Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weekend Updates, Rambles, Books & Movies -- Plus Awesome Blogger Links

Another week has blown by and knocked me on my tucus. My son turned 14 this week -- all I can say is that I am much too young and cool to have given birth to TWO teenagers. One of whom will be eligible to vote, for the first time, in the U.S. elections in November. No word yet on whether she plans to register, but I assure you that if she decides to do her civic duty, she will not be unduly swayed by my constant stream of progressive, anti Republican rants thoughtful, reasoned discourse on American politics.

My son James is growing into an amazing young man -- intelligent, creative, thoughtful and kind. I don't take any credit for this, because anyone who knows us realizes my kids are basically feral, so I don't take much credit for raising them. :-P James is kind of person who wants to smooth over arguments, repair breakdowns in communication, and make everyone happy. A guy who wants everything peaceful so he can spend as much time as possible with his BFF, video gaming, and preparing for the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.

I am still holding out some hope that when the walking dead come, he'll remember that I gave him birth and look out for me. But he's already talking about how he's going to go "Lone Wolf" after the rest of us have been whacked or succumbed to the epidemic. Like I said. Feral.

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Reviewed This Week:

Cabin in the Woods -- (Warning: The linked review contains major spoilers, starting with the first line) My whole family was astonished at how much I loved this movie. I don't watch campy horror flicks. I loathed Dead Alive. I fell asleep during the Evil Dead movies. I didn't even like this kind of crap when I was a teenager, which is the proper time to be into campy gore. (Though I will confess to liking Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil)

I thought Cabin in the Woods was amazing. I loved the gratuitous self referential humor, the satire, the archetypes, the homage to films and video games, and the richly imaginative quality of the ending. I even loved all the bat-crap crazy violence.

It just proves what I've known for years. Joss Whedon is a freaking genius.

Currently Reading: 

Flashpoint by Lynn Hightower I'm re-reading this series with Investigator Sonora Blair. In this novel, she is tracking a particularly vicious killer -- trust me, you'll never forget the way she murders her victim -- who happens to be a petite, flirtatious blonde with a penchant for stalking an attractive man.

The details are kind of brutal, but not nearly as harsh as they could be -- I think this is a good choice for anyone who enjoys police procedurals.

And I love Sonora. She's a tough lady and a shrewd cop who also happens to be a single mom who's still achingly vulnerable after a horrible marriage. She struggles to balance parenting and police work, with the help of her family and a young teenage son who is mature beyond his years. There are many great moments, such as her walking into a room where an autopsy is about to be held, simultaneously pondering a brutal murder and "Why is Tim's algebra teacher calling? Is he doing his homework?" I love a mystery writer who "gets" both police work and how "real life" really works.

My TBRW Pile (Doesn't include what's on my Netflix Instant Queue and Kindle for PC)

Some Awesomeness from Around the Interwebs: One of my favorite pastimes, while I am avoiding housework enriching myself as a book and movie lover, is following other bloggers. I find the most terrific stuff to help further this aging autodidact's education on film and literature. You people need to stop being so damn interesting. I'm not getting anything done during my work day. ;-)

Here are some of my favorites from this week:

"This is my rifle and this is my gun..."
Alyson at The Best Picture Project posted a review of Full Metal Jacket, one of my all-time favorite war films and Kubrick movies. She did a fabulous job of explaining the vast differences, in content and style, between the first and second halves of the movie and highlighting the "duality of man" theme.

We covered the "duality of man" thing, vis a vis Full Metal Jacket, in our homeschool. We dug into Jung's concept of the shadow and all that. You can study Vietnam War through a textbook, or you can watch/discuss Full Metal Jacket and The Deer Hunter. (and hit Film Studies, English, and Psychology at the same time). 'Nuff said.

Josh at The Cinematic Spectacle has a feature titled "Best Cinematography" -- I'm a fairly visual thinker, and -- to me -- trying to explain great cinematography in words is a bit like trying to verbally analyze poetry. Professors of English and Film may throw tomatoes at me for saying this, but something is bound to be lost in translation. I appreciate the way Josh uses images in these posts.

Alex at And So It Begins posted his "10 Best Movies About Addiction" -- now I want to work my way through this list! Though I still say I would've picked Trainspotting over Requiem for a Dream. ;-)

The Estella Society is hosting Dueling Monsters for readers of Red Dragon and American Psycho -- watching the film adaptations counts too. Which is a better psycho killer, Patrick Bateman or Hannibal Lecter? Defend your choice!

I am excited about reading and watching American Psycho, which a friend recently loaned me. Is "excited" the right word? :-) And my daughter just told me the cast of Red Dragon includes the magnificent Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Emily Watson as well as Sir Anthony Hopkins. What a cast!

Sheila is hosting a terrific Banned Book Week Event at Book Journey -- head over there to check it out and sign up.

Alex at And So It Begins discussed Best Pictures: If I Chose the Winners -- I don't follow academy awards; it just isn't my thing. I have a knee-jerk attitude toward any kind of popularity contest and anyone, no matter how knowledgeable, who has undue influence over what society deems the "best." It's like those lists of "essential classics" every bibliophile must read. Who says? Does the fact that I read Tolstoy trump your reading Raymond Carver? For that matter, is Citizen Kane a greater film than Pulp Fiction? Who gets to decide?

But it is interesting to learn more about the Oscars, especially when reviewers I particularly respect compare their opinions to those of the academy. I'm relying on Alex and Josh to help me further my education a bit in this area.

I also want to mention my off-and-on Twitter conversation with Lady Sati, who also answers to Margaret, about my latest T.V. addiction: Luther. Oh. My. God. I just finished watching the first season with my daughter and am loving its sick, twisted awesomeness. The warped relationship between John and Alice is blowing my mind.

As Pete at I Love That Film aptly said, in his introduction to his Tower Block Review at Filmori
British films can be grim. We Brits are known for adding a spot of realism, a dash of depression, and a healthy pouring of poverty to our films. But Britain is also known for horror, not Hollywood glossy horror but gritty, disturbing, dirty horror. Think The Wicker Man and 28 Days Later.
Spot on!  That kind of explains why I love British crime shows so much.

After getting a taste of my book, film, and T.V. fetishes, I guessing there are some people out there who hope they never have to share a cab with me! Or who'd like to have a drink with me. I'm not sure which. :-P


  1. I'm so glad you like Luther! Season 2 opener is amazing, can't wait for you to see that. Also you are about to read and watch American Psycho right? That's awesome - my favorite novel and one of my fav films!

    1. Cool! I can't wait for the Season 2 opener of Luther. I am looking forward to American Psycho, too. Do you have an opinion as to whether I should read the book or watch the movie first?

    2. Hmm, I think you should see the movie first - it follows the book closely in terms of major themes and events and it will ease you in the whole thing.

      The movie has about 10% of all the shocking stuff that happens in the book, because honestly if they showed more it would never get released. It's really tame comparing to the book and some critics already called it porn, which was quite ridiculous.

      The book is a satire and that's the only way to get through it - it's hilarious but it can get really gross at times. For example - there are some terrible things in the movie that are either briefly showed or just implied yet in the book it's all described sometimes in 3-5 pages :) But Patrick Bateman is one hell of a character and the novel is really well written, so I hope you'll end up liking it.

    3. Huh ... now I am really intrigued, and a little freaked out! I just started the book, so I guess I'll read it first, but that's good advice.

      I'll be reviewing this as part of the Banned Book Week event. So many silly things are challenged or banned. What was offensive in The Diary of Anne Frank? or To Kill a Mockingbird? And stuff like And Tango Makes Three and Heather Has Two Mommies. Please!! At least I picked something that really *does* push the envelope. *LOL*

  2. Aww, shucks. Thanks for your kind words and the two links. Happy to help in your Oscar education. :)

    Now, THAT's a stack of books. The two I've got lined up are The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye. It's about time I read them. ;)

    1. Those are both good books -- I read them in high school. I'm not sure they're quite the gems English teachers believe them to be, but they're quite good. As far as Salinger goes, I actually like Franny and Zooey better.

  3. Thanks very much for the link! Please do feel free to fill your voting child's head with progressive rants too! The country needs more Mums like you haha!

    1. *Smile* It's always nice to meet other progressive/liberal sorts on both sides of the pond. ;-)

  4. Thanks for posting about Banned Book Week! I am so excited! :)

    1. Thanks for hosting this event, Sheila. I'm looking forward to it.

  5. Such a variety - seeing American Psycho in the pile brought back the memories of reading it. quite dark but also thought provoking. and Anne Frank is a banned book somewhere?! - whew.

    have a great reading week~
    PS: here a my reads

    1. Anne Frank -- I know! It boggles the mind, doesn't it?

  6. I loved Cabin in the Woods! I saw it two times in the theater, and I definitely going to watch it again at home.

    And Full Metal Jacket - my dad is a Vietnam Vet and he asked me to watch that movie, telling me that it was the truest portrayal to Vietnam in a movie he had ever seen.

    1. Wow! I can't think of any greater tribute to a war film. I'm sure no one can really "get" what a veteran has been through, without having experienced it ourselves. But if books and films can offer a true to life portrayal, and we can connect with their experiences that way, they are a little bit less alone.

  7. I love that you posted great posts by other bloggers from this week. It's a great idea that I haven't seen very often from book bloggers.
    I hope you enjoy your books this week. I have Wonder Boys on my shelf too!

  8. I am slow to the Joss Whedon party, but I think I have finally arrived! Horror is not my thing at all but Cabin in the Woods caught my eye after someone referred to the Serenity Easter eggs hidden within. We'll see if I get brave enough to attempt it. o_O

    I loved Crocodile on the Sandbank though! I bet you'll like Amelia Peabody. Enjoy your week!

  9. TBRW pile? I have Wonder Boys on my "To Read" fiction shelf, but haven't gotten to it yet (sadly).

  10. I love visiting your blog, 'feral' kids and all ... you always make me laugh! I loved Sandra Bryd's The Secret Keeper, hope you enjoy it too.
    Happy reading, watching and preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse ;)

  11. Happy Birthday to your son! Flashpoint sounds good - I enjoy the TV series of the same name (but not associated with this book)

    Have a great reading week!
    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  12. You are one of the few people I know who have seen Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. My husband and I watched it a few times and absolutely LOVE that movie. Campy horror FTW!!

  13. I also have two teenagers - it's amazing how time flies!

    Your to-read pile looks great. Do I spot there a copy of American Psycho as well as the movie? That will be fun! I haven't read the book (I think) but I hope you'll enjoy this one and the others.

  14. That is a great looking to read pile! I hope you have a productive week. :)

  15. Ooh, you have some great looking titles...Flashpoint caught my eye.

    Enjoy! And thanks for visiting my blog.

  16. That's the second time I've seen that book by Elizabeth Peters this week. I've heard how great she is.

    Have a great week!


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