The five best things I came across in the past week.
1. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
I wrote a full review here, but I forgot to mention a few things, so I’ll take this space to right my wrongs. I never really touched on how meta Eggers can get outside that opening section/preface. There are three scenes in particular where a regular conversation morphs into a back-and-forth with himself over the acceptability of writing a book about his friends and family. These asides are not only clever and interesting but vital to the success of the book. We have to know that Eggers is struggling with what he’s doing. He knows that no book can accurately capture these people’s lives and that they wouldn’t necessarily be happy if it did. It calls into question what Eggers the artist is doing to Eggers the reporter. Is the book more fiction than not? Does it matter?
2. 21 Jump Street
I’m just as surprised as you are. This movie was actually really funny, likely due to having some of the people behind the superb and underrated Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs involved in the directorial and writing positions. There are a few scenes that are just as crazy and absurd as that film is throughout, like the first drug trip the two undercover cops (the usually great Jonah Hill and the often-bad-but-surprisingly-great-here Channing Tatum) go on. It’s weird as hell and hilarious. The movie is pretty self aware, which is nice, and it actually does the buddy-cop thing pretty well. Fans of the tv show should keep an eye out for a few fun shoutouts and everybody should stay for the end credits, an explosion of color and clips and amazingness.
Oh my. This movie cannot come out soon enough. It looks amazing. A prequel-thing to my 9th best movie of all time, Alien, directed by the director of that film, Ridley Scott would be enough to get me in the theater on opening day. Throw in MICHAEL FASSBENDER! and IDRIS ELBA! and NOOMI RAPACE! and I’ve already got my ticket purchased. Well, not really. Metaphorically. Jawesome! Now I just need to not see anything else until it comes out.
4. Javale McGee
Ah, basketball. The greatest of all sports. The only sport I care to watch. Javale McGee, a 7 foot center recently traded to the Denver Nuggets, was known as kind of an idiot around the league before this week. He had a lot of potential but it was all being wasted playing for the Washington Wizards. He did this there:
5. The end of Star Trek DS9‘s fifth season
I started watching DS9 because it was pointed to as a spiritual precedent for the Battlestar Galactica reboot. That show had a great mix of character, situation, and deep philosophical dilemmas. All of those things can be found on DS9, albeit in a bit softer form. But the softness isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I think that seeing these characters in situations that don’t concern the end of the human race allows them to be more fully developed. I liked a lot of the characters on BSG but I never got a feel for them as people, only as hardened warriors or meek bystanders. On DS9 there are life threatening situations, but there are also fun-time episodes. Those fun-time episodes make the events of the fifth season finale, the invasion by the Dominion and Cardassians, all the more exciting and intense. We know who all of these people are and we care deeply about them and their predicament. The final episode is executed perfectly, each character gets something to do and has something to lose. It’s wonderful.