Monday, November 05, 2007

Miscellaneous: The October Stuff-I-Didn’t-Get-To Post

The Shotgun Rule, by Charlie Huston (2007). Stephen King blurbed this book, calling it “Stand by Me on dexedrine.” If he hadn’t made the comparison, I would have. Four teenage boys growing up in the ‘burbs of Northern California in 1983 decide to stick up for one of their own and recover a stolen bicycle from some local hoodlums. They also swipe a bag of crank from the hoods’ drug lab, a spur-of-the-moment act that unleashes forces they’re not quite old enough to understand. The book doesn’t match the hell-for-leather pacing of Huston’s brilliant Hank Thompson trilogy. But it gets the details of those years at the tail end of adolescence right – including the shocking realization that not only were your parents young once, but they’re still feeling their way along, too.

Year of the Dog (2007). A fascinating, off-beat comedy. Molly Shannon stars as the kind of woman who seems to exist in every office: friendly, a bit creepy, truly awful taste in sweaters. Then her pet dog dies, a small tragedy that expands the horizons of her life in unexpected ways. Featuring wicked supporting turns from Laura Dern and Peter Sarsgaard, and a script by Mike White that’s one of the best of the year.

TV: Viewing Tip

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was well before my time. I know the series is much-loved among espionage fans, and thought the upcoming DVD release would be a chance to check it out.

As it happens, Tuesday, November 6 is U.N.C.L.E. day on Turner Classic Movies. Eight two-part episodes of the show were edited into feature films, and TCM will air all of them beginning at 6AM Eastern.