Sunday, July 19, 2009

Going through my collections

In an effort to constantly improve myself and find joy in other things except for drinking, carousing, and intimate encounters, I have two new goals: read more and go through my movie collection. And, because I am an obsessive blogger, I plan to write about it as I go.

I have a lot of books. At one point, I documented well over 2,000 books I owned. For the nerdy and outcast teen that I was -- my middle school years are highlighted by my social ostracism, both internally and externally -- I read voraciously. By 7th grade, I was reading several thousand pages a semester (I know because my English teacher required us to document our reading in great detail). I continued the need for books well into college, though my reading has significantly dropped off since.

My parents are moving and found a large collection of books left in a closet by yours truly, and she's bringing them here. The theory was that, after I went to college, I would trade out my college every couple years when I got bored with it. I am now confronted with the reality of not only having read the grand majority of the books on my shelf, but the addition of hundreds more.

In the past month, I've racked up thousands of pages, and I've found myself enjoying the effort. Some recent completions:
  • George R.R. Martin's The Song of Ice and Fire series -- I admit it, I'm a scifi/fantasy junkie. I have read all the greats and am depressed at the notion that Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series will not be completed by the man himself. I picked up Martin's series in college and loved it, though we are still waiting for it to be complete. Like Jordan's series, it was intended to be three, maybe four, books and has now ballooned out to probably six or seven. I own only the first three and, after my recent re-read of the first three, I am foaming at the mouth of the next few. I think I am like most readers of the series though, wondering when the Starks, the central character family, will start doing something than dying off slowly. It has now been referred onto my brother whom I think will enjoy it. Read time (3 books): about two weeks.
  • Flora Rheta Schreiber's Sybil -- Though steeped in some controversy -- some say Sybil, nee Shirley Ardell Mason, was misdiagnosed by her psychiatrist, Cornelia B. Wilbur -- the book is an interesting and fascinating look into the world of psychoanalysis and the ofter over-diagnosed condition known as Multiple Personality Disorder (Disassociate Identity Disorder). I read it for the first time in a series of books with similar themes, including When Rabbit Howls and The Three Faces of Eve, early in high school. I thought I wanted to be a psychiatrist at that point in my life. Though experiences since with the extremely mentally ill have changed my desire, the book is, nonetheless, fascinating. It's also not for the faint of heart, as the details of Sybil's abuse as a child will leave you squirming. Read time: about four days.
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon -- I don't remember exactly when I picked this book up, though it was probably in the middle school era where I was experimenting with religion and thought Wicca was it. It wasn't. I tried to read the book way back when, but I was unsuccessful and, going through this time, I found multiple book marks and dog eared pages where I had left off before. I was somewhat disappointed with it, as it was hardly the classic that everyone put it out to be. The characters were bland and the intrigue even moreso. Read time: about ten days.
  • Clive Barker's The Great and Secret Show -- I long established as one of my favorite books of all time, and I found it equally enjoyable this time around, though it can no longer be counted as amongst my favorites. It's good and made for a quick read, but it isn't quite as life changing this time around. Apparently, there are other books in a series -- dubbed The Art, or a sequel at least -- but I really am not driven to read them. Read time: three days.
  • Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth -- I was disappointed with this read the first time, thinking I wasn't as impressed with it as everyone said I would be. I'm actually enjoying it much more, this time around. It's a much heavier text than the rest, and I'm going slowly. Currently in the middle of it. It's an Oprah book, now, too.
Not sure what's next -- but I'll keep you updated, no doubt.

I own well over 200 movies, a collection I began in college when I got my first DVD player. The first movie I bought? Don't laugh -- South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. Hey, it's funny. Anyways, after discovering the cheapy movie deals offered at most movie rental places (seriously -- 4 movies for $20?!), my collection has grown exponentially since, though my watching has not kept pace and there is a huge number of titles that I have never seen before. I think it's time to actually make it through my entire collection, this time around. What have I watched so far, in about two weeks of trying:
  • Mists of Avalon -- FIRST TIME WATCH-- Especially having come off reading the book, I noticed that the movie was missing a lot of important details, though it works as a movie. Shocking, with such a huge amount of talent, you'd think it would have been better. (4 out of 10)
  • The Emperor's New Groove -- Seen it god knows how many times, and I am still entertained by it, though it didn't make it far in the box office. Worth a great chuckle, though not ground breaking cinema. (8 out of 10)
  • The Sweetest Thing -- Simple, lighthearted, and it's difficult to deny the joy of watching The Penis Song scene over and over and over again. As an amusement, it ranks high. Anything else -- including intelligent humor -- it lacks. (6 out 10)
  • The Incredibles -- My favorite movie of all time. I can't get over how well done the movie is, especially with rich characters like Edna Mode and the extensive back story they created for the flick as evidenced by the DVD extras. I am shocked that no one ever decided to make a sequel, though there are enough rumors saying it will happen. Nothing was ever confirmed, and it makes me sad. Charming, funny, and well thought out. (9.5 out of 10)
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow -- FIRST TIME WATCH -- How can so many amazing actors pick such a bad movie? I could barely be bothered to keep track of what was happening. The cinematography was amazing, however, and was the only thing saving the flick. I left wondering what the point was. (2 out of 10)
  • Fame -- FIRST TIME MAKING IT THROUGH -- Meh. Also a classic, but I wasn't as impressed with it as I thought I should be for as many homo's that say they love it. I mean, it was fun and I liked it, but I think the number of times I've fallen asleep watching it is a testament to my interest level. Classic scenes, though, and you'll recognize many references for later works. (5 of 10)
  • Borat -- I turned it on the day Bruno came out. It is what you know it to be -- filled with low brow humor that you can't help but laugh at. I'm not sure why I bought it, and I'm not sure what would encourage me to watch it again in the future. (6 of 10)
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding -- We, like so many people, heard about it from the grapevine, pre-Twitter, and I was charmed enough to see it a second time in the theatre. I never go watch a movie twice in a movie theatre. It is much as you remember -- fun and whimsical and totally worth your time. And, extra score, the jokes are still funny! (9 out of 10)
  • Elizabeth: The Golden Age -- FIRST TIME WATCH -- I loved the movie that preceded this, Elizabeth, so much, and I did enjoy the sequel. It's not as historically valid as the first, and has some continuity problems, but it's well-done and beautifully produced. I'd recommend the first one over this, but I would still suggest you check it out. (7 out of 10)
  • The Wiz -- Watched it twice since Michael Jackson died, and I love it still. It is a brilliantly recrafted and rethought version of The Wizard of Oz, and it may actually live up to the original for its creativity. The songs will stick in your head for weeks, and Diana Ross is simply fabulous, while the final bit by Lena Horne makes you realize why she was a star. (9 out of 10)
  • Sweeney Todd -- I am on a Sasha Baron Cohen kick this week, apparently, and I turned this on to remind myself that the man does have some amazing versatility as an actor. Add great performances by Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman, and Helena Bonham Carter, including some surprising vocal talent by the three, and you have a definite winner. Bloody as hell, though. Not an every-day'er though, and I think, in cutting down the original Broadway piece, it lost a little bit (8 out of 10)
  • The Devil Wears Prada -- How can you not have seen this movie? I read the book a few weeks before it came out; my sister was reading it and it was just a cheapie little bit that seemed to be written so that it could be a movie. It turned out to be an excellent flick with a couple of Oscar nom's to boot. (9 out of 10)
The only problem is that I seem to be going after previously watched movies, or favorites. I'm trying to learn to balance new flicks with the old favorites. So far, successful.

I'm not sure if anyone cares about any of this, but I do. :-)


Montgomery Maxton said...

love it!

Doug said...

I've got Jill hooked on the Song of Ice and Fire series :) If you want to read the fourth book, I'd be happy to loan it to you!