Books on Film: Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom: title page

Soo.. I just watched Moonrise Kingdom on Friday night. Directed by Wes Anderson, it centers around two loner preteens who decide to run off into the wilderness together. This sets off a hunt by the local community. Quirkiness abounds, and everything is filmed with deliberation and general loveliness.

Perhaps it’s because the story’s protagonists are twelve, and Moonrise Kingdom is set during a summer in 1965, when kids are at camp or reading books and listening to records at home, but I was stuck by how much this movie evoked a sense of nostalgia. It’s a weird sort of nostalgia though. Everything is made up. Essentially, it’s a nostalgia for something that never existed.

Suzy reads from Shelly and the Secret Universe

My favorite props have to be the books that twelve-year-old Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) read. Of course, it would be the fictitious books with titles like Shelly and the Secret Universe and awesome old-style covers that stoked this book nerd’s sense of nostalgia.

Moonrise Kingdom: Suzy's suitcase of books

These are my books. I like stories with magic powers in them. Either in kingdoms on Earth or on foreign planets. Usually I prefer a girl hero, but not always.

Suzy reads The Francine Odysseys by Gertrude Price

Suzy: I always wished I was an orphan. Most of my favorite characters are. I think your lives are more special.
Sam: I love you, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.

There are six books in this movie, and I took screen caps of them all. But did you know, not only did Wes Anderson have artists make book covers, and wrote passages that are attributed to each book, but there are also animations for each book? According to the Internet, Anderson considered putting the animations in the movie, but instead used them in a promotional short. It is quite awesome and worth a watch.

Sam: These are all library books. In my school you’re only allowed to check-out one at a time. Some of these are going to be overdue.

Sam hesitates. He suddenly realizes something. He asks bluntly:

Sam: Do you steal?

Silence. Suzy nods reluctantly. Sam looks confused.

Sam: Why? You’re not poor.

Suzy stares at the books. She absently brushes some dust off them. She rearranges them slightly. She says finally:

Suzy: I might turn some of them back in one day. I haven’t decided yet. I know it’s bad. I think I just took them to have a secret to keep. Anyway, for some reason, it makes me feel in a better mood sometimes.

Suzy reads The Girl From Jupiter by Isaac Clarke

Suzy reads Disappearance of the Sixth Grade by Burris Burris

Suzy reads from The Light of Seven Matchsticks by Virginia Tipton

Suzy reads from The Return of Auntie Lorraine by Miriam Weaver

Books on Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Thanks to Michelle of See Michelle Read, I finally watched The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, an animated short up for an Oscar today. Let me tell you, if you are a bibliophile, it will be hard not to love this little gem. I may have teared up a bit at the end.

The short is up on full on youtube, although I don’t know for how long. If you have 15 minutes to sit down and watch it, I highly recommend you do.

Aisha (film)

Aisha (2010) is a Bollywood retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma, in the same sort of vein as Clueless. It stars Sonam Kapoor as the gorgeous and spoiled Daddy’s girl, Aisha.

The story begins at the wedding of Aisha’s auntie Chitra to Col. Singh. Fresh from her success at matchmaking (for she introduced these two to each other), Aisha eyes the wedding guests for new matches..

…and she alights on Randhir, heir to a fortune (but a bit of a dork), and Shefali, a country mouse. So Aisha’s meddling begins

Aisha takes “poor Shefali” under her wing, giving her a makeover, while her cynical friend Pinky disapproves but goes along with it. Cue a lot of shopping at designer stores and a sleepover.

Arjun, the boy next door warns Aisha that she shouldn’t treat people like dolls (or something to that effect). Aisha finds him very irritating.

Aisha introduces Shefali to upper-crust Dehli society, where people watch polo matches and go on weekend rafting trips. Sometimes they help out at animal shelters. Shefali hangs on to Aisha’s every word and takes her advice as gospel, including whether she should accept the proposal of the hometown boy she likes.

Aisha dislikes Aarti, a returnee from New York (and Angelina Jolie look-alike), who seems way too cozy with Arjun.

On the other hand Arjun isn’t fond of Dhruv, Col. Singh’s prodigal son. Dhruv is very muscled and takes his shirt of a lot in this movie, and Aisha seems interested in him at first.

Because of her manipulation, eventually Aisha’s friends have had enough and leave her. Aisha is left alone to consider her sense of entitlement.

Of course everything turns out all right at the end.

I thought that Aisha was slickly produced with beautiful sets (I want to live in Aisha’s house) and gorgeous people, but while it’s a lot of eye candy, I had a problem with Aisha’s character. Rather than being a charming, well-meaning busy-body, this version of Emma came off as a spoiled snob who thinks she knows what’s best for everybody. She uses “middle class” as a real insult, and when her friends get mad at her for her judgmental views, Aisha truly deserves it. I understood why in the end she falls for the boy-next-door, but not why he falls for her. Otherwise this movie is very pretty, with the right dose of pageantry, and perfect music selections (I must download them all), but story-wise, it has an unlikable central character, which is too bad because the rest of it is rather cute. I particularly enjoyed the secondary romance with Pinky as one half of the couple. I’d say watch this for the pretty, not for the plot.

Aisha has a very nice website here.

Books on Film: Brick

Brick (2005) is a film with a modern twist on detective noir. Set in high school, it stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Brendan Frye who takes it upon himself to solve the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Emily. In the middle of the movie, Brendan goes to a party at a house that has THIS library. Oh how I would love to have an office that extended to the floor above via spiral staircase where my books waited for me. But I would turn on more lights.

Books on Film: What Dreams May Come

The Library in Paradise in the 1998 movie, What Dreams May Come is one of my favorite libraries on the silver screen. Imagine all those books, waiting for you to float upwards to reach and read them! The only thing I’d change is having so much water nearby, although I guess these books are supposed to be indestructible.

Here are some captured images from the movie. Anyone else have a favorite library from a movie?

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