January 16th, 2006

10-P, 10-E

Ten random things: January 16

Ten films about basketball:

  1. Guarding Eddy
  2. Hoop Dreams
  3. Hoosiers
  4. Glory Road
  5. Coach Carter
  6. White Men Can't Jump
  7. Double Dribble
  8. Above the Rim
  9. Space Jam
  10. Air Bud

I saw no. 4 on the list last night. Not bad, though utterly predictable. Of course, it's based on a true story, and the 1966 Kentucky-Texas Western game that serves as the climax of the film is arguably the most famous basketball game ever played. (Even if it isn't the most famous, it's definitely in the top three.) And even if it wasn't, the fact that it's about a team of scrappy underdogs should clue anyone who's ever seen any sports movie how it's going to end. Nevertheless, it's well made, and Jon Voight gave a nicely nuanced performance of Adolph Rupp, a role that very easily could have been played as a broad racist stereotype.

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Books 2006: The Romanov Prophecy

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Wow, I've really fallen behind on my book posts. I'll try to catch up tomorrow, since I've got the day off. But since I've got a bit of time to kill before I have to be at work, I may as well start catching up right now.

The Romanov Prophecy is, unlike By Order of the President, an excellent action thriller. It starts with the main character being chased through the streets of Moscow and shot at by unidentified thugs, and it doesn't slow down until the very end. That's all I really want from an action thriller, and Berry delivers it by the bushel.

The plot point that drives The Romanov Prophecy — that the Russian people would choose to install a new Tsar — is, in its own way, hardly less silly than the terrorist plot at the center of By Order of the President, but it's handled far better. In the latter book, the characters couldn't stop mocking the plot, making it hard for the reader to take seriously. Everyone in The Romanov Prophecy, on the other hand, takes the installation of the new Tsar deadly seriously, so I had no problem doing the same. And while I think it very unlikely that Russia will ever choose to reinstate Tsarist rule, Berry effectively sells the idea by coming up with a believable process for doing so.

I really liked this book, and I definitely plan to read Berry's other two thrillers before the year is out.

See all the books I've read this year

this big, reese


I just want to congratulate my girlfriend, Reese Witherspoon, on her well-deserved Golden Globe award. I knew you could do it, honey!
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