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July 24, 2007

Note Books - Patton Oswalt

The Note Books series features musicians discussing their literary side. Past contributors have included John Darnielle, John Vanderslice, and others.

Patton Oswalt has been a busy man lately. Between promoting Ratatouille, the Pixar animated film he stars in and his comedy album, Werewolves and Lollipops (which came out earlier this month), he took the time to participate in the Largehearted Boy Note Books series.

I know what you are thinking, "Patton Oswalt's not a musician." True, but he is signed to a seminal indie music label, Sub Pop, and plays venues that are more often home to indie rockers and their fans. Plus, his comedy is smart, pointed, liberal, and something I cannot hear often enough.

A sample from his new album:

Patton Oswalt: "The Dukes of Hazzard" [mp3] from Werewolves and Lollipops

In his own words, here is the Note Books entry of Patton Oswalt:

My favorite book: Suspects, by David Thomson

As a movie buff and book worm, I can’t recommend this book any higher. It blends and marries the two worlds like scotch in ginger ale.

David Thomson, of course, is the author of the loved/hated/debated Biographical Dictionary of Film. He’s a movie buff of an almost mystical order, and in Suspects, he lets his love run away from him. Gleefully, expertly, brilliantly – he indulges his imagination, blending all of his favorite films – his favorite stories – and connects them in a pre-League of Extraordinary Gentlemen fashion. In essence, he posits that the group of classic films, and classic film characters, are all fragments of one Gigantic Classic Film. The characters themselves are connected, by blood or neglect or murder – and a dozen other, more sordid ways – like an inbred, celluloid family, tearing and tugging at one another behind the celluloid.

So it’s no surprise that in Thomson’s universe, the mansion that Norma Desmond rants and raves her life away in Sunset Boulevard was bought for her by Noah Cross from Chinatown. That Travis Bickle (from Taxi Driver), David Staebler (from Night Moves) and Sally Bailey (from Atlantic City) are brothers and sisters…with the most unexpected parents. That, after the final fadeout of The Maltese Falcon, Gutman and Cairo went on to more adventures, in movies never filmed, except maybe in John Huston’s dreams. And how do Jay Gatsby, Norman Bates and Julian Kay from American Gigolo figure in this twisted family tree? You’ll have to read Suspects – criminally out of print – to find out.

Or maybe you knew along. To quote Journey, "The movie never ends…"

Patton Oswalt links:

Patton Oswalt's website (and blog)
Patton Oswalt's MySpace page
Patton Oswalt's Wikipedia entry
Patton Oswalt's Wikiquote entry
Patton Oswalt at IMDb

also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Note Books submissions (musicians discuss literature)
Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)
Interviews (authors interview musicians and vice versa)
Book Reviews


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