For the past four weeks, I’ve been participating in the Eurovisionathon readathon! Hosted by Helen, from the Youtube channel, Helen’s Book Haven, this event encourages participants to read books associated with Eurovision’s competing countries in a month-long time-frame. This was my first year taking part in the readathon and, like other readathons, I was curious to see how well I’d perform. In the months leading up to the event, I cultivated a TBR (to be read) list of diverse literary works, in an attempt to make my reading experience as enriching as possible. My goal was to read twenty-six books in a month, as there were twenty-six countries competing in Eurovision’s Grand Final. But was I able to obtain this goal or was this goal too lofty? Let’s find out in this break-down of my Eurovisionathon results!
In this year’s Eurovision, thirty-seven countries competed in the contest. There were six countries that automatically qualified for the Grand Final. These countries were the “Big Five” (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy) and Ukraine (the winner of the previous year’s song contest). Two Semi-Finals determined the rest of the countries partaking in the Grand Final alongside the six aforementioned countries, with fifteen countries competing in the first Semi-Final and sixteen countries competing in the second Semi-Final. Out of the six automatic qualifiers, I read five books, as I knew I would receive guaranteed points no matter how those countries performed.
From the first Semi-Final, I read six books. These books represented Portugal, Croatia, Israel, Moldova, Sweden, and Finland. All six countries advanced to the Grand Final.
From the second Semi-Final, I read four books. These books represented Romania, Iceland, Australia, and Slovenia. Only Australia and Slovenia advanced to the Grand Final.
Eurovisionathon ended on the day of Eurovision’s Grand Final. A country’s combined jury and televote score determined how many points a readathon participant received. The more books a participant read, the more points they were given. Thirteen out of the fifteen books I read represented countries that competed in the Grand Final. Three of these books represented countries that missed the top twenty; Germany, Portugal, and Slovenia. Three books I read represented Moldova, Spain, and France, countries that made the top twenty. Croatia is the only country whose book I read that placed in the top fifteen. The rest of the books I read represented countries who were given top ten placements, with Israel, Finland, and Sweden among Eurovision’s top three countries.
With all of that said, my total score was two thousand, seven hundred, and ninety-three points! For my first time participating in Eurovisionathon, I’d say I did a pretty good job! With 2024’s contest on the horizon, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year’s readathon. Thank you, Helen, for hosting this event. The next Eurovision Song Contest can’t come soon enough!
For my first Word on the Street story of 2023, I wanted to talk about a piece of movie news that revolves around a topic I don’t often talk about: movie theatres. When I came across a video from Clownfish TV’s Youtube channel discussing AMC Theatres’ recently announced business model, I felt it was worth bringing up on 18 Cinema Lane. In the video, ‘Desperate AMC Theatres to Charge More for GOOD Seats?!’, Kneon and Geeky Sparkles address the theatre chain’s newest decision to have separate pricing for seats, based on where they’re located in the auditorium. Quoting an article from comicbook.com, Geeky Sparkles and Kneon break down the three tiers that will determine a seat’s price-tag. This article lists these tiers as “Value Sightline” (“seats in the front row of the auditorium, as well as select ADA seats in each auditorium”), “Standard Sightline” (“seats that are the most common in auditoriums and are available for the traditional cost of a ticket”), and “Preferred Sightline” (“seats in the middle of the auditorium and are priced at a premium to standard sightline seats”). Kneon and Geeky Sparkles speculate AMC Theatres is adopting this business plan to encourage more movie-goers to sign up for their AMC Stubs A-List program. Despite the theatre chain “hemorrhaging money right and left”, Kneon believes “other theatres are probably gonna adopt this”.
As someone who talks about movie news from time to time, I’m thankful to have discovered some great topics on Clownfish TV’s Youtube Channel. However, I respectfully disagree with Kneon’s view of the influence AMC Theatres’ latest decision will have on other theatres. When this Word on the Street story is published, the economy AMC Theatres exists in is not strong. Almost every day, there are articles chronicling the closure of multiple retail shops. With that in mind, movie-goers may, more often than not, view the theatre experience as a luxury. To save money on this pastime, audience members could either seek out a theatre that doesn’t charge extra for seats or wait to rent a theatrical movie and watch it at home. I believe AMC Theatres’ tier pricing for their seats will hurt their company more than help. I wouldn’t be surprised if, within this year, there are articles reporting on AMC Theatres closing several cinemas.
What are your thoughts on this piece of movie news? Is your theatre affected by AMC Theatres newest business model? Let me know in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!
If you’re interested in reading the comicbook.com article that was referenced in the Clownfish TV video and my post, here’s the link:
Whenever I publish 100 posts, I coordinate a special double feature. Back in January, my 600th post was my Buzzwordathon review of How to Write Good by Ryan Higa. Since then, I’ve been waiting for the right time to talk about my next double feature. Now, I’m excited to finally publish these long over-due articles! With the changing of the seasons from summer to fall, there’s one place that has remained a constant staple: the mall. Back to school shopping may be in full swing, depending on when a given school distinct begins their year. Some people might consider starting their Christmas/holiday shopping, especially to avoid the crowds. Maybe a local mall has a reputation of gathering the community, from being a popular hangout spot to hosting community events. With that said, this double feature will revolve around the mall!
There are several movies from several decades where a mall is a story’s setting. For this double feature, though, both films were released in the ‘80s. Within that decade alone, there are several options I could have selected. But I ended up going with The Legend of Billie Jean and Night of the Comet! At first glance, pairing these films together seems like a no-brainer. However, I intentionally chose these titles because they were referenced on the Dead Mall Series, created by Youtuber, This is Dan Bell.
In my double features, I attempt to answer a question through both of my reviews. But this time, I will only make a prediction, as I haven’t made a prediction since my Halloween double feature back in 2018. For this double feature, my prediction is the mall in Night of the Comet will play a bigger role than the mall in The Legend of Billie Jean. I haven’t seen any of these films prior to these reviews. Based on the clips that were in the introduction of Dan’s video, ‘DEAD MALL SERIES : Tour of the SUNRISE MALL from THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN (1985)’, my guess is the story of The Legend of Billie Jean will revolve around a conflict that is not confined to the mall. I once read a synopsis for Night of the Comet that stated the film contained a zombie apocalypse. If this is true, the script would present a logical explanation for the story remaining in one location.
Now that this year’s Gold Sally Awards is coming to a close, it’s finally time to announce the Star of the Year Award! For those who don’t know, this is a recognition award where readers can nominate someone who they think deserves a “standing ovation”. Since I’ve explained the award’s guidelines and past changes, I’ll provide the links below:
As this is the last poll of 2022’s Gold Sally Awards, I’m extending the deadline from now, July 15th, to July 29th.
Earlier this month, I announced I was participating in this year’s Buzzwordathon. In that announcement, I said I would write reviews for the books I read during this readathon, as a way to stay motivated throughout the year. Because I just finished reading my pick for January, it’s time for the first review of Buzzwordathon! This month’s theme is ‘Who, What, When, Where, Why, or How’, meaning my choice had to have one of these words in the title. With that said, I chose How to Write Good by Ryan Higa!
In this book, the Youtuber explains how to write a book by using parts of his life to elaborate these steps. As an avid reader and someone who has an interest in writing, I already knew what these steps were. However, it was interesting to read them from the perspective of a non-professional writer. The parts of his life that Ryan shares are those that were brought up in his ‘Draw My Life’ video from this Youtube channel. In How to Write Good, these parts are explained in further detail, which allows the reader to gain insight into Ryan’s thought process and sense of humor. Speaking of humor, the comedy that Ryan became well-known for on the internet does appear in this book. One area where his humor is present is the consistent comic strips. How to Write Good features comic strips of Ryan and his ghostwriter, Sarah, who appears in these strips as a literal ghost. This play on the word ‘ghostwriter’ shows the cleverness that can be found in Ryan’s Youtube videos!
As I already said, How to Write Good contains comic strips revolving around Ryan and Sarah. Even though these illustrations are good, I wish they were more colorful. The comic strips in this book are coated in a predominantly blue hue, with pops of red every now and then. Because a Youtuber co-wrote How to Write Good, I was expecting the book to be filled with mixed-media. Along with the text, I imagined Ryan’s words paired with photos, illustrations, and links to his videos. Unfortunately, there were only two photos within the 224 pages. The only video that is referenced in this book is the aforementioned ‘Draw My Life’ video. Despite these flaws, I did enjoy reading How to Write Good! It was informative and insightful, while being entertaining along the way. If you’re a fan of Ryan’s comedy or want to learn about writing from a different perspective, then this is the book for you!
Overall score: 4 out of 5 stars
Have fun during Buzzwordathon!
Disclaimer:How to Write Good contains a few slurs andthe topic of suicidal thoughts.However, these subjects are brought up in relation to the bullying Ryan experienced in his childhood and middleschool years.
When I write a Word on the Street story, I sometimes talk about stories that were covered on the Youtube channel, Clownfish TV. I not only like Kneon and Geeky Sparkle’s commentary, but I also learn about subjects I never would have known about before. So, when I watched one of their newer videos, I figured it would be an interesting topic to discuss on 18 Cinema Lane! In the video, ‘Elizabeth Banks Doing a BEANIE BABIES Movie?!’, my initial assumption was the movie being similar in execution to the 2014 hit, The Lego Movie. But as I watched the video, I learned the film would revolve around the popularity of Beanie Babies in the ‘90s. While analyzing an article from The Hollywood Reporter, Kneon and Geeky share how actors Elizabeth Banks and Zach Galifianakis are going to headline a film based on The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute, a book written by Zac Bissonnette. According to the original article, the movie will focus on the production and consumption of the classic stuffed animals, including “a celebration of the women who helped power Ty Warner’s success”.
While watching Kneon and Geeky’s video, ‘Elizabeth Banks Doing a BEANIE BABIES Movie?!’, they brought up a documentary titled Beanie Mania. In this documentary, the rise and fall of Beanie Babies are explored. From “a lot of drama” to “the one woman even has a rap song she wrote” (referring to a rap song dedicated to the Beanie Babies), Beanie Mania presents the perspectives of those heavily affected by the iconic toy. As I watched Kneon and Geeky’s video and listened to their commentary, I couldn’t help but feel Elizabeth and Zach’s project was a re-hash of the HBO Max documentary. When speculating which direction the film was headed, Geeky says “I think their take on it’s going to be very similar, cause I think the one guy that wrote the book they’re basing it on was in the documentary”. With this and everything else said, it makes me wonder what is the point of Elizabeth and Zach’s movie? What can they offer to the conversation that Beanie Mania didn’t? Personally, I’d like to see a documentary about Tickle Me Elmo, the coveted toy that dominated 1996.
Speaking of re-hashed ideas, this next story I found in Kneon and Geeky’s video, as it was an advertised article on Deadline’s website. According to the aforementioned site, Justin Kroll writes about a “remake of the classic thriller To Catch a Thief” in the pre-production stages. The Paramount Pictures project has recruited Gal Gadot to star in the film and produce it. Eileen Jones will pen the script, with Jaron Varsano and Neal Moritz also producing the movie. Similar to what I said about the Beanie Baby film, I wonder what the point of this remake is? I know you can ask that about any cinematic production. But what can this creative team bring to the table that Alfred Hitchcock and his team hasn’t already? Personally, I think the remake seems unnecessary.
What are your thoughts on these movie news stories? Are you anticipating any of the projects mentioned in this article? Let me know in the comment section!
When I discovered The Silent Movie Day Blogathon, hosted by In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood and Silent-ology, I knew I had to take part in the event! As I mentioned in my review of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, silent movies are not often covered on 18 Cinema Lane due to their availability.Speaking of the aforementioned film, that review was published back in January. So, my blog was due foranother article about a silent picture. I was fortunate to find 1920’s Pollyanna on Youtube. While choosingthis movie for the blogathon, I realized this would be the first adaptation of Pollyanna I would see in itsentirety. While I have seen the adaptation starring Hayley Mills, I only watched pieces of it. Therefore, I can’tgive an honest opinion on that film. I am familiar with the general premise of Pollyanna, despite neverreading the source material or seeing an entire film version. I also haven’t sought out any of Mary Pickford’smovies before. Because of everything I’ve said in this introduction, I knew watching 1920’s Pollyanna would be an exciting experience!
Things I liked about the film:
Mary Pickford’s performance: I thought the cast of Pollyanna was solid. But the one actor that shined the brightest was Mary Pickford! As I’ve mentioned before, actors and actresses in silent films must rely on body language, facial expressions, and emotions to convey what a character is thinking and feeling. While portraying Pollyanna, Mary was so expressive, using the aforementioned acting components to her advantage. She was even able to quickly adapt to each situation very effortlessly! What I also liked about Mary’s performance was how she displayed feelings of sadness and frustration. Realistically, carrying a happy persona is tiring. You can only be happy for so long and so often until the feeling itself starts to wear off. Because of Mary expressing these emotions, she helps prevent her character from being one-dimensional.
Mary’s wardrobe: An element of this project that, surprisingly, stood out to me was Mary’s wardrobe. Even though these outfits appear age appropriate for her character, a more creative reason is what caught my eye. The majority of Mary’s wardrobe consisted of light-colored outfits. These outfits allowed Mary to stand out and become the focus of a given scene. This creative decision was a simple one that worked in the project’s favor. It shows how much thought was put into the film’s presentation.
The messages and lessons: Before watching this adaptation of Pollyanna, I knew the titular character’s purpose was to, simply, make people happy. While there is truth to this statement, making people happy only scratches at the surface. Pollyanna, more often than not, tries to find the “silver lining” that will help her move forward in life. This mentality allows her to see the good in everyone she meets, even her stubborn Aunt Polly. In the 21st century, it can sometimes be difficult to put ourselves in a good mood. Even in the world of movie blogging, it can be easier to talk about bad movies or unfavorable movie news. But Pollyanna shows the audience that it is possible to find the “silver lining” in our lives, even finding the good in ourselves. These are lessons and messages that are not only relatable, but timeless as well.
What I didn’t like about the film:
An unexplained scene: When Aunt Polly is first introduced, two small children dressed up as bunnies appeared on the table. They approach Aunt Polly with pitchforks in their hands, one of these “bunnies” even poking Aunt Polly with their pitchfork. After that scene, the “bunnies” never appeared again. They were never referenced by any of the characters either. It also doesn’t help that no title card provided context to the “bunnies”. This is a scene I wish was given more explanation.
Musical selections: To make up for the lack of dialogue, music is used to emphasis the tone of a given scene. While there were musical selections in Pollyanna that matched what was happening on screen, some of these musical selections felt out of place. In the second half of the film, Pollyanna deals with a difficult situation. This situation brought up feelings of sadness and low self-esteem. But the background music during this situation was a cheery, upbeat tune. Because of this musical choice, it kind of took me out of the film.
Pollyanna’s lack of uniqueness: Like I said in the introduction, I was familiar with the general premise of Pollyanna prior to watching this adaptation. Based on what I knew, I was expecting the titular character to magically make everyone feel happy, with the script making it seem like that was Pollyanna’s “magical power”. But as I watched the movie, Pollyanna reminded me of other characters; such as Anne Shirley, Heidi, and Annie. While I liked her promotion of the “glad game”, Pollyanna’s attempts at spreading joy to those around her didn’t feel much different from the attempts of the aforementioned characters. This discovery disappointed me because I expected Pollyanna and her story to be different from Annie, Heidi, and Anne of Green Gables.
My overall impression:
Mary Pickford is someone I’d like to call one of the “grandmothers of cinema”. A face of Hollywood’s early years, she helped play a role in showing what was possible for, at the time, a new medium. This particular film also shows what is possible when it comes to adaptations. 1920’s Pollyanna is a fine film. With strong acting, effective creative choices, and good messages, it contains likable qualities. However, the movie kind of felt like a copy of similar stories. Pollyanna herself reminded me of other young characters with shining personalities, like Anne Shirley or Ceddie. Even the older characters’ transformations in attitude were reminiscent of those such as Daddy Warbucks, Marilla Cuthbert, and Heidi’s grandfather. With all this said, the movie didn’t add much to the adaptation table. I am aware of two other adaptations of Pollyanna, including Hayley Mills’ version I mentioned in the introduction. One day, I’d like to check these films out and see which one I like best!
Overall score: 7.2 out of 10
Have you seen any silent films? If so, which one would you like to recommend? Let me know in the comment section!
When I published my review of To Catch a Spy back in June, it became my 250th movie review! I also published my 550thpost in July, with that month’s Word on the Street article helping me reach that number. With these two milestones, I knew I was due to write something special! Sometimes, I listen to Youtube videos where a chosen question from Reddit is answered by various people. Since I’m a movie blogger, I find Reddit’s movie related questions to be interesting. This served as the inspiration for this list post, where I’ve chosen ten questions and will provide my answers to them. If you’reinterested in seeing other answers to these questions, you can type these questions into Youtube’s searchbar and find the videos that way. Now, let’s read what I, as a movie blogger, have to say about some of Reddit’s movie related questions!
What Movie Was Basically Just an Ad?
As soon as I read this question, I immediately thought of When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing. Even though the movie is objectively good, it is basically a two-hour commercial for When Hope Calls. For those who are not aware, When Hope Calls is the spin-off series of When Calls the Heart. The film’s main plot serves as the premise for When Hope Calls, giving that show’s protagonists more attention than When Calls the Heart’s series regulars. When I reviewed When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing three years ago, I said this part of the story should have been a subplot, as it contained little connection to When Calls the Heart’s stories. While one of the spin-off’s protagonists did appear in two of When Calls the Heart’s sixth season episodes, When Hope Calls survived for only one season.
2. What Movie Franchise Should’ve Stopped at 2?
For this question, I’ll say the All of My Heart series and the Christmas at Graceland series. With the All of My Heart series, the third movie should have been the sequel, as the second movie is just that forgettable. If you’ve never seen the All of My Heart movies, skip the second one altogether. Meanwhile, the Christmas at Graceland series should have never received a third film. The third installment, Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays had nothing to do with the previous two stories. While I have never reviewed any of the All of My Heart movies on my blog, I have shared why I don’t like the third Christmas at Graceland movie. You can read my thoughts in my list of the worst movies of 2019.
3. What Fact From a Movie Will Change The Way You Look at it?
On several occasions, I’ve talked about the “studio intervention” that affected the production of The Crow: City of Angels. Had I not known that vital piece of information prior to watching the movie, my opinion on the project would have been very different. I also would have never cared whether or not the film’s Tim Pope cut ever got released. But I’m thankful I learned about the “studio intervention” before I saw The Crow: City of Angels, as it gave me an idea of why certain creative decisions were made. If you’d like to learn more about this “studio invention” I’m referring to, you can read my editorial on why the Tim Pope of The Crow: City of Angels should be released.
4. What Movies Would Be Great From Another Perspective?
I actually have three answers for this question! From what I remember, Chel was very secretive about her past in The Road to El Dorado. If the movie had been from her perspective, we’d get to learn more about Chel’s backstory as well as the culture within El Dorado. While I love Atlantis: The Lost Empire, I think it would be interesting if it had been from Kida’s perspective. Parts of the story that take place in Atlantis, such as when Kida single-handedly creates Atlantis’ shield barrier, would have had a greater impact. In my review of The Crow, I talked about how the story was presented as a mystery. This made me think about how Vladimir and Dimitri are trying to solve a mystery throughout 1997’s Anastasia. If this movie had been a mystery where the audience has to discover Anya’s true identity alongside Vladimir and Dimitri, that would have been such an interesting and engaging experience!
5. What’s a Sign That a Movie is Going to be Bad?
I’ve heard that if a movie has red font in their title, then the movie is destined to fail. However, I’m not sure how accurate this information is.
6. What Movies Released Together are Basically the Same?
I said in my review of 1931’s Dracula that if you’ve seen Nosferatu, you’ve already seen Dracula. Therefore, these are the films I’m choosing for this question. If you’d like to hear my thoughts on both films, I’ll provide the links to them in this list.
7. What Franchise Was Milked/Is Being Milked Too Much?
I have three answers for this question. They are the following:
From 2008 to 2019, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has, for the most part, been a well-executed concept. Each character, story, and film was delivered at a specific time for a specific reason. After the release of Avengers: Endgame, it seems like Disney and Marvel are just desperate to keep their ship afloat. Instead of relying on a pre-created game plan, it feels like they are throwing anything and everything at a wall, in an attempt to find something that sticks. I haven’t seen any of Marvel’s projects post Avengers: Endgame. But based on what I’ve heard, the overall quality is much lower than the studio’s earlier entries.
If you’ve been following my blog, you would know that I stopped watching Hallmark’s Good Witch series after the premiere of Good Witch: Spellbound. Based on what I’ve heard from people who continued to watch the show until its end, the franchise was milked for so long and for so many times, that it strayed far away from its roots. In the first Good Witch movie, Jake’s children, Brandon and Lori, believed Cassie was a witch because strange things happened whenever she was near. But the possibility of Cassie actually being a witch was never alluded to, as the magic in the series had been figurative/intuitive. In the show’s last season, Cassie and her relatives admit they are witches and practice actual magic. What happened to the Good Witch series presents one of the dangers of keeping a particular story around longer than it was welcome.
Hallmark’s Christmas line-ups are the textbook definition of being “too much of a good thing”. While this is a collection of movies, not a franchise, the line-ups have become bigger than they should be. In the early years of ‘Countdown to Christmas’ and ‘Miracles of Christmas’, both of Hallmark’s networks released a limited number of movies. Because there were fewer offerings, it gave the movies an opportunity to possibly become classics. When an actor or actress was announced to star in a Christmas movie from Hallmark, it felt like they were joining an exclusive club. With Hallmark creating so many Christmas movies and showing them year-round, their event is now bloated. I, honestly, have my doubts that Hallmark can continue making these line-ups as highly anticipated as they once were.
8.What Movie are You Surprised That Hasn’t Had a Sequel Yet?
I’m actually surprised 1989’s Steel Magnolias has never received a sequel. It is one of those stories where if you were to revisit these characters and their world now, it would probably work. So much has changed since the theatrical release of Steel Magnolias, so I’d be interested in seeing how the characters live their lives in the 21st century. The sequel could also serve as a reunion with the return of the original movie’s cast.
9. What Plot Twist Made You Shout ‘Bullcrap’?
When I reviewed Yes, I Do three years ago, I said thatCharlotte’s chocolate allergy was poorly written to the point of appearing very unrealistic. However, I never got into the specifics of how poorly written this part of the story was. Throughout the movie, Charlotte said she was allergic to chocolate, despite working in a chocolate factory. She claims that when she smells chocolate, she knows whether or not it will taste good. Toward the end of the movie, Charlotte eats a piece of chocolate, discovering her allergy has magically disappeared. Meanwhile, Nicole (Jessica Lowndes’ character), has a strawberry allergy that is written more realistically. She even has a serious reaction after she accidently eats a strawberry flavored piece of chocolate.
10. What Plot Twist Would You Add To a Movie to Mess with the Audience?
It took me a while to figure out what my answer would be for this question. But I’ve chosen Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To the Altar. Towardthe end of that movie, Oliver proposes to Shane at Norman and Rita’s wedding reception. What would have made the fans of the series upset is if Oliver had thought about proposing to Shane at the reception, but then changed his mind at the last second, deciding to propose on another date instead.Since it’s been three years since Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To the Altar premiered, fans would have had to wait for any developments in Oliver and Shane’s relationship.
What are your thoughts on my list? How would you answer these questions? Tell me in the comment section!
Last year, I introduced the Hallmark Star of the Year Award. This part of the Gold Sally Awards gave my readers, followers, and visitors the opportunity to nominee someone with the Hallmark community. Out of those nominees, I chose one recipient to receive this honor. This year, I’m bringing this award back with two major changes. The nominees will no longer be limited to people associated with Hallmark. You can also nominate movie critics, movie bloggers, and movie related Youtubers. Other than that, the guidelines are still the same as the previous year. If you would like to learn more about those guidelines, you can visit the link to the previous year’s post here: