Monday, January 30, 2012

Peaches and Shakespeare and Dickens and stuff

First the books.

2) James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. We did this as a read-aloud on a family camping trip last weekend. It was perfect for all five kids--as well as parents. This is a classic, but it's one I'd never read. My all-time favorite kids' book is The Twits, so I don't know what took me so long to read this. I love the magic, but when it began, I'll have to admit I was a bit dismayed. "You could go any direction with this, Mr. Dahl, and you go with giant talking insects," I sighed. However, the end product was a lot of fun, and the humor kept the masses laughing out loud all the way to the mountains and back.

3) Juliet by Anne Fortier. Have I ever loved a book this much? Possibly not. I sighed, laughed, squealed, gasped (at least ten times at the shocking twists), worried, and just marveled at the sheer genius of this book. It's a double plot, one in modern day Siena and another in 1340 Siena. I won't spoil anything, but it involves two Juliets, one now and the other Shakespeare's source-Juliet. It's woven with grace and incredible tension in both the plot elements and the relationships. I've never been a huge Romeo & Juliet devotee, but by the end of this I was in love with Romeo. And I almost never fall in love with heroes of books. Seriously. The. Best. Many thanks to my friend Colleen for telling me about this book.

And now for the movies:

2) Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer. This was a family movie night. Judy wants to have the best summer with her friends, but they have to leave town, so she's bummed. Her aunt comes to stay, and things liven up. There's a Bigfoot sighting and some tightrope walking. I haven't read the books, but the script wasn't cliche, and it was great for the kids. I'm easily entertained, and this one wasn't hard to enjoy.

3) One For the Money. Oh, my, how I loved this movie. Janet Evanovich created these characters, and it's easy to see why Stephanie Plum is so popular. The ditzy, desperate bounty hunter and her cocky, desperate quarry? I loved them. I loved the seedy setting, the cars, the side characters, the costumes, all of it. I'd watch this again. In the theater. For $18.

4) Oliver! Okay. I have a vague recollection of seeing this movie in about 1977, but I don't think I'll count it since I was five. Is that legal for this 50/50 thing? I'm saying yes. But I'm saying NO to Oliver! What a dreary mess. How can they put so many excellent songs into such a grim story? I don't think Dickens's tale was this much of a downer. Again, we did this for family movie night, but I have to echo my 7 yo daughter's assessment: "Ugh! This started out as a great movie, but it ended up as a killing movie!" Pretty much. And worse, I went on imdb and read up on the lives of the child stars. Never do that. It's grimmer than Dickens.

5) Something Borrowed This was a chick-lit book turned into a movie. As such, it doesn't fit a genre. It's not a comedy (too much relationship drama for that). It's not a romance, really. The characters are all so flawed that there's almost no one to root for. The basic plot is Girl A falls for Guy B during law school, but doesn't think he could like her back. Her BFF (self-absorbed snot) accidentally steals guy B, and now it's 6 years down the road and BFF and B are engaged and Girl A is the maid of honor, and all that. But Girl A spends a lot of time figuring out that she's still in love with Guy B and he might be in love back, and they spend a hot, lovey night together, which creates all kinds of tension. By the end there's been so much betrayal that no one deserves a happily ever after. My husband despised this movie. Haha, I thought it was quite chicky, but again, I'm easily entertained and found it interesting, as the BFF reminded me of someone I knew and it was fascinating to see her on screen portrayal.

Pretty much, yeah. I watch twice as many movies as I read books. I'll be done with 50 movies by March.


  1. You've been busy! Juliet sounds pretty cool. I've read some of the Judy Moody books, and she's a good character. Done correctly, I can see her translating to the big screen pretty well. I think I'll skip Something Borrowed. Thanks for the reviews.

  2. Love the Evanovich books. Excited to hear that the movie is good. It definitely is going on my list! Thanks!