Category Archives: movie review

Drive – April’s Book and Movie Review

drive movie posterQuick Book/Movie Summary:

Novel (2006) – Author: James Sallis (Summary from Amazon) Drive is about a man who does stunt driving for movies by day and drives for criminals at night.

Movie (2011) – Screenwriter: Hossein Amini Director: Nicolas Winding Refn  (summary from imdb) A mysterious Hollywood stuntman and mechanic moonlights as a getaway driver and finds himself trouble when he helps out his neighbor.

Book/Movie Club Set Up:

Our group (women ages 23-47) pick a book that has been made into a movie. We read the book and then get together for thematic food, to discuss the book, and then to watch the movie.

On the menu:

Each of us are to bring either a drink, dessert and/or appetizer and it is fun to use the storydrive food for inspiration. Below is the spread for this month.

Food: Pepperoni pizza (delivered of course), pineapple alfredo pizza, chocolate cupcakes, brownies, roasted Brussels sprouts, chips and dip, parmesan wings.

Drinks: red wine, beer

Thoughts about the Book: It was unanimous – nobody liked it. It was confusing and disjointed. I got lost a few times, but didn’t bother to go back and find out what I missed. I just kept reading so I could get to the end.

The style of the book kind of reminded me of an indie-film, but the problem is, it’s a book not a movie, so it didn’t quite work without a solid plot.

Several of us did like the character Doc and his cat. Those few chapters kept my attention for some reason.

driveThoughts about the Movie:

Everyone liked the movie better than the book, which is becoming (surprisingly) more of the norm for our group.

I think the screenwriter did a great job of bringing all the disjointed elements of the book together and creating a cohesive storyline while maintaining the stylistic vibe of the book. He also made the main character, Driver, more relatable (and likeable) by changing his quick tempered disposition to an only-violent-when-extremely-motivated one.

Some of us liked the soundtrack and others didn’t think it actually went with the movie. There was a lot of staring, which at times became distracting, which became silly & comical.

The Girly Discussions:

We thought the book and the movie were targeted for a male audience – especially the movie – car chases and stunts, hands-over-the-eyes gross violence – At one point in the movie, someone said, “The only thing missing are boobs.” And guess what the next scene was, lol.

We also thought the elevator scene was very strange …

Interesting Discoveries:

It was called “arthouse action” by Rotten Tomatoes which gave it 92% on their TOMATOMETER – I can see that.

The Group’s Average ratings:

Book: 1 glasses of wine out of 5

Movie: 3 glasses of wine out of 5

The bottom line:

I can’t recommend the book because I didn’t care for it. However, it is completely different than anything I’ve ever read, and it did provide the background of the character for the movie.

The movie is worth watching – I liked the music and the style – just know that it is going to turn gross-violent without warning … no time to look away! “Ewww …”

Next month’s Book and Movie:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (with a zombie garden party theme)

Love and Laughter,


How to be Single – March’s Book and Movie Review


How to be Single CoverQuick Book/Movie Summary:

Novel – by Liz Tuccillo (summary from Amazon) How to Be Single is about one woman’s attempts to navigate a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love.

Movie – Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein, and Dana Fox (Summary from Rotten Tomatoes) A young woman searches for love in New York City in this romantic comedy…

Book/Movie Club Set Up:

Our group (women ages 23-47) pick a book that has been made into a movie. We read the book and then get together for thematic food, to discuss the book, and then to watch the movie.

On the menu:

Each of us are to bring either a drink, dessert and/or appetizer and it is fun to use the storyHow to be Single - Onion Creek2 for inspiration. This month, we changed it up a bit (again) by going to eat at Onion Creek in Houston to discuss the book, and then going to the movies to watch the film. We had cocktails afterwards – to discuss the movie, of course. Below is the spread for both pre-movie and post-movie.

Food: French Fries, Onion rings, cheese sticks, Chips and chile con queso, cheeseburger, chili dog, artichoke and feta pizza

Drinks: Craft Beer, Bud Light, Margaritas, Long Island Ice Tea

Thoughts about the Book:

The book was okay. It was kind of depressing, the characters were cliché, and one of the single women in our group called it total bullshit.

But there were some interesting parts and characters who we liked more than others. One person mentioned how she was glad that it wasn’t all tied up with a pretty bow at the end.

To me, it started out slow but picked up interest in the middle.

Oh, and we had some alternate titles:

“How to get Laid While Single”

“How to get Laid While Single, Around the World”

“Men are Jerks”

“How to Validate Yourself Based Solely on your Romantic Relationship”

“How to Validate Yourself Based Solely on your Romantic Relationship, Around the World”

Thoughts about the Movie:

Everyone liked the movie better than the book, which is really unusual.

Normally, we are trying to figure out the differences in the movie from the book but this time we had to rack our brains to come up with things that were the same – Completely different story. And we were trying to figure out why they would they even say it was inspired by the book – they didn’t even use the same characters. (I think it was just so they could use the names of her other bestsellers and movie hits.)

The movie was funny (laugh-out-loud parts), had a nice balance of sweet/sad scenes, and I think it had a deeper meaning of being single than the book had. I would call it a relationship comedy instead of a romantic comedy.

But of course, all movies have their issues – One lady from our group had an alternate title for the movie: “How to be Comfortable with Yourself if you’re Affluent, White, Educated, and Heterosexual.”

The Girly Discussions:

We thought how nice it would be to be able to jump up at any time and travel around the world just like the characters in the book. (The movie stayed in New York)

We wondered if Liz Tuccillo (author) really traveled around the world to research for the book or only used her creative license to make stuff up.

Some of us thought the men in the movie were a little too much on the sweet side (although we did like most of them), and the men in the book were complete jerks.

Interesting Discoveries:

Liz Tuccillo did do actual research! “For the research for this book, she traveled to eight different countries interviewing single men and woman. She had a really great time.”

Well, that makes the book even more depressing …

The Group’s Average ratings:

Book: 3.5 glasses of beer out of 5

Movie: 4 glasses of beer out of 5

The bottom line:

I saw the trailer for the movie before I read the book so I might have been expecting more of a comedy instead of a woman on a mission to find out how all the single women in the world are faring. And I was actually happy that the movie was nothing like the book.

Next month’s Book and Movie:

Drive by James Sallis


Love and Laughter,


The Martian – February’s Book and Movie Review

The martian poster

Quick Book/Movie Summary:

Novel – 2011 – by Andy Weir  (Summary From Amazon): Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Movie – 2015- Directed by Ridley Scott – Screenplay by Drew Goddard (Summary from IMDB):. During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

Book/Movie Club Set Up:

Our group (women ages 23-47) pick a book that has been made into a movie. We read theThe Martian group pic book and then get together for thematic food, to discuss the book, and then to watch the movie.

On the menu:

Each of us are to bring either a drink, dessert and/or appetizer and it is fun to use the story for inspiration. This month, we changed it up a bit by doing a sleepover theme – we wore our jammies and had pizza & beer. Below is the spread.

Martian foodAppetizers: Chips & dip, Popcorn, Pizza

Drinks: Bud light, Coke, Corona

Dessert: Blueberry French Toast Bake, S’mores Dip, Twinkies, Candy-candy-candy, Astronaut freeze dried ice cream sandwich

Thoughts about the Book:

The group’s opinions about the book went from “I would not have read past the 6th chapter if it wasn’t for the book club,” to “I liked it okay,” to “Five stars!”

I was in the first category, which thought the book was too technical and could have used more relationships of any sort.

The women who really enjoyed the book thought it was full of tension and suspense and were actually intrigued by the trouble-shooting process and Watney’s survivial skills.

We all agreed Weir has a great sense of humor and thought his character Mark Watney was dynamic. (I’ll be the first in line if this author ever decides to write a ROMCOM.)

Thoughts about the Movie:

I actually liked it better than the book, which is super rare. But overall, everyone, even the people who loved the book, thought the movie was average. It stayed pretty true to the book, which is nice, but left out a few things that we really thought should have been left in there.

I didn’t actually finish the book – I just couldn’t pick it up again – and as I watched the ending of the movie I was like, “I didn’t read the best part of the book!” Although, apparently it wasn’t exactly the same as the book’s ending.

The scenery was really cool, looked like Mars to me.

I think Matt Damon was a perfect pick for this role. You have to be a pretty darn good actor to play most of the scenes by yourself and still be entertaining.

 Interesting Discoveries:

The Martian was 2016 Winner of The Golden Globes Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, & Matt Damon won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy This is just weird … Yes, it had funny parts, but don’t read/watch expecting a comedy.

 Astronaut ice cream sandwiches are pretty good.

The Girly Discussions:

Matt Damon: Hot or Not? (By the end of the movie, everyone agreed he didn’t look hot anymore – “Shave that beard!”) That conversation lead to, “Well, if you don’t think he’s cute, who do you think is cute?” which lead to: “Which Hemsworth brother is hotter?” (BTW – I picked Chris, of course.)

We liked that the commander was a woman.

We liked how they added scenes to the end of the movie that wasn’t in the book, wrapping everything up.

The Group’s Average Ratings:

Book: 4 bottles of beer out of 5

Movie: 3 bottles of beer out of 5

The Bottom Line:

This one is tough. It just depends on the genre of books you like to read. If you like Sci-Fi, step by step survival guides, and/or you’re a space nerd, read the book. And I think the movie is worth watching because of Matt Damon’s performance, the scenery, and the humor.

Next Month’s Book and Movie:

How to be Single by Liz Tuccillo

Love and Laughter,


Here are some of our past movie/book reviews

East of Eden

Drug Store Cowboy

Z for Zachariah

True Story



East of Eden – January’s Book and Movie Review (And Giveaway!)

east of eden movie picQuick Book/Movie Summary:

Novel – 1952 – by John Steinbeck  (Summary From Amazon): Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

Movie – 1955Directed by Elia Kazan – Screenplay by Paul Osborn (Summary from IMDB): In the Salinas Valley, in and around World War I, Cal Trask feels he must compete against overwhelming odds with his brother Aron for the love of their father Adam.

Book/Movie Club Set Up:

Our group (women ages 23-47) pick a book that has been made into a movie. We read the book and then get together for thematic food, to discuss the book, and then to watch the movie.

On the menu:

Each of us are to bring either a drink, dessert and/or appetizer and it is fun to use the storyEast of eden book club spread for inspiration. This month, we changed it up a bit by doing a wine & cheese theme. Below is the spread.

Appetizers: We ended up with ten different cheeses including, Gouda, Asiago, goat cheese, Fromayer D’Affinois. Plus prosciutto, salami, sesame crackers, pita chips, crostini, fruit, and more.

Drinks: assortment of red and white wines

Dessert: French twist, brownies, cookies

Thoughts about the Book:

At 600 pages I was a little afraid of this book. But as it turns out, after the first chapter, it swept me away – however, it did take me up to the day before we met to finish reading it. And furthermore, only one other person in our group made it through the entire thing. A couple of people made it half way through, one made it to 100 pages, and one person couldn’t get very far at all because she kept falling asleep –

The two of us who did finish the book, loved it. Steinbeck is a master story teller. He created very vibrant characters on both ends of the good/bad spectrum. The story of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel were woven throughout the book and came full circle in the end. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel and highly recommend it.

Thoughts about the Movie:

The movie was only inspired by the last part of East of Eden – One main important character, Lee, was removed and his inspirational speeches were given to other characters. The beauty and monstrousness of Steinbeck dynamic character Cathy/Kate was watered down. I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to the movie.

The highlight of the movie was, of course, James Dean. Although we all respected his acting because it was so James Dean (And the character he played in this movie was compared to the one in Rebel without a Cause), we also made fun of his overacting – his erratic movements and teenage angst were a bit amusing. So, you know, there was a lot of laughing during this drama.

Interesting Discoveries:

 It was the only film (major roll) that was released during James Dean’s lifetime. And he was nominated for best actor, academy awards 1956.

Other’s considered for the role of Cal (James Dean’s character) were Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Paul Newman.

There may be a new movie in the works and it will star Jennifer Lawrence as Cathy/Kate – There is word that it will be two movies so that it will have both generations – so excited to hear this! I will be waiting on this movie – I’m wondering who will play Cal – What big shoes to fill …

 The Girly Discussions:

east of eden book coversJames Dean, James Dean, James Dean …

We didn’t care for Abra’s bangs – (I didn’t care for Julie Harris as Abra at all.)

The actors who played the Trasks Twins (James Dean and Richard Davalos ) looked more like brothers than they were portrayed in the book. In the novel, they were complete opposites.

Some thought Aron was pretty handsome himself.

Was James Dean’s hair grey in this movie? It looked grey in several scenes.


The Group’s Average ratings:

Book: 4 glasses of wine out of 5

Movie: 2 glasses of wine out of 5

The bottom line:

Read the book, and, if you love it and decide to watch the movie, just be aware that it is not the same story, but I think it is still worth watching – the cinematic classic of the 50s won a lot of awards and James Dean’s performance is what made him a star.

Next month’s Book and Movie:

The Martian by Andy Weir


I have decided to giveaway (US only) my copy of East of Eden (The middle book in the pic above) so someone else can experience this classic tale. If you would like to read it, comment on this post on my blog, and I’ll draw a name from all who commented on January 31, 2016 – I will post the winner on Feb 1st.

Love and Laughter,



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