So, I don’t really have the desire to write full-length reviews of all the books, movies, and restaurants that come in and out of my life.  I know my three readers will be horribly disappointed by this, but you’ll have to learn to cope somehow.  Therefore, in a move that takes me one step closer to living my life as an 800-pound man living in bed permanently and washing myself with a rag on a stick I have decided to give into my laziness and write snapshot reviews you three can know what I’ve been reading.

My Life as a 10-year-old Boy by Nancy Cartwright
Grade: B-

I’m an avid fan of the Simpsons, and jumped at the chance to read/listen to this book.  The audiobook version, which I purchased, is read by Nancy herself, which makes for a bit more enjoyment as Nancy breaks into her various character voices.  Nancy is one of the best voice talents in the industry, but a writer she’s not.  This sloppy, manic, and VERY boastful book chronicles the meteoric rise of the Simpson’s star and includes a great deal of information about the behind-the-scenes business that makes this the longest-running animated show in history.  Cartwright’s performance on the book sound very forced, which, for someone who makes their living behind the microphone as voice talent, strikes me as rather amusing.  The tone and voice of the writing are uneven.  I enjoyed the book, but at the end, found myself wishing for more of the meat of Nancy’s experiences–including her interactions with some of the biggest stars in the industry–and less about her time growing up near Dayton, Ohio.

The Seventh Seal by Jessica and Richard D. Draper
Grade: C-

I really wanted to like this book.  I really did.  Published by the LDS publishing house, Covenant, this massive novel makes the mistake of trying to be all things to all people, and in most cases, it fails miserable.  The time is in the very near future, and the “signs of the times” are continuing–the same sort of things that are happening now, just slightly more severe.  A biotech company creates a vaccine for all disease which ends up creating a situation where the cure really is worse than the disease.  This book just doesn’t flow.  The main story line gets interrupted by vignettes  including characters that aren’t a part of the storyline in any way shape or form and that serve no purpose other than to spew forth preachy (and boring) scriptural exposition.  The main story is inventive, strong, and follows the everyman-turned-wanted-hero motif of many enjoyable modern novels.  It’s just so broken, disjointed, and choppy.  Some copious editing and a tone that isn’t an orgy of self-righteous Sunday School would have turned this book into a nice read.

Movie Review:

HOT FUZZ – Rated R for language and graphic violence (used to a comic effect)
Grade: A

Straight-laced cop gets shuffled off to a podunk down and partnered with a complete git of a partner, and ends up saving the day.  It sounds like the basis of one of the worst cop movies ever, but the makers of this film have managed to parody films like the awful Point Break or Bad Boys II with real wit, charm, and obvious affection for their targets.  Acting is superb, the style is sharp and witty, and the script is brilliant.  This film manages to be riotously funny without being hammy, sentimental without being sappy, and it’s always done with smarts and skill.  I’ve not laughed this hard at a movie for a long, long time.  I’d even pay to see it again in the theater–and considering I’ve only got $12 in my checking account right now, that’s saying something!