Showing posts with label I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends (Book Review). Show all posts
Showing posts with label I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends (Book Review). Show all posts

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Driving Pet Peeves and the Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "The Giver," two MUST SEE DVDs "Locke" and "Hateship Loveship" and for you Bachelor fans, the book "I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends," an inside look at the show by one of that show's most famous "villains."]

But First

With the weekend upon us, my mind wanders to road tripping, something Hubby and I sometimes like to do on the weekends which in turn makes me think of my pet peeves when driving.

When we first moved to Washington from California, we noticed a marked difference in driving styles.  Californians drive fast and furious, period, but usually skillfully.  In Washington, we noticed that the drivers either dithered or drove like reckless bats out of hell.

But that's not to say that drivers from both states didn't share some issues.

Here are the things that could cause road rage in an otherwise Zen-like me (you know I meditate, right?):

Dawdling can take many forms. These are the finger up your butt drivers who don't have a care in the world, especially for you. They leave huge spaces between themselves and other cars thus causing an even longer back up than necessary. When you are waiting for their parking space (and they know you are waiting), they take their time fastening their seat belts, they adjust the mirror, get their cell phone out (don't want to miss a call), have a conversation with their passenger, adjust their seat, and who knows what else?  By that time, you have moved on to look for a parking space somewhere else. Who knows how long that person is going to dawdle?  They also take forever to make a turn or take off when the light turns green, and they go just fast enough to get through a light but not fast enough so that you can get through as well.

Letting someone in
Now I don't want to seem impolite, and I do let people move into the line of traffic when it makes sense to do so as in not disrupting the flow of traffic.  But when traffic is moving, can't that person pulling out of the gas station wait his turn?  Why do you have to stop all of us behind you so you can have the satisfaction of feeling like you did a good deed?  Once again I missed the light.

The four way stop stand off
Why don't drivers know who is supposed to go next at a four way stop?  If you are there first, YOU get to go.  If you both get there at the same time, the car on the right gets to go.  How hard is that?  And yet, there we all are and everyone is waving for the other car to go. "You go."  "No, you go."  "No, you go."  I have been known to just sit there because I don't like being told what to do, especially when it's wrong.

Stopping for a school bus on a three or four lane road

(And if you read last Tuesday's post, you know how much I hate school buses).
My daughter has pointed out to me that this driving rule does not apply everywhere, but in Washington at least, if the road has three or four lanes and the school bus is traveling in the opposite direction, YOU DO NOT NEED TO STOP.  But of course, everyone does.  Sigh. (Check your local rules regarding stopping for school buses so that you are not one of those people).

Driving in the left lane no matter what
My mother used to say, "I can drive in any lane I want.  If I want to drive in the left lane, then I will."  OK, but my Mom has the excuse that she didn't learn to drive until she was 65 and god help anyone who drove with her.  But what's your excuse?  If you are driving slower than the speed limit and not passing anyone, you do not belong in the left lane.  Try that in Europe and see what happens.  I'm just sayin.'

Picket fencing
If you are on the highway and you see someone driving right next to you they are not flirting.  They are just bad drivers.  Speed up and pass so someone else can too.

We probably all hate tailgating and we all probably indulge in it from time to time, especially when that dawdler is hogging the left lane. And sometimes I might be that person. Hey, I am not immune to having my finger up the proverbial butt too, from time to time.  But what really gets me is when the tailgater doesn't give me any time to get over and instead whips around and passes me on the right.

Talking on your cell phone
When I see any of the above offenses, invariably the driver is talking on a cell phone.  What is it with cell phones?  Can't people go 20 minutes without having to talk to someone? 

But here is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to driving.

I know that Hubby and I have been married for over 30 years (read all about it here), but why is it when we get in the car, the only topic of conversation is the traffic and other drivers?  Occasionally we also talk about the weather. 

In the old days, we might have struck up a conversation about Sartre and the meaning of his play "No Exit?"  Were they in hell?  Or we might discuss the pros and cons of ear candling. Or whatever happened to David Hasselhoff? And was his show "Knight Rider" a metaphor for cars taking over the world?  

Well, probably not, but I know we talked about something besides traffic. 

But now we don't.  So I usually say, "Will you put on the radio?  The traffic reports are on."

What drives you crazy on the road?

Now on to the Week in Reviews

***In Theatres Now***
It's a supposed Utopian world where pain and strife have given way to "sameness." There are no memories. But the trade off for that is that everything is controlled. No one has any memories of the past lest that cause said pain and strife.  But one young person is given the "job" of receiving the memories of what once was from "The Giver."

In this "community," there is no suffering, hunger, war, and also no color, music, or love. Everything is controlled by "the Elders." At the age of maturity, all young people say goodbye to their childhoods and are given their life's work in a ceremony.  Jonas (Brenton Thwaite, who played the Prince in "Maleficent") is chosen as "The Receiver," a special status only one person per generation is given.  That means his job is to have memories passed down to him from the receiver before him - The Giver - so as to have the knowledge from the past in order to advise "The Elders."

As The Giver (Jeff Bridges) passes his memories to Jonas, Jonas starts to feel emotions, especially for Fiona (Odeya Rush), one of his best childhood friends, and starts questioning his family and his very existence.

Thwaite and Rush are a charming couple and young actors to watch.  Meryl Streep, looking very much like Holly Hunter in the fantastic TV mini-series "Top of the Lake" and a hardly recognizable, dark-haired Taylor Swift round out the cast with not much to do.

Based on the Newbery award winning book by Lois Lowry, which is on practically every middle school reading list, it is reminiscent of "Divergent," another book that shares similarities. The movie version of "Divergent" came first, but Lowry's book came first so one wonders about how derivative "Divergent" is.

This film was 18 years in the making. In an interview, Jeff Bridges (The Giver) shared that he had optioned this book to star his father, Lloyd Bridges (Baby Boomers, remember "Sea Hunt?"), as The Giver, but he died before he could produce the film and then Jeff was old enough to play The Giver himself.

Basically, the story explores the question: would you give up your freedom to love and feel and the memories of humanity's accomplishments even if that meant you would feel pain for a life where you no longer feared death, felt emotional pain or the memories of war and hatred? 

To illustrate the lack of color and choice, the movie starts out in black and white, but Jonas has the gift and starts seeing colors.  As his apprenticeship with The Giver progresses, his world opens up more and more. As the colors start coming for Jonas, we are reminded of Dorothy's entrance into Oz and the movie "Pleasantville."

The soundtrack was melodramatic and the story far-fetched at times (for example, how do you keep memories at bay by a physical boundary?), but it's still a compelling story that will keep your interest.

I am wondering if our middle schoolers will now be watching this movie instead of reading the book as they do with most book assignments.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you liked "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" or are a fan of this book, you will like this film.

You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)

Locke (2013)
Tom Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a happily married family man and successful construction manager who makes the decision one night after work to leave everything behind and take a fateful 90-minute drive.
The usually reliable Ivan leaves behind the supervision of the biggest concrete pour Europe has ever seen and the plans he had to watch a football match with his wife and two kids to travel from Wales to London to do "what's right."  As he makes the 90 minute journey in his BMW, he makes and takes phone calls (hands free, of course, this is England) to try to sort everything out.  Phone call by phone call it is slowly revealed why he is making this journey and the price he is paying.  He calls his work colleagues to try to make sure everything will run smoothly in the morning and he has to deal with all kinds of screw ups.  But the biggest screw up is the one he is traveling to fix and that will ultimately probably cost him his marriage and life as he knows it.

Tom Hardy follows up his stint as Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises" with this tour de force piece about a man literally being driven to his breaking point.

Director Steven Knight, who wrote "Eastern Promises" and "Dirty Pretty Things" directs his own script, only his second directorial stint ("Hummingbird" was his first).


It's a risky film in that it's just Hardy in the car in real time.  But Hardy gives an incredible performance of a man trying to do what he thinks is right and slowly unraveling.  This film will stay with you.
Rosy the Reviewer says...a wild, haunting and riveting ride.

Hateship Loveship (2013)

Johanna Perry (Kristen Wiig) has worked as a housemaid/cleaner/caregiver in a sheltered environment since she was 15.  But when she moves to Iowa to care for Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte) and his teen-aged granddaughter, Sabitha (Haile Steinfeld), she finds love in a most unusual way.

Johanna has lived such a sheltered life that she lives life with no expression, no seeming feelings about much. Guy Pearce plays Ken, Sabitha's father, who has spent time in prison for killing Sabitha's mother in a drunken car crash.  When Johanna meets Ken and accompanies Sabitha and him to dinner, he is kind to her and something stirs in her, something you can tell hasn't happened to her before.  When Ken returns to Chicago, where he is fixing up an old motel, Johanna writes him a thank you note. However, her note is waylaid by Sabitha and her friend Edith (Sami Gayle) and they concoct a cruel joke, writing her back as Ken and then telling her they should correspond via email.  There is a sweet scene where Johanna, who knows nothing about computers, goes to the library to set up an email account and naturally a very kind librarian helps her with it.

Ken knows nothing of this, holed up in his seedy motel doing drugs with his girlfriend played by Jennifer Jason Leigh.  And can I ask?  What happened to Jennifer Jason Leigh's career?  Remember "Last Exit to Brooklyn," "Single White Female" and "Georgia?"  Her career was on a roll.  What happened? She should be playing leading roles these days. Over the years, her career choices have been sketchy.

Based on short story by Alice Munro, this is a spare piece that captures the awkwardness Johanna feels as she makes her way in a world strange to her.  The film is punctuated by old country songs from Tammy Wynette and George Jones which add a nostalgic, romantic, but slightly edgy feel to the film (Wynette and Jones were once married and it wasn't pretty).

I was not a fan of Wiig in previous films ("Girl Most Likely").  For some reason, I couldn't get over her SNL characters and had a hard time accepting her as a serious actress.  But here, she plays Johanna in a quiet, understated way - she barely speaks - and it is mesmerizing.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are not expecting "Bridesmaids," you will be rewarded by a poignant performance by Wiig.
***Book of the Week***

If you are not a Bachelor fan, you can stop reading here, and I will see you Tuesday. 
Otherwise, fasten your seat belts, Bachelor fans.  This is juicy.

I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends by Courtney Robertson (2014)
Robertson was the "villain" of Season 16 of "The Bachelor," - there always has to be a villain - with that guy with the floppy hair, Ben Flajnik, and she dishes the dirt on Ben and the show - and Ben was not happy about it. 
The Arizona-born model was arguably the most hated of all "Bachelor" contestants in "Bachelor" history.  Her book contains a lot of "I'm not really as bad as I seemed on the show" or "I shouldn't have said that," but despite her mea culpas, she can't hide her snarkiness here.  She also contends she had no idea she was being cast as the villain and her scenes were edited to show that.
But the behind the scenes tidbits are fun.  Yes, they "did it" when they went skinny dipping in the ocean, yes, they "did it" in the fantasy suite.  It included ripping each other's clothes off and doing every position under the sun. 
There is quite a bit of sex on "The Bachelor."  Basically, producers of the show estimate that the Bachelor contestants have sex with at least three of the women, on average.
Courtney won the day with a proposal from Ben but when the cameras stopped rolling, so did their romance.  Supposedly, Courtney was offered a spot on "Dancing with the Stars," but Ben said absolutely not.  It went downhill from there.
Rosy the Reviewer says...for hardcore "Bachelor" fans and those who wonder what the hell it's all about.
That's it for this week!

Thanks for reading!

See you Tuesday for
"Kim Kardashian's Butt, or
Things that are Overrated!" 

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