A Break From The Stinker Trend

Posted in Movies on April 16th, 2010 and tagged , , , ,

My husband and I have been watching some stinky movies lately.  Many of them have had something in common, but I don’t want to say which ones or what their common trait is for fear of making these movies predictable and even worse for people who might decide to watch  them.  I will just name the titles of the movies we’ve watched lately that weren’t any good along with some quick notes:

Edge of Darkness (recent Mel Gibson mess), Shutter Island (so looking forward to this one and it let me down), Memento (man loses memory and uses Polariods to remind himself of his mission in life), Fight Club (made us permanently question imdb.com’s rating system – this one got an 8.8 and we hated it), The Skeleton Key (Kate Hudson voo-doo flick – need I say any more?), The Machinist (the best part of this movie was Christian Bale’s acting – what does that tell you?), Angel Heart (more voo-doo, this time from the 80’s with Robert DeNiro and “Denise” from the Cosby Show which will never be the same for me again – I saw more of Denise than I ever needed to see; there was little about this movie that wasn’t disturbing – why they are bothering with a remake in 2011 is way beyond me), Surveillance (I liked this one a little, but my husband did not.  One of the rare movies upon which we disagreed.  Bill Pullman was pretty good), The Collector (a horror movie that wasn’t quite as bad as the other mentioned above.  VERY gory, and the amount of squirms and gore did not outweigh the good things about the movie).

Some of those movies are newer and we saw them in the theater; others are older releases watched at home.  There just isn’t much coming to the theaters these days.  The Nightmare Elm Street remake is coming soon, but my hopes are not high for that one –  the Halloween remake was awful, and the redone Friday the 13th wasn’t much better.  I did enjoy My Bloody Valentine 3D that came out a few years ago, but then again, I never saw the original.

At least we’ve been offered a break from all the stinkers.  We saw the Steve Carell / Tina Fey comedy-adventure flick Date Night for our date night the other night, and it was enjoyable.  Better than I thought, actually.  Steve Carell plays an everyman suburban husband who takes his wife out for a date night, and they say they are another couple in order to get a table at a swanky restaurant.  Problem is, the couple they pose as are mixed up in no-good business – hijinks ensue.  Steve Carell wasn’t given much to work with for his character, but it amazes me how he brings life to every one of his roles and makes every character different from one another – how does he do that?

And surprisingly, we got a break from our stinker-streak for at home movies too with a Sarah Michelle Gellar suspense thriller that was actually quite enjoyable, despite my usual disdain for the actress.  It’s called Possession, but don’t let the title fool you – it was a pretty good suspense movie with a crummy title.  The movie follows a young couple who are very much in love and celebrating their first wedding anniversary.  Complicating their lives however, is the husband’s convict brother, who has just been released from prison and is staying with them.  There is a horrible car accident, and both brothers end up in comas with the brother-in-law waking up thinking he’s the husband…  sounds like a cheesy soap opera, but it was well done, and we liked it.  From what I’ve been reading, it’s a remake of a Korean movie called Addicted; I might have to check out the original.  There is also an alternate ending, but I’ll stick with the ending I saw – the alternate sounds dumb.

I’m just glad that we broke our stinker-streak, even if it did have to involve Sarah Michelle Gellar.  Consider this blog post your warning to stay away from the ones I listed above – some were almost bad enough to add to my “horrible movies” list; one that includes such bombs as The Love Guru and The Night Listener.  You’ve been warned!!

IT

Posted in books, Movies on January 25th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Last Saturday night,  because the temperature wasn’t too bad, we went for an evening family walk and took the kids to Walgreens for milk.  Even at just 6:00, it was already completely dark outside, and a dense fog was starting to settle in, so Hubby and I decided it was a perfect night to watch a scary movie.  The only thing is that we watch A LOT of horror movies, and most of them just aren’t scary anymore.  Call it desensitization to the horror, or maybe it’s the fact that we have 4 kids and it’s difficult to find something scarier than say, 3 of them being wide awake at midnight or someone taking off their dirty diaper and making a mess with it.  But whatever the reason, it’s hard to find a movie that will actually scare either of us.

While we were trying to choose a suitable scary movie, we came across Stephen King’s IT.  My  husband was skeptical, but I was certain it would be terrifying, so we gave it a try.  And I was right, well partially right anyway – the first time Pennywise the horror clown was shown on the screen, it was so creepily done that my husband grabbed ME and not the other way around – which was only actually because I couldn’t even watch it; it was so scary!  Unfortunatley, my husband was no longer scared once Pennywise began to talk, but I was creeped out by the entire movie…  well, at least until the end, when the big showdown scene completely disappointed me and took away my fear – that’s all I’ll say, don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t seen IT.

I like to research movies that I watch; I look them up on imdb.com to see if I’m correct when I recognize actors from other movies.  When I looked up IT, I came across information that pointed to the theatrical release of an IT remake in the near future – I’m there!!

I think I might want to read Stephen King’s IT the novel first before I see the remake maybe; I’ve been thinking about what to read after I finish the 2nd Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  It’s going kind of slowly for me; I think I’m ready for a break from Hogwarts – some Stephen King should do the trick!  Then again, maybe not, I’ve been  having enough trouble sleeping as it is – matter of fact, I go in for a sleep study later today.  That’s all I need is to get my sleep problems under control and then give myself nightmares by reading scary books…  But anyway, wish me luck – I’m a little nervous about the study (I don’t know what I do in my sleep, and I don’t know how I feel about strangers knowing what I do when I sleep – that’s kind of personal!  Plus I’m going to miss my family like crazy and worry about them.  I hate sleeping in hospitals, but at least in the past, I’ve had a newborn baby to cuddle!).

Click here if you want to do more reading about the IT remake – but keep in mind that this article complains about the same spoiler at the end of IT that I hated, so if you don’t want to know what happens, don’t read it!  And one more thing…  I thought Tim Curry was just excellent in IT.  He was unrecognizable, which was probably part of the charm!

The Abyss

Posted in Movies on January 8th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It took two nights, but we finally made it through the sci-fi 80’s thriller, The Abyss.  What is with me and all the science fiction lately?  Not usually my cup of tea; I guess I’ve just been enjoying a change of scenery.  One reason for wanting to watch the Abyss is that I was very impressed by director / writer James Cameron’s latest movie, Avatar.  I enjoyed the movie in a little theater with old fashioned sound equipment, and I also got to catch  it at a larger theater with awesome sound and in 3D – I REALLY enjoyed it!  That doesn’t mean I’m a James Cameron fan, however, and you couldn’t pay me to sit through Titanic, whose concept I always thought sold out the disaster itself.  I mean, for characters in the movie, there were over 2200 real Titanic passengers from which to choose – why spend millions of dollars to bring to life fictionalized accounts of such a horrible tragedy?

But back to The Abyss, another James Cameron water movie…  Overall, this winner of the 1990 Oscar for visual effects was enjoyable, but I don’t even  know if I can say this is a watch-again-er for me.  Reading the trivia on imdb.com about how the movie was filmed was almost more interesting than the movie itself, which tells the story of a group of oil workers who are hired to go on a dive search for a missing nuclear sub.  Enter some Navy SEALS and a mysterious alien species,  and you have enough action for a 138 minute movie.  All of the diving and talk of the oceanic pressure kinda got to me after awhile; I don’t think scuba diving is something I’m ever interested in doing.  But I enjoyed the story and especially the visual effects, and without risking spoiling anything, let’s just say that in typical 80’s fashion, the plot was predictable.  If you do happen to check this one out, or if it happens to be one of your old favorites, I highly recommend reading the trivia section on imdb.com to further your enjoyment.

Bowling Obsessed

Posted in Movies, Sports on April 30th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For date night this week, our movie options were limited.  We are lucky enough to live nearby cheap movie theaters that allow us to go to the movies weekly, so we see almost everything that comes out.  Well, everything we have an interest in  seeing, anyway.  There are movies such as Krank 2 that you couldn’t PAY me to see – I would rather just skip the movie altogether – same with the upcoming Star Trek (no offense to you Trekkies – just not my kind of movie!).  So this week we were left to choose between Obsessed, a stalker-thriller with Beyonce Knowles and the new boss Charles (who already left) from the Office or a movie called The Soloist, which is about a Julliard-trained musician who ends up homeless because his schitzophrenia stands in the way of his success.  The Soloist actually seemed to have some substance, but it also seemed like the kind of movie that could wind up being a tear-jerker or just plain boring.  So we went with Obsessed, despite its 4.0 rating on imdb.com (which had slipped to a 3.8 as of today – ouch).  Obsessed is a movie about a successful business man who had a beautiful wife (Beyonce) and child – essentially the perfect life – until an obsessed temp gets in the picture.  This woman is truly psycho, and I really enjoyed watching how she made this poor man’s life unravel.  The movie wasn’t bad until a few clues shed the light on the movie’s secret – Beyonce can’t act.  Add in bad character development and a weak script, and I can definitely see where the 4.0, er, 3.8 came in.  There was one line near the end of the movie that was one of the stupidest lines I’ve ever heard in any movie.  I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say that my husband and I got dirty looks for laughing out loud at its absurdity.  On top of all of that, the movie was completely predictable – it must have been based upon (copied) every popular stalker movie ever made – The Crush, The Temp, Hand That Rocks the Cradle…  Would I recommend it?  To the right person, maybe…  you have to like thrillers; so much so that you’d want to see one that is almost a thriller parody.  You have to go to this one in a cynical mood, looking for stuff to make fun of  – and you won’t be disappointed.

After the movie, we decided to mix it up a little and go bowling –  something we haven’t done in a LONG time (I blame my 4 pregnancies – bowling is NOT a recommended sport for expecting women, and I’ve been pregnant for about one tenth of my life!)  So anyway, for my first game, I’m embarrassed to say that I got a measly 99 – not very good for someone who used to bowl in a weekly league for years.  My second game was back on par with a 137 – but I was still surprised at how quickly I got the sore muscles of bowler’s fatigue.  I guess picking up 10 lbs with three fingers uses muscles that haven’t been thought about for years.  While I’m happy to report that I wasn’t sore at all the next day, I do have to say that my first attempt at bowling as a 30-year-old wasn’t pretty.  I guess I have to practice, especially if I’m ever going to go ahead and join that league I’ve been talking about doing for years.  I just hope I don’t hurt myself too badly.

Out of respect for my wonderful hubby, I will not disclose his bowling scores.  Let’s just say that he didn’t stand a chance against the former high school ‘Female Intramural Bowler of the Year’.  😉

I Quite Understandably Mistook The Photographer As A Zombie

Posted in Current Events, Movies on April 13th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sure, that’s happened to everyone at some point, hasn’t it?  You mistake someone for a zombie?  No wait, that’s only Woody Harrelson, an actor probably known more for his advocacy to legalize marijuana than for any movie roles he’s had.  Maybe he shouldn’t smoke quite so much dope, if he truly believes this is an  “understandable” mistake – check out the story below:

From CNN.com by Alan Duke
Woody Harrelson defended his clash with a photographer at a New York airport Wednesday night as a case of mistaken identity — he says he mistook the cameraman for a zombie.

The TMZ photographer filed a complaint with police claiming the actor damaged his camera and pushed him in the face at La Guardia Airport, according to an airport spokesman.

“We’re looking into this allegation and if it’s warranted, we’ll turn it over to the proper authorities,” said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Ron Marsico.

The photographer, who was not identified, captured the encounter on a small camera after his larger one was broken.

Harrelson, who is being sued by another TMZ photographer for an alleged assault in 2006, did not deny his involvement.

“I wrapped a movie called ‘Zombieland,’ in which I was constantly under assault by zombies, then flew to New York, still very much in character,” Harrelson said in a statement issued Friday by his publicist.

“With my daughter at the airport I was startled by a paparazzo, who I quite understandably mistook for a zombie,” he said.

TMZ.com posted two videos of the incident, including one recorded by the larger camera before it was damaged.

The first video shows the photographer following Harrelson and his daughter down an escalator and out of the terminal. It ends with Harrelson apparently reaching for the lens.

The second video begins with the photographer accusing Harrelson of breaking his camera.

After Harrelson returns the camera to him, a scuffle appears to ensue.

“Woody, this is assault. Woody, this is assault,” the photographer is heard saying. “Woody, chill out. Would you please chill out?”

The photographer continues to follow Harrelson for another four minutes as the actor and his daughter walk to the airport parking lot. At one point, Harrelson again turns toward the cameraman.

“I’m being chased by Woody Harrelson while I’m talking to you,” the photographer says as he talks to an unidentified person on a cell phone.

“He hit me in my face, he broke my friggin’ camera, he broke the camera in pieces,” he said.

Harrelson, his daughter and a driver get inside an SUV and the encounter ends.

In the movie “Zombieland,” Harrelson plays “the most frightened person on Earth” looking for refuge from zombies, according to the Internet Movie Database, imdb.com

Filming on the movie wrapped in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday, according to director Ruben Fleischer’s Web site.

TMZ photographer Josh Levine filed a lawsuit against Harrelson last year for an alleged attack outside a Hollywood nightclub in 2006.

Video of that incident, which is also posted on TMZ.com, also appeared to show Harrelson grabbing a camera and clashing with the photographer.

Los Angeles prosecutors declined to press charges against the actor, but Levine filed a suit last summer asking for $2.5 million in damages.

“Woody Harrelson has a history of anger management issues with people and we intend to put a stop to this,” Cyrus Nownejad, Levine’s lawyer, said Friday.

My Bloody Valentine 3D

Posted in Movies on January 18th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s almost embarrassing to admit that I saw a movie called, “My Bloody Valentine 3D“.  But the reason I’m writing a blog about it is because I actually liked it.  A true slasher film; the grisly violence was excessive.  But I actually didn’t find myself rolling my eyes at the constant gore fest, which is what I did during the last few movies in the Saw franchise.  In the poorer quality Saw movies, some of the violence doesn’t really even make sense.  It’s almost like they’re trying to see how far they can go, how shocking they can be, and what they can get away with, even if it’s not integral to the plot.  My Bloody Valentine 3D actually has a well-developed, interesting plot.  If you don’t pay attention to the newspaper headlines that come out of the screen in the beginning of the movie (very cool 3D effect – definitely more on those later), the plot might actually be hard to follow.  I know, a good plot is unheard of for a slasher flick, but I was even left to piece together some plot details after the movie was over.  Not that it was too hard to follow, just a lot of continuous action that makes it difficult for one to think about character relationships and how they relate to the plot while also watching the movie.  So for my best attempt at a plot synopsis, here we go…

Harmony is a small mining town where everyone knows everyone else, and the mine is the lifeblood of the town.  The filmakers very successfully give the audience a good feel for the sleepy little mining town.  Decades ago, there was an accident in the mine which was initially blamed on the owner of the mine, Hanniger.  When it was found that the victims of the mining accident were actually brutally murdered, it was blamed upon the sole survivor of the accident, Harry Warden, who is left in a coma.  A few decades later, he wakes up and slaughters 22 people, including a group of teenagers having a party at the mine.  Four of the revelers make it out alive, and flash forward 10 years to now.  Hanniger’s son (he was one of the 4 survivors) returns to the town as a new rash of murders unfold, and he finds himself accused of the brutal crimes.  There’s actually more to it than that, but this kind of gives you an idea about the movie.  The plot and direction of the movie allow the audience to never be sure who to suspect of the murders, and there are various twists and turns.  Very well done for a horror movie, especially one belonging to the slasher genre.  Now on to the 3D effects…

3D does not often work for me because my eyesight is very uneven – I have near perfect vision in my left eye, and terrible vision in my right eye.  But I was sure to bring my eyeglasses, which kind of levels the playing field for my eyes, and so when I wore the 3D glasses on top of my regular eyeglasses, the 3D worked very well.  I’ve been to various 3D shows at Disney World and Universal Studios, and I would say those are the best of the best – but even they don’t always work for me; sometimes I have to squint to be able to see the 3D.  But now it seems there have been some advancements in the technology, and it’s clear the movie industry wants to showcase these advancements given the rash of 3D movie previews I’ve seen in the theaters recently.  Among the 3D features that will be out in 2009 are: Monsters and Aliens, Up, Disney’s a Christmas Carol 3D, Ice Age 3, and Toy Story in 3D.  But anyway, My Bloody Valentine 3D was very cool – the entire movie was actually in 3D for me, and all I had to do was sit there – no fiddling with glasses, no squinting…  and that was a first for me.  The murderer’s weapon of choice is a miner’s ax, and there were many times it would actually appear to come out of the screen (along with disgusting bits of gore, of course)!  Besides that effect, other things about the movie were cool because of the 3D as well; even scenes that consisted exclusively of dialogue.

As one reviewer on imdb.com mentioned, My Bloody Valentine 3D does not take itself too seriously – and that’s a good thing.  In fact, a few months ago when we first saw the movie’s preview and tagline “Nothing says ‘date movie’ like a 3D ride to Hell!”, we thought it was a joke…  you know, one of those “previews” that actually ends up being a commercial.  But it was for a real movie, and so we couldn’t resist venturing to the big city to utilize a  free voucher we had gotten on a previous visit to see the otherwise expensive 3D ride to Hell.  If you are a fan of horror movies, My Bloody Valentine 3D is a must-see.  I’m not sure how this movie would translate to a regular screen.  It might still be a good horror movie, but given the 3D effects, it was nothing short of awesome!  I would almost classify it as a sort of haunted house experience, except you’re sitting in a seat and not walking around.  If you look at it that way, the $13.50 price tag ($11 matinee) would be a bargain for the over 90 minute experience compared to admission at most haunted houses.  Of course, haunted houses don’t have the extra-long, very gratuitous nude scene, which I could have definitely done without, but since that’s my only complaint about the movie, overall I would definitely consider it an afternoon well-spent with hubby (no we did not take the kids to this feature!)  After all, nothing says ‘date movie’ like a 3D ride to Hell!  Apparently so!

Christmas With The Kranks

Posted in Movies on December 26th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ok, going in, I knew it would be a terrible movie.  When Christmas With The Kranks came out in the movie theater, it was met with terrible reviews from critics, and its imdb.com rating is a measley 4.7 with over 7,000 votes.  So why did I want to watch it?  Two reasons – I wanted to watch a Christmas movie on Christmas Eve, and I had read Surviving Christmas –  one of the rare John Grisham books that isn’t legal fiction, “Surviving Christmas” months ago – I always like to see books come to life on the screen.  Well, ok, not always…  because Christmas With The Kranks was simply awful – even worse than I thought.

The story is about a couple of empty-nesters who decide to skip Christmas since their daughter will be out of town.  They plan to take a tropical cruise and go about getting fake tans and whatnot to prepare for their unconventional holiday celebration.  Not such a big deal, you’d think.  Except that the Krank’s live on a street that is famous for their Christmas decorations.  Every house is expected to put a Frosty the Snowman decoration on their roof every year, and so when the Kranks are preparing to leave town without doing so, the neighborhood is abuzz.  That’s it.

The novel was alright; it was a fun little story, and although it wasn’t one of the best books, I did get all the way through it.  But I can’t say the same about the movie.  We turned it off in the middle and I can’t say I missed the rest.  My main problem with it was the casting of Tim Allen as Luther Krank.  While reading the book, I kept picturing Luther as a crabby senior citizen, but Tim Allen made Luther more angry than crabby.  In the novel, John Grisham does a nice job setting scene of a small, close-knit community, but all that is lost in the movie, especially with Tim Allen involved.  I was shocked to read on imdb.com that John Grisham has casting approval rights for movies based on his novels.  Maybe that was established because of Christmas With The Kranks.  Well anyway, that’s enough time wasted on this movie.  From what I hear, it’s not the best example of a John Grisham book, but worth a try, I suppose, if you have lots of spare time and like to read.  On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend the movie to anyone.

The Haunting of Molly Hartley

Posted in Movies on November 5th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Even though our car is out of commission, we were still able to get out to vote yesterday with our rental car, courtesy of our car warranty.  I have to say that after years of driving a loaded mini-van, I kind of enjoy zipping around in the little Malibu they gave us.  My husband pointed out that it’s probably because all the kids won’t even fit in it, so for the first time in a long time, I find myself alone in the car, which means blaring country music of my choosing rather than listening to kids fighting, KidsSongs, or Veggie Tales.  He’s probably right; although I do enjoy the quick pick-up and the fact that I can easily back out from any parking spot I find myself wedged into.  So anyway, the movie theater in the neighboring town was offering free popcorn to those who voted in the election yesterday.  They had a movie called, “The Haunting of Molly Hartley“, which I hadn’t heard about.  But the title sounded promising, as did the fact that the movie came out on Halloween.  But then I looked it up on imdb.com, and it had a 3.8 rating.  Ouch – that’s a pretty stinky rating!  Not only that, but examples of users’ comments on the movie include:  “What’s the point of this movie?”  “Don’t worry about getting up for a snack, you won’t miss anything.”  “A fright fest without the scares.”  “Reminds me a of a Nickleodeon movie.” – you get the idea.

But we decided to see it anyway, and I’m glad we did.  It really wasn’t that bad – it even has replay value; I’d watch it again.  The plot centers around a young girl named Molly who, days before her 18th birthday, begins to have episodes characterized by nosebleeds, anxiety attacks, and hearing voices.  She is really worried that she is “going crazy”, especially given her mother’s mental instability.  The audience doesn’t really know if everything is just in this girl’s head because of past trauma or if there is really more to it.  I would describe the movie as Rosemary’s Baby meets Proof (I’ve only seen the stage play, not the movie though).  In Rosemary’s Baby, a woman is having a baby and is paranoid that her neighbors are demons who will harm the baby.  The movie is done in such a way that the audience is left guessing the entire time if she’s just being paranoid or if her concerns are legit.  And Proof is the story of a woman who is following in the footsteps of her mathmatical genius father, only to worry if she is also inheriting his mental illness.

And I disagree with some of the comments made about the Haunting of Molly Hartley – there were plenty of scares.  The movie had a creepy mood to it, and there were plenty of jump-out-of-your-seat startles.  They were quite predictable, but I’ve seen lots of scary movies, so the predictability of the scares probably had lots to do with my experience of knowing when to expect them.  Overall, I’d definitely recommend this movie to people who like horror movies.  I liked it much better than Saw V, and they’re really two different types of movie since unlike the entire Saw franchise, this one had no gore and was rated PG-13.  Apparently it was too tame and lame for teenagers, which scares me to think about what it must take to shock teenagers these days.  But for grown-up thrill movie fans, it’s worth a view!

Is Lakeview Terrace Fireproof?

Posted in Movies on September 25th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I saw the movie Lakeview Terrace yesterday, and I decided to merge it with the title of another movie, Fireproof, for my post title because Fireproof almost stole the show.

An action thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson, Lakeview Terrace is about a tough Los Angeles cop who does not like his new neighbors, seemingly because they are an interracial couple.  He makes indirect threats, among other things, and the couple has trouble at first determining whether or not they’re making something of nothing.  As the tension escalates however, it soon becomes clear that their neighbor is in fact mentally unstable, and as he comes closer and closer to cracking, the couple has no one to call for help because of the camaraderie between police officers known as the “blue wall of silence”.  The movie was entertaining to watch; it wasn’t as good as I had hoped but just as good as I expected – one of those movies where they showed most of the good parts in the previews.  It was very predictable yet also very good at establishing mood throughout.  For instance, at times, the tension that was built in the movie – and the theater – was so thick you could have cut it with a knife.  They did a nice job of setting the mood of the neighborhood also; a nice homey-like cul-de-sac, complete with barking dog nestled in the California hills gave it both a nice family feeling and also played up the isolation factor.  I thought Samuel L. Jackson was really good in this movie – the way he delivered some of his lines was effective in subtly portraying his disdain for his neighbors.  And the reason for his racial prejudices was surprising and an interesting addition to the plot.  The movie did put the spotlight on many racial issues in a thought-provoking manner.

Overall, a very entertaining movie, even though some of the events that I think were meant to surprise the audience did not because the movie was predictable.  The other criticisms I have with it are that none of the characters were likable – it was difficult to root for the couple who was being picked on by Jackson because they each had some serious character flaws.  Also, it was not believable that an LA cop would have enough money to be able to afford the house where he resided – nestled in the hills outside of Los Angeles, the houses featured in the movie had spectactular views, gorgeous landscaping, and the neighbors had a beautiful in-ground pool.  How the neighbor could afford what would probably be a multi-million dollar house as his “starter home” on a grocery store management position’s salary, I do not know.  Hey, Jamiahsh, when you get your house in the hills of LA with your in-ground pool and luxury patio furniture, can we visit?

Another thing I found strange about Lakeview Terrace was the impending wildfire that threatened the neighborhood – I didn’t see the point in it.  Maybe to further illustrate the isolation the couple felt as their neighbor tormented them?  I don’t know, but it fits in well with the title of my post because of another movie that’s coming out called Fireproof.  As we bought our tickets, the worker at the movie theater asked if we had heard of Fireproof and gave us a flier.  We hadn’t heard a word about it, and she said that some church bought up all the vouchers they were selling for the movie.  They weren’t going to get the movie if they didn’t sell enough vouchers, but apparently they sold well over what they expected.  I was intrigued because I hadn’t heard of the movie before and wondered why it was getting so much underground buzz.  Since we got home late last night and went right to bed, before I had a chance to look it up it was talked about on the Dr. Phil show this morning.  Apparently it stars Kirk Cameron, and it’s about a firefighter who tries to save his marriage by doing a 40-day experiment called “The Love Dare”.  Hmmm, I still don’t really get it, but I think it’s neat that it’s getting so much buzz without being a mainstream movie and showing previews and all that jazz.  It’s supposed to be a really good movie, thought provoking and well-written, and that isn’t just coming from Kirk Cameron – it’s on imdb.com.  Hopefully it will be at the theater for longer than its limited run so I can check it out.  A bit of interesting trivia I found out about it – Kirk Cameron made a promise to Chelsea Noble, his wife of 17 years that he wouldn’t ever kiss another woman, on screen or off.  So in the part of the movie where they needed a shot of him kissing his movie wife, his real wife was a stand-in so they could get the shot of the husband and wife kissing.  I think it’s sweet, but some people used it as a reason to pick on Cameron saying he doesn’t understand acting…  Oh, well, you can’t please everyone!

Skipping Christmas

Posted in books on September 16th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As a kid, I was a very avid reader – I would always read myself to sleep.  Somewhere in my 20’s though, I lost sight of my reading hobby; I guess that’s when I got too busy and too tired to lie in bed awake at night and read.  During my last pregnancy, however, I started reading before bed again, and it’s something that I really enjoy, even though I often get too tired to make it through more than a few pages per night.

When I recently began reading again, I started by reading mostly non-fiction; it was really fun for me to unwind at night and learn something at the same time.  I read a book about an Afghan girl who stepped on a land mine, lost her leg, and fled the Taliban by coming to America.  I read a book about a family that bicycled across the country – they had kids who were 13, 11, and 3 years old, and they made it from New Jersey to Colorado on their bikes.  There was also the book about the Burnham’s; they were husband and wife missionaries who were held hostage in the Philippines for almost a year.  The wife wrote a book about their daily struggles as hostages – it was fascinating.  Then I switched to a few fiction books by Christopher Pike, an author best known for his young adult horror novels.  I read those as a teen, so as an adult, I decided to try his novels for adults – one I really liked and one wasn’t so good – Falling and The Blind Mirror, respectively.  I then started a book about the plight of Terri Shiavo, a woman who collapsed in the early 90’s and suffered brain damage.  Her case was in the national spotlight because her husband insisted that she would have never wanted to live hooked up to machines while her parents disagreed.  The governor tried to help, and even the President of the United States tried to step in, but ultimately Terri’s right to live became just another case in the courts and her husband won.  Her feeding tube was removed and it took her almost 14 days to slowly starve and dehydrate to death.  The case fascinated me at the time, and I found this book about it written by Mark Fuhrman of the OJ Simpson murder trial fame.  Except that I’m having trouble reading the book since it’s about a rather dark and depressing subject, and that’s not really how I want to unwind before bed.  Though I did learn something interesting from Mark Fuhrman: according to him, a coroner is an elected official who doesn’t even necessarily have to have a medical degree.  Hmmm…

A friend recommended the author John Grisham, and the other day I ran into the library, trying to be very quick since the family was waiting in the car.  His books looked so large and lengthy and intimidating, so I grabbed the smallest one I saw called Skipping Christmas.  I began to read it, and it’s about a family called the Krank’s who decide to skip Christmas one year.  That sounds familiar, I thought, and after a quick trip to imdb.com, I discovered that the awfully panned movie of 2004 called Christmas With The Krank’s is indeed the movie based upon John Grisham’s book, Skipping Christmas.  So far the book is ok, but nothing that keeps me looking forward to reading it or anything.  I have Grisham’s only work of non-fiction on hold at the library, maybe I’ll get up there today to get it because maybe I’m sick of fiction and it’s time to go back to non-fiction…  I hate to admit it, but I really like to read true-crime books before bed, mostly about murder.  True, murder is a dark and depressing subject, but not in the same way as the story of Terri Shiavo; it’s hard to explain.  And it sounds kind of strange, but true-crime books are the ones I seem to be drawn to and I can’t watch true-crime on tv in bed anymore – too many nightmares for my husband and I.  One of the best true-crime books that I ever read was The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule.  If you don’t know, Ann Rule is a famous true-crime writer, and this book was extra-fascinating because it chronicles her relationship with the famous psychopathic serial killer, Ted Bundy.  Ann Rule was actually friends with Ted Bundy – they met working at a suicide hotline together.  The book chronicles their friendship while working at the hotline, while the murders were taking place, and after Ted was caught – very interesting read, and crazy that one of the most famous crime writers had a friendship (unrelated to her ever writing a book about him) with one of the most prolific serial killers of all time.