Sunday, February 27, 2011

Best of the Week - Fourth Week of February

Best TV show I saw: Last Sunday there was a Saturday Night Live retrospective. They interviewed cast members from the entire history of the show. Like most of us, I’ve been watching Saturday Night Live for my entire life and this showed a bunch of behind the scenes and trivia facts throughout the past 35 years.

Best movie I saw: Last Sunday night Aubrey and I went on a date. We went to a local restaurant that we enjoyed with a glass of wine each. Then walked across the street to the Kew Gardens Cinema and watched A King’s Speech. This movie will most likely win the Oscar on Sunday night. Although I did really enjoy this movie and thought it was well acted by Collin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter, and told a great story of a time in history that most people never knew, it wasn’t my favorite of the year. The reason was I actually felt the movie was a bit rushed. The first hour was perfectly paced, but I wanted to see more of the King’s progression of being able to read. They also hinted at some trauma when he was young that caused his stutter but never officially answered what it was. I understand in therapy understanding there was a trauma is often more important than what actually happened, and this story was about a beloved King of England and they wouldn’t really expose all his dirty laundry in a movie, I was still disappointed by this.

That said, Colin Firth deserves every bit of praise he is getting The man put on a performance of a stutterer that never felt forced or annoying which is what usually happens. He did not over-act once and everything felt perfectly natural. Geoffrey Rush was equally as good and was the catalyst for Colin Firth’s character development. These two on screen had great chemistry and probably were the reason the two hours flew by

I also enjoyed: Exit Through The Gift Shop is a documentary film about the rise of street art movement during the early 2000s. But that’s not what the movie is actually about. It’s more about the Thierry Guetta, a Frenchman that enjoyed filming things and the pseudo-scam he pulled on these artists. He told them he was an actual filmmaker and followed them around for years filming their actions. When the time came and the artists he was filming asked him to show them the finished product of the movie they were making, he went to work and went through TONS of tape in order to piece together a movie, but just brought back a jumbled mess of a picture. Since his movie was crap, he turned over all of his tapes to Banksy (the famous/mysterious street artist) and then Guetta went out and became his own artist while burning bridges with the rest of his old friends to do so.

This has all of the makings of a good documentary for me. It’s a great story and even better is it tells a story of something I never would have thought about learning about, but thought was really interesting. All of the artists were all quite likable and I’ve always thought what I’ve seen of Banksy’s art work was fun and quite good. He reminds me a lot of New York’s De La Vega, but even more talented/interesting.

Best thing I read: This week I read an amazing book called As God Commands by Niccolò Ammaniti. I read a lot anyway, but last year joined a book club to expand mind and read books I wouldn’t normally read. Every week in this book club, someone new picks the book and although there is some veto-power, we basically just read what that person chose and move on. This week was my girlfriend’s Aubrey’s choice and she chose this book based on her friend Bridget’s recommendation. I was originally skeptical and hesitant, but I started the book since it was 400 pages and budgeted about two weeks to read.

The book is broken up into four main sections; Prologue, Before The Night, The Night and After. I started the book knowing nothing and it opened up in a small town in Italy and told the story of a boy and his drunk father in the middle of a blizzard where a dog is annoying the drunk father. He gives his son his gun and tells the boy to kill the dog.

The next 380 pages of the book went by in a blur. The style of writing (with almost one chapter every two pages) made for such a quick read. On top of that the book had some of the most colorful characters I’ve read in a while, with everyone having their own quirks and issues.

I don’t want to give away what the book is about, but it focuses on this boy, Christiano, his father Rino, and other quirky characters in this small Italian town. Everyone in this town has a vice and a secret and it had a very old-school Coen Brothers or David Lynch feel.

I cannot recommend this book enough. I actually finished it and wanted to flip it over and start reading it again. I wasn’t expecting the humor it had as well as the horror of real life in a small town. It doesn’t matter that this book takes place in Italy, this story could happen anywhere.

I just found out there is even a movie that came out in Italy last year and am going to try and find a way to see it since the trailer makes it look like a perfect adaptation.

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