The Family Business · Twilight

Wow, what a ride

Last November marked the end of a wild, fun, poignant, indescribable, unmatchable ride for me. But with many more adjectives. In the wee hours of the 16th (also my birthday – thank you, Summit) I sat in a dark theater and watched the final cinematic moments of the Twilight Saga. Tomorrow that movie comes out on DVD and then I guess it’s official.
Going back to the beginning of this journey will echo others I’ve heard since that time, but it’s my story and my blog so bear with me. My friend gave me that book with the hands holding the apple for Christmas of 2008. She was a little apologetic but she knows my taste so I got around to reading it about a month later. Then the next one (during which I cried while reading because it hit too many nerves), and the next one (which I threw across the room because really, how could she kiss that woof?) and the last one (which I actually liked for the clever plot resolution).
All were read in less than two weeks time and then I lucked out catching the blue-tinted, low budget flick at a bargain theater before it went to DVD. The movie was underwhelming at first, but the lead actor — um — had potential.
Then I found the websites. Many people who were oddly obsessed with the books and movies spilled their passion into cyber space and I read them all. Eventually I found “my people” at Twitarded — a bunch of crazy, smart, funny women of all ages who accepted their inexplicable interest in the series, while tossing around profanity like so much confetti. I loved them and that led me to interact with them. And tweet and email and talk with them. (And maybe stalk a few of the more clever ones.)
While following blogs, I kept hearing about the phenomenon called Fan Fiction. I refused to sully the books by reading take-offs and re-imaginings of Stephenie’s world but I finally caved when someone posted an excerpt of Wide Awake. Holy shit, these people could write!*
Long story short (funny, I know), I came up with an idea and eventually wrote a novel-length fan fiction with my own little twist. The process was eye-opening and educational and a total blast. The Family Business led to even more friendships with people from around the world that I’ll cherish forever.
Those friendships led to the logical decision to travel to Forks, Washington (Cullen territory) in September of 2011 so I could meet many of the Twitarded Tribe in person. That was a weekend that should have been blogged about (and maybe will be if I can remember all the details).
Fast forward to now. (“For the love of Edward, Suz, please do move on”). I went to see “Breaking Dawn Part 2” at that same bargain theater a couple of weeks ago, which was probably my last large-screen-time with the Cullens.

Excuse me but I want to be alone now with my books. And DVDs. And magazines. And full-size Edward pillow...
Excuse me but I want to be alone now with my books. And DVDs. And magazines. And full-size Edward pillow. And, and… ::SOB::

What a crazy, unexpected, wonderful journey it’s been. I’ve referred to Twilight (and my imaginary love affair with the lead actor) as my mid-life crisis, but as it winds down I find very little to be embarrassed about, much less regret.
Thank you, Stephenie, Robert, Roseanne, Twitardia and all the rest of my lovely enablers. I wouldn’t change a thing.

*Fan fiction became common knowledge in the past six months or so, thanks to a certain series of color-coded books. My thoughts are ironically not black and white so I’ll be posting them in the near future.
Reviews · Twilight

“Remember Me” breaks the vampire out of his coffin

Robert Pattinson shines — not sparkles — as the very human Tyler Hawkins in “Remember Me.” Photo courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes.

by SuzsPetals

(Reprinted with permission from the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor)

“Remember Me” is a poignant little film never intending to be major box office fodder, much less to bump a giant like “Alice in Wonderland” out of first place. So why all the scrutiny and pressure?

It happens to be the indy drama Robert Pattinson chose to shoot between New Moon and Eclipse; Twilight Saga movies two and three for the uninformed or uninterested. I personally am way more informed and interested than I care to admit, but that’s a story for another time. Pattinson plays the intense and devoted vampire Edward in the Twilight series, and the critics have been rubbing their hands in anticipation of skewering his ability to do anything that involves less pancake make-up.

Directed by Allen Coulter — best known for his work on cable shows like “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos” — “Remember Me” is the story of two young people who have been broken and altered by tragedies in their individual lives. Ally, played by Emilie de Ravin, has risen above her loss but is still shackled to an overprotective father who’s not ready for her to grow up. Pattinson plays Tyler Hawkins, whose personal tragedy still haunts him, manifesting itself in anger, sexy brooding and reckless behavior.

The rest of the cast is skillfully filled out with the likes of Chris Cooper as Ally’s cop dad, Pierce Brosnan as Tyler’s rich and repressed father, and Ruby Jerins as Tyler’s adored little sister Caroline. The strained relationship between Tyler and Charles Hawkins is almost as gripping as the blossoming love story in the film. I don’t think I exhaled once during their climactic confrontation scene, and I was almost as invested in them working things out as I was the lovers. Brosnan fans will relish his significant supporting role.

Caroline is the little dinghy, being tossed around on the family’s sea of grief and Tyler protects and loves her with such ferocity I left the theater yearning for a big brother. Jerins is a child actress we will probably see mature on-screen, such is the depth and vulnerability of her performance.

Lena Olin — who kicked ass literally and figuratively on the series “Alias” — is visibly fragile as Tyler and Caroline’s mother. A lesser-known standout in this film is Tate Ellington who plays Tyler’s roommate Aidan. His character alternates between obnoxious and endearing, providing a buffer and comic relief where needed.

The centerpiece of this story is the relationship between Tyler and Ally, and although it’s built on a shaky foundation, the chemistry and evolution is both believable and watchable. Their passion and humor evoke memories of being 20-something when everyone is brave with the knowledge they have their whole lives ahead of them. Emilie de Ravin, who is best known for her role on “Lost,” does a lovely job conveying Ally’s old soul wrapped in a free spirit who helps Tyler knock down his walls.

And it’s Tyler who the characters seem to orbit around. Pattinson infuses the half-hearted college student with all of the flaws and attitude you would expect a rich, intelligent, yet damaged young man to have. He plays Tyler with honesty and emotion, and I found it hard to look away. Okay, I admit I may be biased, but I’m still convinced the critics can find someone else to hang their one-trick-pony expectations on. I hear Zac Efron is available.

The ending of this movie was somewhat spoiled for me in a press interview (thanks a lot, Matt Lauer) and it has been described as controversial in many reviews. I have no desire to ruin it for anyone, but I definitely had mixed feelings. The filmmakers obviously wished to convey the message to live each moment fully and I got that. But after such an authentic story of intertwining lives, they awkwardly tried to tie up each package with a pat bow that didn’t feel as real.

This may have normally been a movie I’d wait to see on DVD, but I’m glad I enjoyed it on the big screen. It had no impressive CGI, no epic battle scenes, just people learningto live and love in a complicated, unpredictable world. Oh, and it had Robert Pattinson.

The romantic drama is rated PG-13 for some violence, sexual content, language and smoking.