Happy #HungerGames, and May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor!
First up! The winners of two recent blog giveaways! Winning the copy of Jody Hedlund’s new book The Doctor’s Lady is Justine! And the winner from the Life List Club Milestone Party and receiver of an iTunes Gift Card and blog swap is Bethany Wiggins! Congratulations Ladies!!
I did it. I saw The Hunger Games movie. My weekend was a little more fulfilling knowing I had the inside scoop on all things Katniss Everdeen!
Katniss played by 2010 Oscar nominee (for her role in Winter’s Bone) Jennifer Lawrence, was amazing as the renegade heroine. I really thought Lawrence did an awesome job embodying Katniss’ struggles throughout the competition. Her leading men, Gale, played by Aussie actor Liam Hemsworth and Peeta, played by Josh Hutcherson were also good pics for their role.
Now for the Guts:
The fact is I am an adamant proponent of seeing the film first! I know, I know, many of you are gasping for air right now. But that’s the way I do it. I see the film, and then if I really like it, it makes me want to read the book.
Here’s why: When you see the film and then read the book, you like the changes, it’s exciting, you learn more, the characters are developed. But do it in reverse, and you come out disappointed, because the book is always better!
So what did I think of the film version of The Hunger Games? I liked it a lot! I really did. However, it’s incredibly difficult to fit as much backstory and symbolism and characters as are in the book into a 2+ hour movie. They did a great job! But I came out thinking the book is so much better.
The Pros of the Games:
1. Effie Trinket’s Make Up – I will make this look happen, just you wait!
2. The Arena – Great set work using the woods and intense shots during the fire scene and battles. *Note: try to avoid sitting too close to the screen, the theater was packed when we went and we got a little motion sickness.
3. The Romance – For those of you speculating that this is just another Twilight, stop! The love triangle may be there, but it isn’t presented in a puppy love, mopey teenager kind of way. It’s life or death with the cameras watching!
Who will she choose?
The Cons of the Games:
1. Where’s the Mockingjay? – For people who haven’t read the book, it won’t be a big deal. But I was saddened by how little explanation or meaning went into the story of the mockingjay. My guess is we’re in for some serious flashbacks/backstory come time for the sequels.
2. President Snow – I adore Donald Sutherland, who plays the evil dictator Snow. However, he’s almost too laid back as Snow and while he’s creepy, he’s just not as creepy as he is in the book.
If I had my dream casting, I’d pick Kevin McCarthy from the 1987 film Innerspace, which is hilariously awesome if you’ve never seen it.
Overall, given the time limits I’m sure they had, they put together a good movie with some great actors, Jennifer Lawrence in particular. I’d watch it again! I recommend you see it! But know, you’re gonna like the book more!
Can’t Get Enough Hunger Games?
Holley Maher was Freshly Pressed for her post The Embarrassing Side Effects of Having Just Read “The Hunger Games”
My review of the book and author research can be found at The Hunger Games: Best Lack of Sleep You Ever Had.
Sara Grambusch and I did some blogging editorials on Katniss’ Journey as Heroine and Team Peeta vs. Team Gale!
Ellie Ann Soderstrom offers us a critical look at the writing of The Hunger Games.
AND, you know what else? There’s a little heated battle going on about the question of plagiarism because Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games bares striking similarities to Japanese novel Battle Royale. Maggie’s Bookshelf shares more information about the similarities here. Check it out! It’s an interesting discussion. I’m leaning towards the “not plagiarism” viewpoint, because if you’re going to point out Battle Royale, we may as well also toss Lord of the Flies and A Most Dangerous Game in there as well. Or any dystopian novel where the theme is about corruption of power.
But that’s just my opinion. Tell me what YOU think!
And, it wouldn’t be a movie post without a trailer! This video has all 4 trailers of the Games on it!
Music can be an escape from all the worries of daily life. At least that’s what my boyfriend, the musician, says. And as someone who was raised on Rodgers and Hammerstein, I couldn’t agree more. It is my opinion there’s a musical for everything and everyone. Not sure what to watch? Let me, your Guilty Pleasure Guide and Musicalpalooza Mistress, assist!
For the Traditionalist:
Singing in the Rain
Doesn’t get more classic than Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds? I mean, that’s stardom gold right there! Lovestruck Don Lockwood (Kelly) is faced with a crisis: turn his trainwreck of a motion picture into a crowd pleasing “talkie” or suffer tabloid city doom! Can he pull through and come out on top? Perhaps with the help of his comic genius, composing sidekick Cosmo (O’Connor) and smart, sexy, secret weapon Kathy (Reynolds)!
For the Friend Who Likes to Sing Along with the Radio:
ABBA may not be for everyone, BUT I ADORE THAT DAMN BAND! The film version of this ABBA inspired play is campy to the core with an all star cast of unexpected singers. Sure Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth aren’t going to win American Idol anytime soon, but you have to grant them, they got down with their ABBA selves! The story is about a mother preparing for her daughter’s wedding, while the daughter tries to learn who her real father is by secretly inviting all her mom’s past beaus to the wedding! I can’t help watching this movie and envisioning all the fun the cast had filming it! I think it shows in the full force attitudes of their characters, they had a great time doing it.
For the Friend Who Knows Everything About Everything:
Thoroughly Modern Millie
For that friend who knows everything about everything there is to know, you’ll laugh together at Julie Andrews in the lead role of Thoroughly Modern Millie! She’s quick to note the trends, and even quicker to catch new faces. She knows all the latest dances and where to pick up rich men. She trusts her pocketbook more than her heart, but perhaps not for very much longer. Co-starring a demure and darling Mary Tyler Moore as best friend, Dorothy, and my favorite life at large lady, Carol Channing, as Muzzy, performer and hostess to all things divine!
For the World Traveler:
The King and I
Deborah Kerr just might be one of my favorite redheaded actresses. But that’s beside the point. In the story of The King and I, Deborah Kerr travels to Siam to teach the children in the palace. She uproots her own life, her son and the world she knew to live in a culture completely different in their beliefs, their dress, and their gender roles. Though the kingdom of Siam is changing her, she will leave just as big an impression on the people of Siam. And isn’t that true any time you travel and open yourself to new worlds?
For the Eternal Optimist:
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
If you’re friend has “half full syndrome” it’s probably because they watched too many Shirley Temple movies growing up. I know I’m guilty of this. And Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm has to be one of the rosiest. Rebecca is an orphan living with her grifter of an uncle until financially helpless, he ships her off to a farm to live with her Aunt Miranda. Despite the hardships life has handed her, Rebecca remains sunny in disposition and captures the hearts (and audience) of everyone around her!
For the Lovestruck Bittersweet Friend:
For that forever star-crossed friend of yours who thinks destiny is both magnificent and a narcissist, show her South Pacific. It’s filled with the love stories of Frenchman (uh huh hunk) Emile who has a secretive past and wartime nurse, Nellie, who’s just looking for a slice of happiness out here in the jungle. Then there’s Captain Joseph Cable, just arrived in the pacific and never expecting to fall in love with the daughter of the Polynesian tradeswoman. Filled with gorgeous scenery, you’ll be swept away by the lure of South Pacific.
For the Financially Troubled Artist Friend:
Iconic and boho chic all at once. Rent is the story of eight friends trying to make it in the big bad city. Their friendship will be the force that binds them all together, but it doesn’t change the fact that rent money is due and “the man” is trying to put an end to their free speech. Rent has some of the best songs ever written in it and covers a whole wealth of topics from relationships to gay rights to health care to poverty. It’s what some might call the musical of the 90’s.
For the Blood and Guts and Action Fan:
Repo! The Genetic Opera
It’s like Rocky Horror Picture Show had an affair with Silence of the Lambs and a baby was made, and then that baby had a fling with Little Shop of Horrors and Phantom of the Opera, and now everyone’s wondering, who’s the father? Yes, sci-fi fans, it’s that intense. Featuring some all star, though unlikely talents, like renowned opera singer, Sarah Brightman! It’s bloody, it’s gory, it’s opera, baby! *Don’t watch while you’re eating dinner.
For the Country Western Lover:
Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Six words: Dolly Parton, Burt Reynolds. Why not?
For the Stressed Out Parent:
The Sound of Music
“Liesel can climb in with a whole jar of spiders in her hand!” “Spiders!”
Ah yes, the story of an almost nun who goes to live with a widow and his seven children, who are…less than cordial upon her arrival. Does Maria have what it takes to tame this wild bunch, including the heart of the Captain father? With the voice of Julie Andrews, you bet she does! Even if you haven’t seen this film I’m sure you know many of the songs. And for all those parents who are having a stressful day, at least you’re not also fleeing Nazi-infested Austria!
For the Friend With the Best One-Liners:
Call me a sucker for talented women with big noses, but Funny Girl is a favorite of mine! Fanny Bryce is determined to be a star. She’ll beat out all the other girls with their good looks and long legs and perfectly coifed hair, and she’ll do so with her own talent! Featuring the stellar performance of Barbara Streisand in all her musical drama and shenanigans, you won’t want to miss out on this ruckus of a film.
And When You Feel Like There’s No Place Like Home:
The Wizard of Oz
Who doesn’t remember watching The Wizard of Oz at some point in your life? It’s the coming of age story of Dorothy, a little girl who runs away from home, only to find herself lost in the magical world of Oz. There, she meets friends Scarecrow, Tinsman, and Cowardly Lion, who will help her at all costs get back home to Kansas. But the journey home is never easy, and Dorothy must face the Wicked Witch of the West and her creepy flying monkeys too! But everytime you watch this film, it will transport you “Over the Rainbow” all over again!
There now, you see? A musical for everyone! But here’s a better question: If you could pick any person to play YOU in a musical, who would it be? I’m leaning towards Barbara Streisand or Deborah Kerr…it’s gotta be a redhead!
P.S. Tune in next week when I have author Jody Hedlund here for an interview and book giveaway!
Guilty Pleasures: Off the Wall Films
For five years of my teenage life I was video store girl. It’s time you all knew. It’s still probably my favorite job I’ve ever had. The store was three blocks from my house, I’d get free movies anytime, and I had keys to the store-so I mean anytime! You know how new releases come out on Tuesdays? I previewed them all on mondays! It was the best. And I watched A LOT of movies back then! Here are some of my favorite off the wall films.
Dummy: Adrien Brody stars in this offbeat comedy about a man who’s at the end of his ropes. Fired from his job, Brody’s character, Steven, decides to become a ventriloquist. He also really wants to date his unemployment counselor, played by Vera Farmiga. His best friend, Fangora, exceptionally acted by Milla Jovovich (who some like myself may love from The 5th Element) is a desperate woman dealing with her sick mom and trying to start a band. Any band. Other cast favorites include Illeana Douglas as Steven’s sister and Jessica Walter (the mom, Lucille, on Arrested Development) as Steven’s mother. You’ll love every awkward moment of Steven’s life, I swear!
Oscar: Some people love Rocky movies. I prefer to take my Stallone in the form of this enchanted mobster movie. Sylvester Stallone plays “Snaps” Provolone, a newly retired mobster trying to make his home presentable while under FBI surveillance. His daughter is played by Marissa Tomei, and she’s in love with anyone who’ll take her away. His other daughter just appeared for the first time today on his doorstep. And there are three leather bags shuffling around the whole time: one with 1000’s of dollars, one with expensive jewels, and one with the maid’s underwear! Tim Curry is an excellent supporting actor as the speech therapist, Dr. Poole. All English buffs will get a kick out of this film.
And this blog wouldn’t be MY blog if it didn’t have a little paranormal nod and tribute to Jane Austen.
High Spirits: A group of American tourists travel to a legendary haunted castle in England for a getaway. The staff knows the place is going under. But the manager, Peter O’Toole, has better plans: he’ll make it haunted! Charading his team around as ghosts and banshees, he’ll try to frighten the guests who’ve come. What no one expected is that the place is haunted, and now the ghosts are out for some vengeful fun. Starring Steve Guttenberg and Daryl Hannah as
starcrossed physically and elementally troubled lovers, this will be a unique movie to watch. Supporting actors include Peter Gallagher, Beverly D’Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, and Martin Ferrero as the tourists.
Pride and Prejudice: An updated classic with a wardrobe like Clueless: College Years, Kam Heskin stars as Elizabeth Bennett. The plot is the same, but the Bennett sisters are comprised of college roommates instead, all of them looking for love. Elizabeth is an aspiring author, and Will Darcy just happens to own a publishing firm. A few characters are missing, such as the Bennett parents. The mother is really represented by a newly published book called The Pink Bible that is selling out fast. A few other fun spins include Jane’s character as a latina and Charles Bingley has made his riches by creating music cds for canines! It’s a complete romp with fabulously quotable lines and I’ve shared it with all my Austen-crazed girlfriends. You really ought to too.
Have you seen any of these flicks? What are your favorite off the wall films? Share them in the comments and they could be my next featured Guilty Pleasures: Off the Wall films!
Guilty Pleasures: Top 5 Cinematic Men
It’s Guilty Pleasure Friday and today it’s raining men! Men in your favorite movies.
It all started with date night. With my girlfriends. There was wine involved, tomatoes and mozzarella, and lots of good conversation, and we started talking about our top 5 cinematic men. Who would you love to date if age, time, and character roles weren’t an issue? Leave your top 5 list in the comments!
Here’s my list of all-time cinematic hunks:
Gabriel Byrne – I love his accent. His voice makes me instantly calm and fluttery all at once. Ever since I watched Little Women where he plays Dr. Bhaer, I loved him and wanted him to take me to the opera and make me a better writer just like he did for Jo March. But he is equally as dreamy in roles like Jindabyne, Emotional Arithmetic, and even Stigmata. I pretty much will listen to his voice no matter what role he’s in. And, bonus, he studied archaeology and linguistics in college in Dublin. He was an archaeologist, a cook, a bull-fighter, and a teacher before he became an actor. Don’t you want to curl up on the couch and have him tell you stories about his adventures with that accent of his?
Jonathan Crombie – I think I have a year’s worth of diary entries where I pretended Gilbert Blythe (Jonathan Crombie) was my actual boyfriend. Jonathan’s portrayal of Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables, was just the sort of thing you hoped would happen to you in high school. He was the smart, but cocky boy, too charming for his own good, and you were the new girl in town, giving him a run for his money in the brain’s department. He would push and annoy, but despite it all, he’d be there for you when you needed him and he’d make you a better writer. Hmm, I’m seeing a theme here, but don’t worry, not all my hunky men are characters who’ve played opposite a writer. But look at that smile of his, wouldn’t he light up your day if you were playing the Lady of Shalott and became stranded in the river as your dory slowly sank? *sigh* My hero!
Harrison Ford – Hello, handsome! My mother once gave me an article from her Lady’s Home Journal that let you take a quiz to find your ideal cinematic man. Mine was Harrison Ford, defined as the smart woman’s perfect man. He’s strong, resourceful, slightly flawed in a charming way, and knows how to use a whip. (Did I say that out loud?) His character roles as Indiana Jones and Han Solo embody both my longing for adventure and protection. And with that damn crooked smile of his, he’ll chide you just enough to make you hate him, and then he’ll go in and kiss you like you haven’t yet lived! Plus, let’s face it, ladies, he has a theme song. Dun dun dun duh, dun du duh, dun dun dun duh, dun du du du du…
Richard Chamberlain – Every lady’s gotta have herself at least one forbidden man, andmine would be Richard Chamberlain. His role as Father Ralph di Bricassart in The Thorn Birds soared him to the top of the leading man charts. I watched this TV miniseries every year with my mother and clearly suffered delusional daydreams about a man who battled between his love for God and his love for one woman. The ladies at my family’s church used to call our local priest “Father What-A-Waste,” so can you really blame me? I read this book the summer before high school and it’s still the only novel I’ve thrown across the room in anger, but that was at Luke O’Neil, not blessed Father Ralph. He’s the unattainable man, the man who knows he loves you, and yet won’t stay with you, but will spend the rest of both your lives doubting he made the right choice.
And my ultimate Cinematic Man pick of all time goes to:
Cary Grant – Every film I’ve ever seen starring Cary Grant has been a favorite. The first movie I ever cried watching was An Affair to Remember. My favorite Hitchcock film is North by Northwest. And of course, my leading man has played a writer who tries to out-story his love-interest/fellow writer in His Girl Friday. Grant is my ideal man. He’s captured the hearts of Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Doris Day, Joan Fontaine, Ingrid Bergman, Eva Marie Saint, Rosalind Russell, and even Shirley Temple! How was I to resist his allure, his quick-witted one-liners, and his inability to tell a woman no? He has at least 50 different tones of voice using the word “Darling,” and I only hope I fall asleep tonight hearing every single one of them.
The guilty pleasures don’t stop here. Join the fun over at Mark Petruska’s blog for his Top 5 Cinematic Women. We love hearing from you; tell us what Hollywood stars and starlets would be on your guilty pleasure list?