Sunday, January 20, 2013

Monday Update, Follow-Up on Reader Questionnaire, Books & Movies, & Blogger Links to Share

Life just keeps rolling. I pulled this "rock star" graphic off Facebook because many of us can relate. Actually this doesn't apply to me so much these days, since my kids are getting older. I still have to ask myself daily "am I tripping, or did that really just happen?!?" and #1, #2, & #5 still apply. Plus on any given day, my house looks as if about a dozen drug-addled lunatics have been crashing here.

But at least I get to go to the bathroom by myself these days. Private trips to the loo are a luxury one doesn't appreciate until it's gone. A privilege lost, to my knowledge, by only two groups of people: prisoners and parents of small children.

Many thanks to everyone who responded to the questionnaire. In response to the question "Which Features Would Interest You?" survey says:

1. Weekly post comparing a book and movie -- it may be a film adaptation of the book or a movie and book that are thematically related. (12 votes)

2. Bibliotherapy -- use of books (or movies -- cinetherapy?) for help with psychological or emotional issues (2 votes)

3. Posts discussing the use of interesting books and films for homeschooling, unschooling, or simply furthering one's knowledge. (2 votes)

4. Interviews of film directors/screenwriters (2 votes)

5. More personal posts (1 votes)

I definitely want to implement #1, which is wholly appropriate for a blog titled "On Page & Screen." I want to work on #3 too (#2 might fit there as well), including reviving my old tradition -- from several years ago -- of posting about using movies for studying history and philosophy with teens. I also had a request to reduce the width of the blog posts, a problem which I think I fixed. And we're open to any other feedback and suggestions. :-)

I've also revamped the sidebars, with some new collections of tags, updated directories, and cleaned up the tags on all our posts. Whew!

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

Now Reading:

I just started reading this on my new Kindle, because Trish recommends it so highly. :-) Time travel stories are an easy sell with me.

from Goodreads: If you had the chance to change the course of history, would you? Would the consequences be what you hoped?

Jake Epping 35 teaches high school English in Lisbon Falls, Maine, and cries reading the brain-damaged janitor's story of childhood Halloween massacre by their drunken father. On his deathbed, pal Al divulges a secret portal to 1958 in his diner back pantry, and enlists Jake to prevent the 11/22/1963 Dallas assassination of American President John F. Kennedy. Under the alias George Amberson, our hero joins the cigarette-hazed full-flavored world of Elvis rock n roll, Negro discrimination, and freeway gas guzzlers without seat belts. Will Jake lurk in impoverished immigrant slums beside troubled loner Lee Harvey Oswald, or share small-town friendliness with beautiful high school librarian Sadie Dunhill, the love of his life?
Movies Watched This Week:

Clueless (3/5 stars) -- Jane Austen's Emma morphed into a high school comedy. I thought this movie was O.K. but definitely not riveting. Maybe I'm just the wrong generation to appreciate this film? After all, I'm part of the Breakfast Club generation. :-)

Jeff, Who Lives at Home (3/5 stars) -- A sort of coming-of-age movie about a 30-year-old guy living in his mom's basement. This wasn't bad, but it's very forgettable for me.

Killer Joe (4/5 stars) -- My reaction to this movie is an interesting commentary on my evolution as a film buff. Four years ago the "gimp" scene in Pulp Fiction almost sent me running out of the room. Now I think movie dialogue about a guy setting his genitalia on fire is hilarious. I wonder how many people will unsubscribe from this blog after reading that last sentence? ;-) Ah, well. My review is here.

The Little Traitor (4/5 stars) -- I will probably review this soon. A good find for a homeschooling parent, despite very mild sexual content and references to violence. It's a family friendly historical coming-of-age movie set in Palestine in the waning days of British control. A solid introduction to the aftermath of the Holocaust, Zionism, and Israeli statehood, from the Jewish perspective, and a possible springboard for discussion about the current tragic situation in the Middle East. I'd like to find something similar from the Arab/Muslim point of view.

Tyrannosaur (4.5/5 stars) -- This is one of my teenaged daughter's favorite films. Painful but excellent portrayal of a budding friendship between two very lonely, damaged people. There are dog deaths, in case you're like me and need to be forewarned about these things. :-) Sarah's review is here.

Falling Down (3.5/5 stars) -- I may review this soon. Interesting film -- it's kind of like looking at the early 90s, and American society, through a set of fun house mirrors. Everything looks somewhat distorted, strange, and frightening. A raging panhandler. Gangbangers. An insane Neo-Nazi military surplus store owner. The world through the eyes of this movie's protagonist, played by Michael Douglas. This film isn't a favorite for me, but it's a hell of a ride, and Michael Douglas is excellent.

Circle of Friends (4/5 stars) -- This is a pretty good film. It an entertaining adaptation of Maeve Binchy's popular novel and a somewhat light-hearted look at how a group of young adults is affected by the strict sexual mores of a 1950s Irish Catholic community. I enjoyed Minnie Driver's performance as Benny, and Alan Cumming was hilariously loathsome and creepy as Sean Walsh.

Some Blog Posts I've Enjoyed: 

Ruth at Flix Chatter and  Rorschach Reviews posted excellent reviews of Zero Dark Thirty, a movie which is probably a must see for my homeschooled teens and me.

I am often surprised by how little my kids really know about the events of the past 11 years and the political and historical context in which they occurred. Similarly when I was a small child, in the early 70s, I understood almost nothing of the U.S. war in Vietnam. I only knew it was a sensitive, emotionally charged subject and people were suffering. Interestingly, all the way through high school, the Korean and Vietnam wars were never included in our history curricula.

Anyhoo, the controversy and mixed opinions I've read make me think Zero Dark Thirty is a fertile springboard for a debate and discussion, which is a didact's dream, no?

I also enjoyed the review of Anna Karenina at Rorschach Reviews. I was really excited about this movie, but all the reviews I've read so far have led me to believe it will be underwhelming. Oh, well. Maybe I'll re-read the book instead. Oh, and I have to give props to Rorschach for for pointing out that the hubby's and my shared love of Quentin Tarantino movies demonstrates that I have great judgment in choosing a spouse. :-)

Speaking of the devil, check out  Pete's Quentin Tarantino Retrospective at Filmoria. Awesome stuff!

Margaret at Cinematic Corner and Jenners at Life With Books posted terrific reviews of The Silver Linings Playbook -- I am getting really excited about this movie.

Alex at And So It Begins shares his Top 10 Films, and Top 15 Male and Female Performances of 2012.

Josh at The Cinematic Spectacle shares his Top 10 Films of 2012. He and Alex are among my top go-to reviewers for film recommendations.

Ruth at Flix Chatter published a great essay on Steven McQueen's style of acting. You know, the "Cooler King."

And last but certainly not least, m.brown posted a wonderful review of Lincoln, which I also have in my sights for our homeschool "curriculum."


  1. Rock Star comparison brought back memories although like you #4 still applies lol. 11/22/63 is on my must read list although I just don't want to devote the time to a chunkster right now. Hope you enjoy it. Have a great week and happy reading :)

    1. Thanks, Sheree, and happy birthday!

  2. I think you'll love 11/22/63. It is one of King's best!

    And I'm hoping to see Zero Dark Thirty this week!
    Thanks for the shout out. Can't wait to see what you think of Silver Linings Playbook.

    And it is good to know I'm a rock star (somewhat).

    1. Thanks! I hope I love this book as much as everyone else seems to.

  3. Thanks again for the link! Glad to see you like Tyrannosaur, which is a sadly overlooked film. :(

    1. You're welcome! And I agree that it's an undeservedly overlooked film. My daughter is a big fan of Paddy Considine, both as an actor and director, and I'm beginning to see why. Have you seen Dead Man's Shoes yet?

  4. Yay thanks for the link, I'd like to think the Tarantino article might sneak its way onto your home school syllabus as required reading! Love that rock star poster too and glad you got to see Tyrannosaur. What an unpleasant watch!

    1. Pete, I suspect several of your essays will find their way into our "syllabus." Great stuff. :-)

  5. Painful is a good word to describe Tyrannosaur, I got a lot of comments when I wrote "did not finish" for my rating. The main character's attitude and swearing turned me off during first 45min, though I might feel differently if I had completed movie.

    I agree about Jeff, Who Lives at Home, nothing remarkable, I did love that song by BECK from the soundtrack.

    1. I can understand why you found this movie too difficult to get through based on the main character's behavior. Even aside from the horrible dog scene at the beginning, his rage was really difficult to cope with. I am really glad I watched it -- excellent film -- but I doubt I'll revisit it anytime soon.

  6. I can't stop smiling reading that parents = rock star...I am not a parent yet but I see a lot of truth there, at least from what I see with my mom. He children, read: me and my brothers, were very lazy to search was always "Mam...where's my shoes? where's this and that?"

    Aaaah...I want to read that book too!! I am dying to read another book by my favorite writer, SK. I will make sure I read that one next month.

    1. *Smile* Undoubtedly you and your brothers were the greatest joy of your mom's life. And no doubt she was a rock star. :-)

  7. Sign me up for #1, 2 and 6 for sure. The clothes pulling drives me crazy. Or when my son opts for simply driving his head into me as if he's trying to reenter, um, me...

    Anyway, on a less graphic note, thanks for the link. That's very nice of you!

    I was going to download 11.23.63 when it was discounted on Amazon, but my father-in-law insisted on giving me the actual book. Boooo!

    1. Ha ha! That head butting thing must get a bit old.

  8. Parents ARE like rock stars aren't they? ;) Now that my youngest will be turning 13 soon I'm finally able to have the bathroom to myself now and then...for a minute or two anyway ;)

    I'd really like to get to that newest King! One of these days

    1. That IS one of the perks of having our kids growing into teens. I do enjoy privacy when I pee. :-P Now if only they'd stop hollering "MOM!" when I'm in the shower.

  9. Thank you for the link! Haha, going to bathroom alone...when we got Gustav and he was still a baby Yorkie he didn't want to let me close the door and kept scratching it :D Fortunately, now he stopped doing that :)

    Michael Douglas was brilliant in Falling Down, I too didn't found the film to be the greatest but his performance definitely made it worth watching.

    1. It's funny how much living with dogs is like having small children.

      It sounds like we had basically the same opinion about Falling Down. I'm glad I finally watched it -- it was worth it for Douglas and Duvall.

  10. Ha, having a 1 year old, I can totally relate to the parenting thing. I loved Jeff, Who Lives and Home. I thought it was adorable. I totally agree about warning people of dog deaths! I am one of those people. I actually knew of that ahead of time and fast forwarded through that part of Tyrannosaur. Great movie, but very depressing.

  11. I can see why you'd love Jeff, Who Lives at Home -- I thought it was kind of humorous and sweet. It just didn't really work for me. Responses to movies are very personal. :-)

  12. Thanks for the link love, Steph, how very kind.

    Ahahaha, that's an awesome graphic there about parents being like rock stars! I'm not a parent but I could see that being the case, #5 really cracked me up!

    You watched a ton of movies! Oh I LOVE Circle of Friends. I think Minnie Driver is sooo underrated, she's so adorable in that one. Amazing that she gained so much for that role, she's actually very tall and lean in real life.

  13. I should check King's book, everyone says good things about it.
    Zero Dark Thirty, if give it so much positive feedback, I think it must be really good.

    Rivie @ Bookshelf

  14. 11.22.63 is an EXCELLENT book - one of my favorites from last year.

    We saw Lincoln over the weekend and loved it. I walked out of there thinking my 12yo would love it too and would enjoy learning more about the man and the political process as it was back then.

    My husband, who was in the Army for eight years, saw Zero Dark Thirty and tells anyone who will listen that it made him incredibly uncomfortable and anxious to watch it. He said the sound effects, the tension, and the action were so realistic that he was immediately back in his own Army days. The torture scenes were sufficiently brutal as well. I'm glad he saw it because I have no desire to do so.

  15. Liked that rock star list. I have my boy at my feet right now talking about star wars with his star wars lego. I can't recall the last time I was in the bathroom by myself lol

  16. I so hope that you enjoy 11/22/63. Scott ended up feeling pretty lukewarm about the ending so I've been a little nervous about MY RAVINGS!! ;) Though I did loan my 2.6 pound copy to my grandma last night...

    I haven't been doing a good job of keeping up with Google Reader lately so missed your survey but I would have voted personal. Me likey (though you know that already).

  17. A weekly post comparing a book and movie sounds like tough work, but I really hope we start seeing some of those posts here!

    Thanks so much for the TRIPLE linkage! Very kind of you.


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