book thoughts : King Dork

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Frank Portman

I picked up this book for one reason – it was mocking ‘Catcher in the Rye’ right on the cover.  We can only assume that we’ve found Tom Hendersen’s copy of Salinger’s acclaimed novel, now covered in white out and scribbles of CD cover art.

This book was hilarious.  Todd is pretty much a loser, and he stays a loser for the entire story.  This isn’t some after school special story – Todd’s very aware of his reality and that he’s relaying his story to you and he really enjoys laying it on thick. 

Todd spends most of his time hanging out with is friend, making up names for their band and decided what the first album will look like.  They don’t really play so much.  Todd’s father died a few years ago, his mother has remarried (to a guy named Todd) and his sister is still pissed.  Todd’s just trying to survive another year of high school, which means another year of reading ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and learning how to mispronounce as many words as possible.

There’s just too much to tell you about.  It’s wacky, it’s out there, it’s exactly like high school was, only much worse, or maybe better. 

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‘The Illusionist’

Stephen King said that of the two movies that came out this year about magicians in olden times, this one was his favorite. 

We came to the conclusion that whichever one you saw first would be your favorite, as I think I still prefer ‘The Prestige’ over this one.

But they are two very different films, and both very good! 

‘Illusionist’ is, at it’s very core, a romance.  Eisenheim (the Illusionist) wants to get his woman (almost-a-Duchess Sophie) back.  Paul Giamatti plays the inspector trying to figure out who these tricks are performed, whether it’s Eisenheim making an orange tree grow on stage, to the more invovled “illusions” we see later.  Rufus Sewell plays Prince Leopold, an clearly off-balance man who is threatened by Eisenheim’s mystery.

The plot moves very quickly.  Like ‘Prestige’, the story is told in a somewhat non-linear way.  We start out at the end, and then flashback (though it’s pretty much linear after we get the childhood story out of the way). 

The film is set in Vienna, Austria, so everyone is doing an accent, and I think they all did a relatively good job.  At least, I didn’t feel distracted by the accent.

As with ‘Prestige’, I can’t say too much, for fear that I’ll give something away.  It was a beautiful movie, well-paced and I think well acted.  But while I enjoyed it, I don’t know if I will want to watch it over and over.  Definately worth the rental fee and grab a bag of popcorn while you’re at it.

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