. But I’d like to take this opportunity to interrupt your busy holiday shopping schedule to tout a new voice on the scene. A new prolific blogger whose insight into the daily plights of the average (and maybe in his case, not so average--I mean this in a good way) college student is cast in bold, shiny relief for all to witness. When you need a smile, when you need proof that kids these days aren’t just gun toting, drug-snorting thugs, cleavage-baring billboards of vapidity, or super-nerd video game txting fools, tune in to the gentle musings of one Neil Everett and his Miss Lonelyhearts Pays a Visit. Sure he’s my nephew, but I think you’ll agree that his daily epistles will wrest a smile from your weary mug or make you mist up reading his cutting, spot-on insight into life’s bittersweet moments that maybe only a kid today can make you feel nostalgic for.

3 comments:

Liz's mom said...

Thanks for the tip. I started reading Neil's blog and kept on reading. His writing is all you say, funny, insightful, intelligent and very entertaining.

Neil Everett said...

Thanks for the ringing endorsement. The guy on the scene unseen podcast saw Benjamin Button and said that it exceeded his expectations.

Dell Smith said...

Scene unseen...hmmm. Podcasts. Umm.