Tag Archives: Movie Review

Movie Review: Slash

27 Mar

I know, another movie review! Yes, I’m sorry to have to resort to this. I think my reading slump is at an end, but I’m still not having much luck of finishing off books. I hope to not do this again for a while. When I was writing the review for ChickLit, I saw related movies and this one caught my eye. It had a lot of awards on it and after watching the preview, I realized it had Michael Ian Black (loved his memoir) so I decided I had to watch it. Plus, it talked about fanfic writing, which is how I got into writing in the first place.

Image via Imp Awards

Slash

Summary from IMDb

Freshman Neil’s Vanguard stories are all he cares about…until he meets the older Julia, who pushes him to put his own fan fic online. When the website’s moderator takes a special interest in Neil’s work, it opens up a whole new universe.

I found this movie highly relatable. Not so much the slash fanfiction (gay pornographic writing about a pop culture reference), but the nerd culture and growing up a fangirl (fanboy for Neil). Julia was easy to relate to because of her nerd obsession. I was a huge Lord of the Rings fan in middle school and many of you now know I’m a hardcore Harry Potter fan now. Honestly, I had a discussion about going to a con with my husband after we watched this movie. Nerd culture doesn’t get a lot of coverage in movies and I guess it takes a small movie like this one to flesh it out well. I thought it was really well done.

I loved Neil and thought he was spot on for someone going through the self-discovery he was. Julia was a little harder to believe. At sixteen, I found it hard to believe she had the sexual history with a guy out of high school that she had. With how much she wrote, she obviously cared some about her education and that’s demonstrated with her narrative writing class. Yet she’s skipping almost constantly and her friends have jobs during school hours (did this not make come up as an issue any other time?). She seemed 17 or 18, but sixteen seemed a stretch.

Neil was my favorite character. He was so shy but also very curious. He didn’t know what to think about himself or those around him and I felt he reacted in a very realistic way. I hope a bunch of nerdy fanboys saw this movie and thought, “Wow, it’s OK to feel the way I do about my interests and there are others who like the things I do!” Yes, there are. They might write weird slash fic about it, but they like it, too. Now, there are more productive things Neil could have done with his fandom, but at least he could find people to bond with.

I would say my fic writing was about on par with Julia’s. I wrote a lot in middle school and early high school, experimenting with plotting without having to develop characters. Like her, I could take elements of the plot I thought were underutilized or skipped and go into detail, making up some elements as I went and genuinely having fun. I found her desire for acceptance in writing relatable and her desire to be read. How do y’all think I got here today? 🙂

The relationship between Neil and Julia was wonderfully built. We see them find a camaraderie and become friends, see them build a tension, and see how that unfolds (I don’t want to give too much away!). The end of the movie leaves you feeling hopeful for them despite the conflict they go through because we see them go through conflict before. For such a movie, I thought the relationship had a lot of depth.

I didn’t like how Neil’s age became such a point of contention in the movie. It made him feel very limited. Yes, he’s 15 which means he’s a minor. If he was 17, would anything have been different? Making him 15 only served to have a girl older than him still be underage. The number of characters who mention his age is a bit astounding.

Everyone can find someone who’s just as obsessed with something as they are. That’s a wonderful thing about the internet. It brings together people who would never connect otherwise. Sometimes, like Dennis, they say things they would never voice without anonymity, which can be positive and negative. But being able to find these fellow fans can be a huge bonding activity for people. Look at the explosion of cons and cosplay in the past few years. The internet is wholly responsible.

Writer’s Takeaway: No one should put a limit on what you write. For Neil, it was slash fanfiction. For E.L. James, it’s erotica. For me, it’s 1920s YA fiction. When we try to label something as ‘wrong’ or ‘countercultural,’ that’s not going to stop it from existing. Just because I don’t read something doesn’t mean no one else can or will. We need to embrace that almost anything we can think of has been written and someone either enjoyed writing it or enjoyed reading it. I have to remember this about Jane Austen sometimes.

I really enjoyed this movie and any other nerd who thinks it sounds fun should watch it. Adult content is talked about, but the movie is not graphic in nature. Five out of Five stars.

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!

Movie Review: ChickLit

20 Mar

In my desperate struggle to find content for this blog while going through a reading slump, I turned to movies. Yes, I know, I’ve done this before. But I want to go a different way with it this time. I remember recently reading an article about writers’ block and how it’s become such a well-known phenomenon that it’s part of several movies (The Shining, Secret Window, Stranger than Fiction). So I got thinking about other books involving writing and I started perusing Hoopla and found this title, ChickLit. It was flagged as a comedy which on a Saturday night when you’ve been reading your purchasing textbook all day sounds wonderful. It was the perfect little movie that I needed.

Movie Poster via CineMaterial

ChickLit

Summary from IMDb

ChickLit is a comedy drama about four guys trying to save their local pub from closing down. They group write a chick lit, or more specifically a ‘mummy porn’ novel in the style of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and it gets snapped up. The only snag is that the publisher insists that the young woman ‘author’ does press and publicity. The guys have to keep their involvement a secret and so engage an out of work actress to ‘role play’ the part of the author. This leads to her becoming the star in the film of the book, the tables are turned on the guys and she is in control – leaving them with the awful prospect of having to secretly churn out sex novels for the foreseeable future.

This movie did make me laugh, which I really enjoyed. Some of the acting was less than superb but the story was fun and I enjoyed that. It started with classic good intentions that were quickly blown out of proportions. I think this movie was probably a bit more relevant three years before it came out, but it still had relatable themes. There’s always a fad, even in literature, and if you can capitalize on it, you can make a fortune. It might not last, so you have to take advantage of it when you can. I think it could easily have been paranormal romance, but the erotica bubble was equally popular.

The four writers were a good mix to me. They seemed to be a close group of friends and their desire to save the bar was believable. I thought it was a bit of a stretch that they were able to write such a good novel, but I guess that’s also a comment on the quality of writing in erotic novels. I thought Zoe went along with the scheme really easily. Even if she is an out-of-work actress, she had to understand that the plan would tie her personally to the project, something that would stick with her long after the bit was over.

Chris was my favorite character. I often find myself the youngest in a group with a shared interest. That happens when your interests are book clubs, knitting, or (apparently) dominos. He seemed like a really nice guy and I wanted him and Zoe to wind up together. That seems like the subject of a sequel. His motivation was the strongest, I felt, because of his tie to the bar. He was also the most realistic character among the four men, except for maybe Marcus. Justin and David were a bit over the top.

I could relate to the four men. There are some things I’ve written that I’m not totally proud of and that I would prefer not have my name tied to. One of my published stories is from the point of view of a man and I think having a feminine name to it would be odd, though not as weird as the situation in this story. I understand wanting to use a pen name and having to go on a press tour can make something like gender a bit obvious!

I appreciated that though the subject of the book was very risque, the movie was rather clean. There were references to some more taboo subjects, but the visual content of the book was nothing out of the ordinary. I can’t find a rating for it, but I assume it’s no more than PG-13 (or whatever international equivalent that may be).

I thought Zoe coming into a position of power in the book was a bit of a stretch. She never seems to act much like someone who’s manipulating the four men. She seems calm and detached through the process. A lot of what she demands of the guys and ends up deciding to act on comes via David and Jen which makes it even less believable. I would have liked to see her be malicious or for her not to push the guys to write more.

 

There’s a price to fame and the guys were afraid to pay it. It’s opening up about yourself and letting your life be on show. Zoe had to pay that because the guys didn’t want to and she was able to use that to her advantage. There was still a price to her for what she did, I think. She’s going to have the stigma of being an erotic writer attached to her acting career for a long time. I seriously felt she would have considered this more!

Writer’s Takeaway: There’s always a bubble you can chase and try to get famous off of. It’s a matter of writing something you believe in, something you won’t be ashamed to have yourself tied to. If David and used the time and effort to write the novel he believed in, he might be a well-respected writer instead of the rep of his sister-in-law who didn’t write a word. I like to think he’ll finally write his book at some point.

Fun story and premise for a writer. Three out of Five Stars.

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!

Movie Review: Authors Anonymous

3 Mar
Image via FIlmAffinity

Image via FIlmAffinity

I can’t remember who it was, but someone told me that as a writer and a member of a book club, I had to watch ‘Authors Anonymous.’ I was told it perfectly summed up every person you meet at a writers group. And it DOES! It was the perfect movie for anyone who writes or lives with a writer or talks to a writer. Let’s look at the characters.

Colette– She’s the one you hope you’re not. It’s obvious early on that her book is just not good. Female characters with terrible internal dialogue are screaming Fifty Shades of Grey before she can do it herself. She’s selfish and thinks money can buy her talent. She’s the one character I hope no one in my group sees me as. Have I seen these people? Yes, of course. What do I do? Suggest a lot of changes and make a lot of notes! The other writers in the group didn’t give her any constructive feedback and I think that’s the biggest insult they could give her.

Alan- The guy who always has a new idea but can’t seem to get anything down on paper. Yep, I’ve met these before, too. They never have anything to share but always want to talk through a different idea. I find prompt writing works well to get out of this kind of phase but it’s up to this writer to keep the prompt going.

John K. Butzin- By far my favorite character! He’s a very modern writer who’s convinced he can find overnight success through the self-published market. In fact, as he finds, profits from self-published work are very slim and success is rarely close at hand. He’s so cocky he refers to himself by his full name. He’s looking at the printed book before he edits the summary. There are so many writers like this that it’s frustrating. You can be a writer and even a published writer and not be successful. I loved him for the comedy, but I wanted to slap this guy.

William- I hated him the second he said “Bukowski”. I’ve only read one Bukowski novel and hated it. He’s a writer who doesn’t write (yes, I’m guilty of this) but wants to be seen as an artist. He hangs out in cafe’s all day so people will ask him about his writing because he likes the attention. Personally, I like writing at home or at libraries. I know some people work well in a coffee shop or whatever and that’s fine. But I’ve met the people who ‘write’ one short story or poem and milk it for all the attention it’s worth for a long time. That’s William and I wanted to punch him. (Side note: I figured out why the actor looked so familiar. He plays Aaron Samuels in Mean Girls.)

Hannah- Little miss lucky! There will always be someone like this in a writers group. Someone who writes well, not great, but well, and has a lucky break to get an opportunity to be published. Few instances involve the success Hannah found with her debut novel. She was, however, very humble about it and I appreciated that about her. Of course, everyone was jealous of her and, of course, they wanted to get to her agent but I thought she handled it well. Honestly, until the end when she started to seem like fame had gotten to her head, I adored her. She’s the person you like having in your writing group but you wish she had the educational background to give you real advice like…

Henry- The guy you’re rooting for the whole time! The guy who’s devoted his life to being a writer, to finding a way of getting his name and story into the hearts and minds of millions not because he wants to be famous but because he has something to say. He was supportive of everyone (even Colette!) and could give good advice about characters and themes. If I could get into a writers group filled with Henrys, I’d be in heaven.

The movie was really cute and if you’re a writer or have ever encountered a writers group, I’d be sure to check it out.

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!