Philip Coates

Robert Bidinotto and Lee Child

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I just finished my second Lee Child action thriller. Hard to put down, very well-done stories featuring Jack Reacher as a very clear-thinking and -planning hero who pursues the bad guys and gives them the justice they deserve. Refreshing change of pace for me from all the works I've been reading for my Great Books Discussion Groups.

Rather than give my own review, I'll refer you to Robert Bidinotto, who has read many more of the series than I have:

http://www.objectivistcenter.org/ct-1938-The_New_Individualist_JulyAugust_2007.aspx

In that issue, he reviews one of Child's books and does an interview with him. I particularly found the interview fascinating because of Child's insights on a wide range of issues, and not just his novels.

(There' only one thing I don't like in the novels, but it's relatively minor and perhaps partly subjective...and I'd rather just leave it out and urge you to look at RB's two articles.)

Edited by Philip Coates

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I just finished my second Lee Child action thriller. Hard to put down, very well-done stories featuring Jack Reacher as a very clear-thinking and -planning hero who pursues the bad guys and gives them the justice they deserve. Refreshing change of pace for me from all the works I've been reading for my Great Books Discussion Groups.

Rather than give my own review, I'll refer you to Robert Bidinotto, who has read many more of the series than I have:

http://www.objectivi...ugust_2007.aspx

In that issue, he reviews one of Child's books and does an interview with him. I particularly found the interview fascinating because of Child's insights on a wide range of issues, and not just his novels.

(There' only one thing I don't like in the novels, but it's relatively minor and perhaps partly subjective...and I'd rather just leave it out and urge you to look at RB's two articles.)

My wife, who is an avid reader of detective stories, police procedure novels and such like, thinks that Child's series is the best she has read. I might even try reading the first of the series.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Phil C and Bob K,

I've read them all and I strongly recommend them.

Killing Floor and Bad Luck and Trouble are particularly good.

Robert C

Reacher Creature

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I agree. I think his last few books have fallen in quality, but as for the others, as I was reading them, I felt the exhilaration of enjoying fiction never before since reading Rand's.

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The one that I just finished is "One Shot". I read another a while back but don't recall the name of it. It has taken this one to get me to want to read more of him.

In addition to the relentless sense of justice and how very satisfying was the ending (except for the romantic part), what impressed me about this one was how every step was planned, every detail fit. No huge gaping plot holes.

The hero knows just what he's doing and how to get things to work, just like 007.

Edited by Philip Coates

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Jack Reacher, so named because the author often found himself helping people in stores to get stuff from higher shelves, in other words he’s tall and earned the nickname Reacher, will soon be portrayed on film by Tom Cruise. Now I don’t know how tall Cruise is, but when he and Nicole Kidman split up, her comment was something like “now I’ll be able to wear heels again in public”. This is like casting someone blond and clean shaven as Blackbeard.

BTW I’ve only read the first Reacher book, I thought it was well crafted but the bug didn’t bite hard enough. I might try another one of these days.

http://marquee.blogs...ting-criticism/

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Subject: The usual ND stupidity

> Jack Reacher...he’s tall...will soon be portrayed on film by Tom Cruise. ..This is like casting someone blond and clean shaven as Blackbeard. [ND]

That's a nonessential issue.

First, the novels don't make an issue of his height and anyway movies are filmed in a way that don't reveal Cruise's height. And secondly, your analogy isn't even intelligent: You could cast someone blond as Blackbeard; just die his hair.

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Subject: The usual ND stupidity

> Jack Reacher...he’s tall...will soon be portrayed on film by Tom Cruise. ..This is like casting someone blond and clean shaven as Blackbeard. [ND]

That's a nonessential issue.

First, the novels don't make an issue of his height

Um, and, you've read how many of the books? Did you read Killing Floor, the first one?

and anyway movies are filmed in a way that don't reveal Cruise's height. And secondly, your analogy isn't even intelligent: You could cast someone blond as Blackbeard; just die his hair.

"Die" his hair? Man, you're funny. You could give him a wig and paste on a fake beard too, y'know. How can it be that I didn't think of that before using this example...duh.gif

Here's an idea, how about casting Woody Allen as Flash Gordon!

FWIW I'm glad they're going to give Child's work the big budget treatment. I hope it turns out well, and Tom Cruise decides to produce it, and casts someone who looks the part.

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Bidinotto once recommended Lee Child's series and I did read them all. I enjoyed the Jack Reacher character but the bad guys were too utterly unappealing.

I preferred another of Bidinotto's recommendations, Vince Flynn's books in which his hero, Mitch Rapp, works off the books for the CIA. He was recruited when his fiance was killed in the Locherbie Pan Am disaster and became motivated to go after the bad guys responsible.

I much prefer Ayn Rand's stories in which the struggle is between the good guys who know what is going on and the good guys who haven't figured it out yet. Can hardly wait for parts two and three of the Atlas Shrugged trilogy to be out.

Still agree with Rand that Victor Hugo is the best novelist of all time in the Romantic Realism school.

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Here's an idea, how about casting Woody Allen as Flash Gordon!

I had forgotten about this, Woody actually did do a turn as James Bond.

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Subject: The usual ND stupidity

> Jack Reacher...he’s tall...will soon be portrayed on film by Tom Cruise. ..This is like casting someone blond and clean shaven as Blackbeard. [ND]

That's a nonessential issue.

First, the novels don't make an issue of his height

Um, and, you've read how many of the books? Did you read Killing Floor, the first one?

and anyway movies are filmed in a way that don't reveal Cruise's height. And secondly, your analogy isn't even intelligent: You could cast someone blond as Blackbeard; just die his hair.

"Die" his hair? Man, you're funny. You could give him a wig and paste on a fake beard too, y'know. How can it be that I didn't think of that before using this example...duh.gif

Here's an idea, how about casting Woody Allen as Flash Gordon!

FWIW I'm glad they're going to give Child's work the big budget treatment. I hope it turns out well, and Tom Cruise decides to produce it, and casts someone who looks the part.

Approved for all audiences? Intelligent ones too?

--Brant

snif

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http://en.wikipedia....ical_appearance

Reacher is a giant, standing at 6' 5" tall (1.96m) with a 50-inch chest, and weighing between 210 and 250 pounds (100–115 kg). He has ice-blue eyes and dirty blond hair. He has very little body fat, and his muscular physique is completely natural (he reveals in Persuader, he has never been an exercise enthusiast.) He is exceptionally strong but is not a good runner.[3] Reacher is strong enough to break a man's neck with one hand (Bad Luck and Trouble) and kill a villain with a single punch to the head (61 Hours) or chest (Worth Dying For). In a fight against a 7 foot, 400 lb steroid-using thug (Persuader), Reacher was able to lift his opponent into the air and drop him on his head.

So his description is basically Daniel Craig (5’ 11”) plus half a foot.

If they casted Craig, no one would be complaining. But Tom Cruise (5’ 7”) just can’t make it to the top shelf. Terrific actor, but no Reacher, however much he stretches and gets up on his tippee toes.

http://www.filmbug.com/db/258/height

http://www.filmbug.c...b/262655/height

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> the novels don't make an issue of his height and anyway movies are filmed in a way that don't reveal Cruise's height.

Notice how Nihilist Dipshit, the logician, makes a counter-claim to point 1 but ignores point 2, and thinks that he has provided a complete rebuttal.

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> the novels don't make an issue of his height and anyway movies are filmed in a way that don't reveal Cruise's height.

Notice how Nihilist Dipshit, the logician, makes a counter-claim to point 1 but ignores point 2, and thinks that he has provided a complete rebuttal.

Notice that Phil claims to know that I think I gave a “complete rebuttal”! He’s inside my head, get him out, GET HIM OUT!!!

Try and understand something: if Phil, or anyone else, thinks casting Tom Cruise as Reacher is a good choice, I regard it as a difference of opinion that is just not worth getting worked up over.

I suppose you could take the novels of Agatha Christie and swap out the Belgian with the “upward-curled moustaches” and the head shaped like an egg, for, whatever, a Finnish gay vegetarian named Sven. The story structure should still work, with maybe an adjustment here and there, but if you’re going to call him Detective Hercule Poirot, he ought to look something like this:

Now, as to “revealing” Cruise’s height. Oh brother. Well here’s a clip or two from Top Gun. This is almost unfair, since now you’ll be looking for it, but who’s the shortest guy in every scene? Who is Val Kilmer (6’) looking down to?

http://www.filmbug.com/db/325/height

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwxmWGFoxZg&feature=related

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Dennis,

I think Tom Cruise will do a great job. He certainly beefed up for The Last Samurai, so I think he will so some kind of something similar here.

He's wacky, but he's a hell of a professional actor. I'm sure he is aware of the issue you raised, so I expect him to find a creative out for it.

But, hell. I don't mind one bit that you have a different opinion about casting, or even if you do.

In fact, I see Stallone...

Oops...

I promised myself a long time ago I will stay out of the casting department.

:)

Michael

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I have noticed some people say they would take the law into their own hands if no law was available. For example, if they were lost on a desert island they would take care of themselves, but would defer to legal authorities if protection and recourse were available. I agree that it is moral to defend oneself when the law is not around. Self preservation necessitates that we counter violence to ourselves, our family or to our property in an emergency, even if it means we personally harm the wrong doer. I also think it is moral to defend a stranger from violence, in an emergency.

Some people have mentioned a preference for justice in the style of The Old West, as part of the right to bear arms. An excellent writer who depicts a person very ready, willing, and able to take the law into his own hands, is Lee Child.

Lee Child also thinks it is moral to counter violence to a stranger, in an emergency, but what makes his hero, Jack Reacher so compelling is the difference between him and an average citizen. All of us might stop a bullying child from harming another child. An average citizen might stop an injustice to another if he felt no threat to himself, but what if there were a threat to you if you interfered? How far would you go to defend yourself or someone else if you might be harmed? Isn’t it personal fear that stops us from acting in an emergency, rather than our belief in putting the use of force into the hands of legitimate authority? How brave are you?

The hero, in all of Child’s books, is a former military policeman, who sees no necessity in calling 911. His father was a career officer in the Army and his older brother became a Secret Service Agent in charge of anti-counterfeiting. In a style reminiscent of Donald Hamilton, Mickey Spillane, and Ian Fleming, Child’s hero is always morally right before he acts.

Child brings up some other issues that dramatize those difficult gray areas between justice, the law and vengeance. His hero is in the romantic tradition of the old west but the books are set in modern times. I highly recommend them all.

Tom Cruise is an odd choice to play him because his physical presence is such a necessary part of his character. The script would need to start by showing Tom Cruise as a person who is overwhelmingly deadly, not from a kung foo, Jackie Chan way, but with a “John Wayne” incident where he physically overcomes a large, villainous person, preferably a man and not Janet Napolitano.

Semper cogitans fidele,

Peter Taylor

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Tom Cruise is an odd choice to play him because his physical presence is such a necessary part of his character.

I just hope Cruise doesn’t ruin the potential for a series. If it’s a big budget bomb there probably won’t be a second try. Child himself seems sanguine, but what else would you expect?

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It would be somewhat derivative but many scenes in the movie, “Unbreakable,” with Bruce Willis are dramatically powerful and could be an inspiration for the film makers of the new Jack Reacher film. “Unbreakable” is the story of a Philadelphia security guard, David Dunn, who slowly discovers that he is much stronger than even the pro football players who play in the stadium he guards.

His son fantasizes about his father being a “superhero” and the scene I am specifically thinking about is when David agrees to test himself for his little son Joseph by lifting weights. They discover that his physical strength is far superior to what he previously thought, even superior to Olympic weight lifters who practice daily. And he is almost indestructible in a believable fashion.

A scene like that is a gem and they could show a young Tom Cruise / Jack Reacher who realizes he is not like regular people. Then segue to the present.

Peter

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Subject: The usual ND stupidity

> Jack Reacher...he’s tall...will soon be portrayed on film by Tom Cruise. ..This is like casting someone blond and clean shaven as Blackbeard. [ND]

That's a nonessential issue.

First, the novels don't make an issue of his height and anyway movies are filmed in a way that don't reveal Cruise's height. And secondly, your analogy isn't even intelligent: You could cast someone blond as Blackbeard; just die his hair.

“The movie’s central problem is one of casting. Child’s protagonist is a former army major and top military police investigator. He’s a scruffy six-foot-five and weighs 250 pounds, and these are key attributes of the character (he’s a formidable butt-kicker). I’m not a Tom Cruise hater, but I think we can agree that this is not a description of Tom Cruise.”

http://reason.com/archives/2012/12/21/jack-reacher'>http://reason.com/archives/2012/12/21/jack-reacher

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Subject: The usual ND stupidity

> Jack Reacher...he’s tall...will soon be portrayed on film by Tom Cruise. ..This is like casting someone blond and clean shaven as Blackbeard. [ND]

That's a nonessential issue.

First, the novels don't make an issue of his height and anyway movies are filmed in a way that don't reveal Cruise's height. And secondly, your analogy isn't even intelligent: You could cast someone blond as Blackbeard; just die his hair.

“The movie’s central problem is one of casting. Child’s protagonist is a former army major and top military police investigator. He’s a scruffy six-foot-five and weighs 250 pounds, and these are key attributes of the character (he’s a formidable butt-kicker). I’m not a Tom Cruise hater, but I think we can agree that this is not a description of Tom Cruise.”

http://reason.com/archives/2012/12/21/jack-reacher

The movie is getting bad reviews here, apart from the height issue. The director is being blamed; maybe the reviewers don't want to diss Tom in case he sues them.

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Bidinotto recommended a bunch of novelists. I read the Jack Reacher series up to a point and enjoyed the character but found some of the stories to be tedious.

He also recommeded the Vince Flynn series with Mitch Rapp as the CIA recruit whose fiancee was killed in the Locherbie disaster. I prefer Vince Flynn's stories to those of Lee Child. Even the bad guys were preferable.

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Kurt Loder seems to have nailed it.

Tom Cruise is absolutely wrong for the part. Whoever cast him (or acceded to his demand for the role) has never read one of the novels.

From some of the dialogue that Loder quotes, the bad casting is exacerbated by incompetent screenwriting.

Someone will figure out how to do Jack Reacher on screen. It may take a few years.

Robert Campbell

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Robert.

I had a funny moment today when I could not get that box of on-sale Kraft Dinner off the top shelf at the grocery store. A nice young man got it for me-- he was about 6-3 and facially, a dead ringer for Tom Cruise!! No kidding. Wonder if he can act...

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On 10/27/2011 at 11:15 PM, Philip Coates said:

Subject: The usual ND stupidity

> Jack Reacher...he’s tall...will soon be portrayed on film by Tom Cruise. ..This is like casting someone blond and clean shaven as Blackbeard. [ND]

That's a nonessential issue.

First, the novels don't make an issue of his height and anyway movies are filmed in a way that don't reveal Cruise's height. And secondly, your analogy isn't even intelligent: You could cast someone blond as Blackbeard; just die his hair.

The author said he “really enjoyed” working with the “Top Gun” actor but wanted to be true to the character.

“But ultimately, the readers are right,” he said. “The size of Reacher is really, really important and it’s a big component of who he is.

The idea is that when Reacher walks into a room, you're all a little nervous just for that first minute. And Cruise, for all his talent, didn't have that physicality,” he continued. 

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/tom-cruise-too-short-to-be-jack-reacher-lee-child-says

Anyone miss Phil?  No.

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