Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Back in my college days, I read Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One – believe it or not – for a class.  It was a light, fast-paced read; the kind of book that’s hard to put down and easy to plow through.  But despite its fleeting pleasures, the moment I finished I could feel my inner critic starting to wake up.  The more thought I gave Ready Player One, the more cynical my attitude towards it became.  Could this collection of pop-culture references tacked onto a generic treasure-hunt plot even be called a novel?  These doubts grew so quickly that they completely tarnished my previous enjoyment of the book, and soon I felt duped for having bought into it in the first place. Continue reading

Thoroughbreds

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Lily (Anna Taylor-Joy) is in a bad place.  She’s in trouble with her posh boarding school, and stuck at home between semesters with her well-meaning but uninvolved mother and douchebag-extraordinaire stepfather, Mark (Paul Sparks).  He and Lily live together in hostile tension, both affecting a façade of chilly politeness that barely conceals their mutual hatred for one another.  Meanwhile, the mother of Lily’s middle school classmate Amanda pays her to tutor her daughter, itself a transparent excuse to provide Amanda with some social contact.  Amanda has become an outcast after brutally killing her family’s crippled horse, which in her mind was an act of mercy. Continue reading