SuperBad, Vladimir Tod, and The Every Boy (Three Reviews)

Ladies, Gentlemen, Children of All Ages: Today I have just for you a total of THREE, yes THREE reviews in one.

First up, we have the review of the film SuperBad, which I had decided not to see based on the lame-ass previews. But the film got great write-ups and a number of people recommended it to me. So Saturday, after skating, we went to see it. I could have posted this review Saturday evening but I was having a mixed bag of emotions. I couldn’t decide if I liked the film or not.

Ultimately, it was a very funny film in a dark yet loving sort of way. If you’re from my generation (born in the late 1960s) you’ll probably relate really well to the main two characters. They steal the show. And I believe that if the film was about them and only them, it would have been a grand-slam home-run. But they have the “cop interlude” and that detracts from the final product no matter how funny it may have been, but I felt it dragged.

Michael Cera kicks-ass and his Arrested Development timing and squirmishness is undiminished. You’ll never look at a blood-stain the same again.

Next up, we have the book I read on the flight from Miami to Orlando. It’s entitled “The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod — Eighth Grade Bites” and it’s the first work by Heather Brewer. I gotta’ tell you up front that I would not even normally buy this book because it’s not my type of thing. First, it’s squarely in the soft side of the young adult category, though that’s not a deal breaker. Secondly, horror books aren’t my thing, even soft horror and that is invariably a deal breaker. But, the cover icon was so stunningly subversive I picked up the book and read the back cover blurb. I bought it. Boy was I glad I did. Vlad, the protagonist vampire, is engaging and interesting. You will feel for him and enjoy going along for the ride as his friendship with his best friend Henry is tested. You’ll squirm as he tries to get together with his crush, but like all eighth-graders, it’s not so easy to ask out a girl on a date. And you will feel the angst (gently) as you read through it. This is not a work of art because (A) the adults except for his Aunt Nelly are very thinly drawn and you just have no real sense about them, especially the villains and (B) the writer is in a huge hurry to get where she’s going that she leaves out a little too much detail and I wish she’d taken her time because I really did want to read more. The ending was very compressed. You will like this book you’ll probably wish you were friends with Vlad. Her website indicates this is first in a series, and I will read the rest for sure. Check this one out.

The final review, my book on the return flight from Orlando to Miami was The Every Boy by Dana Adam Shapiro. This book is not for everyone and it’s not for kids, that’s for sure. The protagonist, fifteen-year-old Henry Every, is dead that’s the whole premise. His body is found and they learn about his decidedly unusual life by reading his journal it’s not a diary because as Henry says “only girls keep diaries.” You will laugh with him, he’s funny. You will share his frustrations, loves, likes, and dislikes. There’s plenty of angst and irony. And you will learn all about his parents including the fact that his father isn’t his father (this is not a spoiler). This book is unusual because the author is the director of the Oscar® nominated film Murderball and he was a senior editor at Spin magazine. This is a truly quirky book that could end up as an independent film in the vein of Little Miss Sunshine if handled by the right person.

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