Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Raving About Ramona!

I'm so happy right now becauuuse...

RAMONA AND BEEZUS IS NOT AN EPIC FAILURE (as was previously feared)

A bit o' history: I discovered the Ramona books when I was seven or eight years old. I've read all of them, now, multiple times. I love them. And I loved the Sarah Polley TV show. So, you know, I was going to be hard to please anyway. When I first found out they were making a Ramona movie I thought, Why? The 80's TV series was awesome. It captured the essence of the books. Why can't they just leave it at that? The movie's going to go and tarnish the memory of Ramona! RAAWWRR!! (I find that a good roar often gives a rant a little something extra.)

A year or so later, when I caught a glimpse of some of the movie audition videos online... and noticed that the dialogue/situations were not straight from the books, but rather seemed to take place AFTER the books... I thought, Great, it's not an adaptation... it's like a continuing story. We know how those can turn out:(

And then I heard they'd cast Selena Gomez as Beezus and thought, Ugh, Disney Channel stunt casting. This is REALLY going to bite.

AND THEN, when I realized the screenplay had been written by the same lady who was responsible for adapting Ella Enchanted for the big screen, I started screaming obscenities and throwing tomatoes.

Well, not really. But I did frown some.

So suffice it to say, I was nervous going into the theater, but I had to see Ramona and Beezus for myself!

And guess what? I was really, really, really, pleasantly surprised!

Ramona and Beezus takes place when Ramona is nine years old, sort of in Ramona's World territory. Things are a little out of sequence, though, as baby Roberta has already been born, but the cat, Picky-Picky, is still around.

Events from many of the Ramona books pop up, including the toothpaste incident, the crown of burrs, the raw egg fiasco, and jumping through the "hole in the house." A BUNCH more, too, but I don't want to spoil them all. Let's just say, fans of the books? You won't be disappointed.

Of course, the movie doesn't stick 100% to the books. There are quite a few new scenes in the film, but they work to tie everything together. There's also a subplot involving a teenariffic romance between Beezus and Henry Huggins. (Gasp! What would Beverly Cleary say?!)

Overall, it's a really cute movie. Sad scenes (warning! warning! Ramona Forever fans may know the one I mean) are handled tastefully (which is not to say I didn't shed a tear, because I so totally did.) Joey King, who plays Ramona, is a natural comedic actress. And 99% of the casting decisions were spot-on.

I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who used to love the Ramona books. This will definitely be one I buy on DVD and show to future generations of kids.

Well, that and the Sarah Polley TV show. I mean, come on... that's a classic!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Up A Tree Without A Clue

Every year, people are faced with the same grueling decision: What to put on the top of the Christmas tree?  

Should it be a star, symbolizing the star the Three Wise Men saw up in the sky that led them to the little town of Bethlehem?

Or, perhaps, an angel, in honor of the angel & his posse who heralded the lowly shepherds with the news of Jesus' birth?

It's a tough one.  Luckily, some families do not need to make this yearly decision, because they have a set tradition. Every year, it's the same.  These people are, you could say, on Team Star OR Team Angel.  

But, for the sake of shaking things up a bit, I would like to propose a NEW team.  Something entirely else for trees this holiday season.  Something like this...

Huzzah! Vampire up a tree!

Last weekend I was visiting my relatives in Port Angeles, Washington, one of several meccas for Twilight fans.  In the first book and movie, Bella and her friends go there to buy prom dresses.  Bella goes to a book store and then nearly gets attacked by some frat guys.  She is saved by Edward, his Volvo, and his Glare of Doom, and they go out to dinner together.  She eats pasta, he eats her, they all die, the end.

Or no, I think I skipped a part.

SO ANYWAY, Port Angeles has decided it wants to cash in on all the Twi-hards by offering them wares galore in a store called "Dazzled By Twilight."  Yes, in the heart of downtown Port Angeles, there is an entire store devoted entirely to the Twilight saga.

 How long it'll actually last is anyone's guess.

Inside, there were racks of garments honoring all the vampires.  There were statues and cardboard cutouts and posters and mugs and bleeping shrines devoted to the major characters.

There were middle-aged ladies scoping out the newest merchandise and pestering the clerks about when sold-out items would be in stock.

There were pieces of merchandise celebrating Forks, the town where Bella and Edward supposedly live.  There was a display devoted to La Push, home of Jacob and his ilk.  

 hay guys anyone got a shirt i can borrow?

There was jewelry, including Bella's engagement ring -- so that you, too, can be engaged to Edward.  Oh, Edward and his silly polygamous ways!

To the Twilight fan, Dazzled By Twilight has got to be a dream come true.  For me, who read 90% of the first book and saw two of the movies, it's a little strange and overwhelming.

And which team, you ask, am I on?  Team Edward or Team Jacob?


Team Angel all the way!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

10 Movie Characters I've Got A Crush On

Come on, admit it, at some point you, too, have crushed on a movie character.  Am I right?  Sitting there in the theater, eating your overpriced popcorn, you've nearly fallen out of your seat because suddenly there appears the most gorgeous, adorable, perfect character you've ever seen.  Right there in front of you.  Thirty feet tall.  Tall and beautiful.

And alas, they're not real.

And that hurts.

Thank goodness for DVD players and the ability to watch those movies over and over again.  And in the darkness of your own living room, you can close your eyes... and pretend....

Here are my top ten movie crushes, in no particular order...

1. Louis Connelly, August Rush

If you can, in fact, remove your jaw from the floor after witnessing any scene which involves Jonathan Rhys Meyers, you perhaps can then take the time to appreciate how absolutely adorable his character is.  Louis is a musician who meets The One.  When he loses her through circumstances beyond his control, he crashes.  But when he decides he's going to go out and find her, hope -- and music -- comes back into his life, and he takes up his guitar again.  And damn, he is good.  Pros: A nice guy, a great musician, very passionate.  Cons: Has some inner demons he needs to purge.

2. Clark Kent, Superman Returns

Some people think Lois Lane is kind of a moron.  Supposedly this is because she can not tell that Clark Kent is Superman, even though she has spent ample time with both of them.  But really, I think the main reason she is moronic because she is WITH ANOTHER GUY.  I mean sure, James Marsden's cute and all, but how can she ignore Brandon Routh's smoldering eyes?  How can she not see how completely beautiful a person he is?  Why is she still with James Marsden even, I don't know, ten seconds after Clark Kent's come back to Metropolis?  Really, Lois -- we need to have a talk.  Pros: Kind to children and animals.  Cons: Is kind of awkward and dweeby... OR IS HE? 

3. Gilbert Blythe, Anne Of Green Gables and Anne Of Green Gables: The Sequel


There is something to be said for a guy who truly loves just one girl, even when she gives him no hope whatsoever.  A guy who offers this girl rides to and from work.  Who offers a switcharoo so that she can have his job, because it's closer to her home.  And who stands by while she gets her act together, waiting as patiently as he can.  In some places, he'd be called a stalker.  But viewers know Gilbert Blythe's heart is true, and FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, ANNE, GET A CLUE!  (Whoa, did that just rhyme?  Go me!)  Pros: Sweet, patient, smart.  Cons: He does like to tease...

4. Mike Nelson, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

Oh, Mike, Mike, Mike.  Mike's stuck on a spaceship called the Satellite of Love.  He lives with four robots.  They're forced to watch terrible, gut-wrenchingly awful movies, and yet -- he and his pals find humor in all of them.  Their riffs -- everything from obscure pop culture references to simply making fun of the stupidity on screen directly --  consistently leave me in stitches.  Pros: Mike is extremely witty and is patient with his robot friends, even though they give him a hard time.  Cons: He's sort of stuck... up in space.  Not much hope for a "life", really...

5. Benny Rodriguez,  
The Sandlot

I know, I know, the kid's like 13 years old and I should not be crushing on him at my age.  But considering I was about that age when I first saw the film, and considering the actor is, in fact, older than I am in real life, I see no wrongdoing.  So leave me alone, dangit!  Meanwhile, Benny is the most adorable member of the Sandlot squad.  He's the best at baseball, the fastest runner, and he's super sweet.  While the other Sandlot kids are cracking rude jokes about the new kid, Benny reaches out and invites him to play ball.  Pros: Total sweetheart, the only one brave enough to truly face "The Beast."  Cons: Has some personal fears he must overcome.  But hey, who doesn't?

6. Johnny Martin, Penelope

In this film, a twist on the "Beauty and the Beast" story, Johnny falls in love with Penelope, despite her fantastical disfigurement.  He sees her for her true beauty.  Now he's just got to get her to see that!  Pros: He's super sweet, and plays musical instruments like a pro.  Cons: He has some personal problems early on in the film, but he eventually cleans himself up.  Yay for reformation!

7. Indiana Jones, the first three Indiana Jones films

Brilliant, brave, and badass -- let's face it, Indiana Jones is the epitome of cool.  Pros: Good-looking, resourceful, can handle just about anything.  Cons: Except snakes.

8. Oliver Wood, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

It'd be one thing if Oliver Wood was just a good-looking Quidditch player... but no.  They had to go and cast a gorgeous Scottish actor (Sean Biggerstaff) in the role of the Gryffindor Quidditch captain.  Whenever Oliver goes about explaining the wizarding game to little Harry Potter, I tend to lose all sense of time and space.  Pros: The accent, omg the accent.  Cons: In the books, Oliver's kind of crazy.  But wait, who said anything about the books?  This list is about movie characters!  Forget that then -- Oliver is awesome.

9. Robin Hood, Disney's Robin Hood

I am not ashamed to admit I think an animated fox is kinda sexy.  Robin Hood is clever and brave and has an English accent, oh my.  Pros: He's a one-woman man, dutifully devoted to his childhood love, Maid Marion.  He would even die for her, which is totally romantic.  Cons: He's a little cocky, but at least he can back it up.  Have you seen him with a bow & arrow?

10. Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

So he's prideful.  And prejudiced.  But only at first!  Elizabeth Bennet manages to warm & soften his heart like a yummy Tollhouse cookie.  Pros: Mr. Darcy is nice to his little sister, mean to anyone who'd try to hurt the women in his life, and looks great after a midday swim.  Cons: Always with the staring, the longing staring.  We're not Edward Cullen, here, Darcy!  And it's not polite to stare!  Oh, but it's okay... you're adorable, I forgive you!

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Well, looks like I couldn't stop at just 10! Here are four more movie characters I've got a crush on.

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I hope you enjoyed this list, and maybe even agreed with me on a few of them.  If not, tell me about your movie crushes.  And if you're currently in a relationship now and couldn't possibly admit to having any current crushes -- tell me who you liked when you were a kid.  Was it Han Solo?  Marty McFly?  Charles Foster Kane?  (Hey, I don't know how old you are!)  Leave some comments and let me know!