Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Inventory is a book of "obsessively specific" lists collected from the The Onion's A.V. Club Website.
The idea is sublime, the execution is excellent and the lists are sometimes great, sometimes good and sometimes skippable.
But that's the nature of a book with lists such as:
"18 Songs about Specific Films"
"16 Film and TV Characters Who Knew Exactly What They'd Like to Eat"
"5 Crazy-Ass Members of the Legion of Superheroes"
"10 Hilarious On-screen Drug Freakouts"
"10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone"
The book is for those people (myself among them) who can't simply enjoy a movie, show or song for its own sake. Rather we later obsess over little details, file information away and, yes, make lists. (Or even worse we obsess over that junk while the movie is still playing.)
I've got a couple of my own lists that would have fit into the book -- Asian characters portrayed by non-Asians (such as Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffanys)-- and if you have similar lists then this is exactly the sort of book you've been waiting for.
Except for one thing...
Reading these list on paper means that you can't click on "comment" and add to or argue with the lists.
This creates a nervous tension for a listmaker. There's a feeling that the world just isn't right because they left "Dragon" off the list of "12 Movies with Key Scenes Featuring Characters Watching Other Movies." (The scene he was watching? Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's. See it all works together into a giant web of something!)
Thus you must balance the benefits of reading and commenting on the weekly Inventory online (free) with the pleasures of thumbing through the book in the comfort of your own bathroom ($18).