Thursday, September 8, 2011

Seriously Cute Blogger Award? Alright...

Danielle La Paglia has bestowed upon me The Seriously Cute Blogger Award. I guess she’s had a stroke or something. Canny people don’t do things like that. Since I am in the habit of humoring stroke victims, I’m playing along. The game is to discuss five books, television shows and/or books you’ve consumed lately. This compliments my new podcast, Consumed, which is entirely about reading, watching and playing things.

1. Apollo 18
My sweet old mother wanted to do whatever I did for my birthday. I wanted to see a movie? Just name the time. Did she know it was about-- But that was okay. She drove, paid for tickets, even smuggled me in a Butterfinger Crisp. She was so chipper about watching the fake documentary about an eighteenth moon mission and the nightmares found up there. So I got to see the woman who gave me life have the crap scared out of her twice by lunar debris. That was pretty cute of her.

2. The Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson
Just finished it this week. Matheson was a great damned storyteller and no book of his has disappointed me yet. Here he turned the gimmick of a gradually shrinking man into a reflection on what masculinity means, and what can replace it when it's taken away. Manages to walk the line between pulpy adventure stories and John Cheever malaise, without the annoying bits of either. And, uhm. He's little. So he's cute.

3. Coffee Samurai
Saw it with a packed theatre in August and tracked down a DVD to buy as soon as I returned home. It is my favorite anything of the year. A Korean short animated film, Coffee Samurai follows the story of a brave warrior who fell in battle centuries ago. As he died, he wished to be reincarnated with an iron body. Fate smiled on him, and he was reborn today: as a coffee vending machine. A drunken girl wheels it home and takes care of it. They fall in love, when they aren’t being attacked by zebra assassins. In half an hour it manages to go through every possible level of absurdity, including deliberately inserting plot holes into itself. It’s the best thing.

4. 127 Hours
Getting your arm smashed under a boulder is cute, right? Listen, the award didn’t specify that my things had to be cute, but I’m making the effort here. The point is: nobody told me 127 Hours was this good. James Franco delivers a deep one-man show of a film trapped in canyon with no one to help him, desperately devising ways to pry his arm from beneath a rock, and just as many ways to stay sane. Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire) does not mess around as a director. It takes some great acting, lighting and cinematography to make the one set not get dull after an hour. True stories usually wind up weak films because the artists have only so much leeway with reality, but everything about that poor man’s experience is re-crafted into a sharp portrait of grit.

5. Blockade Billy by Stephen King
For much of his career, King was dogged by the unfair assertion that he only wrote Horror. In the latter stage of his career he's dogged by the equally unfair assertion that he only writes needlessly long tomes. So here's a 100-page novella about baseball. As a non-baseball fan, what struck me the hardest was the narrator’s use of jargon and colloquialism. He’s not just colorful. The world of baseball reads like a vibrant Fantasy world, all brought out almost effortlessly, little exposition needed to set up anything, so much with its own terminology and so much accentuated merely through enthusiasm rather than backstory. For non-baseball fans, this might be a better primer on how to write Fantasy than any of King’s actually Fantasy. And I adored Dark Tower.

So that's my five. I stand behind them all. Now for the three recipients...

1. Helen Howell. Often feels like my own personal Twitter grandma. I don't think she's even close to that old; she just has that adorable warmth about her.
2. Sonia Lal. Another Twitter-buddy, one so young she didn't know John Carpenter's The Thing! Young'uns are cute. Plus I admire her pursuit of the classics. Most recently dug into Herbert's Dune.
3. Cathy Webster, the Bride of #fridayflash. I figure she'll go nuts with this one.


  1. Ha haa I love you choices of what you have consumed. especially the Shrinking Man. I remember seeing that movie in black and white I think...I hope I'm not mixing that up with Honey I shrunk the Kids ^__^

    Now my dear John theoretically I am old enough to be a young grandma, your 30 and I'm double your age ^__^ but good looking with it tee-hee.

    Now I don't know whether to thank you or slap you for giving me this award - you're making me have to think again - you know how I don't like to have to do that!

    Goes away now to ponder which tv shows she will talk about and to reveal that she reads children's books and loves them *__*

  2. Awww, look at the puppy.

    Those are some dandy picks. I especially like your telling of the first one.

    A cute list of recipients as well.

  3. The Bride of Friday Flash????????????? LOL
    I had to come check this out - you with a cute puppy award... then laff rioted over you saying Danielle had had a stroke.
    How cute was your mom, sneaking you in a Butterfingers bar?
    And 'Twitter Grandma?' There was a whole bunch of cute in this post, John. Thoroughly enjoyed it. And then, surprise, the nod at the end.
    Thank you so much, Sir Wiswell of Dumbass!

  4. Heehee, Helen passed it on to me. I'm seriously considering making my #FridayFlash my acceptance speech. :-P

  5. Flowers can be sent to Riverside Community Hospital. I'm recovering well, thanks.

  6. haha! All this post is hilarious, and the comments? LOL

    *sends virtual flowers to Dani*

    Congrats John, and all your choices are great. I'm dying to see this Coffee Samurai. Sounds bizarre in the most positive sense. :)

  7. I am the child of #fridayfalsh? LOL I loved Dune! Seriously loved Dune.

    I've heard a lot about Coffee Samurai.


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