Thursday, October 09, 2008

Capsule Review Day

Iron Man:
I'm usually not a big fan of superhero movies -- most examples of this genre require you to have a pre-existing knowledge of the story from comic books and are packed with lamely ridiculous special effects and character development (It's clobberin' time!). However, I liked Iron Man a lot, even though (as a "superhero origin" story) it ended just as it was getting started. It felt more like a good movie with superhero elements than a good superhero movie, which is just fine in my book. I also liked the literal quotation of "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath in the end credits.

Final Grade: A

Baby Mama:
Predictable, with a couple big laughs as high points in an otherwise low-key affair. Tina Fey is always fun to watch, but Amy Poehler is nearly as annoying as Amy Sedaris in Strangers with Candy. Catch this one on Bravo the next time you're stuck at home with the flu.

Final Grade: C-

Forgetting Sarah Marshall:
This Judd Apatow production was not quite as good as the hype, but still worth watching, and occasionally hilarious. Jason Segel plays the same schlubby kind of guy he plays in all Apatow movies and shows, and Mila Kunis (from That 70s Show) and Kristen Bell take on the roles of competing love interests. It's a little disconcerting to see Kristen Bell and NOT think she's in high school after watching Veronica Mars -- especially in the obligatory Apatow montages where she humps a rock star.

Final Grade: B+

Complete and Utter Failure by Neil Steinberg:
This is the book I've been reading recently instead of studying for Java Certification exams. It's been out of print for years, but after hearing it mentioned in a Bathroom Reader article, I picked it up for a penny on Amazon Marketplace (plus eight million dollars in shipping). I expected a standard bullet-by-bullet list of failures and flops like the endless waves of Weird News and Dumb Criminal books that come out every year. Instead, I was surprised to find that it was an actual narrative, with the author humourously tying the stories of historical flops into his own life story. Among other topics, he talks about how the National Spelling Bee makes one winner and eight million losers, the people who DIDN'T climb Mount Everest first, and Elisha Gray's failure to get credit for the telephone. This is an easy and enjoyable read, perfect for anyone who wants to mix a little nonfiction into their appetite of crime thrillers without getting too serious.

Final Grade: A

Happy Birthday Mike!

Buy this dad a beer
Cartoon SUV might be copyright infringement
An equitable division of assets

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