I grew up in the Silicon Valley. I often take the area for granted. It’s not hard when we’re only a hop, skip and a jump away from San Francisco. Sometimes, however, I tend to take a step back and realize that, despite all of the hate that people of the Bay Area pour down on the South Bay, it can be a lot of fun.A couple of weeks ago, I went to a festival in Downtown San Jose. The SubZero Festival, which was in its 5th year, took place on June 1. It’s a celebration of subculture. Part of the event was part of what’s apparently a monthly art walk. There was also live music, beer tasting, and a lot of food trucks.
Two movies in two months. I think it’s a record. Granted, I’ve been looking forward to the release of this movie ever since I read the books in December and January. It’s been a matter of painstakingly counting down the days and watching every trailer despite having seen them each about a thousand times. But now it’s come and gone, so now it’s time to make sense of what I just saw.
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It was a lot of fun to watch and, for the most part at least, the movie stayed pretty true to the book. The movie was fast-paced. The book isn’t that long, but a LOT happened that they couldn’t quite squish into a two and a half hour movie. The acting was great. Jennifer Lawrence sold all of Katniss’s awesomeness. Woody Harrelson was great as Haymitch. Surprisingly, only because I’ve never seen him act, but I loved Lenny Kravitz’s Cinna. I wanted to see more of him. We did spring for IMAX tickets and while it was fun to watch on the bigger screen, I don’t know if this movie really merits the IMAX upgrade.
Also, really, people reviewing this movie need to lay off what should be a non-issue about Jennifer Lawrence’s weight. They are supposed to be starving, fine. I get that. But she did a great job with the character of Katniss. She’s not a big actress by any normal standards and her build reflects someone who would spend her time hunting or spends the majority of the movie training for and running around some large jungle. I would have honestly had a harder time believing some stick thin twig of a girl could do that. Now, what they could have been focusing instead was the cleanliness of her appearance on the outset. Katniss does not care about her looks by most standards. She doesn’t have time to clean her nails and is proud of the hair on the legs, much to the chagrin of her makeover crew in the Capitol. In the movie, there’s really not much of a leap between how she looks in District 12 and how she looks in the Capitol. Oh no, they have to pluck three extra eyebrows. Even a Princess Diaries-style makeover could have been enough. But, no, let’s focus on the weight.
And now I put the spoiler-ish discussion behind a cut…
After reading Fight Club for a class in college, I went through a serious Chuck Palahniuk phase. I read all of his books and read all of his books obsessively. I would count down the days until his next book and always thought I was learning so many interesting facts about the weird and the absurd. Then things started tapering off for me. Haunted was too over the top for me. Rant was amazing until the last 80 pages or so. The ending was horrible. I would say 80 pages is a drop in the hat compared to some of the recent books I’ve been reading (George R. R. Martin, I’m looking at you), but for books that generally are 300 pages max, not enjoying 80 pages is pretty significant. Hating the ending of Rant meant that I went back and rethought some of the other books and realized some of them, most notably Diary, also fell flat at the end. Then, I read Snuff and I really didn’t like the book. It was so formulaic that it was just like a cartoon parody of itself. The weird was no longer weird. It was just tiring. After that, I went on hiatus and moved on to other books that I enjoyed more. More accurately, however, I guess I buried myself in a lot of law books.
Anyway, I recently decided to read Pygmy. Honestly, I didn’t enjoy the book. The writing was gimicky.The whole book is supposed to be written in pseudo Engrish as the terrorist narrator is reporting back to his country’s government. Of course, this in itself doesn’t make sense. Why wouldn’t that person write in their native language, in which case it would have been translated properly? Once I got through the poor English, there still really was not much to the book. It was supposed to be a parody of surburban lifestyles and Middle America, but it was a pretty predictable and generally weak parody. The ending, however, was pretty decent, so at least it had that going for it.
Because I’ve got some weird obsessive tendencies, I wanted to give the books one more shot before totally calling off Chuck Palahniuk. I got Tell All and, honestly, expected to hate it. I didn’t. It had a fun yet creepy old Hollywood feeling to it, similar to the likes of Sunset Boulevard. It wasn’t formulaic and the twist, although predictable, played out well. I actually enjoyed it.
So now, I’m torn. Honestly, his books are pretty quick reads and some of them like Tell All or my personal favorite Survivor are also very fun reads. And every author (except for my guy Neil Gaiman) has their off book. So while I may not have liked Snuff or Pygmy, I think you win Mr. Palahniuk. You win.
I guess it’s been almost a week since I’ve posted. Because I don’t want a rant about Gossip Girl as my last post for too long, I figured I’d post something new, albeit almost as “incriminating.”
Ever since the summer I’ve been really into this series, American Vampire. It’s a comic by Scott Snyder, who is an absolutely amazing writer also doing Batman, Swamp Thing, and Severed. I’ve recently jumped onto the fangirl bandwagon, to be honest, and am debating whether he’s worth taking a trip down to Anaheim in March to go to Wondercon. In any case, I jumped on the American Vampire bandwagon sixteen issues into the series. I was able to fill in a lot at the store I go to, but I was still missing a ton of issues. Before I ask my local comic shop if they can order it, I want to try to find as many issues as I can. This means that I’ve been Quantum Leap style jumping from shop to shop looking for issues. It’s kind of been a casual thing, but recently I’ve been obsessed with the quest.
Yesterday’s adventure brought me to a pretty cool shop in Hayes Valley. It was out of my way, though, and because my feet were not made for the dress shoes I was running around the city in, my feet are all blistered. Some may wonder if this series is worth the blisters and limping, especially for a series on the much over-saturated topic of vampires. It really is. Twilight it is definitely not. I’ve got seven issues left to fill in. Sometimes I wonder if it’s easier/more sane to just order it.
I disappeared for a while, but the last week or so has been busy or something. I don’t know. Trips to SoCal do that to you.
In any case, I just wanted to write a short thing about how Chris and I were on a podcast last night. We’ve become fans of two locally recorded podcasts in the last year. Both are recorded in an awesome comic shop in Sunnyvale (Comics Conspiracy). One, The Comic Conspiracy, discusses comics and the other, The Geekbox, is a more general geek and gaming podcast. Both are pretty awesome and actually got us to start shopping at Comics Conspiracy. Both shows were great fuel during all of that silly studying for the bar madness. Chris has been wanting to be on The Geekbox for a while and we finally were on yesterday. Chris was a mic hog, so he talked a lot more than I did, but it was a lot of fun. Got a behind the scenes look at the show.
Listen to the episode. I didn’t actually realize how much of a Star Wars geek my boyfriend of almost eight years was until yesterday.