Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

"The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz centers around the sad life of Oscar DeLeon, an overweight Dominican nerd who loves science fiction, comic books, fantasy and girls, and the curse (fuku) which has touched the lives of his entire family, including his mother, Hypatia Belicia Cabral, his sister Lola, and his grandfather Abelard Luis Cabral. Poor Oscar is depressed, lonely, a virgin, and unfortunately seemingly unable to remedy the situation.

The story was funny and heartbreaking at times, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the use of Spanglish and Spanish throughout the book, I thought that given the fact that the title of the book is "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" that the story would've had a greater focus on Oscar. Instead, the story spreads itself kind of thin by covering everyone in the family, giving you enough information to care about everyone, but love no one. Another feature which limits the reader's connection with Oscar is the fact that the story is narrated by different people at different times, mostly by Yunior, Oscar's best friend, so you never get a good insight as to Oscar's thoughts and feelings through the more pivotal points in the story. Despite those complaints and the bittersweet ending, which doesn't come as a surprise given the title of the book, I enjoyed the story. It wasn't a can't put down page turner for me, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Dark Knight's Redemption

I saw "Batman Begins" back in 2005 and thought that director Chris Nolan did a great job in making the movie more than the typical superhero movie, it was dark, serious and compelling compared to the usual campy fun of previous Batmans, so I was looking forward to seeing "The Dark Knight" especially given Heath Ledger's role in the movie, and his subsequent tragic death. Well, I finally saw the movie last weekend and the movie was great--but all thanks to Heath Ledger. Heath redeems what would have been a bland, too long movie by giving a tour de force performance. Every scene that he's not in pales by comparison to the vibrant energy that leaps off the screen when he's on.

I had been curious to see if all the internet buzz and praise heaped on Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker was true, and let me tell you, yes, every word of praise is more than merited. Heath was phenomenal. While I can't say that Heath deserves to win the Oscar without knowing who his competition might be, he definitely earned a nomination at the very least. Where Nicholson's Joker was comical and campy, Heath's Joker is dark, maniacal, and almost frightening. The biggest compliment I could pay him is to say that in parts he is unrecognizable as himself, and not just because of the makeup.

Heath makes the movie worth the $10 ticket and the 2 plus hours of duration. If you haven't seen the movie, see it, you'll be seeing one of the greatest performances on film.

Longing for Autumn

Hi all, sorry I haven't been posting lately but I have a bit of the summer blues. To be honest, I'm sooo over summer. I'm anxiously anticipating Autumn and everything that comes with it, like cool crisp sweatshirt-wearing weather, new episodes of all my favorite TV shows (House, Heroes, and Chuck, to name a few), the Emmy Awards, smart movies at the theater - you know the "Oscar-worthy" material that they save until everyone gets their fill of the blow em' up, shoot 'em up summer blockbusters, and last but not! I always enjoy football, but even more so now that my Jets went and got a future first round hall of famer by the name of Brett Favre as our quarterback. I'm thrilled to say that I had purchased tickets to see the pre-season Jets vs. Giants game before Brett was even a possibility, so I'll be seeing number "4" play right in front of my very eyes very soon.

Enjoy what's left of summer. For now, I'll let dreams of my Jets in the playoffs (hey, anything is possible) help see me through the rest of August.