Another clearing the decks post. This is a hint of a big Heinlein post to come. I hope..
Heinlein adaptations have been somewhat thin on the ground. I don’t know if this an aversion to his perceived right wing beliefs or what. But if you look at the movies based on Heinlein’s prolific work, it boils down to:
Destination Moon: an OK hard sci-fi film that Heinlein was directly involved with. Decent but not exceptional. More educational than anything else. I’d give it a 6 or 7/10.
Project Moon Base: Disowned by Heinlein. Very poorly regarded.
The Brain Eaters: A bad movie basically stolen from “The Puppet Masters”. I have not seen it.
The Puppet Masters: Suffered from ditching the nudity aspects of the original story, which would have given it an edge since, by the time this story reached the silver screen, almost all of its elements had been stolen by other lesser films. It’s decent though and has some genuinely creepy moments. 7/10
Starship Troopers: I really a need a long-form review of this one. It’s OK. But its determination make Heinlein’s world seem fascist, the removal of the mech suits and its dependence on stars with lots of looks and few acting chops (and entirely white) made for a mediocre film. Heinlein would have been fine with the mixed gender military. That wouldn’t have flown in 1959. 6 or 7/10.
That’s pretty much it. There’s a supposed coming adaptation of The Moon is Harsh Mistress — one of my favorite Heinlein novels. But for some reason, Heinlein’s extremely filmable works have been largely ignored.
Well, until last year, when we got Predestination, an adaptation of Heinlein’s mind-bending time travel short, All You Zombies.
Predestination is basically everything a Heinlein fan could ask for. It takes the plot of the story more or less verbatim, with an added loop that doesn’t add much but doesn’t hurt the movie either. The directing is solid and the look of the film perfectly aligned with Heinlein’s mid-century sensibilities. And the acting of the small cast is excellent. Hawke is the headline grabber. And he’s good. But the real star is Sarah Snook, who is just dynamite in an extremely-challenging role. She simply makes the movie, switching without apparent effort through the various iterations of Jane.
This is the first adaptation of a Heinlein work that I would say makes the grade. It got very little attention but it was easily one of the better films of 2014. I highly recommend it, especially for fans of sci-fi or Heinlein. But, really, you’ll like it if you just like good movies.
Dammit. It’s almost the end of December and I haven’t put up a post this month. I have — I kid you not — 37 posts in various draft forms. So I’ll be trying to kick a bunch out.
A few years ago, I suggested that baseball borrow “the double” from English football as a way of bringing back some meaning to the long regular season. In this scheme, the league champion would be the team that won the most games. A team that won both the most games in its league and the World Series would be recognized as having won a “double” just like winning the League and FA Cups in English Football. Here is an updated list of the teams that would have been national champions under this system. Bold lettering is a team that won the double.
1994 – New York (70), Montreal (74)
1995 – Cleveland (100), Atlanta (90)
1996 – Cleveland (99), Atlanta (96)
1997 – Baltimore (98), Atlanta (101)
1998 – New York (114), Atlanta (106)
1999 – New York (98), Atlanta (99)
2000 – Chicago (95), San Francisco (97)
2001 – Seattle (116), St. Louis/Houston (93)
2002 – New York/Oakland (103), Atlanta (101)
2003 – New York (101), Atlanta (101)
2004 – New York (101), St. Louis (105)
2005 – Chicago (99), St. Louis (100)
2006 – New York (97), New York (97)
2007 – Boston (96), Colorado/Arizona (90)
2008 – Anaheim (100), Chicago (97)
2009 – New York (103), Los Angeles (95)
2010 – Tampa Bay (96), Philadelphia (97)
2011 – New York (97), Philadelphia (102)
2012 – New York (95), Washington (98)
2013 – Boston (97), St. Louis (97)
2014 – Anaheim (98), Washington (96)
2015 – Kansas City (95), St. Louis (100)
Again, I think recognizing the national champions this way gives a much clearer view of which teams are dominating baseball. Since I wrote that post, Washington and St. Louis have dominated the National League while the American League has been in flux with Kansas City emerging as a double team this year.