The first edition of Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge
by H. Anthony Medley was the fastest
selling beginning bridge book, going through more than 10 printings.
Second Edition includes some modern advanced bidding systems and
conventions, like Two over One, a system used by many modern
tournament players, Roman Key Card Blackwood, New Minor
Forcing, Reverse Drury, Forcing No Trump, and others.
Also included is a detailed Guide to
Bids and Responses, along with the most detailed, 12-page
Glossary ever published, as well as examples to make learning the game
Lars and the Real Girl (3/10)
by Tony Medley
When I entered the
screening room for this I was told the running time was 95 minutes,
which thrilled me. After sitting for what seemed to be a very long movie
that seemed to be going nowhere, though, I considered that maybe I had
misheard. Maybe she said the running time was 95 hours, because thatís
what it seemed like to me.
Lars Lindstrom (Ryan
Gosling) is a psychotically lonely man living in isolation in the small
Midwestern town in which he grew up, avoiding human contact. He has a
nondescript office job and lives in a garage apartment behind the home
of his brother, Gus (Paul Schneider) and sister-in-law, Karin (Emily
Mortimer). Itís hard to comprehend why Lars is lonely because his lovely
co-worker, Margo (Kelli Garner), clearly has the hots for him.
One day Lars introduces Gus
and Karin to his new girlfriend, Bianca, who turns out to be a RealGirl,
a custom-ordered, anatomically correct, life-size doll. The movie
degenerates from there as Lars treats her as a real person. So do Gus
and Karin, and everyone else in the town. They all support him and his
ďromanceĒ and reinforce his delusion. He takes her to parties, dances
with her, talks with her, argues with her. It is so ludicrous it is
If this were set up as a
farce, a comedy, that would be one thing. But director Sidney Kimmel has
filmed it sympathetically, to be taken seriously. There are some lines
and situations that I imagine are intended for humor, but the plot is so
depressing that I found nothing in the movie that was anything other
than dispiriting. Lars is clearly deeply disturbed.
Heís treated by a family
physician, Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson), whose idea is to take him
seriously, to the point of conducting examinations of Bianca and talking
with Lars about her health.
There is one very good line
in the movie. Lars asks Gus when he knew he was a man. Gus responds with
a list that includes, ďAdmit when youíre wrong,Ē and ďDonít cheat on
your woman.Ē I was so numb from watching this that I didnít write them
down, but these are the two I remember. I know a lot of people who are
not adults if these are the rules, especially the first one. What Gus
said is the only thing positively memorable in the film for me.
Despite the story, the
acting is uniformly good, especially Gosling. I donít want to give away
the ending (except that it does, actually, end, which might be a
surprise if you try to actually sit through this without expiring from
terminal squirming), but to imply that a normal person like Margo could
have a lifetime relationship with a guy as sick as Lars is ludicrous. In
fact, that a normal person like Margo could even consider having a
relationship with a guy this sick is ludicrous. The entire film is
irresponsible. But maybe not as ludicrous as a film company spending
RealCash to make this film.
October 10, 2007