A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Set during the time leading up to and after the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities is not an easy read when compared to Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol. You really have to pay close attention to what’s going on or you might miss some vital piece of information.

It’s divided into three books (maybe it was a three part serial when first published, I don’t know) with the first to books setting up the third with a tremendous amount of backstory. The third part is where the book really took me in, with the theme of necessary sacrifice, or a needed sacrifice at least. Whether it’s a sacrifice to satisfy a need for revenge or a personal sacrifice that is performed out of love so that a family wouldn’t have to endure another tradgedy.

Joe Lynch’s Mayhem

Mayhem was a great and fun movie to watch. Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving were great together. It was bloody, violent, and brutal, you know, the things you want to see on a Friday night.

The structure of the movie was a lot like a video game, where the heroes start at the bottom and fight their way up through the different levels of bad guys to confront the different bosses. There was even a side quest when one of the bosses didn’t yield the goods our heroes needed.

I have read that the movie is supposed to represent the anger a lot of us felt when Trump was elected President. And maybe that’s what Joe Lynch and Matias Caruso intended. But I felt like it was a commentary to big corporations treating their employees as a commodity and not as people. The only thing they care about is their bottom line, the only time people matter to them is when they’re affecting their money.

Again, it was a great and fun movie. I would watch it again.

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

McCarthy’s work is always hard for me to explain why I like it so much. My only explanation is that it’s just so visceral. I think he writes about the basest part of the human condition. The emotions and mentality that makes us do the things we do. He writes about survival, his characters mostly live on the edge of society, the dark places where most of us don’t want to tread.

That being said All the Pretty Horses isn’t quite as dark and gritty as his previous works. It’s about a kid who seems to want to live a life that’s long past. He sets off to Mexico on horseback to find that life. He finds it and finds a girl to love, but in true McCarthy fashion it all falls apart and vicious violence ensues.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

As far as love stories go, this one is pretty dark. But make no mistake this is a love story. One that shows the darkest parts of being in love with someone. The dark things that come from selfishness and an emotional intelligence that’s below average are what you will see here. There’s no romance between Heathcliff and Catherine, just raw love that started when they were children.

Heathcliff being an orphan probably attached himself to Catherine pretty quickly and Catherine being kind of a brat never really thought of the power that attachment had over him. She basically thought of Heathcliff as toy to be discarded at first but then I think she realized that she loved Heathcliff after marrying Linton but it was too late to do anything about it.

When Catherine left Wuthering Heights all Heathcliff saw was someone taking away the one thing he loved and loved him, and not having anyone to teach him how to deal with his emotions how else could he react other than inflicting the same kind of pain on them as was inflicted on him? And to keep inflicting it even after you’ve destroyed the person, because once you go down that road it’s hard to do anything else.

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

This is the first time I have read a Baldwin novel, I heard it was going to adapted into a movie and I was inspired to read it, if it’s being made into a movie it can’t be all bad, after all.

And it was fucking great.

At first, I thought it was going to be a Romeo and Juliet kind of love story, but it was much more than that. It was about family and the lengths the people who love you will go to protect you and ensure your happiness. Tish’s family’s dedication to her in the face of what they’re going through is admirable to say the least. And the love between Tish and Fonny is inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time. To have to endure separation when all you want to do is be with the person you love the most is frustrating.

Fonny’s family were the antithesis of the Rivers family, his mother and sisters saw him as something less than they were because he had spirit, so they belittled him. His father loved him, but for reasons I didn’t understand, he wouldn’t protect him from his mother and sisters.

My only issue was Fonny, he was overtly masculine and covertly sensitive, but after thinking on it, that is how men behave, even today.

Friday Night Double Feature: The Birds / Antichrist

the_birdsFirst off we have Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. I’ve always been a fan of Hitchcock but I sometimes forget he liked the slow burn movies, always building suspense as the movie progresses. The Birds definitely fits in that category. It starts off kind of cheesy with Rod Taylor meeting Tippi Hedren in an aviary, pretending to need love birds for his little sister. Tippi follows Rod to Bodega Bay to bring his sister the birds, as the story progresses you see the birds becoming more and more aggressive toward the people, ultimately outright attacking a kids birthday party. And killing and pecking out the eyes of some of the citizens of Bodega Bay, California.

Every town needs a group of preteen boys with BB guns just for these types of things.

The Birds

antichristNext up is Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist. I really should just stop trying to watch these art house films, I never get them and just feel frustrated at the end. Antichrist is no different, It feels longer than it is, but the shocking ending I kept reading about truly is shocking and I won’t be able to forget that anytime soon, so I give him that.

I’ve been told that it is his critique on therapy, apparently Von Trier suffered or suffers from depression and the help he was getting wasn’t helping. I can see that, Dafoe plays a therapist who is trying to help his wife, Charlotte Gainsbourg, battle depression but he does not do a very good job.

 

Antichrist

Rant by Chuck Palahniuk

Rant is a very strange story, it takes place in a near future where a crash up derby game takes place on public streets and highways. Rant is one of the participants and Rant has a theory that if you crash hard enough you can send yourself to the past.

The book is written in a biographical format where the interviewer talks with friends and family of the person they’re writing about. Which I though was pretty cool.

Rant

Chuck Palahniuk