Category Archives: Uncategorized

I’m Back!

A few weeks back, some asshole broke into the server hosting this here blog and it got deleted almost entirely. Fuck. Luckily the server had back up and I’ve managed to put it mostly back together including over ten years of reading lists. In having to put the humpy dumpty back together, I realize how much fun I used to have writing about books (and sometimes food). The more I wrote the more I began to worry about sounding professional, as if I was writing for the Times Book Review or The New Yorker. Do I like those publications? Hell yeah I do but I don’t need to sound or write like them.

My other concern is my kind of dumb blog name. Back when AOL IM existed and I signed up, I joked with a friend about picking the nerdiest sounding name, something that included D&D and books. Bookgnome was taken. So I became Bookdwarf. Does this name still serve me well? Is it offensive in any way? It’s meant to refer to LOTR and D&D so hopefully not. I’m keeping it for now. I’ve had it since maybe 2004? Remember the Lit Blog Coop? I was part of that too.

I’m writing all this to say that it’s time to get back to what I do best: talking about damn books. Yes, I work for a publisher but those that know me know that I wouldn’t recommend a book here that I hadn’t read and loved so I’m going to stop worrying about coming across like a shill for Penguin. They do publish some really fine books (read Whiskey When We’re Dry please). So time to resume especially as it might serve to distract me from our crumbling democracy. I’ll try to write something once a week, okay? We’ll see where this goes. Thanks for reading!

My movie list

Yesterday I promised to post a list of my top 50 movies which I am about to do. These are merely movies that I like. I make no claims about the greatness of them (you will know what I am talking about when you see the list). So here they are:

1 North by Northwest
2 Blade Runner
3 Raising Arizona
4 The Big Lebowski
5 Donnie Darko
6 The French Connection
7 Taxi Driver
8 Silence of the Lambs
9 Star Trek: First Contact
10 The Manchurian Candidate
11 Rushmore
12 The Royal Tenenbaums
13 The Road Warrior
14 This is Spinal Tap
15 Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House
16 Conan the Barbarian
17 Evil Dead 1 & 2
18 Mrs. Miniver
19 The Quiet Man
20 She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
21 The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
22 Rear WIndow
23 The Birds
24 Red Dawn
25 The Wild Bunch
26 Zelig
27 The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
28 The Pianist
29 Unforgiven
30 Seven Samurai
31 Rashomon
32 2001: A Space Odyssey
33 The Star Wars trilogy (the originals–as if you have to ask)
34 Godfather I & II
35 The Magnificent Seven
36 Close Encounters of the Third Kind
37 Groundhog Day
38 Secretary
39 Lost in Translation
40 Gosford Park
41 Short Cuts
42 The Killer
43 Nashville
44 In the Mood for Love
45 Excalibur
46 Dune
47 Monty Python and the Holy Grail
48 Raise the Red Lantern
49 To Kill a Mockingbird
50 Blue Velvet

So there it is. I probably could think of more movies that I might like even more than some on this list. But I think this should suffice. As you can see, my taste goes all over the place. I left off some of the dumber movies I enjoy such as Red Sonja and the like.
Feel free to comment or suggest movies that you like that you think are better than the ones I’ve listed. And don’t hold back. Feel free to make fun. I know there are a few on there worth giggling about.

**Update: Someone pointed out that I had listed North by Northwest twice, so I added The Manchurian Candidate. I have already thought of a few movies I would add if I did this over: The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Spirited Away, The Andromeda Strain.

King Arthur’s knights were Sarpathian? Really?

My friend Briana and I decided to plunk down $6.25 (not inluding popcorn of course) to see King Arthur, the new Jerry Bruckheimer extravaganza. Wow. I don’t know where to start. So I am not going to say much. We pretty much expected what we got. But we still want to know what the hell this ‘new archeological evidence’ is that they have uncovered that makes Arthur a Roman in charge of a bunch of Sarpathian knights (aka the Knights of the Round table). It was enough for us to watch Clive Owen for a few hours. Plus Ioan Gruffudd is not too bad either. Keira Knightly on the other hand managed to overact her ridiculous part as Guinevere. Whatever. I mention this because Briana asked about the movie meme I posted last week and what exactly was the basis for the list. She said I should put together my own list of favorite movies to post. So that is what I am working on currently. I will probably post it tomorrow. It is more difficult than I thought as there are so many movies to pick from . The list will be just my top 50 movies. So you can judge and laugh and comment sometime tomorrow.

Steve Guttenberg. Isn’t he the bible guy?

No, he is not the bible guy. Steve Guttenberg is the actor from such classics as Police Academy and Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. For those of you who lament daily about the loss of this tour de force, never fear. In this article, the Police Academy series creator Paul Maslansky says that after a decade’s absence from the big screen he is going to make the 8th installment. “I saw that ‘Starsky & Hutch‘ and a number of other revivals were doing really well. ‘Police Academy‘ has such a great history. I thought, ‘Why not?'” Why not indeed.

I suck as a movie reviewer

So last week I watched the Samurai Trilogy by Hiroshi Inaagaki and I thought I might put a little review of it up here. But as I kept thinking about it, I realized I have no idea what to write other than plot synopsis. I loved the trilogy. It starred Toshiro Mifune who brilliantly plays the legendary seventeenth-century samurai Musashi Miyamoto. According to Criterion, this trilogy is the Japanese Gone with the Wind (which seems like a poor analogy to me, but whatever). Anyway, I recommend this to all. Its full of love and anger and war and great sword fighting. There are a few plot holes and lots of women crumpling to the ground and crying, but it is still a great thing to watch. So that is my crappy take on a cinematic classic.

Who knew long hair and dead white men were hot?

What is with the spate of movies based on Classics? First comes Troy. Now A&E is trying to get in on the action by presenting a ‘documentary’ on historic Troy, but really is nothing more than a promotion for the movie.
Then we have Vin Diesel appearing in a movie due to come out next year based on Hannibal. Great. And don’t forget the Oliver Stone movie Alexander, starring Colin Farrell as Alexander and also includes Jared Leto, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer and more. See the picture below:

And just in case you hadn’t gotten enough of Alexander, Baz Luhrman is set to direct an as yet unnamed movie about Alexander too. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman. Did Gladiator really bring this about? It’s just going to induce more heartattacks among the elder Classicists when they realize all the historical errors (read lunacy) that occur, which may not be such a bad thing.

Follow up

Uhm, I originally googled for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy when looking for the official website, which was listed first. And then I noticed some oddities: someone who really wants to meet Kyan, fans of Thom, and something called Girlzeye. Check it out.

I love Ted!

Searching for the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy website, I came across this quiz:
tedTed: Food & Wine Connoisseur
Which Member from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is your type?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tonight, they showed the pilot episode, which was filmed right here in Boston! Imagine if they still filmed it here? I wish they would do episodes outside of the NYC area. And I liked the culture guy better—not a big fan of Jai and his fashion mullet (I mean he has a teacup Yorkie!). And Lawson—the straight guy—was great, easy going and willing to take suggestions. God, I wish someone would come and do a makeover on me and my apartment sometime. Not really, of course. In theory it sounds great, but I think I would be embarassed to have people filming me. Anyway, good episode tonight. NIce to see where it all started.

Everyone check this out

Aaron and I went down to the MFA today to check out the Japanese Postcard exhibit. So much fun. The cards are beautiful. Some a gorgeous mix of Japanese style and Art Noveau. Some were historical, some playful. All of them were fascinating. I have posted a few examples below:
Umbrellas Viewed From Above (late Meiji era)
Boats at Sunset (late Meiji era)
Advancing Soldiers Viewed From Above (late Meiji era)