Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Monday, April 2, 2012

That Buzz in Your Ear

During this year's Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, I'm highlighting things more people should know about. For the most part, I'll be ignoring the most popular and widely known items (and sometimes my personal favorites) in order to promote the unfamiliar and underappreciated.

Let us begin...


FILM
Before Sunset
I stopped watching My Dinner With Andre after 25 minutes. It's just two people talking.1 Why do I mention this? Because Before Sunset is just two people talking. But it's so good. Nine years after their first chance meeting (in the nearly-as-good Before Sunrise), Jesse and Celine (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) walk around Paris and discuss work, politics, love, where their lives have taken them, and how perceptions change between your 20s and 30s. A truly beautiful piece.2
TELEVISION
Boomtown
One crime per episode, with the truth revealed piece by piece as we see the events from the different points of view of everyone involved (e.g. cops, detectives, paramedics, criminals, the Deputy D.A.). It veered a little away from this premise near the end of the 1st season — and was cancelled in its 2nd due to ratings — but it had an excellent cast and intriguing plot twists and story lines. Well worth a watch.
GAME
Bang!
It's a spaghetti western card game! The outlaws want to off the sheriff. The sheriff and deputies want the outlaws dead. The renegade wants to kill everybody. Yet, without a weapon you can only shoot those next to you, and only the sheriff reveals his role. A barrel may protect you, Indians could be allies or enemies, and beer heals all wounds. Oh, and forget the "I shot the sheriff" jokes; with the right gun, you can bang everyone at the table.
Plays best with 6-7 players (or 8, with the Dodge City expansion).
MUSIC
The Beta Band
Do you know that scene in High Fidelity when John Cusack's character says he's going to sell five copies of an album just by playing one song? Well, that song is "Dry the Rain" by The Beta Band. The album is The Three EPs. Take a listen. You might be sold as well.
LITERATURE
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
In Germany during World War II, a young girl finds solace in the books she steals, as she struggles through bombings with her friends, foster parents, and the Jewish refugee hiding in her basement. Personally, I find Zusak's choice of Death as the narrator to be a bit gimmicky, but it doesn't detract too much from this otherwise powerful story. (my full review)

Well, that's the buzz. Tell me what's happening.


1 Actually, that's stretching things a bit. It's just one person talking, and Wallace Shawn occasionally saying, "How interesting. Go on." But it was not interesting, and I could not go on.
2 Or, if that doesn't convince you, maybe this one's more your style: Bubba Ho-Tep. A still-alive Elvis (Bruce Campbell) teams up with a still-alive JFK (Ossie Davis) to battle a still-quite-dead mummy who's been taking the souls of fellow patrons at their retirement home. Campy? You bet. But these two guys certainly do more than talk.

34 comments:

  1. Ohhh... I just read The Book Thief a few weeks ago, and I thought it was SOO GOOD.

    Jo
    In Which We Start Anew

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    1. It's definitely an excellent read. I still have to check out his other fare; I Am the Messenger especially seems right up my alley.

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  2. Hi Nate, thanks for paying a visit to my blog earlier! I love the letter 'B' at the top of your post, very attractive!

    This is me, Duncan D. Horne, visiting you from the A-Z challenge, wishing you all the best throughout April and beyond.

    Duncan In Kuantan

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    1. Glad you like the B! I've had fun creating the letters from my own photos... although I still have no idea what I'll use for Y. *digs around in the closet looking for a yo-yo*

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  3. OMG dude, I have such respect for you. I was so sad when they took Boomtown off the air, it was seriously such a good show. And I typically hate those crime shows.

    Anyway, I have the first season on DVD and actually just watched it, not six months ago.

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    1. Most of the crime shows all feel the same to me, but Boomtown stood out, not only for its concept but also because of the depth of its characters. Even as it slipped away from the format and switched viewpoints sometimes just because it was supposed to, it remained excellent. Yet another show killed by ratings long before its time.

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  4. interesting post wondering where is your a-z
    here is my a-z at GAC a-z

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    1. You can stop wondering where my a-z is; it's right here. Or rather, the a-b of it is. For the rest, you'll need to travel into the future. Go ahead, I'll meet you there.

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  5. I love your A to Z concept! It's been fun running around all these blogs, seeing what everyone else is up to. I'll definitely be checking out your B card game, Bang! As head-honcho to a family of four, we're always looking for new ways to stay out of trouble. :-)

    I hope you'll drop in and say hello sometime! Best of luck in the A to Z.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Bang! can be played with 4, but in my experience it works much better with more. And I'll be suggesting other good family games later in the month... though if you're interested I could share some with you now, too.

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  6. I have "The Book Thief" laying beside me right now - it is one of my next books to read! I have heard such great things about it, I can't wait to begin it!

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    1. Ooh, but if you can't wait to read it, why wait? Start now! I used to read only one book at a time, but these days I'm regularly in the middle of 2 or 3 (or 6).

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  7. Love "The Book Thief" and the movie Before Sunset. Never heard of the others. Fun concept for the challenge.
    karen

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    1. You haven't heard of 3 of my 5 selections? Excellent! That means I've done a good job picking lesser-known properties to highlight. Not sure of today's unknown three will appeal to you, but I'm sure to have some in the coming days.

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  8. I desperately wanted to see My dinner With Andre but after dozing off twice, I gave up :-) I can highly recommend it to insomnia sufferers.

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    1. I desperately wanted to like My Dinner With Andre, especially with my love for Wallace Shawn, but it wasn't meant to be. I didn't fall asleep, but both my wife and I found we were lost in our own thoughts instead of the dialogue, so we called it quits.

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  9. Thanks for introducing us to the somewhat obscure and under appreciated. The card game sounds like great fun as I have two boys. I showed my hubby your post and don't you knw he read the line "with the right gun, you can bang everyone at the table." and nearly laughed himself silly. Great humor there!

    *~MAJK~*
    Safireblade.com
    A To Z Challenge

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    1. And that's what happens on many of our game nights: We laugh our selves silly. (Note: That's just a figure of speech. We're all already quite silly.)

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  10. I really liked "My Dinner with Andre", found it interesting. I loved "Before Sunset". Between the two, the latter was much better.
    Regrettably, cannot comment on the others as I am unfamiliar with them, although I will look out for "The Book Thief".
    As for music, don't the Beatles start with a "B"? for crying out loud?

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    1. I wanted to like "Andre," but it just didn't hold my interest. Maybe if Wallace Shawn had filled one of the wine glasses with iocaine powder...

      Also, I'm pretty sure The Beatles starts with a T. (And hey, don't cry out loud. I'll Cry Instead.)

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  11. LOVE the Book Thief. Great great story. Awesome post and happy A-Z blogging!

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  12. I like the card game idea. Where do you get that? Wait, Google is my friend, right?

    Good theme you have going here by the way.

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    1. Google only seems like your friend; it is using you to capture your browsing habits and personal interests. It is my theory that one day they will start replacing us with advanced robotic replicas until there's no one left except droids, Google executives, and one guy sitting in a shack in Montana wearing a tinfoil hat.

      And hey, Amazon's pretty good, too.

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  13. 'The Book Thief' sounds great. It may be gimmicky, but I think having Death as a narrator is a fantastic idea. But, I find it hard to believe he has the time. What with so much business in the Middle East and all.

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    1. Maybe he narrates the stories to an aide while he reaps. Or maybe he has minions. I'd think Death would have minions.

      Oh, who am I kidding? Minions are so last millennium. Now it's even easier: There's an app for that.

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  14. These all sound good, especially The Beta Band. I loved the movie High Fidelity and I remember that scene. Cool!

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    1. Glad my recommendations hit the mark. (And it is a good scene, but my favorite still might be the one with Tim Robbins and the air conditioner.)

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  15. Wow. "You can bang everyone at the table" sounds like something one of my more, uh, adventurous female characters would say. (Or something I might say, but I wouldn't actually do. Prolly not.)

    Bounty of good B's here to choose from.

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    1. You know, I don't think any of my characters will ever have occasion to say that... What a shame. I may need to get a new cast of characters.

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  16. Ya know I wanted to get into Boomtown but just never made it. L&O Criminal Intent started out with the premise of the crime through the criminal's eyes and then fell in a completely different direction. Goran became a modern day Hercule Poirot...which ended up being okay with me.

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    1. I've never really watched any of the L&Os, but a modern day Poirot? Really? I may have to check that out after all.

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  17. Bands for "B"

    Band of Horses
    Band of Skulls
    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
    Bombay Bicycle Club
    The Boxer Rebellion
    the Bravery
    The Break and Repair Method
    Broken Bells


    Movies for "B"
    Brick
    Brothers Bloom
    The Burbs
    The Baxter

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    1. Wow, this time I recognized three of the bands you mentioned (although my overall percentage dropped from 40% to 37.5%). Go me!

      And after watching Brick a second time, I find I like "film noir in a high school" more as a concept than in practice. (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, however, is superb. As one would expect.)

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