Category Archives: Book to film

Hometown Legend, by Jerry B. Jenkins

Hometown Legend

Hometown Legend

This novel by the New York Times bestselling co-author of the “Left Behind” series is an interesting read.  I picked it up at a donated book sale at the public library about a year ago, during a break between safety ergonomic classes I was teaching to co-workers in the library’s lecture hall.  I recognized the author, and thought it might be a good read some day in the future.

So, it sat on my bookshelf in the dining room until a few weeks ago, when I remembered that there were a few unread fiction books I had tucked away until a day off.

I seldom read fiction, although I am repeatedly admonished by those closest to me to “lighten up” or “chill” a little more often, and to seriously attempt being less serious!  I was the child who truly read through the dictory and encyclopedia, crossed legged on the floor in front of the book shelves and engrossed for hours at a time.  As I grew into my career, technical journals, software user guides, management literature and law books replaced the encyclopedia.

One of those wise people who periodically remind me of the effort-worthy goal of pursuing more amusing reading is the Obsessive Bookworm, who knows me only too well!  She laughs at my excessiveness and can even get me to laugh at myself now and then, too.  (But then, again, who is she to talk about excessive, obsessive behavior, anyway?)

REading

What I hoped it would be

After the recent death of a family member, I was seriously looking for something not so serious to do while I was sitting around during my bereavement leave, in between dealing with his end-of-life affairs.  I needed a light, pleasant read to give me some emotional balance and to divert my mind temporarily from the soberness of the week.  Remembering this book, I pulled it off the shelf, poured a cup of coffee and dove into the welcome diversion.

This book was every thing that I hoped it would be, and exactly what I needed at just the right time.  An absorbing and believable tale centering around a small town football team, its long-time coaching legend, and the football manufacturing company that helped feed the community economy.  The well-painted complex personalities and relationships made the story engaging, depicting business and global competition for quality goods “made in America” made the story relevant.

hometown_new_poster

Available as a 2002 DVD Movie

Carrying me away into the lives of a circle of people who were struggling to establish their faith through threats against the future livelihood of their town, my heart was warmed and challenged.  Reading this book felt like the author was actually biographing his personal hero to his readers, and artfully sharing the secrets of a great man’s faith and quiet, unpublished personal heroism.  He showed the strengths and shortcomings, and revealed the inner conflicts and tough choices small businessmen often face.  The hero of the story is human and flawed, and that made it more realistic.

This book touched me unexpectedly as I saw the all-too-close parallel to the experiences I have faced in recent years, as a government manager trying to balance budgets and preserve the jobs of my staff.  I experienced this book personally, and was encouraged by the reminders to walk by faith through uncertain times, and to believe in God’s goodness through seemingly unacceptable circumstances.

The plot takes an unexpected leap that keeps the story engaging to the last page.  This is one of those stories you wish would have a few more chapters before getting to the back cover.

This book was an unexpected blessing, and I would recommend getting it new if you see it, or buying used online at Amazon.com.

Rating

Get it used...

Get it used…

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After the Movie: The Book Thief

It has been a while since I read this one but I loved it. I got an opportunity to go to an advanced screening of the movie a week ago and was really excited to see if the adaption would be as good as the book was.

My husband agreed to come with me even though he hates sad movies and isn’t a big fan of books in general. We barely made it into the packed theatre in time, found a seat near the front because it was the only thing left and settled in. I was pleasantly surprised that there were no previews and we went straight into the movie, starting with the death of Lissel’s brother and the burial by the train tracks where she steals her first book. From there it was a whirlwind of emotion and sobering images of their interpretation of Germany during Hitler’s control.

While the whole thing was extremely well done, there were two scenes that stood out for me more than any others. The first was the impact of the way they set the removal of the Jews from their homes. It was harrowing to hear children sing about the joys of the purity of German blood and how evil it was to be Jewish or a Communist but then to set these images of Jews being brutally dragged from their homes against it was horrifying. The ending of the movie also had me in tears. It would have anyway but the way they built up the emotional impact made it more of a tear-jerker than it would have been. I don’t cry during movies but this one made me lose it.

It was not without its flaws of course. There was only so much story they could tell. One of my favorite characters was missing from the story completely and they had to push through some things that I wished they would have spent a bit more time on, but overall, it was one of the best movie adaptions I’ve seen in a long time. Definitely worth the money and one I will be seeing again.

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Ender’s Game – After the movie

Okay, so I actually went to the late night showing of Ender’s Game on Halloween night. I was expecting to see full theaters and lots of buzz. I wasn’t expecting Twilight levels of enthusiasm but I was expecting that when we arrived at 10pm that we would be quite a ways back in the line. Instead, we were the first ones there. I looked at my best friend and the only thing we could come up with between the two of us was that due to the poor choice of premiere date, they theaters were just going to be slow for this one. We decided to see it on IMAX because it was epic space battles and seemed necessary for the subject matter being explored, so we paid the extra cash and the decided that since there were very few people there, we would get dinner.

We returned only a few minutes before the movie was going to start and were still able to get the exact seats we wanted (right in front of the metal bars so you can put your feet up without annoying the people in front of you). We sat through a ton of preview trailers (I swear they add more and more of those things every time I go to a movie). Then finally settled in for the feature presentation.

By the time the movie was over I felt somewhat vaguely satisfied but very much thinking exactly one thing. I wanted much more than there was. The movie was much shorter than it should have been. There was so much story that that simply glossed over or didn’t bother getting into at all. It felt incomplete and rushed. I think the most painful thing for me was not being able to seethe progression of the character develop in an even semi-logical way. Being a fan of the books and having read them numerous times, I know exactly how long Ender was at each stage of battle school and how many battles they fought. They left entire sequences that shaped who Ender was completely out of the equation and didn’t give enough cause to the issues that caused Bonzo to finally snap. Also, the fact that Bonzo didn’t die on that bathroom floor felt cheapened the depth of his eventual death and it’s impact on Ender seemed to make less sense. Overall, I felt that there was far too much action and so little character development that the story felt like a shadow of the original, paling to almost nothing in comparison to the impact of the books.

While it was definitely gratifying to finally see this movie hit the big screen, it almost felt like someone was trying to sabotage it from every having much success from the rushing the telling of the story to the poor choice of debut weekends. I feel like they could have done so much more and it would have been so much better and that will probably keep me form adding it to my shelves when it is all said and done.

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Book to Film: The Host

Wanda’s Seeker from The Host

I have been eagerly anticipating this film for ages. I loved the book and feel like I’ve been waiting for forever for the sequel(s) to be released. So when this Friday finally got here, I grabbed my best friend and dragged him along to go see it. I was thrilled and bouncing a bit while the previews were going on (I may have squealed slightly when we got to see the trailer for City of Bones).

The movie did not start the way I thought it was going to. we all thought the teaser trailer had absolutely nothing to do with the movie. When it was in the first minute or so of the film I was rather shocked. I actually found a lot of the way they filmed this movie to be unexpected while remaining fairly true to the book. I think the biggest departures from the book for me were the following:

  1. The Seekers – First of all they wear white instead of black, which I guess kind of makes sense but I think that while Wanderer’s seeker was great, the rest of the seekers were too much like the other souls. There should have been more of a difference in my opinion.

    Wanda/Wanderer/Melanie

  2. How Wanderer/Melanie end up in the desert – Yep. Just completely different from the book, although I don’t think it was a bad adjustment. Not good either but definitely not bad. I get why they made the change for the movie. It created another action sequence in a movie that honestly could have seriously lacked action.
  3. The way the souls are removed – Okay, this was kind of bothersome for me. The way that they explain it in the book makes so much more sense. The movie simply just made no sense. How would the soul sense anything about the emotional climate around it when it is supposed to be cut off from its senses without a host? Makes no sense at all. The only thing that make sense is that it can feel physical touch and that there is a way to get to respond instinctively that would allow for removal.
  4. The choice for Wanda post-removal – The actress they chose to play Wanda was interesting because I honestly don’t think that she’ll give her the same emotional quality that Saoirse Ronan did but I’m sure they’ll find some way of explaining that away if it becomes a problem.

Soul Flight

The movie was definitely not bad though. I LOVED the fact that they left the ending alone and stopped where the book does in order to leave it open for a sequel. (If Stephenie Meyer ever gets it written). I wasn’t sure about the choices for actors but after seeing the movie, I think they made wonderful choices. While this story doesn’t quite have the magic of the Twilight series, it has a depth that Twilight is completely missing. Definitely worth checking out while it is still in the theaters.

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Book to Film: Les Miserables

Okay, it is no secret the Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is probably my favorite book – period. It is definitely my desert island one book (besides the Bible). I’ve seen the musical and love the music from it. So when I found out that they were making a movie, I may have screamed a bit -or a lot. When I found out who the cast was going to be though, I became a bit nervous about it. The musical has very heavy vocal responsibilities and by putting such famous faces in the lead role, I was concerned that there was going to be a repeat of the mess that was Phantom of the Opera (you can’t have a phantom who can’t sing on pitch  – just saying).

I was bit nervous but then a friend of mine saw it before it came out and simply raved about it. It made more more optimistic since we have very similar tastes. I was excited again. Then I saw the clip of Anne Hathaway singing Fantine. That was it for me. I simply had to see this movie as soon as possible.

The Thenardiers

I sat down with my husband and one of my best friends to watch it and I can say that I was thoroughly entranced by the whole thing. I honestly loved the casting and the emotion in the performances. Anne Hathaway though, was definitely the highlight of the film for me. Her interpretation of Fantine was phenomenal. While Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe were not the strongest singers I’ve ever heard, you could tell that a whole lot of effort went into making sure those performances were up to par and what they lacked slightly in singing ability, they made up for in spades with their acting ability. Their choice of Marius was excellent. Amanda Siegfried made a passable adult Cosette, although I think they might have found someone better. The little girl who played the child version of Cosette was wonderful. In the Broadway show, I have never heard a kid who could sing that part as well as the little girl in the movie did it (disclaimer: I’ve only seen the tour, not a production in New York or another standing show). I even liked their casting for the Thenardiers‘. I knew before I saw it though that they would be great fit for the role. I like almost everyone, except for one character – Eponine. Honestly, I think she had the emotional range of a teaspoon and didn’t really communicate the emotion that should have gone with the role. Every song she sang felt flat and uninspiring, especially in comparison to the emotion that went into the performances throughout the rest of the movie.

I really am enjoying this trend of bringing major musicals to the movie screen. I think it offers so many great storylines and allows them to be seen by a much larger audience. Overall, this is one of my favorite music adaptions to date, although with Wicked in production, we’ll see how long it stays there.

There is a reason Anne Hathaway got an Oscar for her performance. If you haven’t seen this one, you are missing out.

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