Tag Archives: god

Anansi Boys (book)

Anansi Boys is a 2005 fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. It is a sequel of sorts to American Gods, but it’s more of a connection than a continuation. American Gods has a character named Mr. Nancy and Anansi Boys is about Mr. Nancy’s two sons. The main character is Charles Nancy, who given the terrible nickname of Fat Charlie by his father. Fat Charlie grew up resenting his father and has willingly lost contact with him. One day he finds out that his father is dead and that Fat Charlie has a brother. Fat Charlie is shocked to learn that his father was actually a god named Anansi, a spider-like trickster and a storyteller. Fat Charlie also finds out that his long lost brother is also a god named Spider. Fat Charlie and Spider have a mini family reunion, but Spider quickly disrupts Fat Charlie’s life and nothing will ever be the same again.

Fat Charlie makes a shady pact with another god in order to get Spider out of his life once and for all. But that deal backfires and sets the plot in motion. Fat Charlie learns about gods and the family business and the power of stories. I don’t even want to go into any more details than that because this novel takes you places that you didn’t think you were going to. All I can say is that Neil Gaiman has a way of making the fantastic seem completely plausible and that Anansi Boys will blow your mind.

It’s not as good as American Gods. But if you liked American Gods, you’ll still enjoy Anansi Boys. If you’ve never read either, start with Anansi Boys because it will whet your appetite. Every character, every paragraph, every line has a meaning and a purpose. You can’t read a Neil Gaiman book once. You might appreciate it after one reading, but you won’t understand it until you reread it.  You should probably read it at least three times to pick up all the nuances and subtle uses of foreshadowing. This is a great book and another triumph from Neil Gaiman.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain

Some people get mad when I take the Lord’s name in vain. They call it blasphemy and a huge insult to God. They need to chill the fuck out. I’m not insulting God. I’m not insulting your religion. I’m not insulting your beliefs. I’m fucking expressing myself. Get over it. That’s great that you’re religious. It’s great that you found Jesus. But don’t ever tell me that I can’t take the Lord’s name in vain. Freedom of speech still exists and I’ll say “Jesus Fucking Christ” any fucking time I fucking want to. I believe in God. I also believe he doesn’t have a problem with me saying “God-fucking-damn-it” when I stab my toe. After all, he’s the reason I stabbed my fucking toe, goddamnit.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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American Gods

            Don’t tell Harry Potter this, but American Gods is my favorite book. This is the book that I suggest when people ask me what book they should read. Neil Gaiman is an English author who writes about America better than anyone else. In American Gods he takes you all over America and captures the magic and mysticism of the US. It’s almost impossible to describe what the story is about without telling you the whole damn story. Imagine a road trip/mystery novel involving fighting gods and a quiet protagonist with a thing for coin tricks and that’s American Gods. It’s quite an experience.

            There’s this big guy named Shadow who gets out of prison and his life is in shambles. He has no job, his wife is dead, and he has nowhere to go. A mysterious stranger (it’s always a mysterious stranger) offers Shadow a job. And Shadow accepts and finds himself in the middle of a war between gods. There are old gods from Norse and Egyptian and Christian beliefs and there are new gods, gods of TV, technology, and drugs. Gods exist because people believe in them, they get their power from sacrifices made in their honor, whether you sacrifice your time, money, perform a ritual, whatever. Shadow and his boss go all around the US, from small towns to big cities and all the sacred places in between. He even has sex with a cat lady at one point, if you like that kind of thing.

            If that sounds interesting at all then should definitely read this book. And if you want to read it, then you might as well go ahead and buy it because you’re going to reread it. This is a really good book and you deserve good things in your life.

            Critically Rated at 17/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Bruce Almighty

Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Liar Liar) directs this religious comedy about a guy who criticizes God and gets all His powers for a week to see if he can do a better job. Jim Carrey is Bruce Nolan, a TV reporter who thinks he is better than he is. He doesn’t get a promotion and he has a hissy fit and he ends up with godlike powers that he uses for selfish reasons before learning not to be selfish and losing his godlike powers. People in Hollywood do a lot of drugs.

Bruce Nolan is a reporter who hopes to be an anchorman, but nobody takes him seriously because he does human-interest stories and flails about like Jim Carrey. He lives with his girlfriend Grace (Jennifer Aniston) and has a pretty decent life but he doesn’t seem to realize it and he complains all the time. His co-worker Evan (Steve Carell) gets promoted to anchorman and Bruce has a little breakdown and challenges God.

God arranges a meeting between the two of them, and Bruce meets God face to face. God looks a lot like Morgan Freeman. God gives Bruce his powers for one week. The only rules are that he can’t tell anyone that he’s God and he can’t interfere with free will.

Bruce uses his powers to get revenge on people who wronged him, to get laid, to get promoted, to get famous… he pretty much abuses his powers in every way possible. He becomes aware that he can hear people praying and asking for help. He starts to help them out but then he decides it’s easier to just say yes to their prayers rather than paying attention to what they are wishing.

Bruce’s actions have consequences. And he’s God, so his actions have really big consequences. Bad things start to happen, both in Bruce’s personal life and with the rest of the world. Grace leaves Bruce and Bruce tries to get her back, but he can’t interfere with free will, so his attempts to get her back don’t work.

Bruce eventually realizes that being God is kind of hard and maybe he shouldn’t be so critical. And wouldn’t you know it, but he gets a second chance with Grace. So you can do everything wrong and fuck up the world and still get a second chance at happiness because you deserve it, damn it.

This movie is funny and it made a lot of money, but it’s not one of Jim Carrey’s better movies. Religious comedies are a weird genre of cinema, but Life of Brian is the best one. Bruce Almighty is too family friendly to be funny.

They made a shitty sequel with Steve Carell’s character called Evan Almighty. I’m surprised they haven’t made a shittier sequel with Morgan Freeman’s character called God Almighty.

This movie has some good scenes, but Bruce isn’t a likeable main character. Grace should have left him. He is an asshole. He becomes totally powerful and uses that power to instinctively help himself. He is a selfish motherfucker and Evan deserved the raise over Bruce from the start.

If an ordinary guy became God, no doubt crazy shit would happen. And some weird stuff does happen in this movie, but they could have done a lot more. There are infinite ideas to explore and it seems like they were holding themselves back to be more of a kid’s movie. Tom Shadyac used to make movies where Jim Carrey talked out of his butthole… they definitely lost some edge.

Critically Rated at 9/17

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