Paddington Movie Review

I saw the movie Paddington with my wife last weekend.

The movie is based off the Paddington Bear book series. I read a few of the books when I was a kid but remember almost nothing about them.

What I do remember is the visual appearance of Paddington and his unflagging politeness. I remember the books being similar to Stuart Little, but British instead of American. I also remember Paddington being a teddy bear in the books, but that’s wrong. He’s an unusual bear species from “darkest Peru.”

The movie starts off with old black and white news reel describing Paddington’s home in Peru. Soon Paddington must leave his home and travel to London where he plans to be adopted by waiting at a railroad station.

Our little hero stows away in a lifeboat aboard a cargo ship headed to London. He survives by bringing along an enormous supply of orange marmalade which we are a told “has all the daily vitamins and minerals a bear needs.”

Paddington meets the Brown family at the Paddington station in London. He goes to live with them until they can find the explorer who previously visited his family in “darkest Peru.” It’s no surprise that by the end of the movie Paddington has become part of the Brown’s family.

I wouldn’t want to give more away about the movie, but it struck me as extremely British.  There’s a flashback where the explorer is describing how civilized the bears in “darkest Peru” are. The people he’s talking to respond by saying, “Civilized? Surely they don’t play cricket?” I’m paraphrasing, but that is what the movie is like.

The movie is a fun family experience. Although I’ve read some of the Paddington books, I can’t say if a true fan of the books would enjoy the movie or not. I can say that if you liked Stuart Little then you will like Paddington. A talking animal is accepted into a classical nuclear family in both books/movies. What more do you really need to know? Just that description tells you what the movie will be about. It has a few jokes, but is mostly about the warm fuzzy feelings you get from the tender moments in the movie. And having something you can watch with children.

That’s all for today!

-Mister Ed

Hardcore History

A couple weekends ago I went home for a birthday party for my wife’s maid of honor.

Most of our friends still live in an area around our hometown, so when we visit them my wife and I visit them we inevitably end up visiting our families as well.

While there her dad told me about a podcast series called Hardcore History.

For awhile I’d been looking for something to listen to on my car rides to Sac State. Music gets old pretty quick for me, talk radio is too political, and NPR is way too varied in their topics to be consistently interesting to me.

In the past when I’m driving, cleaning, or some other long boring chore I’ve listened to a lecture series put out by the Teaching Company.

My dad gets the lecture series and shares them with me. My favorites are lectures on Greek and Roman classics, but eventually I listened to nearly everything the Teaching Company offered on those topics.

I got a few things from the library, but its difficult to find the perfect audio book to listen to.

My father-in-law’s suggestion turned out to be spot on. Each podcast of Hardcore History is immense. I’m listening to a four hour one now on the fall of the Roman Empire.

The podcasts are also extremely varied. Before the Fall of Rome there was an episode on the events leading up to the Red Scare in the USA.

Plus, the podcasts are free! At least the most recent ones are. The older ones are $2 each and all the older ones can be purchased at a discount.

Hardcore History podcasts don’t come out very often. On average there is a new episode every three months. Eventually I’ll catch up and be without free episodes. I’ll decide to buy the older episodes at that point. No need to rush myself yet.

Either way, the episodes are pretty cool. Dan Carlin is a great storyteller who goes to great lengths to draw parallels between the historical period he’s talking about to the modern world. Quotes from source material are used in the lecture to back up Carlin’s interpretation of events.

The podcasts are quite long, which isn’t for everyone. Plus, Carlin doesn’t know how to keep his voice at a constant level. Every few minutes I need to adjust the volume on my speakers because he’s shouting or whispering.

I’ve had a lot of fun listening to the podcasts. If you’re into history you should try them out! My father-in-law said so!

-Mister Ed

The Fault in Our Stars Movie

I saw the Fault in Our Stars movie this weekend and I was a little disappointed.

It’s an excellent adaptation of the book and is a solid movie on its own.

I just couldn’t help comparing every little detail in the movie to the book.

So many small things had to be cut out and I missed everyone of them.

Charlotte is missing, Mr. Van Houten doesn’t play Bomfalleralla in Hazel’s car, the subtle clues of Augustus condition are all gone, the voice in the Anne Frank house is “Anne Frank’s” instead of Otto Frank’s, etc.

I’m sure this happens all the time with movie adaptations of books, but this was the first time I really noticed it.

I think that’s partially due to the amount of time between when I read the book and saw the movie.

For Fault in Our Stars there were less than two weeks between reading the book and seeing the movie.

Other movies of books that I’ve seen were usually a year or more between when I read the book and saw the movie (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Hornblower).

There are errors and missing parts when I look back on those movies, but I don’t care as much about them.

My sister has the same problem for the Harry Potter books, but for a different reason.

Because the books are so good, she’s read them several times. Enough that she’s memorized all those little details.

So when the movies are missing parts, it feels wrong to her. It feels like its not Harry Potter.

Same thing happened for me with Fault in Our Stars.

The movie is great, but it is not EXACTLY the same as the book.

I do recommend the movie and the book as well, but try to keep them separated by at least a month to avoid this problem from happening to you too!

That’s all for tonight.

-Mister Ed