Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Forgotten Movies: DEAD ZONE


Well, I have to say that this film really didn't work for me. Directed by David Cronenberg in 1983, it was the wrong director, the wrong actor, and perhaps made in the wrong era. Christopher Walken is too quirky from the get go due to his personal style to make this guy seem like someone who becomes quirky.
Plot: Walken, about to marry Brooke Adams and happy to teach school, gets into an accident, is in a coma for three years, and comes to as a person inhabiting the Dead Zone. He has the ability to see the future, which turns out to be a curse most of the time. The movie was too episodic for my taste. And Walken never is believable as the everyman. I did like the fact it was made in Niagara on the Lake, one of  my favorite places though. But the setting can only take you so far. I was bored rather than scared. Critics from VULTURE see this as one of the best King films. To me STAND BY ME, CARRIE and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION are the top three. What do you think?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday Night Music


THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY: Rock Singer, Kevin Abbott, Age 10 (SCHOOL OF ROCK SUMMER CAMP)




Summer camps are wondrous things. Kevin attended camps where he improved his guitar playing, built robots, learned to dive, sharpened hockey, baseball and tennis skills, made computer games, and sometimes just played. School of Rock has turned him into an avid guitar player. No doubt he will have a garage band. Hope he gets the President he deserves sooner rather than later.

Loved SUNBURN by Laura Lippman.(Not out yet).

Enjoyed my book group's discussion of Hillbilly Elegy (J.D. Vance) How much I admire how hard these women work to get the most out of a book. The book group is in its 16th year and I hate to miss a meeting.


The Dream Cruise...40,000 classic cars and over a million people cruise Woodward Avenue from Detroit to Pontiac, perhaps a 20 mile stretch over the third Saturday in August. Although the events spill over into the days preceding it. They pitch tents, set up bleachers, set up food, and watch cars go by. The vast majority of cars (and perhaps spectators) are from the sixties to the eighties. But there are plenty of earlier ones to see. Living a block away from this now is mostly annoying. But I grew up with a father working in the car industry so cars are kinda in my blood.I sneaked over and watched in as it began on Saturday. Kind of thrilling.




 And Megan's birthday is on the eclipse today. We had a special necklace made to celebrate it. It's gold with a moon and two stars with peridots in them.



What about you?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

For Anyone in Australia Next Weekend

MELBOURNE LITERARY FESTIVAL

Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott is the award-winning author of eight novels, including The End of Everything, Dare Me and The Fever. She is also the author of The Street Was Mine, a study of hardboiled fiction and film noir. Her work has won or been nominated for the CWA Steel Dagger, the International Thriller Writers Award, The Los Angeles Times Book Prize and five Edgar awards. Currently, she is a staff writer on HBO’s new David Simon show The Deuce and is adapting two of her novels for television. Her latest novel is You Will Know Me.

Appearing in these sessions

Meet Megan AbbottMore
Binge CultureMore
Local Libraries: Megan AbbottMore
The Dark Side of WomanhoodMore
Available at Readings
You Will Know Me

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Night Music


Friday's Forgotten Books, August 18, 2017



(Something of a spoiler alert)

Nemesis by Philip Roth.

Nemesis is the story of a polio epidemic in Newark in 1944 and especially about its impact on a Mr. Canter, who runs a playground program and is about to become engaged.

Roth does an excellent job of showing the effects of polio on this small neighborhood, in relaying the horrible progression of the epidemic, which cruelly was most often contracted by kids.

But at Nemesis' end and despite my interest in this polio epidemic plot, I realized it wasn't really about polio. What it was about was the way in which individuals deal with the onslaught of horror in their lives. How some people can go on fairly effectively, not let things like disease or war or economic disasters corrupt their lives. But others cannot get past their terrible luck, and the idea that this turn of events was unjust. The idea that they didn't deserve it  completely derails them. The bitterness poisons everything.

I have read perhaps half a dozen books by Roth but apparently his last four books have dealt with this theme and I am most interested in seeing how his other characters deal with the fall of the sword.

When I wrote this little did I know
how the sword would fall on so many of us in the next few years.

Highly recommended.

Sergio Angelini, NINE AND TEN MAKES DEATH, Carter Dickson
Yvette Banek, DESTINATION UNKNOWN, Agatha Christie
Les Blatt, CONTINENTAL CRIMES, ed. Martin Edwards
Brian Busby, CAUGHT IN THE SNARE, Mary Agnes Fleming
Bill Crider, TURN ON THE HEAT, Erle Stanley Gardner
Scott Cupp, THE VINYL DETECTIVE: THE RUN-OUT GROOVE, Andrew Cartmel
Curt Evans, TRIO FOR BLUNT INSTRUMENTS, Rex Stout
Richard Horton, RECALLED TO LIFE, Robert Silverberg
Jerry House, THE BARON IN FRANCE, John Creasey
Nick Jones, "Science Fiction from the Lewes Book Fair"
George Kelley, A CENTURY OF GREAT SUSPENSE, ed. Jeffrey Deaver 
Margot Kinberg, THE CEMETERY OF SWALLOWS, Jean-Denis Bruet Ferreols
Rob Kitchin, THE DUST OF DEATH, Paul Charles
B.V. Lawson, NAKED VILLAINY, Sara Woods
Evan Lewis, THE GUNSLINGER, Stephen King
Steve Lewis, THE PUNCH AND JUDY MURDERS, Carter Dickson
Todd Mason, NEW FANTASY SHORT FICTION, 1976 
J.F. Norris, MURDER CANCELS ALL DEBTS. M,V. Heberdon
Scott D. Parker KILLER'S DOOM: A Walt Slade Western by Bradford Scott.  
Matt Paust, THE THANATOS SYNDROME, Walker Percy
James Reasoner, SENORITA DEATH, Phil Richards
Gerard Saylor, EIGHTH CIRCLE, Sarah Cain
TomCat, THE MANSFIELD MYSTERY,  J.C. Lenehan
TracyK, DEAD SKIP, Joe Gores

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What Crime Series Has Tauight You the Most About a Time or Place?


With many series to choose from I am going to credit Tana French for bringing modern Dublin to life through her Dublin Murder Squad series. Runner-up would be Tony Hillerman's books about Navajo life in the Four Corners.Waiting for the next Hillerman was a treat in the 90s.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Neglected Movies: WIN IT ALL


This is a small 2017 movie that works well on its own terms. Jake Johnson plays a gambler, and one that almost never wins. When a friend goes off to serve a prison term, he leaves our hapless hero with a bag of money to hold for him. Of course, what gambler can resist trying his hand with all that time to replace lost money. And, things look okay until his pal gets an early release. Jake Johnson wrote this with his friend Joe Swanberg who also directed. The two made another winner DRINKING BUDDIES a few years back. A likable movie that maybe is not quite as original as it needs to be. But still a good 90 minutes.