24 February, 2014

The One and Only True Detective Theory That You Need To Read

There's a lot of chatter on the ol' computer box about who-done-it in the HBO show True Detective. While this show is one of the most talked about programs on TV, one of most important points about the mystery has been ignored. People are focusing on the wrong details and spinning out into crazy conclusions and my theory would save all of those people-- and their readers-- a lot of heartache.

I've been through the episodes over and over again and I think I have a real handle on the TV show and where it's going. I'm no expert, so let know what you're thinking.



Okay, here's my theory:

You all need to shut the fuck up and watch the fucking show.

You're not Poirot. You aren't even Miss Marple. Jesus fucking Christ, if you're anything, you're an Inspector Clouseau if he had taken to smoking industrial loads of ketamine instead of having his manservant randomly attack him. Knock it the fuck off and watch the fucking show. Nobody cares about you half-assed, cockamamy ramblings you've dressed up as a "theory." Remember Lost? Remember it? Remember nanobots? Do you? I can see it on your face that you do.

It's going to show its hand when shows its hand. Stop trying to outsmart it. Like solving the mystery before anyone else in the room does makes you enjoy the show any more. That it makes you understand it any more.

The only theory I have about the show and the mystery is that you're all wrong and you're driving me nuts. Shut the fuck up and just be grateful that we're living in the greatest age of television since. . . ever.

Alright. I'm sorry I yelled, but this is what you have brought me to. You think I'm happy about this?

(END SPOILERS!!!!!11!)

20 February, 2014

The Headhunter becomes the Headhunted!

I like Jo Nesbo.

He mixes the sublime with the vulgar in a way that the best genre writers should. The best stuff, though, that elevates the material. It takes something taudry or cliched-- like murder and greed and theft-- and it turns it into high art. Michael Chabon does it. Donald Westlake did it. Stephen King certainly does it. So does Jo Nesbo.

The adaptation of Headhunters does not do this and while I could go on and on as to why that is the case, I do enough of that here already. This is about being positive. It's about how Jo Nesbo can turn out a good yarn*.

On my podcast episode about the Headhunters film I kept on perseverating  on the idea that "the book was better." As a rule, I hate that phrase. It's lazy, it doesn't mean anything, and worse, it's pretentious. In this case, it happens to be true (which is the worst kind of cliche). While the movie a tolerable, competent thriller, the novel is an ecstatic celebration of that genre.

What makes it worth reading is the ending. It is not exceptional in its writing, Jo Nesbo, for all of his talent is not a Graham Greene or a Cormac McCarthy. Whether because of his translation** or because of his actual style, he's a straight shooter. What he excels at is not so much the prose as it is the form.

The back cover sells Headhunters as a Coen brothers like caper, which is rather disengenious as it's as straight as they come. There's a guy, he's a scum bag, and he commits crime. There is no irony. There is no distance. And there certainly isn't a tone (the Coen brothers, if anything, have that down). I don't now too much about the Norweigians, but I doubt that they have this dry of a humor. . . That is until the last chapter.

Until the last chapter where the narration changes and suddenly you realize that you haven't been reading a violent crime novel, but a comedy of errors. A joke, writ large, with the last chapter serving as the punchline. And what's more, as a twist, it works. It works really well. Because Jo Nesbo's been doing this sort of thing for a while. He knows his way around a murder or two. He also knows his way around a joke.

So, avoid the movie. Read the book. And if you're desperate for a Norwegian movie go watch Trollhunter instead. I mean, I guess.

I read Headhunters smack between Ledfeather and The Long Goodbye, which are two. . . very different books. I also read it on a road trip with my dad. Like the best crime books (the Stark series leaps to mind), it moves at a clipped pace. I doesn't have to fight to keep your attention, because it doesn't give you the time to get bored or annoyed. There's no ruminating, there's just action.

The trick Nesbo plays with Headhunters, especially at such a point in the story is something worth experiencing. . .or at least something to distract you from how boring Wyoming if it ever comes down to it.


I wrote a couple of comic book stories. They're collected in The Freshman Fifteen and Old College Comics Presents along with a lot of other stories from people much more talented than myself. I'm rather proud of the fact that these books came together and I am even more proud of the fact that they are pretty good.

You can listen to more of this type of nonsense on White Guys, Square Glasses. We sometimes talk about crime and we mostly talk mad shit. We just underwent a format change, so we'll be tackling movies like Headhunters more often. . . but hopefully, you know, like, better.

You can also follow my twitter. Hey. It's all optional. Nobody's forcing you, here.

*He's also the only point of connection I have with this attractive Norweigian woman that comes into my work, but that's neither here nor there.

**Then again, I've never made that excuse for Haruki Murakami, but then again, who knows?

16 February, 2014

Shut up, Tom, I'm trying to watch this trailer

Track, World War II, and the Coen brothers? I'm down. You coming, too?

14 February, 2014

Revisiting Bebop

Have you ever watched Cowboy Bebop? Because if not, you should and if you have, man, how awesome is Cowboy Bebop?

I started watching Cowboy Bebop in junior high and while I haven't watched an episode in maybe six years, it is still one of the gold standards of anime. And unlike Dragonball Z or whatever other garbage that Japan shipped over here by the boatload, Cowboy Bebop holds up. It's so goddamn cool, guys. There's the music and the design and there's a super corgi that solves puzzles! What else do you want!?

I feel like I've been chasing the highs of Bebop ever since I first watched them. I have to imagine a lot of people do that with their first exposure to a band or a movie or something. Cowboy Bebop did that for me. It was this fresh, new, crazy thing that I could kind of only imagine at this point. What was even better was that I didn't have to deal with bad animation or laughable voice acting or any of the other pitfalls of the genre (the medium? Whatever). Bebop was this funny, well-designed world that were full of really cool characters. Nothing else sounded like it. Nothing else looked like it. It's been fifteen years and it still stands on its own as this original work of art. As many good shows as I've watched, it never was as good as when I finally got to the end of "The Real Folk Blues Pt. 2."

 What I'm saying is that Japanese anime is exactly like cocaine use.

And all of that got me to make the mistake of pining for a blu ray version of the movie and the series, something I never bought, even back when gray market Chinese copies of anime were readily available (as opposed to torrenting, something that would years distant from the height of my anime fanhood) and it really made me-- HOLY SHIT IT'S FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR A BOXED BLU RAY SET? JESUS CHRIST DOES IT CURE ERECTILE DISFUNCTION AND BRING BACK ALL YOUR DEAD PETS? And. . . is that an In Through the Out Door reference? What in the. . .

Oh, well, the American set is only. . . non-existent. Huh.. You people are fucking insane. I'm glad I wasn't drunk when I found because I might have ended up trying to pull some end maneuvers around import taxes with my friends in Japan. Such is my love of Bebop.

While Cowboy Bebop's current availability seems to be just slightly out of reach, it's spiritual successor, Samurai Champloo is on Instant Watch.  If you've got the time and good taste I would highly suggest that you watch it. It's the last thing Shinchiro Watanabe has done since Bebop and that is a fact that depresses me to no end. Oh, he's got a new series out? Alright. About goddamn time.

I was thinking of all of this because I just rewatched the film (which, in Japan is named after a Bob Dylan song) and, as good as it is, it reminded me just how great the show is as a singular work. Part of what makes that show great is that, like any great performance, it leave you wanting more. There's a pang I feel when I know that these twenty-six episode (and the movie) are all we are ever going to have and that anything additional, however unlikely it might be, would only serve to tarnish the legacy of that show.

I don't know. Maybe I'm overstating it. Maybe I just really like the idea of a Welsh corgi solving space crime.

While we wait for that, enjoy the best remix of "Tank!" that You're the Man Now Dawg has to offer.

13 February, 2014

Shameless Self Aggrandizement: An Ongoing Concern

We released a new episode of White Guys, Square Glasses.

Here's a quick cut of it--

Man, I should really update the blog for our show. . .