5 Fandom Friday: Things I’ve Bought But Haven’t Read/Watched

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This week’s 5 Fandom Friday was actually quite easy for me because I have a terrible habit of buying books and movies with every intention of reading/watching them, but it takes FOREVER for me to actually get around to doing it. I would go massively over the five if I listed everything I haven’t read or watched so instead it’s going to be a simple two: the books and the movies.

1.) Books

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Some of the books I’ve bought and have not read…

I love reading, always have. Heck, I used to work at the library! What I have found lately though is that TV continuously wins over my time, so the only instances when I actually have a chance to read is when I’m traveling. Still doesn’t explain how I managed to read numerous books while I was in school, but I digress. Anyways, I’ve made a commitment to myself that I will get to reading these books that I’ve bought over the years. Not to mention the number of E-books I have too.

2.) Movies

The movies I've bought but haven't watched...

The movies I’ve bought but haven’t watched…

There’s a small chain of stores around where I live called The Beat Goes On, and they buy/sell used CDs and DVDs. Needless to say, it’s kind of my heaven – it feeds my need for new music and movies, but cheaper than going to an HMV or Wal-Mart (most of the time anyways). So that being said, I often find myself going there and picking up movies I find interesting or older movies I haven’t seen, it’s cheap, and then it ends up just sitting on my shelf. When I went through my collection to see what movies I hadn’t actually seen, I actually thought it was gonna be a lot more. Now, if I were to take a picture of the movies I had seen previously (in theatres, on TV, etc) and then bought the DVD but hadn’t watched the DVD copy, it would’ve been a much bigger pile. I don’t necessarily have time to watch everything, but I like having my collection for when I suddenly feel the urge to watch something.

For comparison's sake, my DVD collection

For comparison’s sake, my DVD collection

So that’s me, big collector of things that I have not made time for. I am terrible.

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Pop Cultured Summer To-Do List 2014

With the regular TV season over, I miraculously have some free time. Not a lot, mind you, because there’s still other summer shows and movies to watch, but enough time that I can put towards doing things I’ve been meaning to do. Will I get everything watched/read/done before September rolls around? Maybe, maybe not (probably not) but I’m gonna sure as hell try.

TV

Because a TV addict like me doesn’t already watch enough TV, I still have other shows (past and present) that I need to catch up on.

  • Friday Night Lights: I’ll admit, I didn’t watch this show when it first aired because high school football? Not really my thing. But years later, having heard so much about it and becoming fans of a lot of the people who came from the show (Scott Porter, Taylor Kitsch, Connie Britton, Michael B. Jordan, Adrianne Palicki, Minka Kelly, creator/writer Jason Katims), I figured it was about time I got around to watching it. I started watching it while I was on vacation and only continued on once all my other shows had finished for the season. Now I’m done and I admit, it was a DAMN GOOD show.
  • Firefly: A nerd like me and I never watched Firefly? Shame on me. All caught up now though and I certainly see the appeal and how it cultivated such a cult following. It was a really fun show.
  • The Americans S2: Here’s my problem with shows premiering “midseason” – I’m already set in my schedule, save for a few spots, so some shows inevitably get put on the backburner. I was a fan of the first season with Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys in the lead roles of undercover KGB spies in 1980s America. I really wanted to watch the new season, but with an already packed schedule, I felt it best to save it until summer.
  • Turn: Consider this a casualty of the packed Sunday nights. The show premiered in April, and I wanted to watch this in support of Nikita creator Craig Silverstein but Sundays somehow became incredibly packed. A show about the first spy ring didn’t quite have the same pull as another new show, Salem, that got my time/attention instead.

MOVIES

My insistence on reading about movies, matched with having two older siblings who lived through the 80s, well let’s just say my knowledge of movies far surpasses the number of movies I’ve actually seen. These are on the top of my to-watch list.

  • 12 Monkeys: There’s going to be a Syfy show based on this movie and starring some of my favourite people from from some of my favourite shows – Aaron Stanford (Nikita), Noah Bean (Nikita), Amanda Schull (Suits, Center Stage), Kirk Acevedo (Fringe). I’m sure it’s not completely necessary to watch the movie, but I’m one of those people who like referencing the source material first before getting into anything.
  • Seven: I’ve heard such great things about the movie and I’ve always been a fan of psychological thrillers, so it’s kind of a no-brainer for me to watch this. Plus, it’s a David Fincher-directed film!
  • Back to the Future: Over the years I’ve seen bits and pieces of the first two films in the trilogy, mainly when it aired on TV, but never saw all of it. I’m a little bit ashamed of that but I am determined to fix that.
  • Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight: Another trilogy I am determined to finally get around to watching. Sure, Before Midnight is fairly recent, having been released last year, but it’s been almost 20 years since the first film.

BOOKS

I will always be behind on my reading. There was a time when I used to read all the time and then I got wrapped up in watching too many TV series. I really have no idea how I studied/did homework, read novels, and watched the amount of TV that I did when I was in school (let’s be real honest here, I didn’t have a life and was the very definition of nerd back then). Lately, most of my reading gets done only when I’m on vacation and it’s because I don’t have TV to watch. That being said, these are the books that I am working on reading. I’m so not going to get all these read this summer (unless I do some serious camping out/lining up at SDCC and have lots of time to waste), but I’m working on it.

  • Bossypants: I’ve been actually working on reading Tina Fey’s autobiography for some time now. But for some reason or another, I haven’t finished it.
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me: What I said about Bossypants, pretty much applies here as well. From what I’ve read so far, well I just absolutely adore Mindy Kaling.
  • Suck It Wonder Woman!: C’mon, that title alone is worth checking out. I must admit I’ve been impressed with Olivia Munn over the years with her career choices.
  • The Fault In Our Stars: So what if this is a YA novel? Clearly people are responding positively to it and made a big deal about the movie that just came out starring Shailene Woodley + Ansel Elgort. I want to know what all the hype is about!
  • The Casual Vacancy: I gobbled up all those Harry Potter books when I was younger, so it’s a little surprising I didn’t immediately go pick up J.K. Rowling’s first novel aimed at adults.
  • S: It’s what you’ve come to expect from J.J. Abrams in the form of a book! I’m so intrigued by the concept of the book, sort of a story within a story.
  • The Double: I saw a movie earlier this year called Enemy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by Denis Villeneuve, which is about a man who finds his doppelganger and becomes obsessed with him. After watching the film, I just had so many questions about the different themes, meanings, etc. that I had to get this book by Jose Saramago, which served as the basis of the film.

That would be everything that I’m trying to watch and read. I now turn things over to you: what pop culture-y things are you behind on and hope to catch up on during the summer downtime?

The Hunger Games: The World of Panem Come to Life on the Big Screen

It has been a while since I’ve actually seen a movie on opening day (it’s the huge crowds that usually deter me), but I had to make an exception and see The Hunger Games Friday night.

I was a late-comer to the series, only reading after hearing that they were making the movie for it (general pattern that happens for me, especially seeing how I don’t work at a library anymore). But it didn’t take me long to realize why the books are so popular. Besides the fact that the books are actually very well-written, Suzanne Collins fully develops her characters, especially the series’ heroine Katniss Everdeen. Not to mention it is very much a satirical look at the role of the media in today’s world.

So forward to watching the movie, I have to give a lot of credit to Gary Ross and the movie’s writers for creating such a great adaptation of the novel. By no means was it perfect, but tell me a movie adaptation that perfectly encapsulates its source material and creates an outstanding standalone movie (more on this in a different post). The movie does a very good job at establishing the groundwork for the story, swiftly going through the events leading up to the games itself. It is all done in a way that allows non-readers of the series to understand what was going on, just as any movie should do in setting up the plot.

What should be noted is that even though the film does a good job setting everything up for non-readers, the movie works a lot better for those who have read the book. The book is in the style of a first-person narrative, so we are reading the thoughts and conversations of Katniss. The reader knows the struggles that Katniss goes through when it comes to her feelings about her family, the Games, Gale, Peeta, and so on. The way it plays in the movie is a lot of long looks and glances, which all the actors as their respective characters do quite well, but you can’t fully comprehend the intention behind those looks unless you’ve read the books. Another issue with the movie is that it doesn’t flesh out the character of Rue and the relationship that develops between her and Katniss. Readers of the book know full well of the relationship and Katniss’ intention late in the movie to have a mini-funeral for Rue right in the middle of the Games. Because that relationship wasn’t established fully, non-readers might not have entirely gotten the purpose of the action, and the effect Rue had on Katniss.

Any other issues I had with the movie was really just me being nitpicky. For the fact that Katniss is from the Seam (the poorest part) of District 12, the costume department could’ve given her something a little more realistic to wear while hunting instead of a quite nice-looking leather jacket. She’s supposed to be poor, where did that leather jacket come from? In terms of the music, I appreciated the fact that despite having a soundtrack featuring many music artists, none of those songs were actually used until the credits. Using a score is much more effective in a movie like this. But one scene in particular stood out by the non-use of any music and that’s during the reaping when Prim’s name is called and Katniss instead volunteers herself as Tribute. I really would’ve thought they would use some music to play up the emotions of that scene, but they decided not to use any music which in the end felt a little odd to me. Again, I’m just being nitpicky.

Before I forget, I also must commend the casting. I think the creators did a really good job casting for the movie, no one seemed out of place and even if there were reservations at the beginning, all the actors came into their characters. Jennifer Lawrence does very well as our heroine Katniss, but I think Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz as Haymitch and Cinna, respectively, were perfect in their roles. Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley, and newcomers Alexander Ludwig, Amandla Stenberg, and Willow Shields all deserve recognition for their roles in the movie as well.

All in all, a very good effort by the cast and crew. It’s truly a movie that can be appreciated by readers and non-readers alike. Also, unlike the Twilight series, this is a series that can reach a far greater demographic. And by the look of things, a lot of people agreed. With a $155 million opening weekend (according to Sunday estimates), The Hunger Games now has the distinction of having the third best opening weekend ever, behind only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II and The Dark Knight (and yes, besting all the opening weekends of the Twilight movies). We’ll see if this number holds up through the year as other highly anticipated movies like The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit get released, but one thing is for certain The Hunger Games is here to stay.