Investigating how hit TV shows of the past 20 years hold up, or don’t, in our current small-screen landscape.
Clothed in heavy armour, bleached hair slicked-back and jaw steeled for battle, Sasha Kaidanovsky climbs into a Russian Jaeger, massive fighting robots controlled by humans, and neurally linked with her co-pilot, does her part to help save humanity from the Kaiju sea creatures in Guillermo del Toro‘s sci-fi/adventure action flick Pacific Rim.
This is one tough chick who commands respect, if incites a fair amount of fear, and has the muscle to prove it; muscle that required Vancouver actress Heather Doerksen to step into the gym for only the second time in her life.
Page 742, of 1079, of which, starting from page 983, are end notes labelled Notes and Errata.
I started reading David Foster Wallace’s opus in December, it’s late July, as an ill-fated attempt to start the world’s smallest book club with my boyfriend, who devoured it months ago. And I march on, undeterred. Okay, a little deterred.
Do I like it? Am I enjoying it? Is it really good? I get asked when someone notices the purplish-blue and yellow dictionary-sized book at my desk, under my arm or in my hands as I read on the subway. But given its back-and-forth structure, depth, length, creative wordplay (as in, he makes words up and throws in regional French here and there) and interweaving, minutely-detailed stories, not to mention the laborious end notes, which themselves sometimes go on for pages, enjoy isn’t quite the right word.
I can see its genius – yes genius – and plod on because I appreciate that it requires such active participation. Story lines that seemed superfluous and frayed 300 pages back are starting to be tethered to something resembling a narrative and there are fits of just mesmerizing storytelling and some eerily prophetic notions about our relationship to technology. But it’s work, let me tell you.
I’ve never really entertained the idea of abandoning it because I’m hoping that by page 1079, I’ll have that satisfying moment where I can see how the pieces fit together and GET IT. But it’s more likely the dearly departed Wallace will not make it that easy for me; he’s much too clever. I found it more than a little heartening when I discovered only yesterday that it took him five years to write this massive novel. My sluggish pace is about right then.
And the winking nod that is the title itself isn’t lost on me. I have considered that the novel, and getting people to read it, nevermind heap praise on it and eventually write university papers about its numerous themes or say use it as inspiration for a music video like The Decemberists or fake law firm names like “Parks and Recreation,” might be Wallace’s own immaculately rendered infinite jest. I’d like to think I’m in on the joke but then I’m sure everyone who’s read it would.
I really do want to finish it before the end of the summer and move on to something that, while nowhere near a beach read (I abhor the term and idea behind it), isn’t a literary albatross.
It’s certainly a book whose completion will feel more like an accomplishment than maybe anything else I’ve read by choice. It’s not for a grade and, now, not even for post-reading discussion; it’s just for me. Don’t tell me how it ends.
About a third of the way through Wes Anderson’s ’60s-set, lemon-hued look at young love and endless summers, Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) takes an inventory of the items she brought when she ran away from home with paramour and fellow escapee Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman).
Among the varied personal effects in her survival kit are a selection of fantasy books, her record player, a Françoise Hardy album or two, rubber bands, left-handed scissors and her kitten.
It’s fair to say that no one expected to see Cobie Smulders (the Canadian “How I Met Your Mother” knockout) and indie fixture Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right, Zodiac) in a summer blockbuster about the Earth’s mightiest heroes joining forces to save the planet but after watching The Avengers, you’d be hard-pressed to think of actors who may have pulled off bad-ass S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill and Bruce Banner/The Hulk any better than them.
Writer-director Joss Whedon’s ensemble epic is positively bursting with A-listers who’ve already had a chance to try on their superhero costumes in other movies from the Marvel universe (Thor, Captain America, Iron Man), putting Smulders and Ruffalo in a unique position where they had to both prove themselves to the rampant fanbase and had the room to explore and redefine these characters.