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International Bon Vivant and Raconteur

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September 21st, 2009

Bored to Death [Sep. 21st, 2009|08:23 am]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
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Jonathan Ames' (Jason Schwartzman) girlfriend of undetermined length moves out on him one day, and in the world of quirky indie filmmaking, that would be enough to launch an entire film's worth of plot about soul-searching and growing up, since the woman in these relationships is generally perfect and the man is a walking mess of arrested development. In Bored to Death, this is exactly what happens because it is, in essence, a quirky indie film turned into an HBO Sunday night series. It's everything you've seen in every quirky indie film from The Squid and the Whale to I Heart Huckabees, only not as well developed.

The show isn't entirely bad. Some of the writing is clever, and I really love the idea--a frustrated Brooklyn novelist decides to become a private detective by advertising his services on Craigslist. (Though the cliché of a writer struggling to write his second novel after a successful first one has become overused, in my opinion, and no longer welcome.) In some ways it reminded me pleasantly of pgtremblay's novel The Little Sleep, in that both protagonists are actually terrible detectives. However, the reason for Jonathan's decision to place the ad is left mostly unexplored. We do see him reading Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely after his girlfriend leaves him, but that's hardly enough. In a later scene there are hints Jonathan wants to be a hero, wants to matter to someone, but narratively that revelation should have come before he takes the action to change his life, not after. It's an "I want" moment, not an "I wanted" moment.

Still, with Ted Danson's involvement as a drugged-out social guru and Schwartzman's likability, Bored to Death has the potential to be something better. The only question is, will this overly self-conscious series reach that potential before its title comes true?
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First HUNT AT WORLD'S END Review [Sep. 21st, 2009|09:55 am]
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Randy Johnson--not the baseball pitcher--weighs in first with an early review of Hunt at World's End on his book blog:

HUNT AT WORLD’S END is the latest entry in the new pulp-style series of books from those who brought us the Hard Case Crime line, Dorchester and Charles Ardai. This one is written by Nicholas Kaufmann and, for my money anyway, is the third winner in a row....The action is unending, keeping one rapidly turning those pages to find out what comes next. Good stuff here. A neat little thriller and recommended.

October 27, folks. Mark your calendars.
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I Got Slimed! [Sep. 21st, 2009|04:50 pm]
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Somehow, against the odds, I was one of the winners of a contest run by Horror Yearbook and received a free copy of glamberson's boxed movie set, Slime City Grindhouse Collection, in today's mail! Hooray!
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Oh, Heroes, Why Must You Be This Way? [Sep. 21st, 2009|11:41 pm]
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Dear Heroes,

Having a character who is a tattooed lady and actually naming her Lydia isn't clever, it's just lazy. Also lazy is having the opening scene of tonight's season premiere be a near carbon copy of the opening scene of HBO's series Carnivale from 2003. Just because it was six years ago doesn't mean it wasn't instantly recognizable.

Kisses,
Nick

P.S. At least the season premiere didn't feature your usual "frightening vision of the future that must be stopped" this time. That's something anyway.

P.P.S. Surely by now someone realizes The Haitian has an actual name, right? The Haitian isn't a cool nickname like The Batman or The Hulk, it's simply referring to someone as being from somewhere, but because The Haitian is black and everyone else, all of whom are addressed by name, is white, the whole concept comes off with a gross undertone you'd think you would want to avoid if you had any kind of self-awareness at all.

P.P.P.S. Why am I still watching you?
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