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Not so lovely

***I will spoil this movie/book so anyone who wants to see/read The Lovely Bones, do not read on.  You have been warned.***

One of the few movies I opted to watch before reading the book was The Lovely Bones.  Mom was with me (taking care of me, actually, as I had pneumonia) and we both wanted to see it.  So we sat down one night and watched it.  For those of you who haven’t and won’t see/read it, the story is told from a dead teenager’s view from the place between Earth and heaven.  After Susie Salmon is murdered but before she can move on, she must first let go of her family.  She finds it difficult, though, as she watches them struggling to come to grips with her death.  Her father and sister try to find the killer while her mother takes solitude away from the family on an orchard.  Grandma (played by Susan Sarandon) comes to try to hold the family together despite her constant drinking.

The plot is good and the acting was great.  So why didn’t I like this movie?  For one, it was trippy.  When Susie is in the in-between, images move and change, sometimes with correlation between them and sometimes not.  At one point, I turned to Mom and asked, “Did I drop acid?” because I didn’t know how else to explain the weird and off-putting imagery.

The other thing that really drew me away from the movie was the end.  Susie watches from the in-between as her killer disposes of her body.  Earlier in the movie, she found that her body was hidden in a safe in his basement.  Scared that Susie’s father was on to him, the killer decides to get rid of the safe in the town sinkhole.  He drives out to the sinkhole and pays some guy to help him roll the safe across to it.  I realize that to build tension, the killer had to take a while to dispose of the body.  However, I kept yelling at the TV that he should have parked closer to the sinkhole and not a fucking mile away (it wasn’t really that far but it felt like it).  What an idiot!

Then there’s Susie.  She is watching all of this happen and decides to make a big move.  She comes down from the in-between and possesses a girl who lives by the sinkhole (and is watching the safe being rolled across the ground).  This girl has been hanging out with Susie’s crush since the murder.  So now that Susie’s in possession of this girl’s body, one would think she would alarm the people that her body is in the safe and that creepy neighbor is really the killer.  But she doesn’t.  Instead, she makes out with her crush as her body sinks to the bottom of the hole, lost forever.  No wonder she was murdered.  She was an idiot as well!

Now, this is to say nothing of the book.  I haven’t read it but I probably will one day.  I’ve heard the book is good so I won’t let the movie disparage me from enjoying it.  But let me save you the trouble with the movie.  Watch something else unless you like feeling like you’re on acid while you watch idiotic people make mistake after mistake.  In that case, this movie is for you.

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Posted by on October 21, 2010 in Entertainment

 

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Mini-golf should require helmets

My long weekend: Day Three

Jess and I love to play putt-putt. Since our youth, we’ve been on many a putt-putt course throughout the country. In Florida, where both of our grandparents resided, was a jungle-themed course that we frequented when we visited the family. It was set up as if a plane crashed in a jungle (there was an actual plane on the side of the hill). Alongside one hole was a quicksand pit with the frame of a body and only an explorer’s hat visible. Another hole was on a sloping, sinking boat.

Now, just because we’ve played a lot of putt-putt, that doesn’t mean that we’re good. Once I nailed Jess in the knee with a wayward ball. Another time I hit the ball so hard that it was closer to the next hole than the one we were on. And I can’t count how many times my ball has fallen in the water trap.

For Jess’ last day visiting me, Fred and I took her out to our favorite miniature golf course. Fred had played the course his whole life and had introduced it to me on our first date. I have yet to beat him but I will prevail one day!  But I digress.

Miniature golf is different from putt-putt.  With putt-putt, the fairways have fake grass and obstacles are spinning windmill blades or strategically placed rocks.  Miniature golf is played on real grass and the holes are surrounded by real sand and are farther away from the tee than in putt-putt.  It’s also a lot harder.  There are still obstacles, but there are no windmills.

When I play mini-golf, I start off by hitting the ball too hard and usually send it flying past the hole.  Usually, though, by the back 9 I get the hang of things and actually make par on a few holes.  The opposite happened for Jess.  She started off well, but then progressively got worse.  It culminated near the end.  One of the toughest holes had a 5-foot high fence surrounding it.  We had to tee off from about 15 feet away, get through the one opening in the fence, over the stone bridge (I’d gotten stuck on that for 3 strokes once) and then there was still another 15 feet to the hole.  Jess shot first and got close to the opening of the fence but didn’t get through.  I went and, miraculously, the ball sailed through the opening, across the bridge, and landed within a couple of feet of the hole.  Fred went last and lobbed his ball far to the left, nowhere close to the fence’s opening.  This made me laugh because Fred rarely messes up this bad on the mini-golf course so I have to take advantage when he does.

I stood back when Jess took her next shot, and it was a good thing, too, because in effort to get her ball through the fence opening, she lobbed the ball pretty hard.  It flew up in the air and hit the wooden railing that surrounded the top of the fence, and then bounced into the grass outside the fence.  I laughed at that as I watched Fred attempt to putt around the side of the fence to the opening.  Then Jess went again.  “I’m going to try to hit it over!” she said.  What happened resulted in me doubling over, clinging to my club as if it were a cane to keep me from falling over.  Once again, Jess lobbed the ball high and it angled to her right, bounced off the railing, and flew toward the hole.  Unfortunately, it was hole 4 and we were on hole 12.

Back and forth Jess and Fred took turns trying unsuccessfully to get their balls on the green.  At one point, Fred told Jess, “It might be easier if you just putt the ball through the holes in the fence!”  Perhaps it would have been, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun.  Or hilarious (I’d cried all my makeup off at this point).  Once they both reached the 6-stroke limit, I putted my ball in.  Two strokes.

The next hole, Jess was up first.  This was another tricky one.  There was a well and the hole was beyond the well, down a little slope.  Newbies would think that going through the well would be the fastest way.  Maybe in putt-putt where tubes help lead the balls through certain obstacles, but not in mini-golf.  It was actually quite easy to get stuck in this well and was best to putt around it.  Fred and I advised Jess to do so.  I don’t know if she heard “putt around” or “putt over” but she decided to hit the ball with a greater force than she had been.  The ball sailed through the air and hit a large rock.  Because of the force, the ball bounced off the rock and sailed back toward Jess.  It looked like it might hit her in the head, but it didn’t.  Instead, it hit the par sign and flew off in another direction, far from the hole.  Jess and I were doubled over in laughter.  Tears streamed my face.  I was finding it difficult to breath.  Fred, who was also finding all this amusing, said, “That’s what we call a boomerang shot!”

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2010 in About me

 

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Books vs. Movies

Jess and I have this argument all the time.  She’ll tell me that some movie is really great and I’ll make the snide remark that the book is better.  (I can be a bit of a smart ass at times.*)  She’ll watch the movie and skip reading the book.  I, on the other hand, read the book and then see the movie.  I try to give myself enough time between the reading and the viewing to forget enough about the book so I’m not disappointed in what’s left out or changed in the movie.

The first time I watched the movie version before reading the book, I felt dirty, like I was doing something sinful.  The movie was Practical Magic and I enjoyed it.  When I read the book, though, I ended up disappointed.  I thought, “The book didn’t follow the movie at all!” when really my thinking should have been the other way around.

Last summer when The Time Traveler’s Wife previews started airing, I was determined to read the book first.  I was also trying to save money so instead of buying one of the 100 copies we had in the store, I put my name on the reservation list at the library.  My number in line to get a copy was somewhere in the 200s.  I figured that by the time I got it and read it, the movie would be out on DVD.  But Murphy’s Law kicked in and I got the book sooner than anticipated (the library purchased several new copies to distribute to patrons).  Still, it took me the full 3 weeks to read it and then I waited another 4 months before I watched the movie.  I’m definitely glad I read the book first, unlike Mom, with whom I watched the movie.  Some of the time travelling wasn’t explained well in the movie and a couple of times I paused it to make sure that Mom understood what was going on.

But I have a confession to make.  The last two movies I’ve watched have been based off of books but (are you sitting down?) I didn’t read the books before watching them.  Oh, I will read the books eventually, but I was so eager to see the movies that I broke my own policy.  The movies in question were Shutter Island and Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.  I haven’t heard if Shutter Island stays close to the book or not but I’ve heard several complaints about Percy Jackson.  One friend even described it at a complete rewrite of the book so I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed the movie if I’d read the book first.  Yet I think I will still enjoy the book after the movie because I want to see how it really plays out.

Now, those books that have on the cover, “Based on the screenplay by…” means it was a movie first and then a book.  This doesn’t work the same way.  In cases when the book is written after the movie, then the movie is always better.  Trust me on this one.

*Understatement of the year.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2010 in Entertainment

 

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