Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Crossing Into America, The New Literature of Immigration

Edited by Louis Mendoza and S. Shankar

3.5 Stars

This book is a collection of works revolved around immigration in America. It is divided into three sections. The first two sections are collected works from various authors: short stories, poems, and small pieces from novels. There were many beautiful pieces in here that I found compelling, but there were some that also left me befuddled as to what they had to do with the theme of the book. One of such pieces was a contribution by one of the editors... hmm... The third and last section is a mixture of newspaper articles, editorials, a round table discussion and some essays. Overall, I appreciated the idea of the book and gained some insight that I otherwise wouldn't have had, but I have to admit that some parts were rather dry and I had to read it in bits and pieces over a long period of time before I finally got through it.

The Last Gift of Time

3 Stars

I read this book hoping to get a bit of wisdom out of it, since I always assume the elderly have lived long enough to know what is really important, and that I can somehow tap into it and live a fuller life. There was a lot of rambling that I didn't care for, about people that the author had known, or looked up to. She included details about their lives that didn't interest me much, and did not provide any insights. What I did get out of this book was her perspective on feminism. She considers herself a feminist, and shared several ideas that I had not yet thought or heard of. I also appreciated that she cherishes literature and solitude.  

Friday, December 19, 2008

Definitely, Maybe

4.5 Stars

Definitely fun movie, maybe too predictable (just like my obnoxious play on words), but it is a romantic comedy, afterall. It reminded me a little of my all-time favorite romantic comedy, Love Actually (5 stars from me on that one). It did jerk some tears and laughs from me, and I'd definitely, well, maybe, watch it again!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Breath, Eyes, Memory

5 Stars

Reading this book was kind of like making a puzzle without ever seeing the picture. I felt like I was being given pieces to something, but I didn't quite know what to do with them. I even considered not finishing this book, since I worried that I might waste my time looking for answers or for a plot that wasn't there. Luckily I didn't give up. The answers did come, the story came together very beautifully, and it is now one of my favorites. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Letter To Three Wives

There's one scene in the house "on the other side of the tracks" that cracked me up for several minutes. In fact, I'm still giggling thinking about it. I won't give away the humor, but it's worth the 90 minutes to see it. The rest of the movie is worth seeing once. An early role of Kirk Douglas.

Fahrenheit 451


I realize this story is considered a classic for a reason, but I had never read it, and I want my say on it. I would recommend this story to those who love a good story, sure, but I would mostly recommend it to those who rarely, or even never pick up a book. The lesson, or main point I took away from it can be applied to many things in life, and to miss out on the meat of this story would be like eating cardboard for every meal for the rest of your life (minus the digestive consequences).

The Darjeeling Limited

5 Stars! 

This movie was awesome. It was a story of three brothers who lost their brotherly connection to each-other, and go on a journey to find it again. It could have easily been one of those predictable stories that comes with an extra large side of cheese, but instead it was very unpredictable, and funny in a quirky way, with only an appropriate mouse-sized chunk of provolone.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Wild Parrots Of Telegraph Hill

Enjoyable meditation on understanding the possibilities of freedom and our responses to it. How free is it, really? Does true freedom mean loneliness? Besides the meditation, you ain't seen nothing till you've seen Mingus dance (seen at the end of the clip below). Not a "must-see" movie, but you won't regret having spent time with it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


4.5 Stars

I'm not a gambler or Vegas buff at all, but I enjoyed this film from the "nerdy" aspect of using math to increase your odds of winning. Knowing this is based on a true group of MIT students makes it that much more interesting. The actors are well chosen and the writing is phenomenal. My favorite character was the nerdy goofball of a best friend who portrays high self esteem and yet has a realistic sense of self at the same time. He's not a huge player in the movie, but he helps make the movie have some character. Quick moving and quick-witted, this is a definite must-see!

The Importance of Being Earnest

5 Stars

This funny movie is adapted from Oscar Wilde's play of the same name. I hadn't seen or read the play beforehand, so I had no expectations of the film, but I haven't seen a Reese Witherspoon film yet that I didn't enjoy so I figured it was worth a shot. Both Jake and I thoroughly enjoyed the quirky humor and general silliness that ensued. The language is a little like reading Jane Eyre, though you shan't need to have your English dictionary nearby.

Autism: The Musical (2007)

This movie was powerful on several fronts. It showed the growth of parents of several years of dealing with a "special" child, it showed what children are capable of when people who believe in them are wiling to work with them, and it showed the realism of dealing with uneducated people day in and day out. Understanding that this is truly a civil rights issue, and not an issue of "weird kids" is brought to light in this documentary. The "coach" is not overly interested in civil rights, her issue is one of simply showing the humanity of children; but some of the parents in the movie used this knowledge to further explore the reality of the world around them, and how easy it is for society to neglect fellow members who do not have the money necessary to fight the system.

It's hard to know, since I work with "special" kids, and am the father of a down's syndrome child; but it's my bet this movie would be a good tool for all members of our world to look around and be more accepting of all mankind. One of my favorite parts of the movie was when Stephen Stills, when talking about himself and his child, could admit that he now saw why he used the guitar as a buffer between himself and the world.

Good movie.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Movie Reviews, Too!

Hi folks,

My Dad (Eartaste) suggested that we also add movie reviews on here too so we get ideas on what to rent from each other (and what to stay away from). Sounds like a good idea to me, so please, add movies too! Oh, and the blog site address has changed, so make a note if it's saved to your favorites or bookmarks!

Erin :)