History and the Historians of Medieval Spain - Peter Linehan

This mess of a book is badly in need of an editor. The name alone hints that the author couldn't decide what book he was writing.

His observations on history are mainly uninteresting. His observations on historians range from boring to catty.



Filth (2013)

A boring checklist of edgy things you've seen a million times.



The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

Everyone's rich and goes to parties and it's extremely tragic.



Fallout 2 (1998)
Roughly the point where I lost interest in the game.

When I was about 15, a friend of mine strongly encouraged me to play this. It's too bad, because I probably would have liked it if I'd played it back then. Now a complicated RPG feels like doing chores, and what teenage me would have thought was dark and edgy seems bland and drab.



Maron - Season 1

"Mary Sue" doesn't even begin to describe this. More than half the episodes are him complaining that too many beautiful women want to have sex with him.



História de Portugal : Estado, Pátria e Nação (1080-1415) - Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão

He does fairly good research, but his style is plodding and it's hard to overlook the major religious/nationalist bias he explicitly states from the beginning, especially when he extensively quotes Marcelo Caetano...



Code Complete - Steve McConnell

Motivational speeches for people who say, "Let me bing it on my Windows Phone".

McConnell likes to spend fifty pages driving home ideas that could be summed up in one or two sentences, and which generally aren't that profound ("planning ahead is important"). His anecdotes are idiotically exaggerated, like the cigar-chomping general who storms around the office demanding to count lines of code.



Prometheus Unbound - Percy Shelley

This painting accurately represents the pain of the boredom I felt when reading this book. I can't believe someone read Prometheus Bound and thought this was the direction the story was supposed to take.



Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)

This, along with the indie rock popular around the same time, created the obnoxious precedent that affluent white guys whining about being sad is culturally significant.



The Big Chill (1983)

This was a huge hit at the time, and billed as a baby boomer nostalgia film. It's about a group of friends in their mid-thirties, blandly reflecting on how the ideals of the 60s transitioned into some bleak reality blah blah blah. Excellent cast, excellent soundtrack, extremely tedious if you're not in the (almost extinct) target demographic.


The weird thing about this movie now is that the meaning of 'baby boomer' has gradually shifted, so most people called 'baby boomer' today were teenagers when this came out.



Swan's Way - Marcel Proust

I must be some kind of idiot, because when I read about bored rich people being bored of boring situations, I don't quiver with excitement.



Candide - Voltaire

This book is meant to make fun of Leibniz. It's fairly funny and I enjoyed it as a teenager, before I was familiar with Voltaire's other works.

Leibniz has a spotty record as a philosopher, but his contributions to mathematics go far beyond the calculus you normally hear about. His fingerprints are all over pure math and formal logic and computer science and computer hardware and engineering in general. Next time you're in an airplane and it doesn't crash, thank Leibniz twenty times over.

Voltaire, on the other hand, was a rich, sarcastic dickhead whose rants against Jewish and Black people were extremely racist even by the standards of the 18th century. Screw this book.



Decline and Fall - Evelyn Waugh

I got to the racist chapter, and that was a it for me.


Why bother trying to decode the author's intentions? Maybe he didn't mean it and was trying to say something about his characters? I tried to convince myself of that for the first few pages, but by the end of the chapter telling myself that would be nothing but wilful blindness. Maybe it was more acceptable back then - I almost always get a 'standards of the day' lecture when I write something like this - but does that mean we should shrug it off? Five years later Hitler was a quite popular writer and normal by the standards of the day.


Trash is trash, no matter how much you analyse it or pretend that seeing it through ten layers of witty detachment makes it any better.



Live And Let Die (1973)


This has my vote for worst James Bond movie. Even a campy movie like Moonraker has its charms and some good action sequences.


James Bond is completely out-of-place in a blaxploitation film. Roger Moore is bland and obnoxious; he was never the best Bond, but he's a lot more watchable in any other Bond film. Every scene is flat and tiresome and misses the mark. In the dramatic climax, the main villain gets blown up like a balloon (pictured).


In the very last scene, we find out that the moral of the story is that Voodoo is real, even though Voodoo was pretty tangential to the plot. It's like if Godfather ended with Michael turning to the camera and saying, "I guess what we've all learned in these last few months is that oranges are delicious".



Masters Of None - Season 1

At first I thought, "This is funny, but the main character is a bit of a Mary Sue." Then I got to the Nashville episode. The entire episode involves Aziz's character taking a girl out on a perfect date. The plot doesn't start till about minute 21 (75% of the way through the episode), when he makes a mistake but then makes up for it charmingly.

Can you imagine being so self-absorbed that you would write an entire script about how attractive and wonderful and funny and kind you are, and then assemble a film crew halfway across the country so that you could have it broadcast to the world? I don't think I've ever been so embarrassed for someone I've never met.