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Monday, November 08, 2004

Media round-up

Books: I am finally, finally done with The Amber Spyglass, and thus Philip Pullman's reign of terror over my reading ends. His Dark Materials is quite the accomplishment, and the more I think about the ideas it contains, the way it deconstructs original sin and rebuilds the loss of innocence as something positive, life-affirming, beautiful... I like it the more I think about it. Execution-wise, I'm not bowled over, but the three books were a lovely retreat into the fantasy I read as a kid; the images of armored bears and llamas on wheels will linger for some time. I've now moved onto a horror anthology I got months ago on the cheap; I also want to make some real progress on People's History of the United States. Because as soon as I finish that, I get to read America: The Book.

Music: In a total regression to those three months of sophomore year when Nicky introduced me to David Lynch and the Evil Dead movies, I got the Marilyn Manson greatest hits collection off iTunes. Much like Nine Inch Nails, I can always rely on Manson to set a mood; the past few moody days have been underscored by the rough guitars of "Personal Jesus." Definitely a guilty pleasure, and an odd compliment to the George Benson compliation I found unfairly buried in my CD collection, unheard for years; Benson's incredible work with the jazz guitar was fresh and invigorating during those parts of last week I didn't want to murder people.

But if jazz ain't your scene, baby, then maybe you should check out The Wimbledoms. They're Wilco-esque country-rock gold. And someday they'll play a gig that doesn't coincide with ten others.

Comics: If you're not reading We3, you're a damn fool. I'll let my friend Jeff tell you why.

However, Jeff's powerful hatred of J. Michael Strascyznski may mean that he and I disagree about the first trade of Supreme Power. Which is to say, Jeff probably doesn't like it, and Jeff is thus WRONG.

Supreme Power is ostensibly a reboot of the early 1980s series Squadron Supreme, but really it's a chance for JMS to do what he wanted to do with Rising Stars -- without making the same massive mistakes. (Rising Stars was a great series for about eight issues, an incisive commentary on what being "super" means for those who thought themselves ordinary, but due to a preponderance of characters and a lack of thorough outlining, the second TP descended into a random, incoherent killing spree and the series to date remains unfinished.) Alison told me that Supreme Power was unbelievable, and she was right. Imagine a baby boy crashing to Earth in a spaceship, discovered by a kindly childless couple driving by in a pick-up truck... and then imagine the US Goverment taking the boy into custody and raising him in a secret Norman Rockwell brainwashing program approved by President Carter. It's unbelievable stuff. It's a must-read.

Movies: In brief, because I don't have a lot to say -- The Incredibles is a nearly perfect action movie, a nearly perfect superhero movie, and a nearly perfect classic. I'm still giggling over it, and loving Edna Mode (voiced by Brad Bird, of all things), and oh such sweet bliss. It was a much better filmgoing experience than Stage Beauty, which was certainly intriguing, but in the end a poor adaptation of what sounds like a brilliant play. (My roommate was with me, and having read the play she was able to fill me in on what worked much better there.)

TV: The more I watch Veronica Mars, the better it gets. I've actually given it priority over Scrubs on the TiVo list -- after all, I can miss an episode of Scrubs and not miss out on major plot developments. But the Mars mystery is really well-paced and plotted, and I'm way more intrigued by who killed Lilly Kane than why Mary Alice killed herself on Desperate Housewives. Though in the interest of fairness, I will say that's because I've had one theory about Mary Alice for weeks now, and last night pretty much confirmed it for me. So now I'm just hoping there's more to it --but not with a lot of optimism.

The Daily Show continues to rock and roll. I'm glad it's there for us. And by us, I mean me.

And that's all I got.

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