Thursday Movie Rundown ~ 50 Shades of Grey @MeganSlayer #movies #review #thoughts

Monday Movie Rundown BannerI have to start this review for 50 Shades of Grey with the following disclaimer: I only got 20 pages into the book before I couldn’t handle it and threw it across the room.

Sounds mean, doesn’t it? Lots of people loved the book. Lots. It’s funny because BDSM and that sort of play doesn’t bother me. I play. But I had lots of problems with the way the BDSM was portrayed in the book. The movie was no better. If possible, it was worse.

Jamie Dornan was the worst actor for the role of Grey. Or maybe he was the best. If he was supposed to be that wooden and hard to understand, then great. He nailed it. If he was supposed to have ANY sort of redeeming qualities and not come off as creepy and pervy, then they really missed the mark.

Dakota Johnson wasn’t any better. Her flip-flopping bothered me. The innocent factor should’ve been there, but wasn’t. This role seemed to be above her head.  The dialogue was horrible. So flat. The scenes were almost too over the top. Let’s fight, then go for a flight in an experimental plane? Um…no.

Then there were the play scenes. I don’t know who decided they should be done the way they were, but I wasn’t turned on or even mildly titillated by them. I wanted to smack Grey and ask Anna what the hell she was thinking. Good example…when she says she needs to know how it feels to be broken like him. Broken? Okay, explain…maybe show her, but to fully, complete might whack her with the belt… A – she wouldn’t had serious welts after two whacks. B – you can be fucked up all you want, but a little verbal description would’ve been nice. C – I didn’t get the catharsis or the thrill of it. The scene turned me off.  I didn’t see how someone who has no experience with sex (Anna) could get right into BDSM without much thought. Seriously. How did she know what she’d like/not like in the playroom without any real idea of what she liked/didn’t like in the bedroom? And him being a 26 yr old billionaire…it happens. Look at the celebutants. It can happen. But the way Grey conducted himself… Just no.

When I started watching this movie as a comedy, rather than a romance, I enjoyed it much more–and I still hated it. I’ll be honest. I didn’t like it. I thought the movie was foolish and ridiculous. Not romantic or fantastic or even having a kernel of fantasy to it. Simply dumb. Maybe you’ll think otherwise. I don’t know. Will I watch Darker? Um…that’s a big no.

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Thursday Movie Rundown ~ The DUFF #moviereview #review @meganslayer

Monday Movie Rundown BannerThis week, I’m a little late with the post, but it’s because I’ve been watching a movie I really love. The more I’ve watched this flick, the more I identify with the characters.

This week, I’m focusing on The DUFF. I wasn’t sure I’d like this movie because it seemed like yet another teen flick. What would make this one resonate with me? It’s about teens and I’m not a teen any longer.

It’s the pecking order thing and knowing your place. Bianca, the main character, has been labeled a Designated Ugly Fat Friend by her perceived as better looking friends. It’s all about perception. She thinks she’s not as good as the others, so she tries to find out why. Then there’s the social pecking order. The people who believe life in high school is only the start of how important they will be for the rest of their lives. This is a microcosm of high school. We want to find our places and how we fit into the world. Bianca chooses to try to improve herself, but all she really needs to do is be herself. High school only lasts for four years. Life goes beyond that.

I was that kid in high school that people knew, but didn’t pay much attention to. I sort of blended in until they needed something. Oh, and I was labeled. Not the DUFF, but a brown-noser. Yeah, how nice was that? I did my thing and didn’t complain, yet I was seen as someone who kissed up to the teachers. It took me a little longer than Bianca to realize I wasn’t just that one thing. So I was the weird kid? So I wasn’t like everyone else? Didn’t mean I didn’t want to be a little bit like them. Didn’t mean I didn’t want to be accepted. I’m older now and am comfortable in my own skin. The DUFF proves you should be yourself. It might not be the easiest thing to do, but it’s worthwhile. You’re being true to you.

Book Review ~ Amy: My Search for Her Killer: Secrets & Suspects in the Unsolved Murder of Amy Mihaljevic #bookreview

amy

“I fell in love with Amy Mihaljevic not long before her body was discovered lying facedown in an Ashland County wheat field. I fell for her the first time I saw that school photo TV stations flashed at the beginning of every newscast in the weeks following her kidnapping in the autumn of 1989―the photo with the side-saddle ponytail . . .”

So begins this strange and compelling memoir in which a young journalist investigates the cold case that has haunted him since childhood.

It’s one of Northeast Ohio’s most frustrating unsolved crimes. Ten-year-old Amy Mihaljevic (Muh-ha-luh-vick) disappeared from the comfortable Cleveland suburb of Bay Village. Thousands of volunteers, police officers, and FBI agents searched for the girl, who was tragically found dead a few months later. Her killer was never found.

Fifteen years later, journalist James Renner picks up the leads. Filled with mysterious riddles, incredible coincidences, and a cast of odd but very real characters, his investigation quickly becomes a riveting journey in search of the truth.

Interesting and sad.

I’m reading this book for my local book club. Would I have picked it up on my own? Not sure. I remember quite clearly when this case happened. I remember my mother freaking out that I – or any of my friends – might be the next kid taken. Sadly, kids are taken all the time. I remember when she was found and how my mother cried. Now that I have a tot, I can identify with my mother’s reaction.

This book though, is like reading a diary. The author isn’t detailing the case, in so much as he’s recalling his reactions to what happened, his path to writing the initial story for the Cleveland paper and eventually the book deal.

In some instances, I got a little spooked. I know the area where she was taken and where she was found. It hit a little too close to home for me. There were moments in the book that the author talks about his life and I recall what I was doing around those times. But the thing that struck me the most about this book is the author certainly got too close to the subject. I know, how can one get close to a deceased person? Let’s just say there were more than a few times when it seemed like he was more interested in getting with the fictionalized version of the girl that he’d created in his mind, than anything else.

I get it. If you were a kid around that time, the whole thing was scary. I learned from the example. Don’t go anywhere without telling anyone and don’t go off with anyone you don’t know. Renner hits that point home often in this book. While it’s a quick read, I had to go in with the mindset that he’s writing more from his own perspective than that of an omniscient observer.  I don’t know how being possibly hit on by one of the girl’s friends had much to do with solving the murder. Honestly, that moment felt like an aside that didn’t need to be in the book. But the murder did affect his life and that of the people who knew the girl. Sadness affects everyone differently and if this was his way to cope, then so be it.

If you like crime stories and are willing to get past the personalized ares in some of the book, then this might be the read for you.

Book Review ~ A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman #bookreview #review

5151jMdx7TL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

Initially, I wasn’t fond of this book. I’ll admit it. Ove got on my nerves. I am not the very factual, very direct kind of person that Ove is. I have grey areas. He doesn’t. Honestly, two-thirds of the way through the book, I still wasn’t converted. I didn’t see the point. I kept expecting something nasty to happen to ‘cat’, too.

But then about the two-thirds point, the book changed. Okay, maybe the book didn’t change, but my perception, did. I got to see the man, Ove, become more than he was. I understood him better and quite honestly, I rooted for him. I liked his interactions with the neighbors and ‘cat’. There was a sweet man under that curmudgeon facade. I won’t give away the ending, but I did cry. I felt like I’d known Ove all along.

If you want a book that might take some getting used to and some endurance to get through (you’ll be rewarded), then this might be the book for you. I’m glad I picked it up.

Book Review Thursday ~ Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar #bookreview #books

BOXThe little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told… until now.

There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974 twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong (if time-rusted) iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.

At the top of the stairs, Gwendy catches her breath and listens to the shouts of the kids on the playground. From a bit farther away comes the chink of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball as the Senior League kids practice for the Labor Day charity game.

One day, a stranger calls to Gwendy: “Hey, girl. Come on over here for a bit. We ought to palaver, you and me.”

On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…

I have to admit I’m a Stephen King junkie. I am. I’m also a bit of a short story junkie, too. When I saw this book at my local library, just sitting there unassumingly on the shelf, I had to sneak a peek. I mean, it’s a King and her name is Gwendy…close to Wendi, right?

So I picked it up. I’m glad I did. This was a quick read and even though it’s short, when I had to put it down to deal with life, I didn’t have to do a bunch of rereading to catch back up.

Gwendy is an interesting character. She has an awesome power within her and within the button box. Will she use it? Will she succumb? Will she get a big head from the power? I liked that Gwendy is relatable. There are things that made her more than she was, but I liked her human-ness. Now I would’ve been more than a little freaked out if some random guy wanted me to sit with him. Even more if he’d have offered me a box. I don’t know how Gwendy did it, but she did.

I liked how she grew through the story, too. The creep factor isn’t as strong in this story, which was nice for me because I wasn’t looking for a freaky story. But might be a turn off for others.

If you want a recent historical story with more than few twists, then this might be the short story you’re looking for. Oh and try a chocolate. I hear the detailing is fantastic.

Thursday Movie Rundown ~ Johnny Apollo #moviereview @meganslayer

Monday Movie Rundown BannerI have to admit, I’ve been on a bit of a Tyrone Power bender of late. He’s handsome. Who can deny that? Some of his movies were pure schmaltz, but that’s okay. I wanted something light-ish.

Johnny Apollo isn’t a light movie. Not by a long shot. It’s not super heavy, but it’s not dashing-leading-man-sexy-and-fun fare that I’m used to by Power. Sure, he took a serious turn in Nightmare Alley, Blood and Sand and Witness for the Prosecution, but I guess I wasn’t expecting this story to be quite so dark. Still, I enjoyed the viewing.

Johnny Apollo is definitely a movie of it’s time. The mob was in full force and so was the depression. The notion that crime doesn’t pay is woven throughout the film. Yes the crime happened and Johnny wanted it for the right reasons, not the wrong ones… still it doesn’t pay.

I liked how Power played the character of Bob Cain, aka Johnny Apollo, like George Clooney might play him–dashing and sexy, but stern. He knows he’s doing bad things, but he makes it look…good. There’s a certain naivete in his performance that shows through the film. His heart is in the right place and he’s trying to earn the love and respect of his father. It’s typical of a young adult or one just out of college to think they know it all and while I agreed with some of Power’s character’s assessments, I could see the father’s side, too.

Power is shot well…almost better than costar Dorthy Lamour. You know he’s the star turn in this film. He’s handsome even in jail after being in solitary confinement for a while. That’s a challenge.

The movie isn’t long and it’s not bubbly fun, but it’s interesting to watch. I recommend Johnny Apollo if you want a crime drama or just another one of Power’s films for a Tyrone Power film fest. You can’t go wrong with Johnny Apollo…even if he’s very wrong.

Monday Movie Review ~ A Move and a Review… plus News! @meganslayer

Monday Movie Rundown Banner It’s time for the Monday Movie Rundown. Stay tuned for news, but first, my review!

This past week, I caught yet another Tyrone Power movie. This time it was Day-Time Wife.

Initially, I thought this was a Hallmark channel fluff piece movie. It’s from 1939, well after the Hayes Code went into major enforcement. The man can cheat, but the wife can’t and as long as he’s sorry…it’s okay. Hmm… I realize it was part of the times, but I didn’t like him cheating.

At first, I thought there was a lot of schmaltz in this movie. Sweet, but not too offensive. Then came Jane’s, the wife, reason for getting a job with the business rival of her husband–because he was stepping out with his secretary. I get the idea of people getting married and sticking it out through thick and thin might be old-fashioned, but I wanted to see that.

I wasn’t fond of Jane’s attitude or the way she went about outting her husband. She seemed to think it was fine to cheat if he did and got almost a perverse thrill out of goading him. Hey, he deserved it, but I had hoped she’d have been a tad stronger of a woman. Rise above. I don’t know.

Still, there was fun and a cute dog. Can’t go wrong when there’s a dog in the family.

This was a good watch to represent the simpleness of the late 1930s and Power is shot well. He’s lit as if he were the leading lady. If you want a fluff story to pass an afternoon, this might be the movie for you.

NOW FOR THE NEWS!! Monday Movie Rundown is moving to Thursday. Why? It’s football season! Starting next Monday, the Monday Morning Armchair Quarterback is back! I can’t wait!!