Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Glimpse into a Different Perspective

I just finished reading Minding Ben by Victoria Brown.

I think it's a good thing that I read this book, but I don't know that I would have wanted to pay money for it. Intellectually, it was something interesting for me to read. Based on Brown's own experiences, the book details a girl from a Trinidadian island who comes to America at 16, is abandoned by her own family, and has to find her own way. If she goes back home, she won't ever be able to come back to America, and because America has more opportunities than her life back home would, she's willing to put up with A LOT of shit from the American trademark: the asshole.

Since I am not an illegal immigrant from a warm location where life can seem stagnant and never-changing, I could not really relate. That is why I think that reading this book was a good experience for me. It really opened my eyes a bit. Sometimes, people, at times, have falsely accused me of being a grammar Nazi. I'm totally not - mostly because my comprehension of grammar isn't good enough to reach that level of tyrrany - but I do like for a sentence to be well put together. So initially, a lot of the dialogue kind of irked me. In fact, if anyone who has grown up in America had written this, I would have called it pretentious and overbearing. But the writer didn't put her dialogue together in the manner that she did to make fun of anyone - it's based on her personal experiences. Once I thought about it that way, I realized I was being a bitch and that I deserved the eye-opening.

I felt like the book was realistic, but I also felt that it was slightly meandering. The plot did not seem tightly constructed. Now, those of you who have been reading my blogs for awhile or who know me in person already know I have ADD, so about halfway through the book, I was wishing I was done and anticipating the next novel on my TBR list (which kept changing, by the way, and culminated in Red Riding Hood).

One of my other problems was the strength I previously mentioned: I really didn't understand the protagonist Grace. I haven't lived through her life experiences, of course - but it wasn't just that. I have empathy. I really like to be able to put myself in the character's shoes. And Grace just didn't seem to add up correctly. Smart, adventurous, headstrong - I get that. But I only get that impression from what other characters say to her. I don't see it in her actions. In fact, Grace repeatedly perpetrates actions which give me the exact opposite impression of her. This character ambiguity, in particular, really irked me.

So, like I said earlier, I'm glad that I read the book. I feel like it broadened my horizons. Yet, I don't know that I recommend buying the book.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

First Blog of February - WHOO!

Now that I have seen "Stripped to Kill," I thought I would do a quick review of the movie.

I'm sure that many of you who, like me, like to watch horrible movies so you can laugh & make fun of them, wanted to watch the movie simply b/c of the title.

Well, if you love horribly campy '80s movies, this flick is definitely suited to your tastes. If, on the other hand, you're more into current pop culture or movies that are actually good & might withstand the test of time, avoid this movie at all costs.

First of all, there are a lot of long stripper sequences. My comment, while watching, was that "They're not dancing - they're doing gymnastics" - which is great for a strip club, but still. I felt like I was watching girls whose former dreams of Olympic gymnastic competition were quashed, and the logic of this film dictated that their only course of action was to subsequently hump a stripper pole.

Then, there's the hard-ass female protagonist cop, who's convinced to try out for amateur night as an undercover & get all the information the strippers don't want to tell the cops by her partner (as a joke). B/c strippers don't trust cops, you guys. Not even when they're being killed off, one by one.

The best part of the movie, in my opinion, is the amateur night scene wherein female protagonist cop (fpc) "dances" for the first time... That scene, to be fair, is not gymnastic, either. It's just terrible. I didn't even know it was possible to lack the amount of rhythm that is portrayed in the movie. It's almost painful to watch it... & definitely funny.

There's also this awesome dialogue, such as:

mpc: I can't handle all this emotional stuff.
fpc: Then make me stop.
mpc: How do I do that?
fpc: You're a cop; figure it out.
(leads to make-out scene)

The end of the movie wrapped up extremely quickly, and I was left with the same sort of abrupt feeling by the very ending that I received upon first reading the Iliad & the Aeneid. Due to the campiness of the movie, I doubt that this was done with any attempt at literary pretension. It was probably done b/c a popular TV ending to shows in the '70s & '80s was to end on a freeze frame very shortly after the suspense was lifted.

To any interested parties, there is a sequel.

Have you seen the movie? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Or about any campy movies you've seen - particularly if they're hilarious!