Jeff Guinn has rapidly became my favorite nonfiction writer. Late last year, I read his excellent book about the infamous Gunfight at the OK Corral and then back in May I read and profiled his most recent release, a superb examination of Jim Jones and Jonestown.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, I read another Guinn book, his examination of infamous Depression-era bandits Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. Mary-Esther has urged me to read it for years–she’s the one who put Guinn on my reading radar–and thanks again to her for introducing me to such a wonderful writer! (Thanks also to my dad for buying me the book. He couldn’t resist reading it himself before he gave it to me, which is just about the best endorsement of the book I can think of. Thanks, Dad!)
Continue reading “From Page to Screen: Bonnie and Clyde”
So, here’s a confession that will surprise nobody who knows me: I rarely like the hero in a story.
Ever since I was a child, I vastly preferred villains in books, movies, and television. And I don’t mean anti-heroes who you’re supposed to like or squishy villains who feel bad about themselves. No, the badder, the better.
Compared to the hero, good villains–by which I mean really bad villains–almost always have more memorable lines and better clothes. They always seem to be enjoying themselves way more than the hero ever does and usually have a great sense of humor (okay, a dark sense of humor but still a sense of humor) and usually are smarter or at least seem to display more ambition and basic organizational skills than the hero.
This love for villains started early. When I was 5 or 6, my favorite television show was Skeleton Warriors. I watched it faithfully every Saturday morning to see the adventures of Skeletor and, well, his skeleton warriors. I was so disheartened to never find anyone who knew what I was talking about anytime I talked to someone my age about cartoons.
It was only years later when I was in my mid-20s that I realized I had been watching He-Man and had somehow convinced myself that the show was actually about the bad guy. I still think rather fondly about Skeletor and his pet Panthor, but for the life of me, I cannot remember a single thing about He-Man himself. I don’t think I noticed him as a child, either. He wasn’t on my radar because he had nothing on Skeletor!
I have changed little as an adult in that regard. And since it is Halloween, I thought I’d pay tribute to some of my favorite vampiric villains in cinema.
Continue reading “Movie Double Feature: Dracula (1931)/Near Dark (1987)”
Call me crazy but family secrets, tell-all tales, and circus freaks do go together . . . at least in this movie and book combination!
Last year, one of our library patrons, Vernon, watched 1930s cult classic circus film Freaks and told me, while he was returning it, that it was one of the strangest movies he’d ever seen. He encouraged me to watch it. I imagine because he wanted someone else to confirm that, yes, it’s an odd movie.
So, I did watch Freaks, and about the same time, our library director Julie told me that she had just read a book (Truevine) that mentioned several of the circus performers featured in Freaks. I was not doing “From Page to Screen” features at the time, but I already was thinking about doing something like it and filed this away as a potential combination to write about it in the future. (Thanks to both Vernon and Julie for the suggestions!)
Usually I write about the book and then the movie, but I am reversing that order for this blog. My blog, my rules!
Continue reading “From Page to Screen: Freaks (1932) and Truevine (2016)”
I’ve talked on here before about my hesitance concerning depressing animal books for children.
There are a lot of books/movies that could be added to the list of depressing animal stories for kids, and Old Yeller is definitely one of them.
However, even though it is the granddaddy of all depressing animal books for kids, it is a story that I have a soft spot for. In fact, I’ve reread it a few times and always enjoy it. I can’t deny that it is terribly sad, but I think it has a lot of good things to offer before it rips your heart out and depresses you for days.
Though the book is something I have revisited on numerous occasions as an adult, I have not watched the movie since I was a child. I remedied that this past weekend.
As always, beware–some spoilers do follow.
Continue reading “From Page to Screen: Old Yeller”
A few months ago when our blog first debuted, we hosted a “meet the blogger” reception at the library to boost patron awareness and also to provide readers with a forum for suggesting topics/books/movies for me to write about. One of the people I chatted with that day–Stephanie–asked me if I’d ever watched the classic comedy Harvey. When I told her that I knew the basic story line but had never seen it, she requested that I write about it.
Harvey is one of those movies that I’ve always heard about. I knew it starred Jimmy Stewart and that he has an imaginary friend, a giant rabbit. But that was about all I knew about the film. I’m glad Stephanie recommended it to me because it’s hilarious!
Continue reading “Ask The Blogger: Harvey (1950)”