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    Tuesday, March 27, 2007

    Book: The Spoiler, by Domenic Stansberry (1987)

    Baseball season kicks off Sunday evening with the Mets and Cardinals in an NLCS rematch. That may be one of my few chances to catch the Amazin’s on TV, as it’s increasingly likely that MLB’s Extra Innings package won’t be on cable. (Senator John Kerry, you disappoint me again.) So it’s MLB.tv for me. Like I don’t spend enough hours in the day staring at my computer screen.

    I warmed up for the season opener by reading this debut novel from Edgar-winner Domenic Stansberry. A reporter on the run from a failed marriage finds himself in a Massachusetts mill town with a struggling minor league team, a spate of arson fires, and some surprising connections between the two. It’s not just a good crime novel, it’s a good baseball novel, a good newspaper novel, a good small-town novel.

    Get ready for the season yourself by singing along.

    Movie: 300 (2007)

    My take on the movie, mainly so I can link to some others: It’s kind of nuts. But the gonzo quality is part of writer/director Zack Snyder’s vision. I’m still not sold on the CGEverything™ concept, and there’s not much of a story. (In a nutshell, 300 Spartans hold off the Persian hordes – until they don’t.) But I wasn’t bored.

    Here’s John Rogers on the movie’s screenwriting, Archeology Magazine on the historical perspective, and Michael at 2Blowhards on the critical hand-wringing the movie has spawned plus much more.

    John P. Ryan, R.I.P.

    The veteran character actor never had a breakout role but worked steadily, often with director Bob Rafelson. He’ll always be remembered around here for two performances: as the gangster with a soft spot for another man’s moll in Bound, and as a hard-ass prison warden in one of the great films of the 1980s, Runaway Train. No doubt he’s bellying up to the bar in tough guy heaven at this moment.

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