I just got back from Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma's house today. I know, I know--a few days late. But I think almost everyone over the age of 18 on that side of my family work in jobs where you don't get to take the day off just because it's a holiday, so we almost never do Thanksgiving on the actual day. It was delicious. My grandma is an amazing cook. I'm sure everyone says this about their own grandmothers, but seriously, mine is the best. It was awesome to see everyone. It seems like there were a ton
of little kids there this year. Piper had plenty of kids to run around and play with and is now thoroughly exhausted and passed out on the couch, and there are a few of my cousin's kids who are close to Lexi's age, so we just plopped all the babies down in the middle of the living room floor after eating and were thoroughly entertained by them. We also decided to draw names (like Secret Santa) for Christmas in my "immediate" family this year (by that I mean my parents and brothers and Me, Alex, and the girls). We got my oldest brother and his wife, which is kind of tricky because I don't really know what to get my sister in law. We may just be lame and get them a gift card for dinner and a movie out or something, but that's not very creative so I don't know. We'll see.
On Wednesday, my husband was kind enough to watch the girls for a few hours so I could go see Mockingjay.
I would have much rather gone with him, but since we didn't have a babysitter that night and he's almost never off work that early, we probably wouldn't have been able to go until next week or even the week after, so he just told me to go see it. IT WAS SO GOOD! ***spoilers beyond this point***
If you haven't figured it out by now, you should know that I'm pretty critical of movies. Especially movies that are based on some of my favorite books. The Hunger Games
is one of my favorite series and of all three books, Mockingjay
was by far my favorite. Probably not a very popular opinion--I understand that a lot of people didn't really like it as much as the first two. But I loved it. So at first I was a little skeptical of them splitting it into two movies. That seems to be a trend with popular series and it's just a money-making scheme, in my opinion. So I was very pleasantly surprised when I ended up loving the movie. It's been a while since I read the book, but as far as I could tell, they included pretty much everything important and then some, and I could understand the changes that they made. Like Effie. Having her there made a lot of sense, since they didn't really establish Octavia, Flavius, and Venia in the other films. And let's face it, Elizabeth Banks' portrayal of her character is amazing and I love her.
As for all the scenes they incorporated with the rebellion and President Snow and Coin and so on--I didn't see any problem with that. In fact I thoroughly enjoyed them and I think it added a lot of depth to the movie and the story. The books are great and it works in the books to be shut inside Katniss' head all the time. I think that would have been pretty much impossible to pull off on screen believably, so I've appreciated how the filmmakers have incorporated some background story and setting elements throughout the films so far. It just seems to get better and better every time. The scenes with the rebels were amazing, and I loved how they were so often juxtaposed with Katniss' promos to show how she was having an effect on people and inspiring them to fight back. I was so caught up in it that I actually found myself feeling pretty devastated as the peacekeepers mowed down so many of the rebels with their machine guns.
I desperately want to watch it again. It was so good and I feel like there was so much that I might have missed or just not appreciated fully and I want to see it again. Maybe I can catch a matinee some weekend or something. Honestly, though, I think I may have liked it even better than the book. I sincerely hope that part 2 is just as good. See, Peter Jackson? That's
how you split a movie do the book justice. You enhance the material without
completely straying off course and turning a 300 page book into 3 ridiculously long movies, adding a bunch of crap, and still
failing to include some of the best parts from the book. (Yes. I am
bitter. I waited YEARS for The Hobbit
movies and he...just....T_T )***end spoilers***
I've been reading the Harry Potter
books again this month along with some other stuff, but then I kind of got to Order of the Phoenix
(which is where things start to get a lot more interesting) and pretty much dropped everything else I'm supposed to do to finish the series. I finished Half-Blood Prince
in two days, mostly because I was stuck in a room watching someone sleep at work last night and used most of that time to read. So I'm almost done with that. I admit all this reading has kind of been distracting me from my homework. It's easier to just read a book than it is to sit in front of my computer trying to write a stupid research essay and then freak out about it because it's 40% of my grade, meaning I have to get an 85% on it just to barely scrape an A in the class. I wouldn't care so much as long as I passed, but as I have mentioned before, I seriously need scholarships if I want to continue being able to afford this school thing.
Writing my story has been pretty slow. I tweaked Seth's role in the first book a little bit at the suggestion of a couple beta-readers who, rightly so, observed that he was kind of a pointless character. So he's more important now but that changes a whole bunch of other scenes in this first 1/3 of the story, and when you take into account the disaster that Jared and Zira's romantic subplot is in that first portion of the story, I am basically rewriting everything from almost-scratch. It's tedious, but I'm actually kind of enjoying it because I can already sense the improvement. Especially with Jared and Zira. Their relationship feels a lot more natural now when before...ugh, reading over the original draft just makes me want to gouge my eyeballs out. Speaking of Jared, I had a pretty amazing breakthrough last week and miraculously managed to find a decent reference for him. I know this does not matter at all to the actual writing, but I've always taken great pleasure in finding people who look like my characters. Not necessarily so I can draw them (though that is fun too) but just...I don't know. Just because, I guess. It's this guy
. He's a little too old and Jared doesn't have facial hair, but it totally works. I was so excited about it that I actually started working on a portrait of Jared, and it's probably not going to be perfect but it should be a lot better than the art I've done of him in the past, which was all out of my head and therefore sucked. I just have a super hard time working without a reference.
I promised Piper I would help her put up the Christmas tree tomorrow morning before work, but my house is a mess. I should probably go clean up a little before the mess just gets buried in Christmas Stuff.