Tag Archives: Romeo and Juliet

Oaxaca, 2011

It was a long bus trip to Oaxaca, distance was a factor I hadn’t thought of fully when we decided to come to Mexico- everything was a little further than I thought. It’s hard to pick a favorite place in in the country, but Oaxaca definitely made the top three, so it was worth it when we got there.

My husband and I stayed in an authentic hotel with gothic style rooms and courtyard gardens. Perhaps it was a mistake to try the local mescal- a moonshine version of tequila- after such a long trip. One shot in the Alice in Wonderland themed bar and it was down the rabbit hole for me.

The next day, we wandered down the Alcala, a closed off walking street lined with buildings, to the main square with the usual Cathedral and state Government palace. The iconic Hotel Monte Alban also overlooked the square that was filled with the sounds of musicians and the sights of the market.

I bought a pair of earrings from a local mountain tribe seller and an Alebrijes lizard. Alebrijes are wooden painted animals, originally made as toys for children, that are unique to Mexico. They were so colourful and beautiful that I wish we had the foresight and luggage space to buy more.

We went to an authentic mole restaurant in the house of a local woman to try mole, as Oaxaca claims to be the originator of the popular Mexican sauce. First time around, I thought it tasted like dirt. Another evening, we had mole with duck in a fine dining restaurant called Los Danazantez that had a lovely open air courtyard of water features and a large wooden bar. It was better second time around, so I can see how the locals have acquired a taste for it.

Oaxaca is a town of colour, flowers, black pottery and pushed tin. At times, I felt like I was on the set of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet. It is also a town of churches and temples, so we visited Iglesia de Santa Domingo.

Inside was plethora of gold with the Santa Domingo family tree on the roof. In the grounds of the monastery next door there was elaborate courtyards with marble pillars and lots of painting of monks on the walls.

The view over the cactus garden to the mountains from one of the arched windows was beautiful. Also housed here the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca with many statues, gold painted balconies and saints on cornices.

That evening we visited a rooftop bar overlooking Iglesia de Santa Domingo and felt like we were on top of the world.

Related posts: Mexico City, 2011

What came in best- the book or the movie?

After seeing Gone Girl on the long weekend, I got to thinking about movies based on books.

The general rule is that the book is always better than the movie. I think this is because your own imagination is better than anything they can produce in Hollywood. It is also a testament to the quality of writing that provides the back story and inner thoughts of the characters as the action unfolds.

In the case of Gone Girl, I think the movie was better in some ways. By not providing her back story, the lead character Amy seems even more terrifying. However, the media beat up about the ending being different was wrong – the last line was different, but the result was the same.

Also, as much as I love him, I don’t think Ben Affleck being cast as Nick was the right choice. He was just not slick enough and not how I imagined the character to be at all. Perhaps Matt Damon would have been a better choice? (ha ha!).

I had a similar problem with Twilight. In the book, the character was a strong female, but in the first movie Kristen Stewart was just whiny! The trilogy did improve as the confidence of the actors and special effects did, but the inner dialogue between the wolves was not the best- although it is a hard concept to communicate through film.

One Day stayed true to the book, but somehow still missed the mark in making the transition from good film to great film. Perhaps due to the casting?

He’s just not that into you was very well done- I liked the intersecting stories and the casting was brilliant. I think the movie was actually far better than the book as it fictionalised the non-fiction which made it more personal.

Both the Devil Wears Prada and Confessions of a Shopaholic were excellent as books and as movies. The light hearted content make them very adaptable. Kudos to fellow Aussie chick Isla Fisher for playing the kooky character Becky in the latter perfectly- one might say even better than in the book.

Bridget Jones’s Diary was a great movie which earned a bit of a cult following. The sequel, not so much. Both movies stayed true to the book, so I’m not really sure what happened there?!

The same thing happened with the Sex and the City movie. First film good, second one a flop. Perhaps sequels are never as good as the originals. I’m pretty sure that was a lesson we already learnt in the 80’s right?!

The first Lord of the Rings movie was nowhere near as good as the books and I stopped watching after the first one. As previously mentioned, my dad used to read the books to me as a child, so perhaps my memory will always be greater than the movies.

I thought Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet was a very clever adaption to bring Shakespeare’s play into the 20th Century. The racy music and well-timed action would have been easy to understand even for those without the knowledge of the playwright and ye olde English.

Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire didn’t have enough of Louis’s back story at the beginning, but made up for it in the greatly gothic rest of the film. The sequel, The Queen of the Damned, was a terrible adaptation of the book. Anne Rice was not involved in the screenplay (as she was in Interview with the Vampire), which is an essential ingredient in a successful book to movie shift.

So here you have it- my golden rules for a successful adaptation from book to movie:

  1. Stay true to the book content
  2. Appropriate character casting
  3. Get the author of the book involved in the movie screenplay
  4. Don’t bother with the sequel

Cut!

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By special request…

When I was a teenager, all my friends wanted to go to the Big Day Out and I just wanted to see a Janet Jackson concert.

When I started to go out, I got right into dance music and I had all the Ministry of Sound albums. I danced for hours at the Krafty Kuts show and went to music festivals like Good Vibrations and Harbourlife.

My entire CD collection was stolen while I was at university, which probably doesn’t sound so bad in these days of iTunes technology, but at the time it was devastating. Even after replacing many albums, my collection has never been the same.

Working in grass roots events early on in my career, I found myself driving all day with a packed car to places like Parkes and Gunnedah. My CD’s were my friends on these drives- they would pass the time, keep me awake and exercise my vocal chords.

In melancholy moods I listen to The Cranberries, Portishead or Dido. In more upbeat times I favour Texas, Fat Boy Slim or Black Eyed Peas. I have always liked Sheryl Crow and her wonderful lyrics.

But my all-time favourite band is Garbage. My friend Sarah introduced me to their debut album in 1997 and I have been a fan ever since. After not releasing an album for seven years, “Not Your Kind of People” hit the shelves in 2012 and I was lucky enough to catch their accompanying live show in Sydney.

My mum first took me to a musical when I was younger and I have been addicted to show tickets ever since.

I will go to pretty much anything by Shakespeare and have dragged my husband to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet.

I love watching the ballet at the Sydney Opera House and have been lucky enough to see The Nutcracker at Christmas time and most recently, Cinderella.

Of course, my obsession with vampires has led me to see more than one show at Dracula’s.

I like to catch a show while travelling and have seen Lady Salsa on the Gold Coast, Cirque Du Soleil in Las Vegas, the Lion King in London and Avenue Q in New York.

Recent musicals that I have enjoyed are Strictly Ballroom for the Spanish dancing, Legally Blonde for American cheese and Priscilla Queen of the Desert for the fabulous costumes.

But my favourite musical so far is Chicago which I saw after a bottle of wine with my bestie on a Melbourne girl’s trip. The question is- was it the wine, the company or the show? Perhaps a combination of all three.

Thanks to all my theatre buddies past and present- you know who you are! I hope you have enjoyed the show as much as I have.

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TV Replays and Movie Marathons

When I was younger, Berry did not get commercial television. I used to rush home from school every day to watch Sesame Street, Postman Pat and Mr Squiggle. My punishment for being naughty was not being grounded, but being grounded from television.

When I went to visit my cousins in Canada as a teenager I was amazed at the number and channels and the variety of shows that they had. They introduced me to Beverly Hills 90210 and I was already a fan by the time it aired in Australia. I grew up with the show through high school and used to write plot summaries and buy the magazine. I also watched the spin off, Melrose Place.

Anyone who was invited to my thirtieth birthday party knows that my all-time favourite show is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After having watched the original movie dozens of times, I was very happy when the TV series started and then came Angel as the spin off, Kindred: the Embraced and now The Vampire Diaries and the spin off The Originals.

I liked the strong women element in Buffy, so I also enjoyed Charmed, Sex and the City and the spin off Lipstick Jungle.

I dreamed of American college life in great cities and got right into Felicityset in New York, Party of Five set in San Francisco and Hellcats about competitive college cheer leading.

When reality television came out I thought it would never last. Thank god for re-released box sets and the revamping of the old nineties hits into the new 90210 and the new Melrose Place to fill the void.

But I eventually got hooked on Temptation Island, The Bachelor and The Amazing Race just like everyone else.

My mum loves the movies and got me hooked on movie marathons as a teenager.

My top movie marathons by genre from classic to new are:

  • American just for entertainment fluffy films- Clueless or My Best Friend’s Wedding, followed by Bring It On or The Sweetest Thing, finish with a visit to the cinema to watch The Other Woman
  • Supernatural- Dracula or The Craft, followed by Underworld and then Red Riding Hood- one of the more recent movies cleverly based on the darker side of fairy tales
  • Tragic love stories- Romeo and Juliet or Chasing Amy, followed by Closer, finish with a visit to the cinema to watch of a French film for a dose of reality and relationships
  • Comedy cult movies- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Van Wilder: Party Liaison, followed by Hitch and then The Hangover
  • Action films- Point Break, Charlie’s Angels and Layer Cake
  • Scary, but not really scary films- Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Final Destination- scary films these days are too real for me
  • Reese Witherspoon- Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama
  • Kate Hudson- How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, Le Divorce and Bride Wars
  • Jennifer Anniston- Along Came Polly, The Break Up (Vince Vaughn is also hilarious) and Just Go With It.

Happy watching!

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