Fact: I need to be reading more books. I find myself in this weird ADD sort of phase where I'm having a hard time focusing on anything for very long and while I've read a couple books recently here and there, nothing that has really captured me. I really need to get lost in a good book or two and remove myself from the screen a little more.
Other Fact: Despite the fact that I could use less screen time in my life, I have seen some really great movies lately that I thought I would share with you guys. Most of these are recent (in the past year or 2?) but these are not your Oscar contenders and summer blockbusters. (I really liked Spotlight tho, but The Martian?...how did that get nominated for best picture?) but these are beautiful, funny, wistful, quirky, crazy stories that have stayed with me for days and days afterward. I love them.
And so I thought we could swap. I'll tell you about these favorite movies that I've seen in a long time and you give me your favorite book recommendations. Deal?
First up two movies based on true stories. I am definitely a person who finds 'truth stranger than fiction' or just more interesting-er than fiction. These things really happened! It's amazing! You can stream all of these from Amazon and I've put the links in there. (Full disclosure, these are affiliate links FYI).
Love and Mercy. The music lover in me went nuts for this movie. This is the wonderful biopic of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys fame. The Beach Boys are to American music what apple pie is to American food, which is to say the backbone of our culture. If you don't like the Beach Boys, I would consider you a traitor to our country. Simple as that. And while everyone likes some Beach Boys songs the real musicians out there know how truly influential their 11th studio album, Pet Sounds, was to rock music. Rolling Stones named Pet Sounds the second most influential rock album of all time. But I had NO IDEA about the back story behind their music--specifically this album and it's creator, composer and musical genius Brian Wilson. This is a such a powerful story of beauty rising from the ashes of the depths of human despair. Love and redemption and ...OK, you just have to watch it. And then like me you'll listen to Pet Sounds on repeat for like 2 weeks. (Also, fantastic cast! John Cusak is always good, but Elizabeth Banks? She blew me away!) Tip: Don't watch the trailer... too many spoilers, just jump straight to the movie!
The Walk. I was sorta iffy on renting this movie. But OH MA'GOODNESS, this movie got under my skin big time. This is the true story of Philippe Petite, the artist and Frenchman who dared to walk across a tightrope strung between the Twin Towers in 1974. You guys, this is a true story! This happened in real life. And it's crazy town. I watched the end of the movie several times and even showed it to my girls the next day (not the whole movie, but I think this would actually be a good movie to watch with older kids.) I'm not super crazy about how they choose to do the narration, but it doesn't ruin the movie by any means. I really love seeing someone pursue a crazy dream for no other reason than it is their crazy dream. I really found this movie super inspiring and have been thinking about my own coup. Also, I wish I would have seen this in IMAX... I don't remember the last time my husband and I experienced such tension while watching a movie. Again, just crazy town. Starring cute-pa-toutie Joseph Gordon Levitt and the amazing Ben Kingsley.
It's a Funny Kind of Story--This is the lightest movie of them all but as I start to describe the storyline I'm like, wait... this is light? But it is somehow. Or at least it handles heavy subjects in a light-handed manner. It's the story of a suicidal teen who checks himself into a mental hospital and the people he encounters while he's there. I love a movie filled with quirky, flawed characters and obviously if the setting for your movie is in a mental hospital then you're going to get quirk in surplus. Also, there is a musical scene in this movie that I don't want to give away, but for me this was the highlight of the film. It was just perfect and I watched it again and again. Another good, mostly well-known cast even featuring one of my favorite Gilmore Girls Lauren Graham.
Me, Earl and the Dying Girl: This movie. WATCH THIS MOVIE. Within the first few minutes you will dig the style and find yourself hooked. It's so well done. Definitely the funniest movie of the bunch, and it manages that impossible feat of being tender and moving without creeping into sappy territory. It's a little more gritty in places (for example there is a quick shot of a computer screen as a boy is shutting down porn sites--you don't see anything...but still I could have done without that) but overall this movie is fantastic. The characters are so spot on. Also, I didn't recognize any of the actors who portrayed the teenagers--there were all superb--but there are quite a few recognizable faces in the adults around them like Molly Shannon, Connie Britton and Nick Offerman.
OK, I've held up my end of the bargain, so any and all book recommendations please! Note, I've been meaning to read Big Magic forever, and I've already read All the Light We Can't See...what else? Also, has anyone seen any of the movies above and loved them just as much as I did?