Archives for November 2013

Fire Burns Brighter this Time Around, but Gamemakers Still Could use Some Schooling from my College Students

Three years ago, I began using The Hunger Games as a required novel in all sections of my Expository Writing classes at Mayland Community College. Most of my students had never even heard of the book, and only one or two had read it before, but it was a unanimous success that changed students’ outlooks on everything from reading to politics. We anxiously followed movie news, as the film adaptation got underway just up the road from our campus, and some of our students and their friends and family members worked on the movie.

When the film debuted in March last year, we made arrangements with a local theater to have a Mayland showing, at which we could all yell things like “I can see my house from here!” in scenic shots, and the students who were extras could exclaim, “Hey, that’s the back of my head!” Other than such delights, the film held a fair few disappointments for us, most of which could be summed up in the phrase “Less Seneca Crane! More Madge!”

This time around, I kept my expectations low, as the removal of Madge, the absence of a circular gold cornucopia, and the elision or removal of so much of the first novel’s symbolic power had not prepared me to be impressed with the sequel. But I made arrangements with the delightful Yancey Theater (if you are ever in Burnsville, NC, please support this local business and enjoy a classic old theater!), put out the word, and rounded up 70 or so students, faculty, staff ,and friends to see the movie early on opening day.

Much to my surprise, it seems as if, this time around, we have Gamemakers who have actually read all the books; though they might still be able to take more than a few lessons from the savvy crowd who saw the show with me Friday, they at least seemed to have made an effort to be faithful to the text, even if they miss (again) much of its symbolic weight. [Read more…]

Top 10 Reasons You Will like the Catching Fire Movie better than the Original.

I think we’ve hit that ever-so-rare Wrath of Khan phenomenon, where the sequel to a movie far surpasses the original. And, though I know our Headmaster had his issues with it, the Hunger Games franchise certainly did not start from as low a point as Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

I hit the 8:30 showing with my seventeen-year-old daughter and two of her friends last night, breaking my usual rule of no post 10-PM activities on a school night.  And, I am glad I did because I think this will go down as a memory my daughter and I will treasure. There was a unanimous consensus that this movie was a better and more faithful adaptation of the book.  Personally, I have always thought Catching Fire, though quite good, was the weakest of the trilogy.  It would not surprise me if the movie turns out to be the strongest.

So, without further ado, and appropriate spoiler warnings, here are the top  10 reasons you will like this movie better.

[Read more…]

Guest Post: A Sequel to E.M.W. Tillyard’s ‘World Picture’ Classic and a List of Holiday Gift Suggestions — Yes, More Books!

From Chris Calderon, friend of this blog and creative connector of disparate ideas, here are some notes and holiday gift ideas!

It all started about five or so years ago with this girl.  We’ve never met, I just ordered a copy of Diana Glyer’s The Company They Keep.  Which is about, as it’s subtitle says, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community.

During the course of her book Glyer makes several references (pgs. 29, 217) to a book called The Precincts of Felicity by Charles Moorman.  According to Glyer, Moorman’s book was reviewed (and perhaps damned with maybe too much faint praise) by Warren Lewis.

Centering on The Inklings (with special emphasis on Charles Williams, along with Dorothy Sayers and T.S. Eliot), Moorman’s central thesis is that (following Williams) the central theme running through the entire oeuvre of the Big Three Mythopoeicists (and also in the work of Eliot and Sayers) is summed up by the image of “The City”, or De Citivis  Dei (New Jerusalem).

What does all this have to do with E.M. W. Tillyard, and why should I care about him? [Read more…]

First ‘Catching Fire’ Reviews Out: “Empire Strikes Back II”

Read it here. Share your thoughts below. Are you going to be in a movie theatre the first night?

The Hungry Games: Catching Fur

Hat tip, James!