the hunger games. the brain version.

Yesterday morning, one of my besties Myrtle and I met up for coffee-lunch, which is what you get when you  meet at Starbucks after dropping off your kids at school then talk for so long that you end up having lunch as well.  It happens a lot with us.

During this latest edition of the ever-awesome coffee-lunch, we had our long awaited post-"Hunger Games Trilogy" recap and discussion.  Myrtle had already read the books.  As for me, from February 28 to March 6, I read all 3 books -- Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay -- unable to put them down to sleep, eat, or even go to the bathroom.  I also learned that sleeping on the corner of a hard cover book doesn't hurt that much and that I can do most things with one hand if I absolutely have to.

Anyway, Myrtle and I like to get together to discuss movies we've seen and books we've read, and finally it was time for our shot with the Hunger Games to share both big and seemingly-insignificant thoughts, why Peeta had to be The One, how we would've improved the ending, what the point of that scene was, how we couldn't wait to see the movie, and overall, feed our latest obsession.

One HUGE topic of conversation was casting.  You know how sometimes, when you read a book, your brain conjures up existing people, usually actors, for each character to give them a face while you read?  Yeah, that.

Well, Myrtle and I couldn't help but compare the actors we kept picturing in our heads while we read the books with the actors actually cast in the upcoming movie...

1:  Katniss, Gale, and Cinna.
We thought they were well cast.  Especially Gale.  Cute and capable of making a lasting impression that would last through the whole movie.
I still kinda think Jennifer Lawrence is a little tall as Katniss, because by Catching Fire, her 14-year-old sister Prim was supposed to be as tall as her, but having said that, Jennifer L. is Katniss.
And Lenny Kravitz as Cinna.  Inspired!  I have to confess that I couldn't picture a proper Cinna.  Lenny K as a Tom Ford-esque Cinna sounded perfect to me.

2:  Peeta.
At first, we were stunned by the choice of Josh Hutcherson because he's the same height as Jennifer Lawrence, and we always thought of Peeta as being tall and stocky, at least, enough to envelop Katniss and make her feel safe.  In fact, Myrtle pictured Gale as shorter and slimmer like Josh H, and Peeta as a blond Liam Hemsworth.  Which is why when I said that I thought of Liam's older brother and Thor star Chris Hemsworth as Peeta when I read the books, she totally agreed with me.
But after seeing the trailers, we knew Josh, no matter his height, was our Peeta.

3:  Haymitch.
I think Woody Harrelson is a great casting call.  However, he does seem too "cleaned" up in the trailers to be a convincing drunkard, so we'll see how he appears in the rest of the movie, during more drunky scenes, like when Haymitch falls down at the reaping.
When I was reading the books, the Haymitch of my mind was played by Gary Oldman.

4:  President Snow.
Donald Sutherland is and always will be Mr. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.  Period.  He's too tall and kindly.  He's a sweet Canadian.
Snow is short and creepy, and in my mind, he looked like song-and-dance man Joel Grey.  Seriously, couldn't you imagine this man with a white rose in his lapel?!

5:  Seneca Crane.
Wes Bentley is probably the most surprising casting decision of the whole movie.  Seneca is supposed to be much older, right?  I couldn't picture him in my mind either, but he certainly wasn't THAT young.

6:  Caesar Flickerman.
I couldn't picture someone blue.  I really couldn't.  So when I saw how they made up Stanley Tucci and how he became Caesar, I was sold.  But Myrtle thought of someone more '70s gameshow host.  I suggested Will Ferrel in Anchorman.  I can see it.

7:  Effie Trinket.
Elizabeth Banks was my Effie.  But when Myrtle suggested that she be someone older, someone who'd been with the Games for years, I saw that she had a really good point.  Myrtle pictured Imelda Staunton -- who you may recall played Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -- as Effie.  I can really see that!  Until I watch the movie, I think I'll be picturing Effie played by Imelda S.  Really, can't you just picture it?!

But really, let's face it, just watching the book come to life on the Big Screen is going to be phenomenal.  I felt that way about LOTR.   And judging by the trailers, it's going to be great.  I'm looking forward to it.

Who would you cast in *your* Hunger Games?

the soundtrack of my life.

"What songs define you, and what songs make up the soundtrack to your life?"

That's what my friend Loukia asks in her most recent post on her blog.  If you've been reading me a while or know me IRL, you'd know that music is a big deal in my life.  And not in the negative "if my parents make me take up yet another musical instrument I detest, I'm going to stab someone in the face" kind of Big Deal.

No, it's in the positive way my heart lurches and turns over, my fingers itch to hold my bass guitar again, and the sudden urge to simultaneously laugh, cry and dance takes over me whenever I hear this song...

Yeah, that kind of Big Deal.

This is the very first song my band covered and the very first song we played at our very first public gig.  We had our audience convinced that we'd been playing bars for ages.  We were that good.  Not bad for a bunch of kids closer to graduating high school than touring stadiums.

There have been many songs like that, that when I hear them again, they propel me back to my first crush, my first broken heart (and how much of an ass I thought he was), the freedom I felt when I'd jam with my band, hanging out at the mall with my best friend, screaming a song on the dance floor at an engineering social, watching video shows (before MTV) with my friends, long drives to California with my family and friends, being in my husband's arms at our wedding reception, driving several provinces over for our nerd's honeymoon, watching our children dancing, etc.

Here they are, in no specific order, the songs of the soundtrack of my life...

Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds
Out of the Blue - Debbie Gibson
We Run - Strange Advance
I Think We're Alone Now - Tiffany
I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
Girls on Film - Duran Duran
Like a Virgin - Madonna
How Will I Know - Whitney Houston
Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid
Come On Eileen - Dexys Midnight Riders
Two for the Road - Andrea Marcovicci
Somewhere Down That Crazy River - Robbie Robertson
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go - Wham
Don't Give Up - Kate Bush & Peter Gabriel
If You Leave - OMD
Control - Janet Jackson
Thriller - Michael Jackson
Everything Counts - Depeche Mode
Girls Just Want To Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
Rock Lobster - B-52's
Blister In The Sun - Violent Femmes
The Time Warp - The Cast of Rock Horror Picture Show
Paradise By The Dashboard Light - Meatloaf
Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
It's a Beautiful Life - Ace of Base
The Look of Love - ABC
Poison - Bell Biv Devoe
I've Had The Time Of My Life - Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
Step By Step - New Kids On The Block
Let Your Backbone Slide - Maestro Fresh Wes
New Year's Day - U2
At Last - Etta James
Natural - S Club 7

How about you? What songs define you, have influenced you, become the soundtrack of your life?