So, in no particular order:
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Monty Python: Just the Words
OK, one of these is a book of TV scripts, but I read both obsessively as a kid; gave me a sense of English identity, which was nice since I had an English accent, but only lived there 'til I was six.
Life of Pi, Yann Martel
Maybe this resonated more with me, reading it after Mom died, but this book blew me away.
LA Confidential, James Ellroy
I read most of his stuff, and it's all great, but this one is the most spectacular display of the 50s LA in Ellroy's (sorta messed-up) head. Part of me wants to swagger around that Los Angeles, planting evidence and beating confessions out of bad guys.
Welcome to the Monkey House, Kurt Vonnegut
I loves me some short stories. I only remember the one where the strong and beautiful were weighed down and uglified so that all were equal, and the one where the guy was forced to play chess with people. I should read it again.
Elements of Style, Strunk & White
Omit needless words.
Maus, Art Spiegelman
All of his children's books, Roald Dahl
So brilliantly subversive; no better way for kids to learn that sometimes adults are fallible dicks.
Can't remember the name, it was the first short story in a collection I grabbed around freshman year. It was a fairly standard fairy tale, but things weren't going well, and I kept expecting things to turn around, and kept checking how many pages were left, and got to the end, and holy shit things never turned around. After growing up with western storytelling, it was a big shock to read a story where everything turned to shit and stayed that way.
Level 7, Mordecai Roshwald
Anti-Nuclear war fiction written by a professor in 1959. Another high school library find. I had a big military, Tom Clancy, Top Gun kinda kick in middle/high school, and this was one of the things that made me realize that war isn't as sexy and cool as I had been lead to believe. Holy craps, Wikipedia says he lives in Silver Spring. We were neighbors for awhile!
The Shell Collector, Anthony Doerr
Can't find my copy, all I remember is the story about people displaced by Chinese dam construction had this amazing imagery of the setting and weather, and I felt like I was there just reading it.
Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot, Al Franken
One of the greatest, angriest, most vindictive works of smart-assery.
Nine Stories, JD Salinger
Salinger had this amazing ability to make the most mundane settings and events completely captivating, and at times crushing. Again with the short stories, but I love all his stuff.
The Long Walk, Stephen King
I've always liked King, but I'm not big on horror, so I'm always happy when he explores other genres. And I do enjoy his penchant for futuristic blood sport game shows. This one really struck me as a teenager; I could've been any of those kids, marching along for money and fame, getting shot for falling behind.
Hm, I think that's only 14. Bonus not-a-book! Joe's big religion sucks revelation was CS Lewis, mine was the song Tomorrow, Wendy by Concrete Blonde.
I told the priest, don't count on any second coming /
God got his ass kicked the first time he came down here slumming /
He had the balls to come, the gall to die and then forgive us /
No I don't wonder why, I wonder what he thought it would get us
Pretty shocking stuff for a young, generally oblivious preacher's kid, and the first thing that made me question religion.
OK, back to that midterm.
I'm not sure how easy this is to see, but the first picture is a hose that attaches to your car's exhaust pipe, and you pump CO into the mole hole, killing them with one of the more popular 20th century suicide methods, apparently because it's cheaper than a tiny gas oven, and easier than tying adorable little nooses.
Oh! Also, I went to get some bagels from Noah's after that, and on the way back I took a picture of this guy with the boombox, bumpin' L'Trimm's Cars With The Boom (hilariously miscategorized all over the internets as being by Le Tigre). So y'know, it wasn't a total wash.
So Syd and I caught part of Lethal Weapon 2 and then the end today, and it was so much more stupid than either of us remembered (among many other things, at the end he stabs the bad guy after a big fight, and staggers away, and the bad guy pulls a gun and is about to shoot Mel in the back, but oh they're in the cargo hold of a ship and Mel reaches one of those industrial buttons on a rope and presses it and one of those shipping containers falls and crushes the guy), and then The Patriot was on and Mel was all fuckin' crazy killin' a Limey with pudding for blood with a hatchet and stuff, and watching it all I could think of was South Park's Mel Gibson, jumping around in his underwear and Braveheart facepaint all crazy-like, and then Syd said, how many movies has he been crazy in? And it was such a fine question, we decided to find out. We've excluded TV and uncredited roles (except for the one where he's credited as Anger Management Therapy Patient), and since it's acting only, we don't even get to consider Apocalypto or Jesus: The Snuff Film*. Still, plenty of material left. Also, his character in What Women Want is kinda nutty, hearing women's thoughts and all, but not in that South Park kinda way, so I'm not counting it. Crazy is in bold, not crazy in a soothing blue, and the rest we aren't sure about, so feel free to comment if you've seen Payback or something, or if you disagree with our classifications.
# Paparazzi (2004) (uncredited) .... Anger Management Therapy Patient
# The Singing Detective (2003) .... Dr. Gibbon
# Signs (2002) .... Rev. Graham Hess (Pretty sure he wore a tinfoil hat)
# We Were Soldiers (2002) .... Lt. Col. Hal Moore
# What Women Want (2000) .... Nick Marshall
# The Patriot (2000) .... Benjamin Martin
# Chicken Run (2000) (voice) .... Rocky
# The Million Dollar Hotel (2000) .... Detective Skinner
# Payback (1999/I) .... Porter
# Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) .... Martin Riggs
# Conspiracy Theory (1997) .... Jerry Fletcher # Ransom (1996) .... Tom Mullen
# Pocahontas (1995) (voice) .... John Smith
# Braveheart (1995) .... William Wallace
# Maverick (1994) .... Bret Maverick
# The Man Without a Face (1993) .... Justin McLeod
# Forever Young (1992) .... Capt. Daniel McCormick
# Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) .... Martin Riggs # Hamlet (1990/I) .... Hamlet # Air America (1990) .... Gene Ryack # Bird on a Wire (1990) .... Rick Jarmin # Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) .... Martin Riggs
# Tequila Sunrise (1988) .... Dale 'Mac' McKussic
# Lethal Weapon (1987) .... Sergeant Martin Riggs # Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) .... 'Mad' Max Rockatansky
# Mrs. Soffel (1984) .... Ed Biddle
# The River (1984) .... Tom Garvey
# The Bounty (1984) .... Fletcher Christian Master's Mate
# The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) .... Guy Hamilton
# Attack Force Z (1982) .... Captain P.G. (Paul) Kelly
# Mad Max 2 (1981) .... Max ... aka Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (USA)
# Gallipoli (1981) .... Frank Dunne
# Tim (1979) .... Tim Melville
... aka Colleen McCullough's Tim (Australia: complete title)
# Mad Max (1979) .... Max
# Summer City (1977) .... Scollop
... aka Coast of Terror
So 35 movies, at least 16 screamy lunatics, 7 not, and 12 maybes. Even if all the maybes end up in the not column, that's still 46% of his film roles. We're pretty sure we can attain a majority, but not at the expense of watching these ourselves, so help us out. For Mel's sake!
* Link to Passion of the Benny Hill, the only version I've seen or want to see, and a great way to get the gist while not being scarred.
Because nothing says prestigious school like the offspring of a giraffe and Jar Jar Binks. Doctoral! Doctoral? Doctoral. I actually clicked the ad, just for you, dear reader (Hi Syd!) and it listed a bunch of degree mills, University of Phoenix and its ilk. So next time someone says they went to U of Phoenix, just conjure up that mental image of Dr. Bongrip Girafferton.