Paper Towns Movie Review

Originally I planned to do one of my typical Book vs. Movie posts for Paper Towns, but it’s been so long that I’ve read the book that I couldn’t remember the details even if I wanted to. Instead you’re getting a simple movie review (with Spoiler-free and a Spoiler section)!

So, I got to watch the UK Preview Screening which did not just include the movie, but also footage from the Q&A that was done with John Green, Nat Wolff and Cara Delevigngne in June. They talked about their similarities with the characters, what the audience should take away from the movie and whether they ever did something as crazy as the road trip in the movie. It wasn’t very long, but it was the perfect way to start the movie.

Now, I don’t know how many of you read the book or watched the movie or just generally know the story, but this is like a little plot summary:

Ever since Margo Roth Spiegelman moved in next to Quentin, who everyone just calls Q, he’s been in love with her. But their lives developed differently and while Q made safe choices and led a fairly sheltered life, Margo threw herself into every possible adventure, becoming a myth herself in the progress.
We are in their Senior Year at High School and Q’s optimism for ever being part of Margo’s life again is low, until one night, when she enters through his bedroom window and makes him her revenge-plot-accomplice. The next day, Q has the feeling that everything has changed, but has to find out that Margo is gone. Now he has to decide whether he’ll continue his uneventful life or if he’ll go searching for her, following the little clues she’s left behind.

First, I want to say that Paper Towns is one of my favourite books of John Green. I know that a lot of people prefer Looking for Alaska, but in my opinion the books are very similar and I read Paper Towns first, so I have a feeling that that impacted my opinion. However, when I heard that the same people who adapted The Fault in Our Stars would do this movie, I was massively excited, because they did a great job with TFIOS. I wasn’t entirely sure about the casting, but ended up really liking everyone they picked! Cara is like a real-life Margo to me, Nat is perfect as Q and I never thought I cared that much about how the others looked but they were also a perfect fit! Especially Justice Smith and Austin Abrams had mad chemistry with their female counterparts as well as a strong bromance with Nat Wolff!

Another thing I absolutely loved was the Soundtrack! Again, the music (just like in TFIOS) was brilliant and I cannot stop listening to it. Whoever chooses the artists and songs, I applaud you!

Now, on to the not so great part. While I did really enjoy myself during the entire movie, it did not have the exact same vibe and emotional impact as the book. I get that they had to make changes and, as I mentioned above, I cannot remember it in that much detail anyway, so I don’t care about that. I liked the ending even though it’s supposedly different from the book, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I was really bothered by how quickly Q and the others figures out Margo’s clues. I do understand that the film might’ve been way too long if they showed the real struggle, but it seemed so easy. They found a clue and within a couple of minutes they knew what to do. From what I could remember those clues were so vague sometimes, Q racked his brain for days sometimes.

This is only a minor issue though and other than that I laughed a lot (who wouldn’t when Black Santas are involved) and generally enjoyed watching the friendship of everyone on screen evolve and grow. The road trip could’ve gone on forever if it were up to me!

SPOILER AHEAD!!!!!! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE MOVIE

I don’t really want to talk so much about the plot in the Spoiler-section as I want to talk about some cameos!
So, it was announced that John Green would have a cameo in the movie, but I didn’t see him. The thing is, you wouldn’t either. He doesn’t actually physically appear in the movie, he just voices the father of Becca’s father. That was not the cameo that nearly stopped my heart though. I read on Twitter that Ansel Elgort stopped by on set and now it all makes sense, but I did not even think about him being in the movie. I seriously started grinning from one ear to the other, I was so happy to see him.

SPOILER OFF 

All in all, I laughed, I almost cried and I really enjoyed the movie even though it has some flaws. People need to stop comparing it to TFIOS because of course those movies aren’t going to have the same emotional impact. One of them is about teenagers with a terminal illness, whereas the other movie is about not putting people on pedestals, taking risks and finding out who you are. What are your thoughts?

The DUFF: Book vs. Trailer

In my Taylor Swift Book Tag I mentioned how much I was looking forward to reading the DUFF (=Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger and now I finally got around to it. As you may or may not know, I buy a lot of the books I read after watching the trailer for their movie adaptation and this one was no exception. All throughout the comments on YouTube people complained about how different the movie looked from the book. I thought this was just the usual annoyance that came with movie adaptations barely ever being faithful to their underlying material, but now I can tell you that the two are really nothing alike. I don’t know what the studio was thinking when they produced this film, but it has nothing to do with the story the book tried to tell.

So, basically the movie looks like a typical generic teenage RomCom – nothing wrong with that. Themes like the one from “She’s All That” and “Mean Gilrs” have been copied a million times for a simple reason: they work. I’m not one to judge them for that and quite honestly I would watch it for the simple reason that it has Robbie Amell in it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s not the book.

Warning: from here on there will be Spoilers for the book (and possibly the movie)!

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger is about Bianca Piper, a cynic girl who deals with her problems by entering into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with the person she hates the most: Wesley Rush. She starts avoiding her friends and bottles up her emotions which inevitably leads to a lot of chaos. Despite what the trailer suggests, the story is a lot deeper and deals with multiple issues that not only teens are confronted with. Here are some of the major differences I’ve spotted:

  • Bianca doesn’t come to Wesley for help. She despises him and solely uses him as a means of escape, well until it turns into something else. It’s different than in the movie though. She doesn’t want to change her appearance, or herself in general, to make anyone like her and he doesn’t fall for her just because she’s slowly changing for the better, but because they have a genuine connection. Bianca knows that for the people who really care about her, she doesn’t have to pretend.
  • I have no idea who Bella Thorne is supposed to be. There is no mean girl in the story. Of course there are the obligatory bitchy cheerleaders, but not a particular mean girl who rules the school. Was that really necessary to add?
  • There is some hope in me that they will deal with the family issues of the characters in the movie, even though it doesn’t look like it from what I could tell from the trailer. But I thought it was important to have Bianca’s father’s alcoholism and her mother being away all the time as well as Wesley’s judgmental grandmother, his sweet little sister and so on in the book. The cast list doesn’t really reassure me though … we’ll see.
  • The movie makes it look like the goal of it all is to make Bianca datable for prom – she doesn’t even go to prom! Neither does she go to the Homecoming or any other school dance, because they just aren’t her thing. There better not be some big showdown at prom …
  • The Nest just doesn’t exist. Seems sad to me, since I really wanted to see Joe.
  • I suppose there will be a lot less sex in the movie. Just an educated guess.
  • I suppose the only thing that will be the same in the movie and the book is moral of the story, which means that Bianca soon discovers that everyone who has friends feels like the Duff at some point.

I hope it came across that I really don’t think the stories have anything in common. I mean not even the set up is the same. Have you read the book? Let’s talk about it!

This Is Where I Leave You: Book vs. Movie

Since I haven’t talked about books in such a long time, and most of the books I read got adapted for the big screen,  I decided to compare the This Is Where I Leave You movie and book! Jonathan Tropper, the author of the book, also wrote the script for the movie, which lead me to believe that it would be a very faithful adaption. Some things definitely stayed the same, but there were more changes than I expected. I will give you a short summary of the synopsis and then name all the differences that I noticed, which means there are definitely Spoilers involved!

The core of the story didn’t change when it got adapted. This Is Where I Leave You deals with the fact that everyone mourns differently and that we all need our family sometimes – no matter how messed up it is. More specifically it is about four siblings and their mother, who have to sit Shiva (which is the mourning period in Judaism, where the first-degree relatives gather at one home and receive visitors for seven days). The family is not exactly close and it doesn’t take long for old rivalries, romances and accusations to surface again.

Now, before I get into full detail, I want to say that I liked the movie a bit more than I liked the book. The cast was chosen really well, consisting of Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, Adam Driver (so glad to see him in more movies now), Corey Stoll, Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Abigail Spencer, Dax Shepard, Debra Monk and many more. The music was fitting the tone and I liked the pace of it. However, I think I enjoyed it more because I read the book before. Knowing all the background stories really helped making some scenes more emotional and meaningful. This Is Where I Leave You is one of those movies where you have to look at what’s underneath the surface to realise the struggle this family went trough and the love they have for each other.

But all that probably didn’t help you very much, so here are my more specific pointers on the differences between the movie and the book:

  • The first and most obvious difference I noticed was the fact that the family has a different surname. They went from Foxman to Altman for whatever reason … seriously, no idea why.
  • I enjoyed that we didn’t get to hear Judd’s thoughts. Of course that was necessary in the book – how else would you have told the story? But I sometimes really didn’t want to hear what he was thinking, especially not when he was horny again.
  • There was only one flashback to Judd’s childhood, which didn’t bother me while watching the movie at all, but ultimately ended up killing a lot of storylines. I usually don’t like flashbacks at all, but the one they did was perfect.
  • The entire background story of why Paul and Judd don’t get along was erased. Judd still dated Annie before she married Paul and that bothers him of course, but he no longer has this lingering anger towards Judd for ruining his career in sports. I actually liked that storyline in the book, especially because in the end it just amounted to a lot of miscommunication instead of actual feelings of hate.
  • The relationship between Judd and Penny was also different than in the book.  While teen book-Judd was madly in love with Penny, it seems that it was the other way round in the movie.
  • Okay, so there is this one thing, I am hugely relieved didn’t happen! Annie did not have sex with Judd in the movie! That was so messed up in the book and I just kept thinking how it would ruin Paul’s and Judd’s relationship forever, if Paul ever found out. Paul and Annie are such a lovely couple as well and while I understand Annie’s frustration about not getting pregnant, she went too far for my opinion.
  • The break-up between Tracey and Phillip was a little different. There wasn’t as much arguing involved and Phillip did not threaten to kill himself. I am not sure how I feel about that, but all the other scenes with Tracey were actually very faithful to the book.
  • Judd did not find out about Linda and his mother before all the others did. Which I sort of missed, because I actually thought the way he reacted when he first thought about it being a possibility was sweet. The way he just accepted it and didn’t judge them was great.
  • Judd never withdrew all the money from Quinn’s and his joined bank account.
  • I think I understood Horry’s and Wendy’s story a lot better, because I read the book. I could imagine some people not being as involved in their tragic, because they didn’t get the whole thing in the movie.
  • This is no particular difference, but Cole was beyond cute in the movie!

I hope I didn’t forget anything and I would love to hear your opinion! Have you read the book/watched the movie/both?