Big Night Out (Ed. by Jessica Adams, Maggie Alderson, Nick Earls, Imogen Edwards-Jones)

Big Night Out is a collection of short stories, recipes, song lists, illustrations and edited by Jessica Adams, Maggie Alderson, Nick Earls and Imogen Edwards-Jones. It was published to benefit the War Child charity.
Finished on: 25.11.2017

Big Night Out isn’t your typical short story collection. There really is a lot here that isn’t a short story at all, although the biggest part are short stories. I grabbed it for those (well, I grabbed it mostly for Jasper Fforde‘s short story in it), so I mostly skimmed through the other things, even though some very big names contributed various things (INXSSteve Coogan, and Nick Hornby recommending songs? Anthony Stewart Head sharing a cocktail recipe? Joan Collins‘ beauty tips? Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, and Boy George detailing hangover cures? It’s all there). I did feel that the selection was made on the basis of the people in any case and not necessarily for the quality of their content. But hey, it is for charity after all. If you don’t buy it for the stories, but for the good deed, you’ll get what you expect.

After the jump, I will talk about the short stories in the collection separately and you can find the table of contents so you can see what else is in there.

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Brooklyn (2015)

Brooklyn
Director: John Crowley
Writer: Nick Hornby
Based on: Colm Tóibín‘s novel
Cast: Saoirse RonanEmory CohenDomhnall Gleeson, Fiona Glascott, Jane Brennan, Julie Walters, Emily Bett Rickards, Jim Broadbent
Seen on: 26.1.2016

Plot:
Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) lives in a small Irish town with her mother Mary (Jane Brennan) and her sister Rose (Fiona Glascott). But Eilis has the chance to get of there and start a new life in the USA, which is exactly what she does. With the help of an acquainted priest (Jim Broadbent) who already lives abroad, she makes her way to New York where she builds a new life for herself. But when she is called back to Ireland, she will have to decide which way she wants her life to go.

Brooklyn was one of those films that is simply extremely nice to watch and enjoy. It hits all the right emotional buttons in a not exactly subtle, but unobtrusive way and pretty much everybody in it is simply adorable.

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Wild (2014)

Wild
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer: Nick Hornby
Based on: Cheryl Strayed’s memoir “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Keene McRae, Michiel Huisman, Gaby Hoffmann
Seen on: 19.01.2015

Plot:
Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) needs to get away from her life that keeps crumbling around her. So she’s decided to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, despite not really knowing anything about hiking. Things are hardgoing at first, but bit by bit, she finds not only her pace and the right amount to pack and bring along, but peace with herself.

Wild is a well-made film with an excellent structure and a wonderful lead actress that taps into something that many (middle-class, white) women are looking for. I enjoyed it.

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A Long Way Down (2014)

A Long Way Down
Director: Pascal Chaumeil
Writer: Jack Thorne
Based on: Nick Hornby‘s novel
Cast: Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Rosamund Pike, Sam Neill

Plot:
Martin (Pierce Brosnan) decides that he’s had enough. On New Year’s Eve he heads to Topper’s House to throw himself off the roof there. But Topper’s House is a popular spot for suicide and so he meets Jess (Imogen Poots), J.J. (Aaron Paul) and Maureen (Toni Collette) who have had the same plan. Instead of following through, circumstances let’s the four of them make a pact that they’ll wait until Valentine’s Day with it.

A Long Way Down is sweet, even if a little inconsequential. But it does have its heart in the right place.

alongwaydown

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An Education (2009)

An Education is the newest movie by Lone Scherfig, written by Nick Hornby and starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Olivia Williams, Alfred Molina, Cara Seymour, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike and Emma Thompson.

Plot:
The 60s. Jenny (Cary Mulligan) is an ambitious student, trying her best to get accepted to Oxford, constantly pushed by her father (Alfred Molina). When one day Jenny meets the charming, but much older David (Peter Sarsgaard) the life she wants to achieve with an Oxford education seems to be at her fingertips. David takes her to concerts, to Paris and shows her the big world. But it soon turns out that David is not all he cracked up to be.

An Education is a wonderful movie – especially the cast is perfect. Unfortunately, the last fifteen, twenty minutes of it, turns it all a little sour. But only a little – it’s still very much worth to see this film.

[SPOILERS]

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Stories

If you follow Neil Gaiman’s blog, like I do, you already know about this. If you are in the UK and regularly hit a Waterstone’s (like I would, if I was there), you’ll know about it as well. If not, man, have I got news for you! :)

Waterstone’s asked 13 authors (or maybe they asked more, but only 13 answered) to write a short story on a postcard, which were auctioned off yesterday (all the profits went to the English PEN and Dyslexia Action). The stories are online now, and if you feel inspired, you can write your own (until June 19th). The best three stories will be published along with the professional authors’ stories in a book.

Oh, yeah, and the authors are: Neil Gaiman, Irvine Welsh, J.K. Rowling, Doris Lessing, Nick Hornby, Margaret Atwood, …

Cool thing.