Those of you who've visited the Lounge in person may have noticed that the incredible paperback rack sports a collection of novels that became films and movie tie-ins. We're also building our collection of "fotonovels." This weird hybrid, which is neither a book nor a film, describes itself as "A book that used to be a movie, instead of the other way around--a brand new medium with plenty to say about movies and books. For the film buff it offers all the elements of the film; to the fan it offers more pictures of the stars than ever was available in a magazine--in full color!" But they're being far too modest. The fotonovel also offers more cheese than you can shake a stick at. Even better, they offer the "reading" experience to those too lazy to actually read a book and the film viewing experience to those too bored (or horrified) to sit through the film. To that end they could not have picked a better title to fotonovelize than Ice Castles, a film so turgid as to be unforgettable, yet so banal as to be practically unwatchable (if you know me you know that's sort of a compliment). Let's join Ice Castles, already in progress. At this point Lexie, our heroine, is learning that success is not the way to make friends in the cutthroat world of competitive figure skating.

Jealous much? Even her boyfriend (the irrepressible Robby Benson) joins the Lexie dumpathon when she comes off the ice after a triumphant performance and kisses local sportscaster Brian Dockett (well, she didn't know Nick was going to be there, did she?!).

However, things really get cooking (both in the movie and in the fotonovel) after Lexie, in a fit of impotent rage, goes on an out-of-control skating bender, which ends with her landing a jump on top of a bunch of iron tables and chairs, rendering her blind. After wallowing in self-pity for a few pages she gets back on the ice and, with the help of Nick and her old friends (you know, her real friends--not the ones she met in Colorado Springs while training for the big time), becomes a champion once more.

Please, let this feeling end! Reading the fotonovel rather than actually watching the film means you get to skip hearing Melissa Manchester squeeze out the film's theme "Through the Eyes of Love" (although you are forced to read the lyrics, which is almost as bad). You have to hand it to Colleen Dewhurst and Tom Skerritt, who knew a paycheck when they saw one. It always warms my heart to see good actors making real money. An extra bonus (as if any more was necessary!) is an exclusive interview with Lynn-Holly Johnson, who intimates that she still considers herself primarily a skater, but that what she really wants to do is sing and that her ultimate goal is to be a guest on The Muppet Show. I don't know if that ever happened for her, but I do know that we got far more entertainment out of the Ice Castles fotonovel than we could possibly have expected for the 50 cents we paid for it. Our collection also boasts the Grease fotonovel, although I despair of ever replacing my long lost Saturday Night Fever fotonovel, which I read to the point of dogearedness as a preteen. Perhaps one day we will be reunited. In the meantime I will content myself with Ice Castles and marvel at the fact that they just don't make 'em (movies or fotonovels) like that anymore.

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