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October 26, 2005

Completion Fetish

Last night witnessed a confluence of media consumption wherein I wrapped up a number of things I'd been trying to finish. These include:

  • Jarhead by Anthony Swofford: The previews looked pretty good for the upcoming film, but I got excited when I read the recent Harper's article about the movie/book.

    After reading the article, I realized, among other things, that the film's being directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty), edited by Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now) and filmed by Roger Deakins (everything good, ever). Plus, I totally didn't realize that Swofford's book was the basis for the movie - despite, you know, being titled the same thing and having written about it 2 1/2 years ago.

    I read one review of the book that said Swofford "seemed incapable of writing an uninteresting sentence." Seems about right.

  • The Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson: My local bookstore had a tag in this that read "This is the best thing ever. Don't read the back cover, just read it." So I did and it was mighty good. It's a narrative told in verse about characters from a Greek myth but set in modern times. And they're gay. One of them's also a dragon-type deal.

    Anyway, it's another in a series of books I've read recently where I have no idea what the heck is really going on but somehow it resonates (Wittgenstein's Mistress, I'm looking at you). Plus, I think I read an interview with Dose One where he said that he digs on Anne Carson's poetry. There are definite similarities.

  • The Civil War by Ken Burns: I started this approximately one year ago and just never got around to watching the fifth and final disk. Despite my love of trivia, I still feel that my factual knowledge of the Civil War is a bit hazy. It kinda all runs together after a while. Incomprehensible loss of life. Sad letters home. That same damn song played over and over again.

    I had a friend who, after having his wisdom teeth removed, dosed himself up on Percocet and watched the entire Civil War documentary in one sitting. Seems like that might be the best way to experience it.

  • Shadow of the Colossus by SCEA: The much-hyped, much-anticipated non-sequel sequel to Ico. And it truly is an amazing-looking game. A great last-generation console title for the PS2. The fact that they manage to pull off a story without telling one is certainly a remarkable achievement. And, of course, the scale of the colossi is superhot.

    Overall, though I don't think it's as strong a game as Ico. There are a number of play control issues including oft-mentioned camera problems. The last boss is amazing, but I nearly threw my controller through the screen trying to get the near-blind platforming right.

    Anyway, I hope it will serve as great inspiration for some next-gen console titles.

Four things finished in one night! Two books read on the bus ride home from work and a couple hours at home for the Civil War and Colossus.

I am now out of new media and my Netflix queue is basically empty of things I actually want to see. I mean, I was most recently watching Pennebaker's behind the scenes of the cast album for Sondheim's Company.

And now I've got "Ladies who Lunch" stuck in my head. That's no good for anyone.

7 comments:

Chris Wetherell said...

Yessir, love "The Ladies Who Lunch" the classic Sondheim song that shouldn't ever be attempted by anyone who's name isn't Elaine Stritch. Seriously if one finds themself near a piano, an arrangement of Company, and a desire to sing through a martini ala Joanne they should just Not. Do. It.

Unless of course "they" equals "Elaine Stritch."

Chester said...

When I think "Civil War", I pretty much immediately think "hardtack". That and I also get the mental image of a really slovenly-drunk U.S. Grant.

And, of course, that god-damned song.

dgcopter said...

For the record, that song is called "Ashokan Farewell". Which I only know because I'm pretty sure I played it in elementary/junior high school.

Although, that may not be the song you mean...is the one you're talking about a violin solo?

Jason Goldman said...

"Ashokan Farewell" - that's the one. It would haunt my dreams if not for the fact I've got some half-assed medley of "Ladies of Who Lunch" / "Another Hundred People" runnng through my head.

Funnily, I got introduced to Sondheim through a cassette called "Barbra Streisand does Sondheim" ... or something. So I'll always think of Babs for the definitive versions of "Ladies who Lunch" and "Putting it Together."

Mom said...

I believe it was "The Broadway Album."

Jason Goldman said...

Yes! Good one, Mom.

That album contains 12 tracks, 7 of which were penned by Sondheim so I still think a better title would have been "Barbra does Sondheim and Others (from the back)."

Interestingly, the verion of "Ladies who Lunch" is a medley with "Pretty Women" from Sweeny Todd. That's quite the musical sammich there.

accomplice said...

So when are you going to go see the movie?