Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Catching Fire

I admit, I don't fully remember all the details to The Hunger Games sequel. I sped through it so fast, I have to read it a second time to really absorb it. But, here are the things that are need to know:

When we last left off, our Hunger Games heroes had successfully pissed off the Capitol and President Snow. We definitely know something bad is brewing for Peeta and Katniss. The first half of Catching Fire is kind of boring. The end of the first book is so badass and fast paced that afterward everything seems bland in comparison. Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch go back to Game Winners Row, a special housing development for winners of the Hunger Games (obviously). Being the only winners for District 12, it's a little lonely. Katniss moves her mother and sister into her house, she goes back to ignoring Peeta and spends all her time in the woods, hunting and contemplating running away with Gale and her family and living off the land. One day, while Katniss is in the forest, officials from the Capitol swoop into Disctrict 12 and close it the fuck down. All of the illegal trading posts are shut down and the fence surrounding the district is mended and re-electrified. Bad news for Katniss. When she gets back to the fence, she realizes what has happened and climbs a nearby tree and jumps over the electric fence, hurting her ankle. When she finally gimps her way back home, a government official is interrogating her mother. When he sees Katniss walk through the door it is quite obvious he knew that she was on the other side of that fence. Katniss lies and says that she was out with Gale or something else that's not illegal, my memory on that is hazy. Then, it's the day of The Hunger Games and because it's a milestone, 75th annual Games, it's not like the regular reaping. No, instead of choosing from all of the kids from each district, the tributes will be chosen from a reaping of past winners! District 12 only has three! Meaning Katniss is a guaranteed tribute. Crazy! At the news of this, Katniss goes to visit Haymitch and gets blasted drunk with him. At the Capitol, during training she meets the other tributes and among them is Finnick Odair, the sexiest Hunger Games hunk EVER. Rumor has it, he sells his bod to the rich and famous. When they get to the Games Arena, they are on platforms in the middle of an ocean, in the distance they see an island. Not everyone can swim. Peeta, for example. When, the blast goes off, the tributes that can swim dive into the water and reach land. Everyone is shocked to realize that Katniss is an excellent swimmer. Us readers know it's because her father brought her out into the woods to a lake and taught her. For some strange reason, Finnick helps Peeta to shore. Being a cut-throat game to the death, we know this is fishy. (Get it? Fishy? LOL puns.) There are two alliances with these tributes: one seemingly out to help one another and the other wanting to kill and win. The merry band of 'good' tributes runs off the beach and into the forest to hide. Peeta electrocutes himself on an invisible wall and Finnick saves him with mouth-to-mouth. Now, at this point, I know there is something going on. Why would a tribute deliberately save another tributes life if he was going to die? Anyway, they figure out that the arena is a giant clock and at a certain time of day in each quadrant of the island something crazy happens. Like, for example, a giant tidal wave, killer monkeys, and mockingjays that sound exactly like the tributes loved ones calling for help, just to name a few. Katniss isn't in on the secret, but Finnick, Peeta and the other 'good' tributes have a plan to escape the arena. They blow up this big tree with the invisible electric fence and a big hovercraft comes down and picks them up. It sadly leaves Peeta behind.

Because the first half of this book is slow going, I give this one 4 out of 5 thumbs up.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Hunger Games

Firstly, this series is fantastic and if you haven't read them, I mentally beat you in the face with a hardcover copy until you do. Get with the program, you are the last person on earth who hasn't read these books. And if you say, 'Oh, I'll just watch the movie. Same thing,' I will rig the very first Hunger Games to make you a tribute.

So, there's this girl, Katniss Everdeen. She lives in District 12 and they produce coal. There are now 12 districts instead of the United States. It's a post-war future where President Snow rules with an iron fist and if you don't live in the Capitol, you are fucked. Most likely you beg for food or have no shelter or something along those lines. The fashion in the Capitol is super weird and if you've seen the movie Seneca Crane's beard is the shit. I can't resist, here is a picture of his amazing beard:
Awesome, right? And yes, that is Doctor Simon Tam from Firefly. Any-who... I get off topic. Katniss has a best friend, Gale Hawthorne. It's kind of a I-think-I-love-him-I-think-I-love-her-but-it's-super-complicated kind of relationship. He calls her Catnip, which I love. It's so cute. Gale and Katniss are fantastic hunters and it just so happens Katniss is an amazing archer. Like, she's on par with the Green Arrow. They trade their food for various other things in their district for their families. Gale supports his mother and siblings while Katniss supports her mother and sister. Katniss' father died in a tunnel cave-in when he was working in the mines, so it all fell to Katniss because her mother was a useless wreck. Every year, the districts are forced to watch this awful reality show that features two children between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district fighting to the death. When Katniss' sister Prim gets chosen for the Games, Katniss volunteers as tribute in place of Prim. The other tribute from District 12 is Peeta Mellark who later reveals on national television that he has been in love with Katniss for years. Awkward, considering you will be killing each other in a few short days. Training is cool, Peeta paints his hand like a tree, Katniss does her bow and arrow thing, everyone has a special talent. The Games begin, a bunch of teenager kill a bunch of other teenagers and it's announced that, for the first time in Hunger Games history, if a pair of tributes from the same district are the last ones standing, they both will be crowned victors. So Katniss and Peeta find each other and they hide out in a cave and they make out and Gale is really angry when he sees it. I say, get over it, Gale! Anyway, it's down to Katniss, Peeta and a guy named Cato who is a fierce warrior. These crazy huge wolf-like creatures come out of nowhere and kill Cato leaving Katniss and Peeta as victors. But the Capitol suddenly changes their mind about the whole two victors thing. Who saw that coming? So Katniss pulls out these poison berries called Nightlock that killed another tribute before. And they're all 'We're so in love, if we can't both live, we'll both die!' They pretty much tried to pull a Romeo and Juliet. So the Capitol agrees they both live. President Snow is PISSED. It was a ploy by Katniss to totally say 'In your face!' to the Capitol. And he knows it.

Definitely 5 out of 5 thumbs up. 10 out of 5.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Good Burger

I watched this blast from the past today and it reminded me of the hilarious, albeit stupid, humor of 90s kids comedy. Kenan and Kel are back as Dexter and Ed, two teenaged Good Burger employees making a quick buck over the summer. But Mondo Burger is having its grand opening right across the street and their burgers are absolutely enormous! How can Good Burger compete? With Ed's delicious special sauce! They get their customers coming back in just when Mondo Burger were starting to claim victory. What does Mondo Burger do? Try to trick the sauce recipe out of Ed! But Ed, being borderline retarded, is immune to the charms of Carmen Elektra and bribery. So putting shark poison into the special sauce to make all of the Good Burger patrons sick (dead) seems to be the logical next step. They throw Dexter and Ed into Demented Hills Insane Asylum, followed by the 77-year old Otis, the fry guy. Kel meets a crazy girl (a young Linda Cardellini!) who is in the asylum for breaking into the zoo and freeing all of the kangaroos. Ya know, because small space aliens landed in her head and told her to, a totally legit reason. A wacky dance number ensues with the crazy people and then Dexter, Ed, and Otis bust out. Ed saves an old lady from eating a poisoned good burger by tackling her to the floor. Ed and Dexter then break into the kitchen at Mondo Burger wearing old women disguises. The best part was when the disguises come off, Kel is wearing some pretty sexy ladies lingerie. Kenan distracts the bad guys while Kel dumps all of the chemicals that Mondo Burger uses into the meat grinder. The meat becomes so big that it starts exploding. The cops come and arrest the manager of Mondo Burger. "Kurt's going to jail, Kurt's going to jail, Kurt's going to jail, jail, jail." Happy ending!

I love this movie and I don' care who knows it. Kenan and Kel was my favorite show of all time. I can't even look at orange soda without thinking about Kel Mitchell. This movie is hilarious if you have that certain sense of humor. I miss my childhood...