Last night, we watched Run, Fatboy Run. A movie written by Simon Pegg, comedian and star of the hilarious movies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, directed by David Schwimmer of Friends. I expected funny. I didn’t expect laugh out loud hilarity. It’s a simple movie with a typical plot; boy dumps girl, girl gets new boy, old boy wants girl back, a physical contest, blah, blah, blah. What made it enjoyable was the on point comedic timing of Pegg as Dennis. We’re introduced to Pegg freaking out about getting married to Libby. He has a few minutes to get downstairs for the wedding. Instead of using the stairs, he chooses the window. We see him running for his life, away from his pregnant bride-to-be. Fast forward 5 years and we see him running. This time after a transvestite who is mocking the out of shape security guard. Running is the theme of the movie, as Dennis spends a lot of time running away from his problems.
Upon meeting his ex’s new beau, who is rich, handsome and successful, Dennis gets a little competitive for the heart of Libby. Whit, the new boyfriend eggs on Dennis and tells him that he’s running a marathon. Dennis says that he could run a marathon and decides to do it. He doesn’t realize that it’s 3 weeks away. He doesn’t even realize the marathon is 26.2 miles long. His friend Gordon, who is also Libby’s cousin and his landlord Mr. Ghoshdashtidar take up as his trainers. You’ll recognize Gordon from Shaun of the Dead and I was thrilled to see Harish Patel as Mr. Ghoshdashtidar. He always cracks me up in every movie I’ve seen him in, even if he’s in a serious role (My Son the Fanatic).
In between the jokes and pratfalls, there’s a charming story on relationships. We see Dennis grow and whether he gets the girl or not, at least we were amused by his trying.
I just finished rereading Equal Rytes, by Terry Pratchett. The first time around, the story really didn’t grab me. I think the reason for this, is that as the 3rd book of the series, it’s a little flat compared to the hilarious first two books, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, which both feature the unlucky Wizard, Rincewind, a tourist named Twoflower and a menacing piece of Luggage.
Equal Rites introduces us to more characters; the witch, Esme Weatherwax, offically known as Granny Weatherwax and some other wizards. The story opens up in the town of Bad Ass (named after a very stubborn donkey) where a wizard at the end of his life is looking for the eighth son of an eighth son to pass his magic onto. The only problem is that since there’s no ultrasound machines, they don’t know that the eighth son of an eighth son is actually the first daughter of a eighth son. It’s not until after the wizard has bestowed his staff and his magic on the newborn do we find out the sex. This may not be an issue in modern society, but in Discworld, women are not wizards. It’s just not the done thing. Granny Weatherwax keeps her eye on the girl, Eskarina, but the force is strong in this one.
Eight years later, it’s clear that the girl needs to be taught how to control her magic. Granny agrees to take the child to Unseen University, where wizards learn to be wizards. There’s a bizarre journey involved and the one good thing about the book is that we get to learn more about Granny Weatherwax and her stubborn ways. She has “ideas” about things and facts don’t necessarily need to fit in with them.
Esk, as the girl is called winds up at Unseen University, as a housekeeper. She listens in on the wizards classes, but she’s not being officially trained as a wizard. She falls in with a boy she met on the way to the University. Simon has ideas too, but the problem is that they attract the Things in the Dungeon Dimensions. It’s up to Esk to use the witchcraft learned at Granny’s knee and the wizardry she’s picked up to help save Simon.
I realized now after reading all of the Discworld books why this one still leaves me feeling flat. With the exception of Granny Weatherwax and the Librarian, none of the characters in this book appear in any of the subsequent Discword Novels. You can read each Discworld novel as a stand alone, but what makes the series so enjoyable are the inside jokes you get with the large cast of characters. There are other books about the witches that make no mention of this book. The wizards play such a large part in this series, that it’s a bit strange to see a chronological storyline where the people in charge change with no reason why. I’d be interested in seeing if Pratchett brings back Esk or Simon in later books.
I’m currently rereading Woken Furies by Richard K. Morgan.