Friday, August 10, 2012


I saw the new Jason Bourne movie, "The Bourne Legacy,"  on its opening day, Friday, Aug. 10, and I was sorry. 

What a load of hokum. All razzle-dazzle with no real story, no character development, no real movie. It's as if they spliced a lot of action sequences together with transition scenes that don't make any sense.

Some of the action sequences seem great until you think about them. I kept thinking to myself, over and over, Why are the characters doing this? What does this mean? And, most often, Huh?

Why is our hero in the Alaska wilderness? It's a training area. Is this a training exercise? No, that would make too much sense. Wait, he's not supposed to be there. But then why is he there? 

The black ops agency is killing its own people? Why is that? It makes absolutely no sense.

How does our hero find the hot scientist babe? If the bad guys are there to kill her, why don't they just go ahead and kill her? Why try to fool her first? Or are they really trying to fool the audience? Ya think?

Our hero and the hot babe are on the run--a mad, scrambling, crazy run--away from the government bad guys (the government is always the enemy in these movies, for some reason) and they just happen to have a laptop computer with them? Huh? WTF? How did that happen?

(This movie treats the audience like morons, in the same way the black ops agency treats its field agents like morons.)

Wait, our hero had a low IQ, and now he's brilliant? How in hell does that work? Where do we get that pill?

What is all this hokum about a virus and, I guess, genetic engineering? The movie has some 'splainin' to do.

Most of it is confusing, silly and pointless. I did like a few scenes, and I do like going to the movies. But Lord, this is a load of crap.

Check your brain at the door. And don't ask too many questions.

These Bourne movies have gotten worse each time. The first one is pretty good, one of my favorite action films. Then they go downhill. Why is that? I think these movies are made to be stupid, for a younger and dumber audience. For an audience that is incapable of critical thinking. 

In Hollywood, big dollars don't go with high IQs. The big studios, which have big bucks to invest in a blockbuster movie, don't care about intelligence or quality. They care about one thing: money.

So the movies get bigger and dumber. And so do the audiences. Hooray.

Welcome to the Big Brainless Blockbuster.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I'm about three quarters of the way through James Lee Burke's well written and mostly entertaining novel "Purple Cane Road." But on Page 288, it's losing me.

It has gotten too complicated, and it's focusing on things I no longer care about. It's hard to spend so much time with low-lifes--criminals, psychopaths, pimps, hookers, hit-men, corrupt cops. 

The main character, Dave Robicheaux, is focused too much on the past. I don't care who killed his mother. Burke has not managed to interest me in that through-line.

Dave feels sorry for himself. Oh, poor me, my mother was a cleaning woman for hookers, and my father was a drunk who liked to fight in bars. OK, so Dave was born poor white trash. We all have our problems, get over it.

As the famous hard-boiled novelist Mickey Spillane said, "No one ever read a novel to get to the middle." But what pulls you along, usually, are dramatic questions (Did Hamlet's uncle kill his father? What is Hamlet going to do about it?) and concern for the fate of the character. (How will this affect Hamlet's life?)

In "Purple Cane Road," the dramatic questions I see are four: Will Letty Labiche be executed by the state for killing her molester? Will Dave find out who killed his mother and why? Is the sexy female attorney general corrupt? Will Dave's wife's past destroy their marriage?

Frankly, at this point, I don't care about any of that. Maybe I should, but I don't.

Maybe there are too many story questions. Maybe these story questions are not momentous enough. Maybe they are not matters of life and death. Maybe not vital to Dave's future. I don't know. Anyway, I am giving up, at least for now. Still, the writing is great.  

-- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I have been re-reading James Lee Burke's novel "Purple Cane Road" and I do love it. My buddy Adam asked me why I like it so much. Here is my answer:

I love "Purple Cane Road" for everything: mostly the incredible richness and complexity of it. It would take me years to write a novel like that, with several through-lines (which seem obscure at times); with so many weird, quirky, unforgettable characters; with a single narrative voice, but with multiple points of view, including first, third and omniscient, all in one unified story; lush descriptions of a fascinating place; wild, driven, original action scenes; ambiguous concepts of good and evil.

Whew. It is a big mother of a crime novel. If you like to get lost in a novel and live in that world, this will do it, at least for me.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle