A Little Story About “Joy”

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I saw this trailer and thought I wanted to see it because Jennifer Lawrence is awesome and she looked like she was playing a badass. I mentioned to my mother that we should see this on Christmas and she said, “Oh yes! We’ve met Joy several times. She’s the one who gave dad your guitar!”

Remember this guitar? The one that Billie Joe Armstrong signed all those years ago? I knew it had been a freebie that my dad had been given, but I had no idea by whom. Turns out Joy Mangano rented warehouse space from the company that my parents have worked at for decades. She also apparently lives in a massive estate two towns over from us. 

Back to the movie: I liked it. It left out things like the fact that she went to my alma matter: Pace. And they cut out one of her children. D’oh. The movie starts when she’s a child and building things and then fast fowards to her meeting her husband, having more kids than she should have, and working at an airport. So much for those dreams. After getting her hands cut up on some glass while mopping up wine, she invents the Miracle Mop and we go from there.

I liked the movie a lot. Mangano was a badass who handled mafia men without blinking. Jennifer Lawrence did a great job, too, as did Bradley Cooper for the most part. Despite how the previews make this look like a Silver Linings Playbook Part 2, it’s very much not at all. 

Ignore the bad photo taken with a flash on my iPhone against my jeans while we were sitting, waiting for the movie to begin on Saturday night. 

You know how it was a total mistake to re-read Catching Fire before it was released? (You know, because I could easily remember everything they cut out) Well, I made the mistake of re-reading half of the rest of Mockingjay before I saw it on Saturday night (so technically I read the middle ¼th). I only got through 100 pages before we arrived after some snacks and drinks at The Smith to the Lincoln Square movie theatre (the big one; yes, there was a line, and we even got there 45 minutes-ish early). 

The 100 pages that I read took about 15 minutes to get through in the movie. I always gloss over the fact that most of the book is inside Katniss’ head so it’s impossible to translate that to the big screen. There are spoilers after the cut. 

I’m still a little torn about my feelings regarding Mockingjay Part 2. They made Peeta’s recovery a little too easy. They totally cut out the part where District 13 becomes as totalitarian as living in the old districts. The scene in the rose garden with Snow was ridiculous. They met in the book, but he would’ve been in a holding cell, not his white rose garden. I don’t remember the part in the book where they hide with Tiggress and then “go with the refugees” to the Capitol. It seemed a little too apropos considering the current situation with Syria refugees, but I know it probably had little to do with it because the film was finished months ago. Katniss’ and Gale’s disguises were barely disguises at all and I laughed a little bit at that. I didn’t like that we didn’t see more of the rebels overtaking the Capitol. It seemed too clean. To be honest, the last part of the movie after that kind of dragged. 

And I’m not kidding when I say that the entire movie theatre erupted into laughter when the final scene, with Katniss, Peeta, and their children, came on. It was so ridiculous. I know that’s how the movie ends, but it was so ridiculous on screen and it felt so disjointed (it felt like Purple Summer following Those You’ve Known in Spring Awakening). 

I think I need to go see this again. Justin enjoyed it, so that was a plus. I’m knit-picking the shit out of it and it’s my fault considering I re-read some of the book beforehand, but that was my mistake and I guess I have to live with it. I think Mockingjay just may be an inferior book compared to the first two (or rather the last half of Mockingjay because I LOVED Mockingjay Part 1). 

I bought the keychain pictured above on sale at the Borders in Columbus Circle in 2010 while I was reading all of the books. I loved the books and will continue to love the books. 

I’m glad I saw the final movie in it’s opening weekend but I just wish it would’ve been a stronger ending. 

I finally (yes, finally, the day after it was released) made it to the Lincoln Center AMC today with a girlfriend to see Mockingjay: Part 1 today. I declined to re-read the book because I remember being very critical of Catching Fire after seeing it (and re-reading it) because I could pick out exactly what they changed. So: No. Not this time. I was sad this movie was only going to be two hours and not two and a half hours like the other two. Oh well. 

Anyways: We sat down in a packed movie theatre and everything began. I’d heard from a couple of coworkers that it was extremely dark. I’d also read that they sort of glossed over Katniss’ mental instability. I found the movie to be incredibly dark, but I also found Katniss to be extremely unstable and very affected by her experiences in the games. 

Jennifer Lawrence totally killed it, again. Her emotional intensity was gripping. Since I didn’t remember the books entirely, it was nice to be surprised (again) and I was white-knuckling on my arm rest during a few intense parts. There were parts that made me hold my breath and parts that had me in tears (District 4’s rebellion!). It was also chilling to see Philip Seymour Hoffman onscreen. 

I won’t say much more except that I thought it was excellent and I can’t wait to go see it again. I also can’t believe we have to wait another year for Part 2. 

eyes bright, chins up, smiles on.

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Sometimes it’s good to post your every thought on Facebook. For example I posted last week that I was beyond excited for Catching Fire and the next day my friend Andrew texts me saying he can get passes to an advanced screening from Time Warner Cable and he’d go down at lunch that day to see if he could obtain two. And he does and you’re beyond excited. This, I will admit, is probably the best thing Time Warner Cable has ever done for it’s customers.

Last night at the AMC on 34th and 8th, I took in a screening of Catching Fire. We were all given free popcorn, soda, a poster, and a t-shirt (admittedly it’s the ugliest t-shirt I’ve ever seen, but it was free and I’ll wear it to bed, so it’s all good). The theatre was packed and I got there only 15 minutes beforehand (Andrew was more on top of his game though, so he grabbed seats early). I was so. excited. (Nerd admittance: I wore the same gold sweater that I wore to the Scholastic screening of the first movie in 2011. The gold sweater is huge now and barely fits anymore, but I still love it.) The theatre hushed as the lights went down and I could barely contain my excitement.

tl;dr version: It lived up to everyone one of my expectations. It was two and a half hours of bliss. The cast was phenomenal and it’s a wild ride. I can’t wait to see it again. Now for more detail, and two spoilers, keep reading.

I don’t know where to start. I’m going to ramble, probably incoherently. I loved the maturity that Prim’s character has made since the last movie – it’s striking. The first interaction between Peeta and Katniss is unbearably chilly (hence Haymitch’s reaction). The scenes of uprising in the districts as the victors make their rounds on tour is incredibly powerful, as is when the head peacekeeper in District 12 is replaced with Thresh and havoc ensues. The scene in District 11 with Rue and Thresh’s family will make you want to sob. Half way through the Quell you really believe that Katniss might actually have feelings developing for Peeta. I loved, loved, loved Sam Clafin and Jena Malone as Finnick and Johanna Mason respectively. Lynn Cohen was thoughtful and caring as Mags. There’s a lot of build up to the Quell – they don’t just re-introduce the characters and throw them back into the arena, which was nice. I loved the character they added of President Snow’s granddaughter to add to the impact that Katniss was having on Panem. Brilliant. Katniss and Haymitch’s relationship is much stronger this time, as it should be. The poison fog is really gross. Gale’s character has a larger role this time around. He’s in much more of the movie and I think he will be even more of a central character in Mockingjay.

Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, and Stanley Tucci are still perfect in their roles. Needless to say Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson were too. The last standout in my mind was Philip Seymour Hoffman. Just perfection. 

Spoiler alert: What I noticed was different from the book: I re-read the book a couple of weeks ago so it was fresh in my mind. They left out the part where Katniss goes to her father’s old cabin and finds out about the possible existence of District 13 from the District 8 refugees. The other part that I noticed they left out was when each tribute’s score is revealed and Katniss and Peeta both get 12’s, and Haymitch throws a fit. That’s really all that I noticed that was different between the book and the movie.

It was two and a half hours of bliss. I held my breath a lot and wanted to cry sometimes. I bit my tongue when Andrew leaned over to me and said, “I thought they would’ve killed him [Cinna] already!” when Cinna is walking Katniss to the tube, knowing that he would soon be killed. 

I think I will definitely go see it again in the next week. It was definitely worth the wait and I can’t wait for Mockingjay (part 1?).