Sunday, June 28, 2009

Watch and Read

The main reason why I think Netflix is one of the greatest inventions ever is that I end up seeing so many movies that I otherwise wouldn't if I had to go out and rent them. One such that I watched recently is Starter for Ten starring James McAvoy.

Set at a British university, it's a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of University Challenge, a College Bowl-like quiz show. Since I never get tired of coming-of-age school stories, I tracked down the book the movie was based on, A Question of Attraction by David Nicholls. (It was also re-released in conjunction with the film under the title Starter for Ten.)

I enjoyed the movie because it had many of the cliche elements you would expect to find in this type of story- lower class boy mingling with the upper class for the first time, falling in love with the inappropriate popular girl- yet the total effect of the film was very un-cliche. The book went even further in this than the film did. The beginning follows the film almost exactly, but some plot deviations in the latter half make the book even more unexpectedly less-cliche than the movie. The entire book is hilarious. I was laughing out loud for paragraphs at a time. The author also does a very clever thing by starting each chapter with a trivia question, the answer of which creates a theme for the subsequent chapter. Both the movie and the book are worth a watch and a read.

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