Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #7: Claudia and Mean Janine by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club #7: Claudia and Mean Janine by Ann M Martin
The Baby-Sitters Club #7: Claudia and Mean Janine by Ann M Martin

Title: Baby-Sitters Club #7: Claudia and Mean Janine by Ann M. Martin

Summary: Claudia’s participation in the Baby-sitters Club is curtailed when Grandmother Mimi suffers a stroke and Claudia finds herself “Mimi-sitting” and fighting more frequently with her sister.

Tagline: Claudia’s sister is an impossible person to live with!

Initial Thoughts

I really love this book, despite the fact that it has some heartbreaking moments and also, I adore Janine. The cover I have, Claudia looks like she’s thirty, what the hell, cover artist? And that is not the right kind of teapot. And why do they have stained glass windows? I think I’m focusing on the wrong things here.

[Dove: That’s Claudia? I thought it was her mom!]

Enjoy the fireworks, USA! And remember: the Kishis would be screwed under our current political regime, so let’s celebrate what we could be and fix the shit that we actually are.

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Posted in Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins #52: Booster Boycott

Sweet Valley Twins 52: Booster Boycott by Francine Pascal
Sweet Valley Twins 52: Booster Boycott by Francine Pascal

Title: Sweet Valley Twins #52: Booster Boycott

Summary: No boys allowed.

Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters, Sweet Valley Middle School’s cheering squad. No way, the girls say! A boy as a cheerleader? So what if Winston happens to be a terrific gymnast? So what if he makes up fantastic cheers? Jessica Wakefield and the other Boosters vow they’ll do anything to keep Winston off the squad.

At first Winston endures the girls’ nasty pranks, Charlie Cashman’s bullying, and his classmates’ giggles. But something happens to make Winston give up for good!

When the state cheering competition arrives, the Boosters are surprised to see that almost every other squad has a boy as a member. Without Winston, they’re sure to lose! Is there any way the Boosters can get Winston back?

Tagline: Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters! [Wing: We get it, book. WE GET IT.]

Initial Thoughts

Oh, good, I bet this book is filled with gender essentialism. Y’all know how much I love that. BOYS? In CHEERLEADING? Heaven forbid.

READ AT SWEETVALLEY.ONLINE

Posted in Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Friday the 13th A New Beginning
Friday the 13th A New Beginning

Title: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1985) (aka Part V)

Summary: Still haunted by his past, Tommy Jarvis – who, as a child, killed Jason Voorhees – wonders if the serial killer is connected to a series of brutal murders occurring in and around the secluded halfway house where he now lives.

Tagline: The mindless, murderous fury that was buried with Jason has been reborn. And suddenly, terror has become child’s play! 

Notes: If we had looked at that poster in a design class in art college, it would have been unanimously voted as totally shitty. Wow, didn’t try very hard, did you, graphic design department. I’m not just haunted by Jason; I’m haunted by that terrible typography!

Initial Thoughts:

Hey, remember when we watched Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and this experiment in terror was all over and I could move forward with my life?

Oh… wait…

[Wing: If there’s one* horror media rule that holds up it is this: The final chapter is never the final chapter.]

[Wing: *exaggeration, I know.]

Welcome back for yet another stimulating round of Let’s Do It!: A Virgin Does Horror! What was a “dead” franchise last entry has now been revived, because the world at large missed Jason Voorhees and his murderous hi-jinx. It wouldn’t have been the 1980s without beating a dead horse in an attempt to cash in further on a franchise that had utterly run out of steam. Or the 1990s, the 00s, and the 2010s…

I have actually read that this installment is akin to “a fucking porno in the woods […]. You wouldn’t believe the nudity they cut out,” which comes directly from the director’s mouth. So, thanks, Danny Steinmann, this will be horrible and awkward as hell, or more so than previous entries.

Because I have committed myself to the cause, as it were, I have no choice but to ride this chapter out. Oh well. At least I’m nearing the halfway point in this franchise, so there’s a dim light at the end of the tunnel but it’s probably a flood light Jason turned on to draw me closer to my own death. Yay!

(Save me, Kevin Bacon! Save me!)

Let’s see. Again, can’t read too much on the wiki or IMDb entries because SPOILERS and I honestly have ZERO MEMORY of this installment’s release. In March 1985, I would have been 3 years old, so that’s probably why. Also, the use of the hockey mask with the light blue triangles instead of the red triangles – way to screw shit up, costume department / graphics department! I know, I know, continuity is often a hopeless failure in this series. I ask too much. STOP SETTING THE BAR SO HIGH, VIRGIN.

Corey Feldman did reprise his role as Tommy Jarvis for this film, which is great since it means no shitty “we used stuff we filmed in the previous entry to insert said character into this film!” From what I’ve read he was busy shooting The Goonies (A VASTLY SUPERIOR FILM IN MY HUMBLE OPINION AND THAT’S NOT JUST BECAUSE I LITERALLY LIVE IN THE ACTUAL STATE WHERE IT WAS FILMED, THEREFORE I AM AN OFFICIAL GOONIE BY BIRTH) so on his day off, Feldman filmed his scenes in his family’s backyard in California, with a helpful rain machine. Huh. Movie magic, yo.

I recognize no other cast member’s name in this, so I’m not hoping for high caliber performances. I guess it was filmed under a fake title, so no one really understood/knew they were filming a Friday the 13th installment. Yikes. This whole thing sounds as doomed as the previous installment(s). No bueno.

Without further adieu, because I’m already bored and dreading this… fifth time’s a charm, right?

Important note! Remember, I am rolling over the body count from each of the previous films recapped, so that will be reflected in the counter and final tally.

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Posted in Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park (1993)

Title: Jurassic Park (1993)

Summary: Genetically engineered dinosaurs run amok at a tycoon’s island amusement park.

Tagline: An adventure 65 million years in the making

Initial Thoughts

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO I GOT THE GREATEST GIFT: JURASSIC PARK.

Of all the things I’ve recapped that I love, this may be the one I love most. Yes, even more than The Howling which was my very first werewolf movie and therefore will always have a fond spot in my heart. Jurassic Park has been a huge part of my life since it came out; my dad was a truck driver, and I spent summers on the road with him. The summer the movie came out, I read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, and I used to daydream about seeing dinosaurs running alongside the big truck, crossing fields and mountains. When I was in high school, one of my favourite concert season included playing the Jurassic Park score. (A friend of mine played the oboe, and it was one of the most haunting and beautiful bits of music I’ve ever heard.) To this day, a hint of the theme song can make me verklempt.

I love the entire original trilogy completely unironically, but Jurassic Park remains my most beloved. You’ve been warned. This is maybe less of a recap and more an explosion of feelings.

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

Posted in Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins #49: The Twins’ Little Sister by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins #49: The Twins' Little Sister by Francine Pascal
Sweet Valley Twins #49: The Twins’ Little Sister by Francine Pascal

Title: Sweet Valley Twins #49: The Twins’ Little Sister by Francine Pascal

Summary: Baby-sitting blues…

Since they were seven, Elizabeth and Jessica have wanted a little sister. Now that they’re twelve, the twins know they’re responsible enough to help out with a new baby, and they’re determined to prove it to their parents.

The twins get their chance when neighbors go on holiday and leave their five-year-old daughter with the Wakefields. Chrissy is so cute and sweet that Jessica and Elizabeth think it’s going to be easy to take care of her.

But from the moment Chrissy arrives, it’s clear that she’s spoiled. Before long the twins begin to wish she would just disappear!

When they get their wish and Chrissy does disappear, the twins are faced with their biggest problem yet .They’ve got to find Chrissy before her parents come back! [Wing: Why does anyone ever trust the Wakefield twins with any living creature? WHY?]

Tagline: Are Jessica and Elizabeth ready to be big sisters? [Wing: NOPE.]

Initial Thoughts

We already know that Jessica hates to baby-sit and isn’t all that great at it. Why are we having yet another story where she tries? What is her obsession with having a little sister? Why does this book even exist?

READ AT SWEET VALLEY ONLINE

Posted in The Famous Five

Famous Five #4: Five Go to Smuggler’s Top by Enid Blyton

Famous Five - Five Go to Smuggler's Top by Enid Blyton
Famous Five – Five Go to Smuggler’s Top by Enid Blyton

Title: Five Go to Smuggler’s Top by Enid Blyton [Wing: The top belonging to only one smuggler? That cover would argue otherwise.]

Summary: Are there still smugglers at Smuggler’s Top? [Wing: NO. There is maybe one smuggler, per that name.] The Famous Five go to stay at the large old house and discover secret hiding places and underground tunnels! Then they catch people signalling out to sea – who can these smugglers be? Can Julian, Anne, Dick, George and Timmy the dog discover the answer?

Initial Thoughts

God, I love this series. See above for my issues with the title. (Also, I’ve called this place Smuggler’s Top probably 50 times. I think I caught every time, but if not, sorry about that.) And here we go.

[Dove: I worry that when you visit England, you’re going to be very disappointed by the lack of secret passages. But at least I now live in a house with a crawlspace that was described by a friend as “Yeah… you could definitely hide a body or two in there.”]

(more…)

Posted in The Baby-Sitters Club

Baby-Sitters Club #5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club 5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M Martin
The Baby-Sitters Club 5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M Martin

Title: Baby-Sitters Club #5: Dawn and the Impossible Three by Ann M. Martin

Summary: Dawn Schafer is the newest member of The Baby-sitters Club. While she’s still adjusting to life in Stoneybrook after moving from sunny California, she’s eager to accept her first big job. But taking care of the three Barrett kids would be too much for any baby-sitter. The house is always a mess, the kids are out of control, and Mrs. Barrett never does any of the things she promises. On top of all that, Dawn wants to fit in with the other members of the BSC, but she can’t figure out how to get along with Kristy. Was joining The Baby-sitters Club a mistake? [Wing: That is not at all what the story is about.]

Tagline: Dawn thought she’d be baby-sitting — not monster-sitting!

Initial Thoughts

Dawn is one of my favourite baby-sitters, and I’m thrilled to get to recap her very first book. I love how she complicates things with the club, especially the friendship between Mary Anne and Kristy, I love a bunch of her personality traits (particularly the way she loves ghost stories), and I love her enthusiasm about life. This is going to be fun.

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Posted in Sweet Valley

Sweet Valley Twins #46: Mademoiselle Jessica by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins 46 Mademoiselle Jessica by Francine Pascal
Sweet Valley Twins 46 Mademoiselle Jessica by Francine Pascal

Title: Mademoiselle Jessica

Summary: A model family…

Jessica Wakefield is sick and tired of spoiled Lila Fowler’s constant boasting. So when she reads about the Model Family competition being sponsored by Teenager Magazine, she’s tempted to enter just to put Lila in her place. The first prize is a fabulous, all-expenses-paid trip to Paris. To compete, all Jessica has to do is write an essay describing her perfect family.

But the family Jessica ends up writing about is nothing like her real family. Still, it’s just a joke, until her twin, Elizabeth, posts the essay by mistake. Now it’s good-bye France and hello trouble—unless Jessica can convince the Wakefields to pretend to be something they’re not!

Tagline: How far will Jessica go to win a trip to Paris? [Wing: Considering she buries people in the Mercandy backyard on a whim, I’m sure there’s no limit to how far she’ll go.]

Initial Thoughts

Two things: One, why are you posting your sister’s essay? WHY? WHY ARE YOU MEDDLING AGAIN? I DON’T FOR A SECOND BELIEVE IT WAS AN ACCIDENT.

Two, I cannot spell “mademoiselle” right on the first try to save my life. Fingers crossed that I won’t have to write it again in this recap, because The Carnival Ghost nearly killed me.

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