Sunday, October 18, 2015

What writers and readers can learn from R.L. Stine and his Goosebump books

This blog is for writers who want to improve their craft and readers who love all things I thought it would be appropriate to include one of my recent movie reviews here!   
         by Trina Boice

Movie:    Goosebumps

Rating:    PG, 1 hour 43 minutes

Grade:   A

In a Nutshell:   If you grew up reading R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books or were a parent who read them to your kids like I did, you’re going to get a kick out of this homage to comedy horror stories and the author who gave them to us.

Sony Pictures Animation does a great job at blending reality with fantasy, mixed with sarcasm and romance.  Thanks for releasing it in time for Halloween!   “It gives me…oh what’s the word…goosebumps.”

Uplifting Theme:
·         “It’s time to face your demons…” – R.L. Stine
·         Connecting with real people.

Things I liked:
·         As an author, I love how the ink literally comes to life off the pages of the book.
·         I love how Slappy actually looks like Jack Black/R.L. Stine.
·         You gotta admire the way the real R.L. Stine is bringing new life and sales back to his books!  Brilliant!
·         Good for Amy Ryan for starring in 2 movies in theaters at the same time!  (Bridge of Spies )  I’ve always adored her ever since I first saw her do a Yoda impression on The Office: Season 5 .
·         See if you can spot the real R.L. Stine in his cameo at the school.  This is what he looks like in real life:

Things I didn’t like:
·         It was a little bit scawy…
-    It would have been fun to see more of the other characters R.L. Stine created in the movie.
-    Jack Black didn't have a mole on his forehead like the real R.L. Stine does.

Funny lines:  
·         “Dude, we should call the cops!” – Champ
“Have you met the cops in this town?” – Zach
·         “Is that your scream?” – Zach
“Don’t judge me.” – Champ
·         “What is that?” -    Aunt Lorraine   (played by Jillian Bell)
“I rub myself in cilantro every morning.” – R.L. Stine
·         “I don’t remember writing about a giant preying mantis!   (it then spews s sticky ick from its mouth)  “Right, now I remember.” – R.L. Stine
·         “Let’s split up!”  - R.L.
“No!  Haven’t you read any of your books?  We’re never supposed to split up!”  - Champ
·         “Look at this kitchen!” – Gale
“We don’t cook.” – Zach
“Well, look at all this counter space to put take-out on!” – Gale
·         “I’m going to get a start on decorating my room…knock it off my Bucket List.” – Zach
·         “I know I speak for the entire administration when I say how excited we are about this weekend’s dance.  We  can’t stop twerking about it.” – Gale
·         “Shut your mouth!” – Cop
“Ok, but that’s not going to help.”  - Slappy  (the ventriloquist dummy)

Things you learn about writing from R.L. Stine:
·         “Every story ever told can be broken down into 3 distinct parts: the beginning, the middle, and the twist.”
·         R.L. Stine wrote”THE GHOST NEXT DOOR book.  I guess he wrote about it twice.  Think about it.
·         “The night was cold.  Cold was the night.”  Word order is powerful.
·         “No, it doesn’t work unless it’s a real R.L. story with twists, turns and frights…and personal growth for the main character.”
·         Champ asks R.L. “Why did you have to come up with something so freaky?”  The author simply replies “I just have a knack for it.”    In other words, write what you know.
·         “Steve King wishes he could be me!  I sell way more books than him, but no one ever talks about that.”
·         “Why couldn’t you have written stories about rainbows and unicorns?”   - Champ
“Because that doesn’t sell 400 million copies.”   R.L. Stine
“Domestic?” – Champ
“No, international, but it’s still a very impressive number.  Shut up!”   R.L. Stine
·         “That typewriter is special.  It has a soul of its own.” – R.L.

Tips for Parents:
·         Some of the monsters can be pretty scary.  There are plenty of creepy things too, like clowns, ghouls/zombies, drooling werewolf with frightening teeth and claws, evil garden gnomes, dolls, bugs, aliens, etc.  R.L. Stine said in a recent interview with Plugged In that he didn't want to traumatize children who see the film, so you won't see any blood.
·         Explosions, violence, suspenseful chase scenes.
-    Topics addressed include evil, revenge, and love.

Can't get enough of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps? Check these out!