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Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a book I felt a little torn over. While I thoroughly enjoyed the story, I couldn’t help but feel that it sort of disappears up it’s own a**hole in certain places. The book tells the story of a father and son, traveling across the former United States after a nuclear holocaust. On their way, the two face roving bands of cannibals, starvation and sickness.
(**mild spoilers follow)
If nothing else, McCarthy knows how to paint a picture. While reading, you have no problem imagining the world in which these characters live, and what’s more, you’re afraid of it. You move through the burned out cities, see the dead bodies, smell the ash that blankets everything. When the father and son find a cellar full of people who are being kept as livestock and slowly eaten, you feel the same revulsion and fear they feel. That’s not something you get with every book you read and was probably what I liked most about this one.
You also get a sense of how much the father loves his son. Everything he does in the book it to protect him, from scavenging for food to traveling with a small pistol loaded with only two shells — one for him, one for the boy. I thought this added a lot to the story, although it didn’t touch me the same way it did other reviewers.
There were two problems I felt the book had. One was that there were very few details given about whatever catastrophe the world had suffered through. Whatever it was, it was huge. A blanket of ash covers everything, animals are dead, very few people are left and allusions are made to this being the case all over the world. Whenever the father is asked about what happened, he says he doesn’t really know. Really? You don’t know? I understand that there are certain things an author won’t illuminate for this or that reason. And it’s good to not give an explanation for every little thing. I think a reader should have to put forth a little effort and come up with their own answers. But with something this big, where the entire planet has been affected, and people are eating other people just to stay alive, dropping one or two hints wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world.
One more thing that didn’t strike the right chord with me was the almost maniacal intensity in which the characters are presented. Specifically the father and his dead wife (shown only in flashbacks). While explaining to her husband why she’s decided to kill herself, the protagonist’s wife says, “My only hope is for eternal nothingness and I hope it with all my heart.” It’s difficult to take people who are so over the top like that seriously, and I find them more annoying than anything else. It’s a bias that might be unjustified in this situation, but it’s the first thing that came to mind when I read it. The father’s mortality and that of his son is foremost on his mind throughout the book, and he does his share of philosophizing on the subject, but when he starts talking about someone who’s coming to take his eyes and fill his mouth with dirt, I felt that it stopped making sense.
Last year, the Coen Brothers did a fantastic job adapting No Country For Old Men, and The Road is another of McCarthy’s works that I believe will lend itself well to the big screen. The film version is due out on November 26 of this year, with Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee set to play the father and son.
Despite a few flaws, The Road is an incredibly engrossing read from one of the great writers of our time. If you’re a fan of McCarthy, you’ll definitely like this one. Those who have never read him will enjoy this one anyway.
7.5 out of 10 stars
Buy the book at amazon.com.
A rip-off is only a rip-off if it sucks. If the movie is actually good, it’s an homage. This week’s movie was able to rise above that, to be categorized on a level of kick-assery all it’s own.
1. Gun Kata.
“Through analysis of thousands of recorded gunfights, the Cleric has determined that the geometric distribution of antagonists in any gun battle is a statistically-predictable element. The Gun Kata treats the gun as a total weapon, each fluid position representing a maximum kill zone, inflicting maximum damage on the maximum number of opponents, while keeping the defender clear of the statistically-traditional trajectories of return fire. By the rote mastery of this art, your firing efficiency will rise by no less than 120%. The difference of a 63% increased lethal proficiency makes the master of the Gun Katas an adversary not to be taken lightly.”
2. Taye Diggs’ face getting sliced off.
Taye Diggs is a good actor, and in Equilibrium he didn’t lay things on too thick. You didn’t hate his character, you just wanted to give him a good kick in the nuts. Fortunately, Christian Bale took care of that for us. Except instead of kicking him in the nuts he cut off his face (note, not his head, but his face) with a sword.
3. Gun Kata!
And then there was that part when Preston is out in The Nethers and the cops find him smuggling puppies in the trunk of his car, and he’s all like wa-BLAM! He’s spinning around and shooting everything and then these spikes come out of the butt of his gun for some reason and he smashes everyone’s bike helmets and KILLS. EVERYONE. And what made it even better was that six soldiers with automatic weapons couldn’t do anything besides yell, spin around, shoot EACH OTHER and die. A million fanboys are heard creaming their pants.
4. This thing…
We all get special effects, but still paused the movie and scratched our heads and asked, “How could they get them to do that?”
HOLY **** DID YOU ******* SEE THAT? Dood they’re like fighting and slapping guns out of each other’s face and then he like grabs him and it’s like they’re dancing but then they keep slapping the guns and you make the whooshing noises with your mouth like whoo whoo whoo whoo and then Preston kills him and you’re all like DIES AND IZ DED. And of course we ran out to Wal-Mart and bought the laser tag sets that come with the little sensors. And we stuck them to our foreheads and had Gun Kata fights with our friends, but since we’re all homos, we looked like retards in a sissy slap fight… and the sensors kept falling off.
Many movies have attempted to show us what fun shooting people can be, but Equilibrium really drove the message home. We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of 5 Things. If there’s something we missed, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And we’re back! Last night we saw Indiana Linus and his ethnic friend Short Round on a dangerous trek through the sun-drenched Sahara Desert. Suddenly, they’re confronted by two nasty-looking Bedouin. Slowly reaching behind him, Ben asks, “What’s your favorite song? Mine’s ‘Whip It’!” In a flash he uncoils his whip (pun) and whips his two would-be attackers. One of their heads pops right off. The other yells, “It’s 1935! I don’t get that reference!”
Short Round: Haha Dakka Ben! You may doze bah’men pay!
Ben: That’s right, kid. Let’s get out of here.
They both ride off on horses.
On the island, Kate spies Jack out of the corner of her eye and nonchalantly shows off a little extra skin, because if a girl’s got it, she has to flaunt it. Jack’s even more out of breath than usual and doesn’t notice. Kate follows him inside a tent, where’s he rummaging through their remaining store of precious medicine.
Kate: Jack, is the helicopter ever coming back? Oops, my shirt fell off.
Their tryst is short-lived, because Bernard’s found a dead body in the water. It’s Doctor Ray, from the freighter. Daniel would love to call the freighter and get some answers, if only the sat phone were working. 😦
Back in New Otherton, Locke, Sawyer and Hurley are under vicious attack, right? No! They’re just sittin’ around, playing a game of Monopoly. Locke smiles and says, “You sunk my battleship!” Sawyer pats him on the head and tells Hurley that grandpa needs his meds upped. Suddenly, the phone rings. When they pick it up, a computerized voice asks if they’d be interested in long-distance savings. Locke nods and answers, “Yes. Very interested.”
The Losties find Ben playing the piano. When they ask him what the crazy phone call was all about, he goes totally batsh*t. “WHAT?!” he screams. He jumps up and starts barricading the doors. “Sawyer, take this shotgun! Locke, there’s a C90-CR-BK rocket launcher inside the piano! Hurley, Aaron’s dead weight. You’ll have to eat him.” Sawyer needs someone to love and with Kate in Camp Jack, he runs off to rescue Claire.
The Tremors begin their attack on the camp, running out of the bushes with flares in their hands. An unsuspecting castaway is shot. “Hey!” another castaway yells before being shot. “Wha?” another castaway yells before being shot. “I’m shot!” another castaway yells before being shot.
Things are blowing up, unsuspecting castaways are being shot, and there’s Jeeves Tremor, holding a gun to Alex’s head. Ben tries to play it cool and is all like, “Whatevs,” until Jeeves really shoots her, then his big old bug eyes pop right the hell out of his head. Ben calls down the thunder. Lostzilla roars through the jungle and falls on the freighter folk, who are super freaked once they realize their guns can’t shoot clouds.
Once the excitement has died down, Ben tells Locke that they need to find Jacob. Sawyer’s fed up and says he and Claire are heading back to the beach. A fight breaks out over who gets custody of Hurley, and before you know it everyone has a gun pointed at someone’s head. Locke is like, “Hey!” and Sawyer is like, “Hey yourself!” and Mr. Orange is like, “He f**king shot me, Larry!” In the end, Hurley goes with Locke and Ben.
On the island, Faraday has concocted a plan to get the satellite phone working again. He says that at exactly 10:04 pm, lightning will strike the clock tower, providing the 1.21 gigawatt charge they need to recharge the phone. A moment later they answer back.
Jack: Are they coming for us?
Daniel: Hey, relax guy. Look over there.
Angry and out of breath, Jack grabs Daniel by that chicken neck of his and tells him he doesn’t want to see him when he gets angry.
Ben’s travels have led him to a dark hotel room. As he creeps inside, he whispers, “Charles?” A moment later…
Charles: Hello, old friend.
Ben: Quid pro quo, Charles. You killed my daughter, now I’m going to kill yours.
Charles: I feel nothing but pity for anyone who goes to that school looking for trouble.
Ben: Wait… What?
It’s the wrong Charles. Ben apologizes and leaves.
Are we interested in being taken to new sexual heights aboard a Cylon resurrection ship? Yes. Veeery interested.
Down in Tyrol’s quarters, Nicholas is crying. Always the responsible mother, Cally stumbles around, drinking booze and popping pills. Things haven’t been so great with Tyrol lately. Cally knows it’s her fault and is trying to chase her guilt away with the brownest of the brown liquors. She decides to go down to Joe’s bar to find her husband and apologize, only to find him with that whore Tory! Tyrol’s indignant; can’t two friends have a drink, stroke each other’s arms and talk about all these new feelings they’re having? How insecure is she?
Lee’s just taken his Quorum position. He anxious to get down to business, but Zarek tells him that after the Baltar trial, President Roslin will probably keep him on the sidelines.
Lee: I had some bills I wanted to discuss. Projects Delegate Cowen was pushing before she died.
Roslin: Mr. Adorma, why don’t you discuss us all up some coffee. Thaaanks.
Meanwhile, Nicholas is crying. On the Demetrius, emo-Starbuck has gone batsh*t insane and spends most of her time skulking in the shadows and smearing poop on the walls of her quarters. Anders finds her painting a face on a volleyball. Starbuck says his name is Wilson and he’s going to help them on their way to Earth. Anders is skeptical. In a totally unforeseen plot twist, they yell at each other and have sex.
Back on the Basestar, the Brothers Cavil announce that they’ve seen the error of their ways and want to end the feud between the seven Cylon models. They agree to stop lobotomizing the raiders and unbox the D’Anna line.
Cavil: We’ll just need to travel to a secret location to upload her information.
Natalie: Well I don’t forsee any problems with that. Agreed.
In her quarters, Cally finds a mysterious note about a meeting in weapons locker 1701D (ZOMGEASTEREGGZFTW!!1!). Now’s her chance to catch Tyrol and Tory in the act. Because her diet consists mainly of booze and pills, she’s able to squeeze in between a crack in the wall and spy on Tigh, Tyrol and Tory, who are still meeting every week to talk about how weird it is now that they they’re Cylons. Their meetings always follow a strict schedule. First, Tigh yells at someone. The Chief paces around and looks like he’s deep in thought, then Tory says something weird. Tigh tells them all to go frak themselves, and they break. Anyway, it certainly seems to be raining s**t on Cally.
Natalie’s basestars jump to the specified coordinates. For some reason, the resurrection ship doesn’t follow. In a move that surprises no one, Natalie and friends are ambushed by a group of Cavil’s basestars and destroyed. As the ship blows up around her, the camera closes in and Natalie says, “Ay dios mio.” Nicholas starts crying.
Cally runs. Runs, runs to her quarters and grabs Nicholas, who starts crying. She takes him down to the hangar deck and locks both of them in a launch tube. Suddenly Tory appears. She plays nice, inches closer and closer, and then CYLON PUUUUUNNCCH!!1! She knocks Cally clear across the room and runs out with Nicholas, who starts crying. A minute later she opens the tube hatch and launches Cally out into space. Will the crew of the Galactica be able to rescue her? Tune in next week to find out!
Here are some shots from the upcoming hyper-realistic G.I. Joe movie, showing us once again that fighting terrorism isn’t as important as looking hot while you’re doing it. Will this movie be any good? Who knows? Who cares? Because we’ll be there, one way or the other. Head over to figures.com for more pics.
Up this week is the first R-rated movie I ever snuck into…
1. The endless quoting.
Head over to IMDB’s Lebowski quote page and you’ll find the entire script cut and pasted there. Some of our favorites…
“You mark that frame an eight, and you’re entering a world of pain.”
“What the hell is this?” — “My dirty undies, Dude.”
“Life does not stop and start at your convenience you miserable piece of s**t.” — “What’s wrong with Walter, Dude?”
Any movie that reduces a nationality or ethnic group to it’s base stereotype is awesome on general principal. Yes, it might be smart or responsible to learn about the rich German culture, but it’s much funnier to think of them all as goose-stepping, bratwurst-eating National-Socialists who say things like, “Ya Lebowski. You give us ze money or vee cutoff your chonson.”
3. Bootleg porno.
Seriously, who’s making this stuff? Music, production, acting, story, whatever. This stuff is horrible, but the names are big, fat pieces of comedy gold, every time.
“Which one’s Logjammin’?”
4. Shomer Shabbos.
“Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means I don’t work, I don’t get in a car, I don’t f**king ride in a car, I don’t pick up the phone, I don’t turn on the oven, and I sure as s**t DON’T F**KING ROLL! Shomer Shabbos!”
5. The Jesus.
Did John Turturro licking his bowling ball get funnier after you find out he’s a pederast? Seeing him wearing a tight purple jumpsuit was both hilarious and oddly arousing. Everything about him, from his jewelry and hairnet to his thick accent was like a Perfect Storm of hilarity.
I know some of you might be saying, hey, aren’t there only a few scenes in The Big Lebowski with guns? Yes, that is correct. While this one might not fit in with our premise as well as other movies like The Departed, come on. It’s The Big Lebowski, and that’s logic you can’t argue with.
Something we missed? Movies you’d like to see reviewed? Write us at email@example.com.