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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Department of Book Reports 28: New & Improved! Now with a Contest!

One of the earliest things to get me hooked on the internet tubes was the Darwin Awards™. First roughly circulated as copied emails, these stories of sheer stupidity may or may not have been urban legends, that was always part of the charm: Could someone be so clueless to have actually done this? Finally organized by Wendy Northcutt on her website in 1990, the awards began to be announced annually. Wendy has 4 volumes of these tales in print at this date.
1. 2000: Darwin Awards: Evolution in Action
2. 2001: Darwin Awards II: Unnatural Selection
3. 2003: Darwin Awards III: Survival of the Fittest
4. 2006: Darwin Awards IV: Intelligent Design

Today I'd like to change directions and talk about the direct-to-DVD release of the film The Darwin Awards™. This quirky, charming comedy is at once a love story, a cautionary tale and as an extra bonus, "Stuff blows up real good!" Disgraced SFPD detective Michael Burrows (Joseph Fiennes) has finally landed a job with an insurance company, promising to develop a system for indentifying these "Darwin Cases" and stopping them before they die and cost the company millions more dollars. He is paired with a feisty insurance adjuster (Winona Ryder) and they are followed everywhere by a film student who cannot interfere because of truthiness restrictions of his documentary. Burrows is haunted by the unsolved North Beach Killer case, a serial killer who drops "Beat" poetry clues and lurks around City Lights Bookstore. In their cross country search to get to the bottom of these insurance claims, they investigate many of the stories identified as urban legends, because, let's face it, those are the funniest ones. With its sly nods to the literary world, this movie will amuse audiences beyond the presumed Nascar™ crowd.

It really feels like the cast had a lot of fun making this movie. Populated by many A-list Hollywood family name actors, they are joined in cameos by Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from TV's Mythbusters, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Sadly, this was Chris Penn's final movie; he died the day before it's Sundance premiere.

This is a fun movie, rent it and be prepared for a rollickingly fun evening.

And Now the Contest!
Jackson Street Books received a box of Fox Entertainment™ swag last week. They suggested raffling these items off to customers in shop, but I thought we could have some fun here. So, the rules:

Tell me about the time you almost became a Darwin Award™ Statistic here in the comments. It has to be true (this means you democommie™™™™®©!) It has to have happened to you, or, if it happened to a friend of yours, you had to have been there. Obviously, you are a failure as a Darwin Award™, because you are here to tell us the story. But, now you might win swag:

Grand Prize:
The Darwin Awards™ DVD plus Darwin Awards™ T-shirt and movie poster!

Second Place:

The Darwin Awards™ DVD and movie poster!

We'll announce the winner on next week's Book Report.

You'll have to contact Jackson Street Books to claim your official Fox Entertainment™ swag, we'll be happy to mail it off to you. I have no idea what other Fine Independent Bookstores are doing with their swag.

Special thanks to democommie™™™™®© for letting me borrow all those ™s!

Oh, yeah, we can get you the books, too!

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.