The Great Pursuit (Tom Sharpe)

The story of a publisher, Frensic, who convinces an unimaginative would-be author, Peter Piper, to pretend authorship of a wildly successful, pornographic novel. It’s a funny book, though not riotously so. Its plot is devious and twisted, but though there’s sex and a riot and some explosions, it seems restrained compared to other Sharpe books. The story twists and turns its way to a delicious conclusion. The book’s closing sections are hilarious. Heartily recommended to anyone who likes a laugh and enjoys seeing pomposity punctured.
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Ripping Yarns (1976–1979 Britain)

Ripping Yarns is Michael Palin at his best, delivering a one–man tour de force. This is even better than the Monty Python series, which has dated horribly and contains more misses than hits. But Ripping Yarns is still a spiffing good piece of television, even in this 21st century of ours. My personal favourite is Murder At Moorstones Manor, an Agatha Christie–like plot in an English country manor setting that gradually whittles down its cast at the point of a gun. The brilliant shambles of an ending denies the curious viewer the answer to whodunnit.
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The Christmas Train (David Baldacci)

There is something enchanting about a train ride experience. And this is a pleasing Christmas read that takes place on a cross-country train trip from Washington DC to Los Angeles. It has fun settings, train facts and interesting characters. I am really impressed by this story. Reading like an old b& w film, our middle-aged hero wants to gain some peace and encounters romance, mystery, humour and adventure during his soul-searching journey. [Read more…]

The Dog Of The South (Charles Portis)

This is one of those books that will make you shake your head in wonder at how much contemporary fiction is dull, lifeless trash, just because it’s so subtle and hilarious that to admire its virtues is to bring the flaws of others into sharp contrast by implication. The Dog of the South provides a sprawling panoramic view of a particular strain of American culture, with its mix of simple, uncomplicated religious belief and modern economics that seems to winnow the very life and meaning out of the country.  The prose style is very artful and the character of the doctor is an American type very reminiscent of the traveling hucksters and other marginal types found in Mark Twain’ or in O’ Tooles “Confederacy of Dunces”. [Read more…]

Garfield Gains Weight: His Second Book (Jim Davis)

This series of comic books never get old because every lazy slacker can identify with Garfield. The original newspaper strip debuted on June 19, 1978 in 41 U.S. newspapers. Several months after the launch, the Chicago Sun-Times cancelled the overweight puddy tat. Over 1300 angry readers demanded that Garfield be reinstated. He was, and the rest, as they say, is history. These days, Garfield is read in over 2400 newspapers by 200 million people. America’s number one fat cat has never been knocked off his heavyweight throne. [Read more…]

Groundhog Day (1993 USA)

I think one of the smartest ideas here is that the setting, pure and simple: it could be anywhere but nowhere important. Of course, it is important for our character to get stuck in the middle of nowhere – then it wouldn’t come as such a curse to spend every day on a nice island or a big city. Here monotomy hits us hard. And here comes the life lesson: people in their 30s & 40s can easily get the metaphor, that ‘every day looks the same’. We work, sleep, eat, …. and what else? Something is missing, right? Maybe words that begin with L and H. [Read more…]

9 To 5 (1980)

All those numbers up above are making me dizzy. Moving on–Dolly Parton, what can I say about her that’s not insulting? I mean you don’t come to highteadreams for real reviews, do you? You can get those elsewhere. This website is for coach potatoes who should be doing something better with their lives, but aren’t. Back to DP: It costs her a lot of money to look that cheap…she is a bit of an old bike who gets around a bit with male celebrities…she’s the country gal always throwing her blanket on the ground when the men were around…she’s so irritatingly cheerful about her poverty-stricken roots…flying fanny…I’ll leave it at that. As for this flick, I suppose those crazed feminists like Gloria Steinem or Angela Merkel watch it on International Women’s Day (don’t laugh) or on other “worthy” occasions. [Read more…]

Bottom (1991–1995 United Kingdom)

Richard “Richie” Richard (Rik Mayall) — a sex-starved, sadistic, physically repugnant loser with delusions of sophistication — takes out his frustrations with life upon Eddie Elizabeth Hitler (Adrian Edmondson): his boozy, slightly more intelligent yet equally perverted and sadistic flatmate. The two of them spend each episode torturing each other with various household objects and I don’t want to know where he got that–type weapons. Thus causing unending chaos to both their surroundings and their neighbours. This classic TV series is definitely very slapstick in style and relies heavily on violence for its main base of humour. [Read more…]

Marc Maron: Too Real (Netflix)

He’s still the guy who prefers to sit onstage on the stool in a crouch, only with a more regular smile across his face. The change is most noticeable from one particular camera angle positioned about the third row. It’s also quite visible as Maron enjoys more physical act-outs of his material onstage. At 53, Maron is happier, nimbler, and stronger as a comedian. Not all comedians get better with age and experience. Some lose the hunger. Some lose touch with the audience. Some get sidetracked by other pursuits, personally or professionally. That’s not the case with Maron, who has delivered his best hour of stand-up to date. [Read more…]

Carry On Henry (1971 Britain)

A curiously neglected entry, perhaps as it was made in a period when the series had generally started to go into decline, but in my view it’s one of the best of all, certainly in the top three. The historical outings were usually among the team’s funniest, and Talbot Rothwell provides perhaps his most audacious script with a real plot, told in his trademark puns and double entendres, but with a real abundance of panache and wit, attaining an almost poetic quality. Here the great tyrant, Henry VIII, is kinky haired Sid James – a pint-sized, dirty old man with a mug only a mother could love – chasing tavern wenches and princesses alike. [Read more…]

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