Saturday, April 25, 2009

Catching Up #28: The Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips

Okay so fucking sue me: I've only just read The Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips. Yeah, I fucking know, all right? Get off my fucking nuts. That is why I have the Catching Up series, you douche: so I can CATCH THE FUCK UP.

It's not like I didn't want to for a long ass time. Thing is, I saw the movie first and I have kind of a crazy memory for movie details. Shit, I have a crazy memory in general but especially for movies. Name me a title and I can tell you when and where I saw it, even shit I saw when I was like five or six (whether what I tell you is truth or not is another matter, but that's the fucking rub, right?) So naturally it's kind of hard for me read a book after watching the film because the plot sticks in my mind no matter how hard I try to drink it away.

And though even when I picked up the fucking book the whole story came racing back to me, I forged ahead because, dammit, I want to know what the cult of Phillips is all about (also, the sequel, The Walkaway, looked pretty cool and I couldn't very well pick that up without reading the first book now could I?)

Well, lo and behold, the book is better than the movie. A lot better. But that ain't exactly blowing your fucking hair back in the new information department, now is it?

And the movie does spoil some shit quite a lot because for the most part the movie is pretty faithful (well, until we get to the ending which I won't get into but jesus fucking christ, the original book ending would have guaranteed the move - flaws and all - something like cult classic status instead of "remember that time Harold Ramis made a crime movie?" status), but the book tells the story in a much more involving way. Shit, until about half way through the book there are only sly hints at the crime story that is going down, we're mainly just hanging out with Charlie Arglist as he takes us on a hilarious tour of the sad-ass bar scene in Wichita on Christmas Eve 1979 (and why not make it a period piece, Hollywood? Way to miss the fucking boat over and over and...okay. I'm over it. Deep breath.).

And really, if you haven't read the book or seen the movie, that's all you should really know about the Ice Harvest going into it. It's about Charlie Arglist, mob lawyer and divorcee, spending his last night in Wichita doing little errands and tying up certain loose ends - but mainly just getting fucking drunk off his ass. Eventually, the noir shit raises its ugly head and things get brutal and the whys and whats are made clear.

You should also know this: I envy the shit out of you, Ice Harvest Virgin. I envy the living motherfucking shit out of you something fierce. But I saw the movie and it didn't hurt the experience enough that I would deter anyone at all from picking up the book toot-fucking-sweet.

The Ice Harvest is a fucking dark, nasty hoot and if you don't dig it, there's really nothing that can be said for you other than that you're culturally retarded and probably should quit life and talk about Susan Boyle till someone with half a brain stabs you in the throat (I really hope that in six months someone reading this article will have trouble remembering who Susan fucking Boyle is).

That's pretty much what I got, dear reader. I could have just read The Ice Harvest and kept it to myself, let my secret shame as a ignorant noir fan eat me up inside. But I'm trying to keep up with the rest of my generation by telling complete strangers on the internet everything - no matter how disturbing or shameful - about myself. So consider yourself confessed to, dear readers, and I'll consider myself cleansed. Or not. It's up to you as unofficial internet-priests, I suppose.

But enough with this apologetic bullshit, I've got more catching up to do with my sharp-looking copy of The Walkaway.

1 comment:

jedidiah ayres said...

Walkaway rocks. Apparently he's working on a new Wayne Ogden book now. Can't wait.