Archive for January 15, 2012

Reacher at the Movies

January 15, 2012 Leave a comment

A week ago in the WSJ, Steve Oney had big news on the first film version of a Jack Reacher thriller. It will be a movie version of One Shot, the ninth of Lee Child’s sixteen Jack Reacher novels. There’s been a limited amount of information at the Lee Child website, which now says the release date is February 8, 2013, and whose FAQ page refers back to the WSJ article for more information.

I read One Shot at the beginning of July 2009. Looking back at the post I wrote at the time, I see that I wasn’t yet ready to give Reacher his due. Child kept me reading until 1:11 AM, but I hesitated to express admiration for the book. In retrospect, it’s one of the best in the series, a great choice for a movie — if a movie must be made.

I am sure many Reacher fans share my view that we’d be better off without Reacher movies. The character is so well conceived. Movies won’t improve him. Indeed, they are sure to mis-represent him. In the WSJ article, Lee Child gives his own take of the problem:

Hollywood storytelling typically relies on character arcs in which the hero faces a number of moral dilemmas so he can change and grow.

Reacher is the opposite of that, Mr. Child says. “His appeal is that he does not change one iota. He’s the same at the end of a novel as he was at the beginning, and he doesn’t learn anything either, because he knew it all to start with.”

Mr. Child cites another book-to-film difficulty—movies have trouble with interior monologues. “Readers like being in Reacher’s head, thinking along with him,” he says, “and my novels have a lot of long, internal passages that depend on Reacher’s thought processes, his own quirkiness, his intuition, his mental capacity. There’s no movie way of showing what an actor is thinking.”

Right. So why make the movie?

Alas, it is being filmed this moment, with the diminutive Tom Cruise playing the oversized Reacher, which is another problem altogether, one the article discusses in detail.

No doubt I’ll see the movie when it comes out. How can I resist? The more exciting news is that Reacher #17, A Wanted Man, will be out on Tuesday, September 25. Not the best timing for me, unfortunately, with the academic year starting the day before and Yom Kippur starting that evening. Can I spend Yom Kippur at home reading Reacher? I may have to wait for the weekend.

Categories: Books, Movies

Our Ten Plagues

January 15, 2012 Leave a comment


In an op-ed piece this weekend in the Washington Post, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley offers “10 reasons the US is no longer the land of the free.” It’s a handy list. You should read his article for the details. I’ll content myself with the list itself:

  • Assassination of U.S. citizens
  • Indefinite detention
  • Arbitrary justice
  • Warrantless searches
  • Secret evidence
  • War crimes
  • Secret court
  • Immunity from judicial review
  • Continual monitoring of citizens
  • Extraordinary renditions
  • Each year at the Passover Seder, we read the list of the ten plagues God visited on Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to free the Israelites. As I read Turley’s article, I wonder why the Bush and Obama administrations have seen fit to visit these on us.

    Categories: Law, Politics

    Seattle Snow

    January 15, 2012 Leave a comment

    Our backyard cherry tree

    Maybe we get a little too excited when it snows in Seattle. Several local Facebook friends were quick to post photos of today’s snow. And here I am with my own. I know, it’s not that big a deal. But today’s snow did produce some lovely scenery.

    Several fronts are moving through, and the weather conditions are just right for a potential sequence of four independent separate snowfalls, starting with a small one yesterday (Saturday) and continuing through Wednesday morning. Famed local weather expert and faculty colleague Cliff Mass has been providing details at his blog, explaining this morning that the

    situation has four stages:

    Stage 1: Snow with the front yesterday, with convergence zone snow.
    Stage 2: Today’s snow with the coastal trough
    Stage 3. Later tomorrow snow with another trough
    Stage 4: SLUSHMAGEDON on Wednesday AM.

    The current model runs suggest that the next week will bring some of the most intense and active weather in a long time…windstorms, rain, snow….the trifecta of NW weather.

    View from our yard

    The snow today began early, but was light and intermittent until noon, when things got serious. Over the next hour and a half, big flakes filled the air, leaving 3-4 inches on the ground hereabouts. We’re in a lowland part of Seattle, often the least affected by snowfall. I imagine much more fell farther from the water and at higher elevations.

    Around 2:15 this afternoon, I headed out to take some photos, three of which you see here. We’ll enjoy it while we can. It should be gone by late in the week.

    Categories: House, Weather