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Author Archives: JDX

Hidalgo vs. Seabiscuit

Question: Why are people comparing these two movies? Answer: Because they both contain horse races. The way almost every single reviewer of Hidalgo mentions Seabiscuit makes me wonder if they’ve seen either film. Seabiscuit is a long, dull movie about a jockey, a trainer, and a horse owner who want to win horse races. The horse itself is only incidental. ... Read More »

Tennis, Anyone?

The Tournament, by John Clarke, isn’t so much a novel as an erudite and hilarious recounting of a fictional tennis tournament in Paris played by the most notable thinkers, artists, scientists, etc., of the twentieth century. Each chapter describes the matches of the day, and there’s not much in the way of a plot or protagonist but the pages will ... Read More »

Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain is unoriginal from beginning to end. It’s the story of Ada (Nicole Kidman), a shy minister’s daughter, who falls in love with Inman (a blank Jude Law), a reticent carpenter who soon goes off to war. Ada writes letters to Inman and as the tragedies mount in her life, she begs him to come home to her, which ... Read More »

NaNoWriMo is six days away!

Here at Blogcritics, we write reviews of books, but I’m sure plenty of us also want to be the ones that the reviews are written about. I’ve started so many stories that I haven’t finished that I’ve lost count. And that’s the secret to writing (and eventually publishing) a novel: finish what you’ve started. While that doesn’t guarantee that what ... Read More »

Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect

I never watched The Practice before now. What enticed me was the addition of James Spader. Since Sex, Lies, and Videotape up to his recent Secretary, it’s hard not to think of Spader as a good actor who chooses very strange roles. I figured if he was being cast, then this had to be an unusual show with interesting writing ... Read More »

Girls, Girls, Girls = Great, Great, Great

I’m not a teenager but lately I’ve been reading a lot of YA books. I noticed that there are two types of books: ones that have typical storylines but decent writing, and ones that try to do something different but the writing is boring. Stone Cold by Pete Hautman would be an example of the former. It’s a fairly short ... Read More »

Pirates’ Curse Lifted

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has proven his genius by making a terrifically entertaining movie that overcame a double whammy: 1) the curse of the pirate genre, 2) being based not on a book, but on a Disneyland ride. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl is the story of a group of pirates on the ship the Black Pearl ... Read More »

From Page to Screen

Did the movies butcher your favorite book? They certainly did mine. The Outsiders is probably one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. The acting was atrocious, the writing was poor, and the pacing was slow. These are legitimate criticisms. And while the Harry Potter movies aren’t considered the best adaptations ever, my friend’s complaint was that they left too ... Read More »

Dave Eggers’ Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers was heartbreaking, I suppose. It’s terrible that mere et pere Eggers died within a short time of each other leaving young Dave to raise his even younger brother Topher. But you know what?—and I don’t think saying this can be considered a spoiler—it has a happy ending. AHWOSG is almost inspirational, ... Read More »

New Borders

There was a Borders in the World Trade Center. I went there only a few weeks before Sept. 11 looking for a French language newspaper. When I went back to work a week after the disaster, the Borders sign was still hanging there and I couldn’t help wondering if any of the books were salvageable. Eventually they demolished the whole ... Read More »