Friday, March 19, 2010

Movie: Thank You For Smoking (2005)

Nick Naylor is a fast-talking advocate of the devil. He is the guy that endorses cigarette smoking on behalf of the tabacco industry. He knows perfectly well what he is doing and lives his life by constructing arguments and almost believes them. He goes out on a night with the advocates of alcohol and guns. He also has a son.

So the big question: how to be a good and honest dad while every day he walks a very very fine line between morals? He always twists the truth just the way he likes to, except with his son. Only in their interaction we see a glimpse of Naylor’s true self. But Naylor is transforming his son, to make him understand his dad’s world. His son is his only friend. But can Naylor continue down that path? This is no drama though, it is a comedy, filled with wacky characters.

Director Reitman’s filming is as flashing and fast-paced as Naylor’s talking, and he assembled a great cast of actors that give stellar performances! In short, this is a smart and funny movie.

IMDB: Thank You For Smoking

Monday, March 8, 2010

Book: Douglas Adams - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (1987)

As far as I know, this is the only Science Fiction Mystery Detective Comedy ever written. A unique artistic project. Douglas Adams was also the writer of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and if you like that, you will probably like this lesser known work as well.

Douglas Adams is like a loose cannon that drills itself all the way through the most diverse subjects, and then injects all his newfound interests into his stories. While he was working on Dirk Gently, he was, for instance, completely fascinated by computers (which was a wholly new thing back then) and he enthusiastically added some computer talk here and there. Among other things and other things (and other things). But that is the whole point of Adams’ novel: the “interconnectedness” of everything. It is unsurprisingly also the very belief of his esoteric detective Gently. And so Adams created a free pass for himself to drag the wildest things together and fuse them into a novel like a master smith. Wildly different storylines about telephone recorders, a misplaced sofa and electric monks start to fit only at the end like a jigsaw puzzle, and Dirk Gently, master of the interconnectedness, once again solved the case.

As a result, Adams’ novel does not feel like the kind of novel that has been worked on for a decade to perfect, but more like a recording of Adams’ interests at the time. The whole interconnectedness theme sounds a bit as an excuse for Adams to talk about what holds his mind. What saves this book is, off course, Adams sense of humor. Adams is a very intelligent man with a power over words, and likewise his British silliness is intelligent and witty.

Tall. Tall and absurdly thin. And good-natured. A bit like a preying mantis that doesn’t prey -- a non-preying mantis if you like. A sort of pleasant genial mantis that’s given up preying and taken up tennis instead.