peteg's blog

The Big Knife

/noise/movies | Link

As full of zingers as a Howard Hawks, and it seems quite amazing that something so scathing and ultimately nihilistic got made by Hollywood. Rod Steiger is awesome, in the full on mode that Brando and Pacino brought to the Godfathers. It's a shame he has so few scenes. Jack Palance gets loads of great lines. Not so much fun as trainwreck.

Smiley Coy: What's she doing here? [apropos Charlie's sort-of separated wife]
Charlie Castle: Cheap serf labor... I pay her by the lifetime.

Thomas Pynchon: The Crying of Lot 49

/noise/books | Link

A non-scifi suggestion from David S. Roman W. suggested I instead commence my Pynchon campaign with Bleeding Edge. Always late to the party, I hedged my bets by borrowing both from the Chicago Public Library, and went with the shorter. Pynchon is so of his time, and sometimes so obscure, that there's a wiki to help you trainspot his references. (I made no use of it however.) He may leave us hanging, unlike a bloke taking a Brody, but the wiki does not. Is this some kind of meditation on the American founding mythologies, or a precursor to Fear and Loathing in all its world-weary glory? (Like the latter it contains a fragment of the American Dream, before the squashing of the recreational drug culture got serious in the later 1960s.) I think the thing with Pynchon is that you don't have to choose. Just so long as you like shaggy dog stories, in this instance told from the perspective of competing postal services. Which makes me wonder what the Coen brothers would have made of Inherent Vice.

I was all set up to be let down by the ending, and wasn't.