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Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Writer's Life 12/10 - Nerve

I don't know what prompted me to add Nerve (2016) to my Netflix list, but I'm glad I did. It's a neat, colorful little thriller. The story is simple: a modest high school senior, tired of being a second banana to her popular best friend, plays an online game that pays big cash to people who fulfill dares. Of course, it begins rather harmlessly, then escalates to life and death situations. Are the challenges realistic? Yes, given the crazy stunts some people pull to get their names in the paper or online. Although the narrative offers insight into friendship and loss, the main focus is excitement. From the cast, I recognized only Juliette Lewis, now old enough to play moms. The young actors who have the most screen time have a lot of experience and acquitted themselves well. Emma Roberts, daughter of Eric, niece of Julia, is endearing in the lead. The film was directed by a team, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, who have paid their dues, having previously worked in various aspects of the art of cinema. Jessica Sharzer adapted the screenplay from the novel by Jeanne Ryan. Although I had no recollection of its theatrical release, it fared well at the box office, bringing in $38 million on a budget of "only" $20 million. Does the resolution make sense? I think it does, but several folks in the IMDb commentary section believe the ending a letdown. 46,000+ users have rated it, forging to a consensus of 6.7 of ten, which seems right. It runs about 90 minutes. Rated PG-13, there is no gratuitous violence or nudity, although there are sexual situations, mild by today's standards. Thankfully, there is no moralizing. The movie was gorgeously shot by Michael Simmonds. The quick cut editing matches the pace of the digital world. Here's a shot of one of the requirements. I double dare you :

Topps has issued the most expensive box of baseball cards ever assembled, price tag $22,000 -- the nerve! The Transcendent Collection comes in a metal briefcase and features 50 framed autographs from 39 of the greatest living signers, names like Barry Bonds, Bryce Harper and Nolan Ryan; one Kris Bryant one-of-one autograph featuring one of the historic Topps designs; an invitation to Topps 65th Anniversary party in Vegas on 1/18; and other quirks only avid collectors would understand. The company will cover hotel accommodations, dinner, cocktails and will provide other giveaways during the soirĂ©e. Each box may have a historical figure on top. The idea seems to be to make each one unique. Interested? Unfortunately, only 65 sets were made and they've already sold out at the Topps’ website. Imagine what the price will be down the road when owners begin to sell them. (From Yahoo Sports, heavily edited by yours truly.) Here's what the case looks like:

The first hour of the floating book shop was a snap. Once the clouds rolled in it got cold fast and I bailed a bit early. My thanks to the gentleman who handed me two bucks and refused to take a book. It happens occasionally and I don't like it, but at least I walked away with a little something for standing there like an idiot.
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