John Ortved is the author of this Simpsons ‘book’. I came across it on a pretty good recommendation and being a huge Simpsons fan I couldn’t say no to reading a Simpsons book. There are plenty of things to like and dislike about this one, first thing you’ll probably notice is the weird way the book is written. It closer resembles an assembled collection of quotes and notes than a real book. It takes a little while to get use to and I can see where some people will just not like reading it at all. I would say it seems like the lazy way out if you didn’t take into account the massive amounts of quotes that the book contains. Luckily even as disorganized and thrown together as this book seems it does follow a coherent timeline. Starting from the early days of comic strips and reviews of Groening it goes to the shows early development and branches out in detail into all the different stages of the show, concentrating heavily on the writers room. All of this stuff is pretty good, the Groening stuff and the way the show came about and the writers, I enjoy reading all of that. However my major problem with the book is what it becomes, most of the book is pretty good but the last quarter of the book just becomes a bitch fest attack on the show. It’s kind of like when a good movie has an ending so bad it ruins the entire thing. It’s painfully obvious that the writer is one of the people that hold the opinion that the show now sucks, throwing in shots at every chance he can get. This really makes no sense to me, I’d imagine if you were writing a book about the Simpsons you’d be a huge Simpsons fan, instead we have a guy who it seems is one of the fair-weather turncoats that has become associated with the show disguised as fans. Another thing that really bothers me about this book is the stance on Family Guy. Personally I use to like Family Guy a lot but since the show has come back it’s flat out sucked. This Simpsons book started out pointing out what an ungrateful rip-off Family Guy was but by the end of the book it was sucking Family Guy’s dick. South Park is also referenced a fair amount towards the end, the author doesn’t really seem to know what he’s talking about when he’s referencing that show. He makes it seem like they’ve got some sort of rivalry or hate, but if you’ve ever listened to South Park DVD commentary or read anything the show’s creators say about The Simpsons (oddly enough even in this very book) it’s very apparent they have a lot of love for the Simpsons. This book is about 290 pages; roughly 250 of them are pretty good. If you’re a Simpsons fan you might want to check this out because it does have some good stuff, just be warned you may be sick of it by the end. A casual Simpsons fan may not be as interested because this is mostly a behind the scenes type look at the show.
Most people know Bruce Campbell from his acting, most specifically the Evil Dead movies. Well Bruce decided he’d had enough life experience under his belt to write an autobiography. And damn if it isn’t a good one. This takes us from Bruce’s childhood making up games with his friends in the neighborhood to making backyard movies to the giant mess it was trying to raise money for, film and sell Evil Dead (a good chunk of the book). From there it goes onto other film projects, Bruce branching out and becoming an actor independent of Sam Raimi and his friends all the way to doing the book tour for this book. It’s also got an excellently hilarious intro by Sam and Ted Raimi. Anyone who’s a Bruce Campbell fan, a fan of movies or just likes reading autobiographies will really enjoy this one.
Ah Jackie Chan, one of the greatest martial arts actors of all time, but you may wonder how he got to be that way. Well Jackie is here to answer that question with a book written by the stunt hungry always smiling man who seems to be made of rubber. Clocking in a 416 pages it starts you out with Jackie as a kid going to the Peking opera because his family thought this would be the best direction for their son to go. We go through his life at the school, how at times it seemed to be too brutal that anyone would survive but eventually he graduated. We go from there to seeing how Jackie started out in stunts and movies with his brothers Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. You get some great stories about things like how Jackie had to make his own furniture in his apartment because he couldn’t afford to buy any to his brushes with organized crime, and his fight to get films made in both Hong Kong and America. The book ends around the time that “Rush Hour” comes out so it’s somewhat current even at this point. Includes a list of his films, top stunts and injuries. A must read for any Jackie Chan fan, fucking great book.
Filed under: Autobiographies and Biographies, Books, Movie/TV, Reviews | Tagged: biography, book, hong kong, jackie chan, kung fu, martial arts, review, Reviews, Sammo Hung, yuen biao | Leave a Comment »
I never really intended to read this book, I kind of fell into it accidentally but I’m kind of glad I did. I’m a fan of Star Trek, the original series, but I’m nothing close to a fanboy about it. “I am Spock” is what I’m going to call a Star Trek biography by Leonard Nimoy. It talks about how the show started to how it was canned and then the movies. We get information on is friendship with co-stars and some strange stories about some celebrity fans of the show. 356 pages is a lot more than I would think a normal person would be able to fill talking about Star Trek, but Leonard Nimoy is no normal man. I wouldn’t say this book is for everybody, I enjoyed it but it’s obvious the real target audience here is the hard Star Trek fans.
Ok I’ll admit to this one, I cheated a bit. I didn’t “read” this book, instead it was the audio book read by Bruce Campbell himself, which was great for many reasons. First off I think that might be the way to go with this one because Bruce Campbell is great, he adds a lot to the way he reads this, as he should seeing as how he wrote it. As far as the book itself goes it’s a fictional (I hope) tale of Bruce landing a supporting role in a Mike Nichols romantic comedy called ‘Let’s Make Love’. The movie stars Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger. The story basically takes us through Bruce being out of work, to landing the part to him doing massive amounts of research for the role, most of which very unnecessary. Then takes some twists and turns and becomes truly ridiculous in the fashion of most things you’d expect involving Bruce. This book was really fun to read (or listen to I guess), if you’re a Bruce Campbell fan you should definitely look into this and even if you’re not and you just like fun you’ll probably find yourself enjoying it too.