Hungry for some Hunger Games (movie edition)

Chelsea and I definitely agreed it was worth a Sci-Five!

Ok seriously, I don’t know wtf was up with the audience in my theatre but I couldn’t tell if I was there to watch a movie or at a meeting of the World’s Smallest Bladder Club.  I think the four people in our group were the only people in the entire theatre that didn’t get up to pee at some point.  And don’t even get me started on the couple who brought the newborn baby.

Aaaaaand my bitch session has officially ended, on to the review of Hunger Games!

*The usual warning: I actually do a pretty good job of not spoiling things but if you’re nervous about it, you may want to wait until after you’ve seen the movie to read my review.

Oh, Katniss Everdeen.  I love you so much.  We have a lot in common, you and I. We are both tougher than we look, don’t make friends easily but are fiercely loyal when we do, would do anything for our younger siblings, and are totally clueless when someone has a crush on us.  That is, until they flat out say it…and maybe clap their hands in front of your face and set off a foghorn in your ear.

Oh, Jennifer Lawrence.  I love you so much.  You’re the actress I would have picked to play Katniss and I’m very happy that the powers that be agreed with me.  You bring strength and vulnerability to a role that could easily have been botched by lesser actresses.  Plus your perty.

Oh, Peeta Mellark.  You’re such a sweetheart.  You represent all the guys who are in love with the girls who say “you’re just like my brother!”  You’re quietly supportive and then completely awestruck when the girl finally starts to see you in a different light.  I’ve been that girl who has dated that boy and I root for you.

Oh, Josh Hutcherson.  I feel like I’ve watched you grow up.  You were pretty good in Bridge to Terabithia and even better in The Kids Are All Right.  You’ve turned into quite the charmer.  Your smile is totally adorkable.  I heard about you introducing Liam to White Castle, then playing basketball so hard you both threw up all those hamburgers.  That’s really gross but really funny.  Male bonding is weird.

Oh, Gale Hawthorne.  You’re the guy that the girls who don’t realize how awesome they are feel like they can never get.  You’re a stud but you don’t even know it.  You’re a great friend and you think of that dorky girl as a cute little sister until the day someone else starts to pursue her and then you realize that you’ve loved her all along. I’ve been that girl who has dated that guy too and I root for you as well.

Oh, Liam Hemsworth.  You’re dating Miley Cyrus and I’m not gonna lie, that kind of turns me off.  BUT, you’re Thor’s little brother and you seem really down to earth in all your interviews so I’m willing to look past the Miley Factor.  You’re also kind of ridiculously cute.  Not as cute as your older brother, but you can hold your own.

Other District 12 peeps:

You might recognize Mrs. Everdeen if you watched the Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica where Paula Malcolmson played Amanda Graystone. I think she was a good choice to play the mom-with-no-first-name.  She’s excellent at staring blankly and crying.  Primrose Everdeen is a character I totally love and I think that Willow Shields did a fine job portraying her.  She’s got some heavy stuff coming up in the next two films and I hope she’s up to the task.  Woody Harrelson was an inspired choice to play Haymitch, the only Victor that District 12 has ever had.  He provided comic relief but also some very tender moments that I found very endearing.  He came to SFSU when I was a Freshman to talk about SOL (Simple Organic Living) and legalizing marijuana and while Miss Mary Jane is not my thing, I really enjoyed watching him speak.  He struck me as the kind of guy I’d like to chill out and have a beer with (or, in my case, a shot of Jager).

Capital peeps:

Lenny Kravitz was lovely as Cinna, Katniss’s stylist and Capital BFF.  In real life Jennifer Lawrence and his daughter Zoe are best friends (they starred in X-Men: First Class together) so they already had a relationship that could be expanded upon.  I’ve really grown to like Elizabeth Banks.  I didn’t pay too much attention to her early in her career.  I thought she was cute as Betty Brant in Spider-Man but that was about it.  Then one day something clicked and I’ve been keeping an eye on her ever since.  She made for a great Effie Trinket, though I always imagined Effie being even perkier than Banks’ portrayal.  Seneca Crane is a pretty minor character in the books.  They definitely expanded his role for the movie to take full advantage of Wes Bentley and his epic swirly beard.  I love Donald Sutherland.  When I was a kid a TV movie came out called The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All and I don’t know why (probably because I’m a huge history nerd), but that movie has always stuck with me.  It stars Sutherland as an aging Confederate Captain who takes Diane Lane as a child bride.  In it he has a cold, calm demeanor with a vicious temper lying just below the surface. Much like President Snow.  President Coriolanus Snow is scary because of all the ways he isn’t scary.  He’s small with slightly snake-like features, he zealously tends his gardens, and he doesn’t raise his voice.  Quiet and calculating, the man literally has blood breath that he masks with the genetically engineered super roses he wears on his lapel.  But the Capitalist of the Year Award has to go to Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman.  Brilliant.

I wrote a post after reading The Hunger Games for the first time in June 2011.  Normally I would reread the book before going to see the movie but I’m right in the middle of A Dance with Dragons and I didn’t want to interrupt so I’m purely going off memory here.  From what I remember the movie follows the book extremely well.  A great film adaptation that I can’t help but feel is owed to Suzanne Collins helping to write the screenplay.  Two things that were different and that I really missed were:

1. The omission of Madge Undersee, the Mayor’s daughter who gives Katniss the Mockingjay pin in the book.  The ties that bind them are eventually revealed in Book 2, Catching Fire and take the story to an even deeper, more emotional level.

2. The dogs at the end of the Hunger Games.  In the movie they are pitbull-type and identical but in the book they are mutts with the mutated faces of the kids who have already died in the Games.  The mutt dogs are meant to be a total mindfuck for the remaining Tributes, as opposed to just being giant scary dogs.

Respect yo

I think that the filmmakers are relying on the fact that you’ve read the book and already know about some of the characters and situations.  Having read the books and not finding it a problem, I know this only because one of the people I was with hadn’t read the books and was very confused by certain parts, like the three-fingered salute.  He wanted to know where the heck that came from and what it meant.  I’m hoping the DVD has deleted scenes like the dubbing of the redhead as “Foxface” so that I know they at least tried to get it in there but just had to cut it for time.  Also, I cried twice within the first 50 pages of the book and probably a dozen times over the course of all three.  There is a true sense of hopelessness and despair that just can’t be captured onscreen.  I got a little verklempt during Rue’s final scene but it didn’t deliver the emotional wallop I was expecting it to and that kind of bummed me out.

Stylistically I thought that the movie was gorgeous.  District 12 was appropriately bleak and made the surrounding woods that Katniss and Gale escape to all the more beautiful.  The Capital was gaudy, though not as much as I expected it to be.  I was expecting to see people with green skin and implanted cat whiskers and whatnot but found that I didn’t really miss them.  The flame effect was nicely done.  For some reason I always pictured their whole bodies being on fire, as opposed to just the head and shoulders.  But that didn’t really bother me.

I really liked the Hunger Games Control Room with its sterile interior and white uniforms.  It kind of made me feel like zombies were going to break out of a holding cell down the hall.  But that’s a good thing (for once) because it means that it was creepy and the idea of people sitting around and calmly deciding how best to kill innocent children is a really creepy idea.

If I have one complaint it’s the shaky cam.  I seriously hate shaky cam.  I saw the movie twice, once closer to the screen and once further back.  Being further back I didn’t notice the shakiness that much and I enjoyed the movie much more.  When I was closer to the screen it gave me a bad headache a la Cloverfield (a movie that I will never watch again despite my love for JJ Abrams and Lizzy Caplan).  So if the filmmakers ever read this (haha yeah right) I implore you, please ditch the shaky cam unless you deem it absolutely necessary for very small parts of the film.

Most of all, this movie got me really, really, REALLY excited for the next two films, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.  I can’t wait to see how they handle the Quarter Quell and District 13, etc etc.  Gah! I’m trying really hard not to give anything away for anyone who hasn’t read the books yet.  If you haven’t, you really should.  They are technically YA novels but that’s kind of like saying the last few Harry Potter books are for children.  They’re really not.

4.5 out of 5 Sci-Fives!

7 Guys Worth Nerdgasaming Over

Just replace the Tribble with one of these 7 delicious men and I’ll be a happy camper

My sister-in-law and I were at WonderCon on Friday and somehow we got on the topic of “Cheat Sheets.”

And no, I’m not talking about the school variety.

The “Cheat Sheet” I’m referring to is a list of people you’re allowed to get it on with and your significant other can’t hold it against you.  You both get one and the list is full of people you don’t even remotely stand a chance with.  For example, Robert Downey Jr. and Christian Bale are on my SIL’s list.  Isla Fisher and Gretchen Mole are on my brother’s list.  They are only allowed 5 each.

Now, I’ve written a number of articles about sexy women, the 2 most popular being 10 Hottest Babes of Sci-Fi and Maxim’s Hot 100 Lucky 13 but I have yet to write a post about nerd-worthy sexy men.  This kind of blows my mind. It also got me thinking about my own list and who would be on it.  I certainly know it when I see it if I’d hit it…but can I narrow it down to a list?

It’s was a difficult challenge but one that I was willing to accept.

Yeesh my job really sucks sometimes 😉

After much thought, meditation and Google image searching, I’ve put together my Cheat Sheet. I couldn’t narrow it down to 5 so I get 7.  Because I’m HNG and I say so.  So there.  Naturally everyone on my list fits nicely into the nerd ‘verse….cause that’s all I ever pay attention to anyways…ahem.  Sorry if you don’t bat for this team and it’s not your kind of list.  I’m an equal opportunity sexy list maker and I can’t (nay won’t!) neglect the fans who will appreciate this.

So without further ado, here’s my list in alphabetical order:

Orlando Bloom

I studied for my college finals every December for 3 years in a row while waiting in the 5+ hour line for opening day of the latest Lord of the Rings movie.  I graduated Cum Laude so I must have been doing something right.  The first time I saw Legolas on screen I was 100% convinced that I was going to marry him one day.  Then all the teeny boppers jumped on that bandwagon (especially once Pirates of the Caribbean came out) and it turned me off big time.  But still, I can’t help it.  I think he’s adorable.  Thankfully most of those teeny boppers have moved on to RPatz.  I used to see Orlando outside my work sometimes, once with Dominic Monaghan (and cue borderline creepy stalker pic) and my heart would still leap into my throat.  So he stays on the list.

Nathan Fillion

Does this one really need an explanation?  I didn’t think so.  But I’ll give one anyway.  Actually, I wrote a whole blog about it back when HNG was brand spankin’ new and I stand by it.  But aside from the fact that he’s Malcolm Reynolds, Captain Hammer, Richard Castle, The Holy Avenger, etc etc etc…Nathan himself has an amazing sense of humor.  I don’t pay much attention to my Twitter account (although I probably should) but every once in a while I go on and just read back through his tweets for fun.  I’m often told that I look like Stana Katic, Nathan’s source of sexual tension on Castle.  I disagree about the physical similarities but I would gladly trade places with her and experience some of that sexual tension for myself. ….please….?

Tom Hardy

Five of the men on this list are foreigners with deliciously sexy foreign accents.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m as proud an American as they come, but GD I love a good accent.  There’s a scene in This Means War when Reese Witherspoon meets Tom Hardy for the first time and she asks him to say something again because it sounds so awesome.  I could not have said it better myself.  Tom Hardy first came to my attention as the Captain Picard clone in Star Trek: Nemesis.  I went to see it on opening day with about ten guy friends.  About five minutes into the movie I started crying (because I’m a movie psychic and I’d already figured out what would happen to Data) much to the horror of every guy I was with.   I will never forget the moment when the friend next to me asked me if I was ok and I looked over and saw ten grown men staring at me like I had tentacles sprouting from my face.  It was HI-larious.  But I digress.  The other thing that stood out was Tom.  He’s been charming me ever since, crooked teeth and all. Seriously, he was my very favorite character in InceptionI think I’m the only person on the planet that isn’t looking forward to seeing him as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.  I know he’s going to be brilliant but the thought of him like that just makes me cringe.  But I’ll still watch it.  Over and over and over again.

Chris Hemsworth

If you’ve been following the blog for a while this will come as no surprise.  If you are a newbie, allow me to explain.  I’m a big Thor fan. 1. He’s my favorite comic book character and 2. I’m a ridiculously proud Scandinavian who grew up listening to stories about Odin and Asgard while we made lefse and sauerkraut.  The first time I remember seeing Thor on a movie screen was when Vincent D’Onofrio reluctantly accepted the title in Adventures in Babysitting, one of my very favorite movies of all time. So I had very high hopes for whoever Kenneth Branaugh cast in his Avengers set up.  I wasn’t sure what to think about Chris Hemsworth at first.  I remembered him being Kirk’s daddy in the latest Star Trek and I thought he was mighty cute but not big enough to be the God of Thunder.  Then he took his shirt off and I had a conniption fit.  OMFG.  Seriously Chris, you just have to say the word and it is on like Donkey Kong.

James McAvoy

I think my attraction to James mostly has to do with his Scottish accent.  And his eyes.  And the fact that he’s a brilliant actor.  And his eyes.  And his accent.  All of which I discussed in my review of X-Men: First Class. But aside from all that, he’s uber talented.  Mr. Tumnus is one of those literary characters that is beloved by fans of The Chronicles of Narnia and James did good by our favorite faun.  Plus, he rocks the Jane Austin-type stuff and you know us girls eat that shit right up.

David Tennant

Another choice that needs no explanation.  Easily the sexiest of all the Doctor incarnations, his 3 series and 8 specials are the most popular and well-loved of the long running Doctor Who BBC show.  Then he had to go and seal the deal with Harry Potter and Fright Night, forcing me to adore him forever.  His face is so malleable, he can twist and turn it in countless ways.  But when he just stop and smiles, your heart melts.  David, I am so sorry (see what I did there?), but I just can’t quit you.

Michael Trucco

Now, my brother’s name is Michael and normally I’m totally weirded out by the thought of banging someone with the same name as someone I’m related to but in this case I will totally make an exception.  I fell head over heels in love with Anders the second he showed up on Battlestar Galactica.  Lee who?  Seriously, I wanted to punch Starbuck in the face for the way she treated him.  Even the fact that he was a Cylon could not diminish my love.  It sucked when he went all vegetable and yet I would still probably hit that.  I’m a little grossed out by myself right now but damn, that is a fine ass man.  He also had memorable guest spots on Big Bang Theory and Castle (where my celebrity look alike got to have a nice little love triangle with TWO of the people on my list.  Bitch.)

Runners Up:

Richard Madden – Game of Thrones

Kit Harington – Game of Thrones

Chris O’Donnell – Batman Forever (but never ever ever Batman & Robin *shudder*)

Patrick Stewart – Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men

Henry Cavill – The Tudors, Immortals, Man of Steel

Jamie Dornan – Once Upon A Time

Jason Mamoa – Conan the Barbarian, Game of Thrones, Stargate: Atlantis

Ben BrowderFarscape, Stargate SG1, upcoming Doctor Who episode

Alexander Skarsgard – True Blood

Ryan Kwanten – True Blood

Joe ManganielloTrue Blood

Tristan MacManus – Dancing with the Stars (I know, totally random, right? But I’m a theatre/dance nerd too and he’s frakking adorable)