||Dec 14, 2009
Barnes & Noble.com
My book includes trivia on 444 movies. I also give a rating and the plot summary.
I love watching movies in a variety of genres, including new, old, popular, independent, and foreign. The diverse genres allow you to enjoy a film during any mood and about any subject. Compared to other books that review movies, my approach is more casual and my rating based on the overall feel of the video.
The trivia touches on several topics such as film production, revenue records, locations, and historical background. Sometimes movies portray a message about politics or our culture. I comment on the approach and share my views on the matter.
"A Walk to Remember (2002)
This is an impressive movie and one of my favorites. Serious and conservative Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore) is the daughter of the town's Baptist minister, and she is not afraid of letting people know her faith is the most important part of her life, even if it costs her some friends. After a mild prank goes terribly wrong, an unruly schoolmate, Landon, is forced to tutor a young student at a poor school. This puts him in close contact with Jamie, and he soon starts to fall in love.
I like how it portrays religious themes in a positive light. The story is based on the 1998 novel by Nicholas Sparks. The book is set during the 1950s, while the film is set in the present. The author's sister, Danielle Sparks Lewis, died of cancer in 2000. She met a man who wanted to marry her even though he knew she was dying. Jamie is described as having blue eyes and blond hair in the book, but Mandy Moore has brown eyes and brown hair."
Serket’s Movies: Commentary and Trivia on 444 Movies Reviewed By Lois Henderson
This directory of films (as such it is, though Hamblin makes no such claim) contains a mass of information on a wide array of films, much of which you will most likely not find in a conventional movie guide. But then you also will not find the usual extremely helpful indexes to actors and directors that you tend to get in the latter either. Also no cast listings. However, the movies are alphabetically arranged for easy access.
That said, if you consider to what extraordinary lengths Hamblin has gone to compile this collection that gives, for each of the 444 movies that it does cover, a verbal rating, a brief description of the plot and two to three paragraphs of what Hamblin refers to as ‘trivia’ about the movie, you cannot but admire the zest and zeal of this young man. To gather this much knowledge you indubitably have to work very hard indeed, which augurs well for Hamblin’s future as a researcher (though he modestly claims at the moment to have a mere data-entry job). Given the amount of editing of academic scripts that I have done over the last five years (hundreds) of varying quality and merit, I would definitely say that Hamblin should consider applying for a job as a research assistant at any one of the multiplicity of higher education institutions in the good old US of A.
Admittedly, Hamblin’s work does have a few failings, in that I would have liked to have seen a more fluid approach to his writing (doffing my academic hat, and assuming that of a writer/reviewer once more). The facts that he shares with us about each movie, despite being extremely interesting, are not so evenly arranged that reading through such a commentary does not jar. You need to read a sentence, stop and consider, and then read the next, otherwise you might get lost somewhere along the way and start wondering where each commentary is heading. If he had clearly indicated his transition from one idea to the next by inserting a symbol between the relevant sentences, the text would read more fluidly. That way, he would also not have wasted much space, which is clearly at a priority in a work of this nature.
At the moment, this work is a handy 367 pages in length (excluding the three-page long Foreword, in which Hamblin reveals how he came to write the guide [interesting reading, so don’t miss]). He ends by listing the ten top-grossing movies since 1977, adjusted for ticket-price inflation, and the ten all-time top-selling DVDs. In short, provided that you regard this work as one to be kept alongside your conventional movie guide, you cannot lose and should really consider buying yourself a copy. (It makes for a worthwhile read by itself at some stage, too, which can’t really be said for such guides on the whole.)
Movies, Trivia and an Egyptian God?
Reviewed by Wesley Britton
It’s difficult to pin down the intended audience for this collection of capsule movie reviews. It’s clearly not researchers. I’m not sure it’s film buffs either. In fact, author Cory Hamblin candidly admits he’s not a film expert, “just a guy from a small town who enjoys watching movies.” Admitting his major source is his aunt’s DVD collection, he adds that he’s not interested in films with political messages. “Most Americans from small towns . . . are just looking to have an enjoyable experience at the movies. What we would like to see are more movies with positive portrayals of America, our military, families, men, and God.” Illustrating the informal nature of his reviews, Hamblin states the title of the book draws from his “online moniker”: “Serket is the name of one of the earliest recorded Egyptian kings . . . it has no direct correlation to the contents of the book.”
Hamblin also stated his choice of movies had much to do with the amount of trivia he could find on them, and trivia is really what his book is all about. The “commentary” is about as long as your average Tweet. A case in point is Hamblin’s overview of A Beautiful Mind which reads, in whole:
"This is a noteworthy movie based on a true story. Brilliant mathematician
John Nash (Russell Crowe) is on the brink of international acclaim when he becomes entangled in a mysterious conspiracy. Only his devoted wife (Jennifer Connelly) can help him.
I have a bachelor’s degree in economics, and during my last
Semester I took a class on industrial organization. We learned
about game theory and the Nash equilibrium.
The film was inspired by the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-nominated
1998 book by Sylvia Nasar. The scene in the movie in
which mathematics professors ritualistically present pens to Nash
was completely fabricated. No such custom exists. What it symbolizes
is that Nash was accepted and recognized in the mathematics
community. The scene in the movie when Nash thanks his
wife, Alicia, for her continued support during his illness is also
fictional. At the Nobel Prize award ceremony, His Majesty, the king of
Sweden, hands each laureate a diploma, a medal, and a document
confirming the prize amount. The laureates do not give acceptance
speeches. Laureates are each invited to give an hour-long
lecture; however, the Nobel committee did not ask Nash to do so,
due to concerns over his mental health."
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