Sunday, 19 January 2014

The new Tom Clancy / Jack Ryan movie came out Friday and died like a dog.  It looked pretty familiar.  I have to admit the only Tom Clancy book I've ever read was one of the non-fiction ones, about submarines, and I'm pretty sure there were actual submarines that had fewer people working on them than worked to produce a book "by" Tom Clancy from that period.

So I wonder if the dialogue in his fiction is as... what's the opposite of lifelike? Expressionistic? ... as Rohmer's.

I know what you mean about feeling like the first couple of chapters of EXXONORATION undid the last couple of chapters of ULTIMATUM.  There's a funny moment in one of the Scream movies where someone lays out the laws of sequels, and one involves creating a new back story -- that happens before the first movie -- and ruins it.  This is kind of that, right? Or maybe it's closer to a type of classic cliffhanger escape, where the next episode reveals that although the car DID go over the cliff, what you didn't see was that the hero got out just in time.

I was working at a studio that used to be Republic, and had all the titles of their old serials on tiles in the cement.  I was curious, so I bought one on VHS -- Zorro's Black Whip -- and watched about 20 chapters in a row.  (Hey binge watching!) They got out of every cliffhanger by reshooting the ending and making it slightly different.  Of course, if you were seeing it in a theatre the next week, you'd have to trust them, that you had just remembered it wrong.

I wonder if people thought they were losing their minds?

Anyway, yes, Rohmer forgot to mention that the Canadian Armed Forces had been mobilised to repel history's greatest superpower by getting to the Toronto airport first and hiding at the arrival gate.

(I'm perfectly willing to go along for the ride, by the way -- okay, sure, America is going to invade Canada to get our natural gas -- but I feel like it would be more realistic if America just announced there was a crisis in Canada, and took over the government to restore stability.  Temporarily, you know?  At the invitation of a coalition of concerned nations, and/or the Frums.  Then you wouldn't need to take the whole country.  Just Parliament.)

And now we get to meet Pierre Thomas de Gaspe, the Least Interesting Man in the World.  And we get to hear about the President's adviser "Irving Wolf" and his nose, again, not once but twice.

My favourite Rohmer line so far:

"Even though I've known you for years, Pierre, I had no idea you were involved in the military..."

My second favourite:

"The atmosphere in the Oval Office of the White House was tense."

Brian: Why didn't John Glassco ever write a book called Zorro's Black Whip?


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  2. We still haven't figured out a way to talk about the plots yet, without ruining them. The way Exxoneration changes direction is... but I've already said to much.

  3. I was excited to discover that when Pierre Thomas de Gaspe decided to go back to law school, he went to "the McGill University". Bet he learned more than if he'd gone to the Harvard.

  4. I noticed that myself. That and other errors have me wondering whether it was edited by a Canadian.

    Evidence: The footnote informing that VHF stands for Very High Frequency.

    'Cause, you know, back in the 'seventies very few Canadians had televisions.