Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Went from two stars to one star overnight. Top fact about Pirates: it’s *long*. Really, really long. There are about 7 kraken attacks, four hours of swashbuckling saber fights, and only one kiss between Keira Knightly and Johnny Depp, who is obviously laughing all the way to the bank and back home to Vanessa Le Taxi. The funniest thing we saw was the trailer for Talladega Nights which had Marcy screaming with laughter at least twice. Do we regret going to see this endless bore of a movie? No, because fun things happen on a Saturday afternoon in Tunkhannock, PA. To wit: my sporty Daffy’s shirt was insulted by local teenagers, we bought super spicy Jalapeno mustard from local lesbians, and for the very first time in my life, I gave an Amish woman a hard time. Also, who knew you could still see $5 matinees anywhere?

Berlin: City of Stones

The first part of Jason Lutes’ sprawling graphic novel introduces a surprisingly large number of characters and ties them to historical events in the late 1920. The drawings are detailed and sharp; the plot is heavy with emotion and a creeping sadness. Not as focused as Jar of Fools, but it’s not supposed to be. I hope he hurries up with the second installment.

A Journey into the Mind of P.

I’ll lap up anything Pynchon-related, but this isn’t all that good. Focussed mainly on the mystery of the man, it criminally neglects the thing that’s most interesting about him: his books. Sure, some of the interviews with ex-girlfriends and acquaintances are ok interesting, but why do we have to spend a good fifteen minutes with the obsessive webmaster of a Pynchon website? The best thing about this is the V2 footage. For serious Pynchonites only.

Against the Day

Spanning the period between the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.

With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.

The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx.

As an era of certainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it’s their lives that pursue them.

Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they’re doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction.

Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck.

–Thomas Pynchon

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