Thursday, May 26, 2005

As far as I can tell there are no nice round-numbered anniversaries at play here, and the man's still living, so evidently the editors of Bookforum decided to pay tribute to America's best living reclusive author just for the hell of it. (The print issue feature of cover photograph of Professor Irwin Corey, of course. )
The whole thing is well worth your time, but the real highlight, and the centerpiece of the whole issue, is Gerald Howard's account of the publishing history of "Gravity's Rainbow", written from the perspective of a professional editor. There's much to enjoy here, though not in the way of gossip or candid photos.
But is Pynchon really all that reclusive? I sometimes suspect that the Salingeresque reputation is exaggerated: Just because you don't show up on "Entertainment Tonight" doesn't make you a hermit. Given recent reports - there were even rumors of a book tour to promote "Mason & Dixon' - I'd like to think that Pynchon has developed a sense of humor about his so-called reclusiveness after all these years. If he ever decides to drop his vow of no-publicity, I hope he bypasses the usual talk shows and makes his first public appearance on "The Simpsons".

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


If anyone's interested, you can find my review of The Longest Yard here.(They use frames, so you'll have to look around for it...)
My interview with documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles won't be hitting print until next Friday, but due to a misunderstanding of some sort, it's already online here and here.
Meanwhile, lists of the "greatest films of all time" have made a sudden resurgence.I suppose it was about time. It's been ten years since the American Film Institute released their all too predictable list of the "100 Greatest American Films", so Time Magazine's Richard Corliss and Richard Schickel have stepped in with their choices here. I respect both Corliss and Schickel, but, as they more or less admit, list-making is just a parlor game.
The New York Times, not to be outdone, has come up with their own list, only ten times as long, here.
Yes, I could quibble about the fact that their list of 100 titles doesn't duplicate my hypothetical list of 100 titles, but that, as Corliss and Schickel argue, is part of the appeal. So all I can really say is that if you're the sort of person who enjoys this kind of thing, then this is the kind of thing you will enjoy.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A great disturbance in the Force...

No, I haven't seen Revenge of the Sith yet, though I imagine that I'll get around to it eventually. (Actually, I haven't seen Attack of the Clones either; I tried watching it on tv about a year ago but found it unbearable.) But in keeping with the spirit of every other media source, here are a few Star Wars items online worth the wasting a minute or two:

First, there's Store Wars. Yes, I know there's really nothing here that wasn't done over twenty-five years ago by Hardware Wars, but I laughed anyway. Especially at the organic version of R2-D2.
(Hardware Wars isn't online, but you can see an excerpt here.)

Meanwhile, the folks at MoveOn have created a fairly good Star Wars parody of their own to challenge the current Senate showdown.

And then there's the new collection of Star Wars toys at Burger King. Check out the demos at their website, especially the spitting Jabba the Hutt, the wind-up Han Solo and - this one really shouldn't be missed - the Princess Leia Image Viewer.

A few changes to my network may make it possible for me to post more often - okay, I don't believe it either, but humor me, okay?. Anyway, you can find my recent reviews of Days of Being Wild and Mondovino here at Playback, but you'll have to look around for them. I'll have a few more links to some other recent pieces soon.