Why the book is better than the movie (With one notable exception)

I have always loved watching TV. Yes, I said loved. I watch far too much and I blame my mother for that. She limited my TV watching when I was a kid. For a while growing up we didn’t even have a TV. (My babysitters were very bored after I went to bed.) I never … Continue reading

Super Mario Bros. (Yes, the movie)

The recent video game film, Wreck-It Ralph (2012), has been called by some “the best video game movie ever made.” On the surface, that sounds like quite the endorsement, but if you dig deeper, such a title doesn’t carry much weight when you look at the rest of the sample in question. In short, it … Continue reading

The Phantom

Ah, the mid-to-late 1990s. It was a new Golden Age for the cinema, and 1996 was a banner year: it brought us Barb Wire, Dragonheart, and the Billy Zane superhero film, The Phantom. I have a soft-spot for The Phantom. Which should not come as a surprise, since my film collection runs the gamut from … Continue reading

Penelope, still waiting

Hooked by P.D. James’ Death Comes to Pemberley on the idea of reading classics in a new light, I looked for more books where a favorite story of mine had been extended. I had already read a few novels from Darcy’s point of view and none hit the spot. Few authors are talented enough to … Continue reading

An old favorite in new hands

For me, the mark of a great book is that I don’t want it to end. When the number of pages in my right hand dwindles down to nothing and I just want one more page, one more line so I can stay in the book’s world, I know I’ve found a favorite. Sometimes the … Continue reading

Watching the book

This past summer summer my husband and I finally got around to painting our living room. The only way I was going to get any painting done was to distract myself with a massive amount of television. I started episode one of Game of Thrones, cracked open a can of paint and I was hooked. … Continue reading

Shakespeare with a difference

So as I pointed out last month, there are some great (and some not-so-great) films of Shakespeare’s plays. But sometimes you don’t feel like watching Shakespeare. Sometimes, you want to watch something a bit different. So, for those nights, here are some adaptations that offer Shakespeare with a twist, with a little bit of something … Continue reading


A confession up front: this post comes close to violating The Idler’s mandate to focus on things we enjoy. In another part of my life, I am a Shakespeare scholar. I write about his plays in performance, I edit volumes about the topic, I used to teach the subject regularly. In other words, Shakespeare is … Continue reading

Books, brooms, and bad video games

I spent a number of years working in a bookstore in the early 00s, starting shortly after the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in 2000. For a character who has appeared in books, films, toys, stickers, a theme park, and who knows what else, it’s always amusing for me to remember … Continue reading

My clash at Demonhead

Scott Pilgrim: 23 years old. Rating: Awesome. When Scott Pilgrim and his precious little life migrated to our purple-mountained land from our neighbor to the north, I slept right through it. I was determined to make up for my lack of fandom once the movie gossip took flight. Michael Cera, you say? Mae Whitman of … Continue reading