Monday, July 17, 2006

Mondays are a Terrible Way to Spend One Seventh of Your Life

I've posted the prologue from THE MARK over at Killer Year. Obviously this is WAY early in the process, so things could change. But what the heck, I figured. Let me know what you think.

I saw "The Devil Wears Prada" this weekend as well. Left the theater with very mixed reactions. Overall I enjoyed it, and it's the current runner-up to "Bridget Jones's Diary" in the "Chick Flicks I thought I'd hate but ended up thinking were pretty good" category ("Little Black Book" starring Brittany Murphy is at the bottom. I still haven't forgiven Sue for dragging me to that).

But what troubled me wasn't that I liked "Prada," but that I felt I should have liked it more. In that it was a good story with some terrific performances, but the movie was submarined by some terrible casting choices and insecurity about its own material.

Pros: A deliciously evil Meryl Steep as Miranda Wintour...I mean Priestly. The always good Stanley Tucci as her trod-upon second in command. A hilarious turn by Emily Blunt as Miranda's snobby First Assistant who wouldn't be caught dead in the outfit Hathaway wears to her interview.

Cons: A bland performance by Anne Hathaway that would make a vanilla milkshake jealous. A blander "I'm still playing Vincent Chase, only in cheaper clothing" performance by Adrien Grenier. A musical score that tries to compensate for the wooden Hathaway by artificially creating the mood via sappy/energetic/frenetic pop ballads. Or as Roger Ebert would say, "My Life is Described by this Stupid Song."

So "Prada" was disappointing in an odd way, in that I enjoyed it, but felt it should have been a lot better. A lot of great pieces fell into place, but a few others were shoehorned in that clearly didn't fit (cough cough Anne, cough cough Aquaman). Overall I'd recommend it. A solid 'B' that with some more tuning could have been a B+ or an A-.

Still not gonna read the book, though.

Let me pose a question...what are some notable books/movies/albums/shows that you fully expected to hate, but ended up liking?

14 Comments:

Blogger Richard said...

Jason,
ThrillerFest was cool even at 110 degrees in the shade. I have added your blog to my own at http://satorikick.com if that's okay!
Best,
Richard Cooper

10:58 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Of course it's ok, thanks for the add, and thanks for reading!
-J

11:42 AM  
Blogger Dave White said...

Too many blogs are posting about the Devil Wears Prada... and the worst part is, it's all guys doing it.

Movies I expected to hate, but ended up liking.... Sahara is the one off the top of my head. National Treasure the other.

The new Red Hot Chilli Peppers is an album I expected to hate, but actually love.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

That made my stomach sink...why are so many guys writing about Devil Wears Prada? Maybe because we're all shocked that it's not bad, but that's still troubling.

When I was in high school, I went to a weekly film series with my friend Mike. One night they showed this movie called "Fargo." I stupidly had never heard of the Coen brothers, and on paper the film sounded boring as hell. Now Fargo is one of my all-time favorites.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Dave White said...

Oh Fargo, right!

I remember my friend describing it to me as the "best intentionally bad movie ever." and thinking I was going to hate it too...

Great flick.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Allison Brennan said...

1) I couldn't get through the book and really have no intention of seeing the movie. I don't get a lot of movie time so I am very picky.

2) That said, I'd almost go see it for Stanley Tucci. Love him.

3) Last movie I expected to hate and liked? CARS by Pixar. I love Pixar movies, but I couldn't see how they were going to make an interesting movie about race cars (probably because I'm a girl). I was happily wrong. It's not as good as the others, but I enjoyed it.

Ditto on NATIONAL TREASURE. My older kids were dying to see it and they had to drag me to it. Am I the only person in the work who doesn't see the allure of Nicholas Cage? But I really enjoyed it and (gasp) even liked him in the role.

Now a movie I expected to love and didn't was A SOUND OF THUNDER. Maybe because this was one of my two favorite Ray Bradbury stories. I LOVED the opening with the dinosaur and the bridge and stepping off the path--and everything after I didn't buy into.

4)

12:31 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Brain Bomb said...

I'm going to have to compulsively return to your page throughout the day, I think, as I remember more things. I'll begin with these books I thought I would enjoy much more than I really did. The Third Secret by Steve Berry and The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury. Just goes to show you must move beyond the best seller lists. As for movies I thought I would enjoy much more there's Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother and Dark Habits. The last Mission Impossible and Solaris. I was particularly upset with that movie because I saw it at a "nice" theater downtown and therefore paid full price. That'll teach me.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Watch 'n Wait said...

Couple of comments on The Mark's opening paragraph:

Right as I was about to die, I

Perhaps: Just as I...
: As I...
: About to die...

My panicked eyes leapt to the body at my feet,

Eyes don't leap about...

...body at my feet sounds as though there are two people...the one looking at the body and the second one at the looker's feet...

11:56 PM  
Blogger Bernita said...

usually it's the other way around for me. Movies I expect to like turn out to be a disappointment.
Do not understand the current dislike for figurative language as in "eyes leaped."
Seems the literalists think (a) reader's are incapable of making their own leap and (b) we should all be reduced to repetitions of the word "gaze."
Somebody shoulda told Shakespeare: "Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears."

8:01 AM  
Blogger Bill Cameron said...

But . . . . Shakespeare can't have my ears. I'm using them.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Perhaps I'll change it to:

"My eyes jumped out of their sockets and began dancing to the strains of Chumbawumba's 'Tubthumping.'"

5:26 PM  
Blogger December Quinn said...

LOL Jason!

I agree the nitpicking about what body parts do or don't do bugs me. We're in danger of losing some of our most colorful and illustrative metaphors because of it...but I've already been tagged about it by editors, so now I substitute "gaze" and grit my teeth while I do it.

I expect to hate a lot of stuff my husband makes me read and watch, but usually end up liking it. So "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", various comic books, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Free Enterprise (the movie), and Young Indiana Jones.

I will never, ever, ever start liking Billy Joel, though. Never. (And thankfully hubs is coming around on that one.)

7:41 PM  
Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

I LOVE Chumbawumba's 'Tubthumping'.

Tremors with Kevin Bacon and...that other guy. The description on the Sci-Fi Channel listings sounded godawful. Hooked me right away. Now I find myself stopping to watch it every time it's on.

Yes, yes. I've discussed it with my therapist. I'm coming to terms. Slowly.

1:54 AM  
Blogger Sara Hantz said...

Most memorable movie I expected to hate and loved was Matrix. I'm a total chick flick/rom com addict yet this totally blew me away.

7:16 PM  

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