Monday, March 31, 2014

TV & Movie | Solving Crime as an Extracurricular

On Friday, Colin and I needed a late-night escape from the house and to our luck and surprise, we discovered that the Belcourt (our local indie movie house) was playing a late show of the Veronica Mars movie. Now, it is rare that Colin and I agree on any form of entertainment besides music. We spend more time browsing Netflix’s instant offerings, trying to decide on something to watch, than actually watching anything. Our tastes are about as opposite as you can get, so when we find a TV show that hooks both of us, it’s as close as you can come to a miracle.

And that’s what Veronica Mars did.
If you need a bit of an introduction to this whole show/movie connection, here’s the two-sentence summary: Veronica Mars was a WB-esque teen show that lasted for three seasons on UPN back in the mid-2000s. Its mega-cult following recently led to the fan-driven funding of a movie follow-up in the most successful Kickstarter campaign ever.
It was this movie that we saw on Friday, which was pretty enjoyable in its own right, but as I do anytime anything about VM is mentioned in life, I’m going to use this opportunity to highly recommend you WATCH SEASON 1!! (You need to know where it all began, right?)
When you meet Veronica Mars in her show’s first season, her best friend Lilly has been murdered; her dad has been ousted as sheriff for believing Lilly’s dad, the town’s richest and most powerful man, had something to do with it; and Veronica’s boyfriend and best friends have dropped her like yesterday’s trash. Veronica’s dad, Keith, has since opened his own private investigation business, and Veronica has taken it upon herself to use whatever means possible to solve the murder of her best friend, as well as her fair share of day-to-day crimes plaguing the town of Neptune. 
Yes it has mystery, murder, and mayhem, but this show is FUNNY. It has some of the best developed characters and wittiest dialogue around–like that high-quality level of Buffy that is often overlooked because it’s characterized as a teen show about a girl fighting vampires and dealing with high school. The same oversimplification applies here. Veronica Mars doesn’t have quite the Buffy level of seriousness and metaphor, but the writing, particularly the dialogue is fantastic. 
Season 1 is a standout collection of entertaining television that I’ve recommended to just about everyone I’ve met. I continued onto season 2 without Colin, and it was okay but not as great; I didn’t even bother with season 3 after a fellow fan and coworker told me it’ll anger you more than it’s worth  watching. To see the movie now in theaters (and I think available on Amazon), you definitely need to see at least the first season to have a grasp of the characters and their history, but I don’t think you need to have seen the rest; Colin hadn’t and he got it just fine.
The best video summary I could find is a fan-created promo on YouTube, but I think it’s a pretty good one to give you the gist!

Do we have any VM fans on here? If you haven’t already seen it, who do you hope shows up in the movie?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nonfiction | Bad Girls Have More Fun

“Only good girls keep diaries. Bad girls don’t have the time.”
—Tallulah Bankhead

This is the last nonfiction book I read, and I read it before our two months of travels. (Somehow, nonfiction just doesn’t sound so appealing to me as a vacation read; give me fluff or give me death!) My mom picked up Elizabeth Kerri Mahon’s Scandalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History’s Most Notorious Women from the library back in January, and it was a great easy piece of nonfiction. I read it in just a couple of days, because it’s easy to digest with short, conclusive chapters.

Many of these scandalous women are ones about which you are probably familiar—Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Anne Boleyn, Zelda Fitzgerald. But then there are many that are probably unfamiliar but were still newsmakers of their times for going against the grain of society—women like Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of King Louis VII and also King Henry II, a woman that could easily keep up with the powerful men of her time in both politics and romantic philandering.

Other women we read about are “wayward wives,” “scintillating seductresses,” and “amorous artists,” among others. Mahon writes this book as a collection of brief and accessible biographies; you’re not getting the full story but just a quick summary that may pique your interest to read more. (And I did; Wikipedia was my friend while reading this book!)

If the above chapter heads are any indication, Mahon is a fan of cutesy language, which is sometimes pretty annoying. Starting a character biography with the phrase, “She was just a small-town girl, living in a small-town world…” to describe Joan of Arc’s beginnings is a pretty lame literary technique—not to mention I hate that song. But these aren’t things you can’t get past, and it’s still a fun and light piece of nonfiction that demonstrates history-makers are never the quiet ones.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

An Update on What’s Happening With This Blog

To anyone who is still reading this blog: hello again! This blog has been on a bit of an unannounced hiatus as I’ve spent the past 2 months traveling overseas. Don’t worry–there are no thoughts of blog abandonment here; I’ve still been reading a ton and have many books to share in the upcoming weeks!

I did, though, want to check in and announce a few changes that will be coming to this blog in the future, mirroring the many changes that have been made in my own life in recent months! Back in December, I finished my MLS program and quit my job, and Colin and I moved out of NYC. I’ll be entering the library field the upcoming months, and that’s inspired me to broaden the scope of this blog, because I think it can be a great resource for any kind of media recommendations or reviews–libraries aren’t just about books! I hope to post about anything I read or see, not just books–TV shows, movies, documentaries, music, and anything that may pique a person’s interest and inspire their own information investigation.

Plus, we’re not in New York anymore! I haven’t decided if the name of the blog is going to change since this one is already so well established, but it’s another consideration as the sphere of this blog widens.

I’d also like to institute more interactivity, both on this blog and in my own reading/watching/listening–new reading challenges, suggestions and group projects.

If you’re still here, thanks for sticking around! I’m excited about the changes in my life, and I hope that excitement can extend to this blog. As always, I want this to be a place to talk about the culture we’re consuming and share loves and hates, thoughts and opinions–all to inspire interest in and enthusiasm for the many different stories being told.