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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Celine: The Movie

At the height of Selena's career, she was shot by someone she trusted. Naomi Judd struggled with poverty while raising her daughters. Tina Turner survived years of abuse at the hands of her husband. These are people we'd go to see movies about.

Celine: The Movie is not one of those films. Usually an unauthorized biography is sleazy or it dredges up facts that the celebrity normally glosses over. This film sadly has none of these qualities. What we get is a boring fluff piece that never really gets off the ground.

The film follows Celine from her ugly duckling childhood to her swan song on the Titanic. We pretty much cover familiar ground, Celine's family was poor, she had a lot of siblings, she married her 26 years older manager. You could get this same stuff from a Wikipedia page in half the time it takes to sit through this film.

The scenes between preteen Celine and her manager comes off as unintentionally creepy. I don't know if it was bad acting or just having the knowledge that in a few short years they will be man and wife.

The casting is awful not a single one of the actresses who played Celine looked a thing like her. Take a gander at the one who portrays Celine as a grown-up. She looks like a cross between Jennifer Grey and Annie Potts.

FYI: Just because the two have curly hair does not mean that they look alike

As I previously said the film ends in 1998, when she records the iconic Titanic theme song. The film was made in 2008. They missed a part of Celine's life that would have made the movie interesting. Her husband gets diagnosed with cancer and Celine puts her career on hold to take care of them. How about having a son after years of trying? And her triumphant return after her husband gets better. If I were to have made this film that is what I would've focused on.

This film is really only entertaining if you are a die hard Celine Dion fan. And if you are the many anachronisms might very well drive you crazy, so consider yourself warned.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lightning Strikes: A V.C. Andrews Novel

So Rain, the great and terrible, is on her way to England to pursue her dreams of acting. And the blatant stereotyping did not stop with Rain, now it's Britain's turn to be stereotyped.

Rain arrives in England and will be staying with Grandmother Hudson's sister, Leonora. Rain is picked up at the airport by a chauffeur named Boggs. Leanora is the typical British stereotype, posh, snooty, and bathed in waves of perfume. Admidst her British slang for Dummies dialogue, she makes sure to point out that her Great Grandfather owned slaves.

The ghostwriter uses nearly three pages simply describing the mansion where Rain is staying (and apparently working as maid.) That's how dull this book is, three pages wasted on descriptions alone. The staff is also introduced, Leo the butler with a limp, Mary Margaret, the nervous maid, and Miss Chester, the stereotypical British chef.

"Ain't no tellin' what'll be spuin' out of 'er gob." This only a mere sampling of the "British" dialogue in this crap fest. For this the ghostwriter must be taken to the town square and pelted with English muffins. Rain bitches about the room some, no heater, no alarm clock, and no hot water, oh noes. You'd think a character who spent most of her formative years living in the ghetto wouldn't be so picky.

Finally, Rain actually heads off to acting school. Forgetting that the English drive on the opposite side of the road, she almost gets hit by a car. Unfortunately they missed. It rains, she gets lost, meets a pair of ditsy French sisters, Catherine and Leslie. Does this character ever stop bitching?

Rain begins to get the feel of the place, but noticed some spooky going ons at the mansion. She also meets Randall an honest to goodness Canadian, whom she feels attracted to. And if anyone was worried, yes, she gets her alarm clock and hot water.

Rain goes out with Randall and we are subjected to a five page description of London. Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, etc etc etc. Is this a book or a travel brochure?

Great Aunt Leona's husband, Richard, unexpectedly gifts Rain with play tickets for Macbeth. She asks Mary Margaret to join her but she refuses to go and runs out. She then settles on Randall who proposes a day of sightseeing before they attend the play. Sightseeing apparently consists of showering in his room and almost having sex.

The next day, Rain waits on a sickly Leona, who tells her about their daughter, Heather. Heather was very loved by Richard who was devastated by her sudden death. Rain excels at acting school winning the role of Ophelia. Aunt Victoria causes some trouble by trying to paint Rain as a thief who stole from Grandmother Hudson. Rain is offended by the accusation and threatens to leave, but Richard believes her and asks her to stay.

Rain eventually has unprotected sex with Randall and trusts him enough to tell him her whole sad story. Randall comes up with the idea of reuniting Rain with her biological father who by coincidence just happens to live in London.

More spooky things go on at the mansion. Rain discovers a mysterious little cottage on the property. Way to rip off the Casteel series there, ghostwriter, is there a shrubbery maze as well? Randall locates Rain's father and they spy on him and his family until Rain freaks out and wants to leave.

Rain receives a letter from Roy who is still hot for her bod. Rain investigates the little cottage and see Richard reading a children's book to the maid, Mary Margaret. Mary Margaret is dressed like a small child, and behaving like on as well. Creepily enough, he refers to her as Heather. Rain is furious to learn that Randall told Catherine and Leslie about her attempts to locate her father.

Rain finally gets the gumption to contact her father who had noticed her skulking about the neighborhood. She tells him who she is and he invites her to his house for tea. However he doesn't want to tell his new family who she really is.

Rain writes her Grandmother and fills her in on what's happening. She then learns that Mary-Margaret is sick. Forced to serve dinner by herself, she mouths off to one of Richard's guests. This earns her a lecture in his office. He creeps Rain out when he tells her that he wants to be more of a father to her than an employer.

Rain decides to surprise Randall in his bedroom only to find him in bed with Leslie. Even though she was the one that blew him off, she feels betrayed. Despite the big betrayal, she still has the time to snoop in Leona's room only to find out that she and Richard have separate rooms.

She does wind up having a good time at her father's tea but is saddened that he doesn't tell his wife and kids who she is. Bitch, bitch, bitch, moan moan moan. Grandmother Hudson contacts Rain and tells her it's a mistake to try to be a part of her father's life.

Richard takes Rain to the cottage where he makes her put on ill-fitting clothes. They drink wine, recite plays, and he kisses her on the neck. As she leaves, Boggs threatens her to keep her silence. What Rain should have done is kneed him in the crotch, packed her things and hightail it back to the States. Plenty of acting schools there I'm sure.

Randall tries to win back Rain but to no avail. Mary Margaret faints and Rain learns the she is fo shizz up the spout. I'm not just quoting Diablo Cody, the phrase up the spout actually appears in this scene.

She visits Mary-Margaret and tries to get her to admit that Richard is her baby daddy. Boggs shows up and Rain learns that he is Mary Margaret's pimp er umm father. Roy visits from Germany and the two quickly jump on the good foot and do the bad thing. Roy is contented but Rain realizes she made a mistake.

Grandmother Hudson passes away and Victoria reveals the truth of Rain's parentage to Richard and Leona. When she refuses to continue to deny her parentage, Rain is kicked out of the mansion. Roy proposes to Rain but she turns him down. Wait, a V.C. Andrews heroine who doesn't wind up with the guy she thought was her brother? Will wonders never cease?

She writes a letter to her father and says her goodbyes to Roy, Randall, and Miss Chester. She returns home and her mother informs her that she has told her husband the truth but not her children. Grandmother Hudson leaves Rain a ton of money much to Victoria's displeasure.

Rain decides to postpone school for a semester and I finally get to say my goodbyes to this monstrosity of a novel. Two down, two to go. Next up, Eye Of The Storm.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

VC Andrews Rain

According to the Complete V.C. Andrews Library, Rain was originally supposed to be titled Shadow. So already this book wasn't off to a good start.

Rain starts out as a typical V.C. Andrews book always does. Abusive alcoholic father, brother who is in love with main character, jealous sister and kind loving mother who we all know is doomed. But untypically the main character is (brace yourself) African American, well kind of.

Even though this is the first V.C. Andrews novel to feature an African American character it also seems to be apologizing for it as well. The ghostwriter falls all over himself trying to make Rain as white as possible. Rain doesn't hang out with gang bangers, she's a good student, she hates rap. This makes her completely different from all the other stereotypical black characters in the novel.

Rain's sister Beni is Riley to Rain's Huey. She's jealous of her perfect sister and is determined to get in as much trouble as possible. She hangs out with a group of gang bangers led by Carlton (not Banks) who wants to get with Rain. Of course Rain is too good for him (and everyone else is their neighborhood.)

One night, Rain's "father" reveals the truth, Rain is a biracial girl that they had adopted in exchange for money. Rain is devastated by the news, Beni is even more jealous and Roy, he's just happy that the girl he's attracted to isn't a blood relative. Seriously even if you weren't related, you did still spend the majority of your life believing you were. You can't just turn that off like a switch.

Beni promptly tells everyone the news, and her bitchy friends and Carlton take every opportunity to put her in her place. One night, Beni sneaks off to a party and comes back drugged and disheveled. Her "friends" allowed Carlton and his friends to photograph her naked. They'll give the photos back for a price.

Rather than cops or tell their mom or anything logical, Rain pawns a valuable bracelet and the girls meet their blackmailers at an abandoned warehouse. However things don't go as planned, Beni is killed and Rain of course is too blame. At one point Beni's fair weather friends attempt to set Rain on fire. They aren't successful and I am forced to continue reading this monstrosity.

Realizing that Rain is no longer safe, Rain's adoptive mother demands that her bio mother take care of her. Of course, not so Mommy Dearest doesn't want to disrupt her life with an illegitimate child so she pawns her off on her Grandmother. Roy is shipped off to the army and her mother goes off to stay with family.

In typical V.C. Andrews fashion, Rain is plucked from her loving but poor home and dropped into a lavish but unloving mansion. Rain suddenly remembers that she's a talented actress and of course is sent to an uber fancy school. She catches the eye of Corbette, the school's resident man whore.

Once again we are treated to the rare but irritating rape/seduction scene that the later novels seemed to favor. You know the spiel, the rapist gets the title character drunk, essentially forces himself on her and then the book tries to convince us it was a seduction. To make things even more disgusting, Rain's biological brother, Brody also falls in love with her. Rain can't tell him the truth so she tries her best to discourage him.

Rain's grandmother starts out a little cold towards her but thaws out. Of course, who could really hate Rain? She's practically a superhero to everyone in the book. Also there is a wise janitor, I mean, limo driver who is always there to give Rain advice.

Rain is devastated to learn that her adoptive mother has chick cancer and not much longer to live. She hightails it to her "Mama's" bedside and is reunited with Roy. Roy is being shipped off to Germany and is obviously still hot for Rain's bod.

Since Rain is the most talented person in the world, it only makes sense that she would be accepted into a prestigious art school in London. No doubt, moments after she lands, she will win an Oscar and be elected crowned England's new Queen.

Rain was made into a movie a few years ago, here is my review if you are interested.

Next up, I'll read and review Lightning Strikes. God help me.