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Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Writer's Life 2/27 - Feel-Good

Although science was my worst school subject, I've always enjoyed sci-fi films and TV shows. Last night I caught up to one of this year's Oscar nominees, The Martian, courtesy of Netflix. Although its heart is always in the right place, I found it predictable and dragged out. In one sense it reminded me of TV's Scorpion -- the outcome never in doubt, so a number of problems must be thrown in to keep the scenario interesting. The fact that an outsider genius was able to find a solution that eluded the eggheads at NASA did not ring true. Even a science-challenged guy such as I realized what had to be done, if not in the necessary detail. It is part of the political correctness promoted by the film, the work's biggest flaw. Dariusz Wolski's cinematography is beautiful, locations in Jordan and Hungary standing in for the red planet. The stellar cast -- Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Michael Pena, Chiwetel Ejiofor -- acquits itself well. It was an ideal vehicle for one of the all-time masters of commercial fare, Ridley Scott, but a far cry from the excellence of Blade Runner (1982) or Gladiator (2000). Based on  the novel by Andy Weir, it was adapted for the screen by Drew Goddard, who is building a fine resume. He wrote episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias and Lost, as well as the screenplay for Cabin in the Woods (2012), his only directorial effort, and World War Z (2013). 300,000+ users at IMDb have rated The Martian, forging to a consensus of 8.1 of ten. I disagree. On a scale of five, I rate it three. It runs 2:24. There is a lot of humor, most of it cute rather than funny. The music tracks used will please fans of the 70's. While there isn't as much profanity as many films use these days, the easily offended might want to pass. The science seems authentic and plausible, at least to this layman, and the vocabulary isn't overwhelming. It is  a feel-good movie.

It was a glorious day, perfect for selling books. My thanks to the young dad who scooped up all six of the Disney booklets I had on display; to Dan, who purchased ten works of non-fiction; to Ralph, who bought The Selected Poems of Max Jacob; and to Jack of Chase, who made a seven for one swap, returning thrillers he'd purchased at the floating book shop.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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