Category Archives: Entertainment

The Walking Dead: No sanctuary, but a reunion

On October 6, at 7pm, a nearly-week long marathon of The Walking Dead began with the pilot episode of the series; Episode 1, Season 1. It was gearing up viewers for the premiere of Season 5. On Sunday, October 12, we began the new season and new beginnings for many.

From the get-go of the episode, there is anxiety as we see gore and horror in the brutal murders by the cannibalistic leaders of the death-zone Terminus. We see a carefully crafted escape from Terminus by the core group with help from a former ally, none other than Carol. Carol’s presence has been felt since the beginning of the series, and through her secret assistance to the group, loyalty, and bravery despite being exiled last season for killing sick members of the group, we can feel a true sense of her care for them. According to Yahoo and Forbes magazines reports on the episode, they also believe that Carol’s act of bravery and defiance to help her friends and companions is her way of redeeming herself to them. Despite her evident mistakes, Carol still has goodness instilled in her.

For viewers who were Carol fans all along, it appears that they “were lovers of Carol before it was cool,” upon her crossing serious boundaries to save the group in the premiere. Forbes article called what Carol did a “refreshing” act by a character, and during the premiere it wasn’t surprising to see jaws drop as Carol smeared herself in walker blood and guts, set off an explosion inside Terminus, and sauntered through flames to help her friends. During a scene of violence, action, and high-anxiety, this could almost be interpreted as a heart-warming moment to see her act of bravery for her group. After the escape of Terminus, we see the reunion between Carol and Daryl, which truly makes one smile, as well as Rick accept her with open arms. Here we understand that what Carol did may have been out of her own want to assist them, but it did indeed redeem herself in the their eyes as well. We see a passionate reunion between family as well with Rick, Judith, and Carl. In addition to Carol’s act of bravery, we also see such from Tyreese as he acts on behalf of Judith and puts up quite the fight when he is sentenced outside among the walkers with no form of defense. The episode has a lot of familial and friendship reunions and brings most of the group back together (except for Beth, whose whereabouts are still a mystery), pleasing a lot of fans who enjoy that aspect of the show; on the contrary we also see a good amount of action and violence to satisfy that part of the show as well.

By the end, although, not all questions are answered. Where is Beth? What is happening in the cattle car at the end of the episode? Could Beth possibly be in there? What truly will happen or may have happened to the leaders of Terminus? Will we see them again? Those are the questions we anticipate to be answered as the season rolls on, of course.

American Horror Story: Who are the real monsters?

I have been hooked on American Horror Story since the very first episode of season one. The unconventional series, which tells a unique story in a new setting each year, often with the same cast of actors, spooked me in the Murder House, scarred me for life in the Asylum, and amused me in the Coven. For its fourth season, which premiered Oct. 8, we are taken to a circus Freak Show, the likes of which we haven’t seen on the boardwalk or beside the big top in decades. The trailers released before the premiere promised a terrifying, creepy and, to borrow from the show’s title, freakish experience. That’s saying something given the horror-riddled basement of season 1 and the mutated monsters of season 2. The premiere episode did not disappoint. If you have not watched the episode, be warned that there are SPOILERS ahead.

ahs-clown-2-for-webIt’s Florida in the 1950s, and a freak show is trying to stay afloat while others across the country have fallen out of fashion. Some of the performers try to blend in with regular society, hoping to be treated as ordinary people and not the monsters they appear to be. That’s not easy for people like conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler, played by series regular Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates’ Bearded Lady or the flipper-handed Jimmy Darling, played by Evan Peters, another fan favorite. According to the show’s creator, the theme of the season will be the “freaks” in conflict with the “evil forces” that don’t understand them.

Entitled “Monsters Among Us,” the premiere introduced us the Tattler sisters, who are discovered hidden in a farmhouse after their mother’s murder. When Elsa Mars, the German immigrant running the freak show, hears about them, she tries to convince them to join her troupe. The “Siamese” sisters have very different reactions to the idea, played convincingly by Paulson with the help of some voiceover, diary entries and, I’ve read, long grueling days of filming. But they are convinced to join when other freaks defend them from a sheriff who blames them (rightly so, it turns out) for their mother’s death.

As the freak show fights for its survival, a psycho clown nicknamed Twisty is terrorizing the community where they’ve set up camp. Played by character actor John Carroll Lynch, Twisty is absolutely terrifying from his slipshod makeup to the way he dramatically pulls juggling pins from a bag –before using them to bludgeon a couple he finds canoodling in a field. When he makes a balloon animal for two children he’s holding captive, I wanted to scream too. What the fluffernutter? Who is this guy? What has driven him to this madness? And, later, when we see him watching from a distance as the freak show performers chop up the ill-fated sheriff, I wondered : what is this guy’s end game? What is his plan? It’s going to be fun to find out, if my heart doesn’t stop along the way.

As she has in the three previous seasons, Jessica Lange shines in her role as Elsa, a frustrated starlet who dreams of a shot at fame and, in a scene near the end of the episode, reveals that her connection with the freaks goes beyond seeing them as a money-making venture.  Viewers will want to savor every moment that she’s on screen, for it’s no secret that she has decided to move on after this season ends. Creators of the show have promised to give her an over-the-top sendoff.

The other performers in the freak show are an interesting bunch. Peters, as Jimmy Darling, longs for dignity and life beyond being a sideshow attraction. But he also has no trouble using his freakishness when it benefits him. His mother, Ethel, is the bearded lady and fiercely loyal to Elsa and the life the show has provided. The cast includes several performers who have dealt with the “freak” label in real life: Matt Fraser, who portrays Paul the Illustrated Seal, has malformed limbs as a result of phocomelia. Rose Siggins, who plays Legless Suzi, had her legs amputated when she was 2. Jyoti Amge, who plays Ma Petite, is in reality the world’s smallest living woman. These actors bring realism to a show filled with the absurd, and make it easy to empathize with their view that it’s not their deformities, but outsiders’ reaction to them, that is truly monstrous.

That seems to be a perfect segue into talking about Dandy Mott and his mother Gloria, the show’s only spectators one night who offer large sums to buy the Tattler sisters. They seem normal, if very dysfunctional, but their fascination with the freaks as objects to own is unnerving. I’m worried about the role they will play, especially given the teaser for coming episodes.

The premiere built in me a sense of dread, but also anticipation, of what will happen next. I can’t wait to learn the back stories of more of the characters, especially Elsa and Twisty. I’m also eager to see how other cast members such as Emma Roberts, Angela Bassett, Patti LaBelle and, it’s rumored, Neil Patrick Harris will factor into the story.

American Horror Story: Freak Show airs Wednesdays at 10 pm on FX. It is recommended for mature audiences.

 

 

Review: A Thrilling Adventure Set in WWII

cityofthieves.final.inddIt is the dead of winter in Russia, at the height of the Nazi siege of the city of Leningrad during World War II. As German forces surrounded the city for 900 days, they choked off supplies to the point where 17-year-old Lev Beniov and friends eat “library candy” made from book bindings and bread made mostly from sawdust. They walk on the south side of the street because it’s safer during Nazi bombing raids. Schools and markets are closed, and life as they previously knew it is at a standstill. Lev’s mother and sister have fled to the countryside, where they thought they’d be safer, but Lev has dreams of being a wartime hero.

When Lev and his friends loot the corpse of a German paratrooper who falls near their apartment building, he is arrested and thrown into prison expecting to face the firing squad in the morning. (With the military overwhelmed and the police ranks decimated, there is no time for due process in Leningrad). Lev and his cellmate, Kolya, a handsome soldier who deserted his unit, are spared death for a very absurd mission: find a dozen eggs to make a wedding cake for the daughter of a Russian colonel, whose family thrives while the city around him starves.

The mission takes Lev and Kolya all over the city, where they encounter black marketeers and a couple whose hunger has driven them to extremely gruesome measures. Eventually, they head outside the city into German-held territory, and the quest for eggs becomes entwined with a life and death struggle against the enemy. Lev and Kolya join forces with Russian partisans intent on killing the leader of a Nazi death squad which has burned villages, turned teenage girls into prostitutes and murdered hundreds of innocent men, women and children. The climactic confrontation is tense and thrilling.

City of Thieves, by David Benioff, is historical fiction that gives readers a look into what life was like during the siege of Leningrad, one of the most famous conflicts of WWII. While following Lev and Kolya on their search for eggs, you will learn about Russian military tactics, the barbarity of the German invaders and the callousness of soldiers on both sides of the conflict. You will witness the inhumanity of war.

The novel is also a coming-of-age story as Lev wages an inner battle between courage and fear, a desire to live and an inability to face any more heartache. Lev also struggles between patriotism and disdain for Russia, a country in which his poet father was killed as an enemy of the state by tyrannical leader Stalin. His relationship with Kolya, who is just a few years older but ages more experienced in life, is both serious and darkly comical as they talk about literature, women and bodily functions.

I found the book interesting for the look into history, but I also enjoyed the adventures (or misadventures) of Lev and Kolya. They had the same love-hate rapport of many duos in books, TV and movies such as “21 Jump Street” or “The Other Guys” — albeit in much darker circumstances. Even though the book only covers about a week in their lives, I became very invested in them, cheering for them in dire situations, groaning over their missteps, and mourning their devastating losses. The ending is bittersweet, not quite happy but not entirely tragic either.

City of Thieves is 258 pages. I recommend the book for readers interested in history (especially World War II or Russia), as well as for anyone who likes adventure stories.

Review: The Truth is a Shock in “We Were Liars”

When I first started reading We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart,  I thought it was going to be about a rich family that suffers a tragedy. But it was so much more than a sad family drama. It turned out to be a mystery with a shocking and heart-wrenching twist that made me want to re-read it as soon as I was done for clues that I had missed the first time through.

It is the story of 17-year-old Cadence, who spent many great summers with her cousins on her family’s island. When she was 15, she suffered a terrible accident that left her with crippling migraines and a Swiss cheese memory. When she is finally allowed to return to the island after two years, she reconnects with her cousins and slowly pieces together the lost details of her accident. What she discovers is unexpected and devastating. It was nothing like the theories I had to started to come up with while reading, and it haunted me when I closed the book.

If you like mysteries, especially psychological ones that keep you guessing, check this one out. At 240 pages, I found it to be a quick read that I did not want to put down.

Review: Cover Misleads, But Still a Good Read

When I picked up The Panopticon, by Jenni Fagan, the cover and the description on the inside flap of the book made it sound like a psychological thriller: a teenaged Scottish orphan “is an anonymous part of an experiment, and she always was. Now it seems that the experiment is closing in.” It made me think of Firestarter by Stephen King or, to go old school, 1977’s I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier. Unfortunately, the book was not what I thought it would be. The “experiment” is just what Anais calls the hands of fate, or the powers that be, that seem to be conspiring to make her life in and out of foster care and group homes a living hell. Her struggles with drugs, crime and a lack of a sense of identity have plagued her from a young age, and the novel details how she survives, bruised and scarred, and eventually tries to reinvent herself. It is a fine book, compelling as a story of realistic fiction, but when I was expecting one genre and got a totally different one, I was disappointed. It’s like when you gulp from a glass expecting water and instead it’s milk . . . neither drink tastes bad, but you’re surprised and a little put off.

I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes to read about survivors of dysfunctional families, foster care, or drug abuse. The cast of characters is moving and heartbreaking, starting with the narrator, Anais, and her now-dead adoptive mother Theresa, a prostitute with a big heart. The friends that Anais makes at Panopticon, the group home she’s placed in while under investigation for assault on a police officer, are diverse and interesting. There are several wildly imaginative trippy scenes, some literal as a result of drug use and others more profound as Anais tries to understand her place in the world.

One challenge to reading the book is the Scottish slang, which you can usually figure out from the context. The bigger issue is the Scottish dialect, words like “cannae” for cannot, “tae” for “to” and “dinnae” for don’t. Scotland is one of those countries that speaks English, but a version that sounds very different from what we speak in the U.S. It took some getting used to. One last thing, there is generous use of the f— word so if that offends, then this book is not for you. There is also one brutal assault scene that could disturb some readers.

Review: “The Red Tent” Transports You In Time

Over the summer I picked up The Red Tent by Anita Diamant for some poolside reading, with the expectation that most of the writing would go straight over my head. In reality, this piece of historical fiction was one of the best books I have read all year. I felt like I was transported back to another time and place.

The Red Tent is set in Biblical times in the Middle East and Egypt. The story is told from the point of view of Dinah, the only daughter of the Jacob made famous in the Book of Genesis. Jacob was known for having four wives: Leah, Rachel, Billah, and Zilpah. Though Dinah was a child of Leah, she grew up surrounded by three other mothering figures, whom she referred to as aunts. Dinah’s narrative begins before she was even born and has an omniscient quality. The book starts with the day Jacob arrives near Laban’s camp in the desert. Laban is the father of Rachel and Leah and the father figure of Billah and Zilpah. On the very same day of his arrival, Jacob, who we soon learn is actually a cousin of the girls, proposes marriage to the beautiful Rachel. This offer is refused on account o her young age, but Jacob stays and becomes a valued family member and honored guest, working hard in the fields and managing Laban’s herd of sheep until the family is wealthier than they had ever been before. Thanks to a prank played by Zilpah, Jacob ends up marrying Leah first, but is soon followed by Rachel. Billah and Zilpah are given to Jacob as part of the dowry and, though they never actually marry, those women too become his wives. Dinah is born amidst 12 boys by a combination of the wives, and is treated by her mothers as one of the women. She spends time in the red tent, the women’s tent, and listens to their stories, advice, and complaints. Dinah learns of her mothers’ different relationships with her unusually kind father: Leah’s intellectual one, Rachel’s passionate one, Billah’s caring one, and Zilpah’s distant one. When Jacob’s family packs up and leaves Laban, who had become greedy and abusive, Dinah recounts life on the road for months until the clan finally settles in modern day Israel. Life for Dinah changes with her new location, and visits to Egypt introduce her to her true love and future husband, a young king. They live in happiness for only a brief reprieve before a tragic event provides a catalyst for the greatest adventure of Dinah’s life.

I enjoyed reading this book for many reasons, but primarily because I found it fascinating to see what life was like for a woman in Biblical times. Dinah had very little interaction with her fathers and brothers, but came to know her mothers better than she knew herself. Dinah portrays Leah as strong and wise Rachel as more beautiful, loving, and sensitive; Zilpah as mysterious and constantly making predictions of the future; and Billah as lovable and quiet. I also liked the way the story was told. The author matches the narration to Dinah’s age, for example, she observes different things at age 10 than at age 20, and responds to her surroundings differently. The Red Tent is not hard to read at all and written in modern English, making it quick and enjoyable.

I would recommend this book for anyone who likes history class at school, but without all of the small details and memorization. This book transports you, and while you are in the desert with Jacob’s family, you cannot help but learn about their beliefs, culture, and way of life. I would also suggest this book as a read for girls, because it focuses mainly on a woman’s role and issues only a female would have faced. Finally, I think it is important to have a general knowledge of Jacob’s story in the Bible because it provides a foundation Anita Diamant builds on. Overall, I would give this book a solid five stars because once I cracked the spine I could not bear to put it down until I had finished!

Fay’s Favorites: What tops her reading list?

If you didn’t already know, this is Mrs. Christine Fay, one of the greatest English teachers here at Hanover High School. Mrs. Fay has been teaching English at Hanover High since September of 2003. This year, Fay is teaching sophomores, juniors and two sections of Advanced Placement Language and Composition. In the past, she has also taught freshman and seniors, but she truly enjoys teaching juniors because “they start to get serious about making some major decisions regarding their futures.” She likes to help guide them through that whole process.

Mrs. Fay’s favorite book is Angle of Repose by  her favorite author, Wallace Stegner. In this 1971 novel, you read about a man’s family living in the Midwest during the gold rush. Lyman Ward, fictional narrator of the book, also includes details about the disappointments of his life, including his divorce. “It really starts to feel as if you are living with the characters,” says Fay.

Interestingly enough, Fay found her love for reading at a very young age. At just the age of 7, Fay had started reading chapter books. Little House on the Prairie, one of the children’s books from the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was what opened Fay’s eyes into reading and she hasn’t stopped reading since. Not only was she reading at age 7, but she wrote a few books herself! “I used to write little picture books,” says Fay. More recently, Fay edited and published Walled-In: Anthology of the Apes! I guess you could say she’s definitely stepped it up since her picture book phase. This is not a novel, but a compilation of original writings, written by her AP students. A copy is available in the library or you can purchase this on Lulu.com!

Although Mrs. Fay could recommend countless books to countless students, one book she would recommend to all HHS students is Please Stop Laughing at Me by Jodee Blanco. This tells of the author’s experiences being bullied in school. “It makes you think twice before you say something” says Fay. ” And it gives you hope that it gets better.” It teaches you that “sometimes great adversity can lead to great success.”

Critiquing The Critics: The Cinema Snob

Well, I’m advertising a lot of “That Guy With The Glasses” producers, aren’t I? This man is certainly worth speaking about. Brad Jones created this character back in 2007, wanting to speak his disagreements with Roger Ebert, another movie critic. Roger Ebert was going into a large rant about a “slasher” film and “nothing more,” as Jones claims. So, he created “The Cinema Snob” out of his love for  Ebert’s and fellow critic Gene Siskel’s works, and to say what he thinks about all the films he’s watched.

The Cinema Snob, surprisingly, goes over exploitation films that were all directed and made in the ’60s-’80s. There have been a few ’90s movies put in there, but those were special occasions. He goes over exploitation films about these subjects: murder, sex, African Americans (when he does, he mainly makes fun of the white people acting in the film), gross-out humor, and plenty more.

Many watchers of his show claim it to be very crass and offensive. In each of his reviews, the delivery of his jokes are all deadpan, and they’re in NO WAY dead. The jokes are usually a homerun with me, and I enjoy watching every second. Also, I think people don’t like him because he tries to act pretentious, which doesn’t work some of the time. His fans urge him to do most of his reviews in the cynical and snarky sort of manner . . . So to see them sort of lose their minds in the comments posted in response to the videos makes me laugh sometimes.

Also, “The Cinema Snob” doesn’t usually do requests, which amuses me. He’ll do whatever he wants, and this proves that he doesn’t need his fans telling him what to do . . . Unlike “The Nostalgia Critic” (Doug Walker), who does practically everything his fans request.

Brad knows what makes a good show, and that’s being himself. He’s usually snarky, but is nice in real life. So, when he edits the episodes, he will usually throw out a hint as to what he’s going over. Also, he knows how to entertain. Brad gets in front of the camera, with the review script mostly memorized, and does whatever he thinks will get a laugh . . .  Which, most of the time, works out just fine.

Sure, some of the jokes can be rather offensive, but that’s his thing. After all, you have to offend at least 10 people to make at least 100 people laugh, right? That’s Brad’s philosophy, and it’s mine too. One day, I plan to make a review series, so I look to Brad and many other reviewers on “That Guy With The Glasses” for whatever I need (humor delivery advice, what content I want to look at, etc).

Overall, I think that “The Cinema Snob” is really funny, which is crucial for a series like his. You need to have a sense of humor when reviewing movies that people don’t know all too well, unless they have an “underground” following, in order for the movie to “leave a mark” that everyone can remember.

I give him a 4.5/5. I think that he could put a little more emotion into the delivery, but I think (in a way) that it’ll kind of mess up the show for him, so  it’s a 50/50 point.

Honest Review: “To Boldly Flee”

Hello, and welcome to another “Honest Review.” I realize that you are probably looking at the title of this movie and are thinking, “What the heck? I’ve never heard of this movie!” Well, let me give you some background.

This movie exists on two websites (blip.tv and thatguywiththeglasses.com), and is directed by the fabulous Doug Walker. Doug has already formed his instant fame online with his famous series “The Nostalgia Critic.” So, here came another feat to direct. He has other movies besides this one, but nothing is as good. Trust me when I say that Doug is not only an excellent director , but a great actor and writer as well.

This movie, as you guessed by the cover, is heavily sci-fi, with comedy sprinkled in. The actor list would be too long for me to get into, so I will say their names along the way. Let’s get started, shall we? Let’s review “To Boldly Flee” (contradictory much?).

Anyhow, we begin with Paw (Paul Schuler) sitting on his car, as he hears some odd frequencies from another planet coming in. Don’t ask me how this is possible from an Earthly laptop, but it just is. He then goes to his friends Joe Vargas, Leo Thompson & Lewis Lovhaug  to discuss what he has heard. Something big ends up happening, for this is the comeback of Nostalgia Critic’s (Doug Walker) old and supposedly dead friend, Ma-Ti (Bhargav Dronamraju). Before Lewis can even think about leaving, a robotic and evil version of himself comes in and locks him in the closet. Uh oh.

Speaking of  Doug, he has a psychotic enemy named Terl (Noah Antwiler), who is trying to get him arrested. Nobody would take a fake alien from the movie “Battlefield Earth” seriously, so the Nostalgia Critic  was only placed under house arrest. However, we see that Noah has the spirit of “Ma-Ti” trapped inside of him, so the Nostalgia Critic  and the others try to get to it. After getting all of the information they need, and the Critic realizing that the house arrest anklet is nearly impossible to bypass, he decides to create a spaceship to go to the source . . . The “Plot Hole.” This is where Ma-Ti is being held, so he can basically mess around with the planet however he wants.

Anyhow, after the spaceship has been built, it’s up, up, and away . . . To Nostalgia Critic’s house? I suppose that’s a clever way of working around the house arrest, isn’t it? All kinds of antics ensue while up on the ship, but let me explain the most important ones:

1.) JesuOtaku (Hope Chapman), after a shock from a machine her and CR (Chad Rocco) were building, she turns incredibly intelligent and begins to build all sorts of crazy machines to help Nostalgia Critic (Doug) out.

2.) Noah gets kidnapped, only to be saved by his friends SadPanda (Julien Diaz),  Sage (Bennett White) and . . . The Nostalgia Critic  in a Judge Dredd outfit? Awesome.

3.) Terl and Zod (also played by Doug) capture one of the shipmates, the Cinema Snob (Brad Jones). Not awesome, considering he’s the one who knows how to fix the missiles that were deactivated.

After all of this craziness happens . . . Oh wait, I’m forgetting someone, aren’t I? Lewis’s  robotic version of himself, of course. Oh, he just goes and turns Nostalgia Chick (Lindsay Ellis) and Todd in the Shadows (Todd Nathanson)  into robots. The oblivious Nostalgia Critic ignores this completely (for humor, I suppose), and allows Noah (the actor playing Terl) to be hooked up to a machine. This machine will allow the others to go into Noah’s mind, to “see” Ma-Ti ask him some questions. Good, but I’m still confused about why the Nostalgia Critic didn’t do anything about the obvious robots standing right in front of them! This is not answered as Film Brain (Mathew Buck) enters Noah’s  mind, to go to see Ma-Ti and ask him some questions, mainly to get the answer as to what Ma-Ti wants Nostalgia Critic  to “remember.”

Meanwhile, Cinema Snob confronts the “Executor” (“Emperor” spoof) of the ship, which Terl  and Zod help to run. Cinema Snob converts over to the bad side, making one of his friends on Nostalgia Critic’s ship seem to shiver. Luke, Cinema Snob’s friend, tries to get Cinema Snob back over to the good side, and does so when he goes over to Zod and Terl’s ship to fight the “Executor,” and wins.

All the while, everyone on Nostalgia Critic’s ship is now under a different commander. Phelous is telling the Nostalgia Critic’s  crew to attack the enemy  Zod and Terl’s ship. This attack includes the infamous Mario “blue shell,” created by JesuOtaku (Hope Chapman), Paw , and CR. HOLD ON. While all of this is going on, Nostalgia Critic  is going to the “Plot Hole”, which I guess is a gateway to the “real” world… As the Nostalgia Critic  meets his writer… Doug Walker himself.

Okay, here we go:

Cinema Snob: He turned back to the good side (Doug’s), along with Luke

Zod, “Executor”, and Terl (Noah): All killed with the assault from the crew of Nostalgia Critic’s (Doug’s) crew… Rather quickly, I might add.

Nostalgia Critic : Tries to go into the “real world”, but claims that it is probably just as “phony” as the world he’s in.

Happy ending? You bet! Everyone is re-united and the villains (Zod, Terl, and “Executor”) were all defeated forever. Well, the only bad thing is that Nostalgia Critic had to sacrifice himself over to the “Plot Hole” in order for it to die down, and allow everyone else to be safe.

My Final Take: Honestly, I am not that big of a fan of Sci-Fi, but this movie was amazing. The actors did an excellent job, Doug Walker himself is an amazing writer, the special effects (as expected) were well done, and there were only slight nitpicks to pick out.

Nitpicks: Okay, for one, how did Paw’s EARTH laptop pick up signals all the way from SPACE?

Second, if the “Plot Hole” was left alone for so long, why didn’t it take over space? (I guess Mathew really did tame the “Plot Hole” after all!)

Lastly, if the Cinema Snob knew the technology of Nostalgia Critic’s  ship well enough, wouldn’t he sort of know the villains’ (Zod, Terl, and “Executor”) ship too? If so, why didn’t he just escape before the three could take in away?

FINAL RATING: I give this movie a SOLID 10/10. If you have at least 3 hours to spare, give this a watch. I’d recommend it highly.

Honest Review: Film version of Cuckoo’s Nest strayed from the book

Hello, and welcome to Honest Reviews. Today we’re taking a look at the 1975 film version of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” which I recently watched in my Senior Humanities class. Something definitely flew over this “nest,” but it wasn’t a bird. It was the mind of this director. Milos Forman was trying to recreate some of the … rather eventful things we’ve heard about this classic American novel published in 1962 by Ken Kesey. But, to be quite honest, he failed amazingly.

Let’s address something, though, before I get into the negatives. Jack Nicholson is amazing in this movie as McMurphy, a rather hyperactive individual who causes some problems (including strangling someone in the end); there’s no denying that. His acting is magnificent as usual, although I admit that’s coming from someone who loves his acting style.

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for… Let’s talk all about what made this book-to-film adaptation so very wrong.

 We have all of the characters as described in the book, set in a brutal mental ward in the 1960s. Oh wait, no we don’t. Harding doesn’t have those rather delicate hands that the book mentions. Oh no, you should see the size of them! They could fit a child’s head inside of them! For those of your wondering who Harding is, he is supposed to be a rather smart individual and very talkative. He is in the book, but the movie practically strips all of his dialogue (or makes it too simplistic).

But the Nurse is still there, right? Yeah, but she’s not looking as the book described. You would think that she would have the body to match the vivid descriptions of the book, but no. In this book, the Nurse really seems to be described as a rather busty looking woman, with an obnoxiously mean personality. Played by actress Louise Fletcher, Nurse Ratched has the body of a rather anorexic-looking woman.

There are way too many inconsistencies in this film to count, so why don’t we bounce back over to the positives for a moment?

To be honest, I think that Fletcher plays her part really well. I mean, she has the same attitude the Nurse has in the book, despite her physical differences. When it came down to the voting process of whether or not to allow the patients to watch the World Series, her attitude was still stone cold, refusing to count the votes. Nicholson does a great job of portraying McMurphy’s boisterous and vibrant personality, seeing as his acting is usually off the wall. In fact, I think everyone does a good job, in terms of line delivery. The director proves he did indeed read the book with the accurate portrayal of the scene where Candy (a newer female character) breaks into the ward with some booze to share.

Now back to the inconsistencies that drive me up a wall.

 For one, the novel is supposed to be told from the point of view of Chief Bromden, the rather strong and silent type, so when the movie randomly makes the switch to McMurphy’s point of view, it threw me completely off. Not only this, but McMurphy seems rather energized for someone who just entered a mental institution in the ‘60s, doesn’t he? Maybe there’s something in his mind telling him he’s actually insane. I’d say Nicholson himself is insane and not McMurphy, but ignoring potential mental illness, let’s move on. The hospital seems more frantic than it was described in the book, doesn’t it? People running around screaming, mumbling to themselves in the halls… It feels like an early ‘90s MTV music video. Am I supposed to be enthralled… Or creeped out?

And while the movie actually manages to follow through with Bromden revealing that he can talk, he doesn’t talk as much as he did in the book! sigh See, you can’t look into the light for too long in this movie, can you? Before you know it, you will be burned. Also, hey! Milos also got the whole Nurse strangulation thing right too, another MAJOR plot point… That happens just before McMurphy is sent up to be lobotomized. How ironic. The Nurse feels weak at that point, all (probably) because she’s lost her dignity and pride, all because she refused to send McMurphy up when she could’ve earlier on in the story.

 At least the director got the ending right! It’s a miracle! Yes, the whole “Chief smothering McMurphy” thing wasn’t ignored after all. I mean, I understand if you don’t think that McMurphy should live after being lobotomized, but let the man die on his own. That took some dignity out of McMurphy for me to be honest. I am still happy that the Director incorporated the correct ending, and didn’t fade to black or something.

In fact, let me end the review by saying this: This movie was okay. I mean, it wasn’t crystal clear in terms of getting some details correct… like some major dialogue! But, the acting was well done, Forman at least carried over a majority of the scenes correctly, and the movie was in the right spirit. Although mental hospitals are completely different nowadays, I still got goosebumps before I even get to the ending!

 Overall Rating (IMDB Based):  7.5/10