Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Draft Day (PG-13)

First things first, Kevin Costner was in a movie that lasted less than 2 hours!!! I didn’t believe it was possible. I mean, I know it’s been done before, but how long ago? Sorry about that. I feel better now. Last night I went to the pre-screening of Draft Day and really really liked it. Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I saw a movie I flat out didn’t like. Is Hollywood getting better or am I somehow avoiding those films? Hmmmmm.

Draft Day is about…Draft Day. Genius, right? It’s basically the 12 hours leading up to the NFL draft pick and a few hours shortly after. It’s about the freak-outs, the close calls and the last minute wheeling and dealing before the professional football team powers-that-be select their newest team members; with a little bit of personal life thrown in for good measure. Sonny Weaver, Jr. is the General Manager for the Cleveland Browns. He has the opportunity to choose a really good player for his franchise. At the same time he has to deal with the death of his father and the affect that had on his mother along with some overwhelming news in his relationship. He’s having kind of a rough day.

I have never really been that into pro football. No idea why. I just prefer college. In every other sport I like either/or. Having said that, I have never, in my life, intentionally watched a draft pick. It’s been on in the background when I’ve been at a party or two but, even then, I didn’t pay much attention. My goodness, though. The drama! I now want a job with a professional football team that would enable me to attend a Draft Day. How exciting would that be? And I would like to take a quick second to say that I did catch that Oklahoma was briefly mentioned at one point in the movie. Well, of course it was. Every team needs at least one Okie. Our boys are just that good.

I’m not going to ramble on like I usually do about the actors. There are really only three I want to mention. The rest are important but there were too many people in this to dissect them all. Kevin Costner is Sonny Weaver, Jr. He played him well but it was typical Kevin Costner. You pretty much know what you’re going to get no matter what the movie. Jennifer Garner is Ali, Cleveland Browns exec and Sonny’s girlfriend. I love her character in this movie. She has spunk! And don’t step on the underdog when she’s around. You’ll be missing parts. Finally, Griffin Newman is Rick, the brand spanking new intern in the GM’s office. He is a lesser character in Draft Day but he was fun to watch. He was the comic relief in several instances and, though being the low man on the totem pole, he knew when to stand up for himself. I silently cheered for him during one scene in particular. Whoops! I lied! There was a fourth person I wanted to talk about. Chadwick Boseman. I loved him in 42 and he’s back this time as a football player. In one of the scenes he almost made me cry. During a football draft movie! What on earth? He’s beginning to be one of those actors whose films I will see just because he’s in them.

On to bigger and better things. I love how this film was made. It almost felt like an exciting documentary. My favorite part about how the movie was put together was the split screen affect. So cool! Anytime two people were on the phone with each other, we got the split screen. But! This was better than normal split screens. In some cases, part of one person’s body would come to the foreground and overlap into the other person’s screen. Hard to explain but fun to watch. I know, it’s the little things.

Draft Day received its PG-13 rating for language alone. There was no sex or nudity. The closest it comes to it is Jennifer Garner’s naked back in a shower in the way background of a scene. No violence except tackles. A little drinking. No drugs. So, how bad could the language have been? This breakdown is for those parents who want the opportunity to decide just how much they want to allow their kids to hear. I may have missed a few but this is basically what we heard:

A$$ - 3 times
S#!+ - this one was the winner with at least 14 utterances
GD – came in second with at least 10
God, Jesus, Jesus Christ and Hell were mentioned a total of 11 times and not in a prayerful manner
The F-bomb was dropped twice
A few of the “minor” naughty words were spoken but not many

So, much tamer than, say, 21 Jump Street or August: Osage County.

I would recommend Draft Day to anyone who is a football fan, be it a college team or pro. It was nice to be able to call my mom afterwards and tell her that this is a movie she’d actually enjoy. She doesn’t care for blood and violence so she mainly sticks to RomComs. That woman does like a good sports movie though. And, sitting with her during a real sporting event? It’s definitely an experience. Draft Day does delve into Sonny’s personal life a bit but they don’t linger on it too much. Just a glimpse here and there. This was a fun movie that I will definitely own when it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray. Enjoy!

P.S. Nothing after the credits for this one. The credits were fun to read though. It was almost a 50/50 split between actors playing someone and all the As Himself/As Herselfs.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Caught in the Middle

Okay, so I've decided to start writing book reviews. What? Are you wondering if I do nothing but sit around and watch movies and read books? Well, no. But I wish I could. I'm actually writing this review out of order. This one is about the third book in a trilogy by Regina Jennings. The first book was Sixty Acres and a Bride. It's the only other book I've reviewed thus far. Love in the Balance is the second book. I didn't write about it yet because I didn't know, until very recently, that I was going to decide to start actually reviewing books. I will get to that one but I want to move along to the final book in the trilogy, Caught in the Middle, since it has only just been released.

Let's talk about the author's style first. Regina writes with such an economy of words. I've read several authors who take a page-and-a-half to describe someone's demeanor or what a certain scene looks like. Regina sums it up in one sentence and you can still completely picture the person's countenance or the lay of the land. "The trees still held their summer hues, patches of green spotting the golden prairie." It's straight and to the point but still literarily pleasing. So, basically, her books are more story and less drawn-out commentary. Despite how this may seem, this choice of styles does not leave her books lacking. Just the opposite. It leaves room for so much more enveloping (I think that's the word I want to go with) story without ending up as a 2000 page book.

Now, let's see what's in store for us, shall we:

"She wants the freedom of the open plains
He wants the prestige of a successful business
And the baby just needs someone who can change a diaper.

The train to Garber, Texas, is supposed to bring life’s next victory for Nicholas Lovelace. Instead, it gets held up robbers who are thwarted by the last person Nick ever expected—Anne Tillerton from back home in Prairie Lea.

Anne’s been hiding away as a buffalo hunter. She’s only in town to find their runaway cook, but the woman flees—and leaves Anne with her infant son. With Nick the only person she knows in town, the two form an unlikely team as they try to figure out what to do with the child.

But being in town means Anne’s forced to act and dress for polite society—and it’s not going well. Meanwhile, Nick’s work is bringing new pressures, and being seen with Anne isn’t helping his reputation. Caught between their own dreams, a deepening relationship, and others’ expectations—can the pair find their way to love?"

If you read the first two books in the series, you'll already be cheering for Anne. She's led a rough life and deserves a little something or someone to call her own. I was quickly dragged in to this book and wanted to become one of her champions. It was so easy to feel her fear, her anger, her confusion, her despair and, finally, her joy and happiness. This was yet another book in which I dreaded getting to the end but I just couldn't wait to hear how things turned out for poor Anne.

In this, as in Sixty Acres, Regina brings all of the characters to life. I hurt for Anne, encouraged Nicholas, wanted to get down on the floor and play with Sammy, wanted to smack Ophelia, and would oh-so-gladly become the daughter-in-law of Mrs. Puckett's dreams. And I can't not mention Reverend and Mrs. Holland. I wanted to hate them the minute I heard of them. Wanted to, but couldn't. Every person was so vivid that I could almost swear that I know them personally. If I swore. Which I don't. I could also clearly picture each and every scene she described. I experienced a train robbery, a man's desperate rush to save his wife and baby, local politics, time spent having to live off the land and learning to live in polite society again. Each experience flowed in to the next with apparent ease. My eyes' inability to stay open was the only thing that kept me from finishing Caught in the Middle in one night.

My only problem with this book is that it struck a personal chord in me so my emotions were pretty raw at times. In one particular scene I had to put the book down because the tears just wouldn't stop. Is this something I would consider a negative about Caught in the Middle? Not by a long shot. If a book doesn't affect your emotions in one way or another, you're either reading a text book or an instruction manual or it just was not well-written. I will continue to read any book Regina writes because I know that, within minutes, I will be swept away to another place and time only to be dropped back to reality at the turn of the last page. And even then it takes a little while.

This book could probably stand on its own but I highly recommend reading the first two in the series before delving in to Caught in the Middle. Regina does explain, in this book, some little things that you would have learned from reading those but they do give you more background. And you should because they're both really good.

P.S. Following is a picture of Regina at her book signing. My apologies for the blurred picture. I was laughing at something she said or did. You might recognize the dress from the beginning of this post. It's the dress made for the book's cover art. I wonder how many authors can say they not only have the clothing made for the book's cover but can actually fit in to it. Not many, I'll wager.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Divergent (PG-13/139 Min.)

Benefitting from another pre-screening pass last night, I went with Mack and our friend YaYa to the showing of Divergent. First of all, I loved the casting. Second of all, I haven’t read any of the books in this series yet so I’ll have to ask my niece – who HAS read the books - what she thought. Poor City of Bones didn’t even get a viewing from her because the actors chosen so did NOT fit what her imagination conjured from the books. Hunger Games: Catching Fire almost met the same fate due to the choice for Finnick but I talked her into going anyway. Was kind of sorry I did. So depressing! And I liked movie Finnick okay but I have to agree with PT and say that he was definitely not book Finnick. I seem to have lost track…again.

Divergent is set in a very run-down and over-grown Chicago in the future. I love love LOVE how they made this look in the movie. The set people deserve major props. Get it?... Props?... Never mind. The populace is divided in to five factions; Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite. Everyone is born into a certain faction but the teenagers are tested to see which faction they are most suited for and then given the choice of which faction they would like stay in/move to; which begs the question of why they need to be tested if they get to choose anyway. To be “Divergent” is to have a test result of Inconclusive. In this case, our heroine (not the drug!) tests well for several factions. This is a huge no-no in good ol’ Chicago. Apparently Divergents think for themselves and cause trouble. Or so the Erudite would like everyone to believe. So, things tend to go a bit downhill for our heroine when others discover what she really is. So not cool.

I liked this movie a lot but, and I hate to say this, I didn’t become immersed in it. I wasn’t part of a faction. I wasn’t welcomed into society. I was an outsider looking in through the entire film. For those of you who think I’ve lost my mind, I have gone to movies in which I was so completely absorbed that I took no notice of anything else going on in the theater. I became part of a different world for those two hours and had to almost give myself a shake when I was dropped back down in to whatever theater in OK. Or CO. Or whatever other state I’m in at the time. I want to blame others in the audience last night for this. I really do. There were quite a few who have never been taught how to act in public. However, if the movie wasn’t lacking in some small way, would the audience really have distracted me that much? Who knows? I liked it enough that I’m going to see it again. And probably again and again as the other movies come out.

To those of you who have already read the book, be prepared. Mack informed me of some major differences between the book and the movie as we were leaving the theater. One of the changes she explained had me completely baffled. Why would they do that? It sounded like the book version would have been just fine left as is. I used to always read the books before the movies came out but too many films have been ruined for me that way. I know PT (my niece) is going to have a few words to say if the movie makers went overboard. Maybe I can convince her to add to this post with her own take on it.

Let’s talk people now. I don’t recall thinking that anyone should not have been cast for their role in Divergent. I did find it difficult to accept a couple of the actors as bad guys but what can you do? Shailene Woodley is our heroine, Tris, formerly known as Beatrice Prior. I wonder if the author was alluding to anything when choosing that surname. I could just be over-thinking things. Having only gotten to know her in the few episodes of The Secret Life of the American Teenager that I’ve seen, I didn’t have much on which to judge Shailene. Yes, I know you shouldn’t judge, but work with me here. Even just seeing her in the trailer for Divergent, I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out but I liked her. I really did. She seemed like the young and courageous teenager she was supposed to be. She could be serious about her training one minute and acting like the young person she is the next. I definitely could not have gone through what Tris did in this film. The first jump? Would NEVER have happened. I’d’ve been pushed. I’m just sayin’. The only thing I found laughable about her character was when she yelled at the people shooting at her. Really? Is that how it’s supposed to work?

Theo James is Four (his name, not his age), our hero and a leader in his faction. Granted, he has to take a back seat to our heroine on several occasions but that’s how it’s supposed to be. In the story. And sometimes in real life. Four becomes Tris’ champion early on. I wanted to hug him for that alone and then…he took off his shirt. My apologies. I only mention it because YaYa and I caused a bit of laughter around us at the theater when that happened. You see, Four has a ginormous tat on his back and he asked Tris is she’d like to see it. YaYa and I answered for her. A little louder than we meant to. Whoops. But seriously, Four is just good people.

Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn are Tris’ parents, Natalie and Andrew. We don’t see much of Andrew so that’s all I’m saying about him but Natalie is well worth mentioning. Unless she makes a drastic change in her style, I will always be a huge fan of Ashley Judd. Her face shows so much emotion that it’s difficult to not be empathetic when watching her. Natalie's sadness at the loss of her children is oh so evident but she’s not out of the picture yet. Oh no! There’s more! Okay, I will mention Andrew again. These people love their children. They are the definition of real parenting. Be there for your children, raise them right, let them make their decisions, make sacrifices to help ensure happy lives and let them go. Granted, the latter is more pronounced in this particular society than in most I know of in reality but still…

Kate Winslet is Jeanine, head of Erudite and Queen of the Universe. Or so she apparently thinks. I never can make up my mind about Kate. My strength of ardor wanes on a movie to movie basis. Sorry, Kate. I strongly disliked her in Divergent but, then again, we were supposed to. Jeanine and the other Erudite’s (and some in the other factions???) are displeased with Abnegation since the people of Abnegation basically run the government. Now, we can’t have that, can we? She is also strongly opposed to any Divergent. When you’re head of Erudite and self-proclaimed Queen of the Universe, that poses a bit of a problem for Divergents, as you can imagine.

Jai Courtney is Eric, jerk extraordinaire! I had such a hard time placing Jai. I was positive I’d seen him somewhere before and knew he played a good guy. I was right. He plays Jack McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard. I liked him in the latter and I liked to hate him in Divergent. I have to admit, though, he looked pretty good in Divergent. Tats and a funky haircut served him well. Looks aside, Eric is a bully and I hated to see Jai like that. I know actors need to be able to play all sorts of roles but my favorites should only ever be good people. Right? His character really bothered me. He was supposed to be a protector but was just the opposite. Every once in a while I thought I caught a spark of sympathy in him but I must have been projecting how I wanted him to be.

I’m going to end the character descriptions with Jai. There were several more I would like to discuss but I’d like this post to end sometime soon. Let’s talk about how Divergent earned its PG-13 rating.

Sex/Nudity – Nope. The worst it gets is Tris stripped down to pants and a bra but she quickly covers up.

Drinking/Drugs/Smoking – Nope. Not that I could tell anyway. Some people are injected with a mind-controlling substance but it wasn’t voluntary so that doesn’t count. That made sense to me anyway.

Cussing – Yes. There were only two, maybe three, cuss words in the ENTIRE FILM!!! How refreshing! Unfortunately, they really weren’t “needed” in the scenes in which they were uttered. They were just insults and not used during times of extreme peril which is really the only time I’m somewhat okay with it. This could have been a cuss-free film. How frustrating.

Violence – Yup. The faction that Tris chose exists to protect the city. To do that, they must know how to fight and fight they do. It’s part of their training and part of their lives. Some of the sparring/fighting is between members of the opposite sex. Parents may need to explain to their children why it’s not okay for boys to hit girls and vice versa. Boys shouldn’t hit boys and girls shouldn’t hit girls either, for that matter. The sparring matches were rough on me. I admit it. Also, there were several implied gunshots to the head. They spared us from actually seeing it happen but if your imagination is functioning you don’t need the visual and that’s just as bad. Several people do die but the blood was kept to a minimum. Having said that, the shoot-‘em-up scenes were nowhere near as bad as Hollywood is making the norm. If you would let your child see Hunger Games, you’d probably let them see this. Rue’s death in HG is still one of the most traumatic movie deaths I’ve ever experienced. If you haven’t seen Hunger Games yet…whoops.

Squidgy moments – I am not thrilled with the thought of needles. It’s a fact. Unfortunately for me and to the amusement of my friends, I had to cover my eyes any time a needle came into view. What’s worse than my dislike of needles? Needles in the neck! I REALLY had to cover my eyes several times because of this. Ick! We get the point already! So to speak.

I did like Divergent and will go see it again. If you haven’t read the book yet, I’d see the movie first if I were you. The only people I wouldn’t recommend this to are young children because they just don’t need to deal with this kind of drama yet. I also wouldn’t recommend it to people who don’t care for violence in film. For those of you who are rolling your eyes at that statement, I’m thrilled that those people still do exist. We still need kind souls in the world. Especially in this day and age. So, anyone who is even remotely interested in this movie should give it a chance. Nothing happened after the credits at the pre-screening so no need to sit through unless you feel inclined to do so.

P.S. Today’s PSA: I do realize that this viewing was free but that does not negate the fact that everyone in that theater came to see a movie, not listen to/deal with the people around them. We especially did not go to listen to the person cluck like a chicken at the top of her lungs for the hour before the movie started. Got old quick. We also did not go to feel the back of our seats constantly kicked or grabbed. These actions are rude. If you are someone who thinks it’s okay to act like this, think about how you feel when the same is done to you. And finally, if you need to unwrap whatever you are consuming, don’t stretch the moment out. Get it over with, for the love of Pete! Okay, I’m done.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Need for Speed (PG-13/130 Min.)

Dear People Who Expect Need for Speed to Stand Based on Plot Alone,

Remember Magic Mike. Most women (and a few men) were not there for the acting. Same goes for Need for Speed. Yes, there is a plot, but we know why anyone would really want to see this. It's for the cars. If you ever played the game, you know the cars are going to be nice, to say the least. Movies are supposed to be a release from your own reality. Need for Speed lives up to that theory. Go see it for the fun of the racing alone.

According to IMDB:

"Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins."

I know I shouldn't tear apart other people's summaries but this one is so far off as to make me wonder if they saw the movie. I didn't care much for the reviews given by the critics listed on IMDB but you can tell they at least attended a screening. The film does not start with our main character getting out of prison. You'll see what lands him there. For some reason, I got that the "wealthy business associate" was someone the main character knew away from the car world. The cross country race? It's against time as our main character has 45 hours to get from New York to "somewhere in California" to be able to compete in the real race. The massive bounty as the race begins? Yup, there was a bounty. When our main character was already a good way across the country and NOT during the actual race (against other cars). See? This is why you should go see it for yourself. Also, if you haven't already seen the trailer, avoid it at all costs. Why is it that the people who make the trailers either tell you the entire story or mix it up so much as to make you believe things are going to happen that just don't?

I just came across this description that I like ever so much better:

"In an exciting return to the great car culture films of the 1960s and ’70s that tap into what makes the American myth of the open road so enticing, “Need for Speed” chronicles a near-impossible cross-country race against time — one that begins as a mission for revenge, but proves to be one of redemption. " -DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC

Now, that's more like it!

This is going to sound incredibly insulting and I truly don't mean it to be but I want to say a quick something about the actors/characters. I'm not going to talk about them individually this time but I'll explain that more in the next paragraph. These are not your typical "beautiful" Hollywood types. Sounds rude, I know. What I mean is, each of these people actually seem attainable. As a not drop-dead gorgeous person myself, I go to movies full of those "beautiful" people and think, "There is no way any of these people would give me the time of day." Yes, that sounds self-deprecating, but come on. We all know that's part of the non-reality (unreality?) of most movies. We go for the fantasy and, you've got to admit, Hollywood does provide. These actors in Need for Speed are, by no means, ugly. My friend Mack said she definitely has a crush on Aaron Paul. I've said all this to say, I wouldn't mind more movies starring actors like this. The fantasy is fine, but the unattainable fantasy gets kind of old. I think the "pretty" people would have hurt, more than helped, this movie. I do realize I got completely off topic. It just needed to be said.

As far as the acting...I'm sorry. It was not Oscar-worthy. But, then again, they know this. Some of it was cheesy, some of it was just guys baggin' on each other, and a small portion of it was the typical "I'm going to make you pay for an injustice you caused so you'd better look out 'cuz I'm coming to get you". And there was the silly but fun repartee between the male and female lead (Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots, respectively). And the predictability! Holy cow!

Now, let's talk cars. I am so not a car person but let me tell you how in love I am with some of these cars. We saw no less than a McLaren P1 (I adore McLarens. No idea why. Just do.), a Saleen S7, a Bugatti Veyron, a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, three, yes, 3, Koenisgegg Agera Rs and, my favorite from the film, a specially modified 2013 Shelby GT500 Mustang. What? It's cute! Stop groaning, car people. I did tell you that I'm not a car person. If you end up liking the Mustang as much as I did, be prepared. Nice things do NOT happen to this car. I just realized that I forgot one of the cars from the race. There were 6 (not including the Mustang). If you see Need for Speed, please let me know what I forgot. Never mind! I just went to the Need for Speed website and they mentioned it. A GTA Spano. And lets not forget all the other modes of transportation included in Need for Speed. We also got to see a teensy little airplane, a news helicopter, a police helicopter, an Army helicopter, a Hummer and multiple other vehicles driven by men wanting to collect the bounty, civilian cars and several different police vehicles. I have a feeling Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor and his boys would LOVE this film. And then there were all the cool cars in the drive-in movie scene.

Please, I beg of you, leave reality at the door. Go ahead and get the eye-rolling and groaning out now. Our main character does drive his car at high speeds while messing with/talking on his cell phone and, at one point, switches seats with another character. Don't get me started on the gassing up scene! Mack had to listen to a lot of, "Bull! Bull, bull, bull!" Sorry, Mack. In all fairness, she'd already seen the movie so I didn't feel as bad as I normally would have.

I'm still not quite sure what defines the difference between a PG and PG-13 movie but following are the reasons this was not rated G. Like they ever rate anything G anymore. We saw one, that we are sure of, death scene. There was cussing but not near as much as you'd expect. They left out the really naughty ones. The favorite was $#!+ and I only counted six or seven. Once again, I'm not condoning cussing but it could've been a lot worse. There were multiple cars wrecks. Shocking, I know. However, there was no nudity, minimal drinking (not before or while driving), and no smoking or [non-prescription] drugs. Only one person got punched so that was the only non-racing violence. I do wish that someone other than Disney had been associated with this film. I don't know that Walt would approve. Omigosh! I'm not sure how I forgot this, but there WAS nudity in the movie. What's the opposite of full frontal? Full backal? We saw the back side of one of the guys. It wasn't difficult to look at either. Thanks for the reminder, Mack.

I wanted to see Need for Speed because I had to see how they were going to turn the game in to a movie. This game is one of a few good memories from my marriage. My ex and I played this all the time. I drove the Viper and I wasn't too shabby, if I do say so myself. Granted, I always got the controller with the actual steering wheel. I never did quite grasp the thumb controls.

You can basically already guess to whom I would recommend Need for Speed. As mentioned before, don't go for the acting. It is secondary to the action. And when the credits start, stay in your seats and don't step on the feet of other people as you start to leave. There is a little bit more. Once that happens, it's all credits, nothing but credits. Give this film some credit and don't let prior "from video games" movies sour you on it. Just turn your brain off and enjoy the ride.

P.S. You can't have a car movie without mentioning Detroit. It gets at least 2 shout-outs that I saw.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Love in the Balance (free ebook)

As some of you may have noticed, I have only written one book review on this site and the book mentioned was written by an author named Regina Jennings. Her second book, Love in the Balance, has been out for a while but the ebook is available today for free!

"Molly Lovelace dreams of being a society leader in 1878 Lockhart, Texas, but being smitten with handsome wrangler Bailey Garner doesn't seem the quickest route. If only he would settle down so he could support a family.

Bailey imagines doing great things for God, but his biggest issue is Molly. As long as he thought they'd be married, he excused their stolen kisses, but when she keeps refusing, he vows to earn her love. In town, he tries his hand at several different trades, but everywhere he turns he runs into the mysterious stranger Edward Pierrepont. No surprise that Molly's always making calf eyes at the wealthy adventurer.

One large fight and some crossed wires later, Molly is prepared to swear off Bailey forever, especially since Pierrepont seems to be hinting at marriage--only he's also about to leave Lockhart. As pressure from Molly's parents grows she is forced into a hasty decision. Has she weighed all her options and will she find love in the balance?"

Get this free book while you can. The third book, Caught in the Middle, comes out this month. If you prefer the paperback version of Love in the Balance, Christianbook has it today for $6.99. Following are a few links to different sites on which you can get your free copy. I've also included the link for the paperback.


Barnes and Noble

Christianbook ebook

Christianbook paperback

If you missed Regina's first book, Sixty Acres and a Bride, you should really check it out. In fact, you really need all three books. No, I haven't read the third book yet but I don't doubt it will be as good as the first two. But, at the very least, go get "Love in the Balance" today. Happy reading!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Oscar Picks

I wasn't going to post my picks this year because I just wasn't confident in my choices and then I thought I should just in case I ended up being right. No post. No bragging rights. So, here goes!

So, I agreed with the Academy on only 11 categories this year. Following are the winners. All changes are in italics.


Original Screenplay:

Adapted Screenplay:
Captain Phillips
12 Years a Slave

Visual Effects:
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Star Trek: Into Darkness


Sound Mixing:
The Hobbit

Sound Editing:
Lone Survivor

Live Action Short Film:
(If "That Wasn't Me" wins, I'll be ill.)

Animated Short Film:
Mr. Hublot (followed closely by)
Room on the Broom (This was a very cute film though.)

Production Design:
The Great Gatsby

Let It Go

Original Score:
Saving Mr. Banks

Makeup and Hairstyling:
Dallas Buyers Club

Foreign Language Film:
The Broken Circle Breakdown
(Mainly because it's the only one I saw)
The Great Beauty

Film Editing:
Captain Phillips
Gravity (yeah, I kinda hedged my bets on this and a few others)

Documentary Short:
Lady in No. 6 (I so wanted this to win but Spike didn't think it would. Well, HA!)

20 Feet from Stardom


The Grandmaster
The Great Gatsby

The Grandmaster

Animated Feature:

Actress in a Supporting Role:
Julia Roberts
(Though I think the Academy will pick Jennifer Lawrence)

Lupita Nyong'o (what a breath of fresh air!)

Actor in a Supporting Role:
Barkhad Abdi
(Though I think they'll pick Bradley Cooper)

Jared Leto

Actress in a Leading Role:
Sandra Bullock
(I just really want her to win)

Cate Blanchett (I love you, Cate, but Sandra so deserved that win)

Actor in a Leading Role:
Leonardo DiCaprio
(Him too)

Matthew McConaughey (I don't care what anyone says, his speech was weird.)

Captain Phillips

12 Years a Slave (was not unhappy with this choice but I find it hard to believe that Gravity could win so many other awards and not take this one)

Those are my guesses. I'll let you know how I did (in case you don't watch the show).