I watched 1984’s Splash (starring Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah and John Candy) last weekend, finally crossing that comedy off my list. It got me thinking about my favourite movies growing up, and a lot of them had the same theme: mythical monsters.
I’m not sure if there’s actually a genre for these movies, but this fits best as far as I can tell. If you weren’t familiar with Splash before, it’s about a man searching for love who finds it in the form of a mermaid, temporarily granted legs for a short pe
We had a lot of movies taped off TV growing up, and one of the tapes that got repeat views was a little-known movie called Bigfoot. It was one of ABC’s “Wonderful World of Disney” presentations, but other than that, until looking it up on IMDB, I knew nothing about it. I assumed it was either made for TV or had a small theatrical release – apparently it was part of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color”.
This movie had some pretty great production value for a made-for-TV movie, if you ask me. Sure, Harry and the Hendersons is probably the most recognized Sasquatch film out there from the 80’s, but Bigfoot is my favourite. It’s got comedy moments and even a little bit of suspense. If you’re young enough, it can even be scary at times.
Some other mythical monster movies I remember watching – Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend (which I should re-visit, one day). Actually, that’s about all I remember. What are some other good ones from the 80s?
It’s been a while since I finished reading something, and this month I managed to finish two things. One was a full length book, the other was a piece of short fiction. Here are my reviews.
The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
I received this book as a gift at Christmas this past year, and is a story I’ve had my eye on for quite a while. What I didn’t know about it: it was originally written in Swedish, translated to English (and presumably many other languages since). It’s a simple story, and starts exactly as the title suggests: A 100-year-old man climbs out of his window and disappeared, launching a man-hunt for him across Sweden.
It earns many comparisons to Forest Gump, mainly because the story of his past is told in parallel with the present-day story. In his past, he interacts with many different historical figures and winds up inadvertently shaping historic events simply by dumb luck.
I’m normally not a fan of descriptions that compare the book to another work of fiction, simply because it saddles a lot of preconceptions onto the new work. I tried not to think about the Forest Gump comparisons but after finishing the novel, felt that it was a pretty apt description.
The story is pretty funny overall, and the pacing was generally quite good. At some points I thought that this wasn’t the case; some of the telling of his life in the past felt slow and left me wanting to get back to what the main character was up to in the present day.
I give it an A-, definitely worth a read.
Dead Trees Give No Shelter
This is a shorter piece of fiction, about 40 pages. Wil Wheaton (yes, THAT Wil Wheaton) wrote it with an intended release for Halloween, as a break between a longer novel that he’s working on.
It’s a supernatural / horror story, which coincidentally also moves between the past and present day (and a quick jaunt into the year 2031). I didn’t intend to pick two stories to review that had a similar story mechanic, it’s something I just realized.
A quick but very enjoyable read. Wil Wheaton created a moody atmosphere and did a really good job of “hiding the monster” until it needed to come out of hiding. The story has a certain symmetry to it as well. At one point when I was reading it, I was listening to the E.T. soundtrack, which perfectly fit the tone that I think Wheaton was aiming for. There were some instances where the dialog didn’t work for me, but it wasn’t enough to make me give up reading in disgust. Solid read – pick it up after watching Stranger Things (or watch Stranger Things after reading this).
I really liked it. Around the time that I finished reading this I also binged through the rest of Stranger Things, which was great. Similar atmospheres, which I think is exactly what Wheaton was going for.
Since you probably won’t need help finding The 100 Year Old Man… on book shelves, I’ll just give you a link to Dead Trees Give No Shelter. You can pick it up in multiple forms – I personally bought the eBook. You can also listen to the Audiobook, which was narrated by Wil himself.
What’s next? I’m going to finally read Timothy Zahn’s Survivor’s Quest + Outbound Flight; I’ve also got a World War II book I picked up from a bargain table that looks interesting. I definitely have no shortage of things to read on my bookshelf.
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