So: I saw two movies last week--300, obviously, and I pretty much started laughing when Marching Flute Guy showed up and didn't stop from there. If there had been any doubt, the Guitars of War pretty much sealed my fate. I totally want this on DVD and spent my week in the Comedy Mines listening to the soundtrack. I feel like the Fifteen Minutes turned out pretty well--it actually beats Van Helsing by about 100 words in terms of Shortest Parody Ever, although... well, if you've seen the movie, you'll understand how it's a pound of plot in a ten-pound sack. Still, I worked pretty hard at tightening it as much as possible, if only as practice for the second book (which I hope will have shorter parodies--but more of them), so 2300ish words is like beating the four-minute mile for me.
The other one I saw was The Namesake, which people have been raving about, and even the Lovely Emily gave two thumbs up to the book. I don't know if I was just tired out of my skull or feeling contrary or what, but I went into this one daring it to impress me (and then feeling bad for being so negative from the word go). Part of it might have been that the trailer gave me the idea that it was about A Young Man on a Journey to Learn the Truth Behind His Name, and the entire movie unfolded in my mind and I was already exasperated without even having seen it. (Anything where I can pretty much imagine exactly how it's going to turn out annoys me, which is why I don't really dig the rom-com genre.) Fortunately, the movie was actually a lot more--a lot more--about Gogol/Nick's first-generation immigrant family and Indian culture in general; I'm not sure that Kal Penn was even in the first half hour of the movie. Maybe this is just Mira Nair's feminist sensibility shining through, but I actually feel like the movie is far more about Ashima, the mother, than "the namesake," the boy carrying the name, or the father who gave it to him; it begins and ends with her. Basically, Nair steps back and lets a number of vignettes unfold without pushing an obvious plotline or moral, which is probably the best aspect of the movie--it gives the film an expansive, universal quality where Gogol's family feels like your family, not characters in a movie.
April 23, 2007 is International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day! Have you heard about this? One of the Grand Poobahs at the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) has decided that, in his opinion, professional writer who posts his/her work online free of charge is a "webscab" (leading to the question, "Who's on strike, exactly?") and, moreover, a "pixel-stained technopeasant." Many technopeasants, myself included, claimed that title (rather gleefully) for our own. So papersky's idea is to have next Monday be, in essence, Give Your Work Away Free Day:
On this day, everyone who wants to should give away professional quality work online. It doesn't matter if it's a novel, a story or a poem, it doesn't matter if it's already been published or if it hasn't, the point is it should be disseminated online to celebrate our technopeasanthood.What I find so boggling about this whole brouhaha is that I owe my published book to giving out my work free of charge--as you may recall, I got my book deal in the first place because an editor saw "Troy in Fifteen Minutes" online. The only logic I can wring from the SFWA VP's rant is a fear that because we're giving away our work, no one's buying his:
I'm also opposed to the increasing presence in our organization of webscabs, who post their creations on the net for free. A scab is someone who works for less than union wages or on non-union terms; more broadly, a scab is someone who feathers his own nest and advances his own career by undercutting the efforts of his fellow workers to gain better pay and working conditions for all. Webscabs claim they're just posting their books for free in an attempt to market and publicize them, but to my mind they're undercutting those of us who aren't giving it away for free and are trying to get publishers to pay a better wage for our hard work.The reason I find this to be such a bizarre piece of reasoning is that I'm pretty sure that no one has bought my book without reading some of my work first, whether that means the buyer already knew my online work or simply started reading the book in the store while browsing. I don't have any empirical data to back this up, but I would be willing to bet that absolutely no one bought the book without any idea of what it was about, what my writing was like, or from simply seeing it on Amazon UK--a point which becomes important as more and more people buy their books online. I have been known to buy books sight unseen because I'd heard how good they were, but how did people know to tell me they were good? From reading them. How did they decide to read them? Well, isn't where we came in? I suppose professional reviewers get copies--free copies, aren't they? Maybe those don't count because they're not offered to the public at large. I don't know--I can see how putting your work out there might hurt your own sales ("I don't need to buy her book; I'll just read the online, unpublished parodies"), but I don't see how it hurts someone else's.
Long story short, I'm going to be posting something on Monday. It'll either be something I already have on hand--fiction, nonfiction, poetry, something like that--but if the Comedy Mines are fruitful this week, it might be something new.
Linkspam: "Too dependent," I said. It's a weakness, what can I say.
At least 33 dead in rampage on Virginia campus; 26 others at Virginia Tech wounded in worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Pulitzers: The Birmingham News got one, because Alabama is, in fact, the center of the universe. Meanwhile, Cormac McCarthy's The Road wins for fiction.
Women make up majority of internet users in the U.S. Which I find amusing, in light of how many guys on more masculine forums seem to think that women aren't online at all.
Winners of the Marshmallow Peep Diorama Contest.
"Best photo of Knut EVAR!!!1!"
From screenwriter John August (Go, Big Fish, Corpse Bride): How to introduce a character.
Edward Norton to be the next Incredible Hulk? It's such a bizarre piece of casting that it may actually circle back around into brilliance, I don't know.
Raimi Open to Helming Hobbit. I still can't wrap my mind around this one.
John Rhys-Davies (aka Sallah) Written Out of 'Indy 4,' Source Says. Meanwhile, Will Shia LaBeouf help or hurt 'Indiana Jones'?
Clive Owen is The International.
Michael Gambon and Emma Thompson to play Marchmains in Brideshead Revisited remake.
CLASH OF THE TITANS REMAKE YAY! I was just thinking the other day that they should totally remake this one, because 1) it's not like they could make it any worse and 2) cheese like that should be shared with many, many generations of actors.
'Harry Potter' Movie Shortened to Avoid 'Grindhouse' Failure? Because I'm sure both movies would face exactly the same problems.
Universal Studios Florida Building 'Harry Potter Theme Park,' Source Says. Okay, speaking of things thought the other day, Sister Girl and I were discussing this precise concept on Sunday. SOMEONE IS CLEARLY INVADING MY THOUGHTS.
New Harry Potter 5 Photo; New High Res OotP Photos.
Anthony Hopkins to costar in The Wolfman? Well, I guess if he can play Zorro, he can play Benicio Del Toro's father...
Weisz Ditches Mummy 3?
Lena Headey as Sarah Connor. Dammit, now I'll have to watch this! I've pretty much been following her around since Brothers Grimm, and 300 didn't do anything to change that.
Orlando Bloom to [Co] Star in Superman Sequel?
Roman Polanski Seeking 'A-List Hollywood Star' For 'Pompeii.'
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay Star in Disturbing Short Film, 'The Landlord.'
trailer_spot: Atonement; hour-long Children of Men interview with Alfonso Cuarón.
Hanks, Howard Back for Angels & Demons. Which makes it official: The Da Vinci Code is going in the Series & Sequels M15M book.