Friday, June 12, 2009

Pop Culture Roundup

I started reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle this week, on the recommendation of Scott at Nachfolge. The short short explanation is that this is Hamlet set in rural Wisconsin. The slightly longer version is we meet Edgar, the son of a farmer who has condition rendering him mute. His best friend is a dog named Almondine. We get some background on his parents and the dog-breeding business they keep.  And then Edgar's shady uncle Claude returns from overseas.  I've yet to reach the meat of the story (it's 500 pages or so), but Wroblewski paints vivid word pictures without being overindulgent. The Amazon reviews for this are all over the place, so I'll be interested to get deeper into the story and see for myself.

We watched Bolt this week, about a dog who stars in a TV show of same name and whose handlers make it a point to keep him believing that everything that happens on the show is real. This, the producer explains at one point, will produce more genuine emotion during filming. This works until the fateful day when Bolt gets loose and embarks on an Incredible Journey across the country with a jaded stray cat and a slightly insane hamster to get back to his owner. Along the way, he learns what it means to be a "typical dog:" playing with toys, sticking his head out the window of a moving vehicle, playing fetch, begging. It's a pretty cute movie. The hamster is my favorite part...he also believes that Bolt's show is real, and as the rabid fan aspiring to be the loyal sidekick, he has some of the best lines: "The impossible can become possible IF YOU'RE AWESOME!" Love it.

We also watched Underworld: Rise of the Lycans this week, the prequel to the other two Underworld movies. The basic gist of all three is there's been this war going on for centuries between elitist metrosexual vampires and animalistic blue-collar werewolves, and for some reason they use guns. But this prequel is set long before that, and tells the story of how the conflict started between head vampire Victor and original lycan Lucien: essentially, Lucien was Victor's slave, he starts messing around with Victor's daughter, Victor finds out and goes ballistic, Lucien leads his race in revolution. The Underworld franchise has never been my favorite, but this was a decent origins story for the series. Anyone who saw the original film pretty much knows how this one plays out even if they haven't seen it, but I suppose it's the journey that's important.

Hey, did you ever wonder if there's a lolcat translation of the Bible? Well, there is.

And you may or may not have heard that Jimmy Fallon has been trying to reunite the cast of Saved By the Bell in honor of the show's 20-year anniversary. Recently, Mark-Paul Gosselaar appeared on the show in full Zack Morris mode. It was actually pretty amusing. And it's a little eerie how little Gosselaar seems to have aged:

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