The Butcher Boy

The Butcher Boy
Director : Neil Jordan
With : Stephen Rea, Ian Hart, Sinéad O’Connor

I had enormously high hopes when I entered the theater to see the post “Interview With A Vampire” rebound from director Neil Jordan. I left mildly disappointed yet reasonably entertained. “The Butcher Boy” is the surreal tale of a bizarre Irish boy, Francie, played remarkably by newcomer Eamonn Owens. Born to a pathetic drunk (Stephan Rea) and a manic depressive mother, it is no surprise that Francie’s character turns out to be more than just your typical dysfunctional youth.

As he and his best mate, Joe, cause minor havoc throughout town’s streets, Francie becomes more and more obsessed with the perpetual harassment of a nerdy schoolmate and his nasty mother. His preoccupation elevates as his family situation becomes more and more dire, as some sort of irrational outlet for familial honor. In Francie, Neil Jordan has managed to create one of the most insane but bizarrely likable characters in recent history.
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Wheat – Medieros

Wheat - Medieros

Label: Sugar Free

I don’t really know much about these guys other than that they are from Chicago and got ex-Small Factory member Dave Auchenbach to produce the record. But that aside these guys spin some really nice gliding pop songs. Both vocally and instrumentally the band takes a nice post-shoegazing approach to rock music perfect little musical slices.

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Geniuses Of Crack by Jeff Gomez

Geniuses Of Crack by Jeff Gomez

I didn’t read Gomez’s first novel about the indie rock band Bottlecap, but “Geniuses of Crack” (a book that I stumbled across on a table of new paperbacks while killing time before a movie) didn’t feel at all tied to any preexisting storyline. The novel tells the story of a small time indie rock band who gets signed to a Los Angeles record label and heads out to the west coast to record their debut album. While on the trip from the quiet suburbs of Virginia to the sunny streets of LA, the three members of Bottlecap engage on a spiritual journey of personal early 20s discovery.

After their initial weekend living in style at the Mondrian Hotel, the guys move into a temporary apartment while they record with the engineer and producer that have been selected for them. The actual making of the record becomes a more difficult task than Bottlecap could have imagined, given all the preoccupations that come with getting $10,000 signing bonuses and being in California for the first time on their way to becoming rock stars.
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Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie

Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie

Over the past five years Sherman Alexie has become the hippest, most popular Native American cultural icon we have ever seen. With a bunch of novels and short stories, a screenplay credit for an upcoming Miramax film, a popular stand-up act in his native Seattle, and spot on the prestigious Granta Best Young Writers list it is hard to imagine what could possibly be missing.

In “Indian Killer” Alexie transforms modern day Seattle into neo-noir landscape complete with a serial killer on the loose and a tenuous racial climate beginning to burst at the seams. Alexie’s modern Native Americans aren’t the headdress wearing teepee building warriors chasing after John Wayne, but more alcohol guzzling misunderstood people trying to fit into a modern American world.

“Indian Killer” is the story of John Smith, an Indian adopted by white parents in an affluent suburb of Seattle. His struggle with his heritage comes to a head as the serial prowls the streets brutally murdering his victims and leaving two feathers on them to mark his prey. This is a very well written page turner that tackles serious issues with a sense of humor, but always manages to make its point in a way that makes you think.

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Et Tu Babe by Mark Leyner

Et Tu Babe by Mark Leyner

It’s not often that I laugh out loud, but for whatever reason it happened at least a couple times a page for throughout the two-hundred pages in “Et Tu, Babe.” Although not exactly a novel with anything ever vaguely resembling a plot, the storyline follows the author as he reinvents himself as a kind of superhero author. More a series of short surreal stories about a anatomical cheese sculptors or getting high off of a vial of authentic “Abraham Lincoln’s Morning Breath” stolen from the National Museum, Leyner is amalgam of literary minds which cross somewhere between J.R. Tolken and Hunter Thompson. His wit is fast, hip, and twisted but also surprisingly and technically informed about everything from modern medicine to technology. You’ll either love it or hate it, but it would be hard to truthfully say that this guy isn’t really talented.

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