|Movies in Fifteen Minutes|
|summary||A hilarious snarkfest through a dozen of the last decade's movies.|
Luckily, a publisher agreed and contacted her about a print version of the online format. The result is a dense 400 pages of fan-service satire covering the last ten years of movies. Films covered in the book include Jurassic Park, Braveheart, Independence Day, Titanic, The Matrix, Gladiator, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Spider-Man, Attack of the Clones, and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. For those of you already saying "This book is crap, I thought Will Smith's performance in Independence Day was extremely moving", relax. While the book is satire, and the obvious flaws in the film's plot are laughed at, the author is a fan first and foremost. She treats even Jeff Goldblum's grumpy chaotician in Jurassic Park with the respect of someone who knows her audience very well. You can laugh at a film without hating it.
And laugh you will. M15M synopses are fast-paced tears through the boring bits, glossing over all that wordy tension building background stuff with a well placed "OMG" to get to the really good parts. From Gladiator:
"MAXIMUS: Forget this - I'm going home, where I have a wife and son.
LUCILLA: I'm be going to Rome, where I have a son and a dead husband.
[They exchange smouldering glances.]
MAXIMUS: So, have we established that we once had a thing, but we now both have children, the ultimate bittersweet evidence of us having done it with other people?
LUCILLA: Yeah, I think so.
MAXIMUS: Awesome. See you around."
Every movie is a self-contained world of straightforward dialogue that cuts to the bone of a scene while still evoking the spirit of the situation. The jokes are funny, to be sure, but the book is also well written. Comedy is hard, and ensuring the synopses were peppered with references to literature and film, emoting objects, and subtle fan poking while also making sure the movies made sense must have been a challenge. The bare bones of characters are usually established within a few pages by self-referential dialogue, and while you may have to suffer through an entire paragraph of actual exposition it's unlikely that will go on for long. From Philosopher's Stone:
"HAGRID: You ought not to meddle in these things!
HARRY: But we're the stars of the movie! That's what we do!
HAGRID: Well, you three can stop that right now! We've gotten along just fine without a plot so far, hain't we? Just lots of nice episodes about young Harry's adventures at wizard school! Don't see no reason why we've got to go introducing a plot now, of all things, so you just keep to yourselves and don't ask no questions about Nicholas Flemel, hear?"
Not content just to use obvious humor, there are several running gags and real-world intrusions throughout the book as well. The Third Age Limbo competition, for example, is well attended by several characters during the course of the book (Neo wins), and Padme's handmaiden Rose is seen at one point bargaining with George Lucas to be allowed into a certain leather skirt movie with a naked Brad Pitt. Cleolinda's understanding of pop culture on the whole is impressive, and despite the already stale nature of some of the movies in the book the humor she uses manages to have a sort of timeless quality to it. In ten years references to the movies themselves may no longer be common, but the book's humor manages to stand on its own. Brittany Spears, George W. Bush, and Martha Stewart are nowhere to be found within the pages of the book, ensuring that despite its pop culture roots it won't be incomprehensible after a few years on the shelf. From The Matrix:
M15M is the kind of book ideally suited to reading in spurts. It's not a great work of our time, and it doesn't pretend to be. This book is a read-before-bed treasure, a fine companion for a long plane ride, or a great reason to get yourself into the sun on a vacation beach. In the end, it is a dozen mostly self-contained novellas with familiar characters and snarky commentary on the often nonsensical decisions made in moviemaking. It's wittily written, with a fast cadence and intelligent voice. It's quite hard to convey comedic timing in print form, but M15M manages to live up to the best stand up acts with copious ellipses and enthusiastic asterisk. Movies in Fifteen Minutes is an Internet version of 'local girl does good', and the result is a testament to what you can do with some spare time and a sarcastic attitude. Even though it will be out in the states early next year, and you can read her online works for free, M15M is well worth the couple of pounds to have the book shipped across the pond."The Matrix: The Text Adventure
MORPHEUS: Go Down The Hall.
NEO: There's an office at the end of the hall!
MORPHEUS: Go There.
NEO: I am there.
MORPHEUS: Go In It.
NEO: Sorry, I don't understand that.
MORPHEUS: GO INTO THE OFFICE.
MORPHEUS: OPEN THE DOOR AND GO INTO THE OFFICE.
NEO: Oh, okay.
MORPHEUS: God, I Hate Text RPGS."
From Jurassic Park:
"ELLIE: We have to reboot the system before we can call for help! Unfortunately, I'm just a botanist who can barely understand the concept of 'chaos' -
GRANT: And we've got a raptor at the door!
ELLIE: I'm coming to help you hold the door!
GRANT: But who will reboot the door locks? WHO, I ASK YOU??
LEX'S SHINING MOMENT: *arrives*
LEX: Hey! I can totally manoeuvre this system you call 'Unix', because I am a 'hacker'!"
You can purchase Movies in Fifteen Minutes from Amazon.co.uk. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.