Along The Razor’s Edge
Greetings 5280 Geeks.
Does anyone else feel like store visits are straight out of an episode of the The Twilight Zone right now?
And only just recently a handful of libraries have begun dipping their toes in the pandemic-era water by offering curbside hold pickups.
While we remain safer-at-home the online marketplaces still remain the best place to purchase and hock all things us geeks need to pass the many, many socially distant hours.
Some, such as myself, take extra time to lighten the loads within our homes. It’s a wonderful opportunity to produce some additional income during this strange and uncertain period.
Everyone should make a regular practice of pulling things off their bookcases and CD and DVD towers and asking themselves if they still feel the need to own each item. Otherwise, someone else will have to do it eventually. . .
I call the process The CUT, and it’s time for another round. This week’s edition focuses on some of the items that were difficult to decide if they made or missed The CUT. I hope you enjoy!
PHILIP K. DICK’S ELECTRIC ANT
2011 MARVEL Trade Paperback First Printing
Written by David Mack with Art by Pascal Alixe
Who hasn’t woken up in a hospital after a near-fatal car accident only to find out they were a replicant android? A pretty normal Saturday or Sunday morning before the coronavirus lockdown.
Electric Ant is a quintessential Philip K. Dick science fiction short story.
Garson Poole thought he was the owner and CEO of an uber-successful technology corporation, but as it turns out, he discovers he’s just a robot with organic skin.
And now that Garson knows, he’s begun learning how to circumvent his programming and limitations. He’s even figuring out how to alter reality altogether. . .or is he?
Philip K. Dick is unquestionably one of the best and most unique science fiction minds of all time.
Unfortunately, his catalog is so large that it’s hard to go back and reread the works that you’ve already read. And if you ever do get around to it, Electric Ant will be far down the list.
It’s for that reason that Electric Ant doesn’t make The CUT.
Dick’s actual novels are leagues better than his comic adaptations. Check out the books Flow My Tears The Policeman Said, The Man In The High Castle, or A Scanner Darkly, before Electric Ant.
There’s two brand new hardcover copies with free shipping available for $8.79 or best offer on eBay, but I wouldn’t sell mine at that price.
Electric Ant doubles in value for used copies once those two sell.
1969 Paperback Novel First Printing
Written by Charles Portis
True Grit is the story of a post-Civil War era teenage girl who embarks on a journey to avenge her murdered father. We’ve all been there.
It’s an intense and quick moving novel about resilience and perseverance in a much tougher time than our own. There’s also violence and some antiquated old-timey talk.
True Grit was so well-received that it has already been adapted into two movies. The first was in 1969, starring John Wayne. The other came out in 2010 and was directed by the Coen brothers. It starred Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and a young Hailee Steinfeld.
I can’t let True Grit go for a couple of reasons.
First, I believe the book will mean different things to me at different times throughout life.
Second, I want to share it with my school-age daughter when she’s mature enough to read it. There aren’t enough strong female protagonists in literature, so it’s important that we celebrate the great ones.
True Grit was one of the best stories I’ve ever read, period! I enjoyed it so much that I wrote an article on it and the level of grit found in our modern society.
Currently no one is selling the sweet vintage copy I own, so its value is unknown, but a 2004 printing is available in very good condition for $6.99 with free shipping. If you haven’t read it yet you should buy it right now!
THE EYES OF THE DRAGON
1988 Paperback Novel First Signet Printing
Written by Stephen King
How many out there were aware that Stephen King dabbled in YA fantasy writing? I didn’t know either until I was about a third of the way through The Eyes Of The Dragon.
The Eyes Of The Dragon is a late medieval story about two sibling princes and their battle of succession in the wake of their father, the king’s, passing. There’s regicide, an evil court magician, and some old fashioned time spent in the dungeon.
I know what you’re thinking, Didn’t I already read Game Of Thrones?, but it’s not like that at all.
I don’t want to give away the story, but it’s intriguing, tense, and weird, and all in a good way.
The Eyes Of The Dragon is an excellent example of how close any item can be to making or missing The CUT.
I’ve decided to keep it because of how thoroughly I enjoyed the story.
Yet even as I write this I realize I’ll probably never read it again, but doesn’t that describe 75-90% of our collections perfectly anyway?
If I’m being completely honest, eventually I’ll list The Eyes Of The Dragon online or bring it to a used bookstore for trade credit. For now, back on shelf it goes.
The same copy I own in similar condition is selling for $8.75.
If you’re not picky about condition copies are available for as little as $5.75.
Back before Jeff Bridges was Rooster Cogburn in True Grit and way before he was The Dude in The Big Lebowski he was Lt. Jimmy Dove in Blown Away. What a career!
Dove is a wise-cracking, Guinness drinking, retired bomb squad expert turned family man. Unfortunately his past in his home-country Ireland catches up with him in the form of terrorist Liam McGivney, played by none other than the equally legendary Tommy Lee Jones, in his most explosive and maniacal role of all time.
Bridges and Jones star alongside Bridge’s real-life father Lloyd just years before he passed away, and a young Forest Whitaker.
Blown Away is another prime example of how items up for The CUT can be Along The Razor’s Edge.
Blown Away is a fantastic and truly memorable film, but—and we all like big butts, I cannot lie—watching a movie once every ten to fifteen years doesn’t justify keeping it in the collection.
I’m certain I will watch Blown Away again sometime, but that may be so far in the future that I may not even watch movies on DVD then.
Buy or sell this movie as part of a three pack with two other movies nobody’s ever heard of for $4.25.
Or for $4.55 get Blown Away by itself and not the other two movies you’ll probably hate and never watch anyway. I know it costs more, but this is The CUT after all!
2008 UNRATED EDITION DVD
Only Will Ferrell could take something as bland as the 1970s ABA/NBA merger and whip it into a hundred minutes of hijinx and hilarity.
Semi-Pro wins the Megabowl for its uncomfortable funny!
There’s cuckolding, vomit jokes, and a Joe Pesci-esque card table scene featuring Will Arnett and Tim Meadows. Andre 3000 and Woody Harrelson are players on Ferrell’s Flint Michigan Tropics team. Throw in Rob Cordry and Jason Sudekis as super-fans and you’ve got comedy gold!
Viewers won’t stop laughing from the opening scene to the ending credits as Ferrell sinks some buckets, as well as to new comedic lows.
Like Blown Away, Semi-Pro is another really good movie.
It’s very funny, but not worth watching over and over again.
Semi-Pro ranks low on the list of Will Ferrell movies. Well below Talladega Nights, Anchorman, Old School, and Step Brothers. And as Ricky Bobby’s dad always said, If you ain’t first you’re last.
—P.S. Step Brothers will be up for The CUT soon as well.—
May as well package Semi-Pro up with a few other comedy movies that aren’t worth much and hope to get lucky.
Items #6 & 7:
FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN
FINAL FANTASY VII ADVENT CHILDREN
2001 & 2006 2-Disc Special Edition DVDS
Anyone who sat through a lengthy play-through of Final Fantasy VII on SONY’s original Playstation console knows the level of nostalgia the Final Fantasy franchise creates. I clocked 107 hours on the game when I should have been focusing on school, or at the very least, girls.
The Final Fantasy video games have been so universally successful that SONY and SQUARE, the series’ creative studio, spawned countless spin-offs and merchandise before second generation video games became universally accepted into popular culture. It’s possible that Final Fantasy played a significant role in that happening.
Aside from an anime series as well as the recent 2020 remake of the aforementioned Final Fantasy VII, two feature length films were released in the 2000s in the wake of that game’s success. One is titled Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the other Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. Advent Children was the sequel to its titular video game.
The Spirits Within is a stylish story with stunning graphics. Where it misses is in the overall execution and movie production.
The choice of using recognized movie stars for voice acting was a huge misstep. It becomes incredibly difficult to suspend disbelief and fall into the reality of the tale when viewers keep thinking That’s Alec Baldwin!, or James Woods, Donald Sutherland, Steve Buscemi, etc. . .
Advent Children is a better all-around movie and rode the razor’s edge before missing The CUT.
Its visuals are crisp and profoundly realistic. The advances of CGI in the five years that followed the release of The Spirits Within are obvious in Advent Children. The filmmakers correct their voice casting mistake of the first film as well.
What causes Advent Children to get cut is how much it tries to stay within its source material’s universe. Cramming all playable characters from FFVII into the film feels terribly forced. The story would be better delivered without all the shoehorning.
Worst of all, Sephiroth is only in the film for two minutes. TWO MINUTES! If you’re going to force people to watch Yuffie, Cid, and Cait Sith then you need to give everyone more of one of the best villains of all-time—Possibly the nerdiest thing I’ve ever written.
Thanks for reading The CUT, and as always, for checking back with us at 5280 Geek.
Be sure to share your stories and memories about any of the items we’ve covered, as well as your own unique way of assessing and reducing your own collection. Just use the comments section below.
Until next time, stay healthy and sane, and always stay geeky!