Tag Archives: Hunger Games

If a Fat Girl Falls in a Forest, Do the Trees Laugh? The ABSURDITY of Misogyny and Racism

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“If a Fat Girl Falls in a Forest, Do the Trees Laugh?”

I saw this bumper sticker on the back of a red neck’s truck today.  I knew he was a red neck because of the blue balls he had hanging off the trailer hitch. Honestly, I don’t get that. You’d think if a guy wasn’t getting any he wouldn’t want to be advertising it to everyone on the back of his truck.

Some critics reviewing the movie “Hunger Games” have criticized Jennifer Lawrence for being too fat to play the part of Katniss.

Can you believe it? The girl is 5’ 7” and 120 lbs.  Isn’t that just a little ironic given a large portion of the story is dedicated to the absurd fascination we have with appearances and what lengths we will go to in order to live up to these moronicly impossible standards of beauty set by … who sets them? Fashion designers? Magazine moguls? Movie stars?  “society” in general? To call this beautiful, healthy young woman fat is just, well, ABSURD!

Dr. Who on our ABSURD obsession with “thinness” 

There been some very ugly comments flying around the net regarding the race of some of the characters in the movie.

http://www.blogher.com/why-rue-black-racism-and-hunger-games?from=bhspinner

http://www.blogher.com/fans-hunger-games-enthusiastic-readers-or-bigoted-fandom

Rue is black and she’s also a beautiful, sweet, and talented little girl

When, when, when will people ever learn that cruelty, and hatred only leads to more cruelty and hatred? When will we all understand how ABSURD it is to base our behavior and our actions and our happiness on appearances?

Effie Trinket is ABSURD

The misogynistic “War on Women” embodied by The Rush Limbaugh Debacle and the very sad Tayvon Martin incident are opening flood gates of change. People who stand for love and equality are speaking out. It’s unfortunate but when standing up for change and for what is morally right, there is a rebound action. I think we will see a lot more ugliness the louder we get. We just have to believe that with three steps forward and two steps back those of us who believe in what is right and just will slowly make progress.

Hunger Games the Movie Hits the Bullseye

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SPOILER ALERT. There are a FEW in here. Not too many.

My first thought when I saw Effie Trinket on screen was “Oh my god! It’s Johnny Depp in Drag! …Is this a Tim Burton movie?”

It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while a movie comes out that is better than the book. This is one of those cases. This production could have gone two ways, it could be a fast action movie with a strong message, or it could take the icky Twilight, angsty, romancy, path. I am so glad that director Gary Ross chose the path that ROCKS!

I really wasn’t sure what to make of the filmography at first. It was grainy, there were weird camera angles, lots of jittering and jarring around, almost to the point of making the audience dizzy. Once I got used to it I realized how brilliantly this movie is filmed. There is an impression of watching on a huge television screen, like what you would imagine it would look like if you really were watching the Hunger Games as a live program.

This movie is about contrasts. The costuming, and  the greyish / washed out coloring in the districts  is reminiscent of poverty in a 1930’s Nazi Germany police state, but the white storm trooper outfits on the guards implied that this was in the future and not the past. The district scenes are a stark contrast to the lush, green forest outside the district fencing, where Katniss and Gale find their only freedom. Suddenly we have an extreme close up of Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), a synthetic Depp Dragette, complete with pink and white clown make up.  She is totally out of context in both the district or the forest.  The capital itself is outrageously garish, seemingly an entire city of drag queens. The surreal nature of the city symbolizes the frivolity and the shallowness of the reigning culture; it is a perfect parody of our own. I also thought it was brilliant how natural looking our protagonists were. Lawrence and Hutcherson wore very little make up if any at all. Hollywood has a tendancy to “make” the actors look natural in a contrived way, not so with this movie and it was a smart move. It was contast again between what was real and what was fake, between the reality of the life of hardship in the districts vs the life of luxury, opulence and decadence in the city.

Debra Zane did a great job in casting these characters.  Jennifer Lawrence has a natural beauty that compliments a character who is most comfortable in the forest. Lawrence did a high wire balancing act; portraying a youth who’s lost her innocence to life’s harsh circumstances, yet she was able to maintain a sense of naivety.

Josh Hutcherson (Road to Tarabithia), is perfect as Peeta. Does anyone else think it’s amusing that the baker’s son is named after

Actor Josh Hutcherson in Fantastic Fest 2009.

Actor Josh Hutcherson in Fantastic Fest 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

a piece of flatbread? When girls in the audience say “Peeta is HOT”, I wonder if they realize it sounds like they’re talking about a toasted sandwich. (Stephen King was right; the names in this novel are a bit silly.) Hutcherson’s “Micheal J. Fox, boy next door”   wholesomeness hides an element of cunning that should not be underestimated.  I’ve always liked Josh Hutcherson, I can’t help but wonder what turn his career will take now that he’s become a teen heartthrob.

My favorite character was Haymitch, Woody Harrelson offered a tragic yet hopeful figure and the only comic relief in a VERY intense movie. I was waiting to see him fall off the stage at the reaping. I wonder why they didn’t put that in.

Donald Sutherland was delightfully evil as President Snow. He’s so good at being bad.

What I liked MOST about this movie is that it takes place OUTSIDE of Katniss’s head. Audiences are smart, we don’t need it explained to us, and we don’t have to hear all that painful teenage angst to know that it’s going on. Also, we get to actually see behind the scenes.

The politics of the situation and the games Haymitch plays off the court on their behalf to keep them alive. (This is how the BOOK should be written!)  I do wish there were more scenes of Katniss’s family back home showing their horror of what their loved one is forced to do to survive. When they cut to Rew’s family and her districts reaction to her death, it was the most powerful moment of the film.

I haven’t read the second book. I’m starting to think that perhaps I don’t want to ruin the film for myself and maybe I’ll just wait until the next one comes out.

The Hunger Games, Can it Live up to the Hype?

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Cover of "The Hunger Games"

Cover of The Hunger Games

 

So I finally got around to reading the first book of “The Hunger Games”. Well, actually I cheated; my family listened to it in the car during our 11 hour spring break road trip. I’ve had so many friends tell me that I need to read this series, and I have actually given this review a lot of thought before writing it.

For a young adult book, I really liked the mature subject matter. I think it is comparable to a young adult’s version of “Running Man”. The premise is quite believable given the way humanity is prone to self-destruction, violence and our insatiable thirst for entertainment.  I also like the strong female character. Katniss kicks some serious ass in a “Buffy” kind of way, which is a far cry from Walking Dead’s Lori who is dependent on the closest alpha male for protection. What I’m having a little problem with is the icky teen romance thing. I guess I’m just tired of the “girl choosing between two guys” scenario; it’s just getting a little old. We’re seeing it in everything from The Walking Dead to True Blood to of course the mother of all sickly love triangles,  (gag) Twilight.

Maybe I wouldn’t have been so put off if I’d actually read the book instead of listening to it. My husband admitted to me that while he was reading it he was able to skip over the sappy “I love him, I love him not” daisy petal picking scenes to get to the good parts. It’s a lot more inconvenient to do that when you are listening on your ipod because you have to find just the right place to stop and start again. You end up just suffering through it.

I have to say however, that I like it much better than (gag) Twilight. The number one reason is that at least the main character isn’t codependent to the point of suicide. Katniss is a much more appropriate role model for our younger generation while Bella just sets feminism back about a hundred years.  Like Edward, Peeta likes to watch Katniss sleep, which is slightly creepfying in itself, but at least he’s not breaking into her house to do it.

The one author who did a really good job of the love triangle issue was J.K. Rowling. It was always there in the background, a subtle golden accent thread in the tapestry of the story. The Ron/Hermione/Harry, Harry/Cho/Cedric, Harry/Ginny/Dean romances never became the focal point of the story. The focus was ALWAYS the quest. In Katniss’s case, the quest is that of freedom from tyranny. THIS should be the focal point. This second focal point, the gooey romancy stuff, just interferes too much with the goal and detracts from the quest.

This story has SO much potential. I really, really hope that the movie version doesn’t take the Twilight road. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a really strong heroine.

 

(Stephen King’s analysis and review: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20223443,00.html )