For me, it has been ‘read’.
I’m the guy who loves to browse and buy books. As I write this, there are eight books to my right that are unfinished. Plus two eBooks I’m reading on my iPhone.
My excuse has always been that I don’t have the time to read. I have time to buy the books – that’s quick and easy. But no time to read them.
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This blog is good at a couple of things…I’m not sure what they are, but I am sure this small corner of cyberspace has something to offer. Even if what’s being offered is only consumed by three people per day.
Anywho, there’s one thing this blog has been consistently bad at. Predicting future trends.
The chances are you don’t stop by here to find out what’s the next big movie, CD or fashion accessory.
What I have tried to provide is analysis and reviews of those things (apart from the last one), once they’ve arrived.
But all that could be about to change…
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Back to the reading…or lack of it.
I was engaging in the usual browsing-with-every-intention-of-buying-but-no-intention-of-reading-this-decade attitude.
The shop’s name was Waterstones. For the benefit of my American friends, Waterstones is pretty much the sole remaining bookshop chain in the country. We’ve lost the rest to that great British invention – the Web.
I came across a novel called The Hunger Games. I’d heard a couple of people talking about it and was aware the film was coming out in a matter of weeks. £7.99 though…hmm let’s see what my ingenious iPhone app ‘ShopSavvy’ thinks of that!
One look at the barcode and ShopSavvy informs me I can get it for £4 in ASDA, which is 0.2km away.
The rest is history.
I cannot remember the last time I read a 400 page novel in one week.
It was totally gripping. I haven’t read hundreds of novels and I’m no expert. But to say I “enjoyed” The Hunger Games is a massive understatement.
You see, the problem is not having enough time to read. The problem is I haven’t been reading books that I’ve actually wanted to read. I might have liked the idea of reading them when I bought them, but that feeling soon worn off and I simply didn’t make it a priority.
Not having enough time is never the problem. The problem is making the wrong decisions on how to use your time.
I finished a 400 page novel in a week as busy as any other week. So what did I stop doing in order to make time to read? I have no idea, but whatever it was, I obviously didn’t miss it! It was probably Facebook or something trivial like that.
So let me attempt to make a prediction without falling flat on my face.
The Hunger Games is the next big thing. When the film hits our cinema screens during the last weekend of March, it will create a stir comparable to Twilight and Harry Potter. The only difference will be The Hunger Games is more real, gritty and powerful than anything Myers or Rowling will ever write.
I’ve nailed my colours to the mast. I’m team Collins.
So what are you waiting for? Grab the book and get reading, then watch the film.
You have time.
I’ve become somewhat envious of little JP and his Cineworld unlimited card! He’s spent the last 3 months watching every film that’s come out (and by ‘every’, I mean ‘every‘. He even sat through Twilight. But we won’t talk about that sordid event.)
It seems like yesterday that my parents were discussing whether a 15 rated (or even 12 rated) film was suitable for little Josh to watch. In reality it was well over a decade ago.
Anyway, now that I’ve suitably embarrassed little brother to my hundreds (I wish!) of readers, the point is; I wasn’t sure what to expect tonight. To be honest, I didn’t really think about it. I merely assumed the film wouldn’t be too “full on”.
I certainly didn’t expect to witness seven men being torn apart by wolves. Ok, ok so they didn’t all get eaten. One man fell out of a tree…and then got eaten by wolves. Another man went to go and make some yellow snow…and then got eaten by wolves. Another man…ok you get the picture.
The storyline is simple. A plane crashes in the middle of what Alaska. Only a handful of people survive, and most of those end up being attacked and killed by…you guessed it. Wolves!
The film verged on horror – a genre I absolutely detest. I’m not ashamed to say I actually looked away for two of the adverts that were shown before the film even started! I am simply not built to sit there and be “entertained” by having the hell scared out of/into me.
The Grey is not for the faint of heart. It doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat, it makes you lean back, as far away from the action as your seat will allow! It makes you jump numerous times. My heart was given more of a workout watching the film than the bike ride home (in -5 temperatures I hasten to add).
Which brings me to my next point…the setting of this film is bleak. You’ll be pleased to know one man doesn’t get eaten by wolves. No, he freezes to death.
To summarise: The film is about death, people being ripped to shreds, and more death.
And I loved it.
The Grey is magnificent.
It would be easy to read my above words and come away thinking this is some kind of Alaskan Final Destination 54 (or whatever number they are up to now). But nothing could be further from the truth.
We’re barely 20 minutes into the film, and death number one is upon us. Yet enough character development appears to have taken place to make the scene where a man’s life ebbs away, genuinely emotional. It’s a powerful piece of cinema, full of maturity and reality.
The Grey doesn’t shy away from discussing the important things in life. God, the afterlife and both the beauty and cruelty of this world are discussed, and the latter demonstrated, in some detail.
If anyone comes out as describing this film as “anti-Christian”, let me know so I can give them a good kicking! Sure, the lead character doesn’t use the nicest language to describe the God he doesn’t believe in, (isn’t it strange how atheists pray?) but at least God got a mention!
These days us Christians tend to be left with a) mindless, senseless, emotionless tripe which is about as interested in the deeper things in life as I am in Twilight. b) A dreadful “Christian film” where everyone lives happily ever after because they believe in Jesus. I think I despise b) more than a).
The writers of The Grey have done a superb job in raising some of the most profound and important questions human beings face. The Grey offers no answers. It merely presents life in all its grittyness, adds in a couple of opinions and leaves us to mull over possible answers.
Sometimes it can be difficult to connect with the characters on screen. I have nothing in common with the characters in The Grey, other than I’m a man and I want to survive! I know it’s ridiculous – the film is total fiction – yet I had the deepest respect for each of the characters. There’s no glitz and glam. Just real men, struggling on and fighting for a vital yet doomed cause. Liam Neeson’s character is particularly convincing. I’ve never seen him act so well.
It’s been a long time since I saw a film as down to earth, gritty and real as this. Suicide, panic, hallucinations, being eaten alive. It doesn’t sound like the best film, does it? But for those of us who are fed up with “Harry met Sally, they fell in love had 2.5 kids and lived happily ever after”, will see this film for what it truly is. A breath of fresh air. It’s strange how men being hunted by a pack of wolves can make you appreciate the best things in life. No word I type will be able to fully explain that. So I guess it’s best if you just go watch the film…