Just when you start to think that September will never stop being warm and sunny, you get a cool, cloudy morning that reminds you to appreciate that sunshine while it lasts, for crying out loud, and don’t start wishing you could wear that new sweater just yet. Because it’s Oregon, and your wish will come true before you’re really ready.
I finished watching the second season of Dexter – I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like my kind of thing at ALL, but I have a soft spot for it. Except I prefer the regular ol’ episodes to the Big Dramatic Season Finales. Anyway, having gotten my fill of serial killers, I moved on to watching movies. And I remembered why TV shows on DVD are really best for my schedule – when you don’t get home until after 10 pm, by the time you take a shower and fix some dinner and sit down, you don’t really have time for a 2 hour production. Not that this ever stopped me from watching 2 episodes of any TV show in an evening, but I could still get to bed at a decent hour if I wanted. With a movie, you’re stuck staying up late. Oh well.
The other night I watched Atonement. I loved the book – the only Ian McEwan that I was really enthusiastic about – and I felt a little trepidation about seeing it brought to life, as one often is with a well-liked book. I really enjoyed the first section of the movie – the house, and all the clashing patterns in the upholstery, and the costumes – I love that kind of stuff. It did a remarkable job, too, of portraying the inner lives of the characters through sheer visuals – remarkable because the book is so, well, word-based. And focused on the thoughts and feelings of characters, rather than words and actions. But it really translated well onto the screen. But then it moved to the WWII storyline, and I got a trifle bored. It lost the same sense of suspense – the “how will things go wrong?” tension that drove the first part of the story. I don’t remember if the same was true of the book – maybe I didn’t feel the tension because I knew what would happen. But I felt tense during the first part even though I knew how that would end. On a completely different note, I couldn’t decide if I loved the typewriter-sounding score or not.
Last night I watched I’m Not There – the one that’s kind of about Bob Dylan. The one that features Cate Blanchett looking eerily like Bob Dylan. It was bizarre and oddly fascinating, but it turns out that it takes a bit more plot to keep my interest through to the end. That said, I think it’s a love it or hate it kind of movie, and I’d have to fall more on the love side than the hate side. If you’re someone who’s watched Don’t Look Back more than once, I’m Not There is worth watching just for laughs.
On a completely different note, I really enjoyed Ellen Emerson White’s The President’s Daughter, which was just republished. The new covers for the whole series are pretty smashing – not just updates of dated late 80’s/early 90’s covers, but spins on classic paintings that really match the mood of the series. I read the 3rd and 4th books a while ago – Long Live the Queen and Long May She Reign – while I waited for the first two to go back in print. Now I’m eagerly awaiting #2, White House Autumn. They don’t sound at all like my kind of thing – politics, sports, kidnapping, PTSD, etc. But they’re so gripping – once I start one, I can barely put it down. Not necessarily because of the plot, but because the characters feel so real – especially the family dynamics. Meg is perfectly snarky – a kindred spirit with completely different interests. This is definitely a series that I’ll reread – and I kind of want to own copies so I can have those nice shiny covers on my bookshelf all the time. Also, I’m thinking about voting for Meg’s mom come November.