Thursday, June 16, 2016

Another recently-watched movie: "Man Up"

I have always liked Simon Pegg.*  The first thing I saw him in was Sean of the Dead,  where he's an ordinary working class bloke in London, during an outbreak of something that causes people to turn into brain-craving zombies.  It was a very funny, and not too gruesome twist on zombie-lore.  I've been a fan of the typically British sense of humor since my younger days, when I probably watched way too much Monty Python.

So when the husband brought home a Simon Pegg movie, I was all for it...until I realized it was a rom-com called Man Up. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3064298/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_9  Sheesh!  He knows I don't like those kinds of movies.  I like sci-fi and action movies, with explosions and aliens and things. Take me to the next Marvel superheroes movie and I'm a happy camper.  But he had rented it and wanted to watch it, so we did.  It started out kind of slowly, as we meet Nancy (played by Lake Bell, an American actress whose British accent is totally convincing,) who is in her mid-thirties and dateless because she's kind of shy and not so good at playing the game needed to meet men or to hook-up.  Her parents are about to celebrate a milestone decade anniversary, and her sister is happily married.  They love her, but feel they have to nudge her along, to get her to "put yourself out there" to meet someone.

On the train, she sits near a woman who has a copy of a self-help book which is the latest best-seller.  The woman tells her she really should read it, since it's obvious she needs it.  She's a bit put off by the woman's snark, but ignores it.  The woman tells her she can't give her that copy, since she needs it to hold in the train station so the man she's meeting for a blind date will know who she is.  Up to now they've only texted, after mutual friends wanted to set them up.  Of course the woman forgets the book, and our plucky heroine rushes out of the train holding it, trying to return it to its owner.  Jack (Simon Pegg) is the date, and he sees the book in her hands and introduces himself.  You see the indecision in her face, along with the moment she decides she has nothing to lose by pretending to be the other woman.

Their date has its ups and downs.  Mostly ups at the start, as they learn about each other.  She's supposed to be only 24 and a marathon runner.  And he's in his early 40s and trying to recover from a painful divorce.  Since I really dislike matches where the man is so much older than the woman, I was glad that at least she was closer in age to him than the woman he expected.  They hit it off and have a good time together. Then a man who has had a creepy crush on her since grade school recognizes her, and the truth comes out, with consequences.  She gets accused of being a liar, while she tells Jack he's not over his ex-wife and won't be until he truly accepts that it's over.  They fight then split up, with him determined to find the woman he was supposed to date.

Once he meets her and they chat, he realizes that he just told the woman he's really meant to be with that he never wanted to see her again.  So he goes in search of Nancy.  The movie was a real feel-good kind of story.  You could see how perfectly these two people were suited, each  bringing out the best in the other.  And by the end you'll be cheering along with the entire party of teenagers that helped Jack find where the parents of his true love live.

*Note: I'm totally against the whole "re-imagining" of Star Trek's most beloved characters that Simon Pegg is a part of, so I refuse to see any of those movies. He'll never be "Scotty" to me. I'm forgiving him because I like his comedies.

I guess it's kind of funny that what I like to watch, action movies, and what I like to read, sci-fi and non-fiction, are all so diametrically opposed to what I write, which is contemporary romance.  But then we are all made up of contradictions and surprises, right?  And I do like to watch and read spy stories, which is what my next book release will be.  Still waiting on the date for Secret Love, but it's one of my best stories.  I hope to be posting a release date soon.

To find out more about my books, please visit: http://www.fionamcgier.com.


Tina Donahue said...

I'm not crazy about RomCom movies either. I think that's because so many are poorly written. Either the guy or the gal act like jerks in order to keep them apart, rather than the stories having intelligent complications. I thought He's Just Not That Into You was well done. Liked it.

I love dystopian movies and some scifi - Gattica was awesome. Wow. What a movie. Love Blade Runner. Not SciFi, but saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in English and Danish (with subtitles). In fact, saw the entire trilogy in Danish.

I also like drama. Even though The Lovely Bones got terrible reviews, I liked it so much I read the book. One of the best I've ever read.

Fiona McGier said...

You're right, Tina, about rom-coms usually being built around character flaws that pass for story complications. I end up not caring if they get together or not, since I usually don't like either one of them! But that's not the case with this movie.

I have not read or seen any incarnation of the "Dragon Tattoo" stories. Maybe check them out when the cold weather returns and there's plenty of time to sit around the fireplace under an afghan and watch TV. Ditto for "The Lovely Bones." My daughter has read all of them. I should ask her what she thinks. My entire family reads a lot...consequences of having an English teacher mother/wife. ;-D

jean hart stewart said...

Movies so seldom come up to the books they're based on, I'm getting afraid to watch them at all. Most time the movies don't measure up, at least to me.

Tina Donahue said...

You HAVE to read the Millennium trilogy, Fiona (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest). Absolutely the best books on planet earth. Stieg Larsson, the author (sadly dead), originally named his work "Men Who Hate Women". The books delve into how Lisbeth Salander has been repeatedly and viciously abused by the system and powerful men. It's something every woman should read. Talk about misogyny - and I'm not speaking of only the sexual kind, but taking away a woman's freedom, her joy, trying to break her. OMG, it made my blood boil. Lisbeth is no shrinking violet. How she gets back at those who victimize her is brilliant (not the crap like the usual revenge movies, but brilliant). The courtroom scene at the end was stunning. Seriously, I didn't want the trilogy to end. I kept reading slower and slower because I knew that was it. Stieg was dead. There wouldn't be another book. Broke my heart to finish it.

As to The Lovely Bones: I don't cry as a rule. It takes a lot. I sobbed at the end of that book. It was an incredible read. That's great literature IMO. I highly recommend it.

Another awesome book is The Handmaid's Tale. I've read it a dozen times. LOVED IT.

Fiona McGier said...

I have read the Handmaid's Tale...did you know there is a movie being made of it? Doesn't strike me as particularly well-suited for film, but who knows how they'll change it?

My favorite Atwood books are the trilogy that began with Oryx and Crake. I'm an avid environmentalist, and against what the Europeans call our overly-processed, artificially-created food stuffs:Frankenfood. The first book hit all of my hot buttons. The middle book dragged a bit, but the third book was so good I was hooked from the first chapter and couldn't put it down until it was done!

My current favorite series begins with Johannes Cabal, Necromancer, written by Jonathan L. Howard. Very British, dry sense of humor, with a Steam-Punk setting and props. Very entertaining.

Tina Donahue said...

The Handmaid's Tale is already a movie. Came out in the '8os? Natasha Ricardson starred in it. She's Vanessa Redgrave's daughter/Liam Neeson's wife. Died tragically of a fall (relatively minor from what I read). Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall were also in it. The movie wasn't anywhere near as awesome as the book.

After The Handmaid's Tale I read Oryx and Crake. It was okay. I tend to go for feminist writing more than anything. I read another one by Atwood - can't recall the title, but it had two sisters in it and the sister's husband. Took place in the 1920s I think. Can't remember too much about it except that it moved VERY slow.

Fiona McGier said...

Atwood tells good stories, but tends to be very wordy. Sometimes the story is so amazing you can overlook that. Sometimes the pacing is glacially slow and you spend time looking at your watch...or skipping pages ahead to see when/if anything happens.

I never saw the older movie, but there's one being planned/shot right now, due to come out next year, I think. I hate when they do that to books, since the director's vision is usually way off from the author's vision. I guess it makes the author a butt-load of money, so there's that. Nice work, if you can get it, right?

Tina Donahue said...

One of the few movies that was as good as and maybe even better than the book was Ordinary People. I've always found books to be far superior to the movies made from them.