The Dig List: 8/27/2007 - movies and back issues

Wordplay - If you had told me before this weekend that a movie about a crossword puzzle tournament would be one of the most enjoyable things I'd watch all year, I wouldn't have believed you, since I'd probably recall the unsociable weirdo Scrabble tourney players from Word Wars. But I don't know... maybe it was the likability of New York Times/NPR puzzle maestro Will Shortz, maybe it was the many celebrity cameo-interviews, maybe crossword folks are much less creepy and highstrung by nature, but whatever the case, it was a lot of fun to watch, and fraught with more legitimate dramatic tension than you'd expect from a movie in which people write letters in little boxes.

DiG! - The story of the various interband hijinx and rivalries between the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, culled from 7(!) years of footage. Certainly compelling viewing, though I came away significantly more appreciative of the Dandys than Jonestown, which makes me think I kind of missed the point. I also think I may be swayed by the Evan Dando-esque charm of Courtney Taylor and the cuteness of Zia McCabe, though, so consider my views suspect from the get-go. But I will say that after viewing this, I'm pretty sure that the Dandy Warhols' excellent kiss-off song "We Used to be Friends" (best known now as the Veronica Mars theme) was aimed squarely at BJM leader Anton Newcombe.

Omega the Unknown #1 - It's easy to see why this book left such an impression on author Jonathan Lethem, because there's guaranteed to be a "What the hell did I just read?" moment every few pages. Weirdness abounds in this book at an almost breakneck pace, and don't bother looking for any answers, because you won't get them. Silent heroes, seemingly emotionless characters, unexpected robotics, some questionable attempts at hip slang in the Stan Lee tradition... there's a lot of "huh?!?" here, but if they purpose was to make people curious to read the next issue, hey, mission accomplished Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes. I definitely want to see where this goes, even if the eventual ending is as unsatisfying as everyone says.

(And yeah, I know there's a trade of the entire series coming out soon, but considering Marvel wants to charge $30 for it - and even after the Amazon discount, it's still over $20 - I can't help but think I can put together a full run for less.)

Master of Kung Fu #s 33 & 36 - The great thing about MoKF is that, like the movies that inspired it, you can jump in at any part of a story, enjoy it, and not really worry about ever catching the rest if you don't feel like it, because you got what you wanted out of the bit you did see/read, and that, of course, is people getting kicked in the head. Both dollar bin finds based on the covers alone: I picked up #33 because Shang Chi was fighting a robot, and #36 because he's fighting ninjas. Sure enough, inside there were a robot and ninjas respectively, so I definitely got my two clams' worth. Probably more, actually, considering 33 had one of those great James Bond poster-like splash pages the book was famous for, and 36 also featured a plot line, um, let's say "borrowed" from The Circus of Dr. Lao. Entertaining stuff.

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