An Ordinary World

books, blabberings, and a life semi-common

I Need a Table in My Liiiiiife!

Last night, L-Ko and I had a date of sorts. We snagged the LivingSocial deal for a screening of Water for Elephants, which we had both read and were excited about, and we’ve been excited for an entire week or something. The pre-party didn’t start until 6 but we wanted to bust outta work so we took a long(ish) walk through Central Park.

Oh wait, before that, you have to know that I did not like the outfit I chose to wear so we went to Gap (which I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I believe) where I bought a dress and cardigan – both of which are awesome.

Anyway, we arrived at the hotel to see a mini-line forming outside. We jump on it at 5:45 because what else were we gonna do, you know? It didn’t take very long for them to start letting us in; I think they actually opened the rope at exactly 6. I could be wrong but it was close enough. We make our way upstairs to the rooftop bar where we learn that we don’t get two drinks after all. Instead, it’s an unlimited bar of beer, wine, or cosmos.

Why, yes, kind tenders! I shall take a Cosmo… Or three.

This is the point of the night – early, I know – that the tag line of “I need a table in my liiiiiife!” came into being. You see, we went out onto the terrace which was great. The weather was nice and it’s always awesome being that high up. Anyway, we were just walking around and checking out the entire area, but then we decided we wanted to sit and relax. Keep in mind that I was trying to handle the Cosmo the entire time and it was just not working well. As I’m sitting down, well, the contents of my glass decided it didn’t like to be confined and down it went, splattering on my dress. L-Ko was awesome and went to get me some napkins though so it wasn’t too bad.

We went in pretty soon because the wind was getting a bit chilly for us and we random started talking to people while we sipped on drinks and tried to tackle find the ladies with the appetizers. That didn’t work so we were basically drinking on empty stomachs. Ooooooops. The drinks kept happening (L-Ko switched to wine in the middle; I’m not sure why) and at one point, the ladies next to us brought over an extra one that sat alone until they passed it along to me. I’m not one to turn down a drink so down it went into my tummy… Or my liver… Or my bloodstream.

Random moment… Someone came up to me while I was chillin’ with my Cosmo (that I was really trying not to spill again) and recognized me from one of the JerseyCons. I’m terrible with names and faces but she looked familiar. I wonder if that’s what it feels like for celebrities when people are all, “Aren’t you….?” Hahaha.

By that point, I’d gotten a text message from the other half of M&M that she was already at the theater. OHMIGOD WE WERE LATE. Except we weren’t. However, we did get in line to take the elevator down (Service elevators? I’m not too sure) so we could head to the movie. A couple was there – before or after us in line, I’m not sure but I think it was before. Anyway, when we got into the elevator, L-Ko commented on her shoes. She thanked us then her fiance made a joke about how he thought we were talking about his shoes, which were Chucks, which led me to divulge the fact that I have a pair of blue plaid ones and a pair of sparkly ones with purple laces. Somehow, that bonded all four of us. We walked to the theater together where L-Ko and The Dude found out they were from around the same place (or L-Ko’s mom was from his hometown). Clearly the friendship was meant to be.

Anyway, we met LSed (who I used to work and who I miss soooooo much) at the theater… Okay, it was more than we walked in and she yelled out my name, causing me to turn around in circles to find out who was calling me. Whatever, she found me and that’s all that mattered. The theater was filling up super quickly so while The Dude went up to check out the seating deal in the mezzanine, we ran down to the fourth year up front just in case. New Friend (who I’m sure will have a nickname on this blog soon, as will The Dude, if L-Ko and I hang out with them – which we’re supposed to do) got a text and said he’d snagged us some seats in the last room. That was fine with me; I looooooove sitting in the back rows of movie theaters. I told L-Ko to go up and went to find LSed who was in line for concessions because Lord knows L-Ko and I needed some popcorn in our life. The line was massive and, as LSed told me in a text, “omg its like im in line for free crack the line is awful.” It really was; it seemed to go on forever.

BUT! It just so happened that I saw the girls we met at the bar up near the front. I did some covert walking over to them and asked if we could conveniently be with their group. Tscha! It worked out and we shaved off about 20 minutes of waiting time. I also told one of the girls that she reminded me of Maggie Grace because she really did, especially from the side. Anyway, thank god for small favors. LSed bought a large popcorn for the three of us and a soda. We settled into our seats and waited for The Dude to come back with their snacks (we should have planned that better) so New Friend and I chatted and realized we both had 1/2-day Fridays so we tentatively made plans to hang out in the park at some point… then we exchanged info while we remembered.

And then it was time for

I’m sure if you hadn’t read the book, it was good, despite some dull moments. As someone who read the book (albeit about a year ago so I didn’t remember as much as L-Ko), I thought it was a pretty weak adaptation. I felt like there wasn’t a focal plot (which, I believed in the book, to be a coming-of-age story regarding what makes a person family) and the characters on screen seemed much more one-dimensional than their novel counterparts.

As is often the case, many scenes were deleted during the book-to-film process that, I felt, were important to the development of the story and relationships between characters and to the individual characters themselves. Characters that were important to Jacob’s growth and decisions (most specifically Camel and Walter) are mere dots on the timeline of the film. The idea of class-ism within the circus environment is never touched upon which drives away the initial hatred that should be present between Jacob and Walter and also washes away one of the main reasons the love between Jacob and Marlena is forbidden (second only to the fact that she’s married, of course). The timeline is also sped up with Jacob going from a mere worker to the vet in less than 24 hours. Again, the lines between the various circus jobs are blurred.

While the acting is good and the beauty within the film – whether it is the actors or the animals – is astounding but it just wasn’t as good as I wanted. The actors worked with what they were given and I don’t think it’s their fault at all that I found certain scenes lacking the pizzazz I felt while reading the book. I never really felt pain for Jacob or fear for Marlena or anger at August (who is, in the film, the combined characters of August and Big Al – a decision I dislike only because it didn’t seem to work on screen) during the course of the movie. The only time I really felt any type of strong emotion was when August and Rosie had scenes together where, to put it mildly, August teaches the elephant a lesson. It wasn’t that I felt anger at August; it was more that I was appalled at the act itself and upset that it was much more prevalent in the film than how it was alluded to in the book.

Edit 1: I think part of my problem with the focus on the beatings was the fact that, in my opinion, there was no reason for Jacob or Marlena to get so hysterical about them because the movie doesn’t show the connection between Jacob and Rosie or Rosie and Marlena. They didn’t show it and I never felt the chemistry from their scenes together.

Edit 3: Another problem was the fact that there are pieces that aren’t explained. Ignoring what I knew from the book, there were questions unanswered throughout – Why does Walter resent Jacob when they first meet? After the hotel scene, what was Jacob’s reason for returning? One would assume for Marlena but why go to the old train car when nothing was ever said about it? Why, really, does August allow Jacob to stay and what was the point of “scaring” him when he was first found? Why was that baby so big?

Parts of the film almost dragged on. The running time is two hours but it felt so much longer in that I was actually wondering if the end was near. If I had to rate it, I’d give it 3.5/5 if only for the acting, beauty, and gorgeous camera angles.

Edit 2: The film also just seemed underdeveloped. For me, it wasn’t a coming-of-age story for Jacob because I never felt like I was rooting for him or following this new path of life with him. Nor did I feel like it was a romance where the importance rested on the shoulders of Jacob and Marlena finding love with each other.

To end this gigantic post… I now have this in my house. I love it. The thing comes to my chest, I think. It’s huge. It also spans the backseat of my car… Or the backseat of a cab.


3 responses to “I Need a Table in My Liiiiiife!

  1. Ang 22 April 2011 at 10:47 am

    Dude, I am SUPER bummed that Walter and Camel weren’t primary parts of the plot! WTF??

    • Mary 22 April 2011 at 11:07 am

      The reason it bothers me so much is because they were such integral characters for Jacob’s growth as a person within the circus – and as a person, in general. While I wasn’t expecting them to be at the forefront of the story, it just seemed awkward at times. There was no real friendship that could be seen between Jacob and Camel (who took him under his wing at the beginning of the book), so it was a bit strange to see Jacob caring so much for him. As for Walter, there was no explanation for why he hated Jacob in the movie, whereas in the book, it’s because he was a performer and Jacob was a “simple worker.” It just didn’t translate well and leaves so much open for questioning. I feel like it could have been done better if the filmmakers picked one important plot – whether it was Jacob’s story or the love triangle – and had everything stem from there.

  2. Sara 22 April 2011 at 11:33 am

    Ummm considering I’m not interested in the book or the movie, what I will say is… Reese is perfection in that poster image.

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