Peckerwood: raw, gritty perfection

Standard

You probably won’t find a character to love in Peckerwood. But the thing about this book is, you don’t need to love the characters to love the book. And though the characters aren’t likable people, each character is developed enough to understand why he or she might be such a shithead.

The story centers on the symbiotic relationship between a redneck crime boss and the local sheriff, and the forces that cause their relationship to implode.  One of those forces being Terry Hickerson, peckerwood-extraordinaire of Spruce, Missouri.  Terry usually sticks to booze, drugs, women, and theft. But he’s not smart enough to stay within his depth. And a chance encounter with the sheriff’s daughter lands him in the middle of two most powerful and dangerous men in town.

From the very first page, Jedidiah Ayres grabs the reader by the nuts and demands attention.  Ayres builds each scene carefully, sparing no detail without wasting words. The lifestyle and locations are distinctly southern, but could be related to the American underbelly in any state. Poverty and inadequate education yield similar results anywhere in the country.

It doesn’t take long to realize that the characters in Peckerwood aren’t striving for redemption. But their paths are so intriguing, you have to strap in to see just how low they’ll go.

Peckerwood is Jedidiah Ayres’s debut novel. He also has a short story collection titled A F*ckload of Shorts that I’m excited to read.

In Peckerwood, Ayres has found raw, gritty perfection that will stick with you for days. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

peckerwood

Mystery Men rocks my socks.

Standard

Superhero movies are ubiquitous in our culture. But none have been as underrated as 1999’s Mystery Men. It’s a story about a bunch of nobodies desperate to be heroes in crime-ridden Champion City. It was panned by critics and lost a ton of money. But here’s why it’s one of the best movies ever:

1. Ben Stiller is a ticking time bomb of fury. His character Mr. Furious is a convinced that his super powers come from a place of unbridled rage. The only problem is that his anger is actually fairly mild and benign, and his real name not Furious. It’s Roy.

This is an angry primal scream to let you know he's really furious.

This is a big-time primal scream to let you know that he’s really furious.

2. Janeane Garofalo makes bowling look really cool. She plays The Bowler, the only female superhero in the ensemble. She is the son of Carmine the Bowler, and is out to avenge his death. And she keeps his skull in a bowling ball.

Whatever. I have the coolest ball and your ball is stupid.

Whatever. She has the coolest ball and your ball is stupid.

3. This movie is full of awesome quotes. Including, but definitively not limited to, “He who questions training only trains himself at asking questions,” and “I don’t need a compass to know which way the wind shines.”

4. Tom Waits builds awesome weapons. He plays Doc Heller, a genius who makes powerful non-lethal weapons for champions of justice.

Yo, bro. Tom Waits has what you need.

Yo, bro. Tom Waits has what you need.

5. Paul Reubens has the worst farts ever. Pee Wee Herman himself plays the Spleen, a man who was cursed by a gypsy to “forever be he who dealt it”. It’s a chemical weapon straight from his ass.

Mystery Men was not the worst time he's ever had at the movies.

Mystery Men was not the worst time he’s ever had at the movies.

6. Hank Azaria likes to throw forks. He plays the Blue Raja, and his catchphrases include “I say, what the fork!” His super skills all center around silverware.

Don't make fun of his forks if you're not willing to save Champion City yourself!

Don’t make fun of his forks if you’re not willing to save Champion City yourself!

7. Eddie Izzard is a disco-dancing bad guy named Tony P. He killed The Bowler’s dad, and he’s a giant fan of velvet and fake fur. His wardrobe is reason enough to watch this film.

These clothes were from his personal wardrobe.

Pretty sure these clothes were from his personal closet.

8. The main bad guy is played by none other than Geoffrey Rush, and his name is Casanova Frankenstein. He plans to vaporize Champion City, and that just ain’t cool to the Mystery Men.

That's Lena Olin by his side, you guys.

That’s Lena Olin by his side, you guys.

9. I know this is the writer geek in me talking, but I honestly enjoy the character arcs in this movie. The protagonists are sympathetic and lovable, and they all find their redemption (spoiler alert).

10. Tim Burton may or may not have been the director. The director credit goes to someone named Kinka Usher, whose resume includes no other movies, only commercials. Tom Waits eluded in his autobiography that Tim Burton was indeed the director. I love this movie either way, but it’s always fun to entertain a real-life Hollywood mystery.