“Dude, I thought you were dead” – heard it from friends, former co-workers, family… but clearly, unless there’s also a cushy couch overlooking the ocean in Heaven’s version of Brighton, I’m still here. Yes, I near bit the bullet big time, but like Sigourney Weaver’s dog-bitch at the end of ”Ghostbusters”, I returned! I know pineapple growers are happy about that
So it’s been one of those months where I feel like I’ve had a cheese grater attached to my sack, grinding down whenever I cocked a leg, but the good news is – or the bad news, depending on whether or not your name can be found in the end credits of “Twilight”, or you’re a fallen action star that lifts my burgers than weights these days – I’m back. Recovery is going well, I’ve had a special someone helping me uncuff the squeezing seat-belt from the wild ride I was on (mwah!), and I’ve a new business venture in the works with some fellow typing types that you’ll begin to hear more about that should keep me out of mischief. But for the moment, it’s been meditation, rest and beginning at the end of the week, some kickboxing classes (I know, I know… very “Say Anything…”) – which, Chuck Norris tells me, is a good stress let off and prepares me, of course, for that future pairing with Jean-Claude Van Damme. No, in all seriousness, it’s to get my bod back into gear after being beaten physically and emotionally from the tumour I’ve had. But, and I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think I’ve seen my last nurse for a while (well, except one…) and hospital bed. Now it’s all about getting back on the horse and beginning this exciting new phase. And yes, I’ve some polaroids of the tumour that now sits in a jar on my dash if anyone wants a look. It’s pretty fucking cool!
Now, over the course of my illness, being laid up and all, I’ve rediscovered my love of reading. I’ve been diving into educational books, business books, and namely, the New York Times bestseller list. In fact, I did so much reading over the course of March and April that I couldn’t even tell you what the last movie I watched was (Though I did revisit “Dragon Tattoo”, Fincher’s version, after churning through those books just to play spot-the-difference; and Olivia and I were forced to sit through “Scooby Doo 2″ for the twentieth time last night). But the brain food did me good – I learnt, I got invested, and I slowly realized the appeal of “The Hunger Games”.
You see, though I enjoyed the flick, some of it was a little lost on me because, well obviously, it was the condensed soup version of the dish. Much had been cut from the original book, some of it felt rushed, and one – it seemed; email me if I’m wrong Gary Ross! – was expected to at least have some familiarity with the world of Suzanne Collins’ starving slaughter to feel invested in the yarn. I knew a bit, but not much, and as such, found it to be an enjoyable flick – - but felt I was missing something. After an incident that left me a little tattered and laid up, I found the time to swallow the whole “Hunger Games” series whole. And you know what? I get it. I get the appeal now. Sure, it’s no Dr Suess’s “The Cat in the Hat” but it’s a really mesmerizing series. The character of Katniss is, as opposed to say Bella Swan, a strong, formidable and positive female role model (though kids, remember to always disarm your crossbow when playing with it inside!) that one can actually invest in. At the same time, and though it owes a lot to “Battle Royale” and “Surviving the Game”, the story is pretty damn engrossing – and remains engrossing over the course of the three books (as opposed to the “50 Shades” trilogy, which I felt dipped with the second book – became a bit repetitive; only so many lashings one can take, ya know?!). The second book, “Catching Fire”, just might be the better of the three – I might even (and you’ll like this comparison Mandy!) be the “Empire Strikes Back” of the trilogy, in that things get darker, twisty and the game gets deadlier. The third, “Mockingjay”, isn’t quite to the standard of the first two books – but still, it’s a fitting conclusion.
Now, after having read the “Hunger” series, I’m a little more pumped for the films. What isn’t on the screen, is in the book, so I can refer to that in my noggin when I’m feeling a little less connected with what’s going on on screen, and secondly, um… that Jennifer Lawrence is one hot pocket.
Now you’ve likely heard that Gary Ross isn’t directing “Hunger Games 2 : The Main Meal”, or whatever it’s called, because of scheduling difficulties, financial woes, time constraints and the grand opening of a new Pizza Hut, but I think Lionsgate might just end up with someone even better. I know the hot favourite at this stage is Alfonso Cuaron, and he’s probably the most likely to accept the job having done a franchise flick already (“Harry Potter”), but wouldn’t it be sweeter than honey to see David Cronenberg take on something like this? It might even broaden the appeal of the puppy, giving it some extra bark and an edge. I guess I’ll get to meet the new helmer and cast when “Catching Fire” hits Comic Con in July, and can quiz the former on just how enticed them into the fold..
Who do you guys want directing it? And with the entrants so ‘hungry’, what do you suggest they eat and kill in the forest to deter their grumbling tummies?