A Crime Filled Reading List Tangent—Mainlining Richard Stark’s ‘Parker’ Series
So, one thing led to another and I may have read four Parker books instead of just the one I planned on for May.Now, in my defense, some of the other books I wanted to read had wait-lists with the library… and also, they’re all around only 200 pages, so they’re quick reads.
And they’re everything I thought they’d be—the only surprising thing is how unintentionally funny Parker is; throughout all the books Parker is constantly interacting with people who want to be around him, want to work with him, want his attention, want to hire him—and he just wants to be left alone. He wants to plan his job, do the job, not get double crossed, and then go off alone to live off his take. And that never happens.
I had only ever read the first couple volumes of Darwyn Cook’s incredible graphic novel adaptations, and seen the film versions of “The Hunter”, ‘Point Blank’ with Lee Marvin, and ‘Payback’ with Mel Gibson (which Point Blank’s director once remarked read like a script him that Lee Marvin had thrown out of his window in fury at its awfulness, and that a young Mel Gibson must have been passing by, and picked it up.)After enjoying all these adaptations I’ve been loving actually getting to dig into the originals.
Exploring Dark Matter
It’s reminding me so far of “Predestination”, the movie based on Robert Heinlein’s short story ‘All You Zombies’, although that was focused on time travel and the interweaving manipulations of timelines rather than exploring multiverse theory.
While I really enjoyed “Predestination” I’ve never read its source material, and after hating reading Heinlein’s “Stranger In a Strange Land” I’m a little hesitant to check it out. So I wonder if this might be a similar situation; that I might enjoy adaptations of Crouch’s work—‘Wayward Pines‘, ‘Good Behavior’ for tv and eventually “Dark Matter” itself as a film—more than I like his writing itself.
Or maybe I’ll enjoy this more as it gets going—like I said, there are probably some twists coming….
Watching the Short Film, “The Funeral”
You may remember a while back when I shared an episode of the podcast Actsiders that featured an interview with Ali Nasser. He discussed being an international actor and having a multifaceted career that spans cultures as easily as it does genres and artistic mediums.
If you haven’t listened to Ali on Actsiders, check it out, and then subscribe to and listen to the rest of the episodes. When you’ve finished all that, jump over to YouTube and watch a short film by Ahsan Minhas that Ali recently starred in called “The Funeral.”
In a very brief glimpse into his character’s life, we are able to see a man struggling to balance the success that will define his future and the relationships that represent his past. Having listened to the Actsiders interview and knowing Ali as an Egyptian-born/New York-based actor who is so rooted in both worlds by the relationships and career paths he’s cultivated, I may be seeing a deeper duality than was intended by either actor or writer/director. More than likely however, that was precisely what was intended, as this film sought to convey not only the intimate grief of one man, but the constant struggle between the almost split personalities our modern lives break us into.
In everyday life, even when there isn’t a death or culminating milestone event, aren’t we all constantly being pulled in different directions, whether by responsibilities, expectations, promises, dreams?
How can we balance it all? The mantra of ‘work hard, hard’ that was meant to symbolize a hard day’s work to pay for a fulfilling personal life has been cast aside in today’s world as we find ourselves always working, always connected, always moving. And always falling short.
How can we be good men and women, good mothers, fathers, children and siblings, good friends, good bosses, coworkers, good Muslims, Christians, believers of any faith, good creators and consumers? How can we balance what we give with what we receive? How can we be good people and good enough? And how do we keep up the strength to be all of those things that we expect of ourselves when we have failed at one of them.
I hope you’ll watch the film, and if you have the time, check out Ahsan’s other work, which I found just as interesting and thought provoking.