Sherlock Holmes? Read The Adventures For Free

If you haven’t seen Sherlock Holmes, don’t bother.  Read the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories for free on Project Gutenberg, and wait until the movie comes to your local cable company.   Call me a purist, but I prefer the clean and precise prose of the original stories to the rapid fire quips the characters launch at one another throughout the movie.   The odd rapport between Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Dr. Watson (Jude Law) made me feel like I was watching an episode of House.  Hugh Laurie by the way would have been a better choice to play Holmes – the British actor’s accent surely would have been more convincing.  House insults his colleagues incessantly, like Holmes, and they him. In fact, Holmes is said to be the inspiration for the brilliant, drug addicted House.  Holmes was known to have an affinity for cocaine, but Robert Downey, Jr. portrays the character as a slightly deranged, but mostly sober sleuth.  Unless I fell asleep during some parts of the movie, which could have happened while taking a break from my five gallon tub of buttered and heavily salted popcorn, I don’t recall any reference to cocaine, opium or absynthe.  Holmes seems more addicted to Watson’s company.  The high maintenance Holmes needs constant attention and companionship, unlike Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes who is more detached and anti-social.   Guy Ritchie’s manic-depressive Holmes is a frustrated comic at heart who half-heartedly solves the Crime of the Century, incidentally one of my favorite albums by the British group, Supertramp. Robert Downey, Jr. even won a Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy for his portrayal of Holmes.   Sherlock Holmes, the movie – a comedy? Sherlock Holmes, a comedian? That’s just wrong!

In the Sherlock Holmes stories I’ve read, and I have not read them all, Watson is in awe of Holmes’ deductive powers and admires his intellect, like a graduate assistant to an acclaimed professor.  In the movie, there’s is no awe – they interact as fraternity brothers, more or less on equal terms.  Holmes insults Watson.  Watson acts mildly annoyed most of the time and plays the role of the armed sidekick.  Both versed in the martial arts, Watson is  more the head butting rugby player brute , while Holmes plays the crafty featherweight boxer who punches to disarm, stun and disable enemies twice his size.  He is also a master of disguise and I would have liked this aspect of his detective arsenal to have been featured more.

And what’s the deal with Holmes and Irene Adler?  There was no romantic chemistry between them whatsoever as intended.   On the other hand, from a strict reading of the only story in which she appears in the literature, “A Scandal in Bohemia”, there is not even a trace of romance in the air.   And speaking of artistic license, Lord Blackwood, the main villain in the movie, is a complete fabrication, while Holmes main nemesis, Professor Moriarty plays a bit role.   And as a fabrication, Lord Blackwood is not even very original; too close to J.K. Rowling’s Lord Voldermort if you ask me.

Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack was the star of the movie.  His score brilliantly evoked 19th century London and the mind of the disturbed, eccentric detective.  Buy the soundtrack.  Skip the movie.  It’ll be on TV soon enough, in HD probably. Save your money for a bag of Orville Redenbacher.

What’s in a Name? – A look at the US Senate

I thought I’d have a look at the names of U.S. Senators to see if I could find some hidden talents, perhaps even some presidential hopefuls for 2012.  Some names are simply interesting and deserving of comment.

Evan Bayh.  I have some nicknames for the Democrat from Indiana. I wonder if the Senator ever coached a basketball team that got a first round Bayh.  If he were ever defeated, I can hear the Republican chants…”na na na na hey, hey, good Bayh”.  And if Senator Bayh were to run for president, it might be a disaster if the Republicans latched onto to this:  Evan “walk on” Bayh.

Max Baucus.  I can’t resist this one, and I know it’s a little silly, but hey… Montana Senator Max Baucus, with whom do you caucus?

Christopher (Kit) Bond.  Great name.  Fittingly, the Republican from Missouri is on the subcommittee for Financial Services.   President Obama values bipartisan governance, so why not give Mr. Bond a shot at Treasury Secretary?  If his name were James, he’d no doubt have a bright future with the CIA.

Chuck Grassley the Republican from the state of Iowa has an organic name, which reminds me of feed and being from a farming state, he should be considered for a post at the Agriculture Department.  One of his crowning achievements is support for legislation that objected to the classification of manure as a hazardous substance.

Judd Gregg. Republican from New Hampshire.  I just like the name.  It’s one of those names that could go either way.  Gregg Judd, Judd Gregg.  You could even subtract a g, and a d, and it’d still work out – Greg Jud, Jud Greg.

Herb Kohl.  Say, hasn’t he written a lot of progressive books on education?  I have two of them:  36 Children and Open Classroom.  He also published a review of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of Hope, another book I own.  I didn’t know Herbert Kohl was the Democratic Senator from the good state of Wisconsin.  President Obama, make this man Education Secretary.

Arlen Specter.  The Republican turned Democrat from PA is an Attorney by trade, right?  With a name like Specter, I’d think he could serve quite admirably in the Office of Inspector General.  He could have been an understudy for Eddie Marson who plays Inspector Lastrade (and for all I know he was) in the upcoming Sherlock Holmes film in theatres near you on Christmas Day, 2009.  And if the acting gig doesn’t work out, he just might become the next NFL Commissioner, much to the chagrin of Coach Bill Belichick.

And I submit that Obama will have stiff competition in 2012 from Democrat Jon “test the waters” Tester, from Montana and the dark horse from Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse.