“The Outsiders” Remains Outside the Classics

Image result for the outsiders movie poster

Based on the book of the same name by S.E. Hinton, Francis F. Coppola’s The Outsiders, originally released in 1983, is a movie that desperately attempts to capture the ideas and morals of the original novel but falls conspicuously flat in movie magic.

Featuring C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, and Diane Lane, this coming-of-age drama touches on the starkly contrasting ideas of violence and hope, dark and light, poor and rich. The soon-to-be-famous actors and actresses starring in this film lent it potential, but it was quickly squandered with a weak script, courtesy of Kathleen Rowell, and egregious directing.

Ultimately, a combination of horrible camerawork, awful acting, and mistimed music, create The Outsiders, a movie that even the inspirational message cannot improve.

Ponyboy Curtis (Howell), the movie’s protagonist, is a fourteen-year-old orphan who lives with his older brothers Darry (Swayze) and Sodapop (Lowe) in the poorer north side of town, the “wrong” side. Known as the “greasers” for their greased hair, they and their gang, which consists of Dally Winston (Dillon), Johnny Cade (Macchio), Two-Bit Mathews (Estevez), and Steve Randle (Cruise), have a bitter rivalry with the Socs (short for ‘Socialites’), the rich kids on the south side.

For as long as anyone can remember, these two groups have been at each other’s throats, always jumping and getting jumped by the other, but there were always limits, an unspoken line never to be crossed – until the day that the life of one is weighed as more than the life of another, and Johnny murders a Soc to save Ponyboy’s life.

The Outsiders is the kind of movie that has the potential to either become an all-time classic or an all-time flop and after one watches it for the first time, it is obvious that this film strongly inclines to the latter. Some things that immediately stand out to the viewer are the lack of proper filming technique and a distinct dearth in emotional acting, but the most pressing issue with this movie is the background music. Not only do the pieces performed not fit the mood of the shots at all, but they also appear at the most inopportune moments, blocking out what the actual characters are saying at the same time, which can become rather tedious to the audience.

All in all, The Outsiders is a film which had promise, but did not take advantage of it to leap to great heights. Though some fans may enjoy the film for its accurate events compared to the novel, even the most dedicated of followers may not be able to sit through this train wreck of a film, with atrocious acting and misplaced music. Out of five stars, this movie deserves a two, because while it did maintain the novel’s message and plot, it failed in all the aspects that make a movie a classic.

-Mahak M.

Book vs. Movie: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Though Jenny Han’s charming trilogy featuring endearing protagonist Lara Jean Song Covey was released quite some time ago, the first novel, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, has only recently been released as a movie on Netflix. The story, which follows Lara Jean(Lana Condor)’s mishaps in writing love letters to her crushes(that eventually get sent, much to her dismay), is a refreshing film in the rom-com genre.

The film adaptation, while slightly straying from the source material as movies tend to do, still managed to capture the whimsies and nuances of first love from the perspective of a relatable teenager. It’s extremely gratifying to see that the directors kept most of aspects of the book intact—author Jenny Han has been vocal about her difficulty finding a movie studio that would not whitewash her main character, who is half-Korean. Lana Condor, who plays Lara Jean, continues to speak out about the importance of Asian representation in media and pop culture.

The film, while keeping surprising fidelity to the source material, also veers off direction in its decision to cut out some of the scenes in the novel. While it would have been amazing to see those scenes brought to life, some of the things added in made up for it: the yogurt drinks, Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky(The Foster‘s Noah Centineo, who also appears in upcoming Netflix teen drama Sierra Burgess is a Loser)’s partygoing chemistry, and heart-to-hearts with Mr. Covey(including a laughable moment with Chris(Madeleine Arthur) in which she questions his profession as a gynecologist).

Ultimately, this is what can be said about most movie-book showdowns: the book was better, and To All the Boys is no exception. But, like Harry Potter, the movie version is just as excitable, if not more cinematic, and it’s truly incredible to see Asian-American characters who break the mold of dragon ladies and china dolls on-screen. Cue the applause for director Susan Johnson, and of course Jenny Han.

However, many people who’ve watched the movie have not read the book, and that’s okay. The movie as a standalone work is still worth your time, and you’ll find little bits of yourself in its characters. It’s utterly shining, heart-swelling, conscientious. After watching it, it’s clear that I for one won’t stop obsessing over it any time soon, and neither will its other numerous viewers. And, though the number of rom-coms I’ve watched in my lifetime is still in the low single-digits(I’m thinking maybe three), To All the Boys wins my heart as number one—an instant classic. Netflix did a good job with this one after the whole Kissing Booth debacle.

Anyway, I’ll be waiting for the sequel. While we’re at it, you should give it a try—as well as those yogurt drinks. Those are crazy good.

Esther H.

Film Review: The Grinch (2018)

Recently, I saw the new remake of The Grinch, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Now, I have to admit that Cumberbatch was one of the main reasons I decided to see the movie since I have been a big fan of his for some time, but I was also curious to see what the movie industry has managed to come up with since the iconic Jim Carrey version. I was not in the least bit let down.

This remake was, I daresay, a cinematic masterpiece. Not to be dramatic, but every aspect of it went beyond my expectations. It was funny, emotional, and the Grinch himself was ridiculously relatable. I’m going to do my best to keep this review devoid of spoilers, but I can’t make any promises. I’m not usually a fan of themed stories, but Dr. Suess’ works lit up my childhood, and The Grinch has always been one of my favorites.

First of all, I adored the advertising for this movie. The producers’ slogans were aimed directly at millennials and Generation Z. Now, I am part of the infamous “Gen Z,” so I found all the publicity absolutely hilarious, and have been drawn to the movie because of it.

Furthermore, the movie itself enraptured me. Some of my favorite bits were (SPOILER ALERT!!) Cindy Lou Who loyal group of friends, Frank the reindeer’s adorable family, and the Grinch’s Christmas gift for his dog, Max. Also, I really appreciated how there was a narration throughout the movie, and that it was made up of lines from the original book by Dr. Suess, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Overall, this remake of The Grinch was, in my opinion, absolutely fantastic, from the advertising to the little details within the movie itself.

-Arushi S. 

Book vs Movie: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. It’s a good book that bring to light bullying in middle school. Wonder is about a boy named Auggie Pullman. He’s been homeschooled all his life, and now his mother has decided to put him into public middle school. Of course, we know that middle school can be cruel. For Auggie, it’s a bit more than normal bullying.

Auggie was born with a facial deformity. Throughout his life, he struggled to accept this, often wearing an astronaut helmet when he went out in public. As expected, Auggie is bullied in his new school. He has one good friend who tends to stick by him. Just like in real life, and perhaps more for Auggie, he goes through ups and downs with his family and friends.

The book is very good, and shows how a family must always be there for each other. Auggie’s family is there for him throughout the book. It also shows that friends can be there to help too.

Now, the movie. I actually did not like the movie, I’m sad to say. Though I loved the book, I felt like Auggie was a jerk to his family, especially his mom. His mom is always so supportive of him and just wants the best for him. I just felt like Auggie acted like a brat who thought he could get whatever he wanted. This makes me sad, because Auggie is not like that in the book (in my opinion).

My interpretation of book Auggie was that, yes, he had his difficulties in school. And sure, he might of argued with his mom. But I think that it was the heat of the moment, and he always apologized in the end.

With movie Auggie, I felt like he yelled and screamed at his mom when he didn’t get his way. Then, he would run to his room and slam the door. When his mom came to comfort him, he would yell at her more, even though she was trying to make him feel better. And when he apologized, it sounded insincere.

In summary, I enjoyed the book, but thought that the movie was not enjoyable.

-Sophia D.

Wonder, both the book and film, by R. J. Palacio is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. 

Book vs. Movie: Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord Of The Rings series is just beautifully written By J.R.R. Tolkien. The Fellowship of the Ring is the first book in the series. Personally, I enjoyed both the book and the movie. They both totally immerse you in the world of Middle Earth, bringing you into the immense fantasy world the J.R.R. Tolkien has created. Giving you an escape from the real world, where you can, just for a couple of hours, live in the world of the Shire and Mordor with hobbits, dwarves, goblins, wizards, elves, and the all seeing eye. It is all a creative adventure that keeps you on your toes the entire time, wondering what is going to happen next.

As always, the book is better than the movie. It just goes more in-depth into the lore and the story. It has more characters and just more detail than what can be explained in the movie. The book tells the story of the adventure of Frodo Baggins, who has come into possession of the One ring, an extremely powerful ringed forged for the Dark Lord who, after thousands of years of submission has yet again started to rise. It is not an easy book to read and requires a lot of attention and comprehension, which is what makes it so easy to get lost in the book and forget about the real world.

The movie, however, is still very good. Unlike other books made into movies, the Fellowship of the Ring movie still follows the original story line, just cutting out some of the smaller details. It of course, is not as good as the book but it still is a great movie. Also, the soundtrack of this movie is amazing. It is one of my favorite movie soundtracks and it just help makes the movie great.

Overall, both the book and the movie are great. I would totally suggest both of them to anyone though, reading the book before watching the movie will probably help give you the full picture of the realm that J.R.R. Tolkien created.

-Ava G.

Both the novel and film are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Movie vs. Book: Ready Player One

As many of you know, Ready Player One has been out for quite some while. Most people who wanted to see it have. But did you know (because I certainly didn’t until it was gifted to me) that Ready Player One was a book as well? If you did know that, points to you. If not, then go to the library, go check out the book, and read it. It’s  very good, in my opinion. Then, come back, and finish reading this. I hope you’ll find it interesting.

The premise of Ready Player One is interesting. There is a high school aged boy, Wade, who lives in the future, 2045 to be precise. The world is in pretty awful condition, and everyone knows it. It’s dirty, global warming is through the roof, and the population is skyrocketing. The only place you can escape, is the OASIS.

The OASIS is a high tech virtual reality system, created by James Halliday. As a child, James Halliday was not exactly a social butterfly. He disliked interacting with other kids, preferring the eccentric adventures of video games over playing outside. James Halliday grew up to become an advanced programmer, eventually creating the OASIS, a place where he could escape from the world and live as a part of the video games he loved.

When Halliday dies (which is inevitable), he creates, basically, an Easter Egg hunt. If you won this hunt, which happens if you complete the clues and series of tasks first, you would inherit Halliday’s large fortune, and control the OASIS. There are three keys that you must find (the Copper Key, the Jade Key, and the Crystal Key), which then unlock three gateways (simply called the First, Second, and Third Gates).

This is the picture of the both the movie and the book. This does not change. However, the characters, Gates, and Keys are very different.

In the book, it is clearly stated that the Avatars in the OASIS are lifelike, at least for the main characters: Parzival, Art3mis, Aech, Daito, and Shoto. It says that you can hook up your system to recognize your facial features, and transfer them onto your avatar. Art3mis is said to have used that program. But, in the movie, Art3mis (the Avatar) is portrayed as a pinkish red alien girl with short cropped red and black hair. Aech is shown as a larger-than-life ogre, when in the books, he is described as a tall, blonde, Caucasian man.

When attempting to obtain Keys and pass through Gates, you must complete a task. This is true for both the hook and the movie. But, the tasks in the movie and in the book are drastically different. For example, to earn the Copper Key, in the book, you must enter the Tomb of Horrors (from a Dungeons and Dragons adventure module), then compete against Acererak the Demi-Lich in a game of Joust (a game in which two players competed to pass levels. You played as a knight riding on a flying ostrich, trying to defeat waves of buzzards). In the movie, the key is obtained by participating in a dangerous race through New York City to Central Park.

The difference is huge, as everyone know how to get the Copper Key in the movie, yet couldnt get past the obstacles. But in the book, no one knew about the Tomb of Horrors, other then Parzival and Art3mis. This is just one example of how different the Key tasks were, the other Keys (the Jade Key and the Crystal Key) also varied between the movie and the book. The Gates, which you opened once you achieved the Key, were also drastically different.

The one other thing that’s bothered me in the difference between the movie and the book, is the moment when Parzival and Art3mis meet in real life.

Meeting in real life is tricky for OASIS players. You don’t know what the person looks like behind the avatar, and it could be potentially dangerous (just like in real life. Never go to meet someone you met online without a parent/guardian/adult). So, when Parzival and Art3mis met in real life, it was a big deal (especially because Parzival had a LARGE crush on her). The difference between the meetings in the book and movie is huge. I was quite disappointed with the meeting in the movie, it wasn’t as heartfelt, or as dramatic as it appeared in the book.

When I went to watch Ready Player One in theaters, I expected something completely different. Although it was the same storyline, I was a bit disappointed they didn’t stick with the original tasks, characters, avatars, etc. But, I did enjoy the movie, and I thought it was worthwhile to go watch. But, you are interested in the movie, and haven’t read the book, go do so. You will NOT regret it.

-Sophia

Ready Player One, both film and the book, are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Film Review: Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians, the movie everybody is obsessed with. And yes, it was nice to see a lot of diversity in a movie but, as a Romantic Comedy goes, it did not really have that many jokes. And the story line was just like every other Romantic movie that has every been made. Though, Constance Wu is a great actor and I was really excited to see her in something other than Fresh Off the Boat, I was just kind of expecting more.

As someone who is Asian, I could definitely appreciate the jokes that was in the movie because, most of them were pretty relatable. But, in my opinion there could have been more jokes. Because, even though it was labeled a Rom Com I feel like it was mostly just a romantic movie with a little bit of comedy sprinkled in. Which, was not the way it was advertised or talked about. From they way people talked about it, I was expected it to be super funny and I had really high expectations which where not met.

Overall, the story line was about a New York economics professor Rachel Chu who falls in love with Nick Young who is part of a super rich family for Singapore. Nick brings Rachel to Singapore to meet his family who does not approve of her. But, eventually she gets their approval and Nick proposes to her. This follows the typical Romantic movie formula and as someone who doesn’t really care for Romantic movies to begin with it kind of bored me. Though, I might have not liked it because it is not really a style of movie that I care for.

But, if you are someone who is into Romantic Movies, it is probably a great movie for you to watch. And it is still slightly funny, especially if you can get the jokes. So if you’re looking for a Romantic Movie to watch I would watch this one but, just don’t expect it to be that different from any other romantic movie.

-Ava G.