Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Under the Same Moon

Movie: Under the Same Moon
Like/Don't Like: How do you say "Pass the tissue" in Spanish?

Golly, I cried a lot through this movie. This was expected because it's about a cute little boy in Mexico trying to get to his mother in LA. How was I not suppose to cry?

And I know that this was the intention. Everything was sweet and heart-warming and a little contrived, and the "immigrants have it hard" card was dealt too often (for the record, I actually do believe that immigrants have it hard for the work they do here. Don't you think we should make it just a little bit easier for the woman who cleans our toilets for minimum wage to stay here with her kids?) but it was tough to not like it. I'm a sucker for little boys. Plus, there's a man with a mustache, and you know how I'm feeling about mustaches these days.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Book: Hooligan - A Mormon Boyhood
Author: Douglas Thayer
Like/Don't Like: It made me wish a little that I had been a boy.

Unless you were an English major at BYU and spent your days growing pale and consumptive in the basement of the JKHB, you probably have never heard or Douglas Thayer. I'm glad I can introduce you. He's one of a handful of Mormon writers who can write about the religion and the culture without coming off as either preachy or bitter. It helps that he has a real talent for essays and storytelling. I took a class on Mormon Literature (where we did not have to read the Work and Glory) and fell in love with his dry wit and straightforward prose.

I always cringe when people start getting nostalgic for the good old days. But he's hardly sighing here. He's just recalling his childhood in Provo during the 30s and 40s - when he and his friends would roam the valley looking for adventures but usually ended up just skinny dipping in the river or shooting birds off of telephone wires or trying to scrounge up enough money to buy a popsicle to share. They would wish for the train to derail or a mental patient to escape from the hospital up the hill, just so they could see some action. It is a sweet and funny memoir that will make you want to ride your bike and sneak into the movies.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Forsythe Saga

Movie: The Forsythe Saga
Like/Don't Like: I wanted to stick my head in the oven through most of it but I actually liked it in the end

Wow, this is a long one. I'm just telling you this because you might want to break it up into a few viewings. It's like 7 hours long. And there are very few likable characters. And it's the likable ones that all the bad things happen to. And yet it a very fascinating character study. The main character, Soames Forsythe, is incredibly complex and had the ability to make you feel sorry for him and then hate him and then back to feeling sorry and then scratching your head at his actions and then laughing at him. You don't ever like him but you certainly go through almost every other emotion because of him. It kept me going through all the sad stuff.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Stop in the Name of Pants

Book: Stop in the Name of Pants
Author: Louise Rennison
Like/Don't Like: Luuuuurve

Oh how I love these books. They make me laugh like a loon on loon pills. This is the latest in the Georgia books and it measured up, as always. They're the type of books that you can't read in public because you won't be able to stop yourself from laughing out loud and snorting. It's happened to me. And Katie. They are entirely laugh-out-loud-able. And quotable. I find myself thinking or saying things that Georgia would say because they're just so fitting. For instance, the phrase "Blimey O'Reilly's Trousers" is always in my head when something goes wrong.

If you're familiar with the books you have a few things to look forward to: an updated glossary, the snogging scale in German, and a new bison viking hornpipe disco dance with exact instructions on how to do it that had me laughing and snorting and nearly wetting myself. Plus, loads of Dave the Laugh. Admit it, he's your fave.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Be Kind Rewind

Movie: Be Kind Rewind
Like/Don't Like: I liked it enough to stay awake for most of it

I have found that it's rare when a movie makes me laugh out loud. I mean, really laugh. (Don't you think that's strange? I do. Because I really like to laugh, and I'm easily amused. Maybe I'm dead inside.) This movie did. But during the parts when I wasn't laughing out loud it was kind of slow and I actually took a little siesta in the middle of it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Golden Compass

Movie: The Golden Compass
Like/Don't Like: Not Really

You may recall that I read the series and was disappointed. I didn't let it stop me from watching the movie though because I knew that the issues I had with the books would not be in the movie. And I LOVED the first book. It was so adventurous and fun. Which made watching the movie also disappointing. The adventure just didn't translate.

Is it just me or do you think that CGI is ruining movies? I think that directors spend way too much time these days coming up with the most eye-popping whiz-bang special effects and too little time on actually making a solid film with a good script and good acting. The movie got all the essential plot points from the book in but it completely missed the mark on the heart of it. I was bored through most of it, which is a shame because I nearly had a heart-attack from the the excitement it generated from reading it.

A Passage to India

Book: A Passage to India
Author: E.M. Forster
Like/Don't Like: Like

There were really only two classes that I skipped in college on a regular basis. My organ class (Dear Members of My Ward, I am so sorry. Love, Rachel) and this one Lit class that I have completely forgotten the name of. Well, not so much forgotten as didn't really care enough to learn. Because the professor was a joke. I never understood what he was talking about. And I'm sure he had no idea either. I know this because anytime we would start talking about what we were actually suppose to be talking about, he would change the subject. I learned more about Telemark skiing in that class then I ever did about whatever books we were suppose to be reading. And since I didn't care about the class, I didn't bother to read any of the books.

One of those books was A Passage to India. And having just read it, I'm a little mad at that guy for not being a better teacher. Like all Forster novels, I found myself really wanting to talk it out with someone. He has such a way of writing about conflict and misunderstanding, or, as he like to put it, muddles. He makes muddles a very human condition, and in this book he shows that it's not just a trait of one race. Pride and culture and status and prejudices get in the way of progress everywhere you go.

I think what I like about his writing is that it all seems like it's part of the same family. I picture all of his characters as cousins and their stories are part of a larger collected volume of work. Like Lucy from A Room with a View and the Schlegels from Howard's End and Adela from this book all get together for tea when they make it back to England to talk about why people can't forget all the nonsense about money and religion and just be friends.