5 Exceptional Book to Movie Adaptations (a Listicle tag)

Birdie Bookworm nominated me for this Tag.  You might have noticed that I have a love for putting my thoughts into list form so this tag is totally up my alley! The tag was created by Not-So-Modern Girl. Make sure to check out her blog for more fun!

Rules

  • Create your own listicle tag, using the prompt from the person who tagged you.
  • Tag the creator of the post (not-so-modern-girl!) so that I can read all your brilliant posts and see how the joy of listicles is being spread.
  • Nominate as many people as you want!
  • Set those people the subject/prompt of their listicle post!

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Birdie asked me to share with you guys 5 Exceptional Book to Movie Adaptations. This is no easy feat. I think we book lovers can agree that movie adaptations tend to be disappointing. But here are 5 adaptations that I personally enjoyed.

  1. 51MIi4p2YyL._SX418_BO1,204,203,200_The Harry Potter series has not always been perfect as a film series. It’s heart breaking to see important characters and plot points left out. But on the whole the film franchise totally captures the magic of the books. The only downside is that I made the mistake of showing my children the movies first and now they don’t want to read the books because “they already know what happens.” My heart – it can’t take it! And yet, I totally get it. I try to avoid film adaptations if I’m still planning to read the book because usually it’s a lost cause if I don’t.
  2. downloadMary Poppins as a movie might not have impressed the author, PL Travers, but time has shown that audiences disagree with her on this one and adore this movie unconditionally. Myself for sure included. Who doesn’t know every single song? Who hasn’t been way too in love with Dick Van Dyke ever since? Who doesn’t secretly hope that Mary Poppins will show up and help raise their children? I’d settle for her room cleaning magic and that bigger on the inside purse at the very least! Yes, I think we can all agree that Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way and so is this movie.
  3. tumblr_oas7pj4KDu1vnn16oo1_500Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is both one of my favorite novels and one of my favorite movies. It’s all the things. It came into my life exactly the moment I needed it to and I consider both the book and the movie utter perfection. Vivian Leigh is Scarlett O’Hara. Clark Gable is Rhett Butler. Tomorrow is another day and Ashley was never really worth all of the fuss but we can’t help but love every minute of Scarlett’s obsession with him all the same.
  4. The-Princess-Bride-the-princess-bride-4640774-476-436The Princess Bride by William Goldman is a good book but I think the movie is actually even better. Maybe I’m biased because I saw the movie first (like 800 times). Maybe I’m biased because of my absolute adoration of Carey Elwes (he’s even better in Men in Tights!) but this is seriously a perfect movie (and a perfect story). It has everything – “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True love. Miracles.”
  5. 9780525435006_p0_v1_s192x300I know it’s really a tv-series and not a movie but because it just came out and because it is #allthethings like the other titles on this list, I have to mention The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood which premiered on Hulu last week. There are 4 of 10 episodes available right now and they are perfection. Heartbreaking, soul clutching perfection. But perfection. Don’t watch this one before going to bed. Or right before going for a massage because you will feel raw and vulnerable and that’s like the opposite state of mind that you want when you are going for a massage. Watch it with a girlfriend in broad day light with wine and chocolate and time to discuss it at great length afterwards. And totally read the book!

This is by no means a comprehensive list – but they are 5 books that have been turned into excellent movies or tv series that I can vouch for having experienced both the book and the film. What books would be on your list?

Okay, I’m going to tag Kate @ Mom’s Radius, Alison @ Hardcovers & Heroines, Betsy @ Betsy’s Random Assortment of Thoughts and Kate @ Ex Libris Kate. And also YOU – if you are reading this and going “Oh man! I wanted to be tagged!” Consider yourself hearby tagged to respond to the following prompt:

5 Books You Think Everyone Should Read

3 Movies Your Kids Won’t Stop Singing Along To.

We’ve seen three movies in theater over the last few months that were all good enough to gush about but I’ve been busy so I haven’t had a chance to give you guys the skinny. I thought I’d do a quick review of all three of them with some feedback from their primary target audience, my seven year old daughter and 10 year old son.

MOANA

“I love it so much that I listen to the radio music a lot! Moana’s adventure was very mysterious! I also loved Moana’s grandmother  because she cheered Moana up in every way she could.” – BB, Age 7

When I saw the trailers for this one I was kind of ambivalent – they honestly just don’t do it justice. I think a way better taste for this movie is this clip of one of the best songs in the movie:

But honestly, all the songs are fantastic. Like, ‘I bought the soundtrack and listen to it on my own sometimes’ fantastic. Add to this information a heartwarming ‘bring your tissues’ story that isn’t focused on a girl winning a guy’s heart / mixed with ridiculously funny characters and antics and you can kind of understand why our entire family became obsessed with this movie after seeing it in theater over Christmas vacation.  The love affair is still going strong and I’m anxiously awaiting the DVD release.

“Moana is cunning and adventurous. No matter what she faced, she didn’t give up. And Maui was funny and crazy!” – MM, Age 10

SING

“I enjoyed it. I loved Ash, the Porcupine. She was my favorite character.” – BB, Age 7

How about a star studded spectacular in which a group of rag tag singers with modest dreams audition for a singing competition that seems failed from the start? Both my kids loved this one and I was really into it also. I liked that it balanced hopefulness with reality and wasn’t too stereotypical. Great music to be found in a very balanced mix of genres so no worries that this will be all pop music / no substance. A killer soundtrack and a good story.

TROLLS

“I loved it a lot! Music made the trolls happy because music was one of their favorite things to do and it spread on all trolls.” – BB, Age 7

I took my daughter to see this at the budget second run theater over the weekend when the boys were off on a cub scout sledding trip. It was so good that we rented it on DVD the next night so the whole family could watch it. Again, the music is excellent. My daughter has not stopped singing since. My husband was very pleasantly surprised that the movie wasn’t sugary sweet fluff but had a real story and plenty of humor and self awareness. The back and forth between the main characters, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake), is basically magic.

“I really liked how Poppy was always happy about everything. I loved the “I’ll Just Get Back Up Again” song! That was a really funny song.” – MM, Age 10

5 Romantic Comedies To Netflix & Chill

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First of all, I want to state one more time for the record that I reject the pervy connotations of the phrase Netflix & Chill. I’m a grown ass woman so if I tell you I want to stay home and watch Netflix, I promise you I’m being 100% literal about my intentions. Real women don’t need innuendo.

But we all need a good Netflix rom com binge from time to time. My favorite romantic comedies honestly haven’t changed much since the nineties so be prepared for some throwback nostalgia. Or for you young folk reading, some like super old movies your mom used to watch.

These 5 movies all bear the honor of being movies I would literally sit down and watch any day, any time.

Clueless

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This movie has everything – it’s a ridiculously funny Jane Austen modern adaptation with great clothes, catch phrases you’ll remember for the rest of your life and Paul Rudd at the beginning of his Paul Ruddiness. The stairs scene above still makes me feel like a weak kneed teenager every time I watch it.

10 Things I Hate About You

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Another classic adaptation, this one is a modern interpretation of Taming of the Shrew. You could also call it Heath Ledger’s Dimples and OMG Joseph Gorden Levitt when he was young and adorkable. Come for the serenade on the football field and stay for the white girl rapping. And if you don’t cry when she reads that poem at the end, you have no soul.

Amelie

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If you want to feel more cultured about your rom com binge, I recommend this French film that absolutely purchased my heart the first time I saw it. Introverted girls everywhere realized that Amelie is our Kindred Spirit Queen when this movie came out and it still gets me every time. If subtitles put you off, I urge you to reconsider for this one – the movie is beautiful and funny and about halfway through I forget I’m reading the subtitles at all. Fair warning, this one is R rated for a reason – don’t watch it with your teens.

The Decoy Bride

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This is one of my more recent romantic comedy obsessions and it’s a must watch for all my Whovian friends because David Tennant in some rather fetching plaid pants happens.

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More than that, though, is the utter charm of Kelly Macdonald and the ridiculously funny but heart warming story. It takes place on the fictional Scottish island of Hegg where a celebrity couple has secretly traveled to in an attempt to get married without the paparazzi but that all goes awry (of course) and Macdonald’s character gets subbed in when the bride goes AWOL and much confusion, comedy and eventual romance ensues. If you like Scottish accents and awkward but awesome heroines, this one is for you.

You’ve Got Mail

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Okay so this is the only movie on my list that isn’t streaming on Netflix right now but I couldn’t leave it off because it’s classic Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, it pretty much started my fantasy of owning a bookstore someday and the early days of the internet are so much nostalgia it hurts a little. If you haven’t seen this one yet, oh my gosh you need to fix that immediately and it’s only a few dollars to stream it on Amazon. #worthit

What are your favorite romantic comedies?

Mama’s Losin’ ItI’m linking up with Mama Kat’s weekly Writer’s Workshop – you should, too!

Weekly Geekly: 03.11.16

I’ve got a veritable stock pile of amazing things I’ve seen online that need to be shared with you so buckle your seat belts.

Did you see the new Ghostbusters trailer yet? I’m personally super excited but apparently a lot of people are upset particularly about Leslie Jones’s character in the movie. Probably the same people who were upset about the Starbucks cups. And while I understand their critique, I also think people just need something to hate on and Donald Trump must have been quiet that day.

Also: GeekMom shared a list of 5 movies that should get the Ghostbusters treatment. What would be on your list?

There’s a new kids RPG called Book Fair that is making the book nerd in me squeal with delight because I totally want to play. I mean I totally want my kids to play. Yeah. It does sound a little intricate to plan out but I think it would be awesome for a group activity for a classroom or summer camp or when your kids are bored and you’ve run out of Gilmore Girls episodes to marathon.

Do you think they should have just let Top Gear die with dignity or are you cautiously optimistic about BBC’s new cast / the original team’s new show on Amazon? I’m torn.

Ready to flex your word nerd muscles? There’s a great roundup at Real Simple of 11 weird words you’ve never known how to make plural (but probably have strong opinions about).

Geek and Sundry recently shared this infographic that will tell you what your beard says about your D&D Alignment. I’m pretty sure this makes my husband Chaotic Neutral which sounds about right.

Have you already seen Doctor Puppet? My son and I just watched all the episodes on You Tube and were kind of despondent when we realized we’d finished all the ones currently released. Watch it slower if you haven’t already. Speaking of The Doctor: What are your thoughts on these suggestions for the thirteen Doctor? We obviously need to start planning now while there are likely / hopefully years to decide.

Now that Downton Abbey is officially over ::sobs:: we can all attempt to recover from the pain by curating lists about the show like The Lazy Genius’s list of The Best Boyfriends of Downton. At first I was outraged that Matthew wasn’t number one – until I saw her pick for number one and was like – nope, you are definitely right. Never mind, carry on.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this dramatic reading from Morgan Freeman:

 

 

 

What I’m Into: February 2016

Happy Leap Day guys! I’m celebrating this rare day by ignoring responsibilities. Unless you count washing dishes and doing laundry and planning meals for the week and … okay, fine, it’s just Monday. But it’s also time to share What I’m Into Lately! I’m linking up with  Leigh Kramer to share what I’m into this month. Let me know if you are linking up, too!

What I’m Watching

I’ve kind of fallen down the rabbit hole that is binge watching Gilmore Girls like who really wants to watch anything else anyway? I am still only into season one but I’m all in and totally in nostalgia heaven and only sometimes whispering “kiss her! kiss her!” whenever Luke and Lorelai are in the same room. Do you guys realize we had to wait FIVE SEASONS in real time for this to happen? FIVE? What kind of monster is Amy Sherman-Palladino? In all seriousness though, that’s how it is supposed to be done. Shows that try to rush the magic end up paying for it later. *coughs* New Girl *coughs*.

I also checked out the first couple episodes of Fuller House and nostalgia wise I enjoyed the first episodes but we’ll see if the show stands up on its own. It’s super cheesy, but then I guess the original was also. The kids seem into it, so we’ll keep watching a little while longer.

We just finished watching season four of Game of Thrones this weekend and I’ve noticed that I’m a little too pleased now when some people die. When this show started I would wince and shriek and sob over any death and now I have a wish list like Arya Stark and I’m not sure what that says about me or the show.

Also still watching American Idol. Still loving Mackenzie, Dalton, Sonika and LaPorsha. Might have sobbed like a baby watching Kelly Clarkson sing Piece by Piece on Thursday. I was not alone. Keith Urban nearly lost it, too.

We also watched several movies this month – some were repeats for me and most were for the first time: Grease (the original and the new live one), Zoolander, Goosebumps, Pirates of the Caribbean, National Lampoon’s new Vacation movie, Neighbors, Pan, After the Ball and The Full Monty. Favorites of the bunch would probably be Zoolander, Pirates, Pan and The Full Monty (which features Rumpelstiltskin and Robert Baratheon back in the day btw).

What I’m Reading

I finished three books this month – two took the majority of the month to finish and one took the majority of an afternoon.

  1. 41VgvI2digL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_LOVED Winter by Marissa Meyer – Finished Feb. 23rd – This book was such an undertaking – each book in the series seems to get bigger as it goes and more characters are introduced. This book felt like the fireworks finale that it should be with #allthefeels all over the place. Every moment you were waiting for finally happens and Meyer only tries to break your heart eleventy billion times so it’s all good. I’ve already got Stars Above waiting for me to crack into.
  2. 9530LIKED Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson – Finished Feb. 24th – I wasn’t sure I would finish this one in time for the book club discussion, if at all, but I’m glad I stuck it out. Although many of the chapters felt excessively long at times and filled to the brim with information that might be fascinating for some people (not me), there were a lot of golden nuggets inside. The story this book tells is incredible especially because it’s a true story – and the people within the book have a lot to say. Lots of life lessons to be learned and everything you ever wanted to know about deep sea diving, shipwrecks and U Boats.
  3. 16000983REALLY LIKED Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick – Finished Feb. 27th – I’m a fan of Amber’s blog and this book was like a sweetened condensed version of that. My only complaints would be that some of the stories felt abruptly cut short and the book itself seemed to end so soon! I want more!

Now I seem to be reading ALL the books. I’m still working my way through The Martian by Andy Weir which I am enjoying but having a hard time settling into probably because I made the mistake(?) of watching the movie first. On the plus side, now when I read the book you know I am picturing Matt Damon doing all the things and saying all the funnies and that’s never a bad thing.

I’m also finally reading Let it Snow which is a group effort by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. It’s kind of like that high school English assignment where you write a chapter and then one of your classmates writes the next chapter and so on. So far I’ve read Green and Johnson’s stories and loved both. Maureen Johnson’s might have been my favorite of the two so now I’m adding all her books to my wish list and was psyched to realize that one of them is already sitting on my kindle so this morning I may have read the first two chapters of 13 Little Blue Envelopes.

My book club will be discussing Terrible Typhoid Mary by Susan Campbell Bartoletti next month so I’ll likely need to start reading that soon as well. It’s a biography of Mary Mallon, also known as Typhoid Mary that explores who Mary actually was and how her name became synonymous with a horrible disease.

What I’m Cooking

I made this French toast – probably the first thing I’ve made after watching a video recipe thing on Facebook. It was good but not great – but somehow resulted in me making The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon toast like fifteen times this month, so…

Then I made her chocolate cake in a mug which is dangerously delicious. I didn’t know this recipe could be perfected but leave it to Ree to make that happen. I know you are rolling your eyes like, “Jen, microwave mug cake is ancient history and only meh” and to that I say, fine, I’ll eat yours. Nothing to see here.

Kim (the other half of Critic and Fangirl) and I made it into the kitchen together this month and she made pork cabbage rolls that might have changed my life. I could eat twelve of them RIGHT NOW. Seriously, come make me more Kimmy!

What I’m Loving

The new floor runner in my hallway that lets the kids walk more than one foot into the house before wiping shoes and taking them off to put away. Floors are cleaner, mom gets to walk inside sooner and also it’s pretty.

This quote from Zachary on Project Runway Junior: “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce. So, gotta get it done…” 

The kids and I started journaling together. I bought / repurposed some journals that we are writing in to each other at night. BB uses hers mostly to ask me hot button questions like “What should I wear to my birthday party besides just clothes?” and “Can we play Minecraft together this weekend?” MM’s has quickly devolved into us doodling Doctor Who references and him sketching comics of escape pods. But I’m interested in seeing the longevity of this idea.

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This homework station that I made for the kids after spending twelve million hours on Pinterest. The main goal was just to gather all the little things they need to finish their homework in one organized space – and for all of said items to find their way back to said station after homework is done because I was getting an ulcer from the nightly “I can’t find any pencils!!!!” game.

What have you been into lately?

My 5 Favorite Romantic Movies.

It’s officially February which means blogs everywhere are going to be talking about all things love, hearts, flowers and romance. I know that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but being the squealing little fan girl that I am, I love a good love story.

I’m joining in on this week’s Writer’s Workshop hosted by Mama Kat to talk about five of my favorite romantic movies.

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(1) Clueless was probably one of my first favorite romantic movies. And despite the pure cheesiness of it all (or maybe because of?) I would still watch it anyplace, anytime. For the ridiculously fun fashion (I still want Cher’s closet), the witty writing, the Paul Rudd of it all, the fact that it’s a modern interpretation of Emma by Jane Austen disguised as a dumb high school movie and the blazing chemistry between Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd. This staircase scene towards the end of the movie has been giving me #allthefeels for 21 years and that number is majorly stressing me out right now. (stream it on Netflix immediately)

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(2) I guess it’s no surprise given my previous answer that I was all about 10 Things I Hate About You which is another class novel modern interpetation – this one is secretly not so secretly Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare. And I’m pretty sure it was the exact moment that every girl in the world fell in love with Heath Ledger. He had us at Can’t Take My Eyes off of You. Also, Joseph Gordon Levitt slightly before we decided he was a hottie and my first indication that tiny white girls who like hip hop are secretly everything. My bestie in high school and I would watch it nearly every day and she still can’t walk into her home town movie rental place because she never returned it. (Rent it on Amazon for $3 or buy it for $10 because honestly.)

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(3) In college I discovered Gone With the Wind. I stayed up late one night with a friend to watch the two disc mammmoth of a movie only to realize a couple hours in that we had watched the second disc first by accident. Whoops. My friend was like, “kay thanks byyyyyeeeee” but even out of order I was riveted and started the whole thing over – watching disc one and then disc two again for continuity’s sake. Gone With the Wind is a classic for good reason – it’s story of the Civil War is heartbreaking, it’s love story is timeless and also a bit heartbreaking. Scarlet O’Hara is a girl we can all relate to – especially on our worst days (at least I can) and reminds us that it’s worth it to climb back up to the top after every set back. And that some times you need to be honest with yourself when you are over your high school crush. Preferably before you alienate everyone. (You can buy that 2 disc DVD for $10 or stream it for $4 and not risk watching it out of order).

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(4) The Decoy Bride is a recentish movie that earned my #obsessed seal of approval- I think attempted to bully every female I know into watching it. I’ve seen it at least half a dozen times since I discovered it a couple years ago and it’s not just because it stars David Tennant (i.e. the 10th Doctor) and Kelly Macdonald (aka the girl who voiced Merida from Brave – Seriously). This movie had everything I love – funny premise, sort of dorky writer girl who is awesome and you will love her and want to be her a little bit, Scottish accents everywhere, that guy from Ugly Betty that you LOVE, chemistry flying off the screen but with actors who look like real people and not Hollywood Cyborg Pretties. It’s New York’s Hottest Club in romcom form. (Stream it on Netflix and then watch it over and over and over.)

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I’m so dorkily obsessed with this movie that I couldn’t pick just one picture to show you guys. #sorrynotsorry

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(5) Last but definitely not least is Amelie which is in French but don’t worry – between subtitles and the fact that this movie is so brilliant you will absolutely forget you don’t speak French (unless you do, then, you know, awesome) – you will have no trouble following along. First off, visually, this movie is just stunning. The geniuses behind this film make every tiny detail take your breath away a little. Second, Audrey Tautou might be one of the best actresses of our time. Third, the chemistry and just overall feel of the movie is #allthefeels concentrated. You can almost bottle the feels and sell it for a fortune. Or selfishly horde them forever. (And you can stream it on Netflix now – you’re welcome)

What is your favorite romantic movie?

What movie should I fall in love with next?

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This week’s Writing Prompts were:

1. Write about your proposal. Were you surprised?
2. List your top 5 favorite romance movies.
3. Tell us about a crush you had and/or have.
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: Friendly
5. February 4th is National Thank A Mailman Day. What did your mail carrier deliver that you would like to thank them for?
6. Write a poem to your love for Valentine’s Day.

What I’m Into (July 2015)

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer to share some of the things I’ve been into this month. This is a great opportunity to fangirl all over the place about what you’ve been reading, watching, listening to – or to give said things a harsh critique when necessary. Here’s how the month shook out for me.

Reading

Right now I’m reading three different books which is actually kind of rare for me as I don’t usually like to divide myself between stories. It tends to make me feel like I’m not really reading anything – but with Kindles and Kindle smartphone apps, I’ve gotten more into the habit – especially when I’m trying to finish a book club book in a certain amount of time and find myself starting before I’ve finished my last read.

All that said, I’m currently reading Looking for Alaska by John Green (on my kindle, for funsies if you can call it that), The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (which I nominated for our book club so luckily I’m enjoying it) and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (whose last name isn’t a color unfortunately because that would make this list way more magical).

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  1. LIKED Goddess Interrupted (book 2) by Aimee CarterFinished July 3, 2015 – It took me a little while to ease back into the world of this story, just as it took the main character awhile to ease back into being in the Underworld with all the gods. This story quickly becomes action packed though and will have you on the seat of your pants waiting to see how it all turns out – and then ends on a major cliff hanger!
  2. REALLY LIKED The Geography of You and Me By Jennifer E. SmithFinished July 6, 2015 – This book was giving me a serious case of wanderlust in addition to being a really sweet, YA love story. I loved the main characters of this book, they were very easy for me to relate to and to root for and I loved all the descriptions of the places each character traveled to and their thoughts and musings throughout.
  3. LIKED The Goddess Inheritance (book 3) by Aimee CarterFinished July 10, 2015 – Everything has finally come to a head as we start book 3 and the book continues at a suspenseful pace. I was truly on the edge of my seat to see how everything would work out for the various characters. I thought it was all pulled together brilliantly.
  4. REALLY LIKED Normally, This Would be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness by Danielle FishelFinished July 23, 2015 – I was a major Boy Meets World fan growing up and I loved getting to know the girl behind Topanga. Danielle is very funny and had a lot of good stories to tell, but I also loved that she seems to have remained pretty down to earth all told. I like to imagine that we’d be total BFFs if we ever met.

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Watching

The-IT-Crowd-the-it-crowd-24356450-859-1024Has anyone else ever watched The IT Crowd? We just discovered it on Netflix this month and were sucked in immediately. It probably helps that I am a nerd who was raised by a nerd and then married a nerd. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s a British show which is somehow a merit of huge significance for me – most of my favorite shows are British shows. But it’s also just plain hilarious. In less than a week, this show completely permeated our lives and we find ourselves quoting it constantly.

We also finally started watching Game of Thrones thanks to an awesome friend who loaned me the first two seasons on DVD so eventually I’m going to be totally in on all the jokes and references and I’ll finally be cool!! Except by then, there will be another Must Watch It Show that everyone will be watching – on that one channel that we don’t get – and I’ll have to start all over again. ::sigh::

I went to see a stage production of Pride and Prejudice at my favorite outdoor theater this month with some of my favorite friends. It was pretty hot out and the giant walk up a small hill continues to make me question my love for said theater but then the show started and I remembered – ohhhh right. The Cast. The cast is just so brilliant, the shows so well done. And being one of my all time favorite stories definitely didn’t hurt. My favorite actor in the theater, Marcus Truschinski, was cast as Darcy and we momentarily worried “Can he pull of Darcy? Isn’t he too silly?” But he was ah-mazing. Every time we leave this theater we seem to say, “This was the best play I’ve ever seen here.” And it continues to be true.

We’re going to see the Minions Movie tonight. Has anyone else seen it yet? I assume it’s going to be amazing.

Listening to

We were on a road trip for two weeks so most of the music we were listening to was the same songs that we listened to on loop last year. Lots of John Mayer, Matchbox 20, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles. My husband got me a tape deck adapter so that my car can join the 21st century music-wise and we were able to plug our phones into the stereo and listen to our playlists through the car speakers instead of the tinny little things built into the phones that are apparently totally unacceptable to my husband’s ears. One day I’ll have a blue tooth adapter in my car (probably never this car) and we can say goodbye to those cables, but for now I’m pretty thrilled with the new set up.

Playing

We learned how to play Pitch this month with my in laws and it might be my new favorite card game. The downside is we need more than just myself and my husband to play, so who’s coming over tonight?

We also played a lot of Munchkin which my husband loves and I tolerate and a tiny bit of We Didn’t Playtest This At All which I thought was terrific and my husband was meh about. Between the two of us, we love a lot of games – but finding the right balance to make both of us ecstatic fans seems to be tough. I’d like to try either Pandemic or Zombie Dice next I think. Any opinions?

What have you been into lately?

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Ranking the Pixar Movies.

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Geek Dad had the brilliant idea to rank the 15 animated feature films by Pixar and now everyone else on the internet is doing it, too. You know I can’t resist a good bandwagon so I thought I’d throw my opinions into the void like everyone else.

Here’s where the Pixar movies stack up, imo.

15. A Bug’s Life: Poor A Bugs Life is getting no love from the internet. I’m not sure what about this movie just reads as unspectacular all these years later but considering it was only Pixar’s 2nd film ever, I suppose we can forgive it for not being amazing.

14. Cars 2: I’ve already forgotten most of the plot from this one, but I do remember there being spies and that some of the cars were embarrassed by other cars but then learned not to be a jerk to their friends. It was fine but not great.

13. Toy Story 2: I love Jessie and Bullseye, but I didn’t really love this movie. That magic ah ha spark of the first movie wasn’t really there for me. I mean for a sequel, it was pretty darn good, but for a Pixar movie, it was just fine.

12. Toy Story 3: It wasn’t that I disliked this movie, I just liked eleven other movies more. This movie was also pretttty depressing and I recall the end being the only bits really worth watching in the end. It could have been a 10 minute short film leading up to whatever new movie was coming out that year.

11. Cars: My son obviously loved it when he saw this movie at three years of age, and at the time I thought I loved it, too. But even he has moved on so I think we can, too. Don’t get me wrong, this movie had it’s good points, but compared to other movies on this list, it doesn’t seem to shine with age as much as others.

10. Finding Nemo: I know what you are thinking: How is Finding Nemo ranked so LOW for me?  Isn’t that blaspheme? I love Ellen Degeneres, too, but Dory is only in like 1/3 of the scenes and I find Marlin to be one of the most annoying, ridiculous characters in the history of animated cinema (yeah, I went there) and it kind of brings the movie as a whole down for me in spite of some absolute brilliance.

9. WALL-E: This was a  very tedious movie with a few moments of brilliance. It’s better the second time you watch it because you know the brilliance is coming so you aren’t so bored watching all the repetition and monotony.

8. UP: This is like the saddest movie ever but also the most beautiful. It has scenes that make me want to call it the best movie ever, but to be honest, the majority of this movie bordered on boring for me. It was like a sandwich with excellent bread and mediocre filling.

7. Brave: Pixar’s lone Princess movie, Brave broke the mold with Merida, the unruly red head Scottish princess who doesn’t really want to be a princess. This movie had all the feels and a lot of funny, too – and awesome accents to boot.

6. Ratatouille: I loved everything about this movie. I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of going to France someday, like every other stereotypical girl – and though I’m not a chef or quite a foodie, I do love to eat good food. So this movie was easy for me to love.

5. Inside Out: Time will tell if Inside Out manages to hold onto a spot in my Top 5 once the glamour of being the New & Shiny Prodigal Child wears off. But I truly adored this movie in basically every way. They were blessed with a dream cast and the writing was brilliant on literally every level. It was brilliant on levels I didn’t know were levels.

4. Toy Story: I got a little burnt out on Toy Story after being subjected to one million reviewings as a tween but I can’t hold that against this movie which was brilliant and kind of revolutionary when it came out. Pixar wouldn’t be Pixar without Toy Story. Period.

3. Monsters University: This is probably my favorite sequel (or really, prequel) to date. This movie would have been amazing even if you had somehow managed to never see the first one (don’t do that – see the first one). The whole family loved it and I would totally sit down and watch it again right now.

2. The Incredibles: This movie was incredible, with a heart warming story and lots of clever humor and easy humor, too. A movie the whole family will enjoy and think of fondly. I have no critiques really. But I haven’t rewatched it much and that keeps it from being a number one for me.

And the winner is…

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1. Monsters, Inc.: This movie is everything. It is hysterically funny and gives you all the feels and frankly, it’s perfectly written. It made me want to be a mother before I’d even really considered motherhood. Boo is still my favorite and I’m down to watch this movie, whenever.

How would you rank the Pixar movies? Which one is your favorite?

jenloves

Book vs. Movie: The DUFF

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My first thought after I finished reading The Duff by Kody Keplinger was “how did they manage to make this a movie?” While I enjoyed the book, it definitely seemed too racy for a teen movie. No parents would let their kids see this movie, right? No production company would be like “50 Shades of Grey but for sixteen year olds? Sure!” I honestly didn’t see how they could tame the plot down without completely rewriting it.

There’s your answer. The movie version of The DUFF is only loosely based off the book. The character names are the same and the word DUFF is definitely thrown around. And a few of the nuts and bolts that hold the story together are moooostly present.

But a LOT is changed:

  • The basically single dad becomes a definitely single mom. There is no mention of a dad with drinking problems. We never meet Wesley’s family at all and his entire backstory has been rewritten. Bianca’s friendship with Jess and Casey isn’t given much of a backstory at all – and there is no ex boyfriend that has Bianca depressed. In fact, Bianca isn’t depressed about anything in the movie except being labeled a DUFF.
  • Ultra millionaire sleazeball Wesley becomes the literally boy next door typical teenage guy / captain of the football team / on again off again dating the prettiest girl in school who wasn’t in the book at all. I guess we won’t mind our daughters having a crush on this version of Wesley.
  • Teachers play a much larger influence in the movie, which takes place at school more than in bedrooms (there are almost no bedrooms in the movie).
  • The concept of cyber bullying is a major plot point of the movie – this isn’t in the book at all. The writers clearly had a field day showing how much the internet influences this generation of kids. References galore. The teachers make jokes about it that your dad will laugh at and your teen will roll their eyes at.
  • Bianca and Wesley never do anything more than kiss each other in the movie. I.e. Your kids can watch this without conceiving a child. This fact is clearly the reason that so much of the rest of the book changed. They had to do SOMETHING else since their clothes were on for the whole movie.
  • There is a very heavy dose of stereotypical cliques in the movie in case you couldn’t figure out on your own whether a character is a jock or a nerd or a party girl, they let you know in big letters. In the book, I felt the characters had a little more depth without needing a cliche to explain them.

So which was better? I honestly am not sure. I kind of preferred the more fleshed out, less stereotypical characters of the book. But I think the movie is much more age appropriate and sends a MUCH healthier message. If the two could have combined just a bit better, it would have been perfect. I don’t think the high school stereotypes were necessary but I suppose they added a visually appealing layer to the movie and one could also speculate that a lot of kids that age are really into putting labels and categories on things? Or I’m really behind the times and nobody likes this at all. One of those.

Bottom line: Younger teens should definitely be steered towards the MOVIE and not the book. Older teens and anyone no longer living under your roof? Let them decide for themselves.

GEEK OUT: 5 Things You Won’t Want To Miss.

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Some things worth geeking out over:

A multi-fandom character alignment chart: Trying to understand your D&D character better? Or creating one from scratch and not sure what alignment they should fall into? Holland at Geek and Sundry has you covered.

Have you heard of #TwitterFiction? Authors all over twitter were crafting stories in the form of 140 character tweets, letting followers help them to craft a masterpiece. BuzzFeed wrote about a story Lemony Snicket wrote for #TwitterFiction Festival 2015. Two other authors whose stories you might want to read: Margaret Atwood and Maggie Stiefvater (my favorite).

These grammar grumble mugs at The Literary Gift Company might just be everything. If I didn’t already have entirely too many coffee mugs, these could be my new perfect set. See also: This website is probably worth book marking if you buy me gifts. See also: Buy me gifts.

Speaking of grammar, here are 10 grammar myths that the folks at Mental Floss think should be debunked and discarded or at least better understood. The next time you want to put a grammar snob in check, consult this list.

GeekMom just saw Tomorrowland and shared her thoughts about the movie and whether or not you should take your kids to see it. I am always on the look out for a “family movie” – i.e. a movie that is both enjoyable for kids and adults. This looks promising.