Tag Archives: Twilight

It’s an American Thing

My favorite city in America is San Francisco with its Golden Gate Bridge. I can image myself living in one of the city’s terraces on a steep hill. A New York loft in Soho comes in a close second, just a short subway ride from Central Park.

And then there is Las Vegas, where you can see the whole world in one place, San Diego where you can see all the animals in the whole world in one place and Los Angeles where you can see all the stars in the whole world in one place.

One of my favorite trips in America was a Californian road trip along Route 66 and Big Sur- seeing the natural beauty of Joshua Tree National Park and the Grand Canyon plus the man made mansion Hearst Castle along the way. California just has so much to offer. There are ghost towns in the desert, seals on the coast and redwoods in Yosemite.

My bestie is from the tiny town of Stuart, Nebraska- a four-hour drive through cornfields from Omaha. I was lucky enough to be included in their annual 4th July celebrations and it was really something special to be welcomed as one of the family.

Of course, my love affair with American culture started early on with Snow White and a trip to Disneyland. I always wondered what it would be like to go to a real American high school like in Buffy, or a real American college like in Beverly Hills 90210 or go to a football game with real American cheerleaders like in Hellcats.

Anne Rice and Twilight peaked my interest in visiting the Deep South and Washington State. The Vampire Diaries and The Originals have made me want to visit Georgia and New Orleans. Gilmore Girls makes me want to go to New England and let’s not forget Sex and the City for New York inspiration, cosmopolitan style.

Which brings me to shopping of course. You can get anything you want at ridiculously low prices compared to Australia, which probably explains why most of us shop online these days.

There is the tasty simplicity of the classic American diner, the best Mexican food and margarita’s outside of Mexico and buffalo ribs smoked the right way. If you have room for desert, there is jello pie, smores and Twizzlers.

The country is so varied, that I can see why you may never want to leave. If you want mountains, you can go to Colorado, if you want water parks, you go to Florida, if you want a history lesson, you go to Washington DC.

I would love to visit a plantation in Louisiana, party for a night in Miami and drift up the coast of Oregon. It would be great to stay in a Boston brownstone, a Chicago skyscraper or a Hampton’s mansion.

The people are friendly, welcoming and enthusiastic about their country. Yes, America has a bit of something for everyone, and I guess that’s what makes the country so great in the first place.

Related posts: It’s a Canadian Thing, San Francisco, 2007- Part 1: Falling in love again, Las Vegas, 2007, USA Road tip, 2007Disneyland, 2007, Los Angeles, 2007New York, 2005, Part 2: Sex and the City Style, TV replays and movie marathons, USA, 1990

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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Books, books and more books

I always loved reading as a child. My dad used to read the Lord of the Rings to me as a bedtime story.

When I started reading myself I loved Enid Blyton and May Gibbs and spent all my pocket money on book club. I think reading was a kind of escape for me and it was definitely a good way to pass a long plane trip.

In my teenage years I loved Dolly fiction and Sweet Valley High. I related most to the straight laced Elizabeth who wanted to be a journalist and always wondered what happened to her. What happens to all these vivid characters that were such a part of my growing up when the novels end? I found out three years ago when the novel Sweet Valley Confidential- ten years later- came out!

I stopped reading for pleasure during university when reading became homework.

Then I picked up an Anne Rice novel in an airport and have had a great love of vampire novels ever since- long before they were cool and the Twilight and Blue Bloods series came out.

I also enjoy a good travel memoir such as “Oh Mexico” by Lucy Neville, particularly if I have been to the place they are writing about.

But I mostly read chick lit set in big cities or with a bit of travel thrown in- stories about women and relationships that I can relate to and enjoy as light entertainment.

My favorite recommended authors are:

  • Candace Bushnell- author of Sex and the City
  • Lauren Weisberger- author of the Devil Wears Prada
  • Sophie Kinsella- author of Confessions of a Shopaholic
  • Lindsey Kelk- love her novels based in different cities from London to Las Vegas and her new series about a woman reinventing herself  is also interesting
  • Melanie La’Brooy– Australian author writing about finding love and babies in Sydney and Melbourne respectively
  • Anita Heiss– Australian author writing about strong female characters living in Sydney and Brisbane

I hope I have inspired you to pick up a new read and enjoy!

Related posts: Travel rememberings, Relationships: My five (per) cents worth