Sunday, April 06, 2014

Odd Thomas and Other Sunday Morning Musings

Dean Koontz, a writer I’ve enjoyed for nearly 30 years, has a series of books about a young fry cook named Odd Thomas. Odd can see the silent spirits of the dead, who linger on Earth due to unresolved issues. Those issues usually involve murder. Odd is aided in his mission by his girlfriend, Stormy. They have been a couple since childhood, when a card from a gypsy fortune telling machine revealed Odd and Stormy were destined to be together forever.

Koontz, like many writers, has not exactly hit the jackpot when his work has been adapted for movies and TV. Watchers 3, anyone? However, several months ago, Koontz praised the adaptation of Odd Thomas, written and directed by Stephen Sommers, the man behind the Brendan Fraser Mummy movies. The movie briefly appeared in theaters and was recently released to DVD and Blu-Ray. We just watched it and here are a few thoughts.

* Anton Yelchin, from Hearts in Atlantis and the guy who plays Chekov in the Star Trek reboot, is perfect as Odd. He manages to embody a mix of optimism, dread and a sense of heavy responsibility. Humor is a big part of Koontz’s Odd Thomas books, and Yelchin and Addison Timlin as Stormy, do a fine job delivering one liners and keeping the mood as light as needed.

* The plot of the novel has been compressed and changed to work as a film. At least there’s a nod to Elvis, who is a character in the book.

* At times, Odd Thomas has the look of a TV movie, due, I’m sure, to budget constraints. On the other hand, the effect are impressive, particularly the bodachs and a scene inside the house of Fungus Bob.

* The story has a lot of heart, and it stayed with me. There aren’t many days when I wake up thinking of the movie I watched the night before. In this case, I did.

All in all, it’s a solid representation of Koontz’s work, and I would recommend it for fans of the book.

We also watched Last Vegas, which has been predictably referred to as The Hangover for seniors. Four old friends go to Vegas for a bachelor party and hijinks ensue. The big takeaway? Michael Douglas looks more like his dad than ever. The performances are good, the script has some solid jokes and Mary Steenburgen can sing. Who knew? It’s was an enjoyable couple of hours. Definitely a rental, not an owner.

While writing this weekend, I realized what the title to the third Dead Sheriff book needed to be. For fans of the first book, I realize this news might be slightly ironic and perhaps even frustrating, since I haven’t finished writing the second book yet.

No one has been more disappointed than me at my lack of productivity. The last couple of years have been tumultuous and that’s all I’m inclined to say. I may be the only person on the Internet who doesn’t feel an obligation to share every personal detail of my life with the world, but I’ve never been one of the cool kids, so why start now?

The good news is that my writing is returning to something resembling a normal schedule.

And it feels good.

In addition to the next Dead Sheriff book (which involves masked vigilantes, cannibals and a vampire bordello, so, you know, booyah), I have several other projects in the works for this year and I’m anxious to see some results. Now it’s a party.

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