Thoughts of Brianna

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sequels and Remakes

A pincorrect:

via Pinterest

Not Shakespeare! Henry Van Dyke, 19th c. American poet.

So, some of you might have heard that they're attempting to make a sequel to one of the greatest movies ever made, It's a Wonderful Life.

"I wish I lived in a world where they didn't make stupid sequels."
 We know that Hollywood does everything they do to make money, but isn't this a new low? Some of  you might say, "Well, at least they're not doing a remake."

That's true, it would be pretty awful to see someone else do Jimmy Stewart's job. Who would they get, Ryan Gosling?

Hey girl, you want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.

But there is no way It's a Wonderful Life 2 is going to warm anyone's heart. No one who loves the original will want to see it, and those who don't like the original won't care. Where is the market?

I don't have a definitive formula for a good sequel/remake. Sometimes they follow the exact formula of the original, but they just up it a notch. Think Home Alone 2. This seems to be a tricky method; I hear The Hangover Part II was pretty lame.

Sometimes it's a new adventure where you get to know more about the characters and meet some new friends. For example, Toy Story 2 was just as good as, if not better than, the first movie.

The qualities of remakes often depend on the viewer's taste, or the quality of the new actor portraying a beloved character. Plus, remakes can either be really similar, or really different, from the prior movie.

As an avid Mel Brooks fan, I loved the original of The Producers. Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder are hilarious in their roles, and really can't be replaced. The remake is different though -- it's a musical, so many of the scenes have a very different feel.

I'm very skeptical about some current remakes, especially The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. This was a family favorite, and I'd recommend you see it before you see the new one. It's a weird movie about a spineless guy whose only escape from the nagging of his boss, his mother, and his fiancee is his daydreams. Very vivid daydreams in which he is an expert surgeon, a cowboy, a Southern gentleman about to head off to the War, a WWII fighter pilot, a ship name it! Then he meets a girl and starts to have some real life adventures.

This all sounds a little existential, but understand that the man playing Walter Mitty is Danny Kaye.

You might have seen him in White Christmas, The Inspector General, Hans Christian Andersen, etc. Basically, he's very funny, and he's an amazing singer.

Do you know who they've cast as Walter Mitty in the new one? Ben Stiller. Look, Ben Stiller is funny and all, but only when he's a) being a male model, and b) being the straight man while other people are being crazy.

Bibliophiles often whine about adaptations of books. "It's not as good as the movie" is always the refrain, but sometimes they manage to make some decent ones. All the Harry Potters were alright. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) was good, but the sequels were bad. As I've already lamented, The Book Thief looks like they completely re-wrote the characters.

I'm also concerned about the recent news that they're going to make a movie of Artemis Fowl. If you haven't read the book or its sequels, they're really excellent. It's by Irish writer Eoin (pronounced like Owen) Colfer. Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old evil genius and heir to the Fowl fortune. He's a he, despite the name. As one of his foul schemes, he plots to obtain a fairy book (containing their moral and legal codes) and extort the fairies of their gold. His plan succeeds and he kidnaps Captain Holly Short, a police officer in one of the fairy cities. Basically, it's part fantasy, part police/detective show, and tons of fun. Artemis has an awesome moral progression throughout the series. Butler, Artemis' bodyguard, tries to set his young charge on the right path.

Anyway, this all sounds like it would make an exciting movie, I'm sure. After all, the author describes it as "Die Hard with fairies." But think about the logistics of fairies in a movie. They're supposed to be like three feet tall. Do you do CGI? Do you try and do actors and camera tricks? Will the whole thing be a cartoon? How do you get at 12-year-old actor to be as cold and calculating as Artemis is? Once Upon a Time is attempting that right now, and they're clearly using an 18-year-old actor.

I'm moping, I know, but others are upset too! Simcha Fisher has a rant about other sequels we're sure to see soon. It's pretty funny.

I don't know if this is a good idea to reveal to the world since Hollywood hasn't shown many boundaries yet, but I'd say there are a few movies I could not bear to see remade.

Among them, The Princess Bride. That would be cruel. Tommy Boy. I can't see the future, but how could there be another comedian like Chris Farley?

What's on your list of Do Not Remakes?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wandering or Homecoming. Or, Luke Skywalker vs Odysseus

Like lots of Internet conversations nowadays, it all started with something Pope Francis said. If you use a Magnificat, you might have read it in the "Day by Day" for October 13.

"There is a phenomenology of nostalgia, nóstos algos, feeling called home, the experience of feeling attracted to what is most proper for us, most consonant with our being...." - Jorge Bergoglio

Friday, September 27, 2013

Book covers

Hm, yesterday's #bookphotoaday was actually kind of hard. Although I have tons of books, most of them are from used book stores, which means the covers are brown or green leather. Here's a few I like:

via Barnes and Noble
I assume this is an accurate portrayal of abbeys. It looks like Downton Abbey.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Burning

Today's photo is "favorite quote from a book." How can I choose just one? In the meantime, check out my review of The Book Thief, a wonderful novel about Death, some book-burners called Nazis, and a little girl named Liesel.

Here's a quotation that goes well with The Book Thief:


Now get out there and read today!

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's Banned Book Week!

I look forward to this week every year as a time to celebrate reading in general. It's lots of fun to look at the lists of banned books and see which ones you've read. Everything from Captain Underpants to Fifty Shades of Grey has been "banned." Check it out!

Also, found this on Pinterest:

Join me; it should be fun!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Morning routine. Or, I just read Anna Karenina

What do you think of the new blog design? Let me know!

After nearly a year away, I'm so happy to be blogging again! At first wedding planning was taking up all my time, and then it was struggling to budget my time between cooking, reading, cleaning, exercising, Netflix, and quality time with my husband.

I desperately need a schedule to stick to, but I'm sad to say I've chosen sleeping over doing anything productive in the morning--things I'd love to do, like writing or just having a little quiet time before work. I should be shamed into writing up that schedule, because I've married a man who is an expert at budgeting his time.

Colin gets up at 5:00 a.m. and is able to read, write, check the weather, leisurely drink his coffee, eat breakfast, skim the news, check his email, catch up on blogs, clean the office, make a lunch for the day, and talk to me cheerily for half an hour before he leaves for work.

My morning "routine" consists of me zombie-shuffling into the den and making some acknowledging noise when Colin says good morning.  I take a shower and get dressed and ready for work, but rarely do I have enough time left to both have breakfast and make a lunch, or write, or read my Magnificat.

Before you ask, I'm not a coffee drinker. Never have been. However, if tea will help, I might just start.

Anyway, I started thinking about all of this seriously when I finished Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

This is my copy. Isn't it pretty?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekend Thoughts: Odyssey in Greece

It is truly a tragedy that Greece has been in such bad shape for the last four years. The country still has so much to give in natural beauty, the study of our mother civilization, and (of course) food! Hopefully they'll soon realize that with tourism as their number one industry, rioting will not solve their economic problems. Here is my tribute to that wonderful country, which I hope will find peace again so that you can all make your own Odyssey!

October 2

The school kicked off our class trip to Greece with our very own Olympics. Dressed as gods with wreaths on their heads, the professors looked down as we ran in races, came up with group chants and songs, and made human sculptures with shaving cream. Apparently 2008 is "too soon" to make jokes about the Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD.

October 3

By late afternoon, buses had brought us to Bari, on the eastern coast of Italy. St. Nicholas is buried there in a grand basilica. At twilight we headed onto the ferry Piraeus that would take us to Greece. My friends and I had a blast wandering the corridors, getting lost, and sitting in the darkness of the stern deck, watching the waves churning and leaping in our wake. We danced late into the night at the ship's disco, ordering kamikazes and arguing about who came from the best state. Plenty of smokers lounged in the bar, which probably contributed to me having a bad cold for the rest of the trip (As I said when I started this half a year, sickness is definitely a theme of my Rome Semester).