50/50 Catch-Up: Books

Book #2 – The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory

Book #3 – This Time Together by Carol Burnett

Book #4 – Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

Book #5 – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Book #6 – Cleaving by Julie Powell

Book #7 – The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Loved The Hunger Games and Everything is Illuminated. Didn’t enjoy The Red Queen as much as The Constant Princess. Cleaving confirmed what Julie and Julia lead me to believe – Julie Powell is the world’s most self-consumed human. And she’s boring.  This Time Together was delightful – I always enjoy reading Carol Burnett – she has a delightful style and a love and respect for her chosen profession.

Whew! This was a good idea to catch up this way. I was starting to think I would never be able to get this all down. Next week I’ll do the movies.



50/50 Movie #4: The Runaways

Biopic of Joan Jett and Cherie Currie and their start as one of the few female bands of the punk rock era. Mostly the film is a bunch of disconnected fragments of Cherie Currie’s dysfunctional home life and snippets of their life on the road. The other players in the band, Lita Ford, Jackie West and Sandy Fox, are barely in the film for any reason than colorful scenery.

Fanning and Stewart are okay. I expect the major flaws reside with the script. All in all, it was a huge letdown. Even the music seemed too produced to do justice to the story. Catch it on the free movie channel like I did, and all you’ve wasted is time.

50/50 Book #1: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

I’m hooked. Donald Miller has an easy writing style that I adore, one that is often so hard to come by. Simplistic, but honest and sometimes painful. I was only halfway through his bestseller, Blue Like Jazz, when I was ordering three more of his titles.

The book talks about Miller’s friends and life experiences, mostly in the Oregon area, with candor and wit and each chapter reveals a new layer of his personal journey. I loved the quirkiness of his friends and the portrait he paints of Portland. So much so, that I decided to add it to my stops on my planned road trip to the Pacific Northwest later this year.  (That, and those gorgeous exterior shots on Grimm plus a years long desire to visit Powell’s Books).

Anyhoo… Back to Blue. The book explores a Jesus based spirituality that focuses on love and acceptance, rather than the more publicized judgement and condemnation which, quite frankly, never sat well with me. There are so many similarities between the author and myself, I often thought someone had plagiarized my journals. Is there such a thing as a life-doppelganger?

The book is a quick read, perfect for a flight or a weekend.  It’s deep subject matter, but it doesn’t bog you down so that you wallow in your own self-doubts and shortcomings like so much Christian non-fiction these days.

I would recommend this to anyone, regardless of their religious affiliation. Plus it is going to be a movie soon, so maybe I can hit this for a 50/50 movie entry as well!


50/50 Movie #3: The Muppets

If you were a fan of The Muppets growing up then you totally need to see this movie. If you weren’t a fan, please go elsewhere. I have no use for you.

Seriously, I was a HUGE Muppets fan. The humor was quick but layered – kids would laugh, adults would laugh, it was great programming.  The whole gang is back with Jason Segel and Amy Adams and a whole cool slew of guest stars. Gonzo and his chickens are back. Dr Teeth and the Electric Mayhem are back. Scooter and Beaker are back. And everyone is funny.

I loved it. Even though I was sitting next to a girl who said, “what the?” EVERY time a new character came on screen.  Even though I ran out of snacks before the end of the trailers. Even though they didn’t do Pigs in Space. Go see it!

Here’s the Muppet version of Bohemian Rhapsody to tide you over until you get to the theater.

50/50 Movie #2: Her Minor Thing

Sometimes I think I have some sort of mini-stroke when it comes to selecting movies for my Netflix instant queue.  There are always a number of movies I don’t remember ever selecting, or even ones I’ve seen before and have no desire to ever see again. Her Minor Thing was one such movie.  It seemed lighthearted enough to watch on a Saturday afternoon.

It stars a bunch of people I’ve never heard of (except for Victoria Jackson from SNL fame who is now a raving loony of a birther) in roles too flat to drum up any kind of interest. It appears to have been written in the early 90s with the reference to “dial-up modem” yet, the characters have cell phones of modern size.  Wholly annoying, that.

The premise of the film is the lead character – I’ve forgotten her name and it’s not worth looking up, so I’ll just refer to her as “Sally”, is outed by her newscaster boyfriend of dubious charm, as a virgin. The rest of the movie is all about how everyone, even strangers on the street, reacts.

It’s boring, silly and not worth the 1.5 hours air time.

50/50 Movie #1: Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity

Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity

My first movie of the year is an independent film starring Sandra Oh from…uh…Gray’s Anatomy. Is that show still on?

Sandra is a single parent to a 11 or 12 year old girl. The girl, desperate for a change of luck and circumstances for both she and her mother, performs some Chinese magic. Unfortunately, her magic benefits others.

Certain parts of the story were charming and interesting. Others were desperately lacking in subtitles. I have no idea what happened in two of the story lines because all dialogue was in Chinese.  Still, there were clearly tender moments that were beautifully communicated by the actors. One day I’ll look up the translation or find a version with subtitles so I can know the full story.

Fifty/Fifty – Movie – #1

IMDb says about Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity