Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Sighting

Recently I experienced a sighting.

Not an extra terrestrial sighting, or a paranormal sighting, or a Big Foot sighting.

It was an E-Unit sighting.

Years ago (approximately eight,) I dated this girl. We dated for two years.

When we broke up, she moved out of state and I never heard from her again.

It was hard. Really hard.

Several months ago, I was walking through a building.

Suddenly, I was face to face with this girl.

It was a little awkward.

Ok, it was a lot awkward.

I don't remember a lot about the experience, I just remember that I had no idea what to say, and that I was extremely uncomfortable.

I think I asked her how her family was about three times.

Several weeks later I ran into her again.

This time it wasn't quite as awkward.

We actually sat and talked for a while.

I even teased her about an argument we once had, because her views had obviously changed since then.

It was pleasant enough, but strange to be sitting and talking with someone who belonged in a very distant and different time of my life.

Part of me wanted to stay in that nostalgic place.

Eventually we parted ways, and that was the last time I saw her.

It was completely unexpected, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

That is all.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Yeah, I Saw the Movie. I'm Done Now.

Now that the movie of The Fault in Our Stars is out on DVD, I finally got around to seeing it.

I don't know how else to put was horrendously bad. Seriously one of the worst movies I have ever seen. So bad that I may have to revise my bottom ten list to include it.

It's over two hours long, and I wanted to shut it off 12 minutes in. It's a good thing I didn't see it in theaters because I probably would have walked out.

The eye-roll factor was off the charts.

Hazel is just as obnoxious as in the book. Gus is WAY too cheesy and unrealistic, pretty darn creepy at times, and frankly sort of a doofus. He has absolutely none of the charm and charisma that he is supposed to have in the book, and Ansel Elgort isn't even that good looking.  Also, there is absolutely no chemistry between Hazel and Gus. Throughout the entire movie, I desperately wanted the two of them to stop talking.

Isaac, my favorite character in the book, was turned into a pathetic and disgusting creep. (Side note, there sure was a lot of boob-grabbing in this movie. Unnecessary.)

The few parts that I liked about the book were either changed, omitted, or ruined due to the universally terrible acting. I know some of the actors in the film are quite capable, so I'm blaming the poor direction, and terrible source material. Seriously, the direction and pacing was so bad. I looked up the director; I'd never heard of him.  Unsurprisingly, he hasn't done anything of note. This is no exception.

Oh, and it's so clever and original how they gave John Green a cameo, I was totally surprised to see him, and it just seemed so right... (In case you didn't catch it, that whole sentence was dripping with sarcasm.)
When I saw him, I kept expecting to see jump-cuts every two seconds, thankfully, there were none. At least they did that right.

Also, I really loved the addition of the unnecessary, obligatory, PG-13 allowed F-word. Way to keep it classy guys...

The first kiss in the Anne Frank house, followed by everyone clapping...still didn't work. It was just as terrible and awkward as in the book.

I was told that the parents play a larger role in the film, and are better developed. That is complete bull-crap. They were even more irrelevant and forgettable than they were in the book, and most of them came across as creepy.

I was also told that the waiter in Amsterdam steals the show.  Seriously?! He was totally bland and forgettable! He literally only has 10 brief lines (I counted), and frankly the delivery wasn't that good. Most of his ONE MINUTE of screen time (I timed it) was just him standing around in the background. His "speaking role" consisted of exactly 23 seconds of dialog. If that is stealing the show, then some people really  have low expectations.

All of the dialog in the film just further proves what a bad writer John Green is. It all sounds so unnatural and disingenuous.

I'm glad that they left out the embarrassingly bad final line from the book. The closing line they did go with was better, but still pretty bad. At least it was fitting.

The voice-over narration doesn't work and seemed really out of place and intrusive. The emails and text messages superimposed on the screen seemed odd and inconsistent with the rest of the film's style (if you can call it that.)

What was bad about the book is still bad in the movie. What was good about the book was totally absent.
Overall, the movie was just an awkward mess. Full of nonsense and garbage. I felt absolutely nothing for any of the characters.

I'm officially declaring myself done with this ridiculous story. I can't wait for it to be forgotten and fade into oblivion where it belongs.

Oh yeah...The Fault in Our Stars gets zero stars, obviously.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Top Ten: Most Influential Books

So this chain post has been going around Facebook again. List the ten books that have had the greatest influence on you, and then tag a bunch of people.
I saw these lists going around months ago, so I sat down and created one, hoping I would get tagged...but I didn't. So it sat there on my phone, waiting. I actually intended to blog about it way back then as an alternative to posting it on Facebook...but I forgot.  To be honest, I've been struggling with blogging since I am on a computer all day at work, and the last thing I want to do when I get home is get on the computer again. (Don't tell anyone, but most of the blogging I've done lately has been during down time at work.)  Anyway, someone finally tagged me in one of these posts, so at last I was able to share my list.  It reminded me that I wanted to do a blog post about it too.

So here is the list of the ten (non-religious) books that have had the greatest impact on me personally:

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
9. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Jean-Dominique Bauby)
8. The Hiding Place (Corrie ten Boom)
7. The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis)-
6. 1984 (George Orwell)
5. How To Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie)
4. Marley and Me (John Grogan)
3. Anthem (Ayn Rand)
2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
1. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)-

I have made each book title above a link to my own review, so you can see more details about why I liked each one. There are a few that I haven't written full reviews about, but I created a similar list four years ago where I gave brief explanations for why I loved each book. You can read it here. It is interesting to see how the list has changed between now and then.

The only books on my new list that aren't covered in any reviews, or my old list, are 1984, and How to Win Friends and Influence People.

1984 has had a huge impact on me because it opened my eyes to a lot of scary things that actually go on in the world. It is how I learned of the term "Orwellian" now used to describe situations relating to public surveillance, censorship, and dictatorships. It made me aware of the idea of "newspeak", which we can actually see happening all around us. I'm not sure I've ever read a more prophetic novel, and that is pretty frightening. The world of 1984 is slowly converging with our own, and people need to know about these things.

How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the greatest helps I have found in my quest to overcome my natural shyness.  Dale Carnegie knew what he was talking about, and somehow figured out all the tricks to be likeable and charismatic, and generally successful in life. I'm glad he so willingly passed this knowledge on to the rest of us. I admit that so far in my life I have only applied a few of his suggestions, but it has had a huge impact on my life. I need to read/study this book again, and evaluate what I can work on next.

There you go! I hope you like my new list. :)