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Saturday 7 April 2012

The Raven

About seven years ago I decided to remove clutter from my life.  My crummy little apartment in downtown Toronto had more books in it than available wall space.  While I had read many of them, many sat on the shelves, unread and rarely noticed.  I seemed to collect books without a real purpose and often boxes of books would find me. Yet, for some reason I was proud of all my books and wanted to be surrounded by them.  I think they made me feel smart or at least to visitors, look smart.  I'm not really that smart.  Old downtown apartments get dusty and books and bookshelves need to be dusted. Dust and clutter, at least for me, are not a healthy environment.

It came to pass one day that I looked at my dusty, cluttered little apartment and asked myself, why do I care so much about books that have been either read once or twice or not at all?  It occurred to me that others could enjoy them. So, I went through all of them and boxed them with the intention of giving them away.  What I learned about boxing books is that the boxes have to be both strong and small, because books are damn heavy.  The process was kind of liberating and I managed to get all the books into several dozen boxes.  All books, except for a few that I couldn't bring myself to part with.  One was the complete works of Shakespeare (again, F**K OFF, Anonymous), the others included my Edward Albee collection and the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe.

When I was a kid I read the Tell Tale Heart.  I loved it so much that I memorized the entire short story.

"True, nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses..." 

I loved A Cask of Amontillado and The Pit and the Pendulum and The Fall of the House of Usher, and of course, The Raven.  I didn't see the 1963 film, The Raven.

John Cusack has starred in some of my favourite movies:  The Grifters, Grosse Pointe Blank, High Fidelity, not necessarily in that order.  There is something so real and likable about Cusack.  In every role he just seems natural, honest, sincere.  I haven't seen all of his films, but this role looks very different from the usual Cusack role.  He is actually playing Edgar Allan Poe, himself.  And yet, from the trailer the honesty that is very Cusack comes through in The Raven.

That said, the trailer for the film was not at all what I expected. Poe is often credited for creating the modern day, logic based detective. Some believe his work spawned Sherlock Holmes and other fictional detectives. The Raven is not about the Poe poem, it's more of the complete works told through a detective story. A detective story about Edgar Allan Poe helping the police find a killer that is killing people in the manner which people die in Poe stories.  Kind of cool and creepy.

I don't care if this film draws comparisons to recent Sherlock Holmes films (which I also enjoy), Cusack, Poe and "from the Director of V for Vendetta" (another one of my favourites!) are an easy sell for me to want to see The Raven. 


  1. Greggie, the Curmudgeon11 April 2012 at 15:14

    Bang on buddy - and while I saw the eagerly anticipated trailer many moons ago (being a fanatical Poe beau myself)...

    I did quake in a swirl of dismay
    Upon hearing the woody Cusack say:
    "I'll send you to hell"
    Which ensued me to yell
    Please, I beg you, please
    Pluck me from this wicked cheese
    This infernal prison that is your trailer
    Before madness becomes my eternal jailer.

    Having raved that, I'll probably see it - strictly for the Poe stuff - but for the life of me, why can't we let new (undiscovered) actors give such roles a chance? Is it because Poe in himself would not be enough of a draw? If then, we are in dark times indeed...

    And John, stick what you're good at - quirky comedies. You haven't got the (mad) stuff to pull of a Poe.

    By the by, Bart Simpson as the (true) raven kills - for all time.

    1. Ahh, Greggie,
      Your comments and cuplets are always appreciated.
      And yes, hearing Bart Simpson quoth "Nevermore," is hard to forget.