Re: Where The Wild Things Are

1

Wow did I hate this movie.

A sampling of my Facebook feed suggests you're very much not alone in this opinion. I haven't seen it yet but am starting to wonder whether I'll make it a Netflix rather than a theater movie.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 1:27 PM
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But we should, right?

am starting to wonder whether I'll make it a Netflix rather than a theater movie.

You know there's a third option, right?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 1:41 PM
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RIGHT?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 1:41 PM
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And a fourth, and a fifth. Perhaps even a sixth.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 1:44 PM
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Or not see it at all or have a sandwich or take a nap in a sweater or maybe no sweater.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 1:47 PM
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This is sounding more and more like a movie I'll pass on. I don't mind seeing bad movies, as long as they're interestingly bad. This one doesn't sound like that.

p.s. IT'S SNOWING HERE.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 2:31 PM
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I hated the trailer - so loud and action-y and fakey-literal. Some of the reviews have enticed me, but I doubt I'll go see it (just as I don't go to see even movies that I'm really interested in).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 2:54 PM
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There was no way I was going to see it, even given Sendak's blessing. I remember reading that Alfred Hitchcock declined to film Crime and Punishment essentially because the book was just right as it was and needed no cinematic elaboration; same goes for Where the Wild Things Are. How on earth did anyone think the film was somehow necessary?

YAY SNOW.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:01 PM
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Two or three times I've been in a theater, and the preview for this has come on and people have responded with a unanimous "OMG, WTF. :-( " - immediately before, or after, the preview for "Fantastic Mr. Fox", which left almost everyone eager to watch it.

So let's not let the sadness and ridiculousness of this movie's very existence bias us against it before ever giving it a chance!

Not that I want to see it of course.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:12 PM
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Fantastic Mr. Fox

I hadn't heard of this film yet. Appears to have nothing to do with the Bluebeard tale "Mr. Fox"; too bad.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:16 PM
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No, it's a stop-motion adaptation of the Roald Dahl book "Fantastic Mr. Fox", a book of which I have been hoping for a high-quality animated version since childhood.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:21 PM
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Two or three times I've been in a theater, and the preview for this has come on and people have responded with a unanimous "OMG, WTF. :-( " - immediately before, or after, the preview for "Fantastic Mr. Fox", which left almost everyone eager to watch it.

The biggest collective "WTF?" I've ever experienced was during a preview for Kangaroo Jack. I think everyone in the theater was wondering if they'd inadvertently ingested a psychotropic substance.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:26 PM
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the preview for "Fantastic Mr. Fox", which left almost everyone eager to watch it.

Really? It left me decidedly cold.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:35 PM
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I guess you weren't there at the time.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:35 PM
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No, it's a stop-motion adaptation of the Roald Dahl book "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

Directed by Wes Anderson. That, I think I'll see.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:38 PM
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Directed via email by Wes Anderson.

The LA Times ran an article on the rivers of bad blood this had caused (while, helpfully, telling us nothing useful about whether or not it had harmed the movie).


Posted by: Maynard Handley | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:45 PM
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I saw the preview on apple's webbage, which is how I receive most of my previews, but the writing and voice acting seemed crap.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:53 PM
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"webbage"?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:55 PM
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Yeah.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:57 PM
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Cf.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 3:58 PM
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Huh. Seems like I should have encountered it before, but somehow I don't recall having done so.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 4:00 PM
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13 gets it right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 4:03 PM
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16: This article, I gather? It's weird:

[...] Anderson never intended to become an in-box auteur.

That choice was made all but inevitable, however, by the Oscar nominee's unorthodox decision to hole up in Paris for most of the shoot's one-year duration while principal photography commenced across the English Channel at London's venerable Three Mills Studios. He wasn't working on another project, and nothing Paris-centric demanded he be there; Anderson simply "didn't want to be at Three Mills Studios for two years."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 4:13 PM
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Really? It left me decidedly cold.

Same here. The book is great, and I'd thought it would be good for Wes Anderson to do a project that wasn't entirely of his own devising, but the previews suggested otherwise to me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 4:23 PM
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I estimate that I've read the book around 1500 times. My daughter loves this book.

I took her to see the movie today. She approved. She liked the music. She liked the Wild Things. She appreciated the sadness.

I liked the movie, mostly due to the ending. The beginning and the middle certainly have reasons why people might not like the movie.

But, I enjoyed the movie immensely. Of course, I had a beautiful young lady holding my hand and bouncing her other hand to the music. So, maybe I am not an objective reviewer.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 4:59 PM
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||
Headline of the Day (well, two days ago, apparently): Dead man slumped on balcony mistaken for Halloween decoration.
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 4:59 PM
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I don't think I'll see the movie, but it sounds, from the LA Times article, that the art-direction people were pissed at Anderson for making them do old-fashioned stop-motion animation without any digital short-cuts (which approach, you would have to think, Anderson would obviously take) and thus made a big hoop-lah of his not being present at the London studios, when in fact the director is often absent when the stills are actually shot.

I mean, if Anderson was reviewing dailies and giving long, written instruction, why would he necessarily need to be there? This is just to make him look bad.

The movie might not be any good, but you have to credit Anderson for sticking with his vision.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 5:02 PM
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27: Yeah, reading through to the end of the article made me much more sympathetic to Anderson and the approach he took, ruling out CGI and the like.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 5:05 PM
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I liked this movie despite having Jesusy skepticism. I'm a little confused by Becks criticisms as the relationships she describes are between children and are not exactly celebrated.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 5:06 PM
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At times I was uncomfortable with the way the characters treated each other, but It didn't strike me as unrealistic.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 5:10 PM
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Joey has been requesting the book Where the Wild Things Are a lot this week. I'm happy with the current state of things, and don't really feel like risking the movie.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 5:29 PM
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I don't know why, but I never loved the book as much as I probably should have when I was a child. I remember reacting to it in some strange way, but I don't know if I thought Max was a brat or that I was jealous he had a whole kingdom of monsters to himself or what. I also didn't have much of a picture-book window. My parents didn't like buying expensive books that they figured we'd grow out of really quickly, so I only encountered them at the library and school.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 6:04 PM
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33

Turns out Zombieland is pretty good, BTW.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 6:04 PM
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32: I don't know if I thought Max was a brat or that I was jealous he had a whole kingdom of monsters to himself or what.

Note to self: change name again as opportunity presents.

max
['Cannot catch a break.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 6:33 PM
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Heh. At first I thought she was talking about her ex.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 6:34 PM
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I also didn't have much of a picture-book window. My parents didn't like buying expensive books that they figured we'd grow out of really quickly, so I only encountered them at the library and school.

Yeah, this was me, too. I actually don't have fond childhood memories of any picturebooks other than Ant & Bee, which we owned, and which are wonderful but terribly expensive.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 6:36 PM
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Ant & Bee is adorable. Most of my picture-book knowledge now comes from reading to ex-Max's kids. They had some really nice ones.

I do remember a few Little Golden books sitting around our house. But I don't remember being read to except from the Bible and then things like Where the Red Fern Grows. That sounds grim considering that now my friends read to their babies practically out of the womb, but it just seemed normal. We ate what our parents ate, read what they read, etc. It's amazing to think how much childhood has transformed over the past 30 years, or maybe it was just my family.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 6:48 PM
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My parents didn't like buying expensive books that they figured we'd grow out of really quickly

This is an odd justification. Picture books are like kids clothes. Because people grow out of them quickly it is really easy to find used copies in great condition for cheap. And even when they aren't in good condition, the wear is part of their charm. The copy of WTWTA I have been reading with Joey now has a brown packing tape binding which really enhances the aesthetic value of the book.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 7:30 PM
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Whenever it comes up I feel like I should remember liking Where the Wild Things Are, but instead I don't remember a single thing about it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 7:35 PM
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Turns out Zombieland is pretty good, BTW.

Poor flat bastard.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 7:42 PM
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One great thing about being the fourth of five children is that we'd accumulated a great many books by the time I got around to being read to. And by the time I got around to reading on my own, there were all these older kids' books, and how awesome was that?

Now I get to read the books of my childhood to my own kids, which is awesomer still. WtWTA is a favorite.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:17 PM
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42

I've recommended it before here, but The Magic Pudding is really fun to read.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:29 PM
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Turns out Zombieland is pretty good, BTW.

I'm currently regretting the decision I made to decline an invitation to go see it so I could instead watch the Bears game.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:29 PM
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I'm currently regretting my non-decision to not get any of the work done that's due in the next week. I think I'll go start making dinner and watch the football game.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:35 PM
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43: Well, it's not Kubrick or anything. If it was a good Bears game, it would be about on a par.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 8:40 PM
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33: I would go so far as to say that Zombielalnd is nearly perfect within its genre* and is damn funny. I say this as someone who can't watch most gorey horror movies and is generally meh on Woody Harrelson. Stanley, you did indeed choose incorrectly.

*Assuming you like Jesse Eisenberg's sweet geek persona. He plays more or less the same character he did in Adventureland.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:16 PM
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-I


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:16 PM
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I never liked the book as a kid, either, AWB.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:24 PM
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Is Jesse Eisenberg doing a Michael Cera impersonation all the time now? It's OK I guess, but how many Michael Ceras can the world sustain? (I did only see him in The Squid and the Whale though, so I know little of Eisenbergiana.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:25 PM
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46: "It's Bill f*cking Murray! ... I'm sorry, I don't mean to gush..."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:26 PM
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Who's Michael Cera?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:26 PM
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Stanley, you did indeed choose incorrectly.

I can believe it. I've watched the Bears snatch defeat from the claws of victory plenty of times and didn't really need to see it again tonight. Fucking Bears.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:26 PM
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53

I don't even own a Michael Cera.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:28 PM
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54

On the OP, David Edelstein gave what I thought was a very smart review on Fresh Air.

The key points for me were:

Jonze and Eggers's most agreeable innovation is turning Sendak's rather anonymous beasts into complex, conflicted personalities. They sit around quarreling, smashing things, making holes in trees, staring into space, and wishing for a leader.

and

One alteration is unpardonable: Max dashes out of the house and into the woods instead of getting sent to bed without supper, so there are no bedroom walls melting away and no waves rolling in--one of the book's most archetypal images.

Then again, Kenneth Turan, whose reviews I generally find insightful, loathed it and singles out the conceit that Edelstein loves as particularly contemptible:

That's right: Jonze and Eggers have turned Sendak's creatures into neurotic adults -- and with dysfunctional relationships, too.

(Sir Kraab: Googling reviews so you don't have to.)

I had and still have no intention of seeing it, but I do find the discussion interesting.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:32 PM
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52: Uh, I guess it's usually "jaws of victory" but you know, same idea. I'm off to watch The Mothman Prophecies as recommended by someone here, I think.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:32 PM
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52: Fucking Bears and/or bears seems ill-advised.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:33 PM
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The movie's ideal audience may be young adults who know the book by heart and appreciate the filmmakers' efforts to help them reconnect with it on the shallowest, most solipsistic level imaginable. Its worst imaginable audience would be made up of small kids like the ones crowded around me in the theater where I saw it this morning, who from the sound of it wondered why they couldn't be somewhere more fun, like church.

Sounds like the critical appraisal of Ang Lee's Hulk movie.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:34 PM
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50 IS A BIG ASS SPOILER. But if you've gotten to this point, it's too late for you. Bwah ha ha ha ha.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:35 PM
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58: Oh, it sort of is, isn't it? Uhhh... spoiler on 50, everyone. Fair warning.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:37 PM
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54: David Denby, whom I generally find to be a tiresome scold, agrees with Turan. The treatment of the wild things just sounds completely wrongheaded.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:39 PM
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59: But that was a seriously excellent scene.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:40 PM
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59, 61: Please tell me you stayed through the credits.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 9:55 PM
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62: No, I didn't! Fuck! Should've known... they did some incredibly clever shit, didn't they? Fuck! Shit!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:20 PM
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63: You'll just have to go watch it again and see.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 10:59 PM
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64: Yup, we stayed. I almost always do.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-18-09 11:12 PM
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52 IS A BIG ASS SPOILER.

I had and still have no intention of seeing it, but I do find the discussion interesting.

Yeah, the reviews have really intrigued me - whatever else the creators did, they seem to have approached it with a great deal of consideration.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:17 AM
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they seem to have approached it with a great deal of consideration

It's a bit of contradiction for me that Spike Jonze can claim credit for, on the one hand, Adaptation (a.k.a. one of two films ever made involving Nic Cage in which Nic Cage is really quite good) and, on the other hand, Jackass, which, hey, I'm not above a good fart joke, but jeebus, stop.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:44 AM
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I really liked the second Jackass movie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:45 AM
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41: Now I get to read the books of my childhood to my own kids, which is awesomer still.
There are still quite a few Ladybird books from our childhood knocking around, and I often find myself reading them to my brother's children and experiencing a peculiarly vivid form of nostalgia. I was amused recently to find we even had this one. (They loved it, and asked me to read it again straight away, which I don't remember them doing ever before.)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:47 AM
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67: (a.k.a. one of two films ever made involving Nic Cage in which Nic Cage is really quite good)

Hmm, that and National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Right?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:53 AM
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70: Uh, hello? Obviously, I was referring to Face/Off.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:54 AM
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Poor John Woo.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:56 AM
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I have high hopes that we will soon see another film in which Nic Cage is totally fucking out of his gourd quite good.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:56 AM
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73: Your hopes may not be in vain. According to IMDB, 2010 will include the release of:

- Season of the Witch ("14th-century knights transport a suspected witch to a monastery, where monks deduce her powers could be the source of the Black Plague.")

- Kick-Ass ("Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.")

- The Sorcerer's Apprentice ("A sorcerer leaves his workshop in the hands of his apprentice, who gets into trouble when the broomstick he's tasked to do his chores for him somehow develops a mind of its own.")

- Drive Angry ("A vengeful father chases after the men who killed his daughter."), and

- Riot ("As part of the crime-prevention program Scared Straight, a governor's delinquent son is sent to prison for what's to be a short period of time. While behind bars, however, the kid is taken hostage during a riot, forcing a lifer (Cage) to come to his aid.").


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:06 AM
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74: oh, I'm not waiting until 2010. I want it now.">http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1095217/">now. Or November 20th, in any case.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:11 AM
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Yay, HTML. Anyhow, I'm talking about the new Bad Lieutenant movie, which sounds admirably deranged.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:13 AM
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76:

In a June 2008 interview with The Guardian, Abel Ferrara, who directed and co-wrote the original Bad Lieutenant (1992), said that finding out his movie was being remade was "a horrible feeling", "like when you get robbed", and that those involved in this remake "should all die in hell". He also wondered how Nicolas Cage "can even have the nerve to play Harvey Keitel", and called screenwriter William M. Finkelstein an idiot. [emphasis added]


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:17 AM
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Nic Cage was pretty good in The Weather Man.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:26 AM
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77: Hm. This thread is the first I've heard of the film at all, but wikipedia has this:

Herzog insists that the film is not a remake, saying, "It only has a corrupt policeman as the central character and that's about it." At the Academy Awards in 2009, Herzog stated that he has never seen Ferrara's film, saying "I haven't seen it, so I can't compare it. It has nothing to do with it." Herzog did not like the idea of a remake and desired to change the title of the film, but was unsuccessful. Herzog stated, "I battled against the title from the first moment on", but added, "can live with it, I have no problem with it at all. The title is probably a mistake, but so be it."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:27 AM
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I can't believe I didn't hear about this before. Werner Herzog is directing a remake of Bad Lieutenant, causing for the original director to wish he rot in hell? Awesome. Wikipedia also quotes Herzog saying that he's never heard of him, has never seen any of his movies (not even the original Bad Lieutenant), and would like to settle things "over a bottle of whiskey".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:27 AM
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What are these fucking iguanas doing on my coffee table?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:35 AM
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Just like Hollywood to make the idea of taking sex for bribes look glamorous. Truffaut was right.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:49 AM
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81: Fucking?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 8:51 AM
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Must second AWB's recommendation of _The Magic Pudding_, an Australian classic. But it's one of those old books that contains obsolete despicable prejudices (a single poetic line that is anti-Semitic). It's one that, if that single line were Bowdlerized, would be entirely delightful.


Posted by: r-something m-something | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:09 AM
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Bad Lieutenant is one of the greatest unintentional comedies of all time. "I've done so many bad things!"

A Werner Herzog version would be fantastic.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:20 AM
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r-something m-something

Rainer Maria?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:22 AM
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I recently learned of The Boondock Saints sequel and I'm hopeful yet skeptical.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:24 AM
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86: I think it has to be either Ricky Martin or Reba McEntire, since Roddy McDowell and Robert McNamara are both dead.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:33 AM
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Ronaldus Magnus?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:34 AM
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Could be Robust McManlypants, suddenly shy. That seems unlikely, to be honest. (I mean, dude's got McManlypants, you know?)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:36 AM
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Ronald McDonald.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:37 AM
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89: That was the bizarrest little story. I had a much higher opinion of conservatives when I was free to invent narratives for their thought processes from a great distance. Now that I can see their thinking up close, my opinion has only gone down.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 9:37 AM
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Could be Robust McManlypants, suddenly shy

Or Robert McManus, suddenly formal. But that seems even less likely.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 10:18 AM
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When I was around 12 I read a book about a quiet and sad girl with a strange family. It would definitely be classified as a young adult novel. I think the story centered around a funeral of a relative she was particularly close to--an uncle or her grandfather maybe. I'm thinking there was an island involved and the word "Caprice" is stuck in my head too, as either the family name or where they were from. My memory is proving too vague for Google, but I was hoping someone would know what I was talking about. I was trying to recommend it to someone.

Ring any bells?


Posted by: mark f | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 11:06 AM
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94: A Ring of Endless Light?

(If not, it would help to know what year it was when you were 12.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 11:22 AM
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95: I turned 12 in 1993.

Thanks for the suggestion, but that's not the right book. I went through the list of Newbury winners and didn't see it there. I think the cover had a portrait of the whole wacky extended family on the cover.

At this point I'm just bothered that I can't think of the title. Maybe I'll go to my parents' and dig through the boxes of old books.


Posted by: mark f | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 11:28 AM
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Nothing else on this list seems to fit either. Do you remember anything else? A character's name? A specific scene?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 11:38 AM
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I read a lot, did as a kid, too. But whenever the "what was that book" question comes up, it is almost always a book I never heard of. But I read so much! There must be even more books out there. By a lot.

***
Just got through your recommendation on demagogues, McManus. Thanks. It was a interesting look at the history and philosophies around demagoguery. But I'm still hoping for something more mechanistic ("crowd attendance follows this growth function, and transmission happens like so, and when you get to this point, the military starts to defect", or something like that).


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 11:49 AM
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It's very possible that I'm making this whole thing up or confusing several books, but I think it's about a young girl who travels to a family gathering either of the family Caprice or at an ancestral place of that name. It is either a family reunion type of thing or a funeral, but either way I believe it involves her having a conversation with a deceased elder relative and eventually coming to terms with her quirky relatives.

It might not even have been any good, but I am now determined to figure it out.

Entering Caprice into Amazon doesn't seem to help.


Posted by: mark f | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 11:54 AM
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Oh, got it. It's Figgs and Phantoms, by Ellen Raskin.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 11:58 AM
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If anybody cares, the thought process there was "Caprice doesn't make any sense; it must be Capri. Let's try 'Capri ya novel' as a Google search." Ta-da! That narrowed it down to just three choices.

The Ellen Raskin novel that everybody remembers, of course, is The Westing Game.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:01 PM
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102

YES. Capri, not Caprice. Thank you. This is much better than waking up and shouting the answer.


Posted by: mark f | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:02 PM
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103

Could you be remembering "Capri" rather than "Caprice"? If that's it, the book could be Ellen Raskin's Figgs and Phantoms. I can't quite remember the book clearly enough to be sure (I loved Raskin generally, but this one didn't stick in my head like The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon I Mean Noel or The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues), but the feel is right, and the cover at the link looks like what you're describing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:03 PM
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104

Damn you, Witt.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:03 PM
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105

That's meant in the warmest and most friendly manner, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:03 PM
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106

What can I say; librarians live to pwn people.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:04 PM
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101.1: Well played (you too LB ...).

Glad it wasn't the L'Engle, for some reason I absolutely loathed the book (and all of the Austins) when one of my kids read it for school. It just seemed utterly condescending (I have little use for any d'Engle I've read).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:06 PM
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108

*sigh* Never heard of it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:07 PM
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109

I have little use for any d'Engle I've read

All the women on this blog now hate you. I'm sorry.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:08 PM
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Can I get a consensus on how to pronounce "L'Engle"? As a kid it seemed like the consensus was for something like "LAAA-ng-GAAAL" (three syllables). That may have just been what my cousins thought it was.

It must be something between "Lengle" and "LAAA-ng-GAAAl".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:10 PM
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111

Salon pans Where the Wild Things Are.

If I had to make Sendak movie, I'd take In the Night Kitchen over Wild Things.

Also, there should be a Phantom Tollbooth movie.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:11 PM
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Not all. I liked Wrinkle in Time and A Wind In The Door, but everything else I read of hers struck me as kind of sanctimoniously creepy. I'd have to flip through one of the books to remember why exactly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:11 PM
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Also, there should be a Phantom Tollbooth movie.

Another one? With CGI and stuff? Oh dear.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:12 PM
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114

If I'm going to quit lurking, I may as well go on topic and say I liked the Wild Things movie despite agreeing with the consensus regarding its problems.


Posted by: mark f | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:13 PM
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Was there a Ffeiffer-style cartoon? Huh, I wonder how I missed it when we read the book to the kids.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:16 PM
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RFTS and I were trying to determine the advisability of a Box of Delights movie. Status: Still undetermined.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:16 PM
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Yeah, I liked the trilogy centering on the Austins, but remember not-quite-getting the Ring of Endless Light ones. I don't entirely remember why; my vague sense is that I thought the narrator should buck up and stop being so whiny. I don't remember the context for thinking that, though.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:17 PM
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If I'm going to quit lurking,

You need to pick yourself a better pseud. First name and last initial only are deprecated. Something silly, or use a full last name (which needn't be your own, of course) but "common first name last initial" is too confusing.

("Need", in the first sentence above, means that I will complain once or twice about it. You don't actually need to do anything.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:18 PM
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Jones and Juster first worked together on The Dot and the Line (1965), which won Jones his only non-honorary Academy Award for Best Cartoon Short Subject. Following that success Jones showed his affinity for children's literature and longer-form material by creating the Peabody Award-winning television adaptation of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966). Both achievements allowed Jones to begin work on The Phantom Tollbooth, MGM's first feature-length animated film.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:19 PM
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109: Ah ... but it was "d'Engle" who I said I hated! Off scot-free on a technicality.

"Jerry Gallo's dead."
"I know."
"I'm Jerry Callo."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:22 PM
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I remember liking the first two Wrinkle in Time series books, but the third was really not that good. I think I convinced myself I liked it when I read it, but that didn't last.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 12:56 PM
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111: That Salon article gets almost everything wrong.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 1:30 PM
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123

Who would make the best film version of Busy Busy World? Jonze, Herzog, Ferraro or Woo?


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 1:53 PM
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Fellini and Altman have already done this, La Dolce Vita and Short Cuts


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 2:03 PM
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All Figgs go to Capri! I love that book.

Megan, A Ring of Endless Light is one of the Austins books.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 3:52 PM
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I can certainly see not liking the books about the Austins (though I loooooved them--I probably read them at the perfect age), but I wouldn't have thought the problem would be that someone found them condescending.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 3:57 PM
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Then I've got them wrong. Which is the one with the dolphins? I liked the Austin family, and Cal.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 3:58 PM
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A Ring of Endless Light is the one with the dolphins. Vicky Austin is narrator of those books (though not of The Young Unicorns, which also features the Austins heavily, and some other books in which they appear more marginally). The Wrinkle in Time books feature the Murrays, plus Calvin O'Keefe.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:02 PM
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The Young Unicorns is super weird.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:09 PM
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130

It is super weird.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:11 PM
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Isn't there some vague dynastic connection between the Murrays and the Austins? All the Austins books annoyed me and kind of creeped me out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:13 PM
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I will gender myself female (again) by saying (again) that I revere Madeline L'Engle. So much so that I named my beloved dog, the sainted and dearly departed Meg, after Meg in A Wrinkle in Time (Meg's middle name was Jane, for Jane Addams, and I often called her Megan Jane -- sigh). Which book I, having no clue at the time of the existence of whole stores devoted entirely to sale of books (for we were library people, you see), tried to type out by hand as a second grader. I believe I got through more than a chapter on my parents' cranky Underwood before my mom discovered my toil and, thrilled with my industriousness, promptly bought me the book. The dog I acquired later for myself.

Seeing this story, sitting here on the screen, I'm pretty near certain that I'm repeating myself. Oh well, women will do that.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:40 PM
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131: I can't believe you didn't overidentify with Meg Murray, LB. Both so tall and mathy.

CA just unearthed some Zilpha Keatley Snyder from a closet, and so I am going to read those (for the first time since the [very early] 80s).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:41 PM
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132: I should have grown up in OH or Ari should have grown up in NJ so that we could be best girlfriends.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:42 PM
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Oh, right. Perhaps I should review the materials before I say anything. I liked the Murrays. Didn't connect with the Austins. Think I barely remember that whoever it was who was visiting the Austins and narrating was more insecure than I wanted to spend time with. But at this point I shouldn't try to make any big statements about the series, since I can't even remember the names.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:44 PM
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134: Instead, I was stuck with C/raig W/edren as a best friend. And so, rather than riding ponies while reading passage from A Swiftly Tilting Planet, or whatever you and I would have done with our time, Craig and I sat around listening to The Clash and The Replacements.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:46 PM
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Pachebel's Canon was a big deal in which of the books? The Arm of the Starfish (or whatever it was called), right? And why again? I'm afraid that my memories of L'Engle are drowned out by all the Joe Strummer riffs still echoing around my brain.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:49 PM
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129, 130: I have the vague recollection that some of its weirdness can be explained in one of L'Engle's published journals, in which she talks about her reaction to the upheaval and uncertainty going on in her church at the time. It was one of the things that brought home to me how much American society has changed in some respects over the past 40 years; the idea that a folk song or two at a religious service could evoke the kind of bone-deep wound and crisis that she describes is hard to imagine these days.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 5:29 PM
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Last night, I was playing The Meters ("Hey Pocky A-Way", specifically), and Noah asks if I could start the song over. So I do, and he explains, "This music isn't rock and roll, but it's still man music. I like dancing to this."

He puts his arms straight down against his sides, with his hands out palms down, and then pimpshimmies around the room for three minutes, slinky shoulder wiggles and all. The song ends and he announces, "Now it's time for rock and roll, daddy. Play Kiss."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 5:30 PM
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There are 2 not-great, by which I mean not classic, books that I read as a kid whose titles I can't remember.

One is about a girl who finds a dolphin in a fresh water seting and is determined to get it back out to the sea.

The other is about a girl and her brother who find a magic coin. This coin turned into an umbrella when it was raining, and it was also a vessel which transported her somewhere. Am I ringing any bells?

Ooh, the other one was about a girl who is half human and half fairy. There's some evil creature that wants to get her to use her magic, but if she forswears it she can have a relationship with her mother which was all she ever wanted.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 5:53 PM
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The other is about a girl and her brother who find a magic coin. This coin turned into an umbrella when it was raining, and it was also a vessel which transported her somewhere. Am I ringing any bells?

Sounds like Ruth Chew's The Magic Coin, but it's out of print and I can't find a good summary online.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 5:59 PM
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Not even here?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 6:07 PM
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126: but I wouldn't have thought the problem would be that someone found them condescending.

Eh, probably just my own insecurities coming through. I specifically identified (or imagined my kids identifying) with Vicky's pity boyfriend, Leo Rodney-- son of the dead guy and the dim bulb who can only settle for a "good scholarship to Columbia", and somehow it just brought back memories of the whole sense of Wrinkle in Time that turned me off. I think for the few L'Engle's I've read I never identified with or felt I would ever be a candidate to get inside the little circles of specialness she creates. Uncharitable and as I said, undoubtedly a personal problem for me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 6:11 PM
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I can't find the dolphin book BG is talking about, but this book seems to invert the story.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 6:26 PM
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re: 139

Heheh, that's great.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 6:50 PM
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111: Just for the child nudity?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 7:07 PM
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