Friday, July 23, 2010

Brunettes kick more butt?

My teenage daughter is caught up with the idea that although a highly acclaimed film version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" has been made in Sweden and released on DVD in the United States (just $19.99 in a flashy display at Borders!), there are already plans to remake it with an American cast.

She is anticipating casting "disaster."

"They can't just stick a nose ring on some blonde Kristen Stewart and call her a badass."

Well, they can, but it won't make it so, I assure her.

There are few bedrock truths in this life, and one of them is that badass girls are brunettes.

So who could be believable in the role as punked-out crime-solving computer hacker Lisbeth Salander? A young Angelina Jolie? A young Wynnona Ryder? Do we even have actresses like this in the wings these days?

"No," she says emphatically. "They are going to have to find someone unknown."

You know, like Sweden's Noomi Rapace, the original Lisbeth.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Freshman reading, give or take a few years

Thanks, Kansas State University, for assigning "The Hunger Games" to this year's freshman class as summer reading. I grabbed the paperback copy you gave my daughter at orientation and didn't return it until I'd finished it four days later with a hearty: "Wow, you're gonna love it!"

And of course, she did.

Suzanne Collins' deceptively simple tale of postapocalyptic America will give students the framework for discussing the ethics of self-defense, rebellion, government control, bio-engineering and even hunting. Along the way, she borrows elements from the Greeks' Minotaur myth, Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" and "American Idol" to create an altogether new story.

Chances are good, however, that before classes start Aug. 23, many students will have already blasted their way through the second book in the trilogy: "Catching Fire" — just in time for the concluding "Mockingjay," which is due out Aug. 24. This is, of course, exactly what 18-year-olds need: Books that light up their minds, that provoke discussion and discourse.

Can't wait to hear all about it at Family Weekend.