Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Hunger Games Movie Cast - Haymitch Abernathy

My 8th grade classes are reading The Hunger Games this six weeks, and we've been working on visualization. As a part of that process, I'm having them visualize characters according to their traits supplied by the author. However, we are also creating a "Dream Cast" that we would like to see in The Hunger Games movie. A lot of you have criticized my Dream Cast for The Hunger Games movie that my students came up with last year, so I'm sure you will have a lot to say about this years suggestions! Keep in mind that teens do not have any desire to visualize "unknown actors" for this movie. They like big-name stars because it is much easier for them to see the characters in their mind, versus simply creating new person in their head.

This brings me to their first suggestion for our 2010 The Hunger Games Dream Cast - Will Smith for Haymitch Abernathy. Before you say, "heck no, Haymitch is supposed to be white", keep in mind that Suzanne Collins only describes him a few times in The Hunger Games as being "a paunchy, middle-aged man". I don't have my Catching Fire book here to directly quote the other description of Haymitch I remember, but I do recall her mentioning something about him having an athletic figure. That by looking at him, you can tell that he was a strong young man during his time in The Games. So I ask you, why NOT Will Smith? Will is in his early forties, and for some, that is considered "middle aged", especially if you live in The Seam. He played a harsh, yet somehow lovable drunk in Hancock, and I think would be a great addition to The Hunger Games movie by bringing star power AND credibility to the storyline. Smith is traditionally known to pick quality roles, so his selection of the role of Haymitch would greatly tout the script and film as being one of quality. Just think about it for awhile...picture Will as Haymitch, loud, drunk, and troubled. It COULD HAPPEN!

See how Will has naturally graying hair in this picture? With the proper wardrobe and makeup, he could easily be Haymitch. He might have to lay off the weights for a few months, but he could be a perfect Haymitch if you gave him a chance!

Click HERE to see The Hunger Games cast list chosen by Entertainment Weekly fans!

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater...A New Favorite on My Teen Fiction List!

As a young girl, Grace was drug from her backyard tire swing by a hungry pack of wolves into the cold depths of the forest. All she remembers from surviving that attack are the beautiful yellow eyes of one wolf, who seemed to rescue her from the hungry pack. Grace is mesmerized by the wolves that live in the forest behind her home, and looks forward to winter each year so she can see the enchanting yellow eyes of HER wolf, who lingers near the treeline, always protectively watching over her.

After the wolves are deemed responsible for the death of a local teen, citizens attempt to exterminate the species from the area woods. Grace is racked with worry and grief that her wolf will be shot in the crossfires. She attempts to find her wolf during the hunting expedition, and instead, finds naked and injured Sam - a boy her age who has the same enchanting yellow eyes of her wolf. The connection between herself and Sam is unmistakable, and Grace can't deny the possibility that this beautiful young man and her protective wolf are one in the same.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is by far the BEST teen fiction book I've read in 2010. Sam and Grace's connection to one another is mysterious and heart breaking, and I haven't felt such longing and empathy for two characters since Bella and Edward. I'm doing my best not to compare it to Twilight, but the parrallels are too obvious NOT to acknowledge. Of course there's werewolves, but the similiar conflicts that exist for both sets of main characters are easily compared.

Maggie Stiefvater does an excellent job of bringing complexity and layers to Sam and Grace that are lacking in Twilight. Not that Stephenie Meyer didn't create dynamic characters in her works...she did, but often the problems were sugar-coated. For example, Grace, like Bella, is often left to take care of herself. Her parents are flighty and selfish and she is constantly the "adult" in the household - cooking dinner, washing clothes, cleaning up. Sam points out what Grace already knows - that this is not normal and good parenting behavior, and we get to see Grace acknowledge her anger towards her mother and father and their lack of parental skill. Anger that Bella never recognizes or acknowledges towards Rene.

Sam also has demons in his closet that are put under the microscope - problems that Edward also posessed but never addressed or felt anger. Why did Carlisle sign up a teenage boy for a life he knew was complex and oftentimes filled with tragedy? Sam asks the same question of his maker, Beck, who purposely changed Sam because he was lonely in his werewolf life. Even though Sam loves Beck like a father, he also has to come to terms with the fact that the "father" he loves dearly is also responsible for stealing a normal life from Sam.
To me, Twilight comparisons are complimentary to this book because Shiver evoked the same emotions in me that my initial reading of Twilight did. It's been only 24 hours since I finished the novel and I'm still thinking about Sam and Grace! What will happen in the second book, and counting down the days to its release. I'm definitely a Shiver fan and think that this series will be a huge success in the years to come because of its QUALITY. The first book has already been picked up for a movie by Unique Features. Maggie Stiefvater is a truly gifted writer and each of you should give this novel a chance and see for yourself what a fantastic world Stiefvater has created! The next book in the trilogy, Linger, is expected to hit shelves July 20th. Get on board The Wolves of Mercy Falls fanwagon!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Eclipse Pics From Walmart New Moon DVD

The Walmart version of the New Moon DVD apparently features the stills from Eclipse I've posted below. I wouldn't know, because I bought the TARGET version of New Moon and would be crucified if I bought yet another version of New Moon. (The iTunes version I also own, but don't tell Donnie!) Enjoy the pics! June 30th is going to be an awesome day in Twilight history!
Why the long face, Alice? Could an army of newborn vampires making their way to Forks be the reason you are so sad?
Outdoor wear for fighting newbies!
Bella's wig is awesome.
Riley. Pissed.
Riley turning into a vamp, perhaps?
Serious Riley.
Hot, scowling Jake.
Riley and Bree Tanner...apparently we will know more about her on June 5th!

But They're NOT Dating...

Rob and Kristen photographed arriving in London on Tuesday, and check out their matching shoes! How cute is that? Rob is looking hot, as usual. They are both so young, but I really think they make an adorable couple. ;)
Photoshop my face on Kristen's, and there you have it...BLISS!
I seriously used to have a pair of black Adidas in 8th grade. Not sure if they were the Sambas, but they were all grungy and cool. I also listened to Pearl Jam and Nirvana religiously, but washed my hair daily. I wasn't that committed to the grunge movement.

Heidi Montag...Sad, Sad, Sad!

Heidi BEFORE plastic surgery dominated her life... Heidi after she had her infamous "ten procedures in a day".

Before Lauren Conrad left The Hills, I was a big fan of the show. Before Heidi became a fame-whore, she was one of my favorite characters. I thought she was spunky and ornery and seemed like she knew how to have fun. Of course the "Spencer Plotline" changed both Heidi and the show and I had to stop watching it. It was too sickening (whether a real or fake storyline) to watch a girl radically change herself for a jerk. I'm sure if someone followed me around with a camera during my dating days they would have felt the same way. I dated some real doosies and even chose said douche bags over my good friends. We've all been Heidi a time or two in our lives, so I can't judge her for choosing her man over her friends. It happens to the best of us. However, I find it truly disturbing what the girl is now doing to her body. I'm not blaming Spencer or even want to act like I know what is going on in that relationship, because who am I to judge relationships when I have my track record? Yet it's hard to miss the changes taking place in Heidi. Her plastic surgery is just plain sad. What is she doing to her beautiful face and body?
She's scary to look at, and I'm wondering if her desire to have a baby in the last episodes of The Hills was just a contrived storyline. Do plastic surgeons tell girls what happens to their boobs after they have babies? When your milk drops, your boobies TRIPLE IN SIZE, and that happens whether you choose to breast feed or not. The milk comes anyway, and it affects your boobs by stretching and engorging them to capacity. Her poor chest will be so PAINFUL after having a baby because it looks like the skin in her chest area is already stretched to capacity. Good luck having babies, Heidi. You may have already done much more damage to yourself than mother nature ever could've!

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games is in the Building!

Katniss Everdeen, ready to entice young minds to read The Hunger Games and LIKE IT!
Perhaps the Capitol loaned Katniss Everdeen an iPhone for the day? Ha! Love that my bathroom mirror is dirty. My husband was too embarassed for me to take my picture. He's no Peeta!
How do you make a Katniss Everdeen costume, you ask? My mother made the tunic out of a men's shirt and I paired it with leggings and my Uggs. The wig was loaned to me from a friend, but I put a headband around the front because the wig had some crazy bangs going on! The bow and arrow are from Walmart.

Katniss Everdeen made an appearance in my classroom this week for our introduction to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I had so much fun dressing up like Katniss, but the wig was a bit itchy! My students think I've lost my mind, but I really think (and hope) that showing up to class as Miss Everdeen, District 12 Tribute, piqued their interest in the novel. They certainly have been paying attention, but maybe my threat to shoot them with my fake arrows if they nod off is the reason! Anywhoooo, here's my Katniss Everdeen costume!

'The Forest of Hands and Teeth' by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is officially on my "must read" teen fiction list. I can't wait to go to school on Monday and "Book Talk" this novel with my 8th graders! It took all of two days; reading the book during every spare moment I could find, even taking it in my purse so I could read at stop lights, but I managed to finish The Forest of Hands and Teeth without having a heart attack! This book is one of the best teen fiction novels I've read in a long time, and I'm not the only one who thinks it's a great read.

  • A New York Times Best Seller

  • A Junior Library Guild selection

  • An ALA Best Books for Young Adults selection

  • Named to the 2010 New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age List

  • A Borders Original Voices finalist

  • #4 on the IndieBound Kids' Indie Next List for Spring 2009

  • A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book

  • Selected for the 2010-2011 Texas Library Association TAYSHAS High School Reading list

So yeah, this book is definitely a must-read and you don't have to take MY word for it, obviously! The book is post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel with zombies, romance, and nail biting suspense. If you loved The Hunger Games, (but with zombies called The Consecrated) then this book should be right up your alley. ON the author's site, they also mention that the book has been opted for a movie by Seven Star Pictures, and will supposedly star "an A-List actress"...I wonder who could play Mary? I'm hoping the movie is really being made, but I'm not sure how it can keep a PG-13 rating, given the fact that there's quite a bit of blood and gore going on in certain parts. The book is so creepy, which a great reason why it will make a cool movie! Here's a synopsis from author Carrie Ryan's website:

In Mary's world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

Ryan's companion to the book The Dead-Tossed Waves is also on shelves and has already had great reviews. I ordered my copy today and can't wait to start it! There's a third book in the works, as well, but I'm not sure about the expected release date of that one, nor do I know the title. Check out the book trailer for the Forest of Hands and Teeth for some enticing visuals!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Behind the Scenes and Sneak Peak of Eclipse!

Watch this video more than once and you can see so much stuff that the stills and movie poster don't offer! What I'm getting from this behind-the-scenes portion of the video is that David Slade is dark, but is taking Eclipse to the level it needs to army of newborn vampires just wouldn't fit in to a cheery meadow scene, now would they? Eclipse looks to be fast-paced and full of action, which after making it through New Moon, I think the fans are looking forward to the change of pace. I have high hopes for you, Mr. Slade - don't let me down!

I loved Chris Weitz's adaptation of New Moon, but let's be honest and say that he had the hardest material to work with - breakup bullcrap. Miserable, twitchy Bella just isn't what we love about the Twilight Saga. Gasping, greasy-haired, "I have a hole in my chest! A big gaping hole in my chest! Bella is why New Moon isn't a fan favorite and Eclipse is. Forlorn, screaming-like-she's-being-murdered-in-her-sleep-Bella is also why I find myself watching the first fifteen minutes of New Moon and then skipping to Italy. Watching New Moon takes me all of thirty minutes, people, and possibly another half and hour longer, depending on how much time I have to watch and rewind Edward strutting through the school parking lot.

So after the trial that was New Moon, I'm all for action as long as Slade doesn't cut the romance and Edward-sleeping-over and vice-a-versa scenes with Bella. Catherine Hardwick focused on action only, and to me, that's what made Twilight a theatrical failure for fans of the first book. The first book will always be my favorite, and I tolerate the movie, but Twilight in the hands of Chris Weitz would of been something to write home about! If Summit gave him the dough to remake Twilight, would you pay to see his version in theaters?