Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Movie Tie - Ins

Cool new nail polish color: "Not Like the Movies"!
Next, I would like to try "Not Like the Book"
. . . I wonder what color that would be?

So, life is not like the movies, and the movies are not like the books! Even so, I'll be in line later this summer to see the film version of Kathryn Stockett's 2009 bestselling novel, The Help. It was a compelling narrative, and I'm curious to see the how it will be depicted. Soon to be viewable are a few other recent favorites . . . well . . . fairly recent.

Warhorse: take your choice ~ screen, stage, or text.

I guess it's actually been three years since I sat down one snowy day in February 2008 and read Sara Gruen's 2007 novel, Water for Elephants all in one sitting -- very unusual for me. Usually, even when I love what I'm reading, I have a bad habit of allowing myself to be very easily distracted, always jumping up for this, that, or the other -- a cup of tea, a load of laundry, etc. But this novel about veterinary science, circus trains, and aging definitely held my attention, like watching a very good show. I just kept wanting to see what would happen next! The elderly narrator and the subtext on aging provide a very thought - provoking twist to the story. Though, speaking of twists, I remain a little miffed at the way the conclusion makes the opening seem like a trick. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing this one very soon (in theatres April 2011).

Later that same year (2008), I read Erik Larson's non - fiction thriller from 2004, Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America in a rather uniquely appropriate setting, considering that it is about the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 - 94. A couple of people had recommended it to me, so I started it on the train going up to Chicago early one morning, picked it up again that night on the return train, and finished it a few days later, faster than I read most things. The chapters alternate between American history and true crime. Utterly sick, but captivating. I would recommend reading it only if you don't mind being creeped out in a jack - the - ripper kind of way . . . and I bet the same thing is going to be true for the movie adaptation, coming in 2012, starring Leonardo Dicaprio.

It was also back in the summer of 2008 that I watched Notes on a Scandal (released in 2006). I was so mesmerized by this movie that I had to order the book (published in 2003) by Zoe Heller and read it right away. I passed it on to Gerry who also read it quickly, and then we watched the movie a couple more times before returning to netflix. As always, a few changes had been made between text and film, e.g., calling the movie not by the full title -- What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal] -- but by the subtitle only. However, both are very well done, filled with thought - provoking analysis of the personal motivation behind reckless behavior: "Some people live in constant fear of having their secrets found out; others have a kind of arrogant certainty that anything they wish to keep private will remain so. Sheba belongs to the later group" (220). Ah ah! so that's what she was thinking!

Every now and then I hear a rumor that Don Delillo's 1972 novel End Zone is going to be made into a movie, but nothing seems to have come of the proposition yet. I wish it would! I read the novel a few football seasons ago (late summer 2007) upon the recommendation of a well - meaning friend who felt that it might help me understand what it was that my sons were doing out there in the end zone. I've learned a lot about the game since then; yet I still think the visual aid of a movie tie - in would increase my appreciation of this book about college football, nuclear warfare, and James Joyce.