Thursday, September 2, 2010

During a Break

I’m writing this while downloading a movie. I’d consider it multitasking, but since my internet is so slow, it’s equivalent to breathing while sleeping. It’s still multitasking.

It’s weird that I’m trying to write and listen to a movie at the same time because lately my head has felt congested and I haven’t been able to think clearly. After sniffling in class one day, a classmate asked if I was sick, and she explained that she’s been sick since her roommate had a cold or something. That was my first suspicion that my dry, bleeding nose might be connected to my headaches and drowsiness. I think I’ve been sick for a while.

I think the worst part about being sick is whenever other people don’t notice it, which makes me self-conscious that my voice normally sounds disjointed and crackled, and I wonder if I usually have snot dripping down my nose. When people ask if I feel better, I want to know if I honestly look the way I feel. I think I play it off well.

I’m ten minutes into the movie, and it’s not that great; I guess its background noise. I considered watching Spring Forward, but I’ve seen it several times. I’m currently watching an independent film about backpacking called Southbounders. It was between this movie and another independent film about a road trip. I guess I’m in a travel mood.

I hate that point in a movie or book where you’re convinced that you won’t like it, but you’ve already gone too far to stop. It’s like the distance you’ve traveled before it’s too late to get something you’ve forgot in your bedroom. I think everyone has their limit. My limit is across the street; if I’ve already crossed the street then it’s too late; game over.


A few weeks ago, I read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and I recently finished Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It’s an odd pairing; I planned to read both of them during my short summer break, but The Lovely Bones was longer than expected. In summery, I didn’t like either of them.

(Slight spoiler)

The Lovely Bones was okay, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. Half of the novel was riveting with the author’s intricate control of creating the vivid life and world of Susie Salmon, the protagonist. Ultimately, it shifted away from becoming a suspenseful murder mystery and settled into a story about moving on past the death of a loved one. Midway through the novel, the character development fizzled out, and you’re left skimming through the lives of less developed, one dimensional characters that were not particularly interesting. I understand that the author had to convey that the lives of Susie's loved ones went on past her death, but it still felt unsettling and less engaging than the first portion of the book.

(No spoiler, except he cries a lot)

There were several complaints about Perks of Being a Wallflower. As it’s mentioned in several reviews on, Charlie, the main character, wasn’t actually a wallflower. He had friends and experienced drugs and parties and went to dances. If Charlie was a wallflower in high school, I was either a pebble or a dust ball. Personally, I’d define a wallflower as someone who’s socially awkward, easily nervous, and an unintentional loner. At no point did Charlie ever seemed nervous or socially awkward; he just felt apathetic and naive. Also, Charlie wasn’t a believable fifteen years old. The author intentionally improved the narrator’s grammar and spelling to convey Charlie’s maturity, but the sentences in the beginning of the novel felt too simple and choppy, and it limited my ability to relate to him as a character. Most times the narrative felt like an adult attempting to sound like a child. It's hard to perceive Charlie as a bright, gifted writer when the author included so many run on sentences and Charlie continued to have a naive perspective of the world. Although most teenagers are insecure and self-deprecating with their problems, they have a sense of depth and rationality to their actions and thoughts. Instead of elaborating about his emotions, Charlie cried. He cried a lot. He cried often and without humility. I'm usually a very empathetic person, but someone needed to tell him to stop. I felt that instead of conveying how Charlie felt or drawing readers into the emotional depth of the moment, the author blatantly wrote, '...and then I cried.' After I read so many reviews that claimed this book changed and affirmed people's lives, I honestly hope I missed something. I’d hate to think this book became popular with a cult following due to name dropping pop culture references, famous books, and excessive drug use. I’d hate to assume it's famous just because it’s a banned book. To be fair, the book had moments of insightful melancholy, but it never expanded into genuine character development of the protagonist. Also, I thought the book properly addressed homosexuality and I can see how gay teenagers could relate to the character, but it wasn't anything deeper or more engaging than an after school melodrama such as Dawson's Creek.

Southbounders was an okay movie. It felt a little too campy in the beginning, pardon the pun, but it gradually became better. It was very independent with less experienced actors, modest picture quality, and poor sound design. That being said, they filmed majority of the movie outside, which would have compromised the resolution for most indie films. It wasn’t transcendent or life affirming, but it was background noise. It was okay.

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