Monday, December 21, 2009

Everything Is Illuminated

After having watched Everything Is Illuminated, I have to wonder if Liev Shrieber even bothered to read the book, or if he just read the summary. The movie barely manages to hit on maybe 1/4 of the novel, and even then it manages to get several things wrong. The things the movie manage to get wrong are much more galling then the things that it leaves out, in my opinion.

The story of Trachimbrod and Jonathan Safran Foer's many-greats grandmother is probably my favorite part of the book, and is entirely left out of the movie. I can see how this would have been near impossible to include in the movie, but it still disappoints me. Maybe if they had made it a 2 1/2 - 3 hour movie instead of an 1 1/2 hours, it would have been possible.

Alex's father is only seen at the beginning of the film and then again at the end. None of the hatred of Alex for his father or the concern he feels for his little brother Little Igor is shown in the film.

One of the biggest problems I have with the film is what they did with the main character, Jonathan Safran Foer. At the start of the film he is seen with a rather large collection of miscellany on his wall, various things he has "collected". Alex even refers to him as "The Collector" in the film, instead of "The Hero". I don't really see the purpose of adding this personality quirk, which only made Jonathan seem odd.

Making Lista Augustine's sister was another odd choice, but it didn't detract from the film. I don't, however, think it added anything, either.

The character I most thing suffered in the movie was Alex's grandfather. Making him Jewish was infuriatingly unnecessary and actually harmed the coherency of the film, leading to his forming of Heritage Tours, his interactions with Lista and his suicide (which they also altered) becoming nearly meaningless. It also added an unnecessary element of clich├ędness.

Maybe if I hadn't read the book before watching it, I might have enjoyed Everything Was Illuminated much more then I did. I loved Eugene Hutz (the lead singer of Gogol Bordello, which had three songs in the film) as Alex, he was definitely the crowning jewel. I believe Elijah Wood did the best with the part he was given, which wasn't much.

All in all it was an enjoyable film, but probably not one that I'll watch again, and definitely not one that I'll end up purchasing.

Friday, September 18, 2009

BBAW: Wednesday's Questions (On A Friday)

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack? Sometimes I'll eat lunch and read at the same time, but I don't usually snack while reading. Too messy.
Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of
writing in books horrify you? I've never felt the need to write in books, especially since most of the books I read are library books. Next time I re-read House of Leaves I might mark it up a bit, though.
How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?
Laying the book flat open? Bookmarks! Definitely bookmarks. Dog-ears are ugly and leaving it flat open is just begging for a broken spine.
Fiction, Non-fiction, or both? Both. I love them both, and I'm usually reading at least one of each at any given time.
Hard copy or audiobooks? I prefer hard copy, since audiobooks are usually too slow, and the experience can easily be ruined by horrible voice acting or weird pronunciation.
Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you
able to put a book down at any point? I usually read to the end of chapters, but if the chapter is too long I can put it down in the middle. And sometimes I don't have enough of an attention span to make it to the end.
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? Yes, unless I can figure it out with context clues, and then sometimes I look it up anyways just so I'll know 100% what it means.
What are you currently reading? Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, Specials by Scott Westerfeld, and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.
What is the last book you bought? The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can
you read more than one at a time? 99% of the time I'm reading more than one book. It has to be an incredibly engrossing book for me to focus on just one.
Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read? Late at night, curled up in bed.
Do you prefer series books or stand alone books? I probably have a slight preference for stand alones, but not by much.
Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over? I'll always rec Dune to sci-fi fans, John Irving to just about anyone and Dancers at the End of Time to people who I want to mess with (in a good way).
How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?) Organization? Hahahahahahahahahahahaha...