Yeah, you'll learn his morning bathroom habits, his tendency to fall asleep to TiVo'd episodes of The Simpsons or Law & Order, and pretty much any...moreYeah, you'll learn his morning bathroom habits, his tendency to fall asleep to TiVo'd episodes of The Simpsons or Law & Order, and pretty much any time he runs off to have relations with the wife . . . but that's the kind of thing that makes Kevin Smith so . . . well, Kevin Smith. Smith has always been about brutal honesty, but he's also one of the funniest, most interesting cats around. And in that regard, My Boring Ass Life never disappoints. It's also far from boring, even when Smith gives you every detail of what he ate or purchased on a given day. You'll learn how movies get made, financed, cast and promoted -- including movies that Smith makes, like Clerks 2, as well as those he only acts in, like Catch and Release. You'll shake your head as you watch Smith eat gobs of food then berate himself for being overweight (eventually clocking in at 319 pounds). And in one of the most dramatic parts of the book, you'll cringe then cheer as Smith tries (then fails then finally succeeds) at getting Jason Mewes to kick the drug habit. Through it all, Smith deals with fans, friends, critics, producers, hair dressers, and his fellow nerds with his usual self-deprecating anarchic brand of humor. If you're a fan, I don't need to convince you to read this. If you're not a fan . . . well, it's not exactly Sam Pepys, but it's still full of the kinds of mundane yet compelling bits of minutiae that make for fun reading. (less)
If you're a Brady Bunch junkie, you're not going to be able to resist this one, regardless of whatever you might read here. And a book written by the...moreIf you're a Brady Bunch junkie, you're not going to be able to resist this one, regardless of whatever you might read here. And a book written by the man who created the series probably seems like it should be filled with lots of juicy gossip and inside information not available anywhere else, right?
There actually isn't much that's new here, unless you're a Brady novice. You probably know the stories of the Bradys being rejected by every major network, of Robert Reed's annoying work habits, of Barry Williams' horniness for both his TV mom and TV sister, and the demise of Tiger. In fact, much of what you'll read here you've likely seen in lots other places, and sometimes told a bit better. The Schwartz's mutual dislike of Robert Reed is a common theme in here, for instance, but Barry Williams makes the stories funnier and more interesting in his book GROWING UP BRADY. Lloyd Schwartz is careful to remind you that just because Williams says something in HIS book doesn't make it true, but on the other hand, just because Schwartz says so doesn't make it that way, either.
That said, both Schwartzes seem to want to use this book as an opportunity to set the record straight -- whatever that means -- but it mostly becomes an opportunity to take credit for pretty much anything about the series that you may have liked, while disavowing (and saying they had NOTHING to do with) anything you didn't. Peter's "pork chops and applesauce" Bogart impression? Lloyd taught him that. "Oh my nose!"? Lloyd threw the football. The horrible variety show? They had nothing to do with that. All those funny moments in the Brady Bunch movie? All Sherwood and Lloyd's ideas from the opening draft of their first script, don'tchaknow.
I don't think I've ever heard it said that the Schwartzes weren't creative, thoughtful writers or producers, so I'm not sure why they're trying to stop anyone from grinding an axe with all this pre-emptive braggadacio. It makes what should be a entertaining memoir a real eyeroller.
If you're a Brady fan like me, you've probably already got this. In that case, read it and enjoy it for what it is -- and consider it merely another point of view in the familiar stories. (less)
A charming memoir. Bill Bryson looks at growing up in small-town America, remembering 1950s Iowa both as it was and as it should have been. Plenty of...moreA charming memoir. Bill Bryson looks at growing up in small-town America, remembering 1950s Iowa both as it was and as it should have been. Plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, and Bryson is far less curmudgeonly than he is in some of his other books. Bryson explores old movie houses, drugstores, grocery stores, schools and playgrounds, celebrating a time when kids ran through clouds of toxic bug spray spewed from the back of trucks, chewed wax lips candy, and plotted ways to see exotic dancers at the state fair. Bryson writes as easily and breezily as ever, losing flow only momentarily when a serious discussion of the civil rights movement jolts one from an otherwise galloping narrative. Apart from that, it's a whole heckuva lotta fun.(less)