Stranger than Fiction Review #3 – Richa

Richa is typing out her review for her English class thinking about how it is so crazy that yet another weekend flew by. She has to go back and fix the typo she just made because she is terrible at typing.

Stranger than Fiction is basically one-hundred and thirty pages of what I wrote above. I’m kidding… it’s not that bad; I actually found the plot quite captivating. It’s hard to categorize into a specific genre, but Stranger than Fiction is like a tangy mango salsa: it’s spicy because it’s like a drama but there is a hint of sweetness in the romance and comedy to complement it. I was pretty confident that the story was going to end in a tragedy with Harold Crick’s death. But thankfully it didn’t, and I received closure with a somewhat happy ending. I mean, at least it concluded happier than a plot ending in Harold’s death would have.

It took me a little time to warm up to Harold, but I began to appreciate his character as the plot developed. In the beginning, Harold’s suffers from OCD which causes him to count everything that can be quantified. For example, he counts the number of steps to the bus stop and the number of times he brushes each tooth. As the plot unfolds, Harold realizes that he is the main character of Karen Eiffel’s novel and whatever she types becomes Harold’s reality. This psychological “traumatic” experience allows Harold to be able to cope with his OCD more, as he realizes that he is only a few mere words away from his inevitable death. At this point, Harold turns his life around and falls in love with Ana, re-learns how to play the guitar, and enjoys life for what it is. I found Harold’s transitional phase very moving because he became a stronger individual that understood the true meaning of life. More so, Harold went from being an emotionless robot to experiencing one of life’s most complex emotions: love.

This screenplay serves as a rhetoric of life and the concept of time. Harold’s wristwatch is symbolic of his obsession with time and his monotonous routine. The illusion of time has been a common theme throughout this course. Time is a man-made notion that literally rules every second of our lives. This screenplay allows us to critically evaluate whether we control time or time controls us.

I understood Harold Crick’s character to be an embodiment of mankind. Although not everyone is a perfectionist like Harold, we are all at fault for missing out on the present moment because we are too busy looking to the future. The irony of it all is that the future we work so hard to attain, eventually becomes our present and we still fail to acknowledge it because we have found a “new” future to distract ourselves with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of this too. I’ve realized that I don’t want to let life bypass me and this screenplay was a much needed reminder of this.

Stranger than Fiction has also been made into a movie and guess who plays Harold Crick? Are you ready for it? Yes, it’s the one and only, Will Ferrell. I hope you were as surprised by this as I was. When I think of Will Ferrell, I think of movies like Elf or Step Brothers in which he plays a goofy character. Harold Crick is definitely a much more serious role however, I think Ferrell did it justice. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece of literature and appreciated the life lessons it had in store for the reader.



The OA Review #2 – Richa Malhotra

Let’s just say that The OA wouldn’t have caught my eye if I were browsing for new shows to watch on Netflix. Shows like Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, or 90210 are more up my alley. Although the show was dramatic, the storyline unfolded at an incredibly slow pace. The show centers around a young girl named Prairie who calls herself the OA aka “the original angel”. She is on a mission to find her father and gets kidnapped because she is naive enough to follow a random man to his house. She along with four others, who have undergone NDEs, are trapped inside individual cages for the purpose of an experiment. Hap’s experiments aim to fatally harm the captives in order to track their whereabouts during the NDEs. I understand this is a lot to take in, the show goes from zero to crazy really quick. Just wait… it gets weirder. During the NDEs, each captive receives a special dance move that will help facilitate their escape. The combination of five dance moves performed by the five captives is supposed to open a gateway to another dimension. It takes them multiple and I mean multiple years to learn all of these moves. However, before they can escape, Hap releases Prairie in the middle of nowhere while the others are still trapped.

The show made me  uncomfortable due to the awkward relationship Prairie has with her adoptive parents. Poor Prairie has undergone immense trauma but her mother is more worried about Prairie’s image rather than her recovery. Her mother’s character just rubbed me the wrong way but luckily there weren’t too many scenes with her. During the majority of the show, Prairie shares her story with four kids and a high school teacher in hopes to make them believe in her story and help her open another dimension so she can save the others.

So the plot sounds engaging right? Well it is except for the fact that, even at the end of the season, we don’t know if any of Prairie’s story is true or if she is actually crazy. I guess the random nose bleeds, the drawings on her back, and the factual accounts of accidents she described online make this story somewhat believable. But that does not change the fact that her demeanor resembles that of someone who is mentally ill. Unfortunately, the final episode of the season just adds to the mess. In the last scene, the five group members perform the dance combination in the middle of the school cafeteria and Prairie gets shot. Random right? That’s what I thought too but at the very end Prairie whispers “you did it”. This was meant to allude to the fact that they succeeded in opening the portal. However, this is still hard to believe since there are no concrete facts besides Prairie’s words.  Yet again, the viewer is left in a state of ambiguity. After finishing the show, I found myself a little frustrated because the director took a whole season to describe a backstory. It looks like we will have to wait for the second season to get all of our questions answered.

Pierre Review- Richa Malhotra

There is only one word that will go through your head while you are reading this never ending novel… and it is WHAT. Melville’s unique arrangement of ideas makes this novel a puzzle that doesn’t really fit together. Melville continuously uses the stream of consciousness technique and goes on and on and on about tangents that allude to his opinion of literature, his relationship with Hawthorne, and Pierre’s inevitable death. Simply put, these tangents are irrelevant to the plot. The worst part is that these long sections were sometimes longer than the actual plot of this book.

Poor Pierre is portrayed as such a weak masculine character that makes rash decisions. I believe everyone should think of solutions that are outside of the box, but Pierre takes this way too far. Like who on earth decides to marry their sister? With that said, it is hard to hate on Pierre because the poor boy has the whole weight of the world on his shoulders. He gets kicked out of his house because his mom is jealous of his relationship with his illegitimate sister, loses his inherited fortune, leaves his lover, and struggles to make a living as an author. It’s hard to tell what Melville is trying to convey to the reader in this work. We understand he is frustrated with literature and publishers in general. But that’s about it. Unless Melville is trying to encourage incestuous relationships, this novel doesn’t really enrich the minds of its readers.