A Quiet Place plot hole?

image: paramount.com

For a horror movie, A Quiet Place wasn’t all that scary. I usually avoid horror movies like the plague, but Emily Blunt is my “Rachel Platten of Movies”, so I decided to give it a chance. (If you’ve read my blog at all, you already know how important Rachel Platten is to me).

However, there seems to be a bit of a plot hole. Set in a post-apocalyptic Midwest, the movie follows the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) as they fight for survival. Their enemy is a creature that responds to sound. If anybody makes any sort of loud noise that’s not muffled by other noise, it will kill them.

But here’s the thing: Regan Abbott is deaf. (Fun facts: Millicent Simmonds is actually deaf – it was an important thing for John Krasinski, who also directed the movie. He wanted someone who had experience with not being able to hear anything). Her father, Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) spends pretty much the entire movie trying to get her hearing aids to work so that she won’t be caught by one of the creatures if she happens to accidentally make a noise.

And this is where the plot issue comes into play. I guess I should say it’s a spoiler alert too. It turns out that Regan’s hearing aid actually repels the creatures. She held it up to a speaker, turned the volume all the way up, and let the hearing aid squeal with feedback. The creature backed away, almost as if it were hurt somehow. But other than that, they seem to kill anything that makes the slightest noise – hence hardly any spoken dialogue in the movie.

How does the creature function? Maybe they’ll explore/explain that concept in a sequel?


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Tweet vs. Twitter Post

image: twitter.com

It’s no secret that President Trump loves to tweet. What I’ve noticed, however, is how news articles refer to this activity. Some say something like “[Trump said] in a Twitter post”, while others say “tweeted” or “said in a tweet”.

Personally, I think “Twitter post” is a mouthful. It’s much easier to say “so and so tweeted”. Not to mention that “tweeted” is what someone might expect to see, as it’s technically the past tense of “tweet”.

Why doesn’t the Associated Press set a standard? They pretty much have a standard for everything else, as far as I know. Currently, it seems to come down to a publication’s preference, but I’m not even sure publications have their own standard. Sometimes they’ll say “tweeted” at first, and then say it another way later. Unless they only switch it up like this to avoid repetition of phrases, which would kind of make sense.

Maybe the AP Style Guide hasn’t set a standard yet because a president using Twitter as much as Trump does is still fairly new; no other president has used the platform like he does. Isn’t that all the more reason to set a standard though? Even if Trump doesn’t stick around, his social media use could still set a precedent.

Mary Poppins Returns

image: imdb.com

Summary

Years after her first visit, Mary Poppins returns to help the Banks family – Michael, his sister Jane, and his children John, Anabel, and Georgie – through difficult times.

Review

This movie was magical. There’s no other way to say it. It was almost like Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda were crashing a mini Mamma Mia! reunion: Julie Walters, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep were in the movie as well, though they didn’t have any scenes together.

It was slightly weird to see Lin-Manuel Miranda not playing Alexander Hamilton, and his English accent took some getting used to, honestly. That’s not saying it was bad, just different.

There’s no replacing Julie Andrews in the original Mary Poppins, of course, but Emily Blunt really did the role justice. No other person could have filled Andrews’s “Mary Poppins” shoes. And those are some big shoes to fill; Julie Andrews is iconic. However, there is a special appearance by someone who was in the original Mary Poppins. Sorry, no spoilers. Just go see the movie.

Just like the original, this movie combined live-action with animation. It was really fun, not to mention laugh-out-loud funny. It’s a nice, warm, and fuzzy world to escape to for two hours. Pity it doesn’t last longer.

Guess What, I’m a Millennial

image: forbes.com

I came across another BuzzFeed News article the other day. This time, though, it’s something I completely agree with.

Millennials. We were born at some point between 1981 and 1996. So, I came into play two years before the cutoff. At first, life was easy enough. I did well in school, I had friends (to an extent), and I was generally happy.

However, per usual during the teenage years, I began to rebel a little bit — to the degree that I could. My mother had hounded me about my academics for years, and I was itching to go to college and get away from her micromanagement.

But I burned out way too early. I ended my freshman year with a 2.9 GPA. So I threw myself into the fall semester of sophomore year, convinced I could get a 3.0. I worked my butt off. I hardly let myself take any breaks, and I was proud of myself for getting my assignments done on time.

My hard work didn’t pay off. I didn’t get the grades I thought my effort deserved. I didn’t understand; how could I work so hard and not be rewarded at the end?

I spent the next two and a half years trying to get my mojo back, but it never fully recovered. It was really hard to make myself care about anything after I worked myself to the bone for naught.

When it came time for graduation, I had no idea what I was doing. I was scared; school was all I had ever known. I never had a summer job because my mother only let up on the micromanagement for those three months, and I wanted to enjoy them.

I think the “millennial” stereotype gives us a bad rap. Not all of us are entitled and whiny, though some of us definitely are. I’d be willing to bet that the rest of us are just burned out from life. We’re burned out from all the expectations society puts on us, whether they’re real or perceived. We’re so busy trying to check all the hypothetical boxes that we don’t take the time to think about what we actually want for our lives.

So, all the Boomers and Gen Xers can say what they want, but they will never understand the whole picture. It’s impossible to describe and explain burnout, because everybody’s experience with burnout is different. I’m just here to validate others’ feelings in a way that has never been done for me.

Mary, Queen of Scots

image: vulture.com

Josie Rourke brought John Guy’s book to life. His book, Queen of Scots:  The True Life of Mary Stuart, tells the story of the relationship between Mary, Queen of Scots, and her sister, Elizabeth I.

Rourke took the source material and jogged with it. The saying goes, “took [insert thing here] and ran with it”, but the movie took few creative liberties, if it took any at all.

Soirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots, and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I, were amazing. Ronan definitely gets more screen time though. The movie is split between the courts of the two queens, but Mary isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with her army and subjects. Elizabeth I just sat back and let her henchmen and counsel do the all dirty work.

The costumes and sets were great as well, and there was lots of riding. Let’s just say Soirse Ronan on horseback isn’t hard on the eyes at all.

The movie itself is a frame story, beginning and ending with Mary, Queen of Scots’s head on the chopping block during her execution. And while the movie is satisfying, the audience probably needs to have base knowledge of the history going into it. The explanations at the beginning and end of the movie don’t really cut it. People are still trying to read them when they disappear.

Is Barnes & Noble desperate?

Lately, I’ve been seeing commercials for Barnes & Noble here and there. It’s kind of weird, because I’ve never seen a commercial for a book store in my living memory. At first, I though it was cool; my favorite store does commercials now. But then I thought about it.

Why would they be making commercials all of a sudden? They need to get people in the stores because they’re not making any money. Or worse, they’re bleeding money.

The most likely culprits here are audio books and ebooks. While I am not against either of these formats, I prefer physical books. There’s just something special about holding a book in my hands and turning the pages.

It’s probably also because I didn’t grow up with all the technology we have today. The iPhone wasn’t even a thing until I was a teenager. And of course, I wanted one. I felt like everyone in my high school had one but me; I didn’t get one until college. These days, it’s weird to see someone without an iPhone.

Case in point, if Barnes & Noble ever went out of business, I think I would die. I was crushed when Borders went under. Borders didn’t even have the book I wanted at their going-out-of-business sale. I think the last books I ever purchased there were Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Confession: I didn’t read Harry Potter until I was fifteen. I had seen some of the movies though.

I really hope Barnes & Noble finds a way to stick around for a few more years. Audio books and ebooks just aren’t the same.

Brianna and Lizzie

image: parade.com

Outlander. If you don’t know, now you know that it’s pretty much my favorite TV show. I’ve been able to let a few of the smaller changes from Drums of Autumn slide, but there’s one that I have questions about.

Episode 408, Wilmington, was all kinds of intense. I was happy with how it stayed true to the book; all the main story elements in the series as a whole are present. One such element is that when Brianna (Sophie Skelton) goes through the stones to find her mother and Jamie, she brings along another girl, Lizzie Weymss (Caitlin O’Ryan).

In Drums of Autumn, when Brianna is trying to find a way to get to North Carolina, she overhears something about another girl, the aforementioned Lizzie, being sold as a concubine. Being the bold person that she is, Brianna jumps right in and pays for Lizzie’s passage to the colonies, because she is NOT having any of this “concubine” business.

In the show, however, it was the most awkward situation ever. Really hard to watch. And that’s saying something, with all of the other shenanigans going on in that episode. Joseph Weymss, Lizzie’s father, had to beg Brianna to take his daughter with her. Brianna was clearly uncomfortable with the situation, and she kept saying “I can’t”.

For what purpose, though? Why change Brianna like that? Unless I’m remembering the book wrong. But something tells me I’m not.

Christmas Movie Predictability

image: economictimes.indiatimes.com

During the holidays, there’s nothing quite like curling up on the couch or in bed with a Christmas movie. They make us feel warm and fuzzy, and like everything is going to be okay. And it works, because that’s how we want to feel at Christmas.

However, Christmas movies always seem to follow the same, not-so-subtle format. You know, the big city Scrooge goes home to Small Town for Christmas, falls in love with a new guy or girl, remembers what Christmas is all about, and then everyone lives Happily Ever After.

Of course, there are variations on this theme, and even outliers sometimes. Finding one of these is refreshing. Still, it seems that no other movie genre follows a format in the slightest. Good movies are the ones that keep an audience on the edge of their seats with plot twists that they don’t see coming. If such movies were predictable, no one would want to see them because people would probably complain that all movies are the same. It would definitely get boring after awhile.

Who decided that Christmas movies should have their own formula, and who decided what that formula should be? I’d like to know.

Frequency vs. Quality

image: writingcooperative.com

I’ve had this blog for almost five years now. And it’s been said that posting on a consistent basis is better for an audience. For the most part, my experience tells me this is true.

However, in setting up a schedule of posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I now have another problem: coming up with something to write about. I hate writing something just to stick to a schedule. Because sometimes, it’s not my best writing. If I don’t write posts that I can be proud of, what’s the point?

My best writing comes in moments of insanity. By that, I mean an idea gets stuck in my head and it won’t leave until I write it down. It’s a compulsion, and I love the metaphorical high I get from it.

Of course, this “high” doesn’t happen all the time. If it did, my life would be a lot easier. And definitely more fun. And maybe people would take me more seriously as a writer. Some people have really weird standards and ideals. Which sucks, because it makes me question everything about my life.

But I digress. I realize that sticking to a schedule is important, but if I’m grasping for topics day after day, that’s no fun at all. And it’s a lot of effort to come up with absolutely nothing in the end. I feel like I let my audience down when I don’t post, because they’ve come to expect something from me, and I’m a people-pleaser who doesn’t want to disappoint anyone. But why should I let the quality of my writing suffer in the name of consistency?

BuzzFeed, please read!

image: medium.com

Recently, BuzzFeed News ran an article about why the Divergent movie franchise was a flop. This is a refutation of that article.

Their Argument

BuzzFeed is basically arguing that Divergent didn’t work as a movie because the plot was too confusing:

One possible reason for its collapse is the weakness of the source material. The structure of Divergent ‘s fictional world was hard to understand, the plots were hard to follow, and the stakes were unclear. That made Divergent different from the YA books that have worked as movies. In Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games , for example, it’s obvious from the start that Katniss is the revolutionary figure who will end the Hunger Games, destroy the repressive state of Panem, and help bring about a more equitable world. In Twilight , Edward and Bella need to be 2gether4ever and, along the way, defeat the elitist Volturi vampire coven.
Roth’s story never had that clarity. Its muddled plot is set in postapocalyptic Chicago, where everyone over 16 is divided into five personality-based factions in order to prevent society from falling into the destructive chaos that led to the end of the United States. As the three books go on, there are different villains in each, with no obvious goal for our heroes to achieve. The novels are confusing, humorless, and derivative. And though they provide some interesting visual opportunities (trains that run through Chicago without ever stopping, an exciting zip line scene in the first book), the final novel — Allegiant — revealed that Roth had no real vision to conclude the story.

Kate Aurthur, BuzzFeed News Reporter

My Personal Rebuttal

The plot is only confusing if you haven’t read the books.

The books – and therefore the movies – do not stand alone. They build on each other. So, if you haven’t read the books before watching the movies, there’s no way in hell anything is going to make sense. No, the plot isn’t as simple as something like The Twilight Saga. But that’s what makes it brilliant.

Veronica Roth, who happens to be one of my favorite authors, didn’t have any glaring, anticlimactic plot holes like Stephenie Meyer had in Breaking Dawn. Not to say The Twilight Saga is complete trash, but Divergent has a layer of complexity to it that Twilight doesn’t have. And Veronica Roth, as the author, can do whatever she wants. I may not always like what happens, but that doesn’t mean I hate the books or the author.

BuzzFeed also argues that “the [Divergent] novels are derivative”. Derivative of what, though? Divergent is unlike anything I’ve read before, and it’s an excellent example of world building. The only explanation I can think of is that they mean to say that the books build on each other. Isn’t that how book series are supposed to work, anyway?

And I can totally understand why that won’t work for a visual medium. Movies usually have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and everything fits together and is explained by the end. You can’t ask an audience to do “homework” before seeing a movie. Who wants to do more than they need to, right? Most people just want to escape for an hour or two. If they pick up the books because they enjoyed the movie so much that they want more, that’s fine. Odds are, though, most people won’t do that.

So, the moral of the story here is, not every book works as a movie. And you know what? That’s totally okay. It doesn’t mean the books are bad. So, all I have to say is, “Go home, BuzzFeed News, you’re drunk”.