Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hours You Can't Get Back

We've all spent time doing things that, when we've finished, we say, "Well, there's time I've spent that I can't get back." Three such occasions came along for me this week...

I started reading Kathy Reichs' "Bones" books because I enjoy the tv series. Other than Temperance Brennan herself, however, there is not much in common between the novels. If you are looking for Booth, the Jeffersonian, and that array of characters in print, you'd best seek out Max Allan Collins' Bones: Buried Deep because none of them appear in any of Reichs' novels.

Like Reichs herself, the Tempe Brennan of the novels works both in North Carolina and Montreal, and the books pretty much alternate between the two locales. Some of the books are more entertaining than others, but one thing that is fairly consistent is that at some point during the investigation, Brennan will do something incredibly stupid that puts her in danger. In one book, for example, she goes by herself to a cemetery in the middle of night to dig up a body, and, as I recall, nearly gets herself killed.

The most recent addition to the series, Bones Are Forever, starts with an interesting premise. A woman turns up at a hospital in Montreal, then disappears, and the search for her leads to the discovery of three mummified babies in her apartment. The trail leads across Canada, the plot becomes more and more convoluted, and Tempe, not surprisingly, manages to get herself into a ridiculous predicament. Conveniently for this threat, neither of the two police detectives she is working with answers his cell phone (for reasons that are not explained), but when they do finally try to return her calls, her phone is damaged because she has fallen into a koi pond!

It was at this point -- when I found myself saying "Oh, come on!" -- that I started skim-reading. Just as well because, as I said, the plot became convoluted and Tempe got herself into another fix that she should not have survived. Overall, a disappointing read.


On Thursday evening, Laurie and I went to see the play Grace, starring Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon, Ed Asner and Kate Arrington. While Laurie is much more a theater-goer than I, it was the chance to see Asner live that got me to go. (After all, the man is almost 83 years old; how many more chances will I get?)

Rudd and Arrington play a devoutly religious couple who have come to Florida to open the first in a chain to gospel-themed hotels. Shannon, who looked amazingly small and gaunt in comparison to the way he appears as the FBI agent on Boardwalk Empire, is their neighbor, who has been scarred, physically and emotionally by an accident that killed his fiancee. Asner, clad in shorts and carrying a spray gun, is an exterminator who comes to treat their apartments for insects.

Asner certainly seemed to be enjoying himself, despite the fact that the play didn't make that much sense. Unlike his fellow actors, who didn't seem to pay attention when the audience was laughing at a line and kept right on speaking their lines, he knew to pause until the laughter was not stepping on his lines.

The play is performed without an intermission, probably a good thing, because I suspect some of the audience would leave after the first act and not return. There would have been a good chance we would have been among them.


This evening, Laurie and I joined our friends Barbara and Benny to see "The Master," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jaoquin Phoenix. Well, if there was ever two and half hours I wish I had back, it was the time I spent watching this.

Despite glowing reviews in just about every newspaper and magazine, this has to be one of the worst movies I've ever spent my time on. When I got up to visit the men's room midway through, I wondered if the others would notice if I didn't come back for awhile because I went into a different theater to watch something else.

When the movie ended, a few people applauded. Said one woman who clapped, "I was applauding because it was finally over!" Not only did the four of us agree on how much we didn't like the film, I have never walked out of a theater and heard so many people saying the same thing. It was almost as if there was some comfort in sharing with everyone else the idea that we had all be snookered into coming to see this incredible piece of poop!

It's a good thing they don't do exit polls at movie theaters!

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