4therace (a truly brilliant blog about cinema, filled with insightful analysis and commentary) was nice enough to nominate me for this award about a month and a half ago. What took me so long to do this post?? Well, wait until you see the third question he asked me to answer… But I’ve finally committed to my answers so I’m finally ready to do this post! However, last week Green Onion (the most fun one stop shop for reviews on literature of all sorts you’re likely to find on the interweb) was kind enough to nominate me as well. So this means you get my responses to a double-dose of questions about films, blogging, and book-to-movie adaptations! Huzzah!
Before I begin I want to sincerely thank 4therace and Green Onion. I maintain these awards are so special because we award them to each other. Thank you 4therace and Green Onion! If you haven’t read their blogs you should take advantage of the links I keep embedding and do so. Read, follow, enjoy, and repeat! Now, as per usual, I’ll answer the eleven questions asked of me, nominate some fellow bloggers, and pose questions of my own.
Alright, on to 4therace’s questions!
1) What are the 5 best films of the decade thus far (so that’s 2010-2016)?
Full disclosure, if I tried to rank my answers in any way it would take me another two months to do this post. So, I’m just going to list them in no particular order. Okay? Okay.
Wish I Was Here (2014) – Zach Braff’s writing and directorial follow-up to Garden State had melancholic moments but was also filled with beauty, strength, and an honest spiritual and existential quest. I loved every single moment.
Black Swan (2010) – Never has a film left me so emotionally shaken and drained. I literally left the theatre on wobbly legs struggling to process the experience I’d just had.
The Avengers (2012) – They were all there teaming-up on the BIG SCREEN. The moment the camera pans around all six Avengers, preparing for the Chitauri invasion was a dream come true for a lifelong comic fan!
Her (2013) – If a film is willing to explore the nature of Love, I’m going to be interested. Spike Jonze’s film bravely and brilliantly presents Love in all its mystical, indefinable, uncontrollable majesty.
It Follows (2015) – I’ve been forced to learned to appreciate the horror genre since Kalie and I started dating and this was the first horror film I ever saw that I truly appreciated as art. It freaked me out and fascinated me simultaneously.
2) Favorite French Film? If you don’t have one, then favorite foreign language film?
Admittedly, I don’t watch a lot of French films, but I have seen a few. Of the films I’ve seen, my favorite is Paris, Je T’Amie – a 2006 film that’s essentially a collection of short films. They’re all love stories (or stories that explore the nature of love) set in Paris.
3) If you could only watch 5 films for the rest of your life, what would they be?
THIS QUESTION IS TOO HARD. I LOVE TOO MANY FILMS. HOW CAN I ANSWER THIS?!?!? Okay…deep breath…I can do this. I can do this.
(500) Days Of Summer (2009)
Love, Actually (2003)
Dumb & Dumber (1994)
The Avengers (2012)
BUT I can’t elaborate alright? Okay? It’s too much because I’ll go one for pages about how I love each one. Let’s just say, for me, each of these films are deeply loved and absolutely perfect in their own way.
***Note: Kalie won’t let me put “Star Wars” (meaning The Phantom Menace, Attack Of The Clones, Revenge Of The Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return Of The Jedi) down as one movie. She says that’s cheating as they’re clearly six different movies and twelve hours of film even though I argued it’s ALL ONLY ONE STORY. I can’t choose between them (even though Return Of The Jedi‘s my favorite) hence no Star Wars on the list.
4) What do you have to say about modern cinema?
I like it. Is that too brief?? I’m not known for my brevity :). Seriously though, I love going to the movies. I know it’s an age of digital streaming services but as far as I’m concerned nothing beats entering a darkened room with a giant screen and sharing the experience of seeing an incredible story unfold (regardless of the genre) with others. Personally, I think that’s how movies are meant to be experienced. I remember reading an interview where Steven Spielberg said going to the movies was a sort of ritual, sacred experience. I couldn’t agree more. Of course I have my critiques of modern cinema but, all in all, I enjoy what’s being produced and I’ve found a lot of modern movies that are more than worthy of my love, admiration, and price of admission!
5) Anime. Yes or No? Why?
No – but that’s only because I haven’t really ever experienced it. I have no problem with anime per say and I do have some friends who really enjoy it. Who knows?! Maybe someday I’ll take their suggestions and further broaden my pop culture palette.
6) What is a television show that you would suggest to anyone?
I’ll have to go with Scrubs (2001-2010) for a half hour sitcom. The adventures of J.D., Turk, Elliot, Carla, Dr. Cox, Dr. Kelso, Ted, and the Janitor are always the remedy for whatever ails me. It’s quirky, smart, funny, and able to instantly shift tone to become deeply emotional. But I’d say Penny Dreadful (2014-2016) for an hour drama. Vanessa Ives, Sir Malcolm Murray, Ethan Chandler, Victor Frankenstein, and Dorian Grey traverse the line between this world and a dark, sinister demimonde (or the half-world) in late 1800’s London. Combining elements from gothic fiction and a stunning original narrative, the show weaves literature, theology, philosophy, ethics, and morality together to create (in my humble opinion) the most intelligent series I’ve ever seen on TV. I find more symbolism and more meaning in each episode every time I re-watch the series.
7) What do you admire most about the WordPress blogosphere?
This is an easy one – the support. I never would have imagined I’d find so many people who share my passions and produce their own wonderful, original content as I have since entering the world of WordPress. Traditionally internet comment sections can be brutal, a verbal sparring ground and a display case for angry, arrogant, and uninformed opinions. But on all the blogs I visit (as well as what I happily find on my own) I see comment sections that read like conversations between friends, filled with thoughtful, intelligent exchanges. I was excited to start this blog but now I find it hard to imagine ever stopping it! I was able to write so much (not to mention read and comment on others’ blogs so often) over the summer that I’m now a little bummed the school year has started again and slowed me down. I feel like I’m missing catching up with friends :).
8) What inspired you to write your blog?
Kalie suggested I start it. She runs two blogs herself (her horror one Just Dread-Full and one on life and literature, 1000inaDecade) and really enjoys the experience. Given my love of discussing and analyzing…well, anything but in this case comic books, she thought the blog would be a fun adventure for me. Secretly I think she hoped I would talk about comics less because I was getting it all out of my system on the blog but now I talk about them a lot more. Well, you win some you lose some :). She was right though. I love this!
9) What would you like to see your blog evolve into (if you want it to evolve)?
Hmmm…this is a good question. I’m very happy with the life my little blog has right now. It’s already grown more (in terms of content and readers) than I would have guessed it could in the four or five months it’s been around. I’d certainly like to keep that up but I guess my hope is to always be open and living in the moment with it, letting creativity and fun call me as they will.
10) What is a blog here on WordPress that you would recommend to anyone and why?
I have to go back to my roots. Before I ever thought about blogging myself, I wrote for Kalie’s blog Just Dread-Full as well as for Jeff’s Star Wars blog The Imperial Talker. It was always an honor to contribute as I have great respect for their writing styles, analysis, and content. I still gain as much enjoyment as I do inspiration from their writing.
11) What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t know what they want to do in the future?
As cliché as it may sound, there’s nothing more important in life than love. So have the courage to let love guide you in all you do and the rest will fall into place.
Alright, I still have a little steam left. Let’s do Green Onion’s questions now too!
1) What is your most anticipated movie release?
As of Thursday’s most recent trailer, it’s become Rogue One. I’ve said before The Force Awakens really disappointed me. And I’ve been cautiously optimistic about Rogue One. But the new trailer gave me an (I hope) honest sense of the characters and I’m intrigued. The action looks incredible too! The plot, the theft of the original Death Star plans as well as Empire-led religious persecution for people who believe in the Force, has SO MUCH potential. This is your second chance Disney…please don’t let me down again :/.
2) What is your most anticipated book release?
Can I pick Bruce Springsteen’s new memoir Born To Run? Is that fair? Technically it’s already out BUT I haven’t purchased it yet. I drool over it every time I’m in a bookstore or, if I’m near one, I make certain to go in specifically to look at the book and drool over it. So it’s a new release but I’ve been anticipating it for months and my anticipation has grown even more now that it’s out and I’ve yet to purchase it. Springsteen’s music means a lot to me and I cannot wait to read this.
3) Is there a movie you liked better than the book?
Silver Linings Playbook (2012) – I thought the book was alright but I found the film far more emotionally affecting. For me, it was the focus on the characters of Pat and Tiffany and their respective relationships with their families, their past, and each other that made this so brilliant. The novel had that too but there were some superfluous subplots I found distracting. But the movie is absolutely beautiful. I never tire of watching it. There was a good chance it would have ended up in my answer to 4therace’s first question if I didn’t know I could give it the shout out it deserves here!
4) What movie should have been a book first?
Actually, I don’t know if it should have been a book first, but given how Black Swan affected me in such a physical, visceral, emotional way I’d’ve been intrigued to see what a novel could have done. On the one hand, you’d lose the visuals but on the other you’d actually be inside Nina’s head and in the right author’s hands that could’ve been a jarring, trippy, emotional read….
5) Best book to movie adaptation of all time?
Jurassic Park – I mean, everything about this movie is perfect. The story, the characters, the acting, the score, the direction…is there anything not to adore in this film? I love this movie so much it’s totally supplanted my knowledge of the book. When I think Jurassic Park I think of Steven Spielberg’s film first and Michael Crichton’s novel second.
6) Worst book to movie adaptation of all time?
Tri-Star’s (scheduled) mid-2017 release of the film version of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. Does it seem unfair that I’ve already chosen to hate a film that isn’t even in production yet? Here’s the thing, I enjoy book-to-movie adaptations. But certain books are so close to my heart no film, no matter how well it’s made, can compare. This novel lives deep within my heart and soul. No book is more important to me than The Alchemist and I know nothing can come close to replicating this relationship.
7) If you could cast your favorite book for a movie, what would that look like?
Okay, this is going to seem like a copout BUT it’s the truth – I can’t do this! As I said above, The Alchemist is my favorite book but it’s too intimate, too spiritual an experience for me to ever imagine it can be translated into a film accurately even if I was the one to cast it. So I say no movie version of The Alchemist please, at least not for me (even if I’m casting). That being said, on a general casting note, the more movies we want to make with Chris Pratt in them THE BETTER. I love me some Christ Pratt!
8) What’s your favorite movie villain?
Without question or hesitation this one goes to Heath Ledger’s Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. He was evil incarnate and the stuff of soul-shaking nightmares. I’d say more but I’m saving it for his turn in the Faces Of Evil series I’m running through October!
9) What’s your favorite book villain?
Dolores Umbridge is the most frustrating, foul, infuriating character I’ve ever come across in a book! Seriously, I straight-up hate her far more than Voldemort. So I certainly don’t enjoy her presence but I have to hand it to how she was written. When it comes to making my skin crawl, no villainous character does it like Dolores.
10) What book should be a movie already?
I know Sony’s been struggling with the Spidey franchise of late (although now that he’s back home in the MCU things are starting to feel better). And I know Marvel wanted to go back to a fresh-faced-still-in-high-school Peter Parker. Okay, that’s fine. But personally I wish we had an adult Peter strutting his stuff in the MCU allowing us to have a teenage Miles Morales swinging onto the scene as Spider-Man too. How has this not happened already?!?
11) What book deserves its own television series?
HANDS DOWN it’s Marvel’s Ms. Marvel. The story of Kamala Khan, as well as that of her supporting cast, is too layered to be adequately presented in a film. Rather, I’d love to see her world explored through a television series that can develop her family, friends, faith, life as a first generation Pakistani-American, and her struggle to balance her “normal” life with her superheroing with as much grace and intelligent as G. Willow Wilson does in the comic.
Now it’s time to share the love! My nominees are blogs that always put a smile on my face and a little sunshine in my day (and you should check them out). They are:
1) Aubrey from If Mermaid Wore Suspenders
2) Bradscribe from Bradscribe
3) Niraja @ Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them
4) Olaf Lesniak from Comic Booger
5) Giovanna from BookCommaBlog
6) Nancy and Kathleen from Graphic Novelty 2
7) Gary from God Among Geeks
And my questions (note, I had so much fun with the questions I answered, I’m poaching two from each nominator) are:
1) What are the five best films of the decade thus far (so that’s 2010-2016)?
2) What is a television show that you would suggest to anyone?
3) Is there a movie you liked better than the book?
4) What book deserves its own television series?
5) What is your favorite movie soundtrack?
6) What is your favorite movie score (c’mon, they’re different!)?
7) What movie do you wish had a sequel that doesn’t?
8) What is your favorite genre of film? Why?
9) Do you prefer a movie theatre or the couch at home for your initial viewing of a film?
10) Do you read the book and then see the movie or see the movie and then read the book??
11) What role do films and going to/watching movies play in your life?
Alright, there we go! Thanks for reading my thoughts on all manner of issues regarding films, blogging, books, and book-to-movie adaptations. As usual, if I’ve nominated you don’t feel any pressure to do the post or to do the post in any set amount of time. I’ve certainly been working on my answers to these questions for awhile :). Now, I think there’s only one acceptable way to end this post. Ready?? GROUP HUG!!!