Breadhead Friday’s canceled today while I go out and do instead of talk about what I did. In the calm before today’s storm, here are a few more or less random thoughts.
Yesterday, my wife and I went to see Gone Girl. The dialogue was terrible. When it wasn’t cliche, it was stilted and unrealistic. Nobody talks like people in that movie did, unless they’re in a book. The notion of the unreliable narrator was so pervasive that you couldn’t care about any of the characters. Not only were they unlikable, they were unknowable. It was interesting to see Tyler Perry outside of a fat black woman suit. I hope he does more roles that don’t require that contrivance, because he was the only bright spot in the cast. Ben Affleck shouldn’t act in anything serious, because he can’t be taken seriously. There were two moments of real fun in the film, both of which happened near the end: a scene of shocking violence, and a brief moment of pathos.
Previews for Exodus: Gods and Kings left me cold. I’m a little concerned that they’re going to secularize the story of Moses. On the Passover holiday, “[E]ach person is obligated to see himself or herself [lirot et atzmo] as though he or she personally came forth from Egypt.” So there’s a personal component here.
J D Mader has written a piece here about book reviews. In it, he redefines the nature and purpose of book reviews to only mean what he thinks it should mean, and claims that everyone else is doing it wrong. Because he’s “annoyingly ethical.” Which means that if we don’t rethink the review system and review books according to his viewpoint, we’re being unethical. What’s missing from the piece are:
- A comprehensive list of which books are actually worthy of a five-star review so the rest of us aren’t acting unethically and ruining the redefined system.
- Any meaningful discussion of how subjective a book review can be.
- The difference between great art and great entertainment (some people liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo more than Ethan Frome, and there’s nothing wrong with rating them according to preference).
- Specific criteria that will teach the unethical lot of us who broke the perfect system how to review books properly.