Mook Review: The Silver Linings Playbook

The Silver Linings Playbook – Novel by Matthew Quick

The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick, Books, Movies, Pat Peoples

via BN.com

Matthew Quick’s debut novel, The Silver Linings Playbook, is genuine, fantastic, and one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.  The story is about the mentally at-risk Pat Peoples and his return home to live with his parents after losing his home, his wife, and his life as he knew it.  This was one of those books I just couldn’t put down and recommended to (literally) everyone.  In my experience, I find it hard to find a light hearted story about a depressing topic that is as true to life as can be while still entertaining the reader.  The Silver Linings Playbook did this, which is why I enjoyed it so much.

Pat Peoples is the poster child of mentally at-risk adults – the ones who don’t fully recognize their disease.  Pat was troubled his whole life, which makes him relatable, as throughout this book he is trying to better himself and find his own silver lining.  His relationships with everyone throughout the novel are what truly move the story.  Tiffany, Dr. Patel, his Dad, his brother Jake, etc. all are pivotal forces in Pats life and help him grow and become who he needs to be.

The way in which his relationship with Tiffany played out was somewhat predictable and I wasn’t sure if I was fully satisfied with the ending.  I think it was clear that Pat developed deep and real feelings for Tiffany but I wanted him to come to that realization and let go of Nikki on his own, which he didn’t.  However, I don’t think this ruined the integrity of the book in any way; if anything it made it more realistic and without a silver lining.

“The Silver Linings Playbook”  Directed by David O. Russell

via IMDB.com

via IMDB.com

The one thing that I have truly learned throughout my experience with this blog is that once an author sells the rights to their work it no longer remains their story (unless, of course, the novelist is integrally involved in the writing of the screen play).  Although unfortunate, it seems that the brilliant minds that develop the characters and storylines we come to love on screen are sometimes thrown under the bus, and their artistic vision does not become the one that matters.  But, this is Hollywood.  Sometimes, you have to do what it takes to create a fantastic movie, one that viewers will love and understand.  And, lets face it, the average American wants to see their happy ending, the results they expect, and their own silver lining.  Unfortunately, I think Matthew Quick’s vision was not fully respected in this adaptation… However, David O. Russell created a fantastic movie, one that I truly loved and was able to accept regardless of it’s mis-telling of Quick’s storry.

Let me first state that the casting in this movie was spot-on.  It was perfect.  The actors embodied their characters so fluidly they almost seem like real people.  My hat goes off to Bradley Cooper who I truly felt was the break out here; up until this point, I had only seen him play the roles he had been stereotyped into but here he was vulnerable, heartfelt, and funny.  Another thing about this movie that was just spectacular… it was funny yet sad.  It was honest, it was real.  It is the kind of movie I will buy the moment it comes out on DVD/Blu Ray combo pack and fall asleep watching every night for at least 6 months.  It was so good.  I wanted to stay in the theater and watch it a second time – and I am not even sure why.

Like I mentioned above, this film was much different from the book it developed from but I just don’t care.  I don’t even want to mention it.  I guess the only thing that bothered me (and this usually does) is that they changed Pat’s last name from Peoples to Solitano.  I understand that Peoples is an unbelievable type of name, but at least replace it with something generic.  Solitano is a name that represents a specific nationality, which is something I just didn’t understand.  Change a book’s story all you want but whats the purpose in changing a name?

If you are looking for a movie to go see, see “The Silver Linings Playbook.”  I am not a romantic-comedy girl, I actually despise them, but this movie doesn’t even fall into one specific category.  It was awesome and I would hope that everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

Mook Rating  ★★

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The End is Near: Final Mooks of 2012

When I think back to one year ago, it is hard to believe the spark for Mookology was just beginning to ignite.  Nearly 2,500 followers later, Mookology’s one year anniversary is well on its way along with a number of incredible mooks I know you are all looking forward to.  Closing out the year are two of the most highly anticipated mooks of the decade: “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2,” which will blow up theaters across the nation on November 16th, followed by (and likely surpassed by) “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” on December 14th.  Both of these mooks are the heart of large fan bases who are, undoubtedly, eager to see these stories come to life.

Aside from these fantasy series adaptations which are bound to be record breaking releases, there are a few mooks I am very anxious to see.  The adaptation of David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” debuts on October 26th, with a promising cast and lots of potential.  Toronto Film Festival favorite, “The Silver Lining’s Playbook” will be released in theaters on November 21st along with the adaptation for the award-winning “Life of Pi.”

Classic literature will also take the screen before the years end.  The 2012 adaptation for “Anna Karenina” will also make its way to the silver screen in November, but is likely to be ousted from the top spot by the Twilight franchise.  Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” adaptation is another mook that is sure to bring in viewers, starring actress of Twilight fame, Kristen Stewart.  Tom Hooper’s adaptation of “Les Miserables” will officially bring 2012 to its close with it’s Christmas debut.

Of course, 2013 will not shy away from adaptations as there are many eagerly anticipated mooks to be released.  Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the novels’ namesake, is set for a release date of May 10th after being pushed back from its December 2012 release.  “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is also lined up for release in November 2013, a mook with a very large fan base, however tween fantasy romance “Beautiful Creatures” might give The Hunger Games a run for its money debuting in February of 2013.   L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz gets a fresh take with Sam Raimi’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful”, while Stephen King’s psycho-thriller remake “Carrie” gets a fresh face with Chloe Moretz as the disturbed lead role, both set to release in March.

The year to come will have no shortage of mooks, that much is clear, and announcements for new adaptations are being made rapidly.  Two very popular young adult series’, Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” and Cassandra Clare’s “The Mortal Instruments,” are both slated for adaptations and are being both cast and filmed as of the moment.  What mooks are you most looking forward to seeing?  Which books would you love to see made into mooks?  Leave your comments below and keep on reading!

Mook Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Novel by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky, Coming of Age, Charlie and Sam, Charlie and Patrick

via Goodreads.com

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming of age novel and a staple piece of contemporary literature from my generation.  Stephen Chbosky presents us the character of Charlie who is writing anonymous, journal-esque letters to an unknown person.  Through his letters, we learn a lot about the troubled 15-year-old as this novel takes us through his first year in High School.

Charlie, like most of us once were, is an awkward teenager trying to fit in and make friends, however Charlie has a very difficult past that makes his awkwardness much harder to overcome.  When he finds friendship in Patrick and Sam, things begin to change for him and he explores what it means to be a teenager.

I loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  The characters are so well developed through Charlie’s thoughts and the story is gripping in the most raw and youthful way.  It truly is a coming of age story and Charlie is such a memorable person.  By the end of the book, you want to reach through the pages, give him a hug, and let him know that you will be there for him.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” Directed by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky, Movie, Summit Entertainment, Mook, Mookology

via Wikipedia.org

The adaptation for “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is unconventional and unique in the most awesome way possible; Stephen Chbosky, the novels author, is both the screenwriter and director.  This kind of thing rarely ever happens for mooks.  Needless to say, since Chbosky played a very important role in the making of this film I went into the viewing expecting flawlessness; I imagined this movie to be as close to a perfect adaptation as it can get with all aspects of the story perfectly weaved into film.

First, I need to commend Logan Lerman on his acting skills.  I was definitely skeptical of his performance at first considering the only two roles I’ve seen him in was Percy in “Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” and an 8 year old version of the main character, Evan, in “The Butterfly Effect.”  Neither were spectacular performances BUT I found him to be so perfect as Charlie in the movie I couldn’t get over it.  Kudos to you, Mr. Lerman.

The casting for this film was definitely well done (although I couldn’t help but hear Emma Watson’s British accent no matter how hard I tried).  One thing I really loved in this film was the comedy.  Particular moments, like when Charlie is tripping on Acid and shoveling a circle of snow, are laugh-out-loud funny and perfectly fitting for the film.  The comedy doesn’t come across as well in the book, although there are some funny parts, and Ezra Miller’s performance as Patrick definitely stole the show in terms of one-liners.

Obviously there were things missing.  Candace’s role in the film was cut to almost nothing which I was disappointed about but it would have opened up an entirely new dynamic of Charlie’s world that the screen just doesn’t have time for.  The one criticism I had was the way in which Sam and Charlie’s “romantic” relationship developed at the end.  In the novel, it seems that Sam just wants to show Charlie what it means to be loved where as in the movie her affection towards him was very romanticized.  In general, I found this film profoundly moving and an awesome representation of the book.  When it comes to translating the story it really didn’t get much better than what Chbosky gave us, and rightly so.

Mook Rating  ★★1/2

The Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award

I have been nominated by not one but TWO fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blog Award.  A big thank you goes out to D. Bryant Simmons and Stephanie at The Anxiety of Authorship for honoring me with the Versatile Blogger Award.  I accept this award graciously :)  I have been lucky enough in the few months since Mookology has first launched to receive nominations for several blogger awards.  The recognition is much appreciated and I hope you all continue to read!

As always, there are a few rules I am obliged to follow.  First, thank & link back to the person who nominated you (see above). Next, I’m to share seven things about myself.  I had to do something similar when I received the Kreativ Blogger Award so here are seven totally different facts about me…

  1. I’m short.  Like 5’1″ kinda short.
  2. I paint my nails about two or three times a week. My hands feel naked without polish.
  3. I have two dogs and a beta fish.
  4. My favorite TV Show is True Blood (although season 5 isn’t too great)… some close runners up are Game of Thrones, Homeland, and Shameless.
  5. I have a HUGE crush on Hunter Parrish AKA Silas Botwin on Weeds.  Sooo dreamy.
  6. In the future I would love to learn more about professional photography.
  7. Rainbows make me smile :)

The third responsibility in accepting this award is to name 15 other bloggers deserving of this award.   While I intend to award a full 15 bloggers with this lovely recognition, for now I am going to post whoever comes to mind first and add the rest later.  I like reading blogs on all topics, but mostly ones about books, crafts, and music so definitely check out these blogs below:

Reflections of a Book Addict

Amanda Loves Movies

Glitter N Glue

Miss.Zoe

KateSpanish

Steeshes

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Me

Beat Rack

Hearya

The Mook List – #7

THE MOOK LIST – #7

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Movie, Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder

via Wikipedia.org

Why it worked: “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination…”  There is no denying that the Mel Stuart-directed “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” musical is a classic childhood movie.  From “Cheer Up Charlie” to “Pure Imagination” to the Oompa Loompa songs that you will never forget, Stuart created a very magical film that impacted the lives of all who watched.  I, personally, loved Gene Wilder in this (I also thought my Dad looked exactly like him which was super exciting) and couldn’t get enough of this movie.  I have probably seen it over 20 times due to repeats on ABC Family and have the soundtrack on vinyl (obsessed much?)  You would be lying if you tell me you’re not a Willy Wonka fan…

Why you might disagree:  In “mook” terms this movie didn’t follow the novel it was adapted from, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, very well….  OK, so it barely followed it at all, and was more of a mash up between the two books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.  The 2005 Tim Burton directed “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” which starred Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka followed the book much more directly in almost every way… but I just don’t think it holds a candle to it’s predecessor.  Roald Dahl was one of my favorite childhood authors and I did love the ‘Charlie’ books.  But in my opinion, the new movie was too high-tech and flawless for me.  I prefer the original, but not I know not everyone agrees.

“The Silver Linings Playbook” First Official Trailer Released

Jennifer Lawrence, the queen of mooks, and her “Serena” co-star Bradley Cooper are hitting theaters this November with another book adaptation “The Silver Linings Playbook.”  Based off the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick, the story follows a mentally compromised man named Pat, who has lost virtually everything, as he moves back home with his parents and tries to reconnect with his wife.  During this process, he meets Tiffany, a disturbed woman with her own set of baggage and problems.

Having not read the novel, this brand new trailer does have me eager to pursue it.  I am not a fan of romantic comedies or any sappy love stories in general, but something about “The Silver Linings Playbook” seems utterly quirky and wonderful.  It also doesn’t hurt that the film features exceptional actors; Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro and Jennifer Lawrence are the movies main stars.  Check out the trailer below and enjoy.  “The Silver Linings Playbook” is scheduled to be released November 21, 2012.

Mook Review: Snow White Part Two – “Snow White & the Huntsman”

Since two Snow White inspired movies were released in 2012, I split this post in two parts.  Part One compares “Mirror Mirror” and Part Two compares “Snow White & the Huntsman.”  Click to read Mook Review: Snow White Part One – “Mirror Mirror” which includes a review of Little Snow-White by the Brothers Grimm.  Happy Reading!

“Snow White & the Huntsman”  Directed by Rupert Sanders

Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Rupert  Sanders, Snow White

via IMDB.com

Admittedly, this was the Snow White movie I was much more excited to see this year, as it seemed less kid-friendly and more dark and intense.  I really liked the alterations to the story; all of the elements of the original Little Snow-White were basically there with a subtle twist which made “Snow White and the Huntsman” interesting.  Specifically, Queen Ravena’s rise to power was much different from the original tale right from the beginning.  She intentionally kills the King and overtakes his Kingdom, which eventually becomes withered, poor, and helpless under her evil rule.  The Queen steals beauty from the young girls in the kingdom in order to stay youthful, but when Snow White comes of age the Queen realizes it is Snow who will break her spell.

While Kristen Stewart definitely looked gorgeous as Snow White, my problem with her character was that she barely had any lines.  I’m not a fan of Stewart’s acting at all but I think what happened in this movie isn’t her fault.  I was hoping to see Stewart portray a role that we are not used to seeing her in and potentially break out of her stereotype. I wanted to see this Snow White be strong willed, brave, and exciting but instead I found her to be meek, helpless, and relying on the help of others (ie: Bella in “Twilight”).  When she had her big ‘waking up’ moment at the end of the film, encouraging her supporters to fight for her honor, it was a little unbelievable.  Although I do think Stewart brought much more emotion at that moment than ever before, it didn’t necessarily work for me.

Despite that problem, I thought the movie was pretty fantastic.  The visuals were great, I loved the changes to the storyline (not to mention Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman was oh so lovely to look at).  The final scene was a little strange to me.  I didn’t think it accomplished much, but it wont be the last we see of Snow White since a sequel has officially been approved.  If you are into fantasy and fairy tales, I would definitely give this film a shot.

Mook Rating  ★★★ 1/2

The Mook List – #8

THE MOOK LIST – #8

The Outsiders

The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton, Movie cover, Book Cover, greasers, Socs, ponyboy curtis, sodapop curtis

via IMDB.com

Why it worked: This story is one of the only things that I remember standing out to me in Middle School.  The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton was assigned to my seventh grade English class and I immediately fell in love with it.  I distinctly remember reading past the assigned chapters and reading intensely into the night, enamored by the world of Ponyboy Curtis.  The movie “The Outsiders” was something we watched in a grade-wide assembly, and these characters came alive on screen in a prolific and wonderful way, acting out scenes almost exact from the book.  To this day, I can still recite Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay” verbatim.  

Why you might disagree:  To be honest, I don’t know.  I fell in love with The Outsider’s and everything about it, both the book and the movie.  One thing from the movie that was maybe a little hokey was the stereotypical costuming of the Greasers and the Socs.  The Greasers were VERY greasy and Soc’s were super clean-cut.  Otherwise, this film was filled with up-and-coming stars (C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, etc.) and was an important movie for it’s time.

Mook Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin  Written by Lionel Shriver

We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver, Book, Mook, Mookology, Orange Prize

via Wikipedia.org

We Need to Talk About Kevin is one of the most inventive, precise, and well written novels I have ever had the pleasure to read… although the context of this story may not be so pleasureful.  Lionel Shriver proves to be a magnificent author and one hundred percent deserving of the Orange Prize she received for this novel.  We Need to Talk About Kevin chronicles the aftermath of a school massacre which was plotted and carried out by our narrator Eva’s son, Kevin Khatchadourian.  In the form of an epistolary, we read letter after letter from Eva to her husband Franklin, all of which are desperate to talk about their childs’ wrongdoing and heeding no response.  It is unclear, until the very end of the novel, whether Eva is actually sending out these letters or just using them as a tool to relieve herself of her own detrimental thoughts.

We Need to Talk About Kevin is dense in its 400+ pages. It is hard to articulate everything about this book I would love to talk about but I believe the main focus of this book is how much Eva truly understands her son while, simultaneously, misunderstanding him completely.  Eva knows that Kevin is morbid, disturbed, and highly manipulative but she also knows that she will never understand him.  This is where Eva and Franklin are at odds and why Eva is so desperate to communicate with her estranged husband; their marriage fell apart at the hands of their evil son.

This novel spans the life of Kevin, from an infant crying incessantly in his crib to a teenager locked away in jail.  As a reader, we become addicted to his twisted ways and, as disturbing as some moments in this book may be, there is no way you can stop reading.  In this aspect, this is where Shriver shines.  The ‘school massacre’ concept is unoriginal, but We Need to Talk About Kevin puts the issue in a new perspective, and the resolution of this novel is that there is no resolution.  It is real, honest, and raw.  We Need to Talk About Kevin is definitely worth your reading time.

“We Need to Talk About Kevin”  Directed by Lynne Ramsay

We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver, Movie, Film, Book Adaptation, Film Adaptation, Lynne Ramsay, Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller

via IMDB.com

What an incredible adaptation.  As you may have learned through Mookology, it is nearly impossible to identically replicate a novel on screen.  Changes must be made, and whether they are big or large in scale are usually left to the screen writer and director.  Since Shriver’s novel was an epistolary, I knew the movie would do either one of two things: 1) Have voice overs of Eva writing her letters or 2) abolish the letters completely.  I am very happy that they decided to eliminate the letters, which saved it from potential hokey-ness, and instead used pure movement to articulate Eva’s life.

The commendable work of Tilda Swinton is just extraordinary in this film.  She is truly captivating, and shows so much with so little to say.  The idea to have Eva trying to get rid of the red paint that has vandalized her home was pure genius; throughout the film, which is intertwined with flashbacks to her life with Kevin, she is scrubbing away at the red paint which covers her hands and body.  It represents the blood of the victims that Eva feels is on her hands.  One of the most pertinent themes of the novel was Eva’s responsibility for what happened with Kevin, even though we realize it was purely out of her control.

Obviously, there is a lot left out of the movie.  I felt like a few really evil things were missing, particularly the scene where Kevin is playing with Celia’s glass eye as a token of what he had done, but the film moved along without it.  The only thing I felt really just didn’t make sense was the title in association with the film.  In the book it is obvious that Eva’s letters represent her needs to talk about what happened but, in the film, this doesn’t come across.  There is no one that Eva is communicating with about her feelings on the matter so the title doesn’t seem as related as it should – but I guess that is just me nitpicking.

Ezra Miller is the perfect Kevin, so perfect he almost seems too close to the character.  His purely sinister portrayal of Kevin throughout the film is sublime and we truly see a difference in Kevin at the end of the movie, when he confesses his “I don’t know” to his mother.  “We Need to Talk About Kevin” was very well done for the immense material it had to work with and I truly felt this was a great adaptation of a phenomenal novel.

Mook Rating  ★★★★

Mook Review: Hugo

The Invention of Hugo Cabret  Written by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick, Mookology

via BN.com

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a delightful childrens historical fiction novel by author and illustrator Brian Selznick.  At first glance, the story seems quite hefty in length for a childrens book but Selznick’s illustrations account for at least half of the book.  The artwork was something I found interesting and, moreso, entertaining.  One of the reasons I love mooks so much is because words and imagery are so intertwined in what they are meant to do; when done purposefully, both can accomplish the telling of a story.  In Selznick’s case, his illustrations convey equal amounts of action as his words and you could easily grasp the concept of the story through this visual aid.

I was captivated by The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  I had put my mind to reading it several times, but found myself unmotivated to actually pick up this book.  However, once I began reading I could not put it down and finished the story within a few hours.  Hugo, our main character, is as intelligent as he is determined but at the same time he is a lonely, orphaned child.  I loved how honest his character was portrayed.  He was hesitant to trust and hell-bent on uncovering the meaning of his life.  The mystery surrounding the automaton, Hugo’s father, and Georges Méliès is evident in Hugo’s thoughts and when it finally comes full circle, Hugo is given the opportunity to live as a child again.  The characters that help him along the way become Hugo’s family, and happily ever after doesn’t seem quite so corny in this story.

I can easily see why Selznick’s book was a best seller and a child favorite.  It is definitely the kind of book I can picture myself reading to my future children every night in bed.  At the end, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a wonderful tale of adventure and education.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!

“Hugo”  Directed by Martin Scorsese

Hugo Movie, Martin Scorsese, 2011 Oscars, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloe Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen

via IMDB.com

The 2011 film “Hugo” was a major success for legendary director Martin Scorsese and won 5 Oscars in total, ranging from Best Cinematography to Best Visual Effects.  From the first preview I saw for “Hugo” I was very interested in seeing the film and, after reading Selznick’s book, I truly could envision how it could have been adapted.  There were many things that made this movie successful in its own right.  Everything about the setting and cinematography revers a dream-like appeal and the young actors are incredibly successful at their parts; Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz were phenomenal as Hugo and Isabelle, respectively.  The adult roles of Georges Méliès and, much more involved than in the book, the Station Inspector emphasizes Hugo’s position in the story.  He is an orphan and a thief trying to get by on his own.

There were a lot of changes made in “Hugo” in terms of characters and their relationships.  Something I liked was the heightened character of the Station Inspector.  In the book, while feared by Hugo, the Station Inspector doesn’t pose too much of a threat until the one major chase towards the end.  In the movie, the Station Inspector is more of a main character and we get to see his blatant cruelty.  Also, the added information that he was an orphan himself shows his own loneliness and anger towards not having a family.

It was Hugo and Isabelle’s friendship that bothered me the most.  Hugo is very, very hesitant to trust Isabelle in The Invention of Hugo Cabret and really doesn’t want her around.  The film changed this; Hugo enjoys her company relatively early on and they become fast friends, holding hands and having adventures.  This bothered me a lot and made it seem kind of cheesy.  Additionally, Papa Georges and Mama Jeans relationship with Isabelle’s parents is never mentioned – why?!  It completely changes Papa Georges reason for quitting his films and makes it much less tragic.

Visually, the movie was enjoyable and I can easily see why it gained such respect in the film world.  Yet, like in SO MANY adaptations, senseless changes diluted the story and brought it to the surface level rather than giving the story depth.  With a text such as The Invention of Hugo Cabret it barely makes sense to alter the story, given it wasn’t particularly dense or difficult to convey on screen.  As a mook, “Hugo” left me disappointed.

Mook Rating  ★★1/2

*UPDATE* -  I would like to add that I did not see “Hugo” in 3D and therefore cannot comment on the 3D effects of the movie (though I am sure it was fantastic).