Welcome to my quick reviews ~ a mix of short takes on some of the movies and books I’ve recently watched or read. Note that I don’t have a problem blabbing spoilers, so if that bothers you, skip this post.
1. Serious Moonlight. This is a 2009 romcom directed by Cheryl Hines (Larry David’s wife in Curb Your Enthusiasm). Wikipedia labels it a “black comedy,” but it seems like a standard kooky Meg Ryan romantic comedy to me. Meg plays workaholic attorney Louise whose husband Ian (Tim Hutton) has grown depressed with their life, cheats on her, and wants to split up. Louise isn’t having any of that ~ she literally ties him to a chair and forces him to remember their good times together. Complications ensue in the form of a lawn care dude (Justin Long) who opportunistically decides to rob their house while they’re fighting. He ties up Louise and dumps her in the bathroom with Ian, and he invites his friends over to party. It’s obvious that Ian still cares about Louise at this point. When Ian’s girlfriend shows up all pissed off because he didn’t meet her at the airport to fly to Paris as he had promised, she gets thrown in the bathroom too. But now Ian has decided that Louise is right and their marriage can be saved, they should try for a baby again, etc. During the ordeal, I wondered if Louise orchestrated the robbery, but then it seemed she didn’t. However… at the last scene, I wondered again. Hmm! Fun flick, though preposterous.
2. A Friend Like That by Marissa Finch. This 2021 novel literally kept me up all night. Well, that’s not really fair ~ I was simply having one of my bouts of insomnia and grew bored of playing Scrabble and solitaire on my phone so I began to read a book. I absolutely admire any mystery type novel that misdirects so skillfully that I incorrectly predict how it will end. That’s not easy to do! And I’m not talking about slapping on a random solve that has NOTHING to do with the preceding clues because that’s a hideous cheat and the writer should be dealt with a la Stephen King’s Misery. Finch wove a complex character-driven tale that kept me wondering while at the same time going deep into the mindset of the protagonist. I guessed right abut one of the revelations, but the big reveal was a complete shockaroo. It made total sense though, which is the most important thing. I went aha of course it would be like that… clues abounded. I enjoyed this book so much and highly recommend it.
3. Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult, 2005. Late to the game, I recently “discovered” Jodi, who has been popular for over a decade ~ and my own daughter has read tons of her books. I love Jodi’s writing! It’s so infused with meaning ~ this is what I try to do and generally fail because I’m too addicted to snappy dialogue that barrels along into clever wordplay. Jodi stops and ponders the implications of each thing, which makes the book almost like a philosophical treatise at times. The book is structured like so many lately ~ multiple POVs in first person, alternating between chapters. I have given up hating that because apparently this is how things are now, and it’s pointless to fight it. Hell, maybe I’ll join in and write a novel with this annoying structure just for laughs. And I’ll kill off people too! Remember how our English teachers told us never to write “And then I died?” Now we can, woohoo! Not that Jodi does, but some have and I’m just ranting. Vanishing Acts kept my attention from start to finish. It’s a “tight” book overall, focusing on the intricacies of one family’s dynamics, except for the prison scenes. I really enjoyed those and learned many random facts about prison gangs and drugs and such, none of which I’ll probably ever need for either bar trivia quizzes or my own poetry, but one never knows!
Image from Pexels.
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