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Magical Media

I am presently reading Don't Fail Me Now, and 100 pages in it is so fantastic I need to make a post about it.

I love stories about teenagers who end up being responsible (financially and otherwise) for their little siblings due to AWOL parents, and this one just turned into a fool's errand of a cross-country road trip based on the rumor that an estranged father has a valuable inheritance waiting for them. This one is extra-neat because the girl is trying to keep them afloat despite inner-city, bottom-of-the-barrel poverty. It's the kind of story I think about when I get in close to the heart of St. Paul, so to see it unfolding in an already-written tale is really great.

There's a lot of commentary on how easy it is to slip through the cracks, vs. how much more difficult it would be for, say, a middle class suburban girl to run off like this without a lot of accounting for her absence first. It's not meant as a fun road trip, in other words. And I'm really excited for that.
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Meanwhile, I saw Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children last night, and it was SO WONDERFUL. I decided not to reread the book first, after I heard there were some major changes of some kind, and just trust my gut, and that gut was right. Going in, there were gaps in my memory where plot should be and I couldn't really remember why I'd given the book 5 stars -- but I walked out of the theater like "DAMN, SON, THAT IS WHY." It's still hard to pinpoint exactly why -- I just know all the brilliant pieces added up into a masterpiece and blew me away.


The Things I Loved list:

  • The cinematography. All of it. This is a beautiful movie and I hope it's up for Oscars.

  • The intro was SO spooky, oh my goodness. I started wondering if this was actually going to be a surprise horror movie. Which was a good feeling.

  • Eva Green as Miss Peregrine. I wasn't sure I'd like her, as the actress usually comes across so cold. But the character's love for "her children" shone like an only slightly cagey Mary Poppins

  • The abandoned ruins -- my favorite part of the book -- were thrilling

  • But not as thrilling as going through the loop and seeing that beautiful mansion restored to full glory. I nearly wept. You don't understand what a balm on my soul it is to think of beautiful old houses being the opposite of torn down. As far as I'm concerned, it was display of actual magic.

  • The lonely Welsh setting was brilliantly captured

  • Speaking of settings, the 1915 luxury liner shipwreck. Both the amazing underwater exploration, and the thrilling moments of expelling the water from one beautiful grand room, and later the whole ship

  • Olive/Enoch. Shippin' it. Also, holy cow does she ever look like Brittany Murphy.

  • All of the other adorable little kids, except awful Bee Boy. (WHY couldn't eliminating him have been one of the many changes.)

  • The reset WAS spectacular. Even with the agony of seeing the bomb hit.

  • Mr. Barron and the other White Eyes = super chilling. Lots of good action sequences.

  • Victor + Enoch's creepy reanimation and voicework is the stuff of nightmares, yikes

  • THE HOLLOWS. I had totally forgotten what the evil creatures in the book even were. That was some real excellent Slenderman-esque work. Slenderman with tentacle tongues, anyway.

  • Empty eye sockets are fine, even cool, but I could have done without the extreme focus on eyeballs, specifically piles of detached eyeballs.  XP

  • Chris is still laughing at the revelation of Jacob's "peculiar" ability. "Hey kid. Your special skill...is that you can see things that are terrifying."

  • I didn't think this movie was as wild-and-wacky as what I think of as a typical Tim Burton movie (maybe because Johnny Depp wasn't there), which was nice, but I did like the one ridiculous scene with skeletons fighting Hollows in an amusement part set to campy music. This movie has like 8 different tonal shifts but this is my favorite one.

  • I had no idea how this was going to end, because I'm pretty sure the first book ends with Miss Peregrine being captured, and I was SO EXCITED to find they had apparently added things from subsequent books to give it an extended, cohesive ending. And not even like a setup for a movie trilogy. They just gave it a conclusive one-and-one ending.  So perfect.



I came home nearly bouncing off the walls with excitement, my mind swimming with happy memories. And then, in a truly rare moment of being able to immediately satisfy a media craving, I remembered I own the book. So I snatched it up and dove right back into the world I had just left, soaking up the more detailed translation of the story, until I nodded off to sleep happy as a clam, about 60 pages in.
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Lastly, we should talk about all the previews before this movie. Starting with: hey, you. Would you like to be forced to randomly burst into tears out of the blue? Watch the trailer for A Dog's Purpose.


I don't really like reincarnation stories, or stories where dogs think like people, so in addition to conflating this with The Art of Racing in the Rain, I had long since dismissed the idea of reading this book even though I loved the author's The Dogs of Christmas. But within 30 seconds of this trailer starting, the gates wrenched open and I found myself silently bawling. Like the kind where your whole face screws up and you cannot control it. Never has the "I came out to have a good time and I'm honestly feeling so attacked right now" meme been more applicable to my life.

First, LOOK AT THESE DOGS. It is like they combed the earth specifically to find the most beautiful dogs tailored to my exact favorite features:
dogpurp5dogpurpblue


dogpurp3dogpurp

dogpurp4dogpurpose2
(but most especially the golden mix -- retriever types splashed with white and freckles are my everything -- and then the St. Bernard mix, all the charm of that breed minus excess shag and drool)

And then they followed it up with sad dying dog, and happy dogs loving on people, and then coated it with a heaping helping of "WHAT IF THE REASON YOU DON'T HAVE A DOG IS BECAUSE KYM IS WAITING OUT THERE SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD TO FIND YOU AGAIN" and good lord there I go.

"The ones we rescue...rescue us." YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH RIGHT NOW, FILM.
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This was, fortunately, followed by a preview for hideously awful-looking "Trolls," and I swear you could actually see the tears being sucked back into my eyes in reverse, so complete was the effect of its atrociousness. It was even trying really hard to be schmaltzy and heartwarming with an overwrought rendition of "True Colors," and it was just like "............no."

In movies-I-actually-want-see news: Moana actually looks pretty interesting, and you know how often I say that about animated children's movies, and I thought Hidden Figures had already come out based on Tumblr's obsession with it, but that looks like I'll enjoy it as much as The Help.

I am torn on whether or not I want to see The Space Between Us. On the one hand, Britt Robertson! Using her ageless self to play a high school student again some more. And it nicely manipulated me into crying because friendship (or maybe romance, but if so ugh because he looks 14). On the other hand, it's also starring the kid who starred in Miss Peregrine, and he was probably the worst part of this movie. His is not a good screen face and should not be headlining films as often as he is. He definitely should not be sharing a leading screen with someone as excellent as her.

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