The First Review Is In

I’d planned to get in a few non-novel related posts, but Publishers Weekly went and reviewed The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival. (Third review at the link.)

Sure, I don’t care about reviews. I don’t care what the critics think. I also don’t care much for oxygen or Jack Daniel’s! I saw the subject line from my editor this morning reading “FW: PW Review!!” my cheeks clenched a bit. (But the two exclamation points were enough to give me hope.) Here’s the verdict:

Wheaton writes with an infectious energy, and his affection for the characters and culture is authentic without being overbearing or cheesy. Do the bon temps rouler? In Wheaton’s hands, they sure do.”

What Is Wrong With People? Movie Edition

So last night I went to see District 9 at the United Artist Court Street Stadium 12. If you’ve been to this theater, your probably already know where this is heading. This, after all, is the same theater where I’ve witnessed:

1) A family bring in a full Chinese takeout meal consisting of soup and noodles, which they slurped throughout the movie. Oh. The movie was “United 93.”
2) A woman bring in six kids under the age of 12 to watch “The Watchmen.”

Any rate, I thought I’d be safe. I was wrong.
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For Your Summer Reading Consideration

Remember the days when you could just sit down and read an entire novel in one sitting? You found a book that just drew you in and excited you, perhaps delighted you, made you laugh or just scared the living crap out of you. And you either had the time — or, as you’ve grown older — made the time. Maybe you blew off work or social obligations. Maybe you just said, “Fuck it. I’m not sleeping tonight.”

I’ve done that twice recently, first with Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel and just this past Sunday with Luis Alberto Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North

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RUB BBQ Chafes A Little

After revisiting RUB last week, I’ve reconsidered my ranking of New York barbecue joints. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about Wildwood Barbecue, saying I’d place Wildwood in a three-way tie with Dinosaur and Blue Smoke, all three of them below RUB at No. 2 and Hill Country at a far superior No. 1. That’s going to have to change.
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NYTimes Is Right: Hedda Gabler Sucked

Went to see Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler a few weeks ago. Awful. I don’t want to completely blame the cast and director here. I think the source material is extremely dated and doesn’t age well — it struck me as the sort of sentiments a 17-year-old Goth Girl would consider so very, very deep.

At any rate, reviewing the play for The New York Times Ben Brantley writes:

How wise of Christopher Shinn, who did this new adaptation of Ibsen’s oft-produced ode to the frustrations of modern womanhood, to substitute “feeling dead” for the more traditional “boring myself to death.”

In one of those reviews that puts into words many of the things that frustrated you about a piece but you were unable to vocalize without sounding like a good, Brantley goes on to STEAL MY BRAIN:

The forever fresh-faced [Mary Louise] Parker, one of our most delightful actresses, has traded in her usual air of easy, quirky spontaneity for the robotic petulance of an I-hate-everybody adolescent in a yearlong sulk. With her hair darkened, her face ghostly pale and her frame skeletal thin, her Hedda brings to mind a valley girl who’s given up cheerleading to be a goth because it’s way cooler and it matches the place her mind’s at now.

Benjamin Button vs. the Yellow Lab

There are worse ways  to waste time than staring at Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt for close to three hours, but the beauty of the two stars is about the best thing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has going for it. Too long and too shallow, the movie comes off as a curious amalgam of Forrest Gump meets Titanic (or so says my wife).

I’m a huge fan of Forrest Gump. Hell, I’m a huge fan of sappy story lines, but the problem with Benjamin Button is that it’s all surface. No relationships are explored in depth, no emotional connections made with the characters. Opportunity after opportunity is passed up to explore loss, to probe deeper. Say what you will about Forrest Gump, but I think his relationship with Bubba is fucking touching. When Bubba got killed in the shit, it was all I could do not to cry. And there were times when I wondered if Forrest and Jenny would ever get together.

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The Secret to a Good Meatball

I’m not going to pretend to be a master of spaghetti and meatballs, but a quick note to the folks who run the Classic Diner on Smith Street in Cobble Hills: meatballs taste better when they contain a secret ingredient I like to call … MEAT.

Wife and I went there last night after having a few drinks at the office of my literary agency. It was cold, rainy and upon exiting the Bergen Street stop, we thought a diner would be a nice, cheap choice. After having our wallets raped by (The New) St. Clair on the corner of Smith and Atlantic, we decided on Classic. Susan had been craving spaghetti and meatballs. Well, the meatballs consisted of two things: 95% bread crumbs and 5% apathy. The sauce made an expired jar of Prego seem like Grandma Scungilli’s ancient gourmet secret.

To quote Forrest Gump: “That’s all i got ta say about that.”

Kanye West Needs His Mama

Many times you’ll see newly rich folk, athletes and celebrities hanging around with the people they came up with. Some times, this crew is a scraggly-ass, disreputable lot who put you in mind of those embarrassing cousins who have three cars up on blocks in the front yard and storm into political discussions after a 12-pack of Natural Light to set everyone straight on foreign policy (“Kill ’em all and let God do the sorting.”) Many times we wonder, “Why?”

Why? Because such people keep your head on straight, remind you of where you come from and, even though they’ll constantly “borrow” money from a well-off relative, they’ll also tell that relative if he’s got a booger on his face or if he looks like a jackass in those skinny jeans.

Kanye West apparently has no such people in his life anymore.

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