Every once in a while, the demands of being a Renaissance man just pile up on you far too much, and you just need to have some junk in your system, so I present to you, the intellectual lightweight's guide to poor grammar and good stuff:
1) Star Wars: Shatterpoint, by Matthew Stover
Though it may not seem obvious at first, there are some pretty good Star Wars novels out there that are worth your time to read. Despite the pedigree of the author, this is not one of them. However, Shatterpoint is one of the most roundly entertaining SW stories I've read in a long, long, long time (in a galaxy far far away). Imagine an entire novel dedicated to showing how bad@$$ Samuel L. Jackson can be with a lightsaber and the power of the Force. That's basically what Shatterpoint is. Also:
-Cringeworthily good lines
-More than a few tips of the hat to "Apocalypse Now" and (a few) to "Heart of Darkness"
-An explanation for why there are no black Jedi in Star Wars.
How can you go wrong?
2) "Big Trouble"
Barry Sonnenfield tries to recapture the magic of "Get Shorty" and also that of Dave Barry but it doesn't *quite* work. Also, Tim Allen is not a good man to build a movie around. However, there's just enough bizarreness, funnyness, absurdedness and Stanley Tucci to make the whole thing work.
3) "My Best Friend's Wedding"
I know, I know, it's a chick flick. But it's a *good* chick flick. As I repeat often, you can explain why it's so good in about five words: Julia Roberts is the villain. Say it with me, folks: Julia Roberts is the villain. Julia Roberts in the villain. It's a good mantra, and it's probably what PG&E executives were chanting as they watched "Erin Brokovich".
4) Batman: Hush
Terrible, even by Bat-standards. But I love it all the same...
5) Without Remorse
Tom Clancy attempts to write a novel with something like a plot (this was back when he did plots) and Character Development. It's not even his best work (that would probably be The Hunt for Red October, which I'm currently reading, and is reminding me how technothrillers can be clever instead of merely boggled down with facts). But somehow I always get sucked into the detective-story-level-of-detail and the guilty pleasure of watching someone gun down the American Gangster (I think Frank Lucas is the real-life inspiration, anyways...)
6) "Rush Hour 2"
Not a great movie by any means. Yet it's a family favorite, and I can tune in any time it's playing on TBS (it's always playing on TBS) and be cracked up within five minutes by the Michael Jackson gag, the scene in the Versace store, basically anything Chris Tucker says ("Yes, this is the S.S. Minnow Johnson") and of course, the scene where they go to Crenshaw's Soul Food restaurant. It will never crack anyone's top-10 comedies list (including my own) but somehow around the holidays it always show