Friday, October 31, 2008

Box Office Predictions: 31 October 2008

This week we've got a several new or expanded releases: Clint Eastwood's drama Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie; obligatory horror movie The Haunting of Molly Hartley; Guy Ritchie's latest, action/heist/comedy/I'm-not-really-sure-what-genre-based-on-descriptions RocknRolla; and sex comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno with Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks.

The two big rollovers from last week are, of course, High School Musical 3 and Saw V, and it's likely these will both do well again.

It's likely Jigsaw's latest escapade will do well on Friday, it being Halloween and all, but HSM3's got a larger target audience and multiple-viewings power. The dark horse here is Zack and Miri Make a Porno, which has gotten plenty of publicity based on the name alone.

Bit of a tough week, but here goes:

Official Predictions
1. High School Musical 3
2. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
3. Saw V

And now, for your Halloween pleasure, I present to you, BumbleSchmo!
And now, LiloBurrito!
(Dressed as a Chipotle burrito. Barbacoa specifically.)
(Yes, I'm one of those dog owners. No, Lilo does not like being dressed up. Happily for her, she'll be spared the horror this year.)
Happy Halloween, everyone!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Seven Facts Meme

I'd managed to escape this meme for quite some time, but it finally caught up with me. Thanks, Danielle.

The idea is to share seven facts about yourself and then to tag five people.

Seven Facts about Elizabeth Ditty
  1. During parent-teacher conferences in the fifth grade, my teacher told my parents that I was "eccentric" and "dared to be different." I've never lived it down, though I have learned to embrace it.
  2. One of my favorite movies as a child was The Last Unicorn, which, if you've ever seen it, explains a lot about me, I think.
  3. Between college and my current job, I spent five hellish weeks working in the Tire & Lube Express department at Wal-Mart . I was placed there despite knowing next to nothing about cars. But the upside is I can now help you pick out tires and I can take an educated guess at what kind of oil your car uses.
  4. I've played just about every major sport (major as defined in the States). Soccer, softball and basketball were the biggies, but I've also taken tennis lessons, and I participated in swim team for a number of years in my youth (breaststroke and fly were my specialties). I was a tetherball champion in elementary school. I've never played on a volleyball team, but I know the basics. I even did a year of cross country in seventh grade. I also took an introductory epée fencing class in August, and I hope to continue fencing after NaNoWriMo. I've never really played football, but I think I get a pass on that, being a girl and all.
  5. A few months ago, I started speaking to my dogs in French. This is mostly an effort to keep my level of French somewhere between elementary and conversational. I think it also makes me a little weird (see No. 1).
  6. I love to cook and bake. I love trying out new recipes, and I love feeding people. But I hate cleaning, so I rarely partake in this hobby these days.
  7. I really enjoy having intellectual conversations with people, be it about books, movies, religion/spirituality, politics, philosophy, whatever. I tend to be fairly quiet in group settings, but if you get me one on one or in a very small group, I'm much more talkative. I love to debate for the sake of learning about people and hearing new perspectives, and my goal is often just to get people to think rather than to convince someone that my stance on any given issue is correct.
Phew, that was harder than I expected. Now to unleash it on other unsuspecting bloggers...
  1. Lee Horne
  2. Matt
  3. Joselyn Martin
  4. JenWriter
  5. SarahCentric

Have fun!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Recap: 26 October 2008

I was on a business trip/quasi-vacation last week, which explains the lack of posts. Sorry about that. With NaNoWriMo starting Saturday, a couple of things could happen. I'll either be posting more since blogging is at least a semi-productive form of procrastination. Or I'll be posting less because I'm shooting for 75,000 words this year and will be bleeding from my fingertips due to my output. Anyway, back to business for now.

This Week's Top 10
  1. High School Musical 3 ($42 million)
  2. Saw V ($30.5 million)
  3. Max Payne ($7.6 million)
  4. Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($6.9 million)
  5. Pride and Glory ($6.3 million)
  6. The Secret Life of Bees ($5.9 million)
  7. W. ($5.3 million)
  8. Eagle Eye ($5.1 million)
  9. Body of Lies ($4.1 million)
  10. Quarantine ($2.6 million)
What I Watched
  • The Duchess (4 stars): I'd expected this movie to be a bit drab, to be honest, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Period pieces are a guilty pleasure of mine, so I would have enjoyed it anyway, but it moved along quite nicely. Keira Knightley lives up to the hype and gives her best performance to date.
  • High School Musical 3 (3½ stars): I dragged my sisters to the midnight showing, which is really rather embarrassing considering I'm 25 and they're 19 and 17 respectively. Once we survived the hormone-drenched mob getting into the theatre, I had a really fun time. The story's cheesy and predictable and admittedly a rehash of the same themes from the first two outings, but the music is solid and the choreography is wonderful.
  • Sunset Boulevard (4 stars): See full review here.
  • Starter for Ten (3 stars): Starring James McAvoy, this is a British romantic comedy/dramedy set in 1985 (and released in 2006). It's not spectacular, but it has some fun moments. If you're a fan of the genre or James McAvoy, it's worth adding to your Netflix queue.
  • Lost in Translation (3½ stars): See full review here.
What I Read
I finished Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors while at the airport before the first flight of my trip. Luckily, it was good enough that I didn't mind having to lug an extra book with me through four flights, a trek on foot through Nashville, a one-way Greyhound bus ride (which inspired a bit of short "fiction"), and an odyssey through the monstrosity that is the Gaylord Opryland hotel. It's the first collection of short stories I remember reading, and it's a good way to get into the genre for anyone looking to do so.

I also devoured Neil Gaiman's newest novel, The Graveyard Book. It was tense and delightful and touching, and it made me cry, which is a fairly rare occurrence for a book. I don't imagine it'll be too long before someone snatches up the film rights for this one.

I picked up a new book, Eat, Pray, Love, before starting the flights home. I'd been wanting to read this one for a while, and it showed, as I worked through the first 150 pages the first night (which is extremely rare for me). Hoping to finish that before the end of the week.

What I'm Writing
I'm working feverishly to finish MUTE before the end of the week for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there's a contest I'm planning to enter, and the deadline is in mid-November, but I have to ship a hard copy overseas. Secondly, Saturday is, of course, Nov. 1, which means I'll be starting my NaNoWriMo novel as soon as the clock strikes midnight.

I've been looking forward to starting this novel for what seems like months, which is always a dangerous feeling for NaNo, which has a tendency to produce feelings of despair and self-loathing in even the most steel-hearted writers. Luckily, I'll have thousands of other WriMos with whom to wallow.

I've also been writing a bit of short fiction here and there, most of which I've posted on this blog. I spent most of one of the conference days working on a short story that's a long way from being complete, but I might find a few spare moments to work through it even in the midst of the avalanche of words I'll be writing in November. The genre kind of fascinates me at the moment, so hopefully I'll be able to keep churning these little story flashes out on a regular basis.

Sorry for the lengthy post. Guess that's what happens when I'm away for two weeks.

Netflix Project: Lost in Translation (2003)

Spoilers ahead. Beware.

Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation is about an encounter between a washed-up actor going through a mid-life crisis and a 20-something woman struggling to find fulfillment in her life and marriage.

While I enjoyed this movie well enough, it's certainly not for your average moviegoer. It is essentially a character study and not much more. Nothing really happens; lives are not radically changed. And yet, it's those very things that make this film feel very real.

One gets the feeling while watching that Lost in Translation would have been a complete and utter failure without the casting of Bill Murray as actor Bob Harris. His dry delivery and nuanced expression are key in a film with such little dialog. The subtle humor he manages to bring to an otherwise bleak film without overwhelming it is its saving grace.

I would have enjoyed more interaction between Scarlett Johansson's bordering-on-brooding Charlotte and Anna Faris' bubbleheaded actress, Kelly. Throw Bob into the mix, and I think there was some missed potential there.

Overall, I'm a little surprised this movie won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Then again, looking at the competition for 2003, nothing else jumps out at me as something that should have beat it. Either way, it's a good study in how to put together a story about nothing more than two people struggling in life without making it boring.

Favorite line: During a phone call between Bob and his wife, Lydia, that dissolves into a marital spat.
Lydia: Do I need to worry about you, Bob?
Bob: Only if you want to.

Netflix Project: Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Spoilers ahead. Beware.

Sunset Boulevard is the story struggling screenwriter who is hired to edit a screenplay by a silent film star trying to make her grand return to film after years of obscurity.

Penned by D.M. Marshman Jr., Charles Brackett (who produced), and Billy Wilder (who directed), Sunset Boulevard is a deservedly classic film noir that paints a brutally honest picture of the film industry's transition from silent to talkies.

Some of silent film's most popular stars make cameos in the movie, including Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nillson, and H.B. Warner. Gloria Swanson herself, who plays the deluded Norma Desmond, hadn't had a feature film release in nine years when Sunset Boulevard was released. Erich von Stroheim, who plays the butler, Max, who had discovered Norma, directed many of her films and had been her first husband, had directed Swanson in real life in one of her last silent film flops, Queen Kelly (which happens to be the film screened in Norma's private movie theatre in the film).

I particularly enjoyed the parallels between Norma's derailment and the story of Salomé, which was the film she was hoping to make with Cecil B. deMille, who also cameos in the movie as himself. While Norma is in many ways the antagonist of the film, she's also its most tragic character. Put on a pedestal as a young woman and then having that pedestal yanked from beneath her once silent film gave way to talkies, it's hard not to feel for this forgotten star.

At the same time, you can't help but feel she's being a bit melodramatic about the whole thing. As Joe tells Norma toward the end, "There's nothing tragic about being fifty. Not unless you're trying to be twenty-five." But with the knowledge that her butler Max has been feeding her delusions, convincing her that the audience still thirsts for her by writing fake fan mail, hiding the industry's lack of interest from her, you come to the conclusion that Norma stood little chance in a place as brutal and crazy as Hollywood.

And yet, Sunset Boulevard, while indicting some of the tactics, also shines light on the heart of Hollywood in the form of young Betty Schaefer, played by Nancy Olson, as an aspiring screenwriter who reminds Joe what it's like to work on something that's about more than just a paycheck.

There are a number of good bits of dialog in this movie, but I'm going to have to go with perhaps the most famous as my favorite.

Favorite Line: "You see, this is my life! It always will be! Nothing else! Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark! All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Short Fiction: Greyhound

Customer service was not a priority for the overweight, dreadlocked woman behind the counter.

I caught sight of a tattoo on her wrist. 'Mary,' was it? I glanced at her nametag: 'Dominique Q.' I immediately imagined a tragic backstory that was obviously the reason for her apathy bordering on disdain. A sister, a mother--maybe even a lover!--ripped from her all too soon by a demon called Cancer, Car Accident or Gang Violence. My heart swelled with empathy.

I smiled sadly, sincerely, as she handed me my bus ticket, but she didn't meet my eyes. It's OK, I told her telepathically. I understand. I looked at the tattoo one last time. I now realized it was not 'Mary' this woman desired so fervently that she would emblazon it on her wrist. It was 'Money.' My heart deflated.

She looked at me with dead eyes and an expression that clearly said, 'Move along now.' I dragged my bag away, feeling a little sting when she bellowed the word, "Next."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Recap: 12 October 2008

Sorry for the lack of predictions Friday. I would have lost miserably anyway.

This Week's Top 10
  1. Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($17.5 million)
  2. Quarantine ($14.2 million)
  3. Body of Lies ($13.1 million)
  4. Eagle Eye ($11 million)
  5. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist ($6.5 million)
  6. The Express ($4.7 million)
  7. Nights in Rodanthe ($4.6 million)
  8. Appaloosa ($3.34 million)
  9. The Duchess ($3.32 million)
  10. City of Ember ($3.2 million)

What I Watched
  • Dead Poets Society (5 stars): See full review here.
  • Caffeine (3 stars): This relationship comedy set in a London coffee shop almost plays as an amalgam of short films instead of a cohesive feature-length movie. In a good way. Most of the time. Once I got over the less-than-stellar British accents the Americans were trying to put on, I was decently amused.
  • Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (4 stars): People proclaiming this is a Juno wannabe are sorely mistaken. They're two completely different films, and if Juno is known for snappy, snarky dialog, Nick & Norah's dialog at times feels almost too natural and too awkward for it to be a movie. This movie left me feeling pretty restless with my own life. And any movie that can affect me for hours afterwards has done something right.
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (3½ stars): See full review here.
  • Igby Goes Down (3½ stars): I hesitate to call this a dark comedy because it's not particularly comedic in the traditional sense. Then again, it's not overly dramatic either. And yet it doesn't really fit the mold for what I would normally call a dramedy. So... let's just call it a dark, sometimes comedic film with stellar performances from a cast including Kieran Culkin, Claire Danes, Susan Sarandon, Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum.

Netflix Project: Dead Poets Society (1989)

Spoilers ahead. Beware.

Tom Schulman's screenplay for Dead Poets Society won the 1989 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Starring Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke, among others, Dead Poets Society tells the story of a group of students at a staunch prep school and the effect a non-traditional teacher has on their approach to life.

I first saw this movie the summer before my junior year of high school, and I was completely affected by it. This was the first time I'd seen it since that summer, and I was just as captivated and moved by it, if not more so, the second time around.

Robin Williams as Professor John Keating is spot on, and it's movies like this that remind me what a treasure he actually is when he chooses quality projects. Robert Sean Leonard looks practically the same as he does now as Dr. Wilson on House, minus about twenty-five pounds of muscle. He is funny, charming and heartbreaking, much like he is in his current role, come to think of it.

One thing that struck me this time around was the cinematography. There are some simply beautiful shots in this film. The dialog is so entrancing and the characters so deftly developed that it's easy to forget to pay attention to the visually artistic elements of the film, but they're there to observe if you can remember. Perhaps it speaks to the artistry that the cinematography doesn't distract but adds another layer to an already brilliant film.

Honestly, I could gush about this film for hours. Many of the lines are entrenched in my brain, and the themes of the movie have goaded me to escape my comfort zone on more than one occasion. In fact, the movie was the catalyst for one of the most defining moments in my life. So, it's possible I'm a little bit biased simply because I attach so much in my life to this film. But the fact that I can do that means something, I think.

I'd just copy and paste the entire screenplay for my favorite line if I could, but instead I'll leave you with the one I come back to again and again.

Favorite Line: "Carpe diem! Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary."

Courtesy of Wordle

Netflix Project: The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)

Spoilers ahead. Beware.

1948's Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay comes in the form of The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, written by Sidney Sheldon.

Starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Shirley Temple, the movie follows Margaret and Susan Turner, sisters living together with a mother-daughter sort of relationship. Margaret is an uptight, emotion-avoiding judge, while Susan is an emotion-driven, precocious 17-year-old high-school student. Their relationship is summed up well in the first five minutes when Margaret says to Susan, "You know I'd die for you, but sometimes it's very hard living with you."

We have two meet-cutes right away, when Margaret lets Richard Nugent, a playboy artist, off the hook for a brawl in which he played a part. That one is quickly followed by Susan falling for Richard as he gives a speech on art at her high school. Susan quickly decides Richard is her knight in shining armor, and she schemes herself into his apartment unbeknownst to him. Chaos, of course, ensues. Richard is arrested, but they decide to drop the charges if he agrees to pretend to date Susan in order to let her outgrow her little fantasy without scarring her for life.

Got all that? OK. What follows is an enjoyable if predictable romantic comedy with amusing performances from all parties. I believe this may have been my first Cary Grant film, and I understood Margaret's point when she told Richard, "I've never been subjected to such charm before."

The dinner scene where the strings of everyone's schemes unravel is very well-done, and it's always fun to see refined men doing unrefined things like the potato sack race, three-legged race and obstacle course during the picnic sequence. Additionally, the last scene went for a great bit of bookend dialog instead of the typical rom-com cheese ending, which I appreciated.

The movie's not phenomenal, but, thanks for the clever and sharply delivered dialog, it's the first chronologically in the project that's been consistently enjoyable.

Favorite Line:
Set-up: Richard has just complimented Margaret on her dress.
Margaret: "You said that gracefully. Perhaps the result of practice?"
Richard: "You said that ungraciously. Perhaps the result of practice, hm?"

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Short Fiction: Learning to Fly

Learning to Fly

I never really wanted to live here. In this apartment. In this city. In this life. Then again, I never really wanted not to live here either. One day, you wake up, and your life's become a caricature. And the worst part is I just don't give a shit. My waking hours are dulled by a steady IV drip of apathy. And yet, I don't even cling to that. I wouldn't be up here staring down at the worker bees hustling to and fro below me if I were properly apathetic. That's the problem. I'm even apathetic about my apathy.

The only thing I ever really wanted to do was fly. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" my parents would ask me. "I want to fly!" I'd retort, throwing my arms in the air and running around the room. My father would curl an arm around my waist and bring me back down to earth. "So you want to be a pilot then?" he'd ask, his face a textbook case of logic and parental support. "What's that?" He smiled and took me to the library where I was presently inundated with books about Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh, though strangely not about the Japanese kamikaze pilots of World War II. I remember the reddening in my ears as I forced a smile and feigned interest. Sure, planes were cool, but neither my father nor the librarian understood. I didn't want to be flown. I wanted to fly. A year later, I was fitted with glasses to correct the laziness of my right eye. See, I'm even biologically apathetic. After that, my father abruptly curtailed any talk of learning to be a pilot. I didn't care. It wasn't what I'd wanted anyway.

As with just about all kids, I eventually learned to believe that the idea of learning to fly (or x-ray vision or super-strength or shooting spiderwebs out of your hands) was patently absurd and meant to be relegated to the immature world of comic books and Saturday morning cartoons. I wonder about those kids whose parents and teachers couldn't beat it out of them. You know the ones. The weirdos running around willy nilly in the grassy area of the playground. The ones you snickered at with your friends because it was the cool thing to do, even though in the deepest recess of your conscious mind you knew they were having a much better time than you were. Our pointing fingers and cruel snorts were laced with jealousy, and we all knew it, even though we'd never admit it. Do you ever wonder where they are now? I'd venture they're either on meds, in the loony bin or special ed teachers. Either way, even if it took longer than the rest of us, I'm sure they've been gutted of the whimsy somewhere along the line.

But I'm getting off the point here, I guess.

So, what do you think? Am I up here because I've lost all hope? Or am I here because I have a shred of it left? Am I staring at the pavement 18 stories below my balcony because I think it could use a nice, fresh coat of blood and brains? Or because I think there's a chance I might not have to set foot on the sand and stone amalgam ever again? Either way, perhaps today is the day.

"Are you ready to go?"

The voice is small and excited. I turn to see my son. The baseball mitt on his left hand is nearly as big as his head. He still believes baseball and learning to fly are completely valid subjects on par with learning the alphabet and counting to 100.

"Yup, I'm ready," I tell him.

He grins and runs back into the apartment. I look back over the edge of the balcony and shrug. Oh well. I've waited this long. I can always learn to fly tomorrow, I guess.

© 2008 Elizabeth Ditty

The idea for this story also came from Matt, though he doesn't remember it. I started out wanting to write something for a short story competition Lee Horne's entering, but then I decided I'd rather just post it on my blog. And despite the content of my two short stories, I promise I'm not suicidal.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Recap: 5 October 2008

This is becoming something of a trend: I pegged the top 3, but not in the right order.

This Week's Top 10
  1. Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($29 million)
  2. Eagle Eye ($17.7 million)
  3. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist ($12 million)
  4. Nights in Rodanthe ($7.4 million)
  5. Appaloosa ($5 million)
  6. Lakeview Terrace ($4.5 million)
  7. Burn After Reading ($4.08 million)
  8. Fireproof ($4.07 million)
  9. An American Carol ($3.8 million)
  10. Religulous ($3.5 million)

What I Watched

  • What a Girl Wants (2 stars): My sister convinced me to watch this because of Colin Firth. And, sad to say, that's probably the only reason to watch this. Granted, without the silly B-story love interest, I think this movie might have been perfectly respectable. Well, maybe that's going a bit far, but you get my drift. As it is, save yourself some time and just watch this.
  • Final Draft (2 stars): I did learn a very important lesson from this movie. Cutting yourself off from the outside world by locking yourself in an apartment to finish a screenplay is a very bad idea.
  • Woman of the Year (3 stars): See the full review here.
  • Son of Rambow (3½ stars): I was highly amused by the reasons behind the PG-13 rating for this film: "violence and reckless behavior." This is a story about unlikely friendship and love of movies, so I, of course, loved it. The two leads were wonderful, and the story (if a little uneven at times) is funny, sweet and emotionally authentic.
  • The Full Monty (4 stars): The story of down-and-out steel workers who convince themselves that performing in a strip show would be a good idea. As you can imagine, chaos ensues. It's hilarious and touching, and it walks the line between feel-good and schmaltz better than I've seen in a while. I'll also note that, despite the plot, the movie is monty-free, though butts do abound from time to time.

In Other News

I finished Voyage of the Dawn Treader earlier this week. I think this may be my favorite of the Narnia books so far. I was a bit let down by the ending (I wanted to see Caspian's interaction with Ramandu's daughter), but surely that's something that will be improved upon in 2010's film version. (As an aside, I just checked out who they cast as Eustace for the film, and it's none other than Will Poulter who was *fabulous* in Son of Rambow. Well done!)

I've since moved on to Neil Gaiman's collection of short stories, Smoke and Mirrors. I only started reading it three or four days ago, and I'm already halfway through, which is generally a good sign, especially since it's been a rather busy week.

Last but not least, it's nearly time for National Novel Writing Month! Get thee to the Web site and sign up! If you have no idea what NaNoWriMo is, check out Matt's post about it. He sums it up quite nicely. And, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. This will be my fourth year participating, so I'm a bit of a veteran as far as NaNo goes.

Edit: Matt says this post is better, but I say you should check out both. There's no such thing as too much when it comes to NaNo-related motivation.

Netflix Project: Woman of the Year (1942)

Spoilers ahead. Beware.

Woman of the Year, the first collaboration for Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, tells the story of a political columnist and a sports reporter who meet after trading barbs, fall in love, and then find marriage isn't quite the bed of roses they thought it would be.

Written by Ring Lardner Jr. and Michael Kanin, the film contains some amusing dialog and a couple of laugh-out-loud sequences. Overall, though, the film struck me as rather unremarkable.

From the beginning, I was never really quite certain what Sam saw in Tess, nor what she saw in him other than he had the moxie to actually go after her. There was an obvious physical attraction and even an undeniable chemistry between the two leads, but I never understood the undercurrent that pulled these two together.

For the modern viewer, the second act seems to drag on longer than necessary. There's a good twenty to thirty minutes in the middle where the plot gets too serious for its own good. (It was at this point, when we had to pause the movie for a moment, that my less-patient-with-movies-than-I-am mother remarked, "Is it just me, or is this movie really boring?") Luckily, they saved the best for last as Tess attempts to make breakfast for Sam in a last-ditch effort to save their marriage. That scene alone bumped the film from 2½ stars to 3 on my scale (of 5).

And not because it's all that clever or unique but simply because it's true...

Favorite Line: "What's the sense of abolishing the thing you're trying to protect?"

Friday, October 03, 2008

Box Office Predictions: 3 October 2008

We have a slew of wide releases this weekend: family flick Beverly Hills Chihuahua, smart teen comedy Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, conservative comedy An American Carol, drama Blindness, and biopic Flash of Genius.

As much as it pains me to say it, it looks like Beverly Hills Chihuahua has the best shot at taking No. 1. The box office has been lacking in family films lately, and this one's opening in more than 3,000 theatres. It's movies like this that make me embarrassed to admit I own two chihuahuas, albeit long-haired and very anti-purse ones.

After that, it's between Nick & Norah and last week's winner, Eagle Eye. We've had at least a couple of weeks with thrillers at the head of the pack, so I'm banking that the theatre-going crowd will be in the mood for lighter fare this weekend.

Official Predictions
1. Beverly Hills Chihuahua
2. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
3. Eagle Eye

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Writer's Theme Song

Found another meme over at Write Here, Write Now.

Here's the deal:
Find a song that sums up what you think it means to be a writer and post the lyrics on your blog and why you've chosen it. NB: It doesn't have to be your favourite song, it just has to express how you feel about writing and/or being a writer. It can be literal, metaphorical, about a particular form or aspect of writing - whatever you want. Then tag 5 others to do the same (reprint these instructions).
I'd never really thought about a theme song as a writer. I have plenty of project-themed songs that come to mind for various characters, stories, etc. I've also got a number of songs I relate to as an entire human being, but the part of me that is a writer had never resonated clearly with a song. But no longer. I present to you, "Shark Food" by Starsailor. You can listen to the song for free at And while you're there, add me as a friend if you like.

Sunshine in the glory skies,
When the broken men open up their eyes.
Sunshine in the glory skies,
When the day is long and the clouds are high.

We're stepping through the door
We're shooting from the heart
And if we get it wrong
They'll feed us to the sharks

The first stanza reminds me of what a bitch writing can be at times contrasted with the euphoria of when it goes well. I picture the quintessential high noon gunfight, except it's me versus my laptop.

The second stanza hits home in a couple of ways. First, it's always a risk revealing something that's come directly from your heart and brain to others. But that's why we do it, too, because there are stories we feel compelled to tell. The risk is worth the reward of seeing someone connect with what we've put out there. Second, I feel a sense of responsibility toward my stories in that I want to tell them clearly and with the attention they deserve. If I don't make the effort to do my absolute best and to continually raise that bar I call "my best," then I deserve to be shark food (and certainly will be in this industry).

I'm not going to tag five people since I don't know five people who will do this. But I will strongly encourage Brittany and Matt to join in the fun.