Always judge a book by its cover – and a movie by its blurb

Call me shallow, but I ALWAYS judge a book by its cover. The typeface, the colours, the design, the photos, the format, the weight of the paper and, more recently, whether I can actually see the text. An important indicator of the publisher's anticipated demographics. That has meant I've picked up some corkers but more often than not, they are well worth the read.

My criteria for a good book are (apart from a 'pick-me-up-and-read-me' cover)  are:

  • Characters I care about
  • Interesting and/or unusual settings
  • A story
  • A plot
  • Properly-constructed sentences

and…….. this is where many of them fall down……

  • A decent ending

It's not important that something exciting happens, in fact, sometimes nothing much happens at all, such as Fanny Flagg's excellent books (Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe, A Redbird Christmas), it's just about life and relationships.

So it is with movies. Bottom line – does it catch my eye? Do I care? Does it have a proper ending – good or bad?

When it hit the big screen in 2003, The Station Agent charmed its way to 22 awards, including a BAFTA and plaudits for the fabulously quirky screenplay by Thomas McCarthy. He's done a lot more as an actor, including parts in Michael Clayton, Flags of Our Fathers, Syriana and Good Night and Good Luck, but this was his first as writer/director. He's only directed one other movie, The Visitor, which I've just added to my LoveFilm wanna-see list.

The Station Agent is about a self-contained and solitary man, who happens to be a dwarf (Peter Dinklange – see him next as Trumpkin in Prince Caspian). He inherits an old station in rural New Jersey when his only friend dies. In Greta's words, he vants to be alone. Fat chance with a chatty hot-dog salesman,  accident-prone and deeply-troubled divorcee and curious schoolgirl around. Not a lot happens, but it's funny and moving – and ends too soon.

I want more of this kind of thing!

Today's lovely thing
Expecting a parcel and watching its progress online!

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