April 27, 2010

book or movie?

Marley & Me
Written by John Grogan / Directed by David Frankel

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"Hmm. A dog story," was perhaps my first thought regarding Marley & Me. Cinemas and video stores alike are plagued by tales of human canine companionship. Beethoven, 101 Dalmatians, 102 Dalmatians, Eight Below, and Scooby Doo: it seems that they are in abundance. They often have average plot, themes and characterisation also. But as much as I groan and roll my eyes about a story based on a four legged barking creature, I secretly found myself loving Marley & Me.
Almost everything written in the book was interpreted correctly into the film. From his love of mangoes and fear of thunderstorms Marley was as naughty and loveable from text to footage. He is perhaps one of the only puppies to flunk obedience school, eat a whole answering machine and sympathise with the loss of a baby. Marley was most definitely an individual pet.
I've heard this movie described as “It's crap and then just makes you cry!" This has some truth to the film, but is spot on for the book. I found the hum drum of family life dragged on, and without nice footage to keep my attention alert; the book became quite boring. And then it just made me cry. Yes, sad I know, I cried from a book. But I give John Grogan props for that - not many books have the ability to do that.
This reasoning is what made the film far better than the book. Yes, it is a sentimental story that's okay to read but that's all. No literary greatness found within the pages, just a normal story. Perhaps the best thing about Marley & Me was the realistic portrayal of family life which can be often hard to find in its genre. The film was a tad more entertaining than the novel, although nowhere near close enough to be considered a candidate for a favourite movie. I would say it's one of the best dog movies around - but that's hardly an achievement.

April 22, 2010

why, frankie, why?

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So I purchased the latest issue of frankie today, as I do every second month when it hits my local newsagent. And well to be honest, I always get a little excited. frankie was introduced to me in March last year by a friend and I have been a loyal customer since. As my calendar would announce "frankie out today" I would get my hands on a copy as soon as humanly possible and then delight over pretty pages of artwork, articles about very bizarre topics and ideas to make me think for days. I would read it from cover to cover in one sitting, preferably while sipping some form of warm beverage, and feel uniquely inspired once I had finished. frankie gave a warm fuzzy feeling inside, like I had just received a nice long hug from a close friend.

Although lately, that friend has not been hugging me quite as enthusiastically. One of the fantastic things about frankie was their lack of advertising. It was a magazine that said no to commercialization and crappy bright-coloured celebrity layouts that apparently teenage girls love. But each new issue for the past five months or so has begun to increase their advertising pages. I hate this! frankie was amazing with spacious simplistic layouts and hardly any advertising, but now they are giving in to the pressures of the magazine industry; which I suppose would be very hard not to.

Issue 35 entails much diversity as per usual, but it seems many articles are just an excuse for frankie's alternative folk to have a bitch about their current pet hate. In particular a letter, dripping with sarcasm, written to Liberal leader Tony Abbott. Seriously, there’s enough politics in the newspapers. Now you're bombarding my favourite magazine also? This aside, my least favourite part of this issue is the "What's it all about?" article where frankie interviewed five 'creative’s' about the meaning of life and similar things. They were replied with things such as, "my philosophy is that if it feels good and right it is good and right." Absolute boulderdash. If it feels right to murder someone or have an affair, does that make it right? NO.

But frankie always manages to suck me back in. I especially love the "Know Your Retro" piece featuring vintage dresses of the past seven decades. Of other special note I enjoyed the frank bits pages (as usual), the red lipstick special and a tribute to five of the greatest morals Roald Dahl has taught us through his spectacular books. So frankie, ditch your copious amounts of advertising, stop complaining about your latest woes and our friendship may be able to soon see restoration.

P.S. I was very happy to see a red calendar in this issue. Thanks.

April 17, 2010

aholic

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Recently I've read Confessions of a Shopaholic. Rebecca Bloomwood is such an aggravating character but somehow manages to be immensely charming at the same time. Self denied shopaholic; Rebecca cannot walk past any sort of shop without her eye line moving and her legs following to the door. Despite a HUGE amount of debt and bills, she still keeps shopping at a rapid rate and paying on her VISA card. She's very fun, but makes me want to shout, "NO! Don't buy it!" at the worn pages. She is completely obsessed with shopping.

Everybody has one thing that they are smitten with. I like to call it an 'aholic'. You know - a shopaholic, alcoholic, chocoholic, gameaholic, caraholic, musaholic, or a workaholic. This list is endless. It's that one thing that you spend time with regularly, you love to visit and that you couldn't live without. Or perhaps, you just have a long distance relationship or it's like you’re out of town cousin; only seeing each other here and there.

I am a readaholic. It sounds quite odd - but I read absolutely everything. Books of course, a few magazines, you know all the things you're supposed to read. But it doesn't stop there. My eyes read shampoo bottles, cereal boxes, catalogues, road signs, fine print and logos. Any sort of text I see, I read. Even books don't last long with me - I only like to read them in a few days. It may be because I enjoy reading, or my curiousity to know every single detail or because my mind wanders and needs something to occupy it. All I know is that I love to read.

So what's your aholic? Do you see it every day?

April 13, 2010

90's shows

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Children’s television was at its best when I was younger. Stories about aardvarks and obese hippos, a boy with a football shaped head, a half cat/half dog being, mischievous babies and a girl who can talk to animals - all delivered to us in the form of cartoon. Genius. All these made life fun. I can remember watching them with such anticipation and excitement - George and Martha, Rugrats, Arthur, Hey Arnold, The Wild Thornberry’s, Catdog and Angry Beavers. These are seriously the best shows.

I hired out a Rugrats DVD the other day and loved absolutely every minute of it. I sat on the couch and ate my Easter eggs and felt like I had rewound ten years. I'm not ashamed to admit that I still love kids shows - but the kids shows I grew up with. I don't watch the new ones aired on the ABC.

These shows weren't just fun, they had pretty decent morals also. Most children’s shows do (besides Teletubbies - that's just ridiculous baby talk). Angelica from Rugrats taught me that being mean is a bad way to live, George and Martha showed me how to have fun no matter what, from Arthur I learnt to spell aardvark and Eliza Thornberry demonstrated how to respect and tolerate your family no matter how crazy they are.

So I just say thankyou to the people who created these shows - for bringing much joy to my childhood and for still making me smile ten years later. Who knew a colourful cartoon could be so great? I did.