Petals On The Wind

VC Andrews – the gift that keeps on giving. My obsession with Lifetime’s perverse need to bring to life the incest riddled, gothic crapfest that is the Dollanganger series brings me so much glee it could be considered unhealthy.

From our good friends at Entertainment Weekly comes the news that on May 26 for the first time ever Petals on the Wind the sequel to the titillating and yet terribly written Flowers in the Attic will be gracing our television screens. Oh the joy! This is great because come next Tuesday my  countdown to Dreams of Gods and Monsters (5 days y’all) will official be over and I can begin the countdown (52 days) to what’s bound to be the best weekend of my summer.

They’re even bringing Heather Graham back! I feel like this is the movie where she’ll really prove herself (heavy sarcasm folks. Heavy.)

I'm their mother FITA

Check out the article here: http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/03/27/petals-on-the-wind-photos/

Also on the book adaptation front (and from EW) DreamWorks has finagled the rights to Rainbow Rowell’s piece of YA perfection Eleanor & Park. Not too sure how to feel about this. Can such a beautifully simple story truly be adapted? Time will tell. On the plus side though it’s bound to have a kickass soundtrack – I mean they fall in love over their mutual love for The Smiths (among other things.) Aww, falling in love to the sweet, miserable yet dulcet tones of Morrissey – that just about sums up teenage love.

http://insidemovies.ew.com/2014/04/02/eleanor-park-dreamworks-picks-up-film-rights-to-rainbow-rowell-novel-exclusive/

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Love Quotes

Because capitalizing on love is what February 14th does best! Voila five quotes all about l’amour…

“I have something I need to tell you,” he says. I run my fingers along the tendons in his hands and look back at him. “I might be in love with you.” He smiles a little. “I’m waiting until I’m sure to tell you, though.”
– Veronica Roth, Divergent

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“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
– John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

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“I am nothing special, of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough..”
– Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook (Because who does cheesy love stories better than NS? No one. That’s who.)

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“You love me. Real or not real?”
I tell him, “Real.”
– Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

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“In my arms is a woman who has given me a Skywatcher’s Cloud Chart, a woman who knows all my secrets, a woman who knows just how messed up my mind is, how many pills I’m on, and yet she allows me to hold her anyway. There’s something honest about all this, and I cannot imagine any other woman lying in the middle of a frozen soccer field with me – in the middle of a snowstorm even – impossibly hoping to see a single cloud break free of a nimbostratus.”
– Matthew Quick, The Silver Linings Playbook

The Spectacular Now – Film Review

“Goodbye, I say, goodbye, as I disappear little by little into the middle of the middle of my own spectacular now”

“Goodbye, I say, goodbye, as I disappear little by little into the middle of the middle of my own spectacular now”

The Story
Based on the book by Tim Tharp and starring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley The Spectacular Now tells the story of lovable yet hopeless teenage lush Sutter Keely who would rather live in the now than deal with the future. After being dumped by his girlfriend Sutter befriends the timid Aimee Finecky (Woodley), as their relationship develops both Sutter and Aimee find themselves navigating a relationship neither was expecting.

The Review
A Sundance darling, this little indie film will blow your mind with its sheer perfection of the quintessential teen coming of age story. Book to film adaptations are sticky territory, book people can be, well, crazy…possessive…obsessive and are always ready to tear an adaptation apart. Navigating the thin line between artistic creativity and fan pleasing can’t be easy, but in the case of The Spectacular Now, director James Ponsoldt and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (the writers behind 500 Days of Summer and the highly anticipated adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars) totally deliver.

Myles Teller as Sutter Keely
Teller’s Sutter Keely is part Ferris Bueller/part Lucas (from Empire Records) and one hundred percent the Sutter Keely you can’t help but love from the book. As in the book the film version of Sutter maintains all of the depth, charm and vulnerability that make him such a great, full character. Teller’s portrayal is executed with the perfect amount of bravado and feigned immaturity necessary to make the peeling back of Sutter’s many layers that much more potent, especially when the powerless, sad, scared and angry boy is finally revealed. Something of Teller’s performance continually brings to mind James Dean in East of Eden (perhaps slightly less dramatic.) His impotence and fear, hidden behind his cup of whiskey are all the more compelling when you realize how high the stakes become (specifically as his “non-relationship with Aimee matures.)

On a purely superficial note I think when I read the book I imagined Sutter as being unbelievably good looking – now I’m not saying Teller’s a dogface or anything because he’s not – it’s just in my head part of why Sutter could get away with a lot of his behaviour was because he was so good looking people kind of just overlooked his epic failing at life. Obviously this is something I may have projected onto the character myself and therefore has no bearing on Miles Teller’s portrayal. And in fact I really liked Teller as Sutter. He had the perfect mixture of bravado and sheepishness that embodies Sutter. He’s a good ol’ boy, always shaking everything off – I would think that it’s incredibly difficult to portray indifference or ignorance and Teller does it perfectly. Most importantly he’s likeable. The movie would not have worked if you hated Sutter and Myles Teller has so much charisma it would be impossible to hate him in this role.

Shailene Woodley – the face of YA film adaptations
Having not always been the most enthusiastic when it comes to Shailene Woodley (I can’t say I was overly excited when I heard she was cast as Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars) and I won’t lie, this is mostly because I can’t separate her from that God awful Secret Life of the American Teenager show (Oh Molly Ringwald, how could you stoop so low?) It’s quite possible that The Spectacular Now has changed my mind about her because she was quite possibly the best manifestation of Aimee Finecky I could imagine.

Amy’s not a nerd. She’s quiet and a little bashful, but she’s not a nerd. Her mother’s put so much on her that in a lot of ways she doesn’t have time to be a teenager. Which is why she jumps at Sutter’s taking such an active interest her. Also she’s a pleaser – hence the boozin’ and schmoozin’. Woodley picks up on these attributes and exemplifies them beautifully. She’s equal parts charming, goofy and heartbreaking. And even though this is Sutter’s show you can’t help but root for Amy. That comes down to great writing and great acting. Woodley delivers on her end for  sure.

Direction and Writing
Like the book it’s based on the film version is wonderfully written, sharp, witty, charming (there’s that word again) and completely relatable. There’s a freshness to this film. The story feels real, honest and earnest without being saccharine. This should excite a lot of people because as I’ve already stated writers Weber and Neustadter wrote the screenplay for The Fault in Our Stars. Okay? Okay.

*SPOILER*
My only gripe with this film (and this is saying  a lot, usually I find myself fighting the urge to eviscerate film adaptations of books, especially those of books I love, and if you’ve been following my blog then you know I love TSN (hmm, that acronym can definitely be misconstrued – I love The Spectacular Now. I’m fairly indifferent to The Sports Network.) I digress. My issue with the film, and it’s a doozy, is that they changed the ending. THEY CHANGED THE FREAKING ENDING. I’m sorry but that’s just sacrilege. Part of what makes the book so good is the ending.

The point was that in the end Sutter really is an addict. He’s an alcoholic, though he wants to change in the end living in the now is more advantageous because he doesn’t have to face the future. He doesn’t have to grow up. He can live in his own spectacular now. Not run off to whatever school Aimee decided to go to and try and make things work. That’s not who Sutter is!

Despite this obvious desecration of one of the best endings in a YA book ever, this movie is wonderful. If anything The Spectacular Now sets the bar pretty high for the new generation of teen films. What Ferris Bueller was to the ’80s, Rushmore was to the ’90s and Mean Girls was to the ’00s The Spectacular Now will be to the ’10s. Despite one minor (MAJOR) change, this is one of those rare movies that manages to elevate the original text – which was amazing to begin with – and bring something new, something more to the story. Really stop reading this review and just go watch it.

Check out the trailer below.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Film Review

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Two weeks ago I managed to finagle a movie date out of a very good friend who I knew had also read Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series and would therefore take watching its film adaptation seriously – seriously in that she, like myself, would be prepared to point out all the unnecessary incongruities within the adaptation. I say this because if I’m being honest it’s generally the small, seemingly pointless changes that are often made in book – to –film adaptations that 1. Drive me insane, and 2. Make me loathe the film version.

That being said I always try to go into any film – regardless of how familiar the story may be – with an open mind.

Simply – I liked the movie. It was entertaining, sleek and dark, the acting was decent and overall it was enjoyable. That being said in my humble opinion the film and the book it’s based on share little similarity apart from utilizing already existing characters and the books exoskeleton. By the end of the movie I almost forgot what it was based on – that’s how different the story becomes.

The set up is the same: After witnessing a murder in a nightclub by a trio of leather clad, tattooed teens she shouldn’t be able to see 15 year old New Yorker Clary Fray learns that she is not quite as “mundane” as she initially thought. In fact Clary is a Shadowhunter – a human/angel hybrid demon hunter whose father just so happens to be the Voldemort of the Shadow world.

There’s a lot happening on the screen, ostensibly all at once – Clary’s mother is missing, she’s coming to terms with the truth of her heritage and is falling in love all while battling evil. I’m over-simplifying here, but I can’t help but feel that’s what the film did to the book. I realize it’s difficult to maintain all the nuance and subtext one finds in a novel, but by the end of City of Bones the movie kind of turns into a Michael Bay film with demons. There’s lot’s of swirling, dementor type demons, fighting and confusion – in fact a lot of confusion, even though I’ve read the book it’s based on (several times in fact) I started to forget the purpose of certain characters.

Speaking of characters I can’t lie – I really didn’t like Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace, and I know you can’t please everyone but ugh. That adequately sums up my feelings about him in this role. It was also incredibly disappointing that Isabelle’s character became a cold, plain warrior – isn’t she meant to be glamorous and beguiling? Why is it the filmmakers felt the need to change those character qualities? And Magnus – don’t even get me started, the actor who portrayed him, Godfrey Gao, is beautiful, which in my mind makes sense for the character he plays, but geeze apart from one clever quip when he’s first introduced, Magnus is basically cast aside, he’s not even a secondary character, he’s not even used for a little comic relief. What a waste.  As for Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine – I didn’t get it, not because of the actor himself, but rather again another filmmaking decision that I find baffling – why is it Valentine goes from being the sophisticated, smooth fanatic he’s described as in the books to a cross between Jack Sparrow and Axl Rose? The character was stripped of all his finesse thus making it more difficult as a spectator to understand why anyone would have followed him on his quest for Shadowhunter supremacy.

It was all quite baffling and not to spoil anything here but *SPOILER* after finding out that they’re brother and sister am I the only one who found it weird that Clary and Jace basically just brush it off as a lie and then ride off into the sunlight together on his motorcycle? Ok, granted Clary shows a little discomfort but once Jace is all like ‘Oh, I don’t believe him cause he’s all kinds of cray’ she seems ok with it. Weird.

I realize after all that I’ve said it seems surprising that I would say, as I did earlier, that I enjoyed the movie, but I did. It was entertaining. I’ve certainly seen far worse films. The acting was good, aesthetically it was pleasing and I didn’t find myself checking the time on my phone.  But, readers beware – if you’re expecting a faithful adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s book prepare to be disappointed and slightly confused.

Great Movies That Would Make Even Greater Books

Recently while perusing various book blogs and such I’ve come across a lot of lists of the best book to film adaptations and it got me thinking. What about films that could potentially make great books? Am I the only person who thinks about this? Because quite frankly, I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

For instance there’s so much speculation over the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s incredible juggernaut Gone Girl– David Fincher’s name has been thrown around as a possible director (which makes sense to me because only someone as raw as the guy who gave us Fight Club – another book to film adaptation by the by – could potentially do the story of Amy and Nick Dunne justice.  Ben Affleck’s been confirmed as Nick (although this could still be a rumor, and I’m kind of hoping it is, because really, isn’t he a little old to be playing a 30 y/o? No? Just me?) But why hasn’t anyone become incredibly excited at the possibility of Spring Breakers being made into a novel? I mean the movie was well received, the story line is very Gossip Girl meets Natural Born Killers meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – it would make a great book.

So I’ve compiled a list of movies that I think should be made into books. And I’ve even taken it upon myself to suggest the perfect author. So in no particular order I present: The List of Movies that Should Be Books

*I have decided to ignore the fact that some of the authors I’ve suggested are dead, therefore you should too.

Usual-Suspects

Back when I was picking beans in Guatemala, we used to make fresh coffee, right off the trees I mean.

10. The Usual Suspects, written by Chuck Palahniuk

Social outcasts? Check. Incredible, cult-like figure? Check. Dark, moody, beyond exhilarating, The Usual Suspects has to be one of my favourite films of all time. The first time I watched it I was about 15, in the basement, all by myself – let’s just say after that ending I had nightmares of Keyser Soze for weeks. True one could argue Fight Club had more social grit what with all the anti-capitalism, damn the man undertones but regardless, Palahniuk is known for creating intense characters who feel and are marginalized, they are constantly on the outside looking in, they tread the line between civility and the outrageous. How could this not work? Palahniuk is also one of the best when it comes to first person narration, his Verbal Kint would have all the desperation, wit and sarcasm so beautifully executed by Kevin Spacey. I’d read it.

9. Amelie, written by Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor author of the amazing, unearthly and poetic Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy (two books down, one more to go) is the perfect choice to bring this whimsical, colourful and effervescent fantasy film to life. Sure Amelie is a lot lighter in tone than DOSMB but Taylor’s knack for creating strong, charismatic heroines who’s best strength is their vulnerability coupled with her amazing creativity – I mean the woman humanized crazy monster-like “Chimaera”, made us look past their exteriors and sympathize with their plight for freedom over the really, really attractive Seraphim rulers. That can’t be easy. Taylor’s poetic prose and great attention to detail would be the right touch for recreating Amelie’s story.

Other possible contenders: Audrey Niffenegger, John Green

8. In Bruges, written by J.D. Salinger

If you haven’t seen this little British gem of a film starring Irish actors Brendan Gleeson (Mad-Eye Moody) and Colin Farrell (whom I may or may not have had an ongoing schoolgirl crush on since I was a wee lass…) and written by Martin McDonagh you should finish reading this post and then go and watch it.

The tale of two Irish hit men hiding out in – you guessed it – Bruges, is everything you could possibly hope for in a dark comedy produced by the British. Witty, dry and even a little insightful, it’s ultimately a morality tale overflowing with dramatic irony. I can’t think of anyone more suited to writing this into a novel than J.D. Salinger – if for no other reason than Farrell’s character Ray and his unbelievable hatred for Bruges continuously reminded me of Holden Caulfield and his indignant teenage angst, sense of alienation and detachment.

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And then Cameron destroyed it…

7. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, written by Tim Tharp

It’s quite conceivable that the guy who gave us teenage alcoholic but all around loveable ne’er-do-well Sutter Keely could vividly and colourfully translate the awesomeness of Ferris Bueller (forever immortalized by the incomparable Matthew Broderick) on paper. In fact in many ways Ferris Bueller is almost a precursor to Sutter Keely. Intelligent, charming with a limited concern for authority Ferris was all about Carpe Diem – seizing the day, alongside his best friend Cameron and girlfriend Sloane. From convincing the straight edged Cameron to steal his father’s 1961 Ferrari GT California, to worming his way into an upscale restaurant for lunch and commandeering a parade float whilst lip synching to Wayne Newton’s Danke Shoen Ferris’s shenanigans are the stuff dreams are made of and how legends begin. Who better to immortalize this celebrated character than Tharp? And while recreating the genius of Ferris Bueller on paper Tharp would also be able to infuse a little more depth and emotion in to an amusing but fairly one-dimensional character.

6. Love Actually, written by Jane Austen

One of my favourite movies, it was actually a co-worker who suggested this as the possibility of a great book. Funny, heart-warming, sad and romantic – Love Actually has a bit of everything for everyone. It’s certainly not your run-of-the-mill chick flick. Exploring love of all kinds – romantic, friendship, unrequited, and the different relationships where love can bloom (brother and sister, father and son etc.) Who better than the Queen of light-hearted Victorian romance to weave the films many tales of love onto paper? Having helmed some of the most clever and enduring love stories and endearing characters of all time only an author of Austen’s caliber could truly do justice to a film that is literally all about love.

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Let’s crank this up to 11!

5. This is Spinal Tap, written by Christopher Moore

The Gran-Daddy of all mockumentary’s Rob Reiner’s This is Spinal Tap not only gave us Nigel Tufnel but it also gave us classic lines like this gem from David St. Hubbins: *I do not, for one, think that the problem was that the band was down. I think that the problem may have been that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf. Alright? That tended to understate the hugeness of the object.* (Classic.) Considering most of the dialogue was actually improvised – to all kinds of hysterical new heights – I really can’t think of anyone more capable of transferring this definitive comedy into prose more so than Christopher Moore. The guy knows how to write humour, which really isn’t easy. In fact making people laugh is really, really hard. Making people laugh while reading a book on the subway so that all the other passengers quietly shuffle away from you because they think you’re nuts is even harder. And he does it exceptionally well.

Other possible contenders: Douglas Adams – because 42.

4. Dogma written by George Orwell

The second best Kevin Smith film of all time – Dogma is funny, insightful, scandalous, the bane of Catholics everywhere and strangely enough incredibly religious. The story of two fallen angels who find a loophole that will get them back into heaven – while destroying the universe at the same time is both charming and clever. It’s also an incredible indictment on organized religion.  It also has the main staple of an Orwellian classic – conspiracy. No doubt Orwell’s take would be slightly darker, much grimmer and mostly likely ending with the bad guys winning, it would still be an awesome read.

3. Pan’s Labyrinth written by J.K. Rowling

Do I really need to explain this one?

2. Willow written by Neil Gaiman

Okay you might be scratching your head on this one but one word: Stardust. Seriously. If that’s not enough to make you understand there’s really nothing I can say that will prove me right. Even though I am. Right that is. Totally.

Other possible contenders: J.R.R. Tolkien

#1. Easy Rider written by Jack Kerouac

It seems only fitting that the man who defined a generation would be the perfect choice to write the book for a film that did the same thing. The film as much an ode to the counterculture of the 1960s as it was a commentary of the social landscape of a changing America helped give rise to independent film much like Kerouac’s On the Road helped usher in the Beat Generation.

Not to mention Kerouac has the whole road trip thing down to a tee.

Some honourable mentions (well most, some are just questionable) – mostly thrown out by friends:

Event Horizon, Nicholas Christopher – yeah, this one had me scratching my head so I’m going to go ahead and allow my friend Linds to explain this choice:

Explain what? Event Horizon is a sweet ass space horror film, I love it! It would make a wicked book.

Heat , Michael Crichton

The Place Beyond the Pines, Cormac McCarthy (Though according to the friend who made this suggestion and I quote “McCarthy would never lower himself thus”)

Dr. Strangelove, Lewis Carroll

The Matrix, Kurt Vonnegut

Donnie Darko, Gillian Flynn (Not her normal genre but she’s so good at writing awful, bleak and intense characters, if she ever decides to go the Syfy route I imagine something like this.)

What do you think?