Am I the only one who didn’t like Frozen???

Apparently I’m the only person on the planet who pretty much hated Disney’s Frozen.  I mean, the thing even got nominated for/won an Oscar (right?). Rotten Tomatoes gave it almost 5 stars. And people rave on and on and on about how good it is.

To be honest, I don’t get it.

1.  The song lyrics were terrible.  Disney has done a WAY better job at their lyrics in the past.  Just take The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast.  Or for something more recent, Tangled.  Tangled had much better lyrics to their songs than Frozen.

2.  Kristen Bell should not sing.  Just no.

3.  I couldn’t stand the whole “I fell in love with you after only an hour” storyline.  I know it basically happens in all romantic comedies, but in a kid movie I didn’t care for it.  And don’t even get me started on those song lyrics.

4.  I don’t get the whole toad/gnome/green people thing.  They should’ve never appeared.

5. Kristoff was boring.  And Sven was only almost funny.

6.  The fact that Olaf wasn’t in the movie from the beginning was stupid.  He was literally the best thing that happened to the movie and he only appeared after 45 long, boring minutes.  And then he was so awesome.  I think he’s the best character Pixar has put out in a very long time.  My theory is that because the movie ended with him, you forgot how terrible it actually was.

So, anyone else out there that doesn’t get all the hype about it?

Beautiful Creatures Movie Review: Redeemed by the ending.

I KNOW.  I just said I wanted to read the book first and then I watched it that night.

But the husband brought it home, all giddy-faced, and said, “There wasn’t anything else at Redbox and I know how much you wanted to see this.”  So I was forced into seeing it.  What could I do?

Beautiful Creatures, the movie, was pretty much just what i thought it would be:  too short to grasp the complexities that I’m sure are in that thick, 500 page book.

Things I love:

  • The actors were completely unknown to me: I got to watch the movie and remember the characters’ names rather than their real life names.
  • The southern setting; Gatlin, South Carolina (not Louisiana, oops!):  It’s always a nice change to hear southern accents so thick, even if they are different in Texas than SC, and even if the main actors are from completely different continents than where the movie is set.  But whatevs.
  • The colors:  I always love it when movies are visually pleasing, and this movie is right up there.
  • The ending: OHEMGEE the ending was fantastic!  Even if it was completely predictable that very last moment when Ethan gets out of the car redeemed the shallowness of the entire movie, and it is still the sole reason why I would watch the movie again.

Things I hate:

  • The inside of Lena’s house:  I mean, those stairs?  COME ON.  They were terrible.  Especially when the style of Lena’s bedroom was so different than the modernness of those weird stairs.
  • I could never actually figure out what powers “casters” have and what exactly do “seers” do?  I also couldn’t figure out the connection of Amma to the Wate family.  But I’m sure this is just an example of what happens when Hollywood gets hold of a book.
  • There was a whole second storyline with Serafine, Ridley, and Ethan’s friend Link.  I just know there was.  But the movie didn’t dive into it enough for me to understand how deep it went.

I’d definitely watch this movie again, especially after I read the book.  It’ enough interesting to drag me into the plot, and even the husband rated it a “5” on the teen paranormal sci-fi movie scale–Twilight being a 1 and The Hobbit being a million.  (Yeah, I don’t get it either.)

The Pregnancy Project: A review

I stood reading The Pregnancy Project in Barnes and Noble one day a few months ago.  I saw it at the library and had to check it out.

A brief summary:  Gaby Rodriguez is from Toppenish, WA,  where she is the eighth child born to a single mother who had her first child at the age of 14.  After her 7 brothers and sisters all became teen moms and dads, her family and the community around them constantly warned Gaby to be careful because she would be the next teen mom.  Gaby refused to give into the stereotypes, and decided to do a senior project in which she would fake her pregnancy and judge the reactions of people.  She wanted to see how the school’s faculty and staff, her family members, and other community members would react when she told them she would be a teen mom.  Throughout the six months of her fake pregnancy, she wanted to see for herself what her brothers and sisters went through as teen parents, what other teen moms go through, and how it felt to become just another statistic.  She ended her project by giving a speech at a school assembly about how teens should not give into stereotypes, not to become a statistic, and to live their life for them, not for anyone else.  She talked about the harsh comments she was given as a pregnant teen and how they also gave into the stereotypes about teen moms.  Her story made national news, became a movie, and a book.

*Disclaimer: I loved the premise of her senior project.  It was brilliant.  And as an intelligent young teen she pulled it off in a way that showed how passionate she is about stereotypes.  Gaby Rodriguez is definitely not your average teenager.  So this is absolutely not a review on her project or experience.  It is a review on the book as well as the movie.

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While I understand the book is geared toward young adults, but I felt the writing style was a bit sophomoric compared to how intelligent and mature Gaby seemed to be.  It was as if the writing style didn’t equal with her intelligence.

The book was divided up into three parts:  Family Background, Devising and Carrying out the Project, and Reactions Afterward.

I so enjoyed reading about Gaby’s background; about the community she was raised in, the members of her family, what it was like for her mother, and so on.  It was interesting to read an account into family dynamics from a shrewd, observant member of the family.  As someone who group in a completely different state with almost contrary family dynamics myself, I liked the eye-opening experience I got from reading the book.

Of all the parts of the book, the section on the project itself was the shortest part of the whole book, and the part I found the most interesting.  I would’ve liked more details on what went on.  The entire project process seemed like it was simply glossed over without going into nearly as much detail of her emotional state as she did when talking about her childhood.  And as far as the third  part went, besides wanting to know how her school, family, and immediate community reacted, I could have cared less about how she went on The Today Show, or had interviews with all the local TV stations–I wasn’t interested and skimmed most of the last section.  I would’ve rather liked to know more about her ongoing emotional state after she completed the project and how what she learned throughout helped shape her as an individual.

After I finished reading the book (it was a quick, afternoon read) I immediately watched the movie.  This Lifetime movie stars Alex Vega as Gaby Rodriguez and is, of course, based on the book.

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I liked that the movie mostly covered the pregnancy project itself, what the book didn’t go into.  However I was semi-outraged at the depiction of Gaby’s life.  In the book she makes herself and the community out to be poor–she wears 3-year-old shoes and her mom’s car constantly breaks down.  Although thanks to costume directors and set designers, the movie made Gaby look like she could be any one of us–which may have been the point–but when she details (in the book) on how she overcame so many different odds to get to where she is, and the movie portrays her as being the opposite, it lost credibility with me.  (And they renamed Gaby’s boyfriend, Jorge.  They pronounced it George.  I was like, WHAAAT?????)  Although, it’s Lifetime, so I wasn’t expecting much.

All in all, I thought it a very interesting story, and would love to meet this girl and see where she’s at in her life now.

#FridayReads: Hollywood will most likely ruin these.

I’ve heard of these books for a while now, either because I semi-keep up with new releases, because a friend has recommended them, or because I see that Hollywood is making it into a movie.  Either way, here are 8 books that are on my winter to-read list that I have to read before Hollywood ruins them.

Oh, and BTW authors/publishers:  Why don’t you try to pick a different color than black to put on the covers of your books?  This is getting a little depressing.

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If I Stay by Gayle Forman:  I saw this at Barnes and Noble a long while ago and almost bought it.  It’s about a girl in a coma and she sees everything happening around her and she has to decide if she wants to stay and live or die.  I mean, does that already not pull you in or what?  I heard it’s going to be a movie (pre pre pre production) so now I’ll just have to read it before Hollywood butchers it.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern:  I saw this on a friend’s Instagram account of what she was reading, and then was immediately intrigued by the title.  It’s about a circus and follows two magicians and their relationship.  I hope it’s not as bad as Water for Elephants, which was also made into a movie (better than the book, I thought), but it’s a different author so I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt.

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp:  Okay, okay, I’ll admit to seeing the trailer while looking for movies playing, and was so captured by the music, colors, and actors.  Then I saw it was a book!  So now I can’t decide if I’m going to go out and read it superfast to try to catch the movie while it’s still in theaters.  I’ll probably wait until I can RedBox it though.  It’s about these two teenagers that fall in love, totally cliche, but it seems to have the poignancy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower (haven’t seen the movie yet) and the maturity of 500 Days of Summer, the director of which is directing this movie.

Divergent by Veronica Roth: First off, I hear this book is the “next Hunger Games.”  Do you not understand that you can’t have a “next” while the first is already happening??? So that’s an immediate turn off to me.  And according to the blurb on Amazon, it seems almost a rip off of the Hunger Games series so that makes me even more wary about reading it.  However, I know I’ll end up seeing the movie.  And  if they butcher this book like they did The Hunger Games, I’ll have to read it first so that I’ll understand what’s going on.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl:  Again, I saw the trailer for this before I knew it was a movie.  And then I almost bought the book for $5 at TJMaxx.  It’s about witches and stuff and the protagonist has to decide if she wants to be a good witch or a bad witch.  Something like that.  It seems like it’s got all the depth and substance missing from Twilight and it’s set in Louisiana, which intrigues me a lot.  I really hope these witches eat crawfish and go duck huntin’.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare:  This is the first in the Mortal Instruments Series, and it’s about a girl who can see supernatural beings.  I’m usually morally opposed to books like this, but it is YA Literature, so it’s probably not that bad.  And it seems like a mix of Buffy and Twilight with a little Charmed thrown in, all of which isn’t bad.  My 14 year old cousin also recommended this book to me, and since she was also reading Lorna Doone at the time, I figured she has taste enough to take her recommendations seriously.  The movie is already out, and I don’t expect to see it while in theaters, since this one is probably last on my list.  I’ll wait to see how the book goes before watching the movie.

Austenland by Shannon Hale:  How cute does this movie/book look!  As a fellow Austen-lover, I can’t help but squeal with girly delight at this plot.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to a place to act out all our secret Austen-esque fantasies.  And yeah, I’ve got my own husband, but I still envy the protagonist a little.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: This must be the blogger book of the year, because I cannot tell you how many blogs I’ve seen this pop up on.  So I did a little digging, and apparently this is like a murder mystery with a twist.  So, of course, I’m all in.  I love a good mystery.  I also love unpredictable books, which this one has said to exude unpredictableness.  The movie is starring Gwenyth Paltrow as the protagonist, and there is some uproar in the blogger community on this pick, so I figured I need to read before I can weigh in.

Have you read any of these books?  What are your thoughts?

The Host: What not to watch on a hormonally terrible day.

Whoever came up with the phrase, “Happiness is a choice,” could certainly not be a woman.  Because, all all you womens know, there are some certain days where no matter what you try to choose, all you can be is sad, mad, angry that your life has hit rock bottom and your whole identity is put into question.  Which, is weird, since just the day before you were probably the happiest, most sane person on the planet who just loved life and everyone in it.

So, yeah, I had one of those dark, evil days.  On this day I could not choose to be happy.  I could barely choose what to eat for lunch because the fact that we don’t have a lot of food in the house at the moment made me tear up.  And I couldn’t choose to be happy because ever since our condo complex has decided to redo our roofs the incessant banging brought me to tears.  And I tried to finally, finally, stitch my quilt together, but I suck at hand sewing and I made a royal mistake on my sewing machine.

Guys, even retail therapy wouldn’t get me out of this mood!  Which is saying a lot.

Basically, after settling into tears for about the 50th time today, I threw in the towel and decided today would be low maintenance.

Which is why I went to Redbox and used my free code to rent The Host.

Okay, so I’ve tried to read this book a couple times but I could never get into it.  I don’t know if it’s cause it’s super lame (re:  Twilight and company) or because I always had too much going on at the time to spend reading a gazillion page book.  Either way, I figured I’d wait until the movie came out and give it a shot then.

Let me just say this:  When your whole world is hormonally going to pieces, do not, I repeat, DO NOT watch this movie.

So it’s about these alien souls that take over the humans on planet Earth.  But when the souls inhabit the bodies they’re really co-habitating with the human souls.  It follows the human girl Melanie and the alien soul Wanderer (or Wanda) as they both fight to live their life. They hate each other at first, and then they really like each other at the end.

In case you’re just dying to see it, I won’t ruin the end for you.

It’s not terrible.  But, it’s not really very good either.  I felt more like it was just underdeveloped.  And it was very dark. Like, I can’t see what’s going on because all the dark colors are melting together.  Also, who was the costume designer on this movie?  Because those alien clothes the people wore were absolutely horrific.  I can’t figure out why this person decided to make all the pants so high waisted.  Even Diane Kruger (The Seeker) could not pull off those pants.

The movie had really great potential.  Like, really great.  It had the potential to explore love and friendship and what really matters most in the world.  It had the potential to really develop some solid internal conflict in the Melanie/Wanda character and it almost made me fall in love with both the girls.  It had potential to develop some really strong love storylines and dive deep into what goes on in relationships. It was almost an extremely emotionally moving movie.

But it didn’t really do any of those things.  It really didn’t have any depth at all.  Instead it made me tear up at it’s lost potential and it’s emotional roller coaster.

I think the awful thing about Sci-Fi books being made into movies is that all the rich story that was always so painstakingly written out is lost in the actual image portrayal on the screen.  Usually I find the movies almost have depth but they miss it at the last second.

I’m interested in reading the book now, to see if this character and relationship development is fully explored.  But I’m a little afraid that Stephenie Meyer–who is a great storyteller and terrible writer–will let me down the same way as the movie.  I’m afraid the book might almost achieve depth but miss it at the last second.

Have you ever read the book?  What did you think?

I think I might give it a shot.  But I will not, WILL NOT, read it on a dark day.

Rise of the Guardians: Review

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I watched this movie over the past weekend.  Yeah, I know, I’m reeeeeeally late to the game.  But c’mon, a movie about superhero children’s characters? It just didn’t really interest me.

However, I was pleasantly surprised.  This movie had more meaning and depth than most adult movies I watch.  It was funny in all the right places, while at the same time being thought-provoking and poignant.

I’ll say it again, this movie had depth.  It’s mostly about the inner journey of Jack Frost finding his identity and his place in the world.  I’m pretty sure he was the most inspiring animated character I’ve ever seen.  And after the many years of fighting my husband over the name Jack, I’m officially conceding.  I will name my future child Jack if only after the character in this movie.

The animation in this movie was also beautiful.  I love it when the color scheme works well and the characters are made so flawlessly.  And I love the portrayal of both the Easter Bunny as being an Australian muscleman and Santa Claus (North) as being this tattooed biker guy.

A million thumbs up for this one.

Oz the Great and Powerful: Review

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I have never actually read the Oz series (I know) so this movie was a great surprise to me–meaning, I didn’t know what was going to happen.

This movie was stupendous.  I loved how it paid tribute to the original 1930s classic by starting in black and white, having Oz go up in a tornado, and landing (in color) in the land of Oz.  Although, I’ll admit that when I first saw the CGI of the land of Oz and how everything was created, I had a terrible flashback to Tim Burton’s remake Alice in Wonderland and began to be verrrry skeptical of the movie.  Although this director–whoever he may be–certainly did not disappoint.

The movie was beautiful.  I loved the colors, the costumes, the people.  It had a couple unexpected twists (if you’re like me and never read the book; otherwise, I hear it’s fairly close to the original story) and I was enthralled the whole way through.  And that’s definitely not a feeling I often feel with movies.

5 stars, 2 thumbs up, and a round of applause of Oz The Great and Powerful.