Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger Than Fiction - cover - Click on image to go to Amazon's Stranger Than Fiction page

Stranger Than Fiction – cover – Click on image to go to Amazon’s Stranger Than Fiction page

Stranger Than Fiction is an amazing, unique, quirky and surprisingly excellent movie. A friend of ours, Adam aka @ross549 gave a DVD to us of a movie we had never seen before. He gave us the DVD not because he didn’t like the movie, but because they got a Blu-Ray version of the movie and didn’t need the DVD version any longer. That movie was Stranger Than Fiction. It became one of my favorites for many reasons.

First, Stranger Than Fiction showed a side of Will Ferrell that I never realized existed. Yes, I know comedy is as hard to do as any other genre of movies and it takes great talent to do comedy, but I found that there was just much more to Will Ferrell’s abilities as an actor; Will Ferrell was much more versatile than I ever imagined. I knew of Will Ferrell from the mid-70s on Saturday Night Live, and had seen a few of his zany comedy movies, but this Harold Crick was a much deeper character than any role I had seen him become before.

Second, the combination of a fantastic cast including; Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah and Maggie Gyllenhaal was magical.

Third, it was so unique of a concept for a movie!

Fourth, I am a sucker for a comedy that is also a bit of a drama, with romance and fantasy thrown in for good measure!

OK, some stats on this movie from Amazon:

Product Details:

Actors: Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, Maggie GyllenhaalDirectors: Marc Forster
Writers: Zach Helm
Producers: Aubrey Henderson, Eric Kopeloff, Hans Ritter, Jim Miller, Joseph Drake
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
Subtitles: English, French
Dubbed: French
Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
PLEASE NOTE: Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called “region-free” DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: February 27, 2007
Run Time: 113 minutes
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (430 customer reviews)
ASIN: B000LXH0AE

The movie came out in theaters in the United States on 10 November 2006. IMDb gives it a rating of 7.7/10 Stars and even though it came out in 2006 in theaters and 2007 on DVD, it is on the rise.

IMDb Storyline:

Everybody knows that your life is a story. But what if a story was your life? Harold Crick is your average IRS agent: monotonous, boring, and repetitive. But one day this all changes when Harold begins to hear an author inside his head narrating his life. The narrator it is extraordinarily accurate, and Harold recognizes the voice as an esteemed author he saw on TV. But when the narration reveals that he is going to die, Harold must find the author of the story, and ultimately his life, to convince her to change the ending of the story before it is too late. Written by the lexster

Everything from the opening credits to the end held my interest and kept me right on the edge of my seat. This movie is unique, quirky, amazing, and so well done. This was Will Ferrell’s first so called ‘dramatic’ role and he did it so well, I really expect more from him in more dramatic and heartwarming roles.

There were many wonderful reviews of this movie at Amazon and I can’t list all my favorites here, but here is Amazon’s review by Doug Thomas:

Much was written about Will Ferrell’s first “dramatic role” as Harold Crick, an IRS auditor who begins hearing a voice narrating his life. But Stranger Than Fiction is hardly a drama. However, what Ferrell does–like Jim Carrey before him in The Truman Show–is handle a toned-down character with genuineness and affection: you believe he is this guy. Crick leads a lonely life filled with numbers and routines. While at first he considers the voice a nuisance, Crick decides more action is needed when it speaks of “his demise.” Enter Professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman), who takes on the absurd notion with revelry, trying to find out what kind of book Crick’s life is leading. It turns out that the voice Crick is hearing belongs to Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson), a very real–and troubled–author who is writing a book in which Crick is a fictional character. As usual with these things, the stuffed shirt learns to live a better life–Crick even falls for one of his audits, a brash baker named Ana (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Marc Foster (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland) has the right tone for the film, using great urban scenes (the unnamed city is Chicago) with interesting visualizations of Crick’s world of numbers. He also directs Ferrell, Hoffman, and Gyllenhaal to their most charming performances (plus Linda Hunt and Tom Hulce pop up in two funny scenes). Ferrell succeeds in being a romantic lead you can root for; a scene where he eats Ana’s freshly baked cookies is totally delightful without a hint of sarcasm. Screenwriter Zach Helm has two personal traits with his story: like Crick he followed his heart (he stopped rewriting scripts and only worked on his own) and like Eiffel, the final results are not a masterpiece, but good, and entertaining enough. Britt Daniel of the band Spoon worked on the dynamite soundtrack.–Doug Thomas

 

And just two from the multitude of reviews by regular movie viewers like you and me:

Literature, Taxes, Death And Cookies–A Difficult Concept Is Executed With Originality And Precision

By K. Harris

The idea of “Stranger Than Fiction” appealed to me the moment I first heard of it. Harold Crick, played by Will Ferrell, wakes up one day and hears a voice. An omniscient narrator is relating his life with precision and no one can hear that voice but himself. It turns out that the voice is Emma Thompson, playing a famed author who is actually writing a novel about a character named Harold Crick. And it’s the same Harold Crick. What is being put down in fiction is also concurrently happening in real life. It’s a tricky concept, one that I felt might be impossible to pull off effectively. Well, not only does “Stranger Than Fiction” pull it off–it succeeds grandly as a surprisingly thoughtful, amusing, and moving contemplation of life. For Harold must immediately confront his mortality when the narrator informs him/us that he will soon die!

~

Very Very Funny . . . And Odd

By N. Burt

I loved this movie. It is funny and odd, but it has a lot of heart to it. The writing is so good that my friends and I thought at first that it must be adapted from a larger work, such as a book. The characters are that well crafted and the story that unique. These are not things most comedies bother with at present. Now, I’m calling this a comedy, but it will pull on your emotions a bit. Its all worth it though. The acting is great, which is not unexpected given the cast. If you love movies and are looking for something kind of different and original this is a good way to go. A really fun film to watch.

There was a really good TIFF Screening review on the movie by grissomsbutterfly1013 (Canada) on September 10 2006 about 2 months before it came to theaters in the USA:

Saw it at The Toronto International Film Festival and it was well done. Original storyline, fantastic performance from Ferrel, Thompson and Hoffman. The most moving performance from Will Ferrel I have ever seen is within this film. The storyline some may believe to be too far fetched at first to take seriously, but in the end it does work. What makes the film work the most are the brilliant performances from Ferrel and Thompson. Without these two- the film couldn’t have been pulled off! I recommend this flick to anyone looking to laugh and cry and then laugh again. It was a truly brilliant film. 10/10 (Hoffman and Ferrel were too kind to shake hands and greet the fans inside the screening as well.)

 

Couldn’t have said it better myself! Awesome movie. If you enjoy unique concepts in heartwarming and funny movies with a great cast, you may also find that Stranger Than Fiction becomes a favorite movie of yours as well.

                    

Happy Birthday Dame Agatha Christie

Happy Birthday Dame Agatha Christie – MyPassionIsBooks Blog (Reblog)

From the Wikipedia article on Dame Agatha Christie:

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie – Wikipedia

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, DBE (née Miller; 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was a British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and more than 15 short story collections, most of which revolve around the investigations of such characters as Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple and Tommy and Tuppence.

I started reading the Queen of Crime‘s books when I was a young teen and thoroughly enjoyed her works.

Today, Septemeber 15th is Agatha Christie’s birthday anniversary. She has been gone these long years now since January 12th 1976, and the world has felt her absence. Rest in Peace Agatha Christie!

Agatha Christie’s books have been read by billions!

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly four billion copies, and her estate claims that her works rank third, after those of William Shakespeare and the Bible, as the world’s most widely published books.[1] According to Index Translationum, Christie is the most translated individual author, and her books have been translated into at least 103 languages.

Time to dust off some old Agatha Christie … maybe Murder on the Orient Express with our old friend Inspector Hercule Poirot would be just the thing.

Might also enjoy watching the Murder on the Orient Express movie gain too – which is still 7.7/10 Stars on IMDb.

Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) By Agatha Christie - AmazonMurder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) By Agatha Christie – Amazon

Or maybe better yet, my all time favorite, And Then There Were None.

And Then There Were None By Agatha Christie - AmazonAnd Then There Were None By Agatha Christie – Amazon

Rest in Peace, Agatha Christie!

Those of us who love to read, particularly crime and detective stories, will never forget the wonderful contributions by the Queen of Crime, Dame Agatha Christie.

Rest in Peace Agatha Christie!

Rest in Peace: Ray Bradbury

RIP: Ray Bradbury!

Ray Douglas Bradbury (August 22, 1920 — June 5, 2012) was an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated among 20th century American writers of speculative fiction. Many of Bradbury’s works have been adapted into television shows or films.

It is hard to believe that Ray Bradbury, my all time favorite SciFi/Fantasy writer is no longer with us.

Ray Bradbury at 75 from Wikimedia

Ray Bradbury at 75 from Wikimedia

Ray Bradbury dies: Author of ‘Fahrenheit 451’ and ‘Martian Chronicles’ was 91 – WashingtonPost

Ray Bradbury, the science fiction-fantasy master who transformed his childhood dreams and Cold War fears into telepathic Martians, lovesick sea monsters, and, in uncanny detail, the high-tech, book-burning future of “Fahrenheit 451,” has died. He was 91.

He died Tuesday night, his daughter said Wednesday. Alexandra Bradbury did not have additional details.

Ray Bradbury even approaching his 90s was turning out novels and plays/screen plays and surprisingly poetry, although apparently after his stroke, it did slow him down a bit.

My heart goes out to Ray Bradbury’s family. Their loss is so great, I know, but the loss to the world is also great. Ray Bradbury will be mourned and missed by the whole world. His contributions to the SciFi/Fantasy/Thriller genres alone will continue to be appreciated by those who love his work and will be passed on to their children for generations to come. Who could ask for a better legacy.

It is hard to believe that there will be no more Fahrenheit 451 or Martian Chronicles or the other myriads of great works by Ray Bradbury again… so instead, I will just sit here listening to my book. I think maybe he was the first person who ever wrote about ‘listening to books’ in the way he did in Martian Chronicles.

Whether you generally appreciate Science Fiction or not, Ray Bradbury was a fabulous writer and a true storyteller. He had a a very special gift.

You will be greatly missed Ray Bradbury…. The world won’t seem the same without you somehow…

Ray Bradbury from his About Ray Bradbury page
Ray Bradbury from his About Ray Bradbury page
This may have been Ray Bradbury’s last published article/work, it was on the New Yorker posted June 4, 2012, the day before he passed away: Take Me Home by Ray Bradbury – NewYorker. Thank you GeniusMusings for finding the article.
Posted with permission from MyPassionIsBooks.Wordpress.com.
Movies from Ray Bradbury’s novels (did I miss any?):

Mystery Classics

25 Mystery Classics

25 Mystery Classics

25 Mystery Classics
Best of the Best Collectors Edition – 25 Mystery Classics. I got it from Target on sale for $5!

It has 2 double sided DVDs — over 30 hours of movies!

There were some Sherlock Holmes movies (The Sign of the Four and The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes, Murder at the Baskervilles, The Woman in Green, Terror by Night, Dressed to Kill, A Study in Scarlet), some Tales of the Unexpected (The Sound Machine, Shatterproof, The Stinker, I’ll Be Seeing You), some Mr. and Mrs. North episodes, some Crime Stories (Highway Patrol, Boston Blackie, Public Defender), and some stand alone movies (Death Sentence, Dangerous Assignment, Mr. Wong Detective, Midnight Manhunt, Murder by Television and The Black Raven).

I just love the old mystery movies and TV shows! It has provided hours and hours of great old classic movie watching!

Amazon has some great combo DVDs of old mysteries too, including the one at Target but it’s not on sale for $5 (at Amazon it’s still the normal $5.98):