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‘Z’ TV Series- I hate hating F. Scott Fitzgerald

13 Feb

Poster via Amazon

Poster via Amazon

Normally, the targeted ads I see online are random things I Googled once and I can ignore them. But from time to time, they’re something I’m head-over-heels excited about and this is one of those times. Amazon did a 10-episode series about Zelda Fitzgerald based on Therese Anne Fowler’s novel Z which I read last year. I was super excited and got to watching it right away.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Zelda. Wow, Christina Ricci was amazing in this series. Her accent, her dress, her reactions, it was all great. I could see Zelda in Montgomery and she was a rebel when she wanted to be and a southern lady when she wanted to be. And then in New York, she was almost the same. She was an icon when she wanted to be and a wife when she wanted to be. Her character is very adaptable but at the same time, has a strong personality and sense of who she is. I loved it.

Montgomery. I’ve considered going to Montgomery now that I’ve seen this. It could be a great winter-time vacation when I’m sick of the snow. It was beautiful and it gave off a great feeling of home that helps me understand why Zelda wants to go back.

The Flapper look. The look Zelda creates developed slowly through the show and I thought it was wonderful. She has all of her frills and lace that she loves so much but doesn’t fit in with New York women. When she tries to blend in with their clothes, she realizes it isn’t for her and the way she finds her own median is wonderful. The show does a great job of showing her settle into her own style.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Visiting Princeton. I don’t remember this from the book but I could be wrong. It gave a really good sense of Scott’s personality. He had kept from Zelda that he never finished school like he’s kept many other things from her. He made the whole thing so about himself that it ruined things for everyone else. He signed books that weren’t his and that he couldn’t pay for. He threw a fit and insulted people who supported him. He got drunk to avoid confrontation and put himself in a terrible situation. It was very telling of how their life would continue forward.

Cover Image via Goodreads

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Zelda’s birthday party. The party he puts on for her was a turning point in the book when Zelda started taking him seriously as a suitor. I think it would have played out wonderfully on-screen, but it was for some reason overlooked.

Zelda’s awareness of their financial troubles. She is more aware in the book early on of his excessive spending and reins herself back. She rejects some of his extravagant gifts (again, not in the show) and encourages him to not celebrate as much. All of this was missing.

Things That Changed Too Much

Scott. I didn’t like the Scott in the book much, but the one in the show made me angry. He was so full of himself that he was completely unlikable and I felt the actor was terrible. He never seemed serious, only joking or angry. He didn’t spoil Zelda at all and when she complained, wrote her off completely. This show has made me hate Scott so much.

I hope there will be more seasons of this show. Scottie hasn’t even been born yet and Fowler has so much more of Zelda’s story to share. The very opening implied that the show would go through the entire novel and I hope I get to see that. Reader, have you seen the TV show? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

‘Still Alice’ Movie- Even more heart wrenching than the book.

31 Oct
Movie Poster via Wikipedia

Movie Poster via Wikipedia

This wasn’t a book I was planning on reading nor a movie I was planning on watching. Yay for book clubs. The copies we got from the library were movie-covered copies so I realized immediately that there was a movie with Julieanne Moore. I’m a big fan of hers so I was excited to jump in and see the character she brought to life for an award.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

 

Alice’s change. Seeing her change, the physical aspects of it, was really jarring. It was most obvious when she watched the video she’d made before the illness got really bad. The calm collected, rational Alice on the computer was so different from the frantic, slow-speaking Alice watching the video. It really brought home for me how life-altering the disease was. The last scene particularly was heart wrenching.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

 

Alice looked completely different. Genova describes Alice as having short, black, curly hair several times and I thought this would bother me as I watched the movie but I was really OK with it.

Tom having a bigger role. After Tom tested negative, he didn’t have much of a role in the book. The focus was on Alice’s relationship with Lydia and Anna’s struggles accepting her future and raising a family. I liked that movie Tom came back for Alice’s speech as her main support system. That gave him a lot more standing.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

The support group. I thought Alice’s support group showed really well that her decline was faster than most and highlighted her change as compared to others. It was really powerful to see Alice organize a group of people who suffered from the same disease and see them all come together in such a way.

 

Things That Changed Too Much

 

Jack. In the book, he was obviously trying to cure Alzheimer’s and spent a lot of time away from Alice for research and to escape the pain it caused him to watch his wife change. He was a lot less sympathetic in the film where he seemed removed and self-centered with no major pressure to try and cure the illness stealing his wife from him.

It’s been a while since I could read and watch the same story so immediately. In both the movie and the book, this did feel like it was more about raising awareness for Alzheimer’s than it was about the story. There were a lot of elements that highlighted the disease as a whole and though there was a ton of focus on Alice, I felt the amount about Alzheimer’s treatments was a bit forced. Reader, have you see the Still Alice movie? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 2

8 Sep
Image via Atlanta Black Star

Image via Atlanta Black Star

I’m really starting to understand this obsession with Game of Thrones. My husband and I flew through season 2 and upon writing this, we’ve watched the first three episodes of season 3… in one day. We’ll probably watch one more before we go to bed tonight.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

 

The Red Lady. In the book, I loved the descriptions of Melisandre. She was cunning and beautiful and terrifying. I thought the TV show did a great job of bringing her character to life. I thought she was crazy, to be sure, but I understand why Stannis is so taken with her and her powers. Kudos.

The Tyrells. I will admit I didn’t understand the importance of the Tyrells when I read the book. I didn’t realize Margaery and Loras were siblings and I didn’t understand that Joffrey’s new wife was Renly’s old one. Seeing the actress (and I love Natalie Dormer) helped me make the connections. Also, Googling characters so I spell their names right here is ruining the series for me. I’m going to have to stop writing these.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Pushing back the Reeds. I was nervous at the end of season 2 when the Reed siblings hadn’t shown up. As I said, I’m now a little into season three and I’m relieved they showed up. I get why they were pushed back. There was a lot to convey in the last few episodes of the season and introducing more characters doesn’t make it any easier.

Robb’s wife. I’m either completely blanking or this was added to the show. I don’t remember Robb taking a wife though there might have been some kind of a flirtation? I don’t recall, really. Anyway, seeing him with a woman has helped humanize him. I think he was very much the warrior in the book and he felt kind of cold.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Sansa’s escape. In the novel, Ser Dontos was trying to help Sansa escape for the better part of the novel. Though, he didn’t seem to be making much progress or really doing anything to help. The quick remark by the hound about helping her get out was a lot less convincing than Dontos had been. I don’t get why this was taken out.

Things That Changed Too Much

The House of the Undying. I was so upset. I waited the whole season for this because it was one of my favorite parts of the book. Daenerys had to use her wits and figure out the puzzle of the house rather than escape a trap, which is how it felt to me in the book. It was such a drawn out ordeal with so many intricacies and I loved it in the book. The show made it a quick ordeal in my mind and I was really let down.

I’m beyond what I’ve read now so I won’t be posting these for other seasons. I’m looking forward to not knowing what comes next. Is there any dissenting opinion? Do you all like the TV adaptation of A Game of Thrones?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 1

25 Aug
Image via Access Hollywood

Image via Access Hollywood

So yes, I caved. I read the first two books of the ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ series but then I couldn’t do it anymore. They were too long for me and enough out of my genre that I couldn’t keep my interest held the whole time. I caved and watched Season 1. I watched the whole thing with my husband in about a week. Yes, it’s safe to say I’m impressed.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

How close this was to the books. I was really shocked that it was so similar. I kept waiting for something obvious to have changed, but there wasn’t anything. I’m glad Martin insisted on waiting until his books could be done as a TV series, they did them justice.

Dothraki language. I watched the extra features on the DVD that went deeper into this. The language creation and how the actors learned to speak it fascinates me. I was a Spanish language major in school so I find linguistics fascinating. I have so much respect for the man who put it together. Kudos.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Less focus on the maesters and septas. While some of these characters serve important roles, to be sure, I felt that there was too much detail placed on them in the books. Maybe it’s coming in future installments, but I got them all mixed up in the book and found that focusing less on them (especially those who didn’t make it, cough) was better for me.

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Tyrion in the battles. Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought Tyrion was more involved in the battles with Tywin toward the end. I wanted to see him fight on his pony but had to settle for him being knocked unconscious. I remember him being very involved in battles in the second book/season so maybe they’re running together in my mind.

 

Things That Changed Too Much

 

All the extra sex. It was a bit too much for me. It seems obvious this was to make it more ‘appealing’ on TV, but the books were risqué enough without adding more. There was too much focus on the whore houses in my opinion.

I’ve already started Season 2. I’m really enjoying this now. Is there any dissenting opinion? Do you all like the TV adaptation of A Game of Thrones?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Game of Thrones: I’m caving

19 Jul

Game_of_Thrones_2011_logoI’ve said it out loud so now there’s no going back. I’m going to soon start watching the Game of Thrones TV show. I’m usually an adamant stickler for ‘read it before you watch it,’ and I’ve tried. I read A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings and I’ve decided not to take it any further. I have a dissenting opinion on this series and I wasn’t a fan of the books.

I thought the first one was OK. It wasn’t great but it was fun, the pace moved well and I enjoyed it. I didn’t grab the second on immediately because I needed a break but I did eventually pick it up. I struggled to get through the second book. It was both length and number of characters that were my biggest issues with it.

During a five-hour car trip with my parents, this came up. My mom is a big fan of the books and show and I’d constantly told her I was set on reading the books first so admitting it to her made it official. She’s going to lend me a few of the seasons on DVD and my brother has digital copies of the ones she’s missing.

This feels slightly like giving up. Am I wrong? Have you ever watched a TV show or movie instead of reading a book? Did it feel like giving up? Leave a comment and let me know.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

‘Child 44’ Movie- Raisa is so awesome

5 May
Image via IMdB

Image via IMdB

I knew I wasn’t going to finish the audiobook for Child 44 before my book club met to talk about it so I went ahead and watched the movie. I know, I know- the bibliophile’s greatest sin. I did finish the book, however, a few days later so I can fairly draw some comparisons between the two.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Raisa. Maybe it’s because I adored Noomi Rapace in the Millenium trilogy, but I thought Raisa rocked. She was a lot stronger of a person in the movie, helping in the train fight and in the final fight (which, granted, didn’t really happen in the book).

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

No car crash and other scenes removed. As I started to notice these small scenes missing, I was at first upset, but in the end, they weren’t needed. Leo’s car crash, escaping under the train, they all built tension but that tension was already there. Taking them out of the movie didn’t detract from the plot or characters at all so I was okay with it in the end.

Child44Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Finding out about other murders. I thought that finding the bodies made Leo more invested in the mystery. Having someone tell him about them ruined that motivation so I felt it feel a bit flat.

Seeing Child 44s body. It was a huge point in the book that he hadn’t seen the boy’s body, just heard about the mutilations. I thought seeing it removed that and to me, it made no difference. It felt like the filmmakers just wanted to show a dead body to keep the ‘action adventure’ level a bit higher.

Things That Changed Too Much

Knowing he was the orphan from the beginning. This upset me before the credits were over. Finding out that Pavel and Leo were the same was a big turning point in the book, though, we don’t know about Pavel’s brother and honestly, that was taken out of the movie so why do we care that Leo’s real name is Pavel at all or that Leo is adopted? We really don’t care at all. I thought it was a dumb thing to add in unless it becomes important in the sequels.

The brothers. OH MY GOSH! How could they cut this, it was the best part of the book! Knowing that the two men are long-lost brothers is the motivation behind the murders and it ruined the movie for me. It was so twisted to hear why he murdered and having that taken out completely was stupid! Ugh, so mad about this one.

My husband says I was predisposed not to like it after I hated the book. Was it just me? Reader, what did you think of the Child 44 movie?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

‘Brooklyn’ Movie- Somewhat more of an ending.

4 Apr
Image via Coming Soon

Image via Coming Soon

I’m very fortunate that the good folks at ThinkJam Media contacted me and offered a free copy of Brooklyn on Blu-ray if I would do a review. Sorry to say this is a bit late, but I had to power through the book first! I really enjoyed the book and gave it 4 stars in my review. I watched the movie in celebration of my birthday on Thursday and was really blown away. Beware of spoilers below.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Tony. He was perfect, just how I imagined him. I had a movie crush on this Tony to be sure. He was a great mix of confident and vulnerable and exactly how I pictured him. He looked the part, too. It was great casing.

Seeing Rose react to Eilis’s letters. These almost had me in tears knowing how the book would end. Seeing Rose miss her sister so much and knowing that Rose was sick were heart wrenching. I may have teared up a few times.

Watching Eilis change. She looks so different from the beginning to the end of the film and I loved that touch. She learned to do her hair and makeup so that when she went back to Ireland, she looked so different from the other girls. It really emphasized how much Brooklyn hand changed her.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Taking the brothers out. Other than Jack, the brothers didn’t do much in the story. Jack’s main purpose was to ask Eilis to go home and I honestly thought it was a weak excuse in the book. The boys could just as easily have stayed home. (Ugh, gender roles.) It was a clean cut in my mind.

The ending. It was more of an ending, if not the one I would have written. I think screenwriter Nick Hornby knew that moviegoers would want a little more resolution than the book had. Even opening the letters from Tony was enough for me! I knew he wasn’t dead, haha. The scene with the girl traveling to Brooklyn for the first time was a great way of wrapping up and emphasizing how Eilis now belongs in America.

Book image via Goodreads.com

Book image via Goodreads.com

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

The bathing suit scene. I found this scene really disturbing because of how uncomfortable Eilis was. It was well written and I felt the discomfort Eilis experienced. I did think the scene in the book needed more follow-up to it, though, so maybe it’s better that it’s cut. It bothered me a bit that there was a bit of it remaining. I would have cut the whole thing rather than leave the trail that was in the movie.

Mrs. Kehoe and Eilis’s fight. I felt that the fight was another thing keeping Eilis in Ireland. She was unhappy with where she was living and Ireland seemed so comfortable for her. In my mind, it added to her thinking Ireland was home and not wanting to return to New York.

Things That Changed Too Much

Not kissing Jim. I hated this part of the book, but I hate it more taken out. Going back to Tony seem so obvious when she and Jim aren’t very involved with each other. It was too easy without the more blatant romantic connection.

Rose’s death. It was too much to see her on the floor. In the book, she died in bed while sleeping and Mrs. Lacey thought she overslept. The scene in the book was almost too violent for me. I didn’t like it.

Standing up to Ms. Kelly. I thought this was too much for Eilis. She was a passive character so it made no sense to see her stand up to someone like Ms. Kelly. She was too nervous to tell her mother she was married, how is she brave enough to admit it to her old boss? I liked her walking out silently instead.

I’m so glad I got a copy of this movie. It’s one I can see myself watching again. Reader, have you see the Brooklyn movie? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

‘The Scorch Trials’ Movie- Does the Title Even Make Sense?

24 Mar
Poster Image via Fox

Poster Image via Fox

This was another instance of me realizing a movie adaptation of a book was going to be released, reading the book, hating it, and delaying seeing the movie until I was bored on a Sunday night. I’m left highly disappointed on two fronts. I read James Dashner’s The Scorch Trials in the summer, around when the movie came out, and only just not snagged it from a Redbox.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Crumbling buildings. Really all of the sets in general. I thought the image of a crumbling city that was taken over by sand was really well done. Though, I’m not sure where all that sand would have come from. It did look cool, didn’t it?

The creepy drug trip. I thought that scene would be taken out because of the audience, but I’m almost glad it was left in because it shows us a lot about Thomas and the world they’ve been thrown into. It’s creepy and violent but was still good to have in there.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Jorge’s age. My husband and I had both imagined him younger, maybe his mid-20s, not the guy in his mid-40s we had in the movie. He seemed too much like a father figure in the movie instead of an ally because of the age difference.

Taking out head-eating bubbles. I hated this scene, it was stupid and I thought it had nothing to do with the trials they were really being put through. What was the point of it? I’m glad the movie makers decided to take it out. Good riddance.

Teresa was with them the entire time. It bothered me in the book how she would show up and disappear seemingly at random. I liked it better when she was traveling with the guys.

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Traveling at night. Honestly, I thought the movie characters came off as stupid for this. In the book, they realize traveling during the day in the desert makes them visible and exposes them to extreme heat. So they travel at night. In the movie, there must have been budgetary problems with filming at night because those idiots traveled across the desert in the middle of the day. Are you kidding me?!

Things That Changed Too Much

The whole thing being a test. Honestly, this bothered me the whole time. In the book, they’re given a trial (thus the name of the book) to travel a certain distance across the scorch. A scorch trial if you will. In the movie, they’re running away, have no idea where they’re going, and take off in search of a group they’re not sure exists. The title of the movie doesn’t make sense. We’re led to believe that WICKED is bad again instead of trying to help them. It’s so different from the book that I couldn’t pretend to enjoy it.

Teresa’s betrayal. Yeah, this was just the whipped cream on the top of my dislike sundae. Teresa does betray Thomas in the book, kind of. But she wouldn’t betray all of her friends for WICKED. They changed Teresa’s character too much and made her really unlikable and a terrible love interest for Thomas.  Boooo.

I doubt I’ll see the final movie or read the book. Reader, have you see the Scorch Trials movie? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

Books and Movies: Can you enjoy both?

15 Mar

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went on a binge and watched all three of the Millenium films in Sweedish. I haven’t read the books in 3-4 years but Lizbeth Salander and Mikel Bloomkvist are memorable and I found myself remembering some things that were going to happen before they showed up on screen. It got me thinking, would I have enjoyed these if I’d watched them right after reading the books? Did the time help me enjoy them more?

There are certain books I’ve read and know there are movie adaptations I haven’t seen for one reason or another. It’s a film that’s hard to find, I don’t like the casting, it got bad reviews, etc. However, given a dull night in winter or a raining afternoon, I’m inclined to watch anything. Sometimes I’m happily surprised, as was the case with the Millemium films. (About 20% of the amusement was listening for English cognates, though.) Other times, it’s a bad movie and I should have listened the first time around. I find with time between the book and movie, I’m not as apt to compare the two. I can enjoy the movie the same way I’d enjoy one not based on a book.

I have a promise to myself that I won’t see a book-turned-film until I read the book first. This results in a lot of same-day or same-week finish/viewings. Silver Linings Playbook is the most memorable of these for me because I couldn’t even pretend to enjoy the film because it was so different. At times, I still enjoy the movie but it’s usually a book I felt strongly about and I know no one can touch the book I fell in love with. But how do you deny that pull to see what you just imagined unfold on screen? I don’t feel like it’s possible.

How do you feel, Readers? Do you see movie adaptations right away? Do you enjoy ones where you get some space? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

‘Cloud Atlas’ Movie- Possibly as trippy as the book

12 Jan
Poster image via starpulse.com

Poster image via starpulse.com

To be perfectly honest, I never wanted to read this book, I just wanted to see the movie. But, being me, I pushed myself through the book and seven months later, rewarded myself with the movie. It’s been a long time since I watched a movie adaptation so soon after finishing a book, but I needed the gratification after plowing through because I’d forgotten so much of the book. The movie helped bring it back to life and I think it was (at least for me) an improvement because of the format the filmmakers chose.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Costumes and makeup. I was only slightly aware of the makeup mastery in this movie before I watched it. But seeing Hugo Weaving as Nurse Noakes and Doona Bae as Tilda were amazing. It would take me a while to recognize some of the actors, particularly Jim Broadbent as Captain Molyneaux and Hugh Grant as the Kona chief. It was awesome watching them play different roles.

Hearing the Cloud Atlas Sextet. Hearing the music Vyvyan and Robert were working on was so much better than hearing them talk about it. You can’t convey music in the same way in writing as you can on-screen.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Skipping around between stories. I found this a lot easier to follow than the book’s format where I would forget what was happening by the time I got back around to the stories. By skipping from one to another, I saw all the connections between the characters and their stories unfolded together.

Sonmi’s time at the university. This was a huge chunk of the story I struggled over for a few days because I was so uninterested in it. I’m glad it didn’t find its way to film.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Eva. She was such a large part of Frobisher’s end and not seeing her did help focus his story on the music and less on his romantic conquests. Frobisher’s emotional romantic entanglements were part of what made him interesting and I’m sad Eva didn’t make an appearance.

The language in Sonmi’s Korea. With how much I struggled to understand Zachry’s pidgin English, why couldn’t we add some of the awesome changes from Sonmi’s English? I wanted to hear about nikes and fordparks more than I wanted to know what was ‘for true-true.’ (I can’t think of a place to put this, but the English in Zachry’s story was so bad we had to put English subtitles on to understand it.) I thought it was one of Mitchell’s best changes to Sonmi’s time and I missed it.

Things That Changed Too Much

Having Ewing tell his father-in-law he’s going to become an abolitionist. Where did this come from? It was a much more positive ending to Ewing’s story and it made me like him after hating him so much through what I thought was the most boring story. Ugh.

Zachry ending up on another planet. Did I miss this, too? Honestly, I remember he was going with Meronym but nothing about moon grandchildren or whatever. Was that supposed to be the ultimate path for the soul to take? Leaving Earth? I’m struggling here.

Now that I’ve finally seen it I’m so relieved. Reader, have you see the Cloud Atlas movie? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.