Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review : The Hunger Games (spoilers!)

I've been talking about this movie for months, and this past weekend it finally hit the theaters.  It's always a feeling of mixed emotions when a story you love is adapted from the pages and brought to the big screen.  You are excited to see the world you care so much about visualized, but- afraid that it won't do the story justice.  (Have you seen the movie adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood?  Oh you haven't?  That's because it's fucking terrible!)

The Hunger Games delivered.  I was very pleased, and saw the movie twice.  I had been following IMDB pretty religiously, as well as (over)analyzing every trailer in order to be fully prepared for any changes in the movie.  (After 8 Harry Potter movies, I'm used to things being changed!)  I also didn't want to be sitting there annoyed the entire time with thoughts of how things were happening differently, etc.

And, trust me when I say that The Hunger Games movie is FULL of different material. The original screenplay was drafted by Suzanne Collins (the author), it was later re-written by screenwriter Billy Ray and Gary Ross (the director) and, the final draft, used in the film, came from Suzanne Collins and Gary Ross.  (Quite the process!)  But, I love how hands on Suzanne Collins was during this project- drafting the script, advising on casting, etc.  It gave me a sense of confidence for the movie.  I mean, it's HER WORLD.  She created it, and I trust her to know what's best for her characters!

The novel is written in a first person narrative.  Katniss unveils the world of Panem, the districts, the capitol and, the games to the audience.  I can only imagine how difficult it would be to take a first person narrative and make it an all encompassing story.  But, they pulled it off!  There are additional scenes with President Snow, head game-maker Seneca Crane, the actual control room for the games, and some interesting insight into District 11 after the death of Rue, just to name a few.
Jennifer Lawrence is unbelievable.  Her portrayal of Katniss is authentic, natural, strong, she carries the movie (as she should!)  I have to emphasize how much she embodied this character- she was PHENOMENAL.  I cannot wait to see her performances in Catching Fire and Mockingjay!

In general- the casting was pretty amazing.  Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Woody Harleson as Haymitch Abernathy, Donald Sutherland as President Snow, Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, I could go on and on and on.  And yes, Josh Hutcherson delivers a very endearing and likable Peeta!  Liam Hemsworth also delivers a strong Gale... and I think he will really be able to pull off the next movies and the direction Gales character goes in.

Visually, the film is stunning.  The seam, the reaping in town, the capitol, the games- the sets are dead on.  Completely do the story justice.

The Reaping

The Seam!
The scenes that were not originally in the novel, but were in the movie added great perspective.   You see the gamemakers as the game unfolds which I thought was really, really cool.  You see it as the television show as opposed to just being with Katniss the entire time.
The film is over 2 hours long.  Despite this fact, the film still feels so rushed.  It makes you realize how much information is in the novel.  (And, why HBO mini-series *cough* Game of Thrones *cough* really deliver a much more enjoyable adaptation for die-hards.)

There is a certain depth missing in this film.  In the 140 minute run-time, the emotional attachment to the characters, the relationship building between Katniss and Peeta- it's not portrayed accurately.  It's very surface and does not do it justice.  The impact of their experience together in the games is not felt by the audience.  How can you realize what these two experienced trying to survive, if their dynamic isn't given proper explanation?

They were told to appear united- she was not supposed to push his hand away!
So, they kissed?  Does she like him?  How do the audience know?
I'm not going to go into the Madge-Mockingjay Pin-thing because I already talked about it before the movie came out, and I already went through the motions of being disappointed and sad about it.  (Ha!)  I do understand that adding that in would've been an additional 25 minutes into the film...  But, gah!  The history!  And how this storyline brings together Haymitch, Katniss's mother, rebelion in the next stories!
But, that brings me back to my main point- this film was JAM PACKED and there was no way to fit everything in.

President Snow you scary SOB
If I had to pick out the singular thing that made me go "NOOO!!!"  It has to be the fact, that at the end, when Katniss and Peeta are fighting with the mutts and Cato at the cornucopia- Peeta's leg is mauled.  Which results in him having a peg leg and using a cane in the later series.  Why was that so hard to incorporate?  Dammit!

Now that I'm over that- I give Hunger Games a 9/10- I can't wait for it to come out on DVD so I can watch it repeatedly, whenever I'd like a Hunger Games experience in less time than it takes to read the novel.  I am insanely excited for the next installment and I can't wait to see who they cast for the next movie!  (Plutarch, Mags, Finnick, Brutus, Annie, etc etc!)

So- read the books.  Check out the film.  You'll be happy about it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Slow Dance

Want to listen to a fucking awesome poem?  Let's go then!

Monday, March 19, 2012

"This is like, so stupid..."

So, today in Shakespeare (I'm taking a small, 2 credit course focusing on a few of his tragedies)- I had a moment that resembled this:

We were watching a production (BBC - 1974?? I want to say) of Scene 5- the famous "death" scene in the play and a girl who sits behind me (and mind you, is constantly texting and checking her Facebook) murmurs, "This is like, so stupid.  It's like, so unrealistic."


Yes, I was just using the sarcasm font.

This play was published, I want to say in- 1597?  That is over 400 years ago, and we are still studying it!  This is one of the most poetic plays that I have ever read.  There are so many themes to be discovered, and so much metaphor, ahh!  It's an incredible work of literature, of art.  It is simultaneously tragic and beautiful.  And, to sit in a college level classroom, with other English majors and hear some ignorant girl mutter something so mundane and generic just got UNDER.MY.SKIN.

I turned around and asked her if she'd rather watch the love story unfold in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days."*  She returned my question with pursed lips and her eyebrows raised.  Don't worry, I gave her the "bitch-please-you-don't-phase-me" look right back.  Because, let's be honest- no one phases me.

Why go to college and study literature if you do not appreciate it?  You don't have to like this play... As another girl, Dana, later pointed out during discussion, she doesn't believe Romeo, despite being a protagonist has any true redeeming qualities- and further, she explained WHY.  This is a true critique, this is the type of thing I expect to hear and discuss in a college level Shakespeare course.

Obviously, this play is like, not like, realistic.  It's a play, and it's a play that was written over 400 years ago!  I swear, college campuses are becoming a mecca for the unintelligent- all these kids care about is partying and looking "cool."  Rarely, in any of my classes is there debate.  Everyone just wants the answers to the test.  It's disheartening.

But, Romeo and Juliet- it is breathtaking!  A classic!  C'mon guys!  Here is Act 3- Scene 1 in the 1968 Zeffereli version:

I couldn't find the entire scene in this version that shows Romeo killing Tybalt.. But, you get the picture.

Looking at the modernized, 1996 version of the same scene... Yes, it's definitely one of the loosest interpretations of the play, but it's still amazing!  And brilliant!

Moral of the story- Romeo and Juliet is awesome and, if you are going to take college level coursework.. be serious about it or PLEASE quit wasting every one's time and stay inside watching Jersey Shore re-runs.  JEEZ.  Snookie wants squish squish.  And, Azia want's you to shut your freaking mouth!

*author's note: I thoroughly enjoy romantic comedies, and find pleasure in the above mentioned movie. please take no offense!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Concrete Detail With My Professor

I wanted to share this hilarious video with you guys.  I find it to be very entertaining but it may only interest the creative writers out there!  Sorry to leave some of you out... But, honestly- this video is pretty funny even if you are a non-writing nerd.

Geoff Herbach is one of my professor's at MSU and I absolutely adore him.  (He may or may not be the professor whom I have referred to as genius here and there.  Heh!)  This is 1 of 5 videos that will be posted on for a feature called: Stupid Craft.  Stupid Craft is aimed at the novice writer and will be offering valuable tips and writing exercises.  Figment has a mostly "teen" following, but there are plenty of older members too.. It's a great writing community and I'd definitely recommend checking out the site- as well as following all 5 of the Stupid Craft videos.

This particular segment is on concrete detail and makes me giggle like a little school girl.  There is lots of awkward humor, which I completely eat up.  I'd love to hear/read your enhanced version of the "bad" sentences from the video:
Bobby was such a nice boy.  He would help people who needed to be helped.  But something wasn't right.  Bobby felt sad every day of his life.  

Leave a comment or send me an email at: (if you don't feel like sharing with everyone!)  Like I said, I'm very interested to see how you play around with it!

Have a wonderful day!  And... I also love you!