‘Slumdog’ is sweeping

Slumdog Millionaire posterAfter getting Oscar-winning song “Jai Ho” stuck in a perpetual loop in my head last week, my parents and I decided to head out to the movies to see “Slumdog Millionaire,” a gritty and moving account of a young man’s rise from poverty to fame in the Dharavi slums of Mumbai, India. I haven’t stopped thinking about the film since I saw it Saturday!

Jamal, our protagonist, travels around the country with his brother eking out a hard-scrabble income and looking for his long-lost love, Latika, a childhood friend whom he was viciously separated from years before. After he finds Latika only to lose her again, Jamal tries out to be on India’s version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” titled “Kaun Banega Crorepati.” He doesn’t for a minute believe he’s going to win — he just knows that Latika will be watching the show with the rest of India, and he’s desperate to find her. And he does — after a series of twists of destiny that simultaneously bring them together and pull them apart. But ultimately bring them together again.

Jamal and LatikaI can’t say exactly what I loved about this film — it was just as that all the elements combined to create a poignant work that had my head spinning. I’ll be frank and say that the violence in the movie was disturbing — and there were several scenes I never saw coming. I was on the edge of my seat with worry, really, and I had to keep reminding myself it was just a movie . . . it was just hard to watch such devastating things happen in quick succession.

But the story has a happy ending.

Ultimately, the movie was about hope — and it was about destiny. Some of the seemingly unplausible plot points of “Slumdog Millionaire” can easily be traced back to this idea of fate, the knowledge that “it is written.” Latika and Jamal find each other in a city of more than 90 million residents because they’re supposed to find each other. Oh, I love fate! 🙂 The love story here was spectacular, and really sweeping. When Jamal finds Latika and floats into her kitchen like a ghost to wrap his arms around her, I definitely had tears in my eyes. Actors Dev Patel and Freida Pinto were amazing — and that scene was so beautiful.

“Slumdog” picked up a massive haul of eight Academy Awards Feb. 22, including the award of Best Director and Best Picture. I saw fellow-nominee “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” back in December and really enjoyed it, too, and recently thought that perhaps Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett’s stunning film should have won. But while I liked “Button” and was completely engrossed in the story and cinematography, I’ve definitely thought more about “Slumdog” since leaving the theater. The film has opened widely in many areas (hey, including Southern Maryland!) and I would absolutely recommend it. Just bear in mind that it’s rated R for a reason — definitely no one younger than 17 should be there. And be ready to avert your eyes if, like me, you can’t stand the gritty stuff.

Plans and catching up on books

img_53472I was getting nervous before — and that was nothing compared to the growing insanity that is my TBR pile! I’m actually getting nervous now. And a little frightened. How am I going to get caught up? Less working, photography, crocheting, hanging out with friends, family and boyfriend and . . . more reading! Seriously. How am I going to read all these books?

Most of them I acquired through BookMooch. Some I bought at Borders; others at a library sale. I definitely want to read most of them, but I don’t know how I’m going to have any space for anything new pretty soon! Those stacks above are just the ones in my room. There’s still a whole bookcase downstairs filled with TBR books, too!

I feel a bunch of giveaways coming on!

But this weekend, I will finish The Anglophile. And I will start a new book, work my way quickly through that one and hit the next title. I will be unstoppable — a reading tornado. I’ll have that TBR stack halved in no time!

But I really do want to finish the first scarf that’ll be part of my new spring collection. And I think we’re finally going to see “Slumdog Millionaire” tomorrow night! I’ll be dancing in the aisles to “Jai Ho,” which hasn’t gotten out of my head since watching the Oscars last Sunday. And I have to complete an assignment for my photography class, and I’m really at a loss for a cool backdrop with which to photograph Kate, my sister/model. And I really want to crochet more flowers, now that I actually know how! The photo I wanted for yesterday’s post is just above.

Looking forward to a busy weekend! Hope everyone enjoys the last few days of February and gets ready for March. I can’t wait for spring! And I’ll be randomly choosing the winner of my keep warm while reading giveaway Sunday afternoon — you can still enter here through noon, Feb. 28! Then I’ll be announcing my next prize in conjunction with the Book Giveaway Carnival, sponsored by Bookroom Reviews. The fun starts Monday, March 2. Can’t wait!

Play along with the Oscars

the_oscars1 It’s hard to sit down and watch an event like the Oscars and not imagine yourself in a floor-length gown (or stately tux), standing at that podium with tears streaming down your face, fingers wrapped around a hefty gold statue. If I were invited to the Oscars, you better believe I’d be wearing red! My mom announces every year that she, too, would be in a red dress. Forget those demure blues, blacks and browns — we’d be impossible to miss in a crowd!

Okay, releasing my daydream now! Unlike last year, the only Best Picture nominee I’ve seen is “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which I liked. “Revolutionary Road” never opened locally; I was too sad about Heath Ledger and freaked out about the plot of “The Dark Knight”; “Frost/Nixon” wasn’t terribly attention-grabbing, and definitely never came around here; not sure what the plot of “The Reader” actually is (though I dig the name, of course). I did want to see “Slumdog Millionaire,” but I wound up seeing “The Spirit” with Palmer instead. That movie was terrible — like, laughably and unbelievably horrible. Bad call on our part.

oscar_statue1But I’m still excited for the Oscars. Last year, we had a makeshift awards ceremony ourselves when Gwyn was still working with us. We all “cast our ballots” before leaving work that Friday, made a photo copy for ourselves and let Gwyn, or our own PricewaterhouseCoopers, talley up all the winners. The staff member with the most right guesses won a prize. I think we had a second and third runners-up, too! Lots of fun. Gwyn is now happily settled in South Carolina, so we’re all on our own this year. I have copies of the ballot for my family, and I’m going to come up with a prize of my own!

Want to play along at home? It adds a new sense of interest to the awards show if you’re keeping track, too. Print out a ballot here!