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Showing posts from December, 2023

Announcing: Weird Writing Advice

🖊️ I'm a Weirdo, What the Hell am I Doing Here? I have led a local writing discussion group and critique circle since... oh... time immemorial. I give a lot of good advice, apparently. Good enough that more than one person has asked if I have ever written or would ever consider writing a craft book. I have always shied away from the idea. On the one hand, I have a lot of breadth  of knowledge, but not necessarily enough to deep-dive on any one topic, and craft books tend to be deep dives. Nobody wants to buy Save The Cat Gives Broad Uncontextualized Writing Advice . And also, my advice is... unconventional. It works for me, sure, but most people would not find it practical. To wit, whenever someone complains that it's hard to come up with a good title for their story, I suggest that they come up with a good title first and then write a story that fits it, rather than the other way around. And they generally look at me like I have two heads. Even when I assure them that this is

Stray Thoughts: An Ironic Die Hard Christmas

🎄And I'll Walk as Damn Hard as I Please... It's time once again for the annual debate about whether or not Die Hard  constitutes a Christmas movie, and since y'all know how these things works I'm just going to skip to the part where I say: It is for some people and that's fine; it's not for me, but I don't care very strongly about it. I'm just not compelled by the arguments for it. Does it take place at Christmas? Yes. Is Christmas integral to the plot? Absolutely. Is it thematically about Christmas-y things? No. No, it's not. And before you bring up "it's about bringing family together," that is a stretch and you know it. Reconciling with your ex is not "bringing family together," not in the holiday sense, and oh yeah, bringing family together isn't even a Christmas movie theme. Christmas movies are about discovering or re-discovering the true meaning of Christmas, full-stop. Now, this can take a number of forms, and bri

Stray Thoughts: Adapting Les Misérables

🥖 Well You Know We All Want To Change The World... Victor Hugo's magnum opus Les Misérables  is kind of like The Ramones. It's important, it's influential, and it's left an indelible mark on the culture... but is it actually all that good? Oh, there are great moments in it, to be sure. But, like, it's also got long boring stretches and is very much of its time in a way that's impenetrable to a modern consumer. And... okay, this metaphor is breaking down so I'm going to abandon it. It's weirdly structured, droning, and melodramatic. And yet it's oddly compelling. The best-known adaptation is the musical, originally penned in French in 1980, and whose English translation has been a staple of both the British and American stages for nearly four decades now. Additionally, there have been a total of nine film adaptations going back to the 1930s, plus a concert film, multiple miniseries, and an anime. And it just so happens that one of these adaptations i

Consumed With Hate Dishonorable Mentions

💩 And I Don't Like Anybody Very Much... Time to mix up the format again. This week we're looking at a bunch of things that I hate... but don't really have anything interesting to say about. Or, at least, not enough to justify their own post. So, in no particular order, here are things that I'm not thrilled about, but on a much smaller scale. Bad Movies I Haven't Seen The following movies are things that are notoriously bad that I considered watching for this project, but never got around to: Zoom , The Book of Henry , The Snowman , Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close , Shock Treatment , Green Lantern , Suicide Squad . Don't worry, they're terrible. Maybe I'll watch them some time in the future. Robin Hood (2010) I was actually planning to write about this one and got a little behind because my November was crazy. The movie started out as a script called Nottingham  that was essentially a police procedural in which the Sheriff tracks down an elusive thi

Consumed With Hate: Peter Jackson's Hobbit Trilogy

💍 Bravest Little Hobbit of Them All... The Crime: The Hobbitses The Guilty Party: Peter Jackson, et al Overview: Prequels always suck Why I Hate It... Yes, I was going to do Ridley Scott's Robin Hood , but I've had a last-minute change of heart, so here we are. Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings  is one of the great cinematic accomplishments of the modern age. A nobody director who made splatter flicks went after a set of books long held to be unfilmable and put out three visual marvels, grand sweeping epics that were monster commercial successes, awards bait, critical darlings, and cultural touchstones to boot. The impact on the film industry also cannot be overstated--suddenly extended cut DVDs and three-hour theatrical runtimes were normal. It is a small wonder that four years later it was announced that The Hobbit , the book that The Lord of the Rings  is a sequel to, would be released as two films, with much of the same cast reprising their roles