Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hating the Hellidays

Ok. I admit it. I really don't like holidays. They're always a let down. The wife makes me put up a fake tree because his mother gave it to us (and he hates finding needles all over the house).

The last time we bought a tree, well... I can only blame myself. I let him go alone. He brought the tree home. Most of the needles fell off before he even carried it in. What the devil?? Didn't he check??? Sheesh! Never again!

But I'm getting a tree this year. At least our house will smell like pine. It'll be fine. Really it will.

But I do dislike the holidays. This year, I lied to my whole family about Thanksgiving. We didn't really have friends over. I just wanted to spend the day at home. And I made the best turkey ever. It was amazing.

How do I get out of Christmas?? I know. I can't. But maybe we can just go early in the day and then be free in the evening. That wouldn't be too bad, right?? I mean, after that whole wedding disaster--it'll be years before I can happily spend time with my family without the bitterness welling up, right?? I know that people are going to give me pictures. It's not like I can say, "gee, thanks. It's too bad that I can't even think of that day without gagging."

I like getting gifts for people. But I hate getting arbitrary gifts. I had the best birthday this year because the wife and I decided not to get gifts for each other. Maybe that can be a permanent thing going forward? If I really want something, I'll buy it myself.

Finally--and I know this ties into absolutely NOTHING--I'm applying for a job. The rumor mill as of a week ago is--I was the most qualified person to apply for the position. After all of the internal postings (I'm an external). This would be a government job utilizing my love of Accounting, academia and the arts. So... If any of you readers out there are praying folk... Well, pray for Miss Keeks--who is more than ready for a new job!!

Well, Happy Hellidays (or holidays) to all of you out there. I feel another blog coming on... The scents of Xmas.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Gasbag Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I have to confess that I really did enjoy this movie. But it irritates me so much, that I am compelled to use it for this week’s gasbag review. Please allow me to explain my reasoning. This movie: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets cuts out oodles of actual information that was in the book. I understand that. I really do. I may like a movie that is eight hours long, but I’m probably in the minority. The director must eliminate non-essential portions of the book. This is my beef is, why do they have to add stuff that never happened? Did they feel it wasn’t entertaining enough as is?

Well, here it goes. You will get to read my annoyingly persnickety irritations with a movie that I actually enjoyed. I think I’ll just number my list of offensive particulars.

1) Why doesn’t Harry have eyes as green as pickled toads? This fills me with rage. The cats better look out because I’m really pissed off. Dobby’s eyes are supposed to be green too. How hard is it to make the kid where contacts? It’s just plain laziness.

2) I love Aunt Petunia’s pudding. It’s really magnificent. But why does Dobby dump it on Mrs. Mason’s head? In the book Dobby smashes it in the kitchen. What drives the Mason’s out is the owl dropping a letter in Mrs. Mason’s hair. It’s not like there is any shortage of owls in the movie. I find this annoying.

3) When Ron, Fred and George come to rescue Harry from the Dursley’s, Uncle Vernon falls out of the window trying to keep Harry in the house. What’s the point of that? I’m sure they had to pay a stunt-person for that.

4) Why do they even bother having Harry ending up at Burgin and Botts (or whatever it’s called)? They ignore the point of landing in the wrong flue. You see, Harry ended up at B&B’s because he was supposed to hear Malfoy selling stuff so he doesn’t have incriminating things at home. Duh! And why did the Hand of Glory grab Harry’s hand? I’m telling you, it was just to startle the audience. And why does Hermione repair Harry’s glasses in Diagon Alley???? They’re not supposed to do magic until they’re back to school? Would it have been that hard to have Arthur do it? Is it that important that Hermione gets some more action? Why bother, it’s not like they allow movie Hermione to say book Hermione’s lines anyway.

(Side note: I think Kenneth Brannagh is a perfect Lockhart. I don’t think that’s a compliment. Jason Isaacs looks great in his Paris Hilton wig.)

5) The movie clearly shows Malfoy putting two books into the cauldron. And it’s too bad they left out the fight.

6) When Ron and Harry take the car to school, Harry almost falls out of the car. That doesn’t happen in the book. They waste precious moments on this stupidity. In the book, they dip the car below the clouds to see what direction the train is going. They could have added more actual book to the movie. This truly irritates. I know, you’ll all say that the flying car cost so much that they wanted to give it decent screen time.

7) Why do they have to give lines to different characters? I find this personally offensive. For example, when Harry and Ron get back to the castle after flying to school, they meet Filch instead of Snape coming up behind them. Even though I personally believe Allan Rickman is way too old and too strangely attractive to be Snape (hook-nosed, greasy-hair, approximately mid-thirties), there really can’t be too much Rickman/Snape on screen. And what does Rickman know that we don’t? I swear he makes Snape look kinder and gentler than he really is.

8) Why does Neville have to faint when he sees the mandrake? Instead of that, they could have introduced Justin Finch-Fletchely (or whatever his name is) and set some background for him as a muggle-born. It’s just plain stupid.

(Side note: Aren’t those Cornish pixies adorable?)

9) I know I’ve already mentioned the whole changing of Hermione’s lines and everything. I swear this movie has turned her into a…well, I don’t know what. When they’re in Hagrid’s hut, Ron is supposed to explain the whole mudblood thing. Frankly, I don’t think book Hermione would care too much about being called a mudblood. She knows she’s better than everyone else. Movie Hermione gets all weepy. Whatever. This movie makes Hermione really seem like a weepy harbinger of doom rather than the horrifying logical girl she is.

10) You know, all that time they wasted on the stupid car trauma could have established Filch as a squib and given him reason to accuse Harry of petrifying Mrs. Norris.

(I really like the actor who plays Filch. I saw him on an episode of Midsummer Murders.)

I could clearly go on and on and on and on. Seriously. I think my last beef is the basilisk. I think it’s supposed to be a vivid poisonous green. It’s not. I think it would have been cool if it had been.

I know it’s hard to make a movie from a book. I try to look at the HP movies as separate entities of the books—it’s the only way I can enjoy them. I mean, look at The Shining. Kubrick’s version is a cinema great, but it’s not the book. Stephen King had to redo it in his own style.

Frankly, I can’t remember a movie ever being as good as a book (although I’m sure there are a few examples where the movies are better than the books). I think the ultimate point of my beef is to make sure we read the books. We get a lot more out of the experience if we read.