The Little Grey Lists

I have just finished watching the last season of Agatha Christie’s “Poirot” mysteries starring the brilliant David Suchet.  I wanted this week’s list to be a tribute to this ending, but how to do it?  By the Poirot books?  I went through these many years ago and most have blurred together.  All Christie books?  Some of my favorites were not Poirot, although he was by far my favorite.  By the “Poirot” series?  All Poirot adaptations?  In the end, I couldn’t choose.

Top Agatha Christie Mysteries:

1. Five Little Pigs

-This one was by far my favorite.  With the crime in the past there was nothing to get in the way of the psychological study.

2. And Then There Were None

-This is the first Christie book I read and one of the few books ever that I kindof wish had been withheld from me til I was a few years older…it still plays vividly in my mind, compelling, brilliant, and incredibly creepy.

3. Crooked House

-The tone and ending of this book just stay with you.

4. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

-Seeing the crime through the villain’s notebook while still not knowing who it is….thrilling.  The adaptation of this was one of my only true letdowns-no cinema can do it properly.

5. The Man in the Brown Suit

-This is a novel where I actually remember the characters more fondly than the mystery-it’s great fun and my favorite of Christie’s matchmaking moves.

6. Dead Man’s Mirror

-Another Poirot mystery I found particularly clever and memorable.

Top Suchet “Poirot” adaptations:

1. Five Little Pigs

-I was surprised at how faithful they managed to keep it.  Love it!

2. Evil Under the Sun

-They managed to add humor and suspects with more depth without losing the tone of the original.

3. The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor

4. The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge

5. The Chocolate Box

-All of these are just delightful to watch….I’m sure this list will change often, but David Suchet’s Poirot just shines.

Top non-Suchet Cinema Adaptations:

1. Thirteen for Dinner

-This Peter Ustinov one just has more time to flesh out the characters and what I found to be a more believable Lady Edgeware.  Plus, Suchet does appear…as Japp!

2. Witness for the Prosecution

-This Hitchcock film feels like a real Agatha Christie, and is well acted!

3. Death on the Nile

-This one I include because, although I feel the Ustinov version and the Suchet version are both excellent shows, I prefer the Ustinov one simply because it has more time to develop various motives and has a memorable montage showing how practically everyone could have committed the crime…On the other hand, I prefer Suchet’s Poirot here, as usual, and find his portrayal much closer to the books.  Still, whichever way you go, I recommend it.

Poirot would hate these mini-lists for being uneven and a hodgepodge of preferences rather than one, orderly list…I know, shall blame it on my need for gastronomic nurturing and plead that I have not yet eaten.  What about you, mes amis, which novels, episodes, or crimes do your little grey cells prefer?

Snow Queen for Halloween?

Halloween’s fast approaching,
Those ghouls are encroaching,
And if you or yours have chosen
To emulate the queen of Frozen,
Dress-up fit for a Snow Queen,
At Sonshine Smiles Shop can be seen!

Located here: https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop

This is my niece as model in this dress:
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And it comes with matching hairclip!
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She also has an official version of a Snow Queen dress, but this is by far my favorite. And, honestly, looking at this versus the official ones, which dress looks like it could better keep the cold from ever bothering its queen?

Orders must be placed soon for delivery by Halloween!
https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop, where custom dresses like this can be ordered for estimated $30-$50, depending on size.

Happy National Hobbit Day 2

Happy National Hobbit Day!
(Previous festivities here: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/happy-national-hobbit-day/)

“An Ode to Hobbitiness”

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Couldn’t be a Bilbo, and leave it all behind.
Couldn’t be like Frodo, to burden so resigned.
Hardly a Samwise, with smile always on-
Where has all my hobbityness gone?

Not a fan of mushrooms,
My home’s above the ground.
Don’t care much for foot hair,
No garden to be found.

But I love growing things, without the thumb of green-
And rhyme and sing to tell the wheres I’ve been,
Merrily, I’ve stolen time in fields and fireworks-
Could it be my inner hobbit lurks?

Will travel in my time,
Too impatient for the ents.
Won’t worry for the silver,
But electricity and rent-

It’s hard to be a hobbit, without a Party Tree,
Without second breakfast, elevenses, and tea,
Just hosting thoughts of friends too far to see-
Still, I’ll be the best hobbit I can be.

If an apartment can be a homely house,
And savoring meals can make it two-
If I can celebrate simple things,
and friends like me and you

Then a hobbit’s stout heart can face a future scary,
And anything that comes along won’t be too much to carry.
And I’ll survive mistakes as foolish as a Took’s,
And make it there and back again, like hobbits do in books.

So let all hobbit selves appear like burglar Bilbo,
To frolic and indulge as much as they will, though
Real life might return to push the shire away,
Just snack and let it be a Happy Hobbit Day!

Colbert on Disney

i69bZwW.jpg JPEG Image, 450 × 455 pixels.

RIP Robin Williams

“Death is not extinguishing the light;
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it is only putting out the lamp
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because the dawn has come.”
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-Rabindranath Tagore

The Grand Budapest Hotel

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2278388/)
Directed by: Wes Anderson 2014

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This film works like a kind of wedding cake. The aesthetics are the frosting, absolutely gorgeous to look at and it makes you crave sugar. The plot is this delightful thin line of raspberry filling: not really the point of the film, but bright, sharp, and with a proper pop of flair, much like master concierge and star of this story, Gustave H. I believe the reason this film is harder to connect to for some is because in most cases the plot provides the cake itself and drives the viewing. So, to have the plot provide only a line of filling may seem like it was made disproportionately or without enough sponge. Yet, this movie does have a very solid cake base to hold up the filling and the frosting. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is driven by tone. What holds together this pastry of marvelous images and whacky doings together is that feeling that happens by looking at the world as it is while remembering how it once seemed to be. It’s a nostalgia cake baked with the whimsy to imagine and the resignation to live on. When paired with the visuals of eccentric people thrusting themselves zealously into outrageous positions, it’s extremely humorous.

Like wedding cake, it may not be to everyone’s taste, but it has real symbolic depth that’s worth trying out. Besides, the cinematic frosting is fantastic!

Top Ten Literary Adaptations to Detest

The follow-up list is here! These cinematic incidents do not do justice to their books. Feel free to join in and grumble about those films that make you groan or shout, “That’s not how it goooes!”

Top Ten Worst Literary Adaptations:

1. “Ella Enchanted”
-I still remember staring at the screen in shocked horror as this Anne Hathaway monstrosity hacked away at Gail Carson Levine’s wonderful work.

That's not how it woooorks!

That’s not how it woooorks!

2. “The Dark is Rising”
-I still feel the whirl of anger and disbelief whirling whenever I think of this film that not only completely changed the whole point of the story, but randomly made the main character a twin! A TWIN! Will Stanton needs no twin! Arrrgh!

3. “The Other Boleyn Girl”
-This film took an intricate, sister-driven plot and boiled it down to….Henry VIII as an Eric Bana-shaped dick. Why bother?

4. “The Lightning Thief”
-This film simply pretended that a small tangent of the book’s plot was really the entire story. Not cool, although I did like Uma Thurman’s portrayal of Medusa.

5.”Eragon”
-Not even Jeremy Irons could save this movie from its massive stupidity.

6. The Masterpiece Theater version of “Mansfield Park” from 2007 with Billie Piper
-It was so boring.

7. The Masterpiece theater version of “Sense and Sensibility” from 2008
-Totally ruined Marianne’s character for me.

8. “The Little Prince” TV show from 2010
-“When the evil Snake passes through the galaxy and extinguishes the stars, the Little Prince leaves his asteroid to save the universe from doom.” The fox is always his pet and is there for comic relief and to reference the occasional French word! If they’d just made their own cartoon it wouldn’t be too bad, but whyyy drag Le Petite Prince into it, why??

9. The 1998 “Phantom of the Opera” or “Le Fantome de l’Opera” from Italy with Julian Sands
-This Phantom looks fine; his issue is that he was raised by opera rats and is telepathic with them and Christine. I know, it sounds so bad that you expect it to be hilarious, but it’s not even that! This level of craziness is still, somehow…boring. Really boring. I don’t even know.

See?  Rats!

See? Rats!

10, Sortof. This one breaks the rules as it is only an adaptation of a previous film instead of a book, but when talking about bad, flabbergastingly untrue works, I must mention “The Truth About Charlie,” 2002 remake of the Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant classic “Charade.” As those who will know me can attest I still can’t think of this film without hissing under my breath because it changes so many damn things. It’s absurd. I cannot properly explain without spoilers, but…NO! Nononononono. No.

Well, now that that’s off my chest, what about you guys?

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