There are very few movies I wait anxiously to see in the theater. But this one … this book made into a movie that everyone is talking about … is one of those that I have been chomping at the bit to see since November when I watched the first part of Breaking Dawn (which I thought was sloooow and boring). Of course, since they’re thinking this story will fit the audience watching the Twilight series, they previewed “The Hunger Games”.

I had heard whisperings of this interesting book set in the future. And as I usually do I gave it a try. I could NOT put it down! Do I think you’ll like it? I don’t know. I loved Twilight but couldn’t get through the Harry Potter series. I didn’t finish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but read The Host in one sitting. What can I say? But this series I have to admit, I haven’t heard anyone who’s read them who didn’t enjoy them.

Here’s the BLURB:
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

I couldn’t help but wonder how the author Suzanne Collins was going to get this young girl to survive while 23 other teens died (some at her own hands) and not have her become a cold-hearted murderer. You know what? She did it. With wonderful mastery of writing, she managed to pull this story off and leave me wanting more.

The love story is a little schmaltzie (yes, that’s a real word 😉 ), but this is a story written for young adults, not a 50 year old woman who’s read her way through most of the romance section of the local library.

I’ve read a lot of wonderful books and usually have no desire to see the movie. But in this case I’ve become a squeeing fangirl. I was so jealous earlier this week when there was a premier somewhere. All kinds of people have gotten to see it before the official opening next Friday. I wanted to embed the trailer here, but Youtube wouldn’t let me. Click HERE to view the official movie trailer.

So what about you? Have you read the book(s)? Are you planning on seeing the movie? Does it interest you? Because you know me, I’m curious to know if I’m the only one anxiously awaiting the opening of this movie.

I don’t know if Hollywood is getting lazy or if there are just so many cineplexes with 8 and 10 movies running, but it seems like more and more books are being brought to the big screen. Of course it may be the phenomenal successes of the Harry Potter and the Twilight series that are fueling the frenzy. I’ve read a few of the books that have been made into movies and seen a few of the movies without reading the book. Since there’s always the question of whether the book is better than the movie or vice versa, I’m never sure which way I want to go. But let me just share a few of the book/movies that have come out recently or are soon to be released.

Water For Elephants
This is a movie I saw, but didn’t read the book. The movie was well done in that the violence toward human and animal is intimated, but done off-screen. I’m not sure how they handle it in the book, but even in writing, violence is very hard for me to handle. I enjoyed the movie, but the ladies sitting in front of me from a bookclub enjoyed the book so much more.

The Help
My mother read this book last summer and highly recommended it. And though it was on my TBR list, I hadn’t gotten around to it by the time the movie was released. My daughter and I saw it. I haven’t cried so much in a movie in a long time. What I liked best is the story of these african-american maids was told through the eyes of a caucasian author who is simply trying to share the trials and tribulations of their lives in a book she is writing. It is so well done and I have no doubt the author of the book, Kathryn Stockett based the stories on a lot of research. Thankfully, it’s interspersed with lots of humor and the movie is very enjoyable despite its difficult subject matter.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I read this book. Correction … I tried to read this book. But I was part of that 1% that just couldn’t get into it. And I did something I don’t usually do, I forced myself to keep reading, convinced that if so many people enjoyed it, surely I would get to the good parts. It never happened. I abandoned the book with a mere 50 pages left. Really, I couldn’t get through it. I will however, go and see the movie. I desperately want to know what the “mystery” was around the story. The missing girl? The murder? I’m not sure. I did read into it enough to know what happened (or didn’t happen) to the girl … yeah, well I figured that out the first time she was mentioned. Anyway, I’m hoping I’ll enjoy the movie, though my son already told me the ending stinks. His girlfriend, who loved the book, said it was true to the story, which is not surprising since there are two other books in this series.

Hunger Games
I’ve been hearing so much about the book that when the trailer showed at a movie I was watching I knew it was time to check it out. I’m currently reading the book and the premise of 24 young people battling to death is intriguing. I’m only half way through, but since I can’t put it down, I expect to finish it in the next day or so. Since I’ve just admitted I don’t like violence, I’m wondering how the author will handle the visciousness that will be the killings. I really don’t want the heroine of the story to commit any horrible murders even if it is to save her life. Anyway, this is one of the few times I’m actually reading the book with the anticipation of seeing the movie.

One For The Money
This is another example of a genre I just couldn’t get into. I listened to one of Janet Evanovich’s stories on audio books, but wasn’t moved to read any others. There’s such a huge following for Stephanie Plum who find the books laugh-out-loud funny that I have no doubt I’ll drag Mr. Nina to the movie when it comes out. I’m sure it will translate well to the big screen.

So what about you? Do you enjoy book to movies? Are there any movies that you’ve seen or books that you’ve read that you would recommend?

In celebration of Halloween, I’ve decided to devote the next three Wednesdays to all things spookie and mysterious. This week’s topic … HORROR!

Now, as a disclaimer I’m going to tell you, I’m not really a fan of reading or watching horror. I’ve read Stephen King, but only those that were more psychological rather than outright horror. I’m just not into all that blood and gore. However, I can watch classic Hitchcock, television and movies. I think it has to do with the fact that his horror happens off screen. No severed heads rolling across the screen or bloody limbs hanging in the trees.*shiver* Seriously, I can’t stand that stuff.

Of course I had to look at the science behind actually choosing to expose ourselves to something that frightens us. It turns out research has shown we’re hardwired to enjoy the hunt, the thrill of the unknown. There’s a rush of endorphines, the body’s natural pain killer, flooding our brain when we become frightened. The fight or flight response is triggered, increasing our heartrate, dilating our eyes and tensing our muscles.

When we realize there truly is no threat, the life-saving reactions of our bodies become a pleasurable adrenaline rush. Hence the thrill of the fear.

This also translates over to high-risk activities like skydiving, white-water rafting and bungee jumping. See, these things I enjoy. When I participate in these activities I’m left with memories that don’t haunt my dreams or wake me in the night.

Horror movies on the other hand … yeeeeah, those visuals live with me long after the movie is over. I watched a B-rated horror movie when I was a teen that I knew would scare the bejeebers out of me. (cheap tickets, dark theater, new boyfriend … you get the picture) Anyway, I’ve forgotten very little of that movie. I remember how each and every person died when the door to hell was opened at a vacation home of some college kids. Of course the hero and heroine managed to fall into the depths of hell, stab the devil with a very large cross which he threw out of the gates of hell which they in turn used to seal the door shut again saving the world from the clutches of satan. I saw this movie over 30 years ago and remember huge chunks of the gore. If I want horror (which I wouldn’t), I’d just replay a few those scenes (which I don’t).

The only horror type movie that I watched every year even though I knew it would scare me for weeks was an odd version of Frankenstein. Definitely a more romantic version of the original. It was a mini-series and included a wife and everything. It ran for three or four years and it must have been shown around Halloween. I wish I knew the name of it because I just loved that movie and I wonder if I would enjoy it as much as an adult.

Okay, so I’ve rambled enough. What about you? Do you enjoy horror movies and/or books? Any favorites you can recommend for my other visitors … because you know I’m not watching them. LOL!

I’ve been watching a lot of movies recently. I love getting lost in them. All genres … save for horror. I can’t wrap my head around blood and mayhem. Besides they give me terrible nightmares, but I digress…

As I’ve been watching, my writer’s brain has been translating the images into the written word. Dissecting what makes the movies work … or not. Figuring out why I’m laughing or crying or sitting on the edge of my seat in breathless anticipation.

And one of the conclusions I’ve drawn is that in many ways movie makers have it so much easier than writers. First, you have the music. Running in the background, the tone of the melody creates the mood. It can be quick and happy or dark and scary. It can be used to build tension, slowly gathering to a crescendo and *wham* there’s that first kiss you’ve eagerly anticipated. And you release that breath you’ve been holding in a satisfying sigh of contentment.

And then of course there are the visual cues. The confused look when a hand is grasped. The dark lighting of a haunted house. The panoramic vista of a emerald mountain that underscores the epic journey about to be undertaken. There is no point-of-view character describing the scene. No one’s internal thoughts to engage the viewer. Just the images to carry the viewer into the story.

On the other hand a screen writer has only the dialogue of the characters to tell their story. There are no paragraphs of exposition to bring in the tragic backstory of the hero. No opportunities for the heroine to be in her head and share her innermost secrets. That all has to come naturally through conversations between characters. Maybe not the easiest job. But then of course, tears and smiles help do some of the work.

That isn’t to say I could ever write a screenplay. Writing dialogue just about kills me. But I don’t know, I still think movie makers have it easier than authors. What do you think? Am I off base on this one? And if you’ve seen any really good movies this summer let me know, I’m always looking for some good entertainment.

So this week I thought I’d actually share a little bit about myself. Because, umm, that’s what this Thursday Thirteen is supposed to be about. So I’ve gathered 13 of the most memorable movies from my formative years… (1975-1983). And I’m not telling you which decade of my life I consider “formative”. Just know that if you remember when they originally hit the theater … you’re at least as old as me!

1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Okay, if you don’t hear the theme music the minute you read the title … you weren’t there! This is a classic Richard Dreyfes movie. Loooove It!

2. Jaws (1975)
Again … with the theme music … I didn’t do that on purpose! The opening scene as the woman is dragged around and the leg falling through the water … OMG! some of the unforgetable scenes. (Notice Richard D. is in this one too.) But “Brody” was quite the hunk. Admit it … you crushed on him too!

3. The Blue’s Brothers (1980)
“Jane you ignorant slut!” Okay, that’s from the best years of SNL (IMHO), but if you get the reference, you know who starred in this movie … Dan Akroyd and John Belushi. I threw this one in there in honor of DH who was Elwood to his best friends Jake in … oh, you almost got me to tell you which year in school. Tsk Tsk

4. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Since this movie featured the music I used to listen and dance to … I had to include it. You can’t help but love the dance scene.

5. Grease (1978)
Since we’re on the John Travolta theme, I’ll put this one in here now. All I can say is that my boyfriend (who is now my husband) loved me a whole lot to sit through a musical at the theater. Of course Olivia Newton John sewn into those black pants in the final scene didn’t hurt his eyes too badly … I’m sure!

6. Flash Dance (1983)
Certainly a cinderella story, but come on, this movie single-handledly started the whole leg-warmer craze that kept us sweating in aerobics class. Don’t tell me it was only me.

7. Star Wars (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
You couldn’t expect me to limit this one to just the original, could you? It’s the first time I got to fall in love with Harrison Ford. *sigh* That smile of his still makes my heart go pitter-patter. A trekkie from waaaay back, this was a must see!

8. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
And then doesn’t he go and make an action movie and make me fall in love with him all over again! Have you seen the new one? I haven’t … *pout* *pout*

9. E.T. (1982)
This is just a classic “feel good” movie and Drew Barrymore’s first (?) appearance on screen. The Halloween scene is exactly how my neighborhood looks … cars, parents, and children everywhere. Have yet to see an alien in the bunch!

10. Tootsie (1982)
I just had to throw this one in because Dustin Hoffman pulled the whole guy acting as a woman off without a hitch. Robin Williams did it later in Mrs. Doubtfire, but Dustin will always be first in my memory.

11. Carrie (1976)
I absolutely hate going to horror movies. I have a very vivid imagination and don’t need more images to add to the craziness already filling my head. But, I got talked into it by some friends. The only good part is that my boyfriend put his arm around me during the really gory part at the end. And no, I’m not telling where his hand went!

12. Risky Business (1983)
Come on ladies, it’s another song coming into your head. “Just take those old records off the shelf…” And then …

Oh, yeah! A young Mr. Tom Cruise dancing in his tightie whities! You can’t tell me that’s not a classic!

13. Star Trek: The Movie (1982)
I told you I was a trekkie from waaaay back! Nothing was keeping me from watching the Enterprise glide across the big screen. I couldn’t find a good picture from the movie, so here’s something from long ago. And come on, you thought Kirk was pretty sexy!

So there you have it. 13 of my most memorable movies. Let me know if I didn’t happen to get yours up there.

**MAJOR Edit!** Oh, how could I forget a Sci-Fi classic that has stuck with me for many, many years? Logan’s Run! (1976)

It’s a futuristic movie with lots of sexuality. I love the scene where two women enter the “sex club” and dial-up their birth control. Umm … no, this had nothing to do with me writing my first erotica The Healer’s Garden. Okay, you caught me. But I loooooved that movie! I can NOT believe I missed it in the original list!