Categories
books movies

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.

Categories
books movies

15 Lessons Learned Watching The Maze Runner

MazeRunner

Last night I decided to watch The Maze Runner even though I haven’t gotten around to reading the book yet. Because I’m a rebel. Yup. That’s right. Also my husband was like “Do you want to watch The Maze Runner?” And I said yes.

Having not read the book, I was going into the movie relatively uninformed except that I’ve read a description of said book and read the first few pages. This is what I knew going in (mild spoilers):

A boy is trapped in a box that opens into a big grassy field known as The Glade. He doesn’t know who he is or how he got there but when he gets out of the box there are a ton of other teenage boys who also don’t know who they are or how they got there or why but they all seem to have come to terms with this information until a girl shows up a few days later and then they’re like WTF?? This changes everything????!!!!!”

I’ll be honest, I didn’t love this movie. The plot was fairly interesting but it also felt incredibly rehashed and because it was a movie trying to do a book’s job, it left a lot of questions unanswered that I tried not to dwell over but pretty much failed. After about half an hour I almost turned the movie off but my husband and I found that by making snarky jokes and heckling the movie loudly that it made it enjoyable to watch.

Things Learned while watching The Maze  Runner (spoilers obvy)

So a quick synopsis of this movie would be “If Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games Had a Baby and there were giant cyborg spiders there.”

The-Maze-Runner

Lesson one: The first thing that Thomas learns when he enters the Glade (before he remembers that his name is Thomas) is that nobody knows why they are there and that there is a giant maze all around them that could conceivably lead to an exit but they aren’t allowed to go in the maze because they said so.

Lesson two: Then he tries to go in the maze basically immediately and another boy whose name is Golly or Gabby or Gally or something beats the crap out of him for it and when Thomas is like WTF? the walls of the maze start to close and he’s like “Oh so that wall would have crushed me?” and I was like, you could have led with that guys.

Lesson three: Except the whole maze doesn’t close, just the entrance. But apparently if you get trapped inside the maze you will for sure die because no one who has been trapped in the maze has ever come back because Grievers. What are Grievers you ask? We don’t know. Nobody has ever seen them. But you’ll die. And I’m like “Or maybe they just found the exit and left??”

Lesson four: If you get stung by that thing nobody has ever seen, you’ll die but first you’ll go into a murdery rage and then the other boys will kill you, so for sure, you will die. Look at this wall of names of all the boys who have been trapped here. Look at these names of all the boys who have DIED.

Lesson five: If you run into the maze without permission enough times, the boys will make you an official runner because they are tired of throwing you in the pit and reminding you that you will die but that Golly / Gally guy will for sure keep making slanty eyebrows at you or possibly those are just his normal eyebrows.

Lesson six: Turns out that your memories are coming back waaaay faster than predicted and you are getting more than just your name back. This has either never happened before or everyone else is lying.

Lesson seven: The guy in charge of running the maze has been making an intricate map of the thing for three years now but you’re going to go for a jog tomorrow and find new places he’s never seen and while you are at it, you’re going to kill a griever who happens to be a giant cyborg spider whose leg wants to tell you the way out of the maze like it’s scanning for metal at the beach.

Lesson eight: Don’t tell those guys that have been trapped here for 3 years that you think you know the way out because they will be throwing serious shade your way.

Lesson nine: When a girl randomly shows up in the Glade for the first time in ever and she’s saying your name, it obviously means you are suspicious and also you are the only Thomas that has ever lived so it’s def not a coincidence. Also apparently girls remember their names right away and are like “What’s your dysfunction?”

Lesson ten: Don’t tell the completely harmless chubby kid that everything is going to be fine and you are going to get him out of the maze and help him find his parents (because even though he doesn’t remember them, he obviously has parents that are looking for him). You might as well just shoot the poor kid in the face.

Lesson eleven: Girls should be immediately trusted  as an authority on all subjects because they throw fruit at you and you’ve never seen one before.

Lesson twelve: When you finally escape the maze, you will find out that everything is waaaay more complicated than you thought which makes sense since you don’t remember anything except the five things you remember for no obvious reason.

Lesson thirteen: People who are dead are probably not really dead unless they are. Also wicked is or is not wicked, for sure.

Lesson fourteen: Women of a certain age should not wear sleeveless shirts. Kay thanks.

Lesson fifteen: Dytopian stories are never finished in one book / movie. Even if you don’t want to watch another one, they will leave you on a cliff hanger saying “WTF?”

So has anyone read the book? And seen the movie? How do they compare?

rantingjen

Categories
reviews

Movie Review: Bedtime Stories

I have mixed feelings about this new movie starring Adam Sandler. While Bedtime Stories is certainly a family friendly movie (rated PG) it was not exactly what I thought it would be. Yes, it’s a movie about bedtime stories coming true – but not in the fantastical sense that the previews might lead you to believe – for the most part, there seem to be perfectly rational explanations for a lot of things – nothing just pops out of thin air in a magical way – it’s more like the stories become premonitions for Sandler’s character’s real life.

Sandler plays Skeeter  Bronson, whose father built and ran into the ground the hotel he now works in – as a janitor. It had always been his father’s dream for his family to inherit the hotel, but when he proved to be a not so great business man, he ended up selling the hotel to a man who promised to give his son a job running the hotel someday. And then of course, he didn’t quite keep his promise. But with the help of Skeeter’s adorable niece and nephew, a bug eyed guinea pig, and some imaginative bedtime stories, things start to change – and in true family movie fashion, he manages to turn his life around.

I think the only thing that bothered me about this movie is that, despite being funny, Skeeter’s character isn’t terribly likable. He is pretty rude and, well, crude. Don’t worry about inappropriate material – that’s not really an issue – it was just a little disappointing this his character was never really admirable. I guess you could say he was an underdog, but I couldn’t help but feel like he often deserved his underdog status. And even by the end of the movie when he “turns his life around” and learns the lessons that make him a better person – it isn’t really as rewarding as it could have been – he just sort of pulls things together and comes out okay – he gets the girl, but you can’t help feeling sorry for her for that.

I don’t know – I think I’m being overly critical – Sandler certainly has his style of humor and he excels at it – and the movie was good – I laughed all the way through it – it was really just the mom in me who said, “But wait – ” at the end. Your kids will probably love the silly antics – and you grown ups should enjoy it, too. Netflix deems it appropriate for kids ages 7+ and I think I’d agree with that.

I give Bedtime Stories 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Categories
family fun

There Really Should Be A Separate Rating System For That

Since becoming a parent a little less than three years ago (and maybe during that pregnancy) I’ve had a problem with movies and tv shows where children or parents die. This can be a problem if you consider that on some level all people are either the child or parent of someone – but I think we can all agree that there is a certain level of obviousness that makes the difference between okay and not okay. I watch medical dramas like Grey’s Anatomy and crime dramas like Fringe and Bones so I’ve had to kind of adapt to some of the lower levels of obviousness and I’ve come a long way but sometimes it’s just not okay.

We rented In Bruges to watch tonight – it’s about some guys who are hiding out in Bruges, Belgium after committing a murder that went wrong – as if a murder could go right. My husband was really enjoying the movie so I humored him despite being a bit bored. I can deal with movies about serial killers – usually you can kind of suspend that belief that nobody actually deserves to be murdered and run with the good guy / bad guy theory. This wasn’t the problem. I was doing fine while the main character murdered a Catholic priest for unknown reasons other than the known fact that the main character is a hit man and this was a job. But then after he’s shot the priest we find out that a stray bullet also hit a small boy, school aged, but very young. In church.

I’m six months pregnant and emotional and already have a problem with aforementioned dying of parents and children so we know this is going to go poorly for me. I had to make Dan turn the movie off – even if the subject wasn’t mentioned further – and maybe especially if it wasn’t – the damage was done. I’ve seen that now. It’s tainted a part of my heart, added another irrational fear to my list of things to worry about despite my lack of ability to control such a situation. That boy did nothing wrong but was in the wrong place at the wrong time – except that wrong place was a location most people could never even dream of fearing. It’s like the worst thing to fear ever basically – because to actually let a fear like that control you would mean being unable to simply function in life.

And I know I’ll be fine – for the most part – by tomorrow the image hopefully won’t be haunting me anymore and by the time I fall asleep tonight the urge to burst into my son’s room and just hold him for dear life will have been resisted – you know that’d make for a bad night, my son hates being woken up! But it’s still there – I honestly wish I’d never ever ever seen that. I can remember a similar moment in the movie Crash, except that it didn’t really happen – and the child was okay and despite my heart stopping for a few minutes, it was okay, because those sweet, kind directors let me get off the hook – and assured me that no, that didn’t actually happen and everyone is fine. Everyone should do that – if only for my sake!

I look at how sheltered our kids are now compared to generations past, just due to the large amount of information mothers have now, how can we let our kids have the freedoms we did or our parents did? How can we let them just walk off into that dangerous world where bullets fly and hit people they weren’t intended for and mean, bad people do mean, bad things? We know they are out there and it’s our job as parents to protect them from those truths. We can’t pretend that it isn’t real and that it’s just a script that can be rewritten. And I accept the fact that bad things happen for no good reason and that I can only protect my children so far – that I cannot protect them from things over which I have no control. I can make peace with that – but when I’m watching a movie or tv show to unwind and relax and let my mind be entertained – I can only deal with so much of that. I am going to need a lot of Teen Disney-esque distractions and magazine flipping to get through those few minutes of In Bruges and be able to sleep tonight.

I know some people like these kinds of plots that make your heart maybe jump a little and have you thinking on a different level, like wow those things happen and isn’t that deep. Me? I worry about those things without the influence of tv and movies. I’ll take stereotypical teen heart throbs falling in love and singing to each other about it while fighting masked bandits who never actually hurt anyone and maybe they become a princess at the end. I’ll take a break from my brain which already fears anything and everything hurting my babies or taking me away from them. I do that on my own – I don’t need a talented, overly imaginative script to add to my list, please and thank you.

Don’t get me wrong – I like smart movies – a lot – I just prefer they avoid that whole area where my uterus starts crying for things that haven’t happened. Stimulate my brain – talk religion, politics, money – any other vice is fair game – just don’t hurt those imaginary moms and dads and kids who can only ever make me think of my own brood – leave them alive please. And their pets – let them live, too. And I know this a long shot and you movie makers not reading this have no control over it, but if my husband could get the job with Dream Company that’d be great, too. Because I just started flipping through the premiere issue of Fresh Home magazine which I’m reviewing for Momma’s Review and it’s awesome and I want a subscription but first we need a home address for it to be delivered to and a job to pay the subscription cost. Feel free to deliver that message to the appropriate gods, mkay?

What about you? Anyone else share my inability to deal with kids dying in movies and on tv? Or is there some other don’t go there topic that you avoid like the plague?

Categories
family fun

Weekend Diversions: Movie Making, Cake Wrecking & Fairy Tales

This weekend’s diversions come courtesy of Jean @ Working Momma 247, VSL: The Very Short List and my Google RSS Feed.

My good bloggy pal Jean pointed me in the direction of this fun quiz which tells you Which Cake Wreck You Are. If you haven’t been to Cake Wrecks before you’ll want to go there first and have yourself a good laugh – it’s one of my favorite blogs and always makes me smile. Here’s my result:

result image

( http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/05/cake-that-started-it-all.html )

You’re an oldie, but a goodie. You can take things a wee bit too literally, sometimes.

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Have you ever wanted to make your own movie? With the text-to-movie app at xtranormal.com you can make your own little cartoon movies in minutes. Here’s an example of the fun that can be had with this fun website:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Episode The Lay Off“, posted with vodpod

You write the script, cast the actors and add in music, expressions and more. It’s so easy and rather addicting.

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Lastly, from VSL, a version of Little Red Riding Hood you’ve probably never seen before. VSL writes:

Tomas Nilsson is a design student at Sweden’s Linköping University, and his modern take on the Little Red Riding Hood story started out as a class project. We’re giving it top marks.

Inspired by an equally brilliant video by the Norwegian duo Röyksopp, Nilsson turned the old fairy tale into a story about 21st-century information flow: He breaks the Hundred Acre Wood down by Wildlife Density (12 moose, 9 deer, 3 wolves, 25 hares). He gives Granny a nutritional-facts label (she’s high in trans fat, low in calcium). And when the hunter arrives and fires his rifle, we’re treated to a CSI-like internal view of the wolf’s brain as the bullet enters. The end.

Here’s the video:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Slagsmålsklubben – Sponsored by desti…“, posted with vodpod

If you have any tips or suggestions for a weekend diversion you can email me at mommablogsalot (at) gmail (dot) com.

Categories
family fun

Weekend Diversions: Just Dance, Free Fonts, Free Movies, "Healthy" Sodas & Springing Forward

Last week I showed you an adorable video of John Mayer and Elmo talking about nothing cute. Not long after Ange @ Red Knows How sent me a link to the following video with combines John Mayer with another one of my favorite people, Ellen Degeneres.

I’m officially a John Mayer funny video junkie so if you come across one you think I’ll like, please comment to let me know or send me an email at mommablogsalot (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Have you ever wanted to make your own font but had no idea how to go about it? Yourfonts.com is a free online font generator that lets you create your own fonts in minutes. You’ll print a sheet that you will fill in with your handwriting, then scan it in and within 15 minutes you’ll have your very own font that you can use on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. You can make as many fonts as you want!

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Speaking of free stuff, RedBox is offering a coupon code for a free movie every Wednesday in March. Just visit their blog, RedBlog on Wednesdays for the code. The blog itself is pretty cool, too, with articles about upcoming movies, DVD reviews, behind the scenes info and other  fun things for any movie fan. I added it to my RSS feed and have been having a lot of fun perusing their archives. Definitely a great read!

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Have you heard about the new Pepsi Natural (or maybe seen it in a store)? Sold in glass bottles for the slightly exorbitant price of $4.69 for a four pack of 12 oz. glass bottles, they do look very pretty and might intrigue people with the information that these versions of Pepsi contain no high fructose corn syrups and are sweetened with plain old sugar (42 grams of sugar I might add!). Still I’m not sure I’d spend that much for something that, at the end of the day, is still soda and still not great for you. How about you? Would you spend $12.50 per gallon (regular pepsi runs for $3.69 per gallon just to compare) for “natural” pepsi? For more great information about the new Pepsi Natural, check out keacher.com for a great review.

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That’s all for this weekend – don’t forget Sunday is Daylight Saving Time – time to Spring Forward! For more information on DST check out this neat article at Blissfully Domestic and also timeanddate.com for some easy information.

Categories
op ed

Weekend Diversions: Flying Cars, Werewolf Pop Stars, Photshopped Beauties & John Mayer Entertaining on TV

It’s a car it’s a plane, it’s… a Terrafugia? Apparently we are a lot closer to the world’s first flying car than I would have anticipated – just watch the video below for more information and see this bad-assed vehicle in action – it’s pretty great.

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Speaking of nothing related to flying cars, apparently Vanessa Hudgens really wants to be in the next Twilight movie, New Moon. Hudgens auditioned for the part of Leah Clearwater – can anybody see her in this role? This might be mean to say, but she seems maybe too pretty to be Leah – or maybe cute and bubbly is the right phrase? Either way, I don’t personally see it, but it would add another big name to the cast, which isn’t a terrible thing for a teen flick. I just hope people realize that New Moon is not a funny, cheesy romantic comedy at all – at least, I don’t remember it being that way, but maybe I’m wrong. ::shrugs:: Wouldn’t be the first time.

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Has anybody else seen these ads that were “adbusted” in a Subway in Berlin? I think these are pretty terrific:

Gizmodo comments:

“Messing with ads in subways is becoming an artform, but this “Photoshopping” of ads in Berlin takes things to the next level by creating a Photoshop interface with stickers. This is pitch-perfect adbusting right here.”

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Okay one last thing – some of you may have heard rumors about John Mayer getting his own tv show gig awhile back – well according to this article on People.com, it looks like the rumors are true. Johnny is going to have his own variety show on CBS with the goal to simply entertain people by using music to communicate and engage the audience. Whether the CBS project will evolve into a series or will be a one-time broadcast remains to be seen. Personally, I’ll take any opportunity to add more John Mayer to my day – I think he is truly an entertainer and that this could be awesome.

Categories
family fun

Subject Lines Are Boring

My blog is boring. I was flitting through the first page of my blog, looking back on the last handful of posts and I almost yawned from sheer boredom. Of course, I kind of want to yawn from the sheer boredom of my life. If my life today were a blog post it would read:

  • Only did 3 loads of laundry today, hurray!
  • Got those pictures printed, now to assemble frames and wrap
  • My son’s poop makes me want to vomit now that morning sickness is here in full force.
  • What good is it to take vitamins to ease morning sickness, when I puke them up?
  • Do the calories still count when I can’t seem to keep them in my body? Should I eat a second breakfast?

I know you are all totally riveted by that. The snow has stopped but now we have cold, cold, cold to make ice, ice, ice and WIND to blow everything around and F with our visibility. So I’m all worried about dh’s morning and evening commutes for the next two days until the weather warms up a bit. I need more things to worry about. Yesterday, in a fit of selfishness, I made my husband and two year old watch Gone With The Wind with me, which you know, they just loved. MM kept whining, “Can we turn it off?” “I wanna watch George,” and I was all, “Bite me – I’m watching a movie!” or something. I think dh actually started to like it, but towards the end when all Scarlett’s children and friends and family have died horrible deaths, he was like, “Why did YOU want to watch this again?” because you know how I feel about books, movies, and tv shows where a family member dies – I should be banned. I bawled like a baby and then said, “BECAUSE IT’S GOOD!!!” or something. Then we watched Extreme Home Makeover for a slightly more optimistic end to the evening. (And to be fair, I watch MM’s tv shows and movies on repeat 24/7 every day for like forever, I think I deserved 4 hours of me time).

So once again I’ve written the world’s most boring post because John Mayer isn’t being scandalous enough and all my tv shows are in reruns and although Christmas and my birthday are mere days away and we’re having friends over tonight who moved out of state and we’re super stoked to see them tonight / I’m super excited to eat pizza tonight that I don’t have to cook, today – right now, it’s just laundry and puking and gift wrapping to attend to if MM naps today. And snow. And boring. Remind me when it gets above 30 to play in the snow if it hasn’t all melted yet just to spite me.

The End.

Categories
memes & carnivals

Aloha Friday: Christmas Movies

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blogland anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

So I decided that it would be fun to rent a couple Christmas-themed movies every week and watch them on Friday nights, as a cheesy way to celebrate the season and also to expand my repertoire of Christmas movies – Each week I’m planning to rent one aimed for kids to watch with my son and another more grown up movie to watch with dh. So my question this week is:

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?