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  • Tara Sonin 3:00 pm on 2016/06/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , love on the big screen, , , , the princess bride   

    8 Romantic Movies Based on Novels to Add to Your Netflix-and-Chill Summer 

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    If you’re in the mood for some Netflix and Chill during these steamy summer months, you’ll love this list of movies based on romance novels! Add a few to your queue and snuggle in, just don’t forget to read the book first.

    The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks
    The Notebook has it all: Allie and Noah fell in love as teenagers only to be torn apart by class differences and familial obligations. They reunite years later for some much needed closure before Allie marries a successful man her parents approve of—and with whom she has fallen in love as well. If you haven’t seen this movie already, I don’t care what rock you’re living under; crawl out from beneath it, and bring your tissues.

    The End of the Affairby Graham Green
    One of my favorite historical novels was turned into a film starring Julianne Moore and Ralph Fiennes. The story starts at the end: two years ago, Sarah ended her affair with writer Maurice, for reasons he never understood and could never forgive. The movie takes you back in time as you learn how Maurice and Sarah met, fell in love, and what led to Sarah’s decision to leave him, all the while watching Maurice become entrenched in jealousy, trying to find a way back into Sarah’s heart.

    Cruel Intentions (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, by Piere Choderlos)
    Les Liaisons Dangereuses was written by Piere Choderlos de Laclos in 1782—in France. But thanks to movie magic, this film (retitled Cruel Intentions) is set among Manhattan’s teen elite in the 90’s. Kathryn and Sebastian are step-siblings, and despite their mutual appreciation for the lustier things in life, have never slept with one another. Kathryn bets Sebastian that because of his bad boy rep he’ll never be able to win the heart (and body) of Annette, a new girl at their school who is a self-proclaimed virgin until marriage. If he does win, though, his real prize will be her. Of course, Sebastian falls for Annette and the results are catastrophic. (They’re making a TV show sequel to the movie, so once that comes out, you’ll know where to find me.)

    Gone With the Windby Margaret Mitchell
    The most romantic movie of all time may not have been on your to-watch list before, because I get it: who want to watch a movie that’s so long there’s an actual intermission in it? But hear me out: Gone with the Wind is the most swoonworthy romance there is, about a girl who thinks she can find the things she wants by manipulating the men around her…until she eventually realizes that she will only be happy once she is honest with herself. This movie will remind you that there once was a time before technology—the scenery is as beautiful as the kiss scenes!

    Eat, Pray, Loveby Elizabeth Gilbert
    Okay, technically this isn’t a romance novel, but hear me out: who says a romance can’t be about a woman falling in love with herself? The bestselling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert in which she quits her job, quits her marriage, and decides to find herself by eating, praying, and eventually, loving her way through the world, stars Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. The romance doesn’t pick up until the last third of the movie, but nothing after the words Javier Bardem should be necessary to convince you, so I’ll just end with them: Javier. Bardem.

    Jane Eyreby Charlotte Brontë
    Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska star in this adaptation of Jane Eyre, a novel by Charlotte Brontë about an orphan girl who, after becoming a governess, finds herself falling in love with a wealthy and mysterious man. Michael Fassbender could have chemistry with literally a brick wall or a fake sunflower plant or me, if asked politely, so do yourself a favor and watch him clench his jaw a lot in this movie.

    The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
    We’ve got a couple of tragic romances on this list, so here’s one that you know going in ends in a Happily Ever After! While technically not a “romance novel”, The Princess Bride tells the love story of Buttercup, “the most beautiful girl in the world”, and Wesley, her family’s stable boy. Buttercup and Wesley fall in love, but he leaves to find his fortune and be deserving of her—and dies in the process. Buttercup becomes engaged to the terrible king Humperdnik, lives in misery, and is even kidnapped by a rival kingdom! She is rescued by a man in black who eventually reveals himself to be her true love, Wesley! Equipped with a cast of hilarious characters, The Princess Bride is the best movie to watch when you’re feeling even a little bit blue.

    A Walk to Remember, by Nicholas Sparks
    Every millennial kid sobbed buckets at this movie when it first came out, and possibly hasn’t seen it since, it’s so heartbreaking. But the love story between bad boy Landon and Christian good girl Jamie is worth the re-watch; it’s one of those films that withstands the test of time. Landon meets Jamie while being forced to participate in the school play—because of his bad behavior, it’s that or expulsion. Over time, he finds himself drawn to Jamie, who warns him not to fall in love with her. By then, of course, it’s already too late for them both: Landon leaves his old life and friends behind to be with her, and when Jamie reveals a devastating secret to him, they cling to one another despite all hope being lost. Mandy Moore is a gem in this movie, and if you’ve never slow danced to “Only Hope” while all your friends looked on in jealousy, then you haven’t lived.

    What film adaptations of romance novels do you love?

  • Jeff Somers 3:15 pm on 2015/09/29 Permalink
    Tags: , george bernard shaw, , , , ogden nash, , the devil's dictionary, , the princess bride, wedding toasts,   

    9 Incredible Book Quotes to Include in Your Next Wedding Toast 

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    The chances you will at some point in your life be called on to make a wedding toast—or, perhaps, will decide all on your own to drunkenly stand up and make an unscheduled wedding toast you were not called on to make—are pretty high. The shy, the gregarious, the loners: no matter what we do to avoid them, wedding toasts will find us all.

    Of course, the vast majority of wedding toasts border on, or at least dip into incoherency, rambling, and inappropriateness. So if you have a wedding toast in your future, don’t wing it: treat it like a job interview and do some prep work, because you will be judged based on your performance. One foolproof trick? Keep it classy with some ace literary quotes. Here are a few suggestions from our infinite library.

    For 100% Ugly Cry Sincerity: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
    Want to ruin everyone’s makeup? Hit them with this gem from Bronte’s classic: “I have for the first time found what I can truly love—I have found you. You are my sympathy—my better self—my good angel—I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my center and spring of life, wraps my existence about you—and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.”

    To Establish Yourself as The Smartest Person in the Room: The Devil’s Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce
    Feeling a bit saucy and need to establish intellectual supremacy over everyone in the room, including the happy couple? Bierce’s fierce sarcasm will do the trick: “Marriage: A community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves—making in all, two.”

    For Total Nerd Domination: The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien
    If you’re a couple—or celebrating a couple—who has a closet designated for cosplay outfits and a wedding reception theme best described as a LARP, hit them with some serious Ent love: “When Winter comes, the winter wild that hill and wood shall slay; When trees shall fall and starless night devour the sunless day; When wind is in the deadly East, then in the bitter rain; I’ll look for thee, and call to thee; I’ll come to thee again!”

    For Harry Potter Cool Points: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling
    All you need to do is somehow work up a speech incorporating the concept of the Patronus, then offer a quote about a man who knew the true nature of love: Severus Snape. “From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe: She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears. ‛After all this time?’ ‛Always,’ said Snape.”

    For 100% Efficiency: Ogden Nash
    Called upon to make a toast and just want to get in and out as quickly as possible without making a fool of yourself? Nash, the master of the short, whimsical poem, solves your problem: “To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the wedding cup, whenever you’re wrong, admit it; whenever you’re right, shut up.”

    For that Timeless Romantic Vibe: Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
    If you think there’s a more romantic couple than Jamie and Claire from Gabaldon’s time travel series, you’re lying to yourself. When trying to come up with a romantic toast, what could be better than “Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone, I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One. I give ye my Spirit, ’til our Life shall be Done.” No, you’re crying.

    For Affectionately Insulting the Groom: Murder in Mesopotamia, by Agatha Christie
    Christie was a fount of quotes about marriage, including this gem from one of her classic mystery novels, ideal for tweaking the groom: “Women can accept the fact that a man is a rotter, a swindler, a drug taker, a confirmed liar, and a general swine, without batting an eyelash, and without its impairing their affection for the brute in the least. Women are wonderful realists.” That round of applause you’re getting from the women is real.

    For When You’ve Just Burst in to Stop a Wedding: Man and Superman, by George Bernard Shaw
    Did you just race across town with the assistance of a zany group of friends in order to stop someone from making a huge mistake? George Bernard Shaw, as usual, has the ideal quote for you to use after you’ve ruined the ceremony: “Those who talk most about the blessings of marriage and the constancy of its vows are the very people who declare that if the chain were broken and the prisoners left free to choose, the whole social fabric would fly asunder. You cannot have the argument both ways. If the prisoner is happy, why lock him in? If he is not, why pretend that he is?”

    For Cracking Up the Entire Room: The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
    Want to bring the house down? Clink your glass, wait for total silence, and announce you’d like to share the very wise words of the very wise man the Archdean of Florin. Then take a deep breath and say “Mawidge is a dweam wiffin a dweam. The dweam of wuv wapped wiffin the gweater dweam of everwasting west. Eternity is our fwiend, wemember that, and wuv wiw fowwow you fowever.” Prepare to be carried out of the room by a cheering crowd.

  • Nicole Hill 4:00 pm on 2014/12/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , b.j. novak, , , , , edgar cantero, , , , , how to win at gifting, , one more thing, , , , the princess bride, ,   

    9 Books to Buy Your Secret Santa 

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    Secret Santa booksBecause the holidays weren’t difficult enough, man invented the Secret Santa exchange, that age-old pastime in which you must procure gifts for good friends, curmudgeonly coworkers, and casual acquaintances alike. It can be tricky to pick up something you know will be a hit. But it can be done, with the safest bet of all: a good book. Here are a few 2014 releases that are so universally crowd-pleasing, they’ll be treasured by anyone and everyone on your Nice List.

    Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
    By now, it may actually be illegal not to adore this finalist for the National Book Award. It’s rare that apocalyptic fiction can be called “glittering,” but Station Eleven‘s story of a pandemic and the interconnected lives it touches, from a traveling Shakespeare troupe to survivors at an airport outpost, is so seamlessly spun, few other words do it justice.

    As You Wish, by Cary Elwes
    You know what else is probably illegal? Not having seen (and readThe Princess Bride. Elwes (Westley himself) takes you behind the scenes of the filming of this beloved adaptation of William Goldman’s equally beloved book. From dealing with a tardy R.O.U.S to giant-sized flatulence, here’s an account (with additional commentary from other members of the cast and crew) that every fan of twue wuv will need.

    The Walled City, by Ryan Graudin
    In The Walled City, there are three rules: run fast, trust no one, and always carry your knife. So begins one of the most refreshing takes on the YA dystopia trend. Three teens narrate the story in alternating chapters, each trying to claw their way out of this dark, damp, and dangerous ruin of a city, Hak Nam, brimming with criminals and unfortunates. What’s even more frightening? It’s based on a real place. If that doesn’t get your giftee’s heart racing, you might want to check their pulse.

    We Are All Completely Fine, by Daryl Gregory
    Ever wonder what happens to all the characters who survive horribly traumatic supernatural terrors? They end up in a support group, like any other cluster of damaged people. As Gregory unpacks each character’s backstory—from the man called the Monster Detective to the guy who’ll never take off his sunglasses—in this slim little number, he simultaneously untangles and entangles their mysteries and their troubles. It’s clear pretty early on that the monsters these people fear can’t all be referred to in the past tense.

    The Supernatural Enhancements, by Edgar Cantero
    Bringing home the trophy for the year’s book that should most quickly be made into a Wes Anderson film is Cantero’s twisted yet hysterical gothic ghost story. Few good things happen to young men who inherit estates from mysterious, distant relatives, and that’s exactly where we pick up with A. He’s just crossed the pond to take possession of Axton House with his mute (but cleverest of them all) companion, Niamh. There are secret societies and ghosts and intrigue, but what makes this story stand out is its unusual mode of storytelling: modern epistolary, with journals, notes, security footage, audio recordings, and the odd cipher or two.

    Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
    America’s best-friend-in-chief has written a book! This is one of the happiest times since Tina Fey bestowed Bossypants on the world. Poehler groupies and mere casual viewers of Parks & Recreation alike will want to read the skinny on Poehler’s life, from her childhood outside of Boston to her tenure on Saturday Night Live (including that rapping-while-pregnant Sarah Palin bit) to her lessons on motherhood.

    So, Anyway…, by John Cleese
    Now for something completely different. Well, not quite, but when your read is written by one of the founders of Monty Python, you know you’re not getting just any old memoir. This is a comedic bildungsroman, chronicling the rise of one of the finest employees of the Ministry of Silly Walks comedy has ever seen. It would be daft to give your Secret Santa anything less than this, or a shrubbery.

    How to Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran
    In 2011, Moran taught us How to Be a Woman. Now she’s back with her first foray into the world of YA, a coming-of-age story that tells us how to build a girl. In Joanna Morrigan lies a teenager relatable to all: so displeased with her awkward, clunky self that she reinvents herself into Dolly Wilde, a hard-charging rock journalist who takes the early 90s music scene by storm, for better or for worse. It’s frank, hilarious, and a total must-read.

    One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, by B.J. Novak
    B.J. Novak was funny on The Office, and now he’s hysterical in his debut short-story collection. The humor is offbeat and sometimes absurdist, but the tone is intensely human and warm. In bite-sized nuggets of story we meet Sophia, the sex robot with an unrequited love; Wikipedia Brown, a detective for our time; and Sisqo, attending the roast of Nelson Mandela. Bonus: If your gift recipient has little ones, be sure to consider Novak’s other 2014 offering, the riotous The Book With No Pictures.

    What’s your favorite go-to book for gift-giving?

  • Joel Cunningham 9:47 pm on 2014/11/06 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , michel faber, , , , , the princess bride, , , ,   

    What to Read Next If You Liked As You Wish, Yes Please, The Peripheral, The Book of Strange New Things, or The Secret History of Wonder Woman 

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    wtrn116Every fan of The Princess Bride is sure to fall in “twue wuv” with As You Wish, a loving memoir of the making of one of the most universally adored movies in history by the Dread Pirate Roberts himself, Cary Elwes. If you’re still not satisfied, you can ask your grandpa to read to you from Which Lie Did I Tell?, by William Goldman, who wrote both the screenplay for the film and the novel upon which it is based, featuring an account of how the film’s surprising success saved his floundering career. Don’t miss either of these—I mean it! (Anybody want a peanut?)

    After the smashing success of best-pal Tina Fey’s Bossypants, I can’t imagine the pressure Amy Poehler was under to deliver with Yes Please, but her hybrid memoir/showbiz insider account more than delivers. It’s one of the funniest books of the year, packed with insights on life, motherhood, marriage, and making it as a woman in the cutthroat world of comedy. If you’ve already shown love to Tina and Amy, go straight to the source with I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman, by Nora Ephron, a trailblazer whose remarkable career set the stage for so many funny ladies who followed her.

    In 1984, William Gibson’s Neuromancer managed to more or less accurately predict exactly the ways the rise of the not-yet-invented Internet would change all of our lives (even if some of the more outlandish sci-fi trappings, like neural implants, haven’t come to pass quite yet). The jury is still out on whether his newest work, The Peripheral, which deals in quantum theory, augmented realities, immersive gaming, advanced drones, and global catastrophe, will be regarded as prescient one day. In the meantime, it’s probably a good idea to read both of these books, just to be prepared.

    The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber, is lyrical literary sci-fi, the epic story of a missionary sent to spread the good word to the alien inhabitants of a distant planet, even as the Earth he’s leaving threatens to crumble away in a global environmental and political disaster. Mary Doria Russell’s 1996 debut novel, The Sparrow, similarly imagines the hardships and communication barriers faced by a band of Jesuits who travel to make contact with a distant star and discover that some cultural divides may simply be too great to bridge.

    The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore, uncovers the feminists roots of the world’s most famous superheroine via the strange history of her polygamist, counter-cultural creator. For another book that takes a look at female heroes, feminism, and sexism in comics, The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines, by Mike Madrid, is an engaging, pop-academia read.


  • Nicole Hill 3:30 pm on 2014/10/17 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , the princess bride,   

    5 Facts About The Princess Bride We Learned From As You Wish 

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    Cary Elwes's As You WishIf there is a universal cultural touchstone in this fractured world, it is, perhaps, The Princess Bride. Between the ever-quotable Rob Reiner movie and the equally beloved book by William Goldman, at this point, only a very few particularly isolated tribal peoples are unaware of the twue wuv story of Westley and Buttercup, as well as the swashbuckling adventures of their hangers on (Fezzik, Inigo Montoya, Miracle Max…).

    Because sometimes good things happen, Westley himself (i.e., actor Cary Elwes) has released a memoir of sorts, As You Wish: The Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride, that details his experience of making one of the most memorable and adored film adaptations of the last half century. It’s chock full of cute on-set anecdotes and includes inserts from several of its movers and shakers, including Reiner, Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, and Christopher Guest. Basically, besides eating a mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich (when the mutton is nice and lean) on a picnic at the Cliffs of Insanity, there is no better way to spend a day than reliving the elaborate sword fights, daring battles of wit, and “kissing parts” of The Princess Bride in this compendium of behind-the-scenes tales. Below, just a few nuggets we learned from Elwes. Have fun storming the castle!

    Alternative castings!
    As is so obvious from the finished product, the cast of this film is perfect, from beginning to end. But it wasn’t always such a sure bet. Elwes hints that among the actors considered for Westley were none other than the dashing Mr. Darcy, also known as Colin Firth. Joining him could have been Sting as the fiendish Prince Humperdinck, Danny DeVito as the Sicilian mastermind Vizzini, and, drumroll please, Arnold Schwarzenegger as friendly giant Fezzik. I can’t imagine the peanut rhyme would have come off as well with the Terminator, but it’s fun to wonder.

    Bill Cosby impersonations!
    Apparently, besides his dashing resemblance to Errol Flynn, Elwes won his leading role as farmboy-turned-pirate thanks to his expert impersonation of…Fat Albert. Lesson: when you have to prove you have a sense of humor, always go with Cosby.

    Errant wind and other Andre the Giant hilarities!
    Among the absolutely funniest stories from the set related here involves Andre the Giant, a mostly dead Westley, and a monumental gastric anomaly outside Humperdinck’s castle. The scene is too giggle-worthy to say more, though its amusement is rivaled by the other irregularities recounted about working with the gentle gargantuan actor (who used to be chauffeured by Samuel Beckett, for your obscure trivia needs).

    Jangled author nerves!
    Goldman has long stated that The Princess Bride is the work nearest and dearest to his heart, and this fondness for the base material made him a nervous wreck during filming—so much so that his incessant praying and fretting interrupted it. Clearly, looking back, he had nothing to worry about, for both Reiner and Elwes wear their fanboy passions freely on their sleeves.

    Ad libs!
    Not that this comes as any great surprise, but outside of the brilliant Goldman dialogue, there was quite a bit of improvisation (see: basically the entire Miracle Max scene). Even part of the Greatest Swordfight in Modern Times was thrown together last minute, and executed near flawlessly. Of all those moments of genius, only some of them were planned.

    So, to reiterate…no, there’s too much, let me sum up: life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something, and in this case, it’s an entertaining look at one of the greatest stories ever told. Please consider it as an alternative to suicide.

    As You Wish is on sale now.

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