book thoughts: I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle

Do you enjoy movies like Superbad and Knocked Up, that have a bit of a whacked out sense of humor that is somehow so wrong yet rings so true? 

Then you will enjoy reading I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle.

Denis has had a crush on Beth Cooper since the start of high school when he was seated behind her in class.  Beth doesn’t know he exists.  But when Denis gets up to give his graduation speech, he decides to proclaim his love for the star cheerleader.  And it just gets crazier from there. 

Want pictures?  That’s Denis on the cover *points to the left* and at the start of each chapter, we get a picture of his current physical state (which goes through many phases over the single night that the book takes place). 

This book is hilarious.  Larry Doyle used to write for the Simpsons and the randomness of that show is apparent in the way the characters in this book think and interact.  But, like Judd Apatow’s films, there is a lot of heart and soul in this book that makes it hard not to love.  If you’re easily offended, then you might want to stay away, but if you’ve come to terms with the weirdness that is being a teenager, you will giggle your way through this quick read.

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movie thoughts: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

‘Walk Hard’ is a straight-forward parody is the tradition of ‘Airplane’ and the Naked Gun movies.  It’s not meant to be anything more than a string of ridiculously silly moments, poking fun at the rock star bio-pic genre.  I didn’t remember that it was a Judd Apatow film until the credits began to roll (though I should have known when I saw the penis; I remember that he said on Daily Show back when ‘Superbad’ came out, that his next goal was to get a penis in a shot).

I don’t want to give away any of the gags, so much of what made it funny was the sheer randomness of it all.  Let’s just say, if you’re in the mood to just put your brain on cruise control and enjoy an hour and a half of giggles, this movie is for you.  If you’ve seen ‘Walk the Line’, ‘Ray’, …et al., then you’ll get extra giggles.  If you enjoy playing “Spot Judd Apatow’s friends or people that really wanted to work with him” (Frankie Muniz?!?) you’ll have a good time too. 

I’d give it 3 outta 5 stars – Silly and fun; great with popcorn.

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movie thoughts: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

I should probably subtitle this: or why I love Judd Apatow and his peeps.

Like ’40 Year Old Virgin’, ‘Knocked Up’ and ‘Superbad’, ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ was hilarious because of its 100% pure honesty. 

Peter has been dating Sarah for 5 years.  Sarah is a successful tv star, Peter writes the music for her TV show.  One day, Sarah comes home and tells Peter that its over, she’s found someone else.  In an attempt to cheer himself up (well, not his first, he tries a few other things) he goes off to Hawaii, a place Sarah always talked about as being gorgeous and beautiful. 

Of course, when he gets there, Sarah is also enjoyed Hawaii with her new boyfriend.  Hilarity ensues.

Seriously, I don’t want to tell you any more about the movie because you should just see it. 

You know, despite all their immaturity so far as the dick/fart jokes, Judd Apatow [et al.] movies are some of the most mature movies when it comes to portraying relationships.  We’ve seen the typical romantic comedies, we’re familiar with the formula of what the guy should be like, what the ex should be like, what the new girl should be like blah blah blah.  Well, FSM does not have that.  Our lead guy, he’s kind of a schlub.  Sarah dumps him for many valid reasons.  The new girl isn’t perfect either.  The new boyfriend isn’t evil.  They are all somewhat normal people and there is a certain truth in their interactions that just amazes me. 

So, yeah, I loved this movie.  It could have been a little bit shorter (I was almost 2 hours long, I think…) but it was so great.  I know I will buy it to watch again (and I think I might pick up the soundtrack too…)

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movie thoughts: Juno

I think, for me, this movie suffered from the over-hype that happens to so many independent movies nowadays.  I kept hearing so much about how good this movie was, how great Ellen Page was, how awesome the writing was blah blah blah.

I wanted to like this movie.  I sat down with every intention of liking it. 

But it didn’t really do anything for me.  I felt everyone’s acting, especially Page’s, was really stiff and forced (since I don’t think they knew what they were saying half the time).  I think I knew too many kids like that in high school, kids that liked the bands that no one had ever heard of, random flicks no one cared about, but then acted better than everyone because of it.  Wasn’t too fond of them.  And I almost feel like people (read: critics) felt obligated to say they liked this movie because to say that they didn’t would mean that they were not capable of enjoying an “unusually intelligent comedy” as the DVD case art clearly states.

I still adore Michael Cera.  When he was on screen, I was happy.  I mean, he was just being George Michael, but still.  Jason Bateman did a good job, but his character was a total ass.  Jennifer Gardner was also good but her character was sorta meh.  I liked Juno’s best friend (okay, I’m starting to realize how I don’t remember ANY of the character’s names…that can’t be a good sign)

Pretty much I didn’t like a lot of the characters.  After it won best screenplay, I was ready for some great story and witty dialogue, but I didn’t feel like it had anything highly quotable.  I never felt I go to know any of the characters.  It all felt like a Michael Crichton-style characterization (Juno: a girl with brown hair and a bit of a ‘tude.  Vanessa: long brown hair, adult, works, wants to be a mom…and so on).  I felt Juno’s learning experience came too late in the movie and there wasn’t enough build up for it, so I didn’t really care.  I wasn’t clear on her relationships with most of the characters, most importantly with the Jason Batemen and Jennifer Gardner’s characters, especially at the end. 

It wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t like ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ where you know that, even though it was rough at times, you want to watch it again and again.  I probably won’t watch ‘Juno’ again.  There were no characters or moments to bring me back. 

I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I had seen it before the hype…ah well, the world will never know.  I’m giving it a solid 2.5/3 outta 5.

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movie thoughts: Leatherheads

AD and I saw this movie on a whim this afternoon.  We just wanted something light and fluffy to get us to the end of the weekend.  Plus, who can deny the appeal of George Clooney AND John Krasinksi! 

If you’ve ever seen any of the romantic comedies from the 1940s, where the leading man and fast-talking leading dame exchange quick quips and smart-ass comments for the majority of the film, then you’ll recognize this movie right away.  But that’s okay because ‘Leatherheads’ wasn’t about being new or breaking new ground in the comedy format – its an homage to simpler times.  Simpler times for football, when it wasn’t a professional (read: profitable) sport. 

In the movie, Clooney plays ‘Dodge’ Connelly, a pro-footballer who finds himself out of the job when his team (and all of the other teams in the country) are broke from lack of support.  In an attempt to avoid getting a real job, he convinces Krasinski’s character, Carter Rutherford, a college football star/war hero to go pro and help him revitalize the sport.  Renee Zellweger plays the fast-talking reporter, secretly trying to write a story that will show that Carter’s war record isn’t all it is cracked up to be. 

It’s silly, it’s cute, it’s very clear that everyone in this movie has far too much fun making it which makes it really fun to watch.  It has a lot of heart, and if you just want to munch on some popcorn and put your brain on cruise control, this one will fit the bill. 

I’d give it 3.5 stars – “Fun to watch once so you can see the silliness.  Plus, Clooney and Krasiniski!  COME ON!”

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movie thoughts: There Will Be Blood

“I drink your milkshake!  I DRINK IT UP!”

My brother has been shouting that line at random intervals for months now.  I knew it was from this movie, but I had not seen it in context…until now.  I have to say it was my favorite part of the film. 

And yes, this felt like a film not a movie.  Everyone did a great job acting (I was blown away by the kid from ‘Little Miss Sunshine’.  Nice to see him again, even if he was pretty much cRazY).  You gotta really like Daniel Day-Lewis to enjoy this movie because I think he is in every single scene.  He does act his butt off the entire 2+hours (it was really long). 

It was a good movie but it was intense and not something I think I would want to see again.  It was sad and strange, with very little humor or even relief from the seriousness of it all (apart from the line mentioned above, which I felt came too late…sorta wish we could have started the movie there).

I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars, which translates to an “I’m happy to have seen it once and to finally understand the quoted line, but I doubt I will ever watch it again”.

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Book thoughts: Being by Kevin Brooks

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Kevin Brooks

If you want to read a book that grabs you from page one, then check out ‘Being’ by Kevin Brooks. 

Robert goes in to the hospital for a routine endoscopy but somehow wakes up during the surgery to hear the confused mutterings of the doctors in the room.  Something is very wrong. 

I don’t to give too much away other than that there is a sci-fi element to this tale.  But like all good science fiction, the story centers around characters and emotions and conflicts that those of us living in the “normal” world deal with every day.  Kevin Brooks’ descriptions of Robert’s inner most thoughts and his observations on the outside world are detailed but not overdone. 

The title itself has so many different meanings in the context of this book: Being – what is he?
Being – who is he?
Being – what does it mean to exist?  To be human?  To be a person? 

While it does leave some unanswered questions on the last page, I can’t think of any other way to end it that would satisfy the majority of readers.  If anything, it will have you seeking out other readers of the book so you can discuss your theories about what really happened.

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