The Transporter 2

[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer] [3.0 stars] [IMDb Link]

Jason Statham makes a very cool action hero. It helps if you've seen the original Transporter, but not really necessary. The action moves from France to Miami, and becomes several notches more detached from reality. But as long as you disconnect the skeptical part of your brain, the movie is quite enjoyable on its own terms.

Matthew Modine shows up in an inexplicably small role, which he gives a rote performance as an annoying twit.

Last Modified 2022-10-23 4:31 AM EDT

Everything Bad Is Good For You

[Amazon Link]

The subtitle of this book is: "How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter." The idea is that current movies, TV shows, and video games are becoming more challenging, demanding more mental activity from the consumer, than in the past. And, hence, make us smarter.

Fair enough. Johnson's thesis is of decent size for a longish essay in (say) Wired. But arguing for it in a book makes for a lot of repetition. There is no point so obvious that Johnson will let go without mentioning. There is no element in his argument that he doesn't beat to death by saying it over and over again. And I think his argument is weakened by not considering some pretty obvious objections. (For example: "Is current popular music making us smarter? Hah!")

Or to quote an unimpressed Amazon reviewer:

Let's assume pop-culture is making us smarter. A different question would be, is it also making is better? Is it actually good for us? Is it building character, courage, heroism, altruism, and charity? I remain unconvined that it is.

Last Modified 2022-10-04 5:53 AM EDT