Saturday, December 01, 2007


The new month dawned bright and clear, but my garbage disposal is still fucked up. Some product from Lowe's is currently working on it; hopefully that'll work, otherwise I'll just abandon the whole place and start a new life, somewhere else.

Last night, when not screwing up my sink or choking to death on food, I watched "Wages of Fear." Not a perfect movie by any stretch, and the ending is ridiculous, but for about 80 minutes or so it manages to maintain a level of tension that I've never seen in a movie. (it wasn't aided by me, unaccountably, deciding to have a pot of coffee at 8pm).) At one point I realized that the movie made me gulp audibly, and it really did sound like "gulp." At another point someone's car alarm went off during a particularly tense moment (the scene where Peter van Eyck is trying to remove the rock from the road) and I nearly collapsed.

It was later remade as "Sorcerer" -- I should be ready to watch that in about 15 years.

I also read stuff!

#49 -- "The Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick

Dick (tee hee!) was one of those writers that people were usually shocked I haven't read -- I think now John Updike takes the number one spot on that list. Alternate history, Axis won WWII, and my feelings were mixed:

Pros --

* I blazed through it. Very fast read.

* I'm not much of a fan of alternate history, simply because it usually goes along fairly predictable lines -- dystopia! Robert E. Lee's face on money! Chaos! But this veers off and sets itself apart simply because so much of life is banal -- it's not all brave bands of rebels, but a lot of people who have found a way to live under the occupation and are just trying to get by.

* Good job of not just laying things out there -- we figure out what happened in Africa, what happened to Hitler, through carefully dropped hints. No awkward expositions, nothing set out on a silver platter.

Cons --

* I tried to give the benefit of the doubt and believe that it was just an attempt to convey non-English speakers talking in English, but I really think Dick had a tin ear for dialogue.

* Oh holy God did the ending suck. Apparently PKD used the I Ching a lot in developing some plot points, and that was probably a mistake.

Overall? Good fun read, but I won't be rushing back to the Dick trough quickly.


Brushback said...

Two posts in a row, "December" and "November".

Does this mean you plan on not writing another post until January?

gsdgsd13 said...

Either that, or just twenty in a row titled "December." I've run out of hardcore songs...

fredoluv said...

weird, i would've recommended both of these (the Clouzot and the Dick) about 12 years ago!

I'm scared to see if the Dick would hold up for me or not, or if your reading would be more true. But I've seen Wages of Fear a few times, and its always pretty great to me. A less common Clouzot (but now on Criterion!) that you might like is Quai des Orfevres (§ion=essay). I saw it in a revival screening a few years ago and thought it was a blast!

fredoluv said...

oh! also...

Sorceror is a lot of fun as well, I avoided it for a long time because I liked Wages so much, but its definitely more action packed and well worth watching on its own.

I admit I own the Tangerine Dream score as well, its awesome!

gsdgsd13 said...

I do plan to see Sorcerer, but I'll give it a long while. I think Quai de Word I Can't Spell is already in the Netflix queue -- if not, I'll add it posthaste.