Saturday, September 29, 2012

My "Perks of Being a Wallflower" Review

Last night, I finally saw Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I felt I had been waiting all year for it to come out, so even though I had tissues with me, I actually spent the entire film with a huge smile on my face just because I was so happy to finally be watching it.

As I mentioned in my blog before, this movie is based on a book by the same name.  When I read the book oh-so-many years ago, I was mostly enchanted by the English teacher who kept giving Charlie all these great books to read.  I related to that, having had a great English teacher who assigned books that went on to become an integral part of who I am as a reader, writer, and person.  Why he couldn't look like Paul Rudd is beyond me.  Life, you are not fair.  But I digress...

The film lived up to my expectations.  I loved the look, the feel, the sound of it.  The soundtrack wasn't just fantastic and filled with great songs, it also made sense.  The music told just as much of each character's story as the scenes themselves did.  Life changes the moment you get some Bowie in your life.  There's never a reason to not belt out a monster rock ballad.  We all have "living room routines" that we're just waiting to show off when the right song plays.  These musical moments of the film were real and part of what made the entire film feel like I was watching these kids as they lived their lives, instead of watching a film about kids living their lives.

The performances themselves were "revelations."  I just wanted to say that since every other reviewer seems to be using that word as the new way of saying "awesome."  Well, I'm pretty sure they mean "awesome" by it...    They're not lying though.  Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Emma Watson do an incredible job carrying this film.  Emma's American accent wasn't perfect, but it occurred to me that it didn't have to be.  Some people just talk weird.  In my head, Sam just talked a little weird.  Maybe she was trying to be ironically pretentious, okay?  Would you put it past Sam?  I wouldn't.

Ezra Miller broke my heart toward the end.  This was my first time seeing his talent and I can now say that I understand the hype.  He played Patrick with a subtlety that I'm sure anyone else wouldn't have thought to use for this character.  On the flip side, Logan Lerman played Charlie with a self-awareness that I'm sure anyone else would've left out of their portrayal.  It would be so easy to make Patrick and Charlie high school stereotypes, one-layered caricatures of what the audience expects that person to be like, but neither Ezra or Logan took the easy way out, and they both ended up shining.

Going into the film, I was a little worried about the chemistry between Hermione Granger and Percy Jackson.  Let's be real, she only has eyes for Ron, and he has a thing for Annabeth.  This was not going to end well.  Okay, that wasn't the real reason why I was worried.  Just like everything else in the book, the relationship between Sam and Charlie is based on subtlety, so I was worried that if I blinked, I'd miss it.  Luckily it was very much there.  You could tell that Sam cared so incredibly much for Charlie, and you could see the hearts in Charlie's eyes.  They didn't even need dialogue.  The looks were there, as were the quiet moments, the thoughtful stares, the stolen glances...  It was a revelation!

However, I will give props to the dialogue anyway.  Being a writer, the idea of taking one of my own books and directing it myself is a pipe dream.  Unless some weird stroke of incredible luck suddenly befalls my existence (for the record, I'm not adverse to this happening), chances are that Stephen Chbosky is the luckiest writer ever.  EVER.  And I can't even hate on the guy because he took that opportunity, ran with it, and created a work of art.  I have nothing but respect.  I understand what it's like to know how your book feels and sounds.  To be able to bring that to life has to be up there in the scheme of great life moments.  Probably somewhere between hitting the lotto and eating french fries on a daily basis with no negative health effects.  (Again, for the record, I'm not adverse to any of these things happening.)  My point is that Chbosky had a vision, and I'm grateful to him for sharing it with us.

In closing, sometimes you leave a movie theater satisfied, entertained, and in the mood for a late night snack.  After watching Perks of Being a Wallflower, I left feeling all these things along with this innate sense of knowing I had just watched a personal and honest piece by an artist with a vision.  It put me in a creative mood and I woke up this morning with a new scene in my head for my novel.  Thanks, Perks!  Now I'm going to put on my playlist, listen to some Bowie, and go write.  Oh my God ... I'm Charlie!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I admit it. I'm obsessed.

If any of you have been keeping up with my twitter, tumblr or pinterest, you've probably noticed that I reblog a lot of things pertaining to the upcoming film, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  For those of you who don't know, it's a film based upon the book of the same name written by Stephen Chbosky.  I first read this book back in early 2000 when it was all the buzz and people swore you had to read it.  I think I was a little too old at the time to really be moved by it as so many young people have, but at the time I appreciated the music and literary references more than the actual story.  Fast forward to a little more than a decade later when the author himself decided to direct his own film (what a concept!), and he put together a flawless cross-fandom cast consisting of Hermione Granger, Percy Jackson, and Katara, and suddenly all these years later, not only am I interested, but I'm flat out obsessed with the whole thing.  Nothing pulls me in quicker than six degrees of fandom.  Seriously.  Oh and did I mention Paul Rudd?  Paul freaking Rudd plays the English teacher that gives Charlie all these amazing books to read.  I might need an intervention.

If you didn't catch the MTV First interview last night with the cast, you should.  I really love Emma Watson, and I adore Logan Lerman, and I don't know much about Ezra Miller, but if all the reviews are to be believed, he's about to rock everyone's world.  Check out the interview!
I'm so excited.  I don't think I've been this excited for a film since Deathly Hallows Part 2.  I'll probably do a review of it after I see it next weekend when it comes out here in DC.  I can't promise my review will consist of anything outside of "OMG" and "Dead," but I'll try and write something coherent.  If you haven't seen the trailer yet, then check it out.

In other literary news, the National Book Festival is happening this weekend!  I can't wait to go and listen to great authors speak about their work, do readings, and essentially inspire.  Unfortunately I won't be able to make it to both days, but I'll be there Sunday having a great time and hopefully tweeting live from the event.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Here, There, and Everywhere

These past few months have been quite a journey for me.  Sometimes you have to take that moment in time to live life instead of writing about it, so as person after person came to visit, my writing had to take a backseat and my life had to be lived.  There were some great journeys along the way, a lot of great conversations and catching up with the people I love the most, and new inspiration picked up in the oddest of places.  Now, however, the focus is back on writing.  In the meantime, I'll leave you with my top 10 wackiest and most memorable moments of the past few months.
#10: I attended my first ever rain delayed baseball game. 
It was the Giants vs. Nationals, and it was also my first time at Nationals Park.  It's pretty, but I like the feel of Camden Yards more.

#9: I discovered Chesapeake City. 
My friend and I went driving up the Chesapeake Bay and discovered this tiny little town built along the canal.  It has a tall bridge, unique shops, and a little dock where we met a man trying to catch crabs.  He caught a really nice blue crab and we watched it skitter away from the trap while the guy talked to us.

#8: I randomly ended up at a One Direction concert. 
YOLO?  My friends and I were visiting our friend in NYC when we stumbled upon a ton of screaming girls and a long line for a matinee concert.  (What's a matinee concert?  And why don't more exist?  This idea was genius.)   So we waited to see if we could get tickets, and we did.  This is the last thing I thought I'd be doing this day, but it was fun.  I support the return of boy bands.

#7: I went cruising through the Thousand Islands. 
My mom and I went up to Canada to visit my great aunt who lives in the Thousand Islands region.  This is where Thousand Island dressing was invented!

#6: I went to Montreal. 
It was my first time ever there and it was pretty neat.  They have a ton of churches so my mom and I spent most of our time checking each one out (including the one in the picture where Celine Dion got married).  We also stumbled upon the Montreal Jazz Festival while we were there.  

#5: I walked across a wooden suspension bridge. 
My friend and I took a road trip to the mountains in Western Maryland, and we stumbled upon this little river called the Savage River.  It was really pretty and there was this wooden suspension bridge that we had fun crossing, although admittedly, I didn't realize until I was on it that it actually moved.  But once I came to terms with that, I had fun walking on it and taking pictures of the beautiful scenery.

#4: I found true love in the form of food. 
While in Montreal I discovered that they have a signature dish called "poutine."  I wasn't sure what it was until my mom's cousin explained it to us and took us to get some.  Essentially, it's french fries, topped with gravy and curdled cheese.  You can also get any other topping on it that you want, and I went with bacon.  In case you guys didn't know, I have an addiction to french fries.  They're my favorite food ever in the history of foods.  This was amazing.

#3: I discovered an old abandoned iron furnace. 
I love ruins.  Whenever I stumble upon a ruin, I just have to take pictures and explore it to its fullest.  On our jaunt through the Maryland mountains, we came across a small town called Lonaconing which has this massive old iron furnace just sitting there in one of their town parks.  It's so cool looking!

#2: I celebrated my birthday. 
Go me!  I spent my birthday eating.  First there was my birthday lunch with my work crew, then it was my birthday dinner with my friends.  For my birthday dinner I chose Cuban food.  What better way to celebrate a birthday than by eating tostones and drinking JupiƱa?

#1: I survived my first Derecho!
I can't even begin to explain how scary that was.  We were left without power for two days which was unbearable because it was 104 degrees.  I'd rather not go through this again.

So there you have it.  And now, it is time to live in my head instead.  At least for a little while. :)