The Fast and the Furiously in Love

December 17, 2014 at 7:32 pm (In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

It may sound ridiculous, but one of my favorite love stories of film is in The Fast and the Furious franchise.  And it’s not pretty boy Paul Walker’s character Brian O’Connor and his little family-style romance with Mia.  They actually annoy me a little.  It’s Dom and Letty (Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez) that make me swoon.

dom & letty“I know everything about you,” Dom says, leaning into Letty as she’s backed up to the side of her car.

And that’s the hottest thing, isn’t it? Being known and still being loved so completely.

Want a panty dropper, date scene at the movies?  Leap out of a speeding car on a bridge into the abyss of open air to catch your love as she hurdles to her death – not knowing that either of you will be saved – just knowing you have to catch her.  Oh yeah, and she doesn’t remember you, and she shot you in the shoulder earlier, but… you know her, and you love her, and you have a history…

Screw flowers and diamonds, Dom has grand romantic gestures on lock down.

Noooo, I’m not an adrenaline junkie.  Not. At. All.

“How did you know that there would be a car there to break our fall?”

“I didn’t.  Some things you just have to take on faith.”

Maybe  that’s my problem.  I swoon over movies like Fast 6. Literally, I swoon.  Cars, racing, fight sequences, love that survives gun shot wounds and absences.  Sheer will power and stubbornness.  This is what romances me.  These are the things that speak to my heart.

gisele and hanAnd yes, I’d let go and fall to my death just to take a shot at the douche bag trying to sneak up on my lover. And for that, I find Han and Gisele utterly romantic as well.  What can I say? I’m a sucker.

Other favorites in movie history:

UP: The old man and Ellie. The first 15 minutes of that movie make me bawl like a baby. I love it. I’m living it. A romance born of childhood dreams and companionship.

Persuasion: Based on Jane Austen’s book. Another story of will power and waiting. Add to that Emma and you have the friendship and affection I sought out when I started dating my husband.

tonight you're mineTonight You’re Mine: This is probably one of the rare love stories I am into where the characters have not known each other half their lives. It’s epically reminiscent of my college years, minus being handcuffed to a super star, mind you. But the movie feels as much like home as 1327 does when I see it on screen.

I’m not a speed demon criminal by a long shot, but Dom and I have very similar values. The ultimate romance is always one with your best friend and playmate. Just like Dom and Letty, who met at 15. Things like Titanic – that whole whirlwind of meeting that day and then feigning passionate love forever – never quite do it for it. It rings false every time. I remember seeing Titanic for the first time in the theatres and thinking, “She went on and had babies with someone else, why is she pretending he was the love of her life? He’s just someone she screwed on a boat. What a slut.”

Tonight You’re Mine is the only whirlwind I can get behind… mostly because it was very Pride & Prejudice in nature, there was bickering before companionship, there was an established bond before love.  That and there’s the mad rush of music.

My husband thinks I’m a little ridiculous.  But if I had amnesia, I’d want there to be someone to fight for me.  Someone to tell me where my scars came from.  Someone to let me know it’s ok to be me, and that the me I was before was someone worth loving.  And if there’s fast cars, a nostalgic house, stubborn wills, and music… all the better.

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Stuck in Love

January 23, 2014 at 4:12 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

A Movie Review for the Bookish at Heart

stuck-in-loveI was watching Stuck in Love, and probably about halfway through it, when my husband walked in and said, “You enjoying your book movie?”

It took me a minute.  This movie was about a man who spends three years of his life waiting for his wife to return to him – even though they are divorced and she has married someone else.  This movie is about the third year and how he handles the emotional struggles of his two nearly adult children.  And yes, I realized after my husband posed the question, this movie is about four writers – lots of book lovers – and has many literary references.

beach bookGreg Kinnear’s character has won two Penn Faulkner Awards.  His oldest daughter is 19 and has just published her first novel through Scribner.  His younger son, also having been groomed to write his whole life, is a poet and short story writer obsessed with Stephen King.  Jennifer Connelly (the ex-wife) can be found reading Joan Didion in bed.  Books are tossed around the set like old friends and are active characters in the movie as well, perched on shelves and end tables, strewn across laps at the beach.

I had not noticed until my husband pointed it out.  I had not noticed because it was so familiar.  I had not noticed because I live with these stacks of souls trapped in bindings all over my house.  Sitting at the kitchen table, watching the sun come up with my coffee, I look out at my table… just here, in the kitchen of all places, I have 10 books, a journal, and a day planner, piled around me.  You’d think this was a proper writing desk except for the bowl of orange slices and blueberries, my daughter’s play dough bucket, a United States place mat, and a container of markers.

P1000872Granted the houses in Stuck in Love are much nicer than my own.  Slightly bigger and the bookshelves are proper built-ins made of mahogany or some-such beautiful woodwork.  The end tables were no doubt not retrieved from a neighbor’s discard pile.  Yes, that black stone tile end table pictured here on the right came out of the trash.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it and I could care less that it doesn’t match anything else in my house – I shall pile books on it.  (Even though I’m supposed to keep all my books in the library and not let them trickle into the rest of the house.  Keeping them out of other rooms requires a lot of daily maintenance.)

The people in Stuck in Love aren’t just richer than me, they’re probably much braver than me also.  The daughter actually takes creative writing classes in school – whereas I took the safe route and studied marketing.  They do what they feel – which results in a lot of really bad decisions.  But one thing we do have in common, which I found really refreshing in a secular story, is have a permanence view of marriage.  (You don’t find a lot of anyone who shares this worldview, not even among Christians:

I found a lot of online critics who gave this movie a ‘rotten tomatoes’ rating (the soundtrack, however, gets glowing reviews from everyone).  I am not with them (except for the soundtrack lovers).  I found it marvelous.  It’s a beautiful story about genuine people with a lot of bookish bits.   I gave it 5 stars on my Netflix account.  I will re-watch it.  I will probably compile a list of the character’s books at some point and add them to things to move up my TBR pile (the patriarch can be seen reading Jeffrey Ford as well, but I didn’t catch the title).

writers are the sumNot just for the book lists, the movie is filled with little quotable quotes, little tidbits for book-nerds and writers.  Maybe that’s why I like it so much.  That and I love that the dad teaches his kids to journal, that he allows them the privacy to write.  I love that writing and reading are treated as means to live by, ways to learn, and how to pinpoint your emotions about your reality.

Something so obvious, that I didn’t catch at first glance and my husband did at a brief glimpse, this is a movie for book people.



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Young Adult

January 10, 2013 at 10:06 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )



I have an illness.  I see an indie film and no matter how awful it looks, I feel the urge to give it a shot.  It’s an indie film, which to me means it’s an underdog, and who knows, what if it’s a hidden gem of awesomeness?

Take that and a love for authors, books, stories about authors of books, and Charlize Theron in all her hotness – how could I pass up Young Adult on Netflix?  I just couldn’t.

youngadultposterOh dear God, give me that hour and thirty-three minutes of my life back.

That’s not fair, the movie is good for what it is.  It is well done.  It has a bit of wit to it.  The director of photography did this brilliant thing with a cassette tape and player and the beginning that I totally loved.

But I really don’t think it is possible for a character to stress me out anymore than Mavis Gary just managed.  I mean seriously, what was wrong with that crazy lady?! Everything! That’s what!

She is an alcoholic who drinks way too much diet coke first thing in the morning – out of the bottle.  She is chronically unsatisfied, sleeps around, divorced, 37, at the tale end of writing glory (she was a ghost writer of a young adult series that is a few years past its prime selling years), and oh yeah the most important part: she’s chasing down her married ex-boyfriend who just had a baby with his wife.  It’s a pretty ballsy role for Theron, and she pulls it off brilliantly; I just want to strangle the whole demented story, if strangling a story could ever be possible.

Patton-Oswalt-young-adultThe best part, the part that does make the movie worth a damn, is Patton Oswalt.  I sort of love him.  A lot.  He is an awesome supporting actor that shows up in everything, but I know him best as Joel Mynor in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.  He is Mavis’ voice of reason in this little fiasco of a man hunt/coming of age story.  Can you call it a coming of age story if the protagonist is 37? I think not, but I promise you, it fits.  And in the end when the Patton Oswalt’s on-screen sister asks to go back to the Mini-Apple with Mavis, I desperately wanted her to say ‘Can’t I’m taking your super awesome brother.’  Of course, that didn’t happen because despite the Esmeralda/Quasimodo dynamic, Young Adult’s own Quasimodo character was way to good for the likes of the star beauty.

Oh dear God give me that hour and thirty three minutes of my life back – except don’t.  Even though it was kind of painful to watch, it resonates a bit.  Check it out.  Let me know what you make of it.

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My Miserable Les Mis Movie-Going Experience

December 31, 2012 at 7:30 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

I was hoping to post a review of Les Miserables, the movie, for you today.  My bestie and I went to great lengths to arrange a night out.  My husband has no desire to see an opera and my daughter is two, so Sunday night AMC gift cards in hand, we found ourselves entering the 8:30 pm showing.

We sat through a half dozen awesome previews.  My nerdy self cannot wait to see the new Star Trek, the next Die Hard, Gatsby, and an Oz movie featuring James Franco.  Then we settled in for our ‘feature presentation.’

Not long into the movie… we had just met Fantine and zoomed in on Hugh’s now clean-cut image… and sirens started up, the movie cut out, and we were informed by a voice over the intercom to leave the theatre.

If there had been a fire or actual emergency, I wouldn’t have been so annoyed.  But there was nothing, someone had just pulled the fire alarm.

If there had been a fire or actual emergency, we would all be dead because the mass mob of people were just staring at each other waiting for instructions and the officer just stared back.

If this was the first time this had happened at that theatre, I wouldn’t have been that bothered, but my bestie had the exact same thing happen to her just a few days ago on Christmas day.

AMC 24, Deerbrook Mall, Humble, TX: Get your crap together.  Clearly there is a problem.  Fix it already, please, I really want to see this movie!

Go ahead, if you’ve seen the movie already, leave me a comment and brag about how awesome it was…

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Why I Loathe Rating Things With Stars

May 5, 2012 at 2:44 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

A Review of Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

I’ve been a voracious reader my entire life and I’ve always loved the classics.  So it didn’t surprise me at all years ago when my AP English teacher handed me the semester syllabus  with a list of titles to read and I unwisely blurted “I’ve already read them all,” with disappointment.  He said “Fine” and later supplied me with a new list, all contemporary award winners I’d never heard of, including Snow Falling on Cedars.

I read it.  I re-read it.  I couldn’t figure out why I hated it, and why I wanted to read it again.

Until now, when watching the movie, which is, amazingly, incredibly accurate from what I remember of the book – scene for scene.

At my core I am a romantic and idealist.  I love forbidden marriages, truly and unhypocritically, as I am in one.  I love childhood sweethearts, best friends, having secret adventures in the woods and on the seashore.  I’ve been in love with my husband since I was fourteen, have now known him half my life, and am raising a beautiful daughter with him.

What I hate? That Hatsue doesn’t marry Ishmael.  That she willingly chooses another, after giving herself to Ishmael like a little slut in the woods.  What is a beautifully written piece of timeless literature, becomes an irritating anti-love story to me, until it becomes the ultimate love story by him saving her husband anyway.  Poor Ishmael! Why did she not marry him? There’s so many reasons, so many.  I cannot mar the merit of Guterson’s work, it is so well done.  But I hate him for falling short in my ideally romantic heart.  I cannot comprehend giving myself so fully to my best friend and then saying No to his marriage proposal for some loyalty to culture.

I remember that somewhere I’ve rated this book with 2 stars.  2, just 2.  But –

I haven’t read this book in over ten years and still it resonates with me.  Even prior to watching the movie, I could recall various parts of the book in extreme detail, it’s actually why I chose to watch the movie this week.  I knew I was in the mood for it.  Now, with the movie so fresh in my mind, I think I should re-read it soon.  The story is brilliant, and true to what I imagine life was like then.  But I will always hate Hatsue a little more than I should, because Ishmael is one of the most beautiful human beings ever written and though it unfair to ask every character to behave as I would – I would have married him and lvoed him ’til the day I died.

So truth? I think I love Snow Falling on Cedars.  I love it with a hateful indescribable passion.  I hate Hatsue for being weak.  I hate the United States for putting the Japanese into camps.  I hate Kabuo for being so easy to love.  I even hate Ishmael for being as Anne Elliot describes in Austen’s Persuasion, one of those who “love longest, when all hope is gone.”  I hate it because I long to re-read it and every time I do I bawl like a baby, because every time I expect it all to be different.

I have a hard time rating things with stars.  My initial shelfari review, where I gave it 2 stars, stated:

I didn’t like it is too strong a phrase, and I liked it also too strong.  But I am committed to re-reading it eventually to see if my opinion has changed since I read it for school at seventeen.  At the time, I found it awkward and sad.  I do remember enjoying his descriptions, it was the storyline itself I was unsatisfied with.

Unclear, vague, and starless.  But the book stays with you for so long, so how can I rate it badly?  In all honesty, I can’t.  Not anymore.  I feel compelled to change the stars to 5, but tomorrow I’ll only want to give it 3.  This is why I prefer to read full reviews, and not rely on stars.  This is why I prefer conversations, rather than one-lined opinions.

David Guterson, if you read this, you are a brilliant writer.  And I have a love/hate relationship with your book.

P.S. I adore Ethan Hawke, who plays Ishmael Chambers in the movie made in 1999.  He is also an author, and I enjoyed his novel The Hottest State.  I also have a copy of his book Ash Wednesday, but have never read it.  If anyone is interested in reading it with me, let me know.  I am also interested in reading Guterson’s book on homeschooling, because apparently he has one, and any other book by him.

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