I Tackle “Fifty Shades of Grey”

“He steps out of his Converse shoes and reaches down and takes his socks off individually. Christian Grey’s feet…wow…what is it about naked feet?”

–  Yep, that’s a direct quote

Oh yes. I read it. Cover to cover.

Before I start my review, I think it’s important to establish why I decided to read this book. It was for the same three reasons I read the first Twilight book a few years ago. The reasons, in no particular order:

  1. My favorite teacher from high school always told me, “You aren’t allowed to criticize a book you haven’t read all the way through.”
  2. I needed a good laugh.
  3. This book outsold Harry Potter. My book hasn’t even been published. This lady has to be doing something right.

Google helped me get through it by providing a variety of parody memes:

ray

2b3

filet

(Photo credits to fiftyshadesmeme.com)

I was initially hoping to just get through the book and move on with life, but the reading experience was such a unique form of torture (and not the kind Mrs. James was going for) that I couldn’t help but dissect this work. Now, before you yell at me for not being from the target audience, relax. I’ll leave the characters and their actions alone. Instead, I’ll focus on the writing style, plot and content.

First of all, the writing of this novel has to be some of the most unintentionally hilarious I’ve encountered. I’ve compiled a list of my personal favorite bits.

“If this guy is over thirty, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.” Ah, yes, a monkey’s uncle! The obvious go-to comparison for any twenty year old girl narrator.

“I flick through the TV channels.” You FLICK through the TV channels? Don’t you mean, “flip”?

“I feel the color in my cheeks rising again. I must be the color of The Communist Manifesto.” Oh yeah, of course, the Communist Manifesto! The obvious comparison when describing the color red.

“Ana, anyone can see that. He’s mad about you. Won’t take his eyes off you.” “Mad about you?” I think this British author forgot that her story features college girls who live in Washington state.

“Kate wanders back into the living room, grinning from ear to ear. “Ana, I’m off to bed. I’m pretty tired.” “Me, too, Kate.” She hugs me. “Shall we finish packing first?”” Well it’s a good thing this totally necessary passage was included in the narrative. Otherwise this 514 pages might not have felt long enough. Also, “shall we finish packing?” This is a twenty year old girl!

“He’s wearing a white shirt, open at the collar, and tray flannel pants that hang from his hips.” This is common throughout the book. Christian Grey doesn’t truly wear clothes. Clothes hang from his body.

“Oh my.” This phrase is used fifty-three times throughout the book, which is really distracting when I hear it in George Takei’s voice.

gtface

“It slips down my throat, all seawater, salt, the sharp tang of citrus, and fleshiness…ooh. I lick my lips, and he’s watching me intently, his eyes hooded.” And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how she describes eating oysters.

“I flush at the waywardness of my subconscious—she’s doing her happy dance in a bright red hula skirt at the thought of being his.” Look out, Dickens.

“The room is spacious, tastefully furnished in creams, browns, and pale blues—comfortable, understated, and very stylish.” You literally just described an entire room by mashing together adjectives.

“Oh crap.” This phrase is used 94 times throughout the book. That’s once every five pages.

“I won’t forget. I’ll put an alarm on my calendar.” Did anyone even read this out loud before they turned it into a book?

“‘Breakfast,’ he whispers, making it sound deliciously erotic.” Oh, for God’s sake.

 

Now, to storyline.

Does Fifty Shades have a plot? Not really. My litmus test for a plot is if someone refuses to talk to you about the book in fear of you spoiling something. In this case, the spoiler alert freaks can relax. There’s nothing to ruin here, unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last few years. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the story (and I’m using the word detailed sincerely):

  • Meet Ana, a reporter who interviews a business dude named Christian Grey
  • Christian asks her to coffee, flies her via helicopter to his mansion, and shows her around
  • They have lots of happy time
  • Ana meets his brother, graduates college, and emails Christian almost nonstop
  • They have lots of happy time
  • Ana meets Christian’s parents and argues with him some
  • They have lots of really weird happy time
  • On the third to last page, she decides he’s too intense, and says bye to him forever.

This book is 514 pages, mind you.

Analyzing the content: I won’t linger on the obvious part of it, apart from saying I found the bedroom scenes to be a little, ah, too much. And keep in mind, I’m a teenage guy.

Seriously. No one needs this much steamy material.

In any case, a few miscellaneous things I noticed:

Excessive product placement is excessive. Christian stays at the Heathman Hotel, drinks Cristal champagne, listens to his iPod, and puts on his Converse shoes so he can drive his R8 to Ana’s house to give her a Macbook Pro and iPad so she can Google how to use her new Blackberry and find someone to buy her Beetle so he can replace it with an Audi. 

Also, they do it in an IHOP at one point.

You think I’m kidding.

Finally, my biggest problem was probably how stalker-ish Christian is. You thought Edward Cullen was bad? At one point in the novel, Ana is on work travel and emails Christian saying she wishes he was here, so he finds out what flight she’s on, books one too, and emails her an hour later while sitting thirty feet away from her in a bar.

Uhh…wait, readers, come back! I know that sounds creepy, but it’s really cute in the book!

*Sarcasm off*

Overall, this novel was awful on a number of levels. I could stay to comment on how degrading this is to women, or all the immorality surrounding its messages, but I’m not here to preach. I’m just here to give advice: stay away from the book and just look up Gilbert Gottfried reading it instead.

Rate: 2 out of 10.

ReBlog: Rick Riordan’s Thoughts on Becoming Published

“My point: no number of connections will get a bad first novel published. The flipside to this may seem radical: A good novel will find an outlet one way or another, whether you know someone or not.”

–  Rick Riordan

*Holding up hands sheepishly* Sorry, sorry everyone, I know I haven’t blogged in weeks! I’m a terrible WordPress user. Unfortunately finals are bearing down on me and I don’t have time to write a post today.

BUT. I just read a fantastic blog entry from Rick Riordan, the author of the bestselling Percy Jackson novels and one of my personal favorite authors. In this post, he describes his journey to publication and his theories on how/why beginning novelists succeed or fail. If you have time, do yourself a favor and read it…the tone and style of the post are almost identical to my own, and the advice gave me a serious confidence boost towards my own publication attempts.

http://rickriordan.blogspot.com/2013/12/if-only-i-had-connections.html

I’ll try to blog soon!

On Writing- The Resemblance is Stunning! (Basing Characters Off People)

Are fictional characters drawn directly from life? Obviously not, at least on a one-to-one basis—you’d BETTER not, unless you want to get sued or shot on your way to the mailbox some fine morning.

–  Stephen King, On Writing

 

Around a week ago, I hammered out an outline for a new novel I’ve decided to write. It’s nothing I have high hopes for; more like, a way for me to try my hand at the coming-of-age genre. No publication goals for this one.

I’m not going to say much about it here, but it centers around high school. So naturally, I had to whip up a variety of high school characters.

You can see why I would be apprehensive doing this. I just graduated high school, and no matter what spins you put on characters from that setting, there are bound to be similarities between my literary cast and my set of best friends.

So, here are my thoughts, as an author, about creating characters and how they compare to real life.

Wisely following Mr. King’s advice, I’ve never written a character who’s directly based off of someone I know. When I write out a character, the fun part for me is getting to create someone entirely new, embodying either the best or the worst of some role I’m trying to fill. However, despite what you may think, I’m not an overly creative person. And while I don’t directly base a character off a person I know, I do use that general frame of reference.

Here’s an example. If I have to create a school bully character (which I never have, incidentally), I’ll think about the school bullies I’ve encountered in the past. I think about what made these bullies so unpleasant, why it did, and what defined them as rude people. Then I take all of those elements and spit out an entirely new character.

I do not, however, pick out one bully in particular and create a character exactly like them except for their hair color. For one thing, if a person I meet is so unpleasant, why would I want to spend time writing about them? I’d much rather create a bully of my own and force readers to hate them. So yes, I draw on base elements to get some groundwork, but I never copy exact traits. And certainly not from one person.

Occasionally, someone I know will inspire the creation of a character. For example, if I knew someone named Jack who could read an entire book within two minutes (again, not a real example), I would probably be intrigued enough to create a character who can do that. Anyone who knew me personally would start pointing the fingers and cry out, “Whoa there, you just wrote a story about Jack and changed his name, hair color, age, height, personality and gender!”

I hope I’m never in that situation, because it’ll be kind of hard to explain. As a writer and storyteller, I’m always on the lookout for interesting things to throw in my stories. That includes places, people, and even specific events in my life.

But here’s how that process works for me. Non-writers might assume that it goes something like: Element A inspires me, so I create Element B (similar to element A) to inspire readers.

Not quite. I’m a pretty weird kid, and I can’t assume that the same stuff that inspires me will inspire others. So instead, it goes like this: Element A inspires me. I think about why, then create an entirely new thing (Element B) which I hope will inspire others in the same way, make them feel the same things I did. Naturally, the elements will have some overlapping traits. But that’s not intentional.

Here’s the main reason why I would never adapt a character straight from someone I know: because if I’m writing a story, then I want to have the creative license to twist up that story however I want. If I want to write a romance novel which ends by the love interest killing themselves, then it might not be such a good idea to base the love interest off of my girlfriend. I can make them similar, but at the end of the day, the love interest character has to be an original creation. If they aren’t  and I decide not to add the suicide in fear of what my real life girlfriend would make of it, then my creative license has officially been revoked. I’m now being restricted by real life in how I can write a fictional story. And seriously, what’s the point of writing a story if you’re restricted in telling it?

So, to anyone who has, does or will read my stories someday, if you think you recognize yourself, don’t be so quick to jump on board. Yes, you might very well have inspired a character that I want to use in a story. But when I write, I picture that character in my head, not you. So please, don’t think that anything said character does is a reflection of what I think of you. And most certainly, please don’t be offended if they end up killing themselves.

Have a lovely Friday!

A Book Everyone Should Read Before Starting High School (Book Review: Twisted)

“I spent the last Friday of summer vacation spreading hot, sticky tar across the roof of George Washington High. My companions were Dopey, Toothless, and Joe, the brain surgeons in charge of building maintenance. At least they were getting paid. I was working forty feet above the ground, breathing in sulfur fumes from Satan’s vomitorium, for free. I tried to coat the seams evenly. We didn’t want to hurt the school. No, sir, we sure didn’t.”

–  Tyler Johnson, from Laurie Halse Anderson’s Twisted

 

Twisted coverWell, I warned you it could happen, and it has: I’ve tweaked my blogging schedule for this week. My movie review for The Island, scheduled for tonight, will be posted sometime later this week. I’m not sure when. On a similar note, I won’t be able to post anything this Saturday due to lack of internet access, so I’ll just post two articles on Friday. I’ve got this, right?

Anyway. Today, I’m posting a review I’ve meant to write for a while…a few years, to be specific. I’m glad that this is about a book that’s relatively obscure; hopefully I can convince a few people to at least look into reading it.

I’ll start this by describing how I came to read the book in question. It was the end of 9th grade, and I had to choose one novel from a list for my summer reading. I randomly picked Laurie Halse Anderson’s story Twisted because at least it was about a high school kid, and maybe it would cover some high school issues.

Boy, was I in for a read.

Remember, this was the end of Freshman year of high school. It was the last week of school, and the only reason I even started on summer reading was because I wanted less work to do during the actual summer days. I sat down on the couch around 4 PM and decided I would read a few pages, just to get started.

I got up from the couch at 8 PM. That was when I finished reading this book, and only after I closed it did I go eat dinner.

The story just grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. It felt like the kind of novel I would write, with the same sarcastic and hilarious narration. But, I’ll stop being vague and outline the premise.

Tyler Johnson is a typical teenage kid about to enter his Senior year in high school, and he’s feeling the effects of the prank he pulled at the end of Junior year (spraying graffiti on the school). His parents and authority figures mistrust him, but for the first time, a lot of the students think he’s cool. High school can be a dangerous place, though, and one misstep can lead to everything falling apart.

Doesn’t that sound enticing? If not, please don’t neglect this book just because my summaries suck. I promise it’s good. This is one of those books that falls under the genre ‘literary fiction’…it’s not so much about the plot as the characters and their development. In my case, the reason I was hooked on this was the voice. Picture Perks of Being a Wallflower, except with a much more sarcastic narrator, a much lighter tone, and a plot that is in my opinion—and this is strictly an opinion—more relatable. I know, Perks is like the mother of all relatable high school novels, and some people will strongly disagree with me. But I liked Twisted infinitely more.

I don’t know what sorcerer came down on Laurie Halse Anderson, a woman in her forties, and turned her into a teenage guy. But someone did. Because this book could not be more accurate when it comes to describing the sarcasm, the nerves, and of course the raging hormones present in the majority of high school males. If it were a movie complete with narration, it would be rated strong PG-13 or low-end R. Because yes, world, that’s what the minds of teenage guys are like.

Now. One thing I want to get out of the way before I continue: this book takes some dark turns. The underlying message, in the end, is about dealing with the pressures of high school and how those can push you to bad places. I want to make clear that I haven’t gone anywhere near those bad places, nor do I condone those bad places in any way. Please don’t misunderstand me. I love this book because it explores a very realistic part of high school, but more importantly, talks about coming back from the worst parts.

And yes, I think everyone should read this before going into high school, but only for the same reason that you read about car crash statistics before you learn to drive. If you explore the totality of an experience, both the fun, awesome parts and the serious, dark parts, you can go into it totally comfortable. I think this book does that, and I think everyone should read it so they know what the worst parts of high school are like. This doesn’t cover all of the bad elements of high school, but it does cover the pressure involved with teenage angst. It’s one of the most realistic novels I’ve ever read, and in my opinion, those are the best stories.

Like I said, I read it (and have re-read it countless times) just for the humor tied to descriptions of everyday teenage life. There’s plenty of that. The fact that there’s a deeper message in the text is just a bundle of bonus points, in my opinion.

I still re-read this book at the end of every school year. I just re-read it tonight, even though I’m starting to memorize it. I plan on reading it at the end of every year of college. I wonder if I’ll still love the book this much then.

In conclusion: Please oh please read this, especially if you’re looking for a coming-of-age high school novel that deals with relatable problems in a hilarious and realistic way. And if you’re about to go into high school, I’d recommend reading this so that at the very least, you can know what the worst parts of it are like and how to avoid them. Because high school really is a fun ride, if you make the right choices.

Trust me, I know.

Rate: 9 out of 10.

The Best Assigned Novel I’ve Ever Read (Book Review: Flowers For Algernon)

“I don’t know what’s worse: to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you’ve always wanted to be, and feel alone.”

–  Charlie Gordon, Flowers For Algernon

 

Flowers For Algernon coverIn 8th grade, my last day of school before Spring Break was a Thursday.

Stick with me! This does have a point. I remember that it was a Thursday because I went to a private school, and our last day was on Holy Thursday. And I remember that last day very clearly, because we did quite a few fantastically fun things. But the best was when our class watched the movie adaption of Flowers For Algernon, the book we’d been reading for the past two months. I was reminded of that when hearing from all my eighth grade friends, who got out of school today. This book still sticks out at me as being one of the first ones I’d been assigned to read and actually enjoyed.

For anyone who’s been living under a rock and isn’t familiar with Flowers For Algernon, here’s the concept: a mentally challenged man, Charlie Gordon, writes journal entries about how he was selected by his teacher, Mrs. Kinnian, to undergo an operation that could raise his IQ and give him the intelligence of a normal person. So far, it’s only worked on a lab mouse called Algernon. The procedure is successful, and soon Charlie is even smarter than the professors who orchestrated the surgery. In the course of his development, he learns what it feels like to fall in love, have his emotions catch up with his mind, find the parents who gave him up, and possibly uncover a flaw in his surgery that could have a fatal consequence.

Okay, I dramatized that a teensy bit, but that’s the premise of the book. I hope that’s enough to hook the majority of readers, but if it isn’t, here’s more positive rambling about it.

First of all, the plot is engrossing. Seriously. The actual surgery happens within the first forty pages, and the book focuses on Charlie’s development after that. When I started reading, I immediately noticed Daniel Keyes’s masterful styling, how the page was littered with misspelled words and grammatical errors and had the complete feel of a journal entry from a mentally challenged man. I was eager to see how Charlie’s increasing intelligence would be reflected in his writing style, and Keyes pulls it off perfectly. I know that’s a strong word, and I rarely use it. The writing style of this book is perfect.

Who here liked The Avengers? I did, and one of my favorite things about it (other than seeing Iron Man blow up everything) was the clever interactions in specific scenes. Pick the wittiest conversation from that movie, and you have the dialogue from this entire book. Smart-Charlie, albeit being arrogant, is hilarious and thrilling to read about in his interactions with people.

My favorite part of the book, by far, is…well, it’s…

Okay, I can’t do this. I literally love the whole thing. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read, including all of the Harry Potter’s, Percy Jackson’s, Artemis Fowl’s, and all of the classic literature novels I’ve read in my literature classes.

I don’t know why. I’ll admit a small part of that stems from the fact that I read it in 8th grade, the most light and fun year of school I’ve ever had (so far, anyway, though senior year is pretty darn close) and I had a fantastic teacher who made it enjoyable to talk about.

But most of it is the book itself, which I still re-read to this day. The plot is enticing, the characters are incredibly human—not to mention well-developed—but more than anything, the text is dripping with emotion. It didn’t make me cry, but very few books have, and this one came pretty darn close.

As a side note, the beloved but little-known movie adaption (the one with Matthew Modine) is one of the best adaptions I’ve seen, and if you’ve read the book but haven’t seen this movie, please go do it. And if you haven’t read the book, do that first! I promise you won’t regret it.

Before I close, I just want to end on the note that some books are so unique, pulled off in exactly the right, unique way, that you have to read them. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in literature, chemistry or basket weaving…this is just one of those texts that it’s a crime not to have experienced.

In Conclusion: There are very few books I’ve read that I consider pure perfection. This is one of them.

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Rate: 10 out of 10.

(On Writing) The Bad Beginning II: The Return of the Dreaded Opening Chapter

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

–  Dr. Seuss

 

So two months ago—to the date, coincidentally—I posted on the subject of how difficult it is, when writing a novel, to concoct its first chapter:

“I need to find a good way to kick off the story. And no matter what events I run through my mind to launch it, I just can’t think of one that really grabs peoples’ interests. Nothing unique. Over the years, I’ve re-written the first chapter probably five or six times. And—almost six re-writes and four years later—I’M STILL UNHAPPY WITH IT.”

I ended on a somewhat gloomy note, saying how I could only hope for some random spark of inspiration to hit me where all of the pieces would finally fall into place. I’ve been waiting for that for a solid eight weeks now.

And I think I finally have something.

Correction: I don’t just have something. I have the thing, the exact set of puzzle pieces I’ve been trying to find for years. Or at least, I think I do.

At the very least, I have something like what I mentioned I was hoping to find: something that grabs peoples’ interests, and is unique to this particular story.

But, I’m not so selfish of a blogger that I would use WordPress to only announce my good news to my meager crowd of readers. I figure I’ll comment on this subject a bit more, to try and dissect what I believe makes up a good opening chapter, now that I finally (believe I) have one.

 

Essential Ingredients for a Good Opening Chapter:

  1. We meet at least one character, preferably the main one
  2. More importantly, we get to know said main character, and what makes them unique
  3. The tone is consistent with the rest of the book
  4. Something happens to the main character to, by the literal definition, start the story
  5. Ends with closure, but enough suspense that we must keep reading

 

What I imagine you all saying to yourselves right now: “This boy is a genius! Expound on your knowledge, oh wizard of the written word.”

What you’re probably really saying: “This kid doesn’t know what he’s talking about, is that episode of Big Bang Theory still on?”

As a blogger (and as a writer) I’m forced into a mode of narrow optimism, however, so I’ll assume you want to know more about what I listed above. I’ll explain them best through examples from an author who’s not only published, but successful: Rick Riordan, and his novel The Lightning Thief.

Take a look at that opening chapter, if you so desire. What do you find?

  1. We meet the main character, Percy Jackson, who introduces himself and gives basic info like his age, current surroundings, and present circumstances.
  2. We get to know Percy, and what makes him unique. We learn he has dyslexia, ADHD, has been kicked out of school every year due to strange accidents, and has a mysterious connection with Greek mythology (though we don’t know what, yet. There’s the suspense I mentioned!)
  3. The tone is consistent with the rest of the book. I think The Lightning Thief is a perfect example of this, because more often than not—especially with YA books—tone is what keeps someone reading. Percy’s sarcastic, witty, and informal (but detailed) descriptions of the people and events that develop around him is what made me want to keep reading, back when I started this book. I loved how he described Mrs. Dodds as “someone who wore a black leather jacket, even though she was fifty years old. She looked mean enough to drive a Harley straight into your locker.” Or else talking about the field trip he’s on: “I know—it sounds like torture. Most Yancy Academy trips were.” These tell us that this isn’t going to be an uptight high fantasy tale with formal dialogue and cardboard characters. And might I say, this book in particular shies away from those stereotypes about as much as any fantasy book can.
  4. Something happens to Percy to start the story: he gets attacked by a Fury because Hades believes Percy stole Zeus’s master bolt. Again, a great example of how to start a story. I can’t comment too much on it…in short, the events unfold from there. Picking such a point for my own story is (was) so difficult because of how simple of a task it is.
  5. Ends with closure, but suspense: Well, The Lighting Thief does indeed. After the attack, we’re left wondering why and how it happened, just as Percy is, but the end of chapter one is Mr. Brunner assuring Percy it was all his imagination. This caps off the action while leaving the reader wanting more.

Well, I do believe I’ve spoken on this subject long enough. Now that I’ve found my perfect idea for how I want my first chapter to unfold, I need to start writing it.

Or re-writing it, I should say.

Why Joel Courtney is a Boss (Movie Review: Super 8)

“Bad things happen, but you can still live.”

 

Super 8 PosterOoh, the film for which I named this blog. The pièce de résistance of my movie reviewing. If you’re a faithful reader, you probably saw this coming.

I’ll jump right into it: For those who don’t know, Super 8 is a sci-fi action thriller directed/written by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg, released in June 2011. The premise: six kids are filming a super-8 movie when they witness a train crash, with something dangerous aboard (spoiler alert: IT’S AN ALIEN). The military is rolling into town, dogs are running away, people are disappearing, and no one knows why.

I saw trailers for this back in June 2011. I didn’t go to see it. To be honest, the movie looked just mediocre, and I’m not one for alien invasion flicks, anyway. But it was still interesting enough for me to put a library hold on the DVD, and when it came in a year ago to the day (I’m writing this on December 28th) I sat down and popped it in. I wasn’t expecting a reaction like “holy goodness that was the best movie ever”, but I hoped it would be decent.

Holy goodness that was the best movie ever.

Okay, well, I’m not going to say it was the best movie EVER. But it was (and still is) my favorite.

Here’s why.

First of all, the train crash scene is sick. Yes, it’s a little excessive. Yes, the prequel to this movie should be called “And They Said I Was Crazy to Build a Railroad out of Dynamite.” But this is Hollywood, and you could do much worse than everything blowing up like crazy for a minute or two.

I firmly believe that in any form of storytelling—books or movies—action doesn’t mean much unless we care about the characters. Luckily, this movie is perfectly cast. Every character does great acting like a genuine teenager, but the one who really stands out is the lead, Joe Lamb. As a boy who just lost his mom in a factory accident, he’s the mellowest—yet coolest—of the bunch. He’s the definition of the dork role that most of us fall into, all while falling for the girl of their group, Alice Dainard, whose dad is hated by Joe’s for an unknown reason.

And make way for my second-favorite scene of the entire movie: the part where Joe and Alice are watching a projection of Joe’s home movies, and Alice tells him that the morning of his mom’s accident, her dad missed his shift due to drinking, and Joe’s mom covered for him.

From there it’s action. The military sets fire to the town as an excuse for everyone to evacuate; meanwhile, the monster kidnaps Alice. When the kids learn this, they go back into the empty town, break into their middle school to find info their biology teacher had on the creature, and run through their neighborhood as it’s blown up street by street.

And it’s incredible.

To finish it all up, Joe rescues Alice, the monster gets back to its ship, and as it flies away, we have my single favorite part of the movie: the part where Joe’s necklace—a locket his dad gave his mom the day he was born—flies out of his pocket, and he holds it in his hand. Then he looks at it and, while the ineffably beautiful music plays, lets it go.

Don’t ask me why that scene is so incredible; I’m not a good enough writer to explain it. Just go watch for yourself.

 

I should address the title of this review, though: why Joel Courtney, the actor who portrayed Joe Lamb, is so awesome.

Because he’s genuine. Not only his acting, but his personality, which shines through even past his on-screen character. The dude is just cool, and because Joe Lamb is so much like that, it’s fun to watch him and the others running away from aliens and exploding houses.

That’s why Joel Courtney inspired the main character of my book. Because mellow, honest, genuine personalities are—as I now believe—the most likable, and those characters pull the most emotional strings.

I could be totally wrong. But that’s why I love Super 8, think its main actor is awesome, and used that as inspiration for my book.

We’ll see where that gets me.

 

In conclusion: this movie delivers quite a bit more than expected, as does its cast. It’s not the most mind-blowing film you’ll ever see, but it’s handled with such quality and acted so genuinely that it’s hard to walk away unsatisfied.

Rate: 10 out of 10.