Sep 5, 2006

[Alpha] Sample Review with Geekisms

I thought it would be interesting to try my hand at geeking out (as I hope to call the search exploration aspect of the site) with one of my pre-existing reviews posted on Multiply.

The Devil Wears Prada (movie)

This review was originally posted on August 21, 2006 at 08:20am here:

This review is actually long overdue since I watched the bootleg copy of this movie during one of our visits to Jayson's dorm in España...when exactly, I don't quite remember. All I know is that it was that last major stormy weekend...which come to think of it is hard to determine given how the weather as been lately.

Now with all book-to-movie translations, I have to state for the record that I try to evaluate the merits of the film on its own and not within the context of the original book given it will never hope to be a 100% accurate translation. It's just not possible! It's like handling theater-to-film translations, which will inevitably fall short somehow given that they are all entirely different mediums and one cannot hope to have A=B, then B=C such that A=B=C. The math just doesn't add up.

I mean no offense to Lauren Weisberger - given it was her literary brilliance that resulted in this movie, we need to give credit where it's due. I'm just saying that we should evaluate the merits of the film on its own as we should also do in terms of the original book. No comparing now!

Now, The Devil Wears Prada is an interesting look at the viscious cutthroat world that is the US fashion magazine industry. The "devil" in question is Miranda Priestly (played by Meryl Streep), editor-in-chief of the top fashion magazine in the world entitled Runway.

The entire tale is pretty much told from the perspective of fresh grad Andrea Sachs (played by Anne Hathaway) who somewhat "accidentally" gets the Runway job as Miranda's personal assistant since she sent out applications to all magazines, regardless of whether or not she's even read them. Case in point - Runway.

What follows is a roller coaster ride for the young girl as she tries to cope with the ever-increasing demands of her boss from hell, as it were, ranging from running personal errands to getting advanced copies of the next unpublished Harry Potter book. Despite all this she struggles on in an attempt to keep her job with her ultimate goal in mind - that of becoming a successful writer in a more "serious" magazine like The New Yorker. Hence, she needs to suffer the devil in order to get the experience that she so direly needs to break into serious journalism.

The film captures all these whirlwind demands beautifully and it's clear that no one else could have played Miranda other than the ever versatile Meryl Streep. She brings both dignity and something entirely else that's beyond frightening to the movie that few other actresses can deliver these days. Of course Anne Hathaway isn't too bad either playing the meek, geeky assistant trying to make sense of Miranda's somewhat coded instructions day after day.

Things begin to turn around with Andrea begins to embrace the fashion industry and starts dressing a whole lot better - this is where Anne really shines. She is absolutely beautiful in her various outfits later in the movie, showing off the height of world fashion frame after frame after frame.

The interactions between the two leads is more than enough to fill up the rest of the movie - and tastefully so. I'll not ruin things entirely for those of you who plan on seeing the movie without reading the book - let's just say that this movie is great for seeing what Bitch really means, haha.

It's already showing in local theaters by now or you can do what I did and just pirate it and watch it with friends.

This movie gets a very fashionable 4 out of 5.

Now when it comes to this movie, there's always a lot of buzz about the book being based on the life the Editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine. Truth or fiction? This sounds like something we can Geek Out on...

Let's start with the book / movie with a basic Google Web Search for [The Devil Wears Prada]. The word "The" is actually unnecessary since Google automatically matches your searches with all common terms like "and," "or," and even "the" but it never hurts to throw it in. Based on our results thus far, we're getting a lot of movie-related information because of its recent release. All we need for this little investigation would be the name of the author and the name of the editor of Vogue. While we could just search the information with direct searches, we can make things more interesting, and in fact easier by using some of the geeky tools we have out there.

Enter - Wikipedia! While this social encyclopedia is not 100% accurate and constantly changing, it's a good a place to start as any in terms of our little side quest. You'll notice the Wikipedia article about the book can be found in our search results. Another way of making sure Google brings you to the Wikipedia entry first is by using the search method [wiki keyword] as seen given these search results instead.

Now given the Wikipedia article, we now know that the book was written by Lauren Weisberger and that the editor of Vogue in question is Anna Wintour. It might be a good idea to open up their Wikipedia pages for good measure in a new window or tab, depending on what browser you're using. Also, be sure to check on the external links at the bottom of the page for possible sites we can check out that might be more credible, although in this particular article, there's nothing other than the movie and book sites.

A little known fact about searching for people with Google is that you can use the search method [who is NameOfPerson] and this turns your first search result into a direct snippet from the most relevant webpage that is able to describe who the person is. By default, this search method pulls up information from Wikipedia, in case you haven't noticed, but it has been known to drawn on other sources when more relevant information can be located.

For Lauren, her Wikipedia article is fairly short although it does lead us to her personal website, which upon closer scrutiny is actually a blog as well. I couldn't find anything directly discussing the claims behind the origins of the character of Miranda, but I suppose that is to be expected.

It's somewhat worse for Anna since all she has is a hearty Wikipedia article and not much else. I tried searching [Anna Wintour] and ended up with trash resources around her but not much directly about her. It certainly says something about what kind of information she allows to get out if her Google results are this disjointed.

So perhaps out little adventure in background research didn't reveal much, but at least we've gone over a few basic methods in terms of how to search for more information on people specifically. These methods work for more than just movies so be sure to try and experiment on your own!

Okay, that really wasn't much and the entire process does leave me with a very lengthy page. I definitely need to work on how we transition from the basic review and into the Geek Out portion. In addition, I think I need to give more focus to the search section. While this test version had an interesting plan of researching the truth behind the book, I never really got there nor do I think I'd have enough time to do so. I think the notion of having a mission does sound interesting.

That leaves me with some things to consider:
  1. should the review portion be included or hosted elsewhere like a separate entry on the Guide or on Multiply?
  2. how to transition from review to Geek Out portion
  3. where to place the ratings - start of the entry, end of the review or end of the Geek Out portion?
  4. how much should I integrate pictures and images into the reviews?
  5. is it enough to post links to the search results in the suggested format or should i post screenshots as well?
I think it was a pretty good idea to attempt this now - the Guide is going to be a lot more work than I originally thought...


  1. "The Geeky Guide to Nearly Everything".... its so geeky its making me dizzy.

    But i love this - "defining the world one keyword at a time". it made me even giddy. haha.

    that's all...

  2. i particularly liked the tag line as well, hehe. it just hit me all of a sudden and it just made sense to use it.

    thanks for taking the time!