Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Classics Are Rubbish Too

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  • Hadyn Green,

    Lord of the Rings sucks ass.

    Phew, that felt good.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    OK, dirty secret time. Was feeling particularly shitty on Saturday morning -- holiday weekend bad time to be replacing your driver's license and had to spring for a pricey eye test. So, that afternoon Better Half and I went to see Wall*E -- and fuck me if it's not the best movie I've seen this year.

    Yes, it's a teeny tad preachy but that's much easier to forgive when it's surrounded by some very smart people who've created a beautiful film with intelligence, grace, heart and tempered with just a hint of melancholy. Nummy.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Oh, and there were two points where I leaked in an unmanly manner. Bite me.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    I'm very pissed I missed Wall*E, but my vote for worst film is John Carpenter's Vampires. Why would you put your name on something that bad?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Here's a hint: when your movie is two hours long and you can remove an hour without losing a line of dialogue, you're doing something wrong.

    Whoah, that's so wrong for so many reasons, the latest of which has to be Wall-E.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    What the Dickens?

    Couldn't get on with his stories at all. Turgid crap for the most part. Yes, young Twist, I'm talking about you!

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 557 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    I've found the problem

    Ploughing my way through an English degree I've read many the classics

    If you have to read it then it won't be fun. There is nothing wrong with Robinson Crusoe that a good editing wouldn't fix e.g. Crusoe swims naked to the wreck then fills his pockets with biscuits.

    On LOTR, didn't C.S. Lewis say something on the line of "Oh god, not another f*cking elf!"?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Whoah, that's so wrong for so many reasons, the latest of which has to be Wall-E.

    I knew when I wrote that I was going to Get Letters. Because of course it isn't true, it's a huge generalisation. It was just, y'know, you just crashed a truck into a helicopter and I am bored shitless.

    Lord of the Rings sucks ass.

    Phew, that felt good.

    That's it, let it all out. Also, does it what.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    If you have to read it then it won't be fun.

    Au contraire. I loved some of the stuff I was forced to read. Even the really heavy Victorian essays had some interest. I think the main problem with Robinson Crusoe was that it was shite.

    Crusoe swims naked to the wreck then fills his pockets with biscuits

    then yells 'Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker' and shoots all the cannibals. This cross-over idea is growing on me.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    Hey, you started generalising in the first place

    Pride and Extreme Prejudice?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Crusoe swims naked to the wreck then fills his pockets with biscuits

    I thought everyone had those "secret pockets"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    A review I saw somewhere somewhere (Robert Anton Wilson?) of a series of condensed classics, removing the things everyone complains about - the example was the endless minutiae on whaling in Moby Dick. And apparently they did a jolly good job, but the result was a rather ordinary sort of modern book.

    Another example might be the random if enthusiastic discourse on parisian architecture in the middle of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I think it was Victor Hugo that, I was told, made his maid take his clothes away until he'd written a certain number of pages.

    Anyway, the argument was the idiosyncrasies of the author are part of the classic-ness.

    I'm currently having a look at someone's translation (without notes) of Gargantua and Pantagreul. Basically out of interest in it as a museum piece. Has its moments, but you for sure wouldn't want to do it for fun.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1094 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I think it was Victor Hugo that, I was told, made his maid take his clothes away until he'd written a certain number of pages.

    Sounds like a fun game. Not sure how productive it would be, but I am willing to give it a try. Now, I'll just need to get me a maid...

    Another example might be the random if enthusiastic discourse on parisian architecture in the middle of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

    I could certainly have done without all the detailing of Russian farming techniques in Anna Karenina.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Jules Verne. Sorry, 20,000 leagues under the sea is dull dull dull. I'm much more fond of Journey to the Centre of the Earth, but I wouldn't want to be stuck on a desert island with it.

    Greatest books ever written are (in their entielty) the Flashman novels. sue me.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 557 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Pride and Extreme Prejudice?

    I'm sure Andrew Davies is working on the script. Against my better judgement, I watched his (depressingly typically) "sexed up" Room with a View on Sunday. Don't recall the textual authority for Rev. Bebe cruising the back alleys of Florence for foreign rough trade, but I find E.M. Forster such a grossly over-rated and pretentious snob I might have blacked out during that bit.

    Which is a nice segue to:

    Imagine, for instance, that you're watching one of those very pretty Merchant-Ivory films, looking perhaps at long lingering shots of Venice with a slow score drifting along underneath, and you're just starting to think 'alright, nice scenery, but shouldn't something happen soon?'.

    Nope -- I just wish everyone would STFU and piss off so I could get a proper look at the sets, which are generally the most expressive part of any M-I production. Ditto for both versions of Brideshead Revisited -- which is the only Evelyn Waugh novel I don't, and almost physically can't, re-read at least once every eighteen months or so. Ryder is a prickish suck-up; we're constantly told but never convinced how fascinating the dipso faggot and feckless flapper Marchmain spawn are (and what a monster of pious malevolence Lady Marchmain) are; and the purple religiosity is just nauseating.

    Every great writer gets a pass to write a couple of really, really shitty books. But Brideshead Revisited is really pushing it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    "Primary Colours" by Joe Klein is possibly one of the dullest books ever written. The author was supposed to have remained anonymous because he was sharing secrets of the press room, but I would have thought it was more from a desire not to be associated with literary anaesthesia.

    I also thought that the Da Vinci Code was a perfectly good read for an airplane trip (and a reasonable film) and don't understand how people got all worked up coz it wasn't a historically true documentary. Most novels aren't.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4362 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    Don't mention the Da Vinci Code

    The only reason I finished this (and yes it did get thrown across the room with a cry of "For fucks sake!") was to see if there was going to be an evil twin. It was the only hackneyed plot device in the history of the english language that was missed.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    20,000 leagues under the sea is dull dull dull

    Agreed. Though I love me some HG Wells

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    anything by philip k dick.

    i've more than once thought that anything that speed-addled lunatic came up with would have been better written by absolutely anyone else at all.

    and usually has.

    and... i *liked* LOTR, bitches. but, i was 11.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    PS. I made you a list of the stuff i read since feb 07.

    i really need to pick up the pace a bit though.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Don't mention the Da Vinci Code

    The only book I ever read where a stranger has come up to me and said "that's a great book, you'll really enjoy it" because they saw me reading it.

    The only reason I finished this ... was to see if there was going to be an evil twin.

    For me that would've saved the book: "...so it turns out Jesus had an evil twin..."

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    "...so it turns out Jesus had an evil twin..."

    You could start your own cult based on this

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • John Fouhy,

    At the risk of exposing poor taste: I read _The Redemption of Athalus_ by David Eddings. Summary: In a series of battles (over 800 pages or so) of Good vs Evil, Good wins every time without much effort while having smug "amusing" conversations with each other. First clear proof to me that you need Bad Stuff for a novel to be interesting.

    Also: Book-a-minute: the classics, ultra-condensed.

    And: The Eye of Argon: Worst fantasy short story ever. Conventions hold reading competitions: you have to see how far you can get before you start laughing..

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    And: The Eye of Argon: Worst fantasy short story ever. Conventions hold reading competitions: you have to see how far you can get before you start laughing..

    I got to here:

    "Only after you have kissed the fleeting stead of death, wretch!" returned Grignr.

    One year a friend gave me a copy of Rogue, by Fabio. We had a competition to see who could get the furtherest through it without

    a)hurling it across the room
    b)hurling

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Irvine,

    Has anyone tried Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace? I piked out at about 560 pages (of just over 1K). It's... kind of brilliant but yeah, really heavy on the seemingly irrelevant.

    DFW died recently and I got it out again in a feeble kind of tribute. Didn't get much further, though. I'll wait until I'm on a boring holiday or in jail before I have another crack.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 241 posts Report Reply

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