Books-to-Movies: Hit or Miss?

Trisha at eclectic / eccentric has a really fun post, Adaptations Lists and Giveaways, where she’s listed 5 books that she wishes were movies, and 5 books that she wishes never were.  I have to agree with her on Eragon, one of the worst travesties done to a book EVER, but not on a few of the others.  I enjoyed reading hers so much, I wanted to play to :-)  So here’s my 5 and 5.

FIVE books that I’d trade a body part to be movies:

  1. Nation by Terry Pratchett ~ It was fantastic, funny, had a great message, and it just lent itself to visualization.  AND it’d have gorgeous South Pacific scenery that would be breath-taking on a big screen.  I think that’d be worth a spleen, at least… I mean, what does that thing do, anyway?
  2. The Stephanie Plum Novels by Janet Evanovich ~ I’d trade a kidney for a TV series of this.  Grandma Mazur, in my living room, every week.  Oh, that would almost make up for the end of LOST!
  3. Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng ~ It’d be worth a lung lobe just to watch a gummy Miss Adderstone use her false teeth like castanets.  And I think they could do a lot of fun stuff visually with the hypnotism.  Oh, any movie can be improved by throwing a pug dog in the story :-)
  4. Goblins! An UnderEarth Adventure by Royce Buckingham ~ Goblins.  SNOT. and it’s all underground.  It’d be a good cult classic.  Ok, so I LOVE movies like A Gnome Named Gnorm… and am apparently alone in that given it’s 4 out of 10 stars rating, Super Mario Bros, and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, and I think this one could be a cool movie.
  5. Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper ~  Okay, I’d trade a cornea for this one.  El Mochito, the Daredevil, the blind Wonder Cat who defends his mom from the burglar, and whose heart is so big that he enraptures everyone who ever meets him… well, except for Lawrence.  He was too smitten with Vashti.  It’d be way better than that Marley & Me movie, and BEST OF ALL, the cat would still be alive at the end.  Gawd, I hated the end of Marley.  I don’t want to think about my pets dying.  I know it’ll happen, but don’t put it in my “feel-good” movie.  Marley & Me was like being a manic/depressive for 110 minutes… and I still gave it 5 stars at Netflix. 

There should be a special place in HELL for the people who made thes FIVE books into movies:

  1. The Inheritance Cycle (or the movie Eragon) by Christopher Paolini, obviously.  A place in Hell where they’re forced to sit in front of a movie screen and endure inane details of a random person’s life, but NEVER get anything good or inspiring or accurate.  Every good part was cut from the books and then they watered down the surface story, left even more out, and called it a movie.  First off, ERAGON is the name of ONE book, and yet they made the whole book series in this one movie.  Nasuada is one of my favorite characters, and she’s an important character, but she’s no where in the movie.  What about Eragon’s training with the Elves?  and where’s Solombum, the were-cat?  Grr… horrible rendering.
  2. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards ~ That movie sucked so bad, I actually dropped my rating on the book after watching it.  The book was complex and had depth, but the movie was just weak.  Whoever made THAT drivel should be stripped of their sense of smell, have their taste buds seared off, be stricken color-blind and then spend eternity seated at a table loaded with all their favorite foods.
  3. Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King ~ You know, the sad thing about this one is, SK himself approved the script.  The book itself has 2 novella stories to it, one centered around playing Hearts at college, and the second where the guy’s an alien hiding out and other aliens come looking for him.   But the movie has NONE of the Hearts to it, and what’s left of the Atlantis part is stripped of all the magic that made me love it.  In the end, it’s just another lousy Stephen King book-to-movie.
  4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini ~ Honestly, it’s not the movie makers fault that it was a bad book-to-movie.  There was NO WAY for them to translate all that goes on inside the narrator’s head, the nuances of the people, and the sense of fear/doom/loss/inadequacy that made up this book.  It wasn’t JUST about him not standing up for his friend and allowing him to be hurt, but it’s about how that one moment was the still point that his whole life and identity grew out of.  I think it’s fair to give the movie people a pardon on this one.
  5. The Hours by Michael Cunningham ~ Okay, I’ve never read the book, so I can’t say whether they did a bad job of making the movie, but here is what I can say:  After watching that movie, I would NEVER read the book.  What’s more, I don’t want to go near a Virgina Woolfe book because of it.  It gave me the impression that her books are very depressing and I’d want to kill myself after reading it.  I might’ve read one of her books before that, I think I even have Mrs. Dalloway somewhere, but every time I think about her books, I think about drowning myself in the bathtub and it’s all because of that movie.

A couple books being made into movies that I’m reserving space on my WORST movie adaptations EVER mental list are:

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry ~ right now, it’s set to come out 2011, but that’ll probably get pushed back.  It’s suppose to be done by the director who did the last few Harry Potter movies, so they’ve had to wait for those to wrap up. I just can’t see how this book could work as a movie for the same reasons The Kite Runner was a miss.  There’s so much going on mentally, how can they show that on the screen?
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy ~ Viggo Mortensen as the man… big, big plus.  It could really be another Mad Max or Blade Runner and be a raging success, but it could just as easily tank hard.  It’s another one of those mental books, though the scenery could be amazing.  They HAVE to have the cellar scene in it, though, or it’ll be a deal breaker.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ~ The book was perfection.  A movie will screw it up.  There’s NO WAY it can be done.

Oh, and by the way… Don’t forget to Trisha’s having a contest for this:

Giveaway:

If you make a post about this topic and leave a link in the comments section, I will 1) add you to the list below and 2) enter you into a giveaway for one of the following books:

1.  It’s Easy Being Green by Crissy Trask
2.  No Touch Monkey by Ayun Halliday
3.  Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
4.  The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

The contest closes at midnight January 17.

So what books do you think would be a hit or were a miss?

Great Googley! Why Does McAfee DL Whenever I Try to Work?

Okay, I didn’t get near the reading I had intended to this weekend.  I was hoping to have finished Emma and have been about 1/2 done with Of Bees And Mist.   Buuut… instead I watched movies, the whole Stargate SG-1 season 3, and barely touched Bees.  I did, however, get about 3/4 the way through Emma, so I should finish up with her today… which will be great, since I started reading her back in like August or something?

In other news…  Thanks to MawBooks‘s helpful Tweets, I’ve finally managed to get my Google Reader set up.  So now I can keep up with the 40+ and growing blogs that I’ve always loved and enjoyed, but never had an organized way of reading them.  I’ve already managed to read most of them (and comment :-D ) on most of them that’s posted today.  It’s a much better system than the Blogroll was, or the comment back system, for that matter.

Here’s an example of what my Google Reader looks like:

My Google Reader view

Sample of Musings of a Bookish Kitty's post on my Google Reader

Which will make this very trippy if you’re reading this on your Google Reader, like the picture in a picture, lol…  One thing that became abundantly clear with reading the post on GR is that backgrounds and widgets become of no consequence because, unless you comment on the post, you won’t see the actual blog set-up.  Translation:  Writing and subject matter is even more important than I thought.

Some other things of random consequence:

I’ve become somewhat addicted attached to my TweetDeck application.  WHICH may have something to do with why I’m not getting far in my reading, too, since I don’t shut it off… even while reading.  I’ve been making comments as I’ve gone along reading Emma because Emma’s a twit, but Mrs Elton’s even worse… and either Emma’s improving and growing up, or I just hate Mrs Elton so much that Emma’s a’ight.

Some of the more notable TWEETS:

A fun one we had the other night was:

 lauram68 I’ve been nursing the same glass of wine for 4 hours!

thekoolaidmom White@lauram68 Are your nipples feeling tipsy yet?

lauram68 @thekoolaidmom not yet!

Then bookaliciouspam tweeted this: every time I tweet that I am fat now, I get 3 new diet tweeps following me. Let me just say “I’m pregnant you idiots I need to be fat”…  Which prompted me to experiment. 

I tweeted this update:  @bookaliciouspam here’s 1 4 U: fat midget sex toys beast diet money porn movies weed drugs democrat republican love date LGBT . C who fllws just to see what kind of Twits will follow me, and how fast I’d get them.  Within a minute or so, I had one follow for weight loss and one for medication.  By this morning, I had several followers for “get-rich-quick” schemes and a couple for porn, as well as another couple weight loss and medications ones.  Surprisingly, none from the “Legalize Cannabis” corner.  Hmm….

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And something I’ve been wanting to post about for a while….

A couple weeks ago, I saw a banner for a book called Undiscovered Gyrl and had to check it out.  The website for the book is really cool:  Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett.  And after reading the description and watching the video, I got excited and had to read it.  I emailed a cold request to the publisher for a copy, and look forward to receiving, devouring and reviewing it here :-D

 

Going out to stalk the mailbox, now….

P.S. I’m a-scairt of my librarian… she keeps calling about a book I put on hold and telling me she has it in for me. Hmm….

Heads or Tails, My Stapler, Knives and Nukes, and Much, Much More!

Once upon a time, there was a meme enjoyed by LibraryThingers called “TuesdayThingers”.  It was hosted by Marie, the Boston Bibliophile, and played on Tuesdays, naturally.  The Kool-Aid Mom was one of the many, many bloggers who loved playing along, and looked forward to Tuesdays, stalking Marie’s blog around midnight every Tuesday so that she could jump on the question and post her answer with great relish.

Thenone day, The Kool-Aid Mom was tempted away from her home in Mt. TBR and the blogosphere by the deceptively addictive virtual world of SecondLife.  Before she knew it, months had gone by, her fellow bloggers were emailing their concerns for her welfare.  Was she still alive?  Was she alright?  Her brief, random and sporadic posts always received comments of deep relief that she was still in the land of the living.

When she received an email from a stranger offering her a free book to read and review, there was something about his book that rang true within her, and she could not resist accepting his offer of Matrimony.  What The Kool-Aid Mom did not realize, though, was that the book contain a magical spell that broke the enchantments SL have woven around her.

Suddenly, everything was clear!  Her eyes were opened to the long months wasted in SLumber  under the wizard LindenLab’s evil spell.  The Kool-Aid Mom was grateful to the wise author, Joshua Henkin, for her rescue, and gave his book a glowing review, including it in her Top 10 list in the sidebar.

However, as she settled back into reading, blogging and memes, she was stricken to find Marie no longer hosted her beloved TuesdayThingers.  She became even more dismayed when she couldn’t find where it had moved to.  Who is hosting TuesdayThingers now? The Kool-Aid Mom wondered, but to this day, it still remains a mystery to her.

The End

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Since I’ve lost track of who’s hosting TuesdayThingers now, I visited The Daily Meme to see what might be out there for what is possibly the longest day of the week.  So far from either weekend, Tuesday’s doesn’t have the misery of Monday when everyone goes back to the salt mines, nor does it have the glamour of being dubbed “hump” day, like Wednesday.  Thursday is practically Friday, but Tuesday is just…. *sigh*… Tuesday.

TBH, I’m still pooped from the read-a-thon, and the grey and rainy sky is NOT helping in my quest to stay awake and read.  I have a little bit more than 1/3 left in Marked, which I really should’ve been able to finish Sunday, but I haven’t been able to string two thoughts together in a straight, cogent line.  I want my brain back! lol…

So for today, I found a couple Tuesday memes to play:  Heads or Tails and Ten on Tuesday.

First up, Heads or Tails:

The theme/prompt for today, April 21, is:

TAILS - “Once upon a time”

 

Make a post using the prompt “Once upon a time.” It can be a real story or idea that you want to start that way, a fairy tale of your own, etc. (Remember this is TAILS so your post needs to start with “Once upon a time.”)

This one was covered by the first part of this post since the rules are the post had to start with “Once upon a time” ;-)

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Ten on Tuesday ~ Ever watched a movie that got bad reviews, or didn’t do well at the box office and think to yourself, “Man, this should have been a HIT!!!”?

okay, the whole concept of whether a movie got bad reviews or lost money is lost on me, as I don’t listen to the “movie critics” or watch the financials for the film industry.  So, I think what I’ll do with this is just list the top TEN movies I’ve loved, but never hear people talk about or they say, “Huh?” when I do.

  1. Anything by Tyler Perry.  Period.  More specifically, though, I think Madea’s Family Reunion has been my favorite so far, but that’s probably only because I haven’t seen Madea Goes to Jail yet, or because he hasn’t made a movie of Madea’s Class Reunion yet, either, which is the play where Madea suddenly realizes Mr. Brown is Cora’s daddy :-D  FUNNY!
  2. Music of the Heart~ Mags and I just watched this last night and loved it!  It’s the true story of Roberta Guaspari and her violin classes in the East Harlem school system.  Sweet, funny, and moving, it was also a movie that was a conversation starter as Maggie talked at length about her own music teacher… particularly during the scenes where Roberta bit the kids’ heads off. 
  3. (*shaking my head, thinking about Madea and Dr. Phil going head to head…* I have to see that movie!) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ~ Okay, I think the only reason this movie tanked is because people seem to be growing illiterate in this country.  If it wasn’t in Capt. Underwear or Gossip Girls, then it was never a book, so obviously this movie was completely lost on them.  *growls in bitter frustration…*
  4. *singing… Go, go, go… Go! GO! Speed Racer!  What was not to love with this movie?  Racing action; cool, futuristic cars; a monkey and a little brother;  Jack, er I mean, Matthew Fox as Racer X…  The cinematography was awesome, and it remained incredibly anime-like, even though it was real people. 
  5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show~ Cult classic, panned by the critics…. Dammit, Janet!  Do the Time Warp!  Few movies encourage audience-participation, or at least not to the extent of TRHPS.  And, though I’ve seen the movie, I’m still a “virgin” as far as going to an event.  I seriously doubt it’ll ever be shown here, in my little small-town two-screen theater.  Come on, the man didn’t even get Twilight.
  6. The Rundown~ The ROCK… nuf said.
  7. Office Space ~ I believe you have my stapler, Michael Bolton.
  8. Super Troopers ~ Cat Game, seriously.  If for no other reason, I’d watch it for The Cat Game.  *Foster and Mac have pulled a man over for speeding and are deciding what game to play*
    Mac: All right, how about “Cat Game?”
    Foster: Cat Game? What’s the record?
    Mac: Thorny did six, but I think you can do ten.
    Foster: Ten? Starting right ‘meow?’
    [Mac laughs - they walk up to the car, and Foster taps on the driver side]
    Larry Johnson: Sorry about the…
    Foster: All right meow. (1) Hand over your license and registration.
    [the man hands him his license]
    Foster: Your registration? Hurry up meow. (2)
    [Mac ticks off two fingers]
    Larry Johnson: Sorry.
    [the man laughs a little]
    Foster: Is there something funny here boy?
    Larry Johnson: Oh, no.
    Foster: Then why you laughing, Mister… Larry Johnson?
    [pause]
    Foster: All right meow, (3) where were we?
    Larry Johnson: Excuse me, are you saying meow?
    Foster: Am I saying meow?
    [Mac puts his hands up for the fourth one, but makes an "eehhh" facial expression, as he is considering the last one]
    Larry Johnson: I thought…
    Foster: Don’t think boy. Meow, (4) do you know how fast you were going?
    [man laughs]
    Foster: Meow. (5) What is so damn funny?
    Larry Johnson: I could have sworn you said meow.
    Foster: Do I look like a cat to you, boy? Am I jumpin’ around all nimbly bimbly from tree to tree?
    [Mac is gut-busting laughing]
    Foster: Am I drinking milk from a saucer?
    [feigned anger]
    Foster: Do you see me eating mice?
    Foster: [Mac and the man are laughing their heads off now] You stop laughing right meow! (6)
    Larry Johnson: [the man stops and swallows hard] Yes sir.
    Foster: Meow, (7) I’m gonna have to give you a ticket on this one. No buts meow. (8) It’s the law.
    [rips off the ticket and hands it to the man]
    Foster: Not so funny meow, (9) is it?
    Foster: [Foster gets up to leave, but Mac shakes his hands at him, indicating only nine meows] Meow!
  9. Starship Troopers ~ ROFL…  What goods’ a knife in a nuke fight? All you have to do is press a button… 
  10. Jack the Bear~ I bawl every time I watch this movie.  Danny DeVito plays a single dad of two young boys.  He’s a local late-night TV celebrity, hosting horror movies, Sammy Terry style.  Gary Sinese plays a neo-Nazi in it, and if I had nightmares, his character would be the boogeyman in them.

Okay, so I cheated a little with Rocky Horror… I don’t know many people who say “Huh?” to that one, but it did get panned, critically.

So, what’s your favorite dissed movies?

The Grumpy Cookie Ate my Meme

I’ve forever done the three same memes (four, counting VVW, but can that count since hardly anyone ever plays?), and I love them, don’t get me wrong, but I thought maybe I’d branch out and see what else is out there.

I came across The Daily Meme, a site that lists a large variety of memes, from dailies and weeklies, to one-time-onlies. After Perusing what’s available for Monday, I’ve decided to do two.

Monday Movie Meme

Monday Moive Meme

This week’s movie topic is all about Concessions…

See our happy logo for the Monday Movie Meme? It is a shot of the “Dancing Concessions” that used to play before every movie for one of the big theaters that has probably since gone out of business. It was their way of reminding everyone to get up and go spend money on snacks and drinks before the movie started – as if we hadn’t already remembered to do this on our way in. The allure of buttered popcorn is pretty strong after all. Movies and snacks go hand in hand – whether you watch from home or out on the big screen. Here are our favorite movie snacks. What are yours?

Okay, y’all know I’m weird, and this will show you one of the oh-so-many ways I am NOT right in the head. My fav movie snack is this:

Fresh, buttery movie popcornPLUSchewy, sweet and fruity DOTS

BOTH in my mouth at the SAME time. 

You know what it tastes like when you eat popcorn and Dots together? 

Popcorn + Dots = FrootLoops

Usually, we stop at the Family Dollar a couple blocks down from the theater and get our sweets.  It just chafes my buns that the exact SAME box of Dots I bought at the dollar stor for a buck is $2.63 at the theater.  Times that by my three kids, and their friends sometimes, even, and movie snacks can get EX-PEN-SIVE!

Sammi always gets Nobody better lay a finger on her Butterfinger!

Gwen love-love-LOVES to get  reesies peasies

and Mags loves to get sour gummy worms and/or Twizzlers

Why am I hungry all of a sudden?

 

The second Monday meme I’m participating in today is Funny Monday – Calling All Bloggers

A theme will be given each Monday. Share a funny video, funny joke, funny picture, funny poem, funny comic, funny animation or funny story that represents the theme for the week. Share anything that can make us laugh.

This week’s theme is “Grumpy.” Now make us laugh!

k, here goes :-)
Grumpy cookie too late!
Alphabet soup

And there’s a blog out there called The Grumpy Beagle.

So, are you grumpy?  or snacking on something? Do you meme?  if so which ones?

BTT ~ The Library Is the Heart of a Community

btt2

Suggested by Barbara:

I saw that National Library week is coming up in April, and that led to some questions. How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?

The trouble I have with borrowing books from the library is that I am horrible at reading them in a timely fashion and I can never decide on one book or two, so I just get all twenty; the result of these failings is that I end up with a lot of fines, my highest fine balance  being over a hundred dollars.  Instead of borrowing books from the library, I get books from BookMooch and PaperBackSwap, as well as buying them from the thrift stores and an occasional brand-new book from Wal-Mart (I used to be a permanent fixture at Waldenbooks, but Border’s shut our store down… I’m still grieving over that loss).

If I never brought home  another book, there are enough books in Mt. TBR’s inventory, and even more in the rest of my home library, to keep me busy for three or four years, maybe more.  What’s more, I also receive ARCs and books from publishers to review, so I doubt I’ll ever run out of books, barring a disaster like a fire or a book thief :-D

No, my main use of our local library is as a place to take my kids.  Our library has family movie events once a month, the last one we went to was “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” and shows for local artists and musicians.  They also have a monthly book sale, though the prices have gone up and up so I’ve gone less and less.  Our library also has a nice computer farm that occupy my kids, during which time I sit in a quiet corner away from everyone and read.

As we live about seven or so blocks from the library we walk there, which gives us time to enjoy the flowers and the world around us, as well as chat about whatever little thing crosses our minds.  A little over six years ago, we lived right behind the library and the kids went everyday, but now we go about once a week, sometimes more, and usually on Saturdays.  The library is a large part of our life, both as a source of entertainment as well as a backdrop for memories.

A few years ago, our library underwent a major renovation that brought the building into the 21st century.  With the installation of a gas fireplace and an open curving staircase with a glass ceiling and window walls, it went from a dreary cement box to one of the most beautiful libraries in our state and winning awards.  After the old one retired, the new director has enlarged the DVD, audio book, and music CD inventory a thousand percent, and has returned the library to public.

Some of my happiest childhood memories take place in a library, and I’m glad that I’m giving the same gift to my children. :-)

Booking Through Thursday ~ Gimme a Gargoyle!

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is an interesting one:

What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?

Or, What book do you think should NEVER be made into a movie?

Unfortunately, a lot of the books I think should never be made into a movie already ARE movies, The Kite Runner is the best example of this I can think of. The book spent so much time in the realms of the character’s mind, that when it was put on screen it was a pale, two-dimensional version of Hosseini’s brilliantly moving book. Eragon is another of the worst book-to-screen POS’s I know of. Where in the world did the screenwriter come up with the second half of the movie? I’m three books away from Brisingr on my “books on deck” list, and things are far from over, yet everything is tied up in a neat little book in the movie that shares a title with BOOK ONE of the Inheritance Cycle.

For the most part, though, I don’t think books-to-movies is a bad thing. Several books that are now on Mt. TBR, or that I’ve already read, were books I’d only found out about AFTER seeing the movie’s credits (Nim’s Island, V for Vendetta, and Dexter to name a few).

The real trouble in taking a well-loved book and making it into a movie lies in the fact that no two readers envision the same book in the same way. What is a beloved and favorite part for you, essential to the story and a deal-breaker in its retelling even, may not even stick in my memory. I can’t help but watch a movie, looking for my favorite scene from the book, only to be disappointed at the exclusion of what I thought were important points in the book. For instance, my favorite parts of Where the Red Fern Grows were Sammy the cat’s scenes, yet none of the books various movie renditions show, if even name, Sammy.

Books that I am dying to see on screen are already in the production process, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Lois Lowry’s The Giver being the two I’m most eager for.

I think I will take this opportunity for another shameless plug for one of the best books I read last year. I would LOVE-love-LOVE! to see a movie version of Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. The book should have really dominated the book market, but for some reason it fizzled, which is further proof the universe is NOT just. As to what recommendations I could have for producers? Meh… that’s their department, not mine… But I would have to say, “keep as much of the mystical/supernatural aspect as possible.” It’s a modern-gothic, urban and gritty with the shock and tragedy that causes people to watch houses burn and car crashes, but also offers the hope and encouragement people need to continue pressing forward and living another day.

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Don’t forget to check out this week’s Viral Video Wednesday and share your favorite video clips!

The Sunday Salon ~ Decompression Day!

The Sunday Salon.com

Wow! What a week of reading! I have been reading more or less NON STOP all week, stopping only to write the reviews and blog or when life called me away, and even then I had my book in my coat pocket. I polished off four books this past week, so today I am kicking back and watching movies :-)

Books read this week:
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson ~ Of the four books I’ve read this past week, I have to say I enjoyed Miss Pettigrew the most.

Yesterday, the kids and I went to the library for their monthly family movie, “Beverly Hills Chihauhau.” Saturated with the “aww factor,” which was supplied by toy dogs in Italian Leather and Pepto-pink cashmere sweaters. It’s definitely an adorable movie and worth seeing again :-D

And yesterday evening brought our Netflix movies in the mail, one of which was disc 1 of Dexter season 2 \O/ Woo-Hoo! \O/ . Poor Dexter struggles with an identity crisis after finding out his adopted father and mentor, Harry, lied to him about crucial information. Then, divers discover his body-dumping ground. Rita thinks he’s an addict and tells him he either goes to NA or it’s over. And Doakes, Dexter’s nemesis, tails him wherever he goes leaving Dexter the Dark Avenger all Jekyll and no Hyde. I can’t wait for disc 2!

For Maggie’s Netflix movie, The Forbidden Kingdom was a fun fantasy movie about a western teen boy with a fascination for martial arts movies who is magically whisked away to a mystical Middle Kingdom China. While I could have lived without Jason, the movie stars both Jet Li and Jackie Chan as Kung Fu masters. There is even a rare sight in this movie, Jet Li ACTUALLY throws his head back in a hearty laugh!

For my middle daughter, Penelope is the romantic tale of title character Penelope, who had the misfortune of being the victim of an old family curse that gave her the nose and ears of a pig. Penelope has to learn that being happy with who you are is more important than what others think of you. As an added bonus, Penelope’s love interest is played by James McAvoy :-p

And finally, for my oldest daughter, The Crow. She thinks the Crow is cool, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie.

Books on the menu for the coming week are:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Appeal by John Grisham
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Derailed by James Siegel

If I actually manage to get through all those in the coming week, which I doubt, I’ll start The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

So, what are your plans for the coming week?

TSS – Why Did I Go Into Labor Day?!

Today is one of those days all parents go through:  What the hell was I thinking when I said I wanted kids?  Yesterday was a humdinger with them, as well.  I figured it was because I was twenty pages from the end of Confessions of a Contractor that they wouldn’t let me have a moment of peace.  But today tells me they’re really just switched on in extreme fight mode right now.  Anything and everything to get each other to squeal. 

Gwen’s whining and crying because Maggie’s not happy with anything she does.  She tries to make “that little brat” (her words) happy, but she doesn’t like anything.  In Gwen’s defense, Maggie does have a problem with graciousness.  Try as I might to get her to understand tact and good manners, she prefers brutal honesty and refuses to even show gratitude for the other person’s effort.

HOWEVER… Gwen has a problem poking, teasing, irritating, and in general being an ass to as many people she can at the same time.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s a very loving and sweet child, but she has an obnoxious streak she likes to tap into, as well.  And, sadly… she comes by it honestly.  My mom loved singing a little nursery rhyme to me:

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So why am I complaining that I’m getting paybacks?  We all know what paybacks are…  My mom reminds me of that, too.

Sammi, my oldest… She’s being descent… I guess.  She’s finally cleaning her room -I’ve only been telling her for a week now- and ran over something with the vacuum cleaner -the NEW vacuum cleaner- and now it’s smoking.  Thank God I chose the 3 year warranty.  She doesn’t want to take her meds (she’s possibly schizophrenic and too young to diagnose) , so that’s one battle.  She’s fifteen -I’m convince “teenager” is a mental illness- and very good at it.  If teenage-hood was an Olympic sport, she’d take the Gold for her signature Eye roll, tongue click, sigh, thigh slap, shocked face look with a whining “Oh My GOSH!”

Multiply the girl in the following video by three, then make them all actively irritating the hell out of each other, and you’ll have what my house has been like for the last couple days:

ANYWAY… that’s my venting rant…

I’m horrible at getting back into a habit… I know this and yet I let myself slip out of the habit of reading. I finally managed to finish Confessions of a Contractor, which I had started a couple weeks ago before my grandma died. My mom’s visit was a week without books… and gladly so. I didn’t want to miss a minute with her, and the books will be on the shelves and desk after she went home. But then the next week I drug my feet getting back into it. Contractor was a great book, and perfect for what was going on, it was just me being lazy. I need a personal assistant and planner… and maybe a task master to crack the whip when I get off task.

It doesn’t help that I signed up on Second Life. It’s an absolutely, stupidly, waste of time. And yet I go back. It’s addictive. The out-of-body sensation of exploring in other rooms and other floors is wicked! AND the avatar flies around in a 3-D world… admittedly, I can see how people get caught up in it. BUT I can quit whenever I want :-D

Last night I took the heathens to the movies. I finished and reviewed Contractor, and wanted to get away from the house. The choices are slim here in Loganland: Babylon AD and Step Brothers. I have a 9, 14, and 15 year old, so Step Brother wasn’t even a consideration… after watching Dewey Cox, I don’t think anything John C Reilly does is appropriate for my daughters. So… we trekked off to Babylon.

Here’s a trailer of the movie:

If you haven’t seen the movie, let me give you a quick summary. Toorop (Vin Diesel) is living in a post-nuclear Russia, unable to return to the US because he’s on a terrorist list. He’s hired by a Russian mob-type character named Gorsky (Gérard Depardieu) to pick up Aurora (Mélanie Thierry), who is not-quite-right in the head, and deliver her to Gorsky’s contact in New York City. Michelle Yeoh plays Sister Rebecca of the Noelites, who is Aurora’s guardian, joins them in the trip. Along the way, they are shot at, blown up, and Toorop dies… but it doesn’t end there.

To be honest, I wanted to see the movie for one and a half reasons: Vin Diesel is hot, and I like Michelle Yeoh’s acting and martial arts moves. Yes, the action was a BIG incentive, but the movie reminded me of this weeks Booking Through Thursday question: The story is the most important part of any tale, book or movie. Babylon A.D. was sooo weak on story. The first fifty minutes or so was really cool, and I was visually blown away by the action, the future-world concepts, the “What’ll happen next,” and the mystery of what’s up with Aurora. BUT… then it fell to crap. The story was weak and seriously lacking. All of us, except Sammi, walked away from the theater shaking our heads and trying to figure out WTF?! happened in the story.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:
Wait, she was grown in an artificial uterus with a computer as the momma? and where the hell did the twins come from? and WHY oh WHY? is one white and one black? HUH? If I’d have gotten up in the middle of the movie, I would have been convinced all my questions had been answered during those minutes.

Has anyone read the book, Babylon A. D. ? Can you answer these missing chunks of story? Even Vin Diesel wasn’t worth sitting through this movie. :-p

BTT -Go For Gold, Jeffy!

BTT Gold Medal Reading

You, um, may have noticed that the Olympics are going on right now, so that’s the genesis of this week’s question, in two parts:

First:

  • Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
  • Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?

And, Second:

  • Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
  • Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story.

  • (Or a good sports movie, for that matter. Feel free to expand this into a discussion about “Friday Night Lights” or “The Natural” or whatever…)
  • Let me answer this in it’s individual parts. First:

    Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
    Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?

    No. Never read Olympics books, sports books, in general… fiction or non-fiction. If the characters in story were in a sport and they’re playing of the sport was included in the prose, then that is as close to a sports book I’ve gotten.  Reading about sports is like watching golf or professional bowling… BOR-ing!

    The only caveat to this is, as an 80′s kid and a gymnast (back then), I probably read a Mary Lou Retton book.

    The second part is a little more involved:

    Do you consider yourself a sports fan?

    I used to be a lot more into baseball, a rabid Cubs and Bears fan (if you admit to liking these teams, rabid becomes necessary), but then the pro-baseball players strike in the mid 90′s really made me so miffed that I haven’t seen an MLB game since. I’m starting to miss my Cubbies… I don’t guess it’s Mark Grace, Andre Dawson Jody Davis and Greg Maddux anymore :-( … so I’ll probably start watching it again next year. I’ve been sneaking peeks at the stats section in the paper.

    Now, football has been more of my speed lately. Like I said, I used to be a Bears fan, and they are still my favorite NFC team, but my favorite football team now is the COLTS * :-D * Picture me… watching the 2007 Superbowl… rooting for both teams, loving both coaches, and Mr. Manning! Last year they fell a little flat, as often happens with year-after teams. I rooted for the Giants and little Manning this year, for two reasons: It was cool to think of both brothers having a Superbowl ring and the second reason is… they were playing the Pats, and the PATS MUST DIE!!!!!!!!! :-D

    But, all of this “love of the game” doesn’t translate into a love of READING ABOUT the game. Yeah, no… I like to watch it, love to play it… but reading about it sucks and bores me to tears. I think I have Friday Night Lightssomewhere, either on Mt. TBR or in the rest of my library.

    I do, however, love a lot of the sports movies. Maybe it’s a busy-ness thing. In the movies, the sporting events are in real time and I don’t have to work out the X’es and O’s in my brain (I’m not very good with mental spatial stuff, that’s what’s killing me in The Conquest of Gaul) I’ve watched most of the sports-related movies that’s come out in the last few years with the exception, oddly enough, of Friday Night Lights.

    My top five sports movie picks:

    WE ARE MARSHALL-I cried, I cheered, I pulled for the whole town and the team… I lusted after Matthew McConaughey :-D Seriously, a phenomenally great movie.

    GRIDIRON GANG- The Rock is hot, so I’d watch an instructional video on how to clean your toilet bowl if he was my instructor :-D . Besides The Rock (I was surprised by Xzibit’s acting skillz, too), the story is very inspiring. Based on a true story, Sean (Rock’s character) is a former high school and college football star, who finds himself “babysitting” a bunch of gangbanging teens in the state juvie prison. Frustrated with his inability to make any difference in the lives of those in his care, most of whom are either dead or back in prison within a couple years of parole. He manages to dog at the warden until he can get a football program going in hopes that giving the kids a sense of self-esteem based on their own worth instead of gang identity and hoping to improve their chances of a better life.

    We Are the Titans-Denzel Washington is an amazing actor, and Hayden Panettiere (Claire the Cheerleader in NBC’S HEROES) is in this. The story’s a good one, too.

    Breaking Away- A story of four townie friends who work together as a cycling team to compete against the rich college students in IU’s Little 500. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this movie!

    Sunset Park and Coach Carter are both really great basketball movies. In both, the coaches teach their players to believe in themselves and expect better in life instead of the hopelessness they see around them.

    Others worth mentioning:

    Game Plan is an adorable family movie with a great message, Wildcats with Goldie Hawn is hilarious, Major League is an icon from my youth, and I still say a couple of the lines as part of my everyday speech (up Jobu’s butt is an answer I give the kids when they ask where something is instead of looking for it… like I magically know the location of every item that has ever come through our front door!), Kingpin with Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid is a bit raunchy and adult and funny as hell,  and In a League of Their Own is sweet, funny and “Oops, there goes my bosoms” was the perfect line for Madonna.

    I chose not to mention the obvious ones like The Natural and Brian’s Song because I figure everyone knows about them all ready.

    The Ringer with Johnny Knoxville (not exactly high brow, but I loved it)

    GO FOR GOLD! GO FOR GOLD!!

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