Category Archives: Book Vs. Movie

The Chocolate War Book VS. Movie

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Jerry Renault is sent to a Catholic school after his mom has died.  The school is very strict and has a yearly chocolate sale that all students are EXPECTED to participate in.  Brother Leon gets it in his heard that the school can bring in a lot more money if they double what they sold the previous year making it 50 boxes of chocolates sold by each student. 

Jerry finds himself mixed up in an encounter with the schools “gang” called the Vigils and he is instructed not to sell chocolates for the first ten days of the sale.  Jerry complies and creates a very annoyed Brother Leon when Jerry does not do his part.

The real kicker is that after the ten days, Jerry decides he has had enough of people telling him what to do and when to do it so he continues to refuse to sell the chocolates on principle.  It should be a choice to sell.  Not an order.  By doing this Jerry creates an uproar in the school of support that angers the Vigils who feel this is like a slap in the face to their control of the school.  As time passes the Vigils work hard to gain control pushing kids to sell their chocolates making Jerry an outcast and eventually leading to what is referred to as the chocolate war.

 

I read this book this last October for banned book week.  The book was banned due to the strong content, language, and deemed unsuitable for the age group it was written for.  Of course, I loved it. There is a powerful message within The Chocolate War.

The movie, made in 1988, was well done.  Ilan Mitchell-Smith does a good job of portraying Jerry, a boy who appears meek on the outside but has a strong sense of right and wrong on the inside. The head honcho for the Vigils, Archie (played by Wallace Langham, now on CSI) was also very good at his role.  I felt the same emotions watching the movie as I had reading the book.  I felt unsettled and angry at times.  And in the end, neither the book or movie leave you with a feel good “all is well” feeling… you know.. that there is more to be done, and in this case, that is an ok and appropriate feeling.

I would say I enjoyed them both just about equally.  The book was one I have wanted to read for a while and I was glad I finally got to it.  The movie, was the big finale for me, to see it after reading it was perfect.  I feel I can talk about The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier with some knowledge and opinion.

If you get the opportunity, I recommend reading The Chocolate War and then treating yourself to the movie.  Perhaps maybe, for this next Octobers banned book week?

One For The Money – The Book and the Movie Review

 

A long time ago…  (long before this blog or before I even knew what a blog was) I had read Janet Evanovich’s book One For The Money.  It was light, it was funny.  It was about this big haired girl named Stephanie Plum from New Jersey who was down on her luck after losing her job.  The bills were piling up and she found herself looking for a job from her cousin Vinnie who owned the local Bond Agency.

Then it gets hilarious.  Stephanie has no idea what she has got herself into but tries to bring in the biggest bail, Morrelli, who she had a brief encounter with many years ago and thinks this could be some pay back.  Morelli is not only a good-looking guy, he is also a cop – on bail for a crime he did not commit but all evidence to say so seems to has disappeared. 

When Stephanie requires a little assistance in her new job, she is introduced to Ranger (yay!!!!  Three cheers from my section *doing the wave* !!!!)  Ranger is dark and mysterious and has a way of showing up just when Stephanie needs him.  He also teaches her how to shoot a gun, and how to break into a suspects home… but you know… that’s just part of the fun.

The book… is fun.   Really it is.  SO much fun in fact I went on to read Two For The Dough, Three To Get Deadly, Four To Score, High Five, Hot Six, Seven Up, Hard Eight, To The Nines, Ten Big Ones, Eleven On Top and Twelve Sharp.  (In Twelve Sharp the book irritated me/ got a little gross and I stopped reading the series there).  Currently I think the books are on eighteen.

The series is just funny bail bond situations that Stephanie gets involved in and Morrelli and Ranger dig her out of messes.  She usually winds up accidentally uncovering something that leads to big arrests….

 

Movie…

 

On Saturday I went to the movie with four other Bookies (my book club).  Although we never read this book as a book club, we had read a couple of the later ones in the series.  A few in my book club are HUGE fans of the series and have read every book. 

I felt the movie was well done.  Although there has been grumblings of the casting of Katherine Heigl as Stephanie (too tall, and too sophisticated), I thought she did a great job.  Morrelli and Ranger were wonderful and over all I personally thought this movie version was even better than the book.  Yup.  I did just say that.

If you are looking for a fun laugh out loud movie, I would recommend giving this one a try. 

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (Audio and Movie Review)

Janie Crawford is a beautiful free-spirited Southern Black girl in the 1930′s.  With her parents long dead, Janie is raised be her grandmother.  At sixteen she is seen kissing the neighbor boy, Johnny Taylor.  Her grandmother, in fear that Janie will wind up being treated like a mule for some man, she arranges for her to be married to Logan Killicks, a man in his 60′s who is looking for a wife to help him take care of his farm.

Janie wants more from life so when opportunity comes literally knocking at her door she runs away with a man she just met and becomes Mrs. Joe Starks.  She soon finds out that to Joe she is a trophy wife and therefore must act as such.  Soon Janie feels trapped again.

And so the story goes on – when something happens to Joe, Janie again finds herself a free woman, but not with finances to back her up.  When a drifter who goes by the name of Tea Cake comes to town Janie finds herself attracted to this mysterious man.  The two eventually become man and wife and their life together really is what makes this book.

Here is yet another read I would probably not have picked up.  When I found it on the sale list at audible.com I thought this may be a good time to try this one and I am so glad I did.   If you have not experienced this book on audio then you are truly missing out.  The rich southern voice of narrator Ruby Dee was a treat to listen too.  Ruby mastered the voices from deep male, to the young voice of Janie.

The book impressed me.  It is a deep love story that I wasn’t anticipating, and maybe that made me appreciate it all the more.  Janie and Tea Cake make some of the modern-day literary couples look dull in comparison.  And all that is from the book…

just wait until you add the movie.

I had timed my finishing of the book with the arrival of the movie from Netflix.  I wasn’t sure what I thought I would find in this movie…but it wasn’t this.  Halli Berry is the perfect person to play Janie.  She is a beautiful woman, just as Janie was described and she was the image of the free-spirited girl that I had read about. 

If I thought the love story was touching in the book… on the screen, seeing the great love between Tea Cake and Janie was heart wrenching – and this from a person who does not read romance!  I was so touched by the their story again… even as fresh as it was in my mind from just hours before ending the book…

I highly recommend both.  Definitely do not miss out on this great novel and movie.

My 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map has been updated to include Their Eyes Were Watching God


I purchased the audio from audible.com

The movie was rented from Netflix

The Painted Veil (Movie Vs. Book)

As the story goes… Kitty (Naomi Watts) has found herself to be quite choosy on who she will choose as a husband.  It certainly it is not from lack of effort on the men’s part, yet Kitty knows she is beautiful and really feels that a woman does not need to have a man in her life to feel complete.  Her parents disagree.

One day, after a particular awkward argument at home when her mother flat-out asks Kitty how much longer she plans to count on her father to support her – Kitty takes a walk and finds herself in the company of a fairly new acquaintance, Walter (Edward Norton).  When out of the blue, Walter proposes, Kitty is taken aback and laughs telling him that she hardly knows him and surely he does not expect an answer.  Upon returning home, she overheard her mother on the phone gushing over Kitty’s sister new proposal and saying that of course Kitty will probably never get married.  Kitty quickly returns to Walter with a “yes, she will marry him.”

As expected, Kitty soon finds that her lack on knowing Walter is a problem.  He in quite introverted, used to accompanying himself only and honestly she finds him boring.  When they attend a party together and she is introduced to Charles Townsend, Kitty finds herself drawn to this man who is exciting, adventurous,outgoing, and really everything that Walter is not.

An affair is soon taking place between Kitty and Charles, never mind that Charles too is married and Kitty is sure that if they could only dump their current spouses that life would be a fairy tale of happily ever after.

When Walter inevitably finds out, he offers Kitty a divorce if only Charles will marry her.  Kitty soon finds herself in a rude awakening that carries her sullen and broken to where Walter is taking her, to a small Chinese village where Walter is to help with the cholera outbreak that is taking the lives of everyone in contact with it.  Kitty is sure that Walter is trying to kill her… but soon finds herself taken in with her surroundings of the poor and the abandoned, and grows into someone she never knew was in her. 

I recently read and reviewed The Painted Veil by  W Somerset Maugham and I was surprised how much I fell in love with this story.  As mentioned in my review, Kitty annoyed me to no end.  She was selfish and stuck on herself.  Even in the end when I thought there may be a turning point in the story – Kitty again let me down.  I can say by the end of the read, I understood Kitty and her weaknesses, but I sure did not need to accept them or like them. 

As per my habit, I have found that I enjoy reading books and then if movies are available to actively search them out.  That is what I did in this case, and added to my Netflix Que this movie. 

Having now seen the movie I have to say, no matter what you thought of the book, the movie is worth seeing.  First of all, you never have to twist my arm too bad to have me watch anything with Edward Norton in it.  I think he is a brilliant actor and he came through again in Painted Veil. 

Book and movie are not the same.  I wish, the book would have been written as the movie was.  Yes, I just said that.  I found the story more heart wrenching the way the movie came together – and I found that in the end, Kitty was someone who truly had grown and became a woman I was impressed with.  She truly found herself literally and figuratively in a monastery for orphans.  And to see how both she and Walter deal with the affair is very realistic.  Truly, Walter is a more likable character too – as the movie gives him more heart and depth than the book did.

I was touched deeply by this movie and encourage you if you have not seen it to really treat yourself to an amazing story.

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