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  • I read a lot, and I have a lot of opinions, so I can't believe I haven't made a list like this before. If you are even a little bit like me or you want to get a peek into my psyche (you probs don't), these are the books to read.


Telling you for the first time

Posted on January 6th, 2011 by annakjarzab

I don’t know why I haven’t posted about this before, probably because I’m losing all of my marbles starting with the ones that allow me to remember something without first writing it down, but anyway I was just reminded today that I’m doing an event in Brooklyn on January 28, 2011 (it’s 2011–isn’t that weird?) with Leila Sales (who wrote Mostly Good Girls and is also my coworker and is also hilarious) and Lauren Oliver (who wrote Before I Fall, which I’m sure you’ve never heard of, PSYCHE you’ve totally heard about it it’s very famous)! I’m really excited about it because:

  1. It’s my first New York City event!
  2. I get to do the event with Leila and Lauren. To be honest, I would go to this event even if I weren’t participating in it. I love Mostly Good Girls and Before I Fall and it should be a really, really good show.

Below are the details–if you come, you can see my cute new haircut in person! (This haircut is a real hit, I promise, I’ve received so many compliments.)

WORD – January 28, 2011 at 7:00 PM
126 Franklin Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 383-0096

We will probably be talking about the experience of publishing your first novel, but more importantly we’ll be discussing the coincidence surrounding the fact that our titles all have three words in them. See you there! (J/k, that’s the least coincidence-y thing about Leila, Lauren and I. What are the most coincidence-y things? Come and maybe we’ll tell you!)

Will someone put the Duchess’s hair out?

Posted on December 15th, 2010 by annakjarzab

So last night I watched The Duchess. You remember The Duchess? It came out this year (I think…?) and it starred the Period Piece Wonder, Kiera Knightley, Voldemort himself Ralph Fiennes, Dominic Cooper (who will never be attractive to me ever, even ripped or in a wig or not in a wig), and lots of children because OMG so many children in this movie! People had a lot of children back then, especially when they were randomly having quasi-polygamous marriages and/or affairs every five seconds. The good old days!


Anyway, if you don’t know, The Duchess is about Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, who lived at approximately the same time as Marie Antoinette, was friends with her, and had a lot in common with her (fashion, gambling, a famously tabloidesque lifestyle, complete ridiculousness when it comes to money in general), but the movie doesn’t touch on that at all, which is really too bad, but it had a lot of wigs to set on fire, so we have to forgive it. So many wigs, so little time! There were a lot of wigs in this movie, ALMOST as many wigs as children, plus if you count the Whigs who were in this movie, the number goes up, so. I can tell this “review” is already getting out of hand.

Georgiana (pronounced George-AY-na, because I don’t know why; when I first heard it, I was like, “Hm, that actor is pronouncing it weird,” but then they all pronounced it weird, when they weren’t just flat out calling her “G”, so that’s that, I guess) was married at a very early age (17, which is actually not that young for back then, seeing as Marie Antoinette was married to Louis when she was fourteen) to the cold, boring Duke of Devonshire. The Duke is unimpressed with his wife and more interested in his dogs, especially when Georgiana only manages to have two daughters (not counting the daughter that he fathered with a maid that she then had to take care of!) and no sons. He is not happy about this, as evidenced by the fact that they traveled in different carriages that one time, and also that he decides that Georgiana’s best friend, Lady Elizabeth Foster, who has been tossed out of her house and kept away from her children by her abusive husband and now lives with them, is going to be his second wife–not just his mistress, but basically ANOTHER WIFE! Georgiana is mad for about five seconds, but then gets over it, because she’d really like to take a second husband–Charles Gray (EARL GRAY, like the tea), who is a Whig politician who hopes to be Prime Minister some day. This is where Dominic Cooper comes in, completely unconvincing as a politician, a Prime Minister candidate, a person living in the 1780s, or a man you would ever want to have an affair with ever. The Duke, as you can imagine, is hypocritically NOT ON BOARD with this plan, but then he tells her that if she gives him a son she can do as she pleases. FAMOUS LAST LIES!

So Georgiana gives him a son and she assumes that then she should be able to conduct her life however she pleases. Her sister-wife, Elizabeth, gets Gray to come over and give G the business, and they have an affair until the Duke finds out and is, again, and not surprisingly, NOT ON BOARD. He threatens that if she doesn’t stop seeing Gray he’ll destroy Gray’s political career and also keep her children away from her as long as he lives and breathes. First she picks Gray, but then quickly decides that’s crazy and picks her kids, ending her affair with Gray, but not before SHE BEARS HIS ILLEGITIMATE CHILD in some drafty house in France or whatever and is forced to give it away to Gray’s parents who raise her as Gray’s sister. Fabulous! Royals are so good at family values, you guys, it’s amazing we don’t still have more monarchies.

There’s a softball “bittersweet” ending and the obligatory biopic text-on-screen informing us that Gray did eventually become Prime Minister, Georgiana died early (48) and with her blessing her sister-wife became the only wife (a.k.a. the new Duchess of Devonshire), and that Georgiana visited her illegitimate daughter Eliza in secret (which, from perusing the Wikipedia page, seems to be kind of not true? Since Eliza didn’t know G was her mother until after G was dead? But why quibble).

This movie was problematic for so many reasons. I’m not Dr. Biopic or anything, but I think they’re supposed to, like, explore the character and internal struggles of the people they’re biopicking* instead of basically presenting a time line of sadsauce moments in their life and going LOOK HOW SAD and also how many wigs can we set on fire? Because guys:


This was the point where I thought, “Okay, this movie is hella stupid.”

Say whatever you want about the Sophia Coppola Marie Antoinette that I love so much, but that movie had style, man. It was pretty and silly and interesting and vibrant and fun to watch. This was just a tableau of Kiera Knightley in some dresses and wigs (only some of which were set on fire!) making constipated expressions that were supposed to denote anguish. I mean, yes, it sounds like G got screwed in many ways (especially the marriage department, because woof), as women tended to do back then, but also she had a pretty sweet life. She was crazy rich and it wasn’t like Dominic Cooper Gray was her only lover, she went to tons of parties and hobnobbed with the elite, and she got to wear a lot of cool dresses and wigs (only some of which were set on fire!). I’m not trying to be unsympathetic here, but if you’re going to call the movie The Duchess, perhaps you should spend more time exploring who she really was on a deeper level than you do on telling us the Duke really really loved his dogs. We get it! He thinks his dogs are the best! Fair enough, dogs are awesome. But it’s really not the focal point of the movie, or it shouldn’t be, unless you changed the movie title to The Duke and His Dogs, in which case go for it, but I doubt anyone would pay to see that movie.

I think probably Georgiana was a lot of fun, to be honest, and they don’t show that at all. Despite how grotesquely rich and out of touch she was, given how she was also so political, people loved her! She had lots of friends and was very popular, but the only nod to the fact that G was the life of the party was: A. When sister-wife Elizabeth (pre-sister-wifedom) tells Gray (pre-affair) that “The Duke is the only person not in love with his wife,” and B. when her wig gets set on fire (do I have to tell you that she was drunk at the time? Well, she was). Did she never have fun? Wasn’t she maybe a little bit vain? Why was she so political and how instrumental was she in actually getting people elected? I just don’t buy this presentation of Georgiana as this Ultimate Tragic Female, in the way that I don’t buy Marie Antoinette as one, though I certainly understand that not everything in her life (especially that bit at the end) was easy.

The Duchess isn’t really a bad movie, it’s just not a very good one. Like The Other Boleyn Girl, it seems to serve only to give us a lot of pretty period outfits to look at, which is nice and all, I appreciate that, but if it can’t be deep, it should be fun, and it was neither. Still, it’s available on Netflix Watch Instantly, so if you have a spare two hours and need something to put on in the background while you’re sorting laundry, it’s a pretty decent option. Or you could watch Penelope, which is also on Watch Instantly and stars James McAvoy and which I also watched last night, for the eleventy billionth time (exact number). You know what The Duchess could’ve used? James McAvoy.

*Not a word.

Friday Night Lookalikes revisited

Posted on November 19th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Remember back in the day (July 28th, 2008 to be exact) when I pointed out that Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl) and Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights) look so alike it’s almost ridiculous? Well, they’re starring in a movie together.


So obviously Hollywood has been reading my blog.

Eat, pray, sleep

Posted on August 16th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Like every other lady in the United States (and abroad!), I read Eat, Pray, Love when it came out in trade paperback a couple of years ago. And I enjoyed it! I mean, okay. I recognize that it’s a problematic thing, the way in which scores of women admire Elizabeth Gilbert for taking her considerable book advance and her apparent infinite amount of free time to go “find herself” in Italy, India and Indonesia for a year when most people–hm, I would say almost all people–don’t have the luxury of time or money and therefore our breakdowns tend to be a bit less glamorous, to use my roommate’s word. But I understand (or at least I think I do) what it feels like to be at your wits end, to feel lost and separated from yourself and all of that great existential ahngst, and to need to run away. And I think Elizabeth Gilbert herself is a smart lady, and she’s got a fun, self-deprecating voice, which, if you are a self-deprecating person (as I am), you appreciate. And who doesn’t want to go to Italy and eat pizza?! Travel memoir + story about a woman having a nervous breakdown + humor = something I’d reasonably enjoy, and possibly recommend to somebody else.

You know what’s NOT something I would recommend to somebody else? The Eat, Pray, Love movie. I don’t care how many Florence + the Machine songs you play in the trailer, you are not getting my vote, Eat, Pray, Love movie! I’m mad enough that I paid $13 to see you, I would not inflict that on anybody else. First of all, Elizabeth Gilbert’s voice is completely gone, even though they use ACTUAL VOICE OVER with ACTUAL SENTENCES from the ACTUAL BOOK, all the magic of Gilbert’s personality is gone like dust on the wind. Maybe they picked the wrong lines, or maybe Julia Roberts isn’t funny enough, or maybe the movie takes itself way too seriously and therefore Julia Roberts was told not to be funny…I don’t know. They do a bad job of setting up the reasons for Liz’s breakdown (two men love me, waaaah–it’s more complicated than that, obviously, but not dealt with as such in the movie), and then the rest of it? Is just BORING.

Seriously. I was so bored. I was completely not entertained. The movie had no plot, which is fine for a memoir with a different narrative agenda, but not for a movie. It was just a bunch of disjointed vignettes clumped together in categories: Eat/Italy/Learn to be okay with getting fat; Pray/India/Get yelled at by a Texan guy who was way more interesting in the book; Love/Bali/Fall for a dude. Ugh, so boring. My friend Nikki actually fell asleep all through the India section.

I guess Javier Bardem was okay. I thought he was pretty funny, actually, the only genuinely amusing character/actor in the film (except his hot Australian son, who was also amusing and nice to look at). Except I kept thinking he was Jeffery Dean Morgan. Like, I really believed that, until we left the theater and I was like, “Wow, Jeffery Dean Morgan, who knew he could do that accent?” and my friends were like, “Uh…that’s Javier Bardem.” I even argued! That’s how sure I was that it was Jeffery Dean Morgan. Oh well.

But you know what? Read Eat, Pray, Love. Accept that it’s self-centered and narcissistic and envy Liz Gilbert the money and time that allowed her to really wallow in her own misfortune (so much of it self-inflicted!), when really that’s what all of us want to do. You think I don’t want to jet off to Italy right now? And if I didn’t have a job that I needed to, like, pay rent and shizz, I would TOTALLY DO IT. So I’m not going to begrudge her. I liked Eat, Pray, Love–THE BOOK. And I really loved this TED talk she gave about how being a writer, or any sort of creative person, is about showing up and doing the work and being stubborn and not throwing in the towel even though you want to. It’s pretty bomb.

Right on time

Posted on July 12th, 2010 by annakjarzab

The options on Netflix Watch Instantly are getting better and better. For instance, you can watch all seasons of Doctor Who, which I’ve just started, post-Battlestar, on recommendation of Alex. I also watched this movie I’d never heard of, TiMER, which I randomly chose because of the premise. TiMER takes place in a near-future where science has developed a way to determine when you’ll meet your soul mate. In this world, you opt to get a timer on the inside of your wrist, and it counts down midnight the day you’ll first lock eyes with that special someone–so, some people have them, and some people don’t.


The protagonist of TiMER is Oona, played by Emma Caulfield, who Buffy fans will recognize as the demon Anya, Xander’s lady love. Oona is, as most female protagonists of romantic comedies tend to be, a type-A woman in her late twenties trying to find that special someone. Oona lives and dies by the idea of the timer, but hers hasn’t started counting down, which means that her One doesn’t have a timer of his own. Her step-sister/best friend, Steph, has a timer, too–one that tells her she won’t meet her One until she’s 43. Bummer. So Steph is filling her soul-mate-less days with meaningless one night stands, and Oona is freakazoiding out about her blank timer, to the point where she drags every man she dates into the store to get a timer implanted, in the hopes that both their timers will “zero out” and she’ll have found her match.

I’m totally into this idea. I was having a conversation with my friend Kim recently, and I actually said, “I would freak out about being single way less if I knew when I was going to meet the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with. Even if the answer was ten years from now, I could just let it go and concentrate on my own life without worrying.” Apparently not, if Steph is any indication. The film asks: Is knowing better than not knowing?

While Oona is losing her mind over not knowing, she meets Mikey, a way younger man who’s a grocery store clerk by day, musician by night. Mikey is infatuated with Oona, but Oona, being all prim and proper and a slave to the timer, takes one look at his, sees that he’s only got four months to go, and rejects the idea of dating him out of hand. Until her fourteen-year-old brother, Jesse, gets his timer implanted–and sees that he’s only got three days to go until he meets the love of his life. So Oona, sick of living her life by the whims of the timers, decides to date Mikey, who is all wrong for her, while Steph tries to engineer a meeting between Oona and this timerless guy she (Steph) met at her job.


I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I will recommend the movie. The friendship between Oona and Steph is really lovely, and so is the love story between Oona and Mikey, even as it’s not entirely predictable. Watching the movie was strange, because I kept recognizing all the actors but not knowing how I recognized them. Turns out, the guy who plays Mikey is the same guy who played Aaron Rose in Gossip Girl. I KNOW! HE IS TOTALLY GROSS IN GOSSIP GIRL! But apparently that was just the character (and the haircut), not the actor, because he’s sort of sweet and adorable in this movie. There’s, weirdly, another actor from Gossip Girl in TiMER–the guy who plays Jack Bass, Chuck’s evil uncle. He also plays Quinn in Dexter; I’d never made that connection before. He’s less of a jerk in TiMER than he is in either of those other two shows, but also less interesting. So you get what you pay for, I guess.

I also watched Anastasia today. I haven’t seen that movie in such a long time. It’s so good! I’d forgotten. Guess what I hadn’t forgotten? All the words to all the songs.



Posted on July 6th, 2010 by annakjarzab

I want you to know that I have about fifteen saved, unpublished posts living in WordPress right now. I can’t seem to bring myself to finish any of them. I blame a lifetime of English teachers for drilling the INTRO – SUPPORT – CONCLUSION five-paragraph essay into my brain. I’ve got the intro and support down fine, it’s just the conclusion I struggle with, and then I lose interest, and those posts languish in the queue until they don’t even make any sense anymore.

I’m still in a holding pattern where book 2 is concerned, but I’m happy to report that I’m hard at work on book 3–I talk about it here sometimes, it’s the supernatural thriller? It’s coming along pretty nicely. I wrote almost sixty pages of it this weekend, which is quite a lot. It’s almost 14,000 words. The book is creeping up upon 50,000 words, and I think it’ll be twice that, probably somewhere around 400 pages. Of course, I thought book 2 would come in at around 300 pages, like AUT did (here I’m talking about manuscript pages; book page counts tend to be slightly higher), but it came in at around 400 (108,000 words approx.), so you never really know.

I spent yesterday on my couch (which is, not surprisingly, where the only air conditioning unit in my apartment is located), writing. I was there for so long that my back was so cramped later. Sitting with a hot computer on your lap for eight plus hours is not a great idea in near-100 degree heat (I know! It’s so gross! Shut up with your heat wave New York!), but the productivity makes me feel good about myself. Although, it’s always a little depressing because I’m zero-drafting, which means that all the prose is really bad. Zero-drafting, for me, is about laying down the tracks, assembling the spine of the plot. It involves a lot of pushing myself to put words on the page, which is something I hate doing–pushing myself, I mean, not putting words on the page. But the thing is, I’m so excited about this book and where it’s going that I can’t wait to write all the good parts, and since I can’t write a book piecemeal, I have to race through the other stuff to get to the Big Reveal or the Action Sequence or the Romantic Moment. So I’m pushing. Which is okay. I’ll go back and layer in the description and the pretty phrases later. For now, I’m all about plot and dialogue. I just need to let go and let God on that front, I think. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Etc.

In other news, I’m rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows because I saw the trailer when I saw Eclipse on Friday (oh, we’re going there) and I got SO! PUMPED! Then I realized I’ve almost completely forgotten all but the most obvious details of that book, so I’m going back to it, even though book 7 isn’t my favorite. I rewatched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and found myself less offended by the cuts than I was when I originally saw it (the fact that the film is called Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and yet that plot line was given only the most cursory of treatments was a major failing of the film, in my opinion) and more appreciative of the cinematography, acting, directing, and, of course, the series of scenes where Harry is high on drugs Felix Felicis.



Wednesday win!

Posted on May 5th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Guess what you guys? Jonathan Groff is maybe probably sorta kinda coming back to Glee next season! (I think that picture is of Groff and Lea Michelle, even though she looks like Penelope Cruz. Or maybe it’s Penelope Cruz? Hard to tell.) This is good, because I was just whining to my coworker today about how it was rude of them to waste one of Groff’s six episodes last week (that boring “Home” episode) by just having him stand in the background and sing back-up on “Beautiful” without having any lines or much to do when we know that he has nefarious plots a-brewin’ and I would like to know about those plots please thank you!

I THINK IT AND THEN IT HAPPENS. I have to figure out a way to harness this power for evil–I mean good–just kidding, of course I mean evil.

Related: Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence are getting their own sitcom on ABC Family! Did you guys see My Fake Fiance? It was so stupid! But it turns out that Joey Lawrence is kind of scrumptious? Anyway, for pure camp factor this is great news.

AND: Apparently a Breaking Dawn movie is so in the works that they’ve hired a director? I don’t know how they’re going to make Renesmee at all believable, so I’m glad that’s not my job.

Just dropping by to say…

Posted on March 12th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Have you seen the new Eclipse teaser trailer? Is it just me, or was it sort of…boring? As my good friend M Dubbs said, “It looks just like Twilight.” It really does. Unless you were familiar with the series, you really wouldn’t be able to tell that it was an entirely different movie with (ostensibly) an entirely different plot. Come on Summit! Somebody’s asleep on the job. It didn’t even make me that excited to see Eclipse, although OF COURSE I WILL because I am not a HEARTLESS TROLL. J/k. I don’t really believe that if you aren’t seeing Eclipse you are heartless troll. You are missing out, though, on the wonder that is R Pattz.

Speaking of R Pattz, still totally excited to see Remember Me this weekend, even though my friend Doug TOTALLY RUINED THE ENDING FOR ME. I didn’t even know there was a twist to spoil, but apparently there was. Even though I’m usually such a spoiler monster when it comes to these things, I’m not going to do you the indignity of forcing you to endure the spoiling that I have endured. The funniest thing was that Doug’s G-chat status a few days ago was an jokey alternate title for the movie, and I furiously wrote to him, “DID YOU JUST SPOIL REMEMBER ME FOR ME?” He was like, “Um…how is it that you even figured that out?” Because I am an R Pattz fiend, my friend. Fiend! (No I’m not. I just like him and his character in Remember Me reminds me of Neily.)

I didn’t really intend this to be an R Pattz-centric post, but speaking of Remember Me: my roommate urgently G-chatted me yesterday saying, “I’m going out of town tonight–PLEASE DON’T SEE REMEMBER ME WITHOUT ME THIS WEEKEND!” We are grown, by the way. We probably need lives. The thing is, I actually DO have a life. I’ve just made room for R Pattz in it. Wait, is that a line from something? Oh, yes, Sex and the City. It’s an illness.

New Moon

Posted on November 22nd, 2009 by annakjarzab

Okay, so on Friday night I saw New Moon, and, you guys? It was awesome.

It’s been getting a lot of horrible reviews, but it’s really hard to tell (j/k! it’s not really hard to tell! it’s totally obvious) if the movie is actually bad or if movie reviewers are by nature inclined to pan and hate the Twilight franchise and all it stands for because its target audience is young females and LORD KNOWS they can’t stand to see us making choices that reflect buying power. Keep the ladies in their places! Only men should be able to determine if a movie makes millions and millions of dollars at the box office simply by blowing up everything in a seven mile radius (ahem Transformers)! Because honestly, the over-the-top melodramatic romance of Twilight is the lady version of blowing stuff up.

My only concern about the film was that there was going to be too much Jacob. LOL this movie is all about Jacob, I know that, but I’m staunchly anti-Jacob, or at least I used to be. Okay, I’m still anti-book-Jacob–Jacob in the book is a total whiny brat of a tool who manipulates Bella and attacks her with his mouth. I’m also anti the way that Bella tolerates all of that shizz from him, but let’s not put Baby in a corner just yet or whatever. I have a point!


But here’s where it gets tricky: Taylor Lautner(‘s chest) made me like Jacob a lot. I finally understood why maybe she might pick him, except of course I knew she wouldn’t (SPOILER!) pick him, because if there’s anything Stephenie Meyer does right in that book, it’s make a contract with the reader (I, the undersigned, Stephenie Meyer, do solemnly swear to make sure that Edward and Bella end up together as vampires at the end of this series) and stick with it! I believe in making a contract with the reader and not veering off in crazy directions when it makes no sense and presenting an unbelievable choice as a legitimate “twist”/solution.

So yeah, Team Edward 4 Lyfe or whatever, but also I get the Jacob thing now, although I still hate him in the books and always will. They were right to stick with Lautner, even though I know he went through many months of unhealthy body building to get them to hire him back, and I cringed for the first half of the movie every time he came on screen because of that awful wig they had him in. He was very likeable and believable as Jacob, and I actually believed the words that were coming out of his mouth. He might be the best actor of the three of them? Although you know I heart my RPATTZ so I don’t even know what I’m saying, crazy talk, obviously. By the way, they played the trailer for RPATTZ’s new movie (March 2010 baby!), Remember Me, before New Moon (of course they did) and it looks super great.

My favorite part of the trailer (aside from RPATTZ) is that his character reminds me somewhat of Neily, who I love. Which is funny, because I always thought RPATTZ would be a more appropriate portrayal of another character in the book, but whatever. Since Remember Me is as close to an All Unquiet Things movie as I think we’ll ever get, I’ll take it!

Secret shame: I now have two RPATTZ posters in my office. It’s okay, I work in children’s publishing–it’s allowed if you have it up ironically. Whenever people comment on it (because they do) I always tell them that he’s watching over me while I work because he loves me and he just wants me to be safe. TWILOLZ!! Gets a laff every time (I don’t think it’s ever gotten a laugh, actually).


So anyway, I thought the stuff between Bella and Jacob in New Moon was sexy and funny. The movie was a lot of fun, actually. A lot of people are using the word “joyless” to describe the relationships the series presents, and while that’s in a lot of ways true, I thought there was plenty of fun here. Lots of smiles between Bella and Jacob, he jokes around with her, even Bella says a minorly funny thing at the end of the movie when Edward’s trying to convince his family not to let Bella become a vampire and she gives him a breathy “Shut…UP” which is way more amusing in the delivery than it is on the page.

I did miss Edward. I do heart him–his hang ups about being soulless and damned are very sad to me, and one of the most interesting things about him. I can’t imagine how depressed he is or must have been for those 90 or so years he’s lived as a vampire. To believe, to truly and steadfastly believe, that there is nothing beautiful or special or good about you, must be such a hard burden to bear, a crushing weight. And if Bella lifts that weight for Edward, then good for him. And also, I get why he left her. People laugh at the whole, “I’m dangerous and I can’t protect you” thing, but he’s right–he IS dangerous and he CAN’T protect her, OBVIOUSLY. Jacob, too. They’re both dangerous creatures who could kill her as soon as look at her, and they’re often getting tangled up in a bunch of nasty supernatural business that she has no defense against. They should both leave her the hell alone, if they really want her to be safe. But they can’t because love or whatever, so fine. But at least he had to try, and that’s commendable.

Also, one final thing, because I’ve been thinking about this a lot. People say that Edward is a perv because he’s an old man lusting after a teenaged girl, even though he looks like a teenaged boy. And while that is not an incorrect theory, per se, I don’t find it all that problematic. While I would agree if it was, say, Carlisle who was dating Bella, because he’s an actual mature man, and was when he was turned into a vampire, I think Edward is probably pretty stunted as a result of all his spiritual and emotional hangups and his general antisocial behavior. He leads this lonely, passionless life, experiences nothing, feels nothing, like a depressed Peter Pan.

Strangely, I’ve never heard the “ew pervert” argument about Jesse, the immortal boy from Tuck Everlasting who falls in love with Winnie, even though he’s a hundred years old by that point and she’s like fifteen or something. Because Jesse’s a boy, not a man. He’s just been a boy a lot longer than most boys are. In that book, Mr. Tuck explains to Winnie how, when time ceases to matter, it ceases to exist. Immortal beings (such as they are) are outside of time and not subject to its rules or the things it brings a normal human–maturity, wisdom, knowledge, age. So Jesse and Edward are not, inside, the equivalents of 100 year old men. They are boys who have stepped outside of time. I think that’s different. And also amazingly interesting.

And now for the coda: how great were those Volturi, AMIRITE? Creepy and pitch-perfectly insane, just like in the book. Except Jane, who was just creepy and awesome. Dakota Fanning FTW! She stole the movie.


The candle feeds the flame

Posted on July 21st, 2009 by annakjarzab

On Sunday, I got a text from my friend Nikki that read: Going to see 500 Days of Summer at 5 at Lincoln if you are interested. Um, WAS I INTERESTED?! No.

Just kidding! I’ve been slavering to see that movie ever since I saw the trailer. I love romantic comedies, and I looooove Joseph Gordon Levitt. It kills me that some people still only think of him as “that kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun” because he’s grown into such a multi-faceted, talented actor since then, most notably in Brick, but also in Mysterious Skin (which I don’t recommend you see unless you have a strong constitution for sex and violence of a graphic nature, but is VERY VERY GOOD if your heart can take it, because it is incredibly sad) and The Lookout (not the world’s best movie, but he is SO GOOD in it).

I’m a pretty critical person, so I can nitpick any book/movie you throw at me, even if I love it to death. I loved this movie to death, and while I took issue with some of the ways in which they addressed the philosophical issues surrounding love and romance, I really sympathized with Tom’s (Joseph Gordon Levitt a.k.a. MY NEW FAKE BOYFRIEND) journey. Everything was so recognizable–the early excitement over a potential new love; the tiny disappointments that you brush off and try to rationalize even though your rational mind knows they’re screaming “S/HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU”, like papercuts to the heart; the desperate need not to let go, even though all signs point to “it’s over”; the crushing heartache that comes when you find out they’ve moved on to someone new. It’s so real, even though it’s heightened because, you know, it’s a movie, and while we might feel like cartoon birds are landing on our shoulders, they most often do not. Well, at least in my experience.

Anyway, the movie was just wonderful. Simply divine. It was just quirky enough to be charming, but not so quirky that you’re like, “This movie is too much quirk and not enough actual humanity”, a territory that, even though I like it a lot, I think Juno veers into at times. 500 Days of Summer is just exhuberant. It approaches the idea of romance in a sincere, unironic and original way, which very few movies can pull off (Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind is the only other one I can think of at the moment). I take a few issues with the ending, but otherwise it’s a great film, and I recommend you all see it.

BUT, if you don’t feel like seeing it, do yourself a big favor and watch the movie’s best scene, a dance number to Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams.” (You can adjust the volume on the righthand side so that you don’t have to listen to the commentary, you can just watch the scene as it is in the movie.) You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll be smiling all day, I promise. I’ve watched it approximately sixteen times.

Confidential to James McAvoy: JGL is just one in my rotating stable of fake boyfriends, but what you and I have, my fake husband, is forever. Don’t ever forget it.