A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Bernadette Baker, half of the top team behind the literary agency, Baker's Mark, that represents me, speaks to the Guide to Literary Agents website. According to this, apparently, I'm amazing. Well, when teamed with Joëlle. I'm willing to concede when it comes to me on my own, I am pretty underwhelming.*

Just ask this father who sent me a fan letter after reading my review of Speed Racer:

Wow did you miss the point of the film. This film was a tribute to the series and an almost perfect family film. I watched Speed as a boy, bought the DVDs for my kids years ago. Took my kids now 10 and 15 year old girls, and we loved it.

Sorry if your looking for realistic car racing check out Grand Prix. If you looking for mindless fun, eye candy that keeps you chomping at your popcorn than Speed Racer is for you. Also, bring plenty of candy.

I think it's funny that he sort of missed the point of my review, since I think I make it quite clear that I understood what the film was trying to do. It's a fairly common defense. "It's supposed to be mindless fun!" Yes, and it wasn't fun. Mindless, I'll give you, but not fun. Also, "realistic" and "believable" are two different things. I wasn't looking for the former, but I kind of need the latter.

Another pet peeve about people responding to negative reviews I write: beginning the conversation with "Was it really that bad?" Like, what? I'm playing a prank? I was amazed by how many people got argumentative with me about the movie before they had even seen it. Some folks took it really personal, like me telling them the movie was a stinker was an affront to everything they held dear. They, too, would explain to me what the letter writer explained to me, about what I should have expected from the movie. Because, in addition to their very lives depending on Speed Racer being a quality piece of cinema, it turns out that the overall mission of the Wachowski Bros. was one of such subtle cunning, it could shoot right by you if you weren't paying attention.

Ay yi yi.

Then again, not everyone is delusional. A fellow named James wrote to me about my Speed Racer review just to say: "That was the best opening sentence of any review I have ever read." Gracias, James!

Indiana Jones by J. Scott Campbell, nicked from Fetishbuffet's deviantArt gallery

This is all actually starting to make me worry about what Indiana Jones fans are going to be like. Let's hope the new movie is good, and then I won't have any cause for concern. I haven't watched the originals in years, so yesterday I sat down and watched Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom back to back. Doom is the first movie I remember waiting in line for. I guess I was about 12, and myself and a friend from school and his older brother went on opening night, and the people in line in front of us literally bought the last tickets for the showing. They stepped away from the box office, we stepped up, and the guy said, "Sorry, sold out." We ended up buying tickets for the next show, and then we sat on the sidewalk in front of the theatre and waited two hours for it to start, a line of eager moviegoers forming behind us.

Too bad the movie hasn't aged all that well. It's not horrible, but it's strangely dull and maybe just a tad overcooked. The stuff with Short Round is pretty funny, but Kate Capshaw is shrill and obnoxious. What a difference a couple of decades makes. In my head, Capshaw was the hot lady in the Indy franchise, and Karen Allen not so much. How did I have it so backwards?

I hope Spielberg screened Raiders of the Lost Ark before stepping onto the set of the Crystal Skull, because that film represents everything the franchise should be. I would actually submit that Raiders represents perfect storytelling. From that amazing opening ten minutes in the Amazon jungle, designed to get your blood pumping while also giving you everything you need to know about the character, all the way to the famous sucker-punch ending, there is an elegance to the construction that should be the high standard for adventure films. Part of the problem with Temple of Doom (and, for that matter, Speed Racer) is that there are too many ideas and too much showing off. Keep it simple, guys. Simple.

* Yes, Bernadette. I know you didn't say this. What you said doesn't even imply this. I know! It's a joke!

Current Soundtrack: Primal Scream, b-sides for "Dolls" and "Country Girl," Riot City Blues album

Current Mood: irritated

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All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich


Jennifer deG said...

We watched Raiders last night, too! The character development is so effortless. What fun, and not "mindless," either.

I hate when people say that, too.

Chynna Clugston Flores said...

Oh, Indy! How I love him.

And yeah, Kate Capshaw makes me want to hit things when I see her in Temple of Doom. Totally irritating.

Jamie S. Rich said...

At 12, I think "blonde with cleavage" was enough to make me ignore how annoying Capshaw was.

Thank God I'm so much more grown-up now! *cough cough*

Gia said...

I don't think you've changed much.

I never liked Doom. Even as a kid. I argued that it was the suck movie of the three as recently as lst week.

Doom is the suck.

also my "word verification" to post this is "gzjsm." Is that some internet variant?