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Mike Nelson's Mind over Matters Paperback – March 5, 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the tradition of Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese, which featured endless takedowns of Hollywood glitterati, comes Mike Nelson's Mind over Matters, some 50 short essays covering up everything from "Portal to Hell: The Radio Shack Experience" to "Grumpy Floppy and the Flo-Flo," or the pet names of friends for their loved ones. Michael J. Nelson, head writer of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 for 10 seasons (and its host for five), has an endless supply of good-natured bile, and here turns it on the annoyances and idiocies of everyday life.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Nelson (Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese) is perhaps best known as the brains behind the cult classic television series Mystery Science Theater 3000. In this collection of more than 50 offbeat essays, he shares his observations about everyday matters such as the media, education, food, and family life. His humor is a cross between that of Dave Barry and of Jerry Seinfeld, and his highly personal style he includes remarks about his wife and his children will delight some readers but annoy others. Nelson also tends to dwell on the obvious. For example, in one essay about modern life he opines about the sounds of autumn, pointing out that fall used to sound like the gentle swish-swish of leaf raking but is now dominated by the cacophony of leaf blowers. In short, this collection of humor is uneven at best. Though some will find it funny, it will likely disappoint many MST3K fans, as it lacks the sardonic repartee for which Nelson is most celebrated on his television series. Recommended primarily for public libraries where demand dictates. Joe Accardi, William Rainey Harper Coll., Palatine, IL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Dey Street Books; First Edition edition (March 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060936142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060936143
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew McCaffrey VINE VOICE on May 20, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, they did it. They finally did it. The Great Gods of the Publishing World have released another book with a picture of Mike Nelson's head on the cover, and, I must say, it's holding up fairly well. It's a little worn since the last time we saw it, and the little pieces of popcorn that used to surround it have now been replaced (possibly eaten) by remarkably formal thought-bubbles that sprout out of it. The energetic, insane grinning of MOVIE MEGACHEESE has now faded to a slightly baffled midwestern look of mild tolerance (though, upon reflection, if the phrase "My Shorts Can Talk" was popping out of my head, I'd be wearing a similar expression). The head of Mike Nelson has also rejected the more modern flavor of so-called "color" photography and is now sporting a classic "black and white" look. Same haircut though.
As for the words that are printed on the pages that lie beneath the Head of Mike Nelson, well, they're pretty funny too (especially the order that he puts some of them in). The essays collected here are a fairly random group of observations on everyday life. They're vaguely ordered into a loose grouping of nine categories, but he rarely feels the need to be bound by them. The book is a free-flowing river of comedy that runs in many different directions, sometimes at the same time.
Nelson really has a gift for coming up with hilarious turns of phrase. He has a wonderful way of describing even the most mundane of everyday tasks in a wickedly amusing manner. Make no mistake; this is no simple Seinfeldian "Did you ever notice...?" type of humor, but rather stretching the commonplace until it you see it through Mike's skewed and offbeat point-of-view.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael J. Nelson returns with another book of humorous essays in "Mike Nelson's Mind Over Matters," his sophomore follow-up to the well-received "Mike Nelson's Movie Mega-Cheese".
Nelson cut his teeth ripping apart films in the cult hit Mystery Science Theater 3000, where he served as co-producer, head writer and star. With such a pedigree, it was hardly surprising to see him stretch his wings as a full-fledged (and funny) film critic in "Movie Mega-Cheese", his first book. "Cheese" was an immensely funny read that -- despite overwhelmingly good reviews from book and film critics alike -- was largely disregarded outside of Nelson's Mystery Science Theater 3000 cult following.
In his follow-up "Mind Over Matters", Nelson strays from the comfortable arena of humorous movie criticism he mined in "Mega-Cheese", opting instead for the more adventurous medium of observational biography (a la David Sedaris or David Rakoff). Unlike "Mega-Cheese", "Mind Over Matters" doesn't limit itself to the discussion of bad films. Readers will find a collection of essays with topics ranging from consumerism to family matters. Not just for film geeks anymore, Nelson's comedic style should be immediately accessible to any fan of the comedic essay form.
As an overall read, "Matters" is a mixed but promising book. At his best, Michael J. Nelson is a caustically funny writer with a deadly sharp wit. On many occasions I found myself laughing until tears streamed down my face, so much did I enjoy a particularly hilarious turn of phrase or tongue-in-cheek description. Nelson has a flair for the art of the diminutive and unequivocal put-down, and can get you laughing through the lengths he will cross to convince you of the worthlessness of an event or thing.
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Who is Mike Nelson? What makes this man tick? What evil lurks behind the guise of goofiness he often adopts? Mike Nelson's Mind Over Matters takes us into the mind of the man I now consider to be the funniest man on the planet. After a decade of work on Mystery Science Theater 3000, Nelson has evolved into a remarkably witty, entertaining author. His first book, Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese, featured his odd yet hilarious takes on modern, mainstream films, yet this topic did not take him very far afield from his work on MST3K. Now, in Mind Over Matters, Nelson has decided to take on modern life directly, penning a series of vignettes about every-day events, popular culture, and his own childhood and family life. This book is, in my opinion, even funnier and much more impressive than its predecessor. It also gives us some insight into the man most of us MTS3K fanatics tend to view as an actual friend we just haven't met yet.
The book is organized into nine sections. In Part One, Coping With It All, Nelson describes seemingly mundane events and activities that somehow become incidents of high strangeness: shopping trips, hotel stays, trips to a health club brimming with old wrinkled men who seem to enjoy showcasing their frightening nakedness in a locker room setting. In Part Two, But Is It Art? he address topics such as movie-going and watching television; the real gem here is a fairly lengthy recounting of his own experiences in musical theatre. Part Three, This Modern World, returns to the subject of modern life and such issues as computer security, annoying morning radio shows, and weird news reports. He steps outside for a breath of fresh air in Part Four, The Great Outdoors, the pinnacle of which is his well-stated condemnation of leaf blowers.
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