Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wilker finds meaning in flawed Bears sequel

Josh Wilker didn't write his ode to The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training to try to sell anyone on the film's brilliance. His first chapter, in fact, is titled "Flaws." Of course, these faults, which seem so readily apparent now, were invisible to the 9-year-old that watched the movie in a theater full of like-minded, cheering boys back in 1977.

When Soft Skull Press approached the author of last year's hit Cardboard Gods (and the like-named website about contributing to its Deep Focus series on movie criticism, Breaking Training was one of the first films that came to his mind. It made that much of an impression on Wilker.

At 30,000 words, it's not quite a book; it's more of an EP followup to his debut release, when Wilker anchored episodes from his own upbringing to baseball cards collected along the way. Readers who enjoyed Cardboard Gods will likely enjoy this book as well, as the writing is uniquely Wilker. It's not just the way he crafts his sentences, it's the way he steps back to contemplate an idea and roll it over in his head to examine it from a different angle. He also has a vast store of pop culture references to place things in context.

For my full review, see

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