the book tag.

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{for le blog aesthetic // not mine}

My lovely friend Eva over at Coffee, Classics, and Craziness tagged me in this wonderful book tag and I decided to do it!  (I rarely do tags, not because I don’t like them, but because I usually forget.  Keep tagging me, guys!  One of these days I’ll remember to do them.  XD)

Rules
You must be honest.
You must answer all the questions.
You must tag at least 4 people.

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?
I’m gonna have to go with the trilogy of E.B. White books my godfather got for me when I was a baby, or Spy for the Confederacy, which I’m pretty sure is the very first book I ever bought myself.  It was on a shelf at a homeschooling convention, and little eight-year-old me, with such a massive love of both spies and the Civil War, decided to buy it.  I still love it.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?
Current read: I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter.  Oh my gosh, where has this book been all of my life?!  I would’ve liked it a lot when I was a little younger, but I’m super glad I found it now.  It’s about spies and forbidden teen love and it’s just so great.  10/10.
Last read: Always a Bridesmaid For Hire by Jen Glantz.  I enjoyed most of it, as it’s probably a good overview of what my life will look like for the next few years (minus the business part).  See my review here.
Next read: The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker.  The plot sounds great and I’m always looking for random books to try out.  Plus, that cover tho.  *heart eyes emoji*

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?
I try not to hate books, but I really didn’t like The DUFF or Eleanor and Park (which, arguably, was only my second RR book, and I’m planning on rereading it again in the future to see if my opinion has changed).  I also greatly despise a lot of those conservative purity books that I got pulled into when I was younger – So Much More and Before You Meet Prince Charming, for instance.  (I’ll write a post about it in the future if y’all want to read my ranty opinion, but the short of it is that a girl isn’t a sub-helpmeet for her dad and should be free to decide, with guided wisdom from authorities, what to do with her life – and, yeah, that includes moving out, getting a job, and going to college if she feels like that’s God’s will for her life.  These books basically tell girls that their only biblical place is in the home, under her father’s authority, until she gets married.  I know young women aged 25-30 who still live with their parents, uneducated and jobless.  Do. Not. Like.)

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
My goal in life is to READ ALL THE BOOKS, but there are probably a few that I’ll never get around to – the other Mitch Rapp books (unless they’re made into more movies bc Dylan O’Brien tho), and various classics that I have no interest in.

5. What book are you saving for retirement?
What’s retirement???  I’ve got a few books that I’ve been stockpiling for when we move into our internet-less house, including Les MisTumble Fall, Everything Leads to You, The Unexpected Everything, Illuminae, and The Infinite Moment of Us – all of which I’ve gotten recently specifically for this move.  (Except for Illuminae, which a friend sent me.  Oh, and Les Mis, which has sat, in all it’s bricklike, unabridged glory on my shelf for about six years.  I’ll get to it.)

6. Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?
I AIN’T ABOUT THAT SPOILER LIFE, FAM.  If the wind flips pages forward and I see stuff that hasn’t happened yet, I get all annoyed and heartbroken and achy inside and question whether or not I want to even finish the book.  Last-page-readers are sub-human and will not survive the winter or the zombie apocalypse.

7. Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?
I adore acknowledgments.  Probably because I’m a writer, but I just love seeing who has influenced the author.  It’s so much fun to also get a sneak peek into their life and the little inside jokes they have with people they thank.  Plus, it’s a great way to find agents to pester to represent my book.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?
Hermione Granger or someone from The Berinfell Prophecies, preferably whoever kisses Jimmy, whom I’ve had a crush on for the last eight years, with absolutely no sign of ceasing.  Or maybe Jo March, since I’m already basically her already.  (I’d say yes to Laurie in a heartbeat.  Screw whatever’s “supposed to happen,” to quote Eliza Schuyler-Hamilton, “THAT BOY IS MIIIIIINE!”)

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?)
Oh heck yes.  I can’t read Fangirl without thinking of the porch swing at my grandparents’ house where I inhaled it for the first time, or The Final Storm without remembering literally chucking it against a wall in my room while screaming “NO!” and sobbing, or The List without flashbacks to remembering the skiing trip where I was first introduced to Robert Whitlow (and remembering that a friend of mine gave me a signed copy of it because he met Robert), or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone without thinking of all the minds I’d blow by reading it, or The Scarlet Pimpernel without thinking, “This is a classic???  And I’m ENJOYING IT???”  Every single book holds memories for me, and sometimes I reread books just to revisit the memories surrounding them.  True story.

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.
Besides the previous story about a book personally signed to me by Robert Whitlow (*heart eyes emoji*), I think the next most interesting story is the story behind A Thief in the Theater: A Kit Mystery.  Yes, that Kit.  Ever since a good friend had gotten to go to the American Girl store in NYC back when I was like ten, I’d always dreamed of going.  So when my dad took me to NYC for my high school graduation, the American Girl store was one of the first things on our to-do list.  I walked out of that store with that book and two t-shirts (one for me and one for my doll, of course) with PRIDE.

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?
All of my books are my precious babies, but I did buy three copies of If You Find This Letter to write in and give to people as Christmas presents.  Still one of the best gifts I’ve ever given someone.  That book is literally life-changing.  Read it.

12. Which book has been with you most places?
Probably Fangirl or The Martian.  When I was reading them (and then rereading both), I couldn’t put them down.  Even when I wasn’t reading them, they had to be by my side, in my “mommy purse.”  Other than that, I’m gonna have to go with Eva’s answer and say my Bible.  It’s been on almost all of my vacations, plus all over Charlotte when I did summer missions.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?
I was never a classics person when I was younger, which I’m not ashamed of, especially since I’m able to come to them now, for the first time, with an adult mindset that I didn’t have when I was younger.  For instance, a friend and I were talking the other day about girls who got into Austen when they were teenagers and loved them purely for the romance – which is fine, but I’m so happy I’m able to see past the romance and enjoy Jane for her satire and wit, not to mention her feminism and the fact that she was so far ahead of her time.

14. Used or brand new?
Used that looks brand new.  I prefer cheap books, and if I can find a new copy of a book for $5, I’ll absolutely get it.  I like my books in pristine condition and will pay a few extra dollars to get a new book over a used one, but I’m blessed with knowing a few different places to get cheap, beautiful used books.  (*cough* 2nd and Charles, where I got 2 books, a movie, and the first season of Graceland for $14 the other day *cough*)

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?
Nope!  I’m vaguely interested in The Da Vinci Code, though!

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?
Mockingjay.  I thought Part 2 did a great job of fixing the problems in the book.

17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?
Are you kidding; every book makes me hungry.  There are a few books that make me especially hungry, though, including The Little Women Letters and Harry Potter.  (One word: BUTTERBEER).

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
Cait (Paper Fury).  I adore her.  Plus, she’s so incredibly sweet and friendly – it seriously feels like we’re friends whenever she replies to my comments on her reviews.  Read all of the posts on her website.  She’s hilarious, too, and I want to be just like her when I grow up.

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?
Classics are a recent pleasure, thanks to the Lit courses I took in college (how is that past tense already it feels like i just started college i can’t evennnnnn) that made me study quite a few classics.  (we’re talking 50+, 12 of which I read and wrote essays on in two months.  college is hard, y’all.)  I’ve also started really enjoying memoirs, thanks to Unbroken and If You Find This Letter.  People are fascinating.

Alrighty, I tag all of my followers who want to do it either in the comments or on their own blogs, especially Jessica and Katelyn.  ❤

review | rear window {1954}

Rear Window.png“We’ve become a race of Peeping Toms.  What people ought to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change.” – Stella

My good friend Eva over at Coffee, Classics, and Craziness is having an Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon in honor of the birthday of man himself!  (Happy birthday, Mr. Hitchcock!)  I’m a little late, but I wanted to review Rear Window, my favorite Hitchcock film, for the occasion.

So why review Rear Window?  It stars my favorite actor, one of my favorite actresses, and includes two of my favorite elements of story – fiction and suspense.  Thus, it lands a place on my Favorite Movies of All Time list.  I saw it for the first time a few years ago and knew I wanted to review it when Eva made her announcement.  I’ve been crazy busy, so I’ve had to watch it in multiple sittings, but watching it again reminded me of how absolutely brilliant it is.

The Story

RW“Professional photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. He begins to suspect that a man across the courtyard may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont and his visiting nurse Stella to investigate.” (from IMDb)

The film opens with shades rising on Jeff’s titular rear window, accompanied by the opening music, literally the only sound used in the film that isn’t diegetic – that is, not in-world.  A quick pan of the camera on the courtyard outside introduces us to all we need to know about the backdrop of the story before Hitchcock drops us in.  From there, he spends thirty minutes establishing the characters, something he can do because the film itself is two hours long.  Although the beginning (especially the first thirty minutes of world/storybuilding) is a bit long, it’s crucial to the story.  And, as always with Hitchcock, everything introduced in that initial thirty minutes is essential to the plot.

(Here, I usually put a trailer for whatever movie I’m reviewing.  Since older movies have stupidly long trailers that give up literally the entire plot – even more so than trailers do nowadays – here’s a fan-made “modern” trailer.  The music doesn’t work because there’s no soundtrack in the film {see my above comment about diegetic sound), but I love how this trailer was edited.)

The Cast and Characters

RW2L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries (Jimmy Stewart) is a very interesting protagonist because the audience is drawn into what he’s doing without fully agreeing with it.  He’s stuck in his apartment all day due to a broken leg, so he’s obviously bored after five weeks of it.  When he starts spying on his neighbors, both Lisa and Stella question his motives until he convinces them that something suspicious is going on.  He can’t convince his detective friend, though, who thinks he’s insane.  Jeff is gruff, yet sweet underneath.  A little snoopy, but genuinely cares for his neighbors.  When a sad single lady in the apartment across from his puts out wine for herself and an imaginary suitor, he toasts her back, wordlessly conveying his compassion for her in a way that makes us completely fall in love with him.  Jeff’s also a very good freelance photographer, which adds to the tension between him and Lisa.  He thinks she, with all her society-seducing ways, won’t be able to handle his life on the road.  “You’re not meant for that kind of life,” he tells her.  She, on the other hand, completely disagrees.  She asks him if he doesn’t think people can change, adding, “I’m in love with you.  I don’t care what you do for a living, I’d just like to be part of it somehow.”  The strain between these characters adds to the overall stress in the plot.

And Jimmy Stewart… what can I say?  He’s perfect.  Once, when I was in eighth grade, I did a research paper on him.  I’ve been in love with him ever since.  He’ll always be one of my favorite actors of all time (and I don’t say that lightly).

RW3“You’ve got this whole town in the palm of your hand,” Jeff tells Lisa Fremont, assuring her that she can get any man she chooses.  “Not quite, it seems,” she quietly replies before leaving him alone.  She’s a society girl down to her last hairpin, with everything and everyone at her fingertips… except the only man she really wants.  She also defies the stereotype of “pretty girl,” climbing walls and digging in the dirt and literally risking her life to get down to the bottom of the mystery – and to prove to Jeff that she can handle anything, most of all his life as a photographer.

Jeff describes Lisa as “perfect, as always.”  This can also describe Grace Kelly, who is a flawless goddess.  I’ve seen her in a dozen movies, and loved every single one.  She embodies this timelessly classic persona that very few actresses have, the few including Julie Andrews, Audrey Hepburn, and Scarlett Johansson.

RW4As far as the more minor characters go, Thelma Ritter as Stella, Jeff’s insurance nurse, adds the matronly “Do you really know what you’re getting into and what the consequences are???” advice, Wendell Corey as Detective Lieutenant Thomas Doyle is hilariously sarcastic, Raymond Burr as Lars Thorwald is just… *shivers* SO GOOD, and the actors who play the other neighbors – Miss Lonelyhearts, the pianist, the dancer, the couple on the fire escape who own the dog, the old lady sculptor, the newlywed couple, Miss Torso – all play their parts exceptionally well, conveying through their actions what they can’t do through words (because they basically don’t have any lines).

Plus, all of the costumes are just fabulous.  Edith Head is a legend, and everything she designed for this movie (especially Lisa’s green suit and sleeveless shirt which I need NOW) is stunning.

Objectionable Content

RW5This entire movie circulates around a very dark subject, a murder that Jeff doesn’t witness but is heavily implied.  Because of that, it’s very intense – one of the most intense movies I’ve ever seen, actually.  (Definitely the most stressful out of the four-ish Hitchcock movies I’ve seen.)  When we first watched it, my then-12-year-old sister literally vaulted over our couch as she was running out of the room during the most stressful part.  There isn’t any language, but there’s a slightly sensual kissing scene (and it’s implied that Lisa spends the night at Jeff’s apartment).  All in all, though, it’s a very light PG-13.

Bottom Line

RW1This is an amazing movie, period.  It was nominated for four Oscars, and is #40 on IMDb’s Top Rated Movies list.  Plus, it’s just a classic.  If you haven’t seen it, grab a pillow and some popcorn (and then a vacuum for when the popcorn flies in the air as you vault over the couch like my sister did), and watch it.

my favorite stanley tucci roles.

If you know anything about me, you probably know that, just like literally every other fangirl on the planet, I have a thing for older actors.  Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, Chris Pine (and all the other Chrises), Zachary Levi, Benadryl Cucumberpatch… basically every guy who’s like ten years older than me.  Which totally isn’t weird at all.

(DISCLAIMER: I don’t want to have their babies or anything, I just admire the work the good Lord has done and move on.)

One of my favorite actors is Stanley Tucci.  I have no idea how long I’ve loved him but it’s been a while.  (Now that I think about it, he was in a few of my favorite childhood movies, namely Kit Kittredge, Beethoven, and Robots.  Well, that explains it – my love for him was cemented before I really knew who he was.)

I love his versatility as an actor, the roles he chooses, and just him.  I love the fact that he seems to make every movie better just by being in it, no matter how small his part is.  I love the fact that he can play every part with the same amount of skill, regardless of how sweet or twisted the character is.  And I love that he has other talents than just acting, such as cooking.  My sister actually gave me his cookbook for my birthday and I fangirled. A lot.  (I also have another friend who knows how much I love him – one of the things we initially bonded over was our mutual weirdly passionate love for Stanley – and sometimes sends me random Stanley gifs and pictures via text.  You know who you are and I. Love. You.)

I love every movie I’ve seen him in, but I’d like to highlight my absolute favorites.  In no order, as usual, because I sat here for twenty minutes trying to figure it out and I. just. can’t.  I love the man too much.

All of these movies come with the usual disclaimer, though.  They’re all PG-13 and have the kind of content that’s in a PG-13 movie.  If you’re interested in watching one of these but are hesitant about the content, don’t hesitate to ask me!  (Or look on each specific title’s Parents Guide on IMDb.  SO HELPFUL.)

The Terminal | Frank Dixon

“Okay, so let’s say this bag of potato chips is Krakozhia and this apple is the Liberty Rebels. Okay?  *smashes the bag with the apple, spraying chips all over Viktor*  No more Krakozhia!”

This one’s kind of different for Stanley.  Usually he plays very likeable characters.  This one, not so much.  The Terminal is about a foreign guy (Tom Hanks) whose country falls literally while he’s on the plane.  He’s stuck in JFK until they can get his passport figured out, and Stanley plays the guy who keeps him there.  Essentially, he’s the antagonist.  This is the only movie I’ve ever seen where he’s a bad guy (minus the Kit movie, which, come on, does that even count?), and he’s absolutely riveting.  You understand why he’s so against Tom’s character – he’s just doing his job, after all – but you still dislike him because of other things he does.  So. Good.

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Mr. Monk and the Actor | David Ruskin

“And then he said he was tired and asked me to leave.”
“So you left?”
“He has to get up at 6:00.”
“Mr. Monk, that’s your house!”
“Boy, he’s a good actor.”

My siblings and I were on a Monk kick for about two years, and when I saw that Stanley co-starred in an episode, I couldn’t wait to see it!  Turns out, it was absolutely fantastic.  Definitely one of my favorite episodes of the show.  In this episode, a director wants to make a movie about a case Adrian worked on, and Stanley plays the actor hired to play Adrian.  He’s a method actor, and he captures Monk perfectly.  It’s scary how similar they look!  Also, Stanley won an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.”  (No surprise there – he was phenomenal.)

Julie and Julia | Paul Child

“Anyway, so there we were in China, just friends having dinner.  And… and it turned out to be Julia.  It turned out to be Julia all along.  Julia, you are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life.  I love you, darling girl.  Happy Valentine’s Day.”

This is one of my favorite movies, mainly because it involves three of my favorite things – writing, food, and romance.  It’s one of my go-to chick flicks, and it has some of my favorite actors in it, including Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Chris Messina, and, of course, Stanley Tucci.  In this one, Stanley plays Julia Child’s husband, ever the encourager as she learns to cook.  His character is just the most precious man, and it’s blatantly apparent that he loves his wife, which Stanley plays to perfection (and makes me love him even more).

Easy A  | Dill Penderghast

“I’d take a bullet for you, you know that. Right between the eyes. I would slit my throat rather than say something to someone that you didn’t want me to say.  That’s how I am.  That’s how I roll.  That’s how I do.”

OKAY.  This is definitely my favorite movie on this list.  As I said in my “movies i don’t like” post,  my favorite genre is probably rom-com, my favorite actor is Stanley Tucci, and my favorite actress is Emma Stone, which obviously means this is one of my favorite movies of all time because it combines all. three. things.  Plus it’s just good.  The cast is phenomenal, the story is so good, and the humor is fantastic.  Anyway, in this one, Stanley plays the main character’s dad who stands by her as she goes through all of this mess at school.  And he’s just so funny.  The above quote is from one of my favorite scenes, one which I personally find funny because I have adopted black siblings like Olive.  In addition to all that, Dill and Rosemary are just the kind of parents I aspire my husband and I to be.  #LiteralParentGoals. (Gosh, this movie’s so good.  I may have to review it sometime.)

Captain America: The First Avenger | Dr. Abraham Erskine

“Whatever happens tomorrow, you must promise me one thing. That you will stay who you are, not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”

Let’s be honest – who didn’t completely fall in love with Dr. Erskine the second he walked on the screen???  He was obviously typecast as The Death That Would Inspire The Hero, but Stanley brought so much more to the role than most other characters like that – and I’d argue that he’s the best.  He inspires Steve to be more than he thinks he’s capable of, and encourages him to accept the super-soldier serum.  And that speech.  GAH.  Plus, he calls Steve “Steven.”  HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE HIM?!

The Hunger Games | Caesar Flickerman

“But you know what?  [Bleep] that! And [bleep] everybody that had anything to do with it!”
“All right, then. One woman’s opinion.”

My favorite part about Stanley-as-Caesar is just how likeable he is.  It’s apparent that Stanley read the books because that’s, like, the crux of the character in the book.  There are literally paragraphs describing how Caesar brings out the best in all of the tributes, even the incredibly shy ones who have close to nothing to say.  Stanley obviously did his research because that’s exactly how he plays him – a nuanced, larger-than-life TV host who is hungry for the adulation for the crowd and whose effervescence masks his true vulnerability.  Also, I’ve heard that Caesar is one of Stanley’s favorite roles.  Which is just amazing.

The Devil Wears Prada | Nigel Kippling

“You think this is just a magazine, hmm? This is not just a magazine. This is a shining beacon of hope for… oh, I don’t know… let’s say a young boy growing up in Rhode Island with six brothers pretending to go to soccer practice when he was really going to sewing class and reading Runway under the covers at night with a flashlight. You have no idea how many legends have walked these halls. And what’s worse, you don’t care. Because this place, where so many people would die to work you only deign to work. And you want to know why she doesn’t kiss you on the forehead and give you a gold star on your homework at the end of the day. Wake up, sweetheart.”

This movie is about the oftentimes twisted inner workings of the fashion industry and how it changes an intern named Andy Sachs.  Stanley plays Nigel, the somewhat gay editor of Runway Magazine who works with the definition of rhymes-with-witch, Miranda Priestly.  I love Stanley’s role in this movie because he’s just adorable.  He has Andy’s best interests at heart, often giving her that final push when she needs it.  (See the quote above.)  He has so many great scenes – most of which were ad-libbed, if you watch the bloopers, which just attests to Stanley’s absolute genius.  One of my favorite scenes isn’t in the movie.  (Katelyn knows which one I’m talking about.  THE GIRLS, KATELYN.  THE GIRLS.)  Also, this is his second movie with Meryl Streep, and they’re both completely different people in this one, which totally displays their versatility as actors.  Gah, I can’t.)

I’m slooooowly working my way through Stanley’s entire filmography, and some of the movies at the top of my To Watch list are The Pelican Brief, Shall We Dance (because hE DANCES!), The Company You Keep (which my parents watched without me and sent the Netflix DVD back before I could see it and I have no bitterness towards them WHATSOEVER), Spotlight (which also stars Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams), Big Night (Stanley and Tony Shalhoub’s first shared screen), and, of course, Beauty and the Beast (!!!!!!!).

So what do you think of my list?  Have you seen any of these movies?  What are your thoughts about them?  Anything to say just about Stanley in general?  (Just letting you know, if you bash him at all, I’ll bash you right back because he is perfection.)

the genius of ‘the rest of us just live here.’

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my copy had the cover on the left, but i can’t decide which one i like better, so here’s both of them.  : )

A few days ago, I finished reading a book by Patrick Ness called The Rest of Us Just Live Here.  (Before recommending it, I’d mention that there is some language and some sensual scenes, making it a light PG-13, although it isn’t as bad as some of the other {more popular} books I’ve read recently.  See my Goodreads review here.)

However, that didn’t stop me from really enjoying it.  I couldn’t put it down.  After three or four “meh” books, I needed a five-star.  And this was that five star.

What’s so special about it?  It’s original, and pokes fun at tropes and stereotypes with incredibly snarky and witty undertones while successfully maintaining a good story.

A new YA novel from novelist Patrick Ness, author of the Carnegie Medal- and Kate Greenaway Medal-winning A Monster Calls and the critically acclaimed Chaos Walking trilogy, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a bold and irreverent novel that powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

At the beginning of each chapter is a summary of what happens in the corresponding chapter of what this book would look like if it were a typical NY Times Bestselling book – with eye-roll-inducing accuracy.  “He tells her she’s beautiful in her own special way and that’s when she knows she can trust him.”  “She saves Finn (through only her own cunning and bravery) and as they flee, she steals a glimpse at the Immortal Crux … it is full of charms and jewels, with an empty space in exactly the shape of her amulet.”  “Satchel writes a poem, and her mom and dad give her loving space to just feel what she needs to.”  (I really feel like I’d have put that book down at the beginning of the first chapter.)

The main characters are the “extras” in a typical story – or, as the title says, “the rest of us.”  They live in the midst of all the crazy stuff going on in their town, but they’re almost ignoring what the “indie kids” get mixed up in.  (“Indie kids,” meaning the main participants in the alternate story, all with weird hipster names.  “Which Finn?” my sister says. “Aren’t all the indie kids called Finn?”  “I think there are a couple of Dylans,” Henna says, “and a Nash.”  “There are two Satchels, I know that,” I say. “A boy Satchel and a girl Satchel.”)  They’re just trying to make it ’til they can get out of their crazy town.  (“We’re just going to stick together and tough it out and try to live long enough to graduate. The usual.”)

All of the main characters are fully fleshed-out, and some of the most compelling I’ve ever read.  I loved the fact that they had real issues and struggles – things that the indie kids never seem to have.  For instance, Mike’s anxiety was so bad that he got stuck in loops, such as washing his hands so many times that they cracked.  (And don’t even get me started on Mike’s therapist’s reaction to Mike’s aversion to medicine.  Literal tears ran down my cheeks.)  Mel struggled with anorexia (and had a few relapses) and Henna couldn’t figure out how to tell her parents that she didn’t want to be a missionary in the war-ravaged Central African Republic.  (BY THE WAY.  Henna and her parents were Christians – missionaries, even!  But they weren’t preachy or stupid.  THANK YOU MERCIFUL HEAVENS, AND THANK YOU PATRICK NESS.)

Some of the stereotypes Patrick bashed were vampires (Henna’s older brother got mixed up with them a few years before and was never seen again), the new kid in school (“What kind of guy transfers to a new school five weeks before the end of his senior year?”), clueless adults (What happens to you when you get older? Do you just forget everything from before you turned eighteen? … Honestly. Adults. How do they live in the world? (Or maybe that is how they live in the world.)), and random overdone scenarios (“Now you’re sure we are not going to be murdered?” Call Me Steve says, actually looking a bit nervous.  “Prom night.  Group of diverse teens.  Remote cabin…”)

The main thing I loved about this story is that Patrick just Knows What’s Up. He knows all about the tropes and what’s been done too many times… and what hasn’t been done. And it all just works.  And it’s so neat because the entire book demonstrates the truth that every life is important.  Whether you’re battling Immortals or just trying to figure out how to tell a girl you like her, your story is important and unique and worth telling.

“Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.”

And that’s basically why I loved it so much.  Patrick had this pretty decent story going about this girl who had this amulet that had something to do with Immortals, but he decided to delve into the characters in the background of that story – and I, for one, found that far more interesting.

In fact, the whole story can be summed up in one quote:

“Not everyone has to be the Chosen One.  Not everyone has to be the guy who saves the world.  Most people just have to live their lives the best they can, doing things that are great for them, having great friends, trying to make their lives better, loving people properly.  All the while knowing that the world makes no sense but trying to find a way to be happy anyway.”

This book just works.  And it proves that the world needs more books like this – compelling, intriguing, original books that teach universal truths.

review | captain america: civil war

{So since my ‘thoughts i had during civil war’ post would literally just be “WHERE IS BUCKY” “BHAHAHA” “WHAT OH MY GOSH” “AHHHHHH”  “AHHHHHHHHH” “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” “WAIT WHAT?!”… yeah.  Here’s my slightly-more coherent review.  I’ve kept it spoiler-free for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.  But go see it asap.  Because it’s awesome.}

Civil War1“Compromise where you can. Where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say ‘No, YOU move’.” – Peggy Carter (ish)

I’ve been a huge fan of Captain America for a while now, and it’s no surprise that I was really looking forward to this movie.  After all, I’ve been waiting for it for two years.  I had no idea how the Russo brothers were going to pull off everything they were attempting, but I knew I had to join along for the ride.

AND BOY WAS IT AMAZING.  (Shocker, right?  A Marvel movie, amazing? *sarcastic gasp*)

The Story

“With many people fearing the actions of super heroes, the government decides to push for the Anti-Hero Registration Act, a law that limits a heroes actions. This results in a division in The Avengers. Iron Man stands with this Act, claiming that their actions must be kept in check otherwise cities will continue to be destroyed, but Captain America feels that saving the world is daring enough and that they cannot rely on the government to protect the world. This escalates into an all-out war between Team Iron Man (Iron Man, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, and Spiderman) and Team Captain America (Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant Man) while a new villain emerges.” (from IMDb)

Basically, yes.

Civil War2Because of their values, Steve and Tony are at odds.  Tony has seen first-hand what destruction his weapons (and the Avengers’ actions) have caused, and wants them to be put in check.  (“If we can’t accept limitations, we’re no better than the bad guys.”)  Steve sees it, too, but he’s always disliked the thought of a government being able to tell them what to do and what not to do.  (“I know we’re not perfect, but the safest hands are still our own.”)

(I went into it siding with neither of them, but on Team Cap because my loyalties will forever lie with him.  During one of the big debates between Tony and Steve, where they were both laying out their opinions, I leaned into my friend and said, “I literally don’t know whose side I’m on!”  And she replied, “Me neither!”  Both sides were given equal screentime and shown with complete objectivity, and both were incredibly valid.  I still don’t know what side I’d be on if this were a real issue. … OH WAIT.  IT IS.)

As the plot furthers and things come to light, the different members of the Avengers (plus a few extras) join sides.  Then it gets real.

The Cast and Characters

Team Cap

Civil War3Obviously, we should start with Captain America himself, aka Steve Rogers.  He’s always been my favorite Marvel hero (and one of my favorite heroes of all time), and this was certainly no exception.  Steve fights bravely for his rights in this addition to his series (the finale of his trilogy, I think), and I love him more than ever.  He really can do it all day.

As always, Chris Evans blew it out of the park and I love him way too much.  Every single emotion was acted perfectly, and even the little moments where Steve was thinking or looking at someone (hello, that scene when Steve noticed Wanda reeling from the footage in Sokovia and told the Secretary of State that it was enough) – absolute perfection.

Civil War6BUCKY BARNES AKA JAMES BUCHANAN BARNES AKA MY LOVE.  OH MY GOSH.  As always, there wasn’t enough Bucky in this film.  (But is there ever, really?  I would’ve gladly paid $15 just to sit through three hours of Bucky hiding out, buying produce, eating granola bars, and working on his little notebook.  Srsly.)  He’s amazing, though, as always.  Dry-witted and angsty and THE MURDER STRUT.  AWW YISS.  I won’t talk about the Winter Soldier parts because spoilers and because it’s just TOO MUCH.’

Sebastian Stan is a national treasure.  He just is.  He was flawless in his, what, nine minutes of screentime in Winter Soldier, and doubly so in this one (and he was basically in the whole thing!!!).  The contrast between his on-screen personality as Bucky and his off-screen interviews and whatnot as himself is just the DEFINITION of amazing acting.  He’s my stupidly perfect Romanian jerkface.  And that is all.

Civil War7The rest of the team is pretty amazing, too.  Scarlet Witch’s guilt over the innocent lives she took at Sokovia (and the scene in the beginning of the film) is apparent, Falcon’s loyalty to Steve is key, the addition of Scott Lang as Ant-Man was the comic relief the film needed, Clint (Hawkeye) is just FABULOUS (as always, duh), and I guess you could say Sharon Carter was on his team, too.  (WINKKKKK.)  (And, by the way, she speaks at The Funeral, confirming everything we already knew.  YESSSSS.)

Team Iron Man

Civil War 9.jpgTony Stark… gosh, I have such a love-hate relationship with him.  He’s so funny and smart and the Avengers would be nothing without him… but he’s also very prideful and has this HUGE ego and never thinks he’s in the wrong.  (He guessed it in Age of Ultron, though, and he admits it in this one, too.  So yay.)  I can see where he’s coming from, having had all of this emotional trauma in his early life to frame his worldview and the personal stories he’s heard of how his weapons have destroyed lives, blah blah blah… but I just have very little sympathy for him.  THAT SAID, when the teams got together for The Big Fight – the one in the trailer, so no spoilers here – I literally didn’t know which team to root for.  WHICH IS WEIRD?!  But partially because Team Iron Man has so many great characters in it, as you’ll see below.

Robert Downey, Jr. is Tony Stark.  He just is.  He knows all of his quirks, flaws, weaknesses, strengths, etc, and every aspect of his character is completely lifelike.

Civil War8Skimming a little to get to one of my favorite characters in the entire movie…  Natasha’s character wasn’t quite as deep as I would’ve liked it – especially the tension between her and Clint, who were on DIFFERENT SIDES WHAT THE EVEN HECK – but I still liked how she pleaded (in vain) with Steve to “stay outta this one.”  Iron Patriot was good (he added a camaraderie to Tony’s character because they’re bros) and Vision was okay (and the paprika scene was hilarious and made me ship the thing a little harder *wink*).  Black Panther (Prince T’Challa) was really great, except I didn’t like his motive, which was to kill Bucky.  So I didn’t like him ’til the end.  BECAUSE WHO COULD LIKE SOMEONE WHO WAS AGAINST MY PRECIOUS CHILD?!  Anyway.  He had a pretty valid motive, though.  (And that’s all I’ll say because spoilers.)

Civil War4OKAY SO SPIDERMAN.  GUYS.  OH MY GOSH.  Okay, so I have quite a few favorite Marvel superheroes, but Spidey’s way up there (probably like #3).  I was first introduced to Peter Parker with Tobey McGuire (just the first one, though – I didn’t watch the second and third ’til after the two reboots), but I liked Andrew Garfield’s take on the character a little more.  ALL THAT SAID, I’m pretty sure Tom Holland’s version is my favorite.  When he first came onscreen, I knew he’d be my favorite.  He looked, acted, and talked like the quintessential Peter Parker – awkward, angsty, witty teenage kid (and Tom is actually a teenager – IMAGINE THAT) who stumbles upon powers that he uses to make the world a better place.  Without going into it too much, they introduced his character without rehashing anything we already know.  Which was perfect.  And that just set up his entire character.  His voice cracks constantly, he’s a REALISTIC KID, he’s hilarious, and he’s still kind of in awe of all the people around him.  And did I mention he’s HILARIOUS?!  (“Hey, guys, you ever see that really old movie, Empire Strikes Back???”  I laughed so hard.)

And Tom Holland.  Man.  That kid’s gonna go places.

As for the other characters, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross was great (but unexpectedly AMERICAN – so it didn’t sound like John/Bilbo at all – and I loved his abnormally un-timid character), and Daniel Bruhl as Zemo… gosh, I loved him.  No more, though – spoilers.

ALSO, THE VILLAIN ISN’T WHO YOU THINK IT IS.  Partially because he isn’t in any of the trailers, partially because I don’t know which comic he’s in.

Objectionable Content

Civil War10.gifThis one had a little more language than the Marvel movies I’ve seen (okay, maybe except Ant-Man).  Some profanities and obscenities were muffled by other sounds, but most were there.  Lots of blood, as is expected in a movie with a few big battle scenes.  It was pretty intense, but most of the violence was shown with a shaky-cam.  There was one pretty intense water torture scene that I didn’t like.  And there was nothing by way of sexual scenes – just one kiss.  See IMDb’s Parents Guide for specifics.

The Bottom Line

Basically, it was one of my favorite Avengers movies ever, but it’s hard to compare it to others because it deals with different things than the other Marvel movies.  It’s about friends fighting friends, which always has issues.  As Dumbledore said, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

I loved the way Kevin of Say Goodnight Kevin explained it, so if you want a more clear review (sans fangirling), watch his initial review!

As with all other Marvel movies, it’s the perfect blend of action and intensity, with enough depth to make you think but enough comic relief to make you laugh.  And just a dash of romance, which I always love.  Recipe for a perfect superhero film.

TAKE THAT, DC.

Civil War5

sixteen of my favorite childhood movies.

(Instead of posting two very ranty posts about perfect people, or one that’s literally just my text conversation with my sister about a guy at Starbucks who was literally sitting next to me the whole time we texted, here’s a list of ten of my favorite childhood movies.  Because I like being nostalgic more than I like ranting at you guys.  ALSO because this is like a make-up for my “movies i don’t like” post, which freaked you guys out.  I still have good taste!  Be my friend again!)

You know that moment when someone bashes something you love and you feel like building a barricade and taking up arms to defend yourself and your opinion?

Well.

A few weeks ago, Shia Labouf said that he “wasn’t proud of Holes.

My knee-jerk reaction was, “WHAAAAT?!  HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT ABOUT ONE OF MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MOVIES?!  IT DEFINED MY CHILDHOOD.  THAT MOVIE IS A WORK OF CINEMATIC GENIUS.  YOU KNOW NOTHING OF THE WORLD.”

And then I calmed down and decided to write this blog post.

Because I feel like I need to defend Holes, here are my top ten favorite childhood films (including Holes).  Honestly, these aren’t all Oscar-worthy, but they’re movies that I saw in my childhood (birth-twelve) and have stuck with me since then – and enough that I’ll eternally love them, no matter what anybody says.  In no particular order, because I can’t narrow movies down like that.

{And this was originally gonna be just five… then ten… then fifteen… then I remembered a huge one, so yeah.  Skim it if you don’t care.  It was way too nostalgic to write.  *runs away sobbing*}

holes

Holes (duh)

I distinctly remember when my siblings and I first got introduced to this movie.  We were on the way to Hershey, PA (it was a homeschool field trip that was my idea – booyah), and stopped at somebody’s house for the night.  The kids begged Mom and Dad to let us watch it, but it had gotten too late.  They had recently gotten the DVD, so they gave us their copy of the VHS (remember those???).  We later watched the movie in the hotel room and fell in love with it.  I’ve loved it ever since.  Because what is not to love?!  Bravery, comedy, adventure, and insanely hilarious one-liners, plus a FANTASTIC sub-plot set in the Old West.  We’ve seen this movie so many times, we can quote all of it, and certain lines come up in our daily conversations, such as “I can fix that” and “Once upon a time, there was a magical place where it never rained.  The end.  *annoying laugh*”  (The book is pretty great, too, and almost exactly like the movie – that’s when you KNOW the movie’s good!)

If you haven’t seen it, totally go watch it right now.  Seriously.  Right now.  Go.

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this is the actual cover of the actual vhs we actually still own.  good gracious.

The Country Bears

Okay, so this one’s more of an inside joke in my family – one of those it’s-so-stupid-you-can’t-help-but-like-it movies.  My brother and I watch it every now and then, if only to poke fun at it.  I’ve always loved it, though.  The songs are fantastic (plus, I had a babysitter who looked like the waitress in that one musical number), and the comedy is genius.  Some of my favorite parts are when the parents and police (HAMM AND CHEETS) ignore the fact that Beary (B e a r y) is a bear who was literally adopted, and whenever Beary meets a new member of the Country Bears – thus starting a new musical number.  Favorite lines include: “We’re gonna play this little game I like to call Hidin’ In The Car Wash.” “What do we do?” “We hide… in the car wash.” and “OH NO!  NOT COUNTRY BEAR HALL!”

If you need a totally stupid movie that you can just mindlessly watch that will make you laugh ’til tears stream down your face, this one’s for you.

Robin Hood

Robin Hood

This movie.  This. Movie.  I have memories of singing the “Oodilally Oodilally, Golly, What a Day” song in the car… at nineteen.  With fellow teenagers.  And when we went to Disney last month, I ran towards the guy dressed in the Robin Hood suit.  (And he hugged me and kissed my hand and let me take pictures with him.  I basically died.)  That’s the impact this movie has had on my life.  It’s set all of my relationship goals (‘Love Goes On,’ anyone?), all of my husband goals (because Robin IS goals), and it’s basically one of my favorite stories ever – SET TO MUSIC.  WITH ANIMALS.  I mean, seriously, HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THIS?!

Pretty sure you guys have all seen this, so watch it if you want some insane nostalgia.

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Chicken Little

Okay, I feel like I need to defend this movie, too.  One of my friends just dissed it and I felt memories from eleven years ago rise up and form my soapbox from which I bashed him.  My younger siblings watched it while I saw The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and I was slightly jealous, until we watched it later and I fell in love with it then.  I love how funny this one is.  (“Pfft – bandaid solutions!”)  Plus, it’s just a great take on the story.  And with the undertones of friendship and fatherhood and bravery, it’s maintained its place on my list of favorite movies of all time.

Literally just watch this one if you want a good laugh.

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Treasure Planet

I feel like this movie is ignored in the Disney canon a lot because it’s in that awkward stage when Disney was trying to figure themselves out again (it came out in 2002, right along with Lilo and StitchThe Emperor’s New Groove, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, and Bolt – all good movies but not considered “classics”).  And I have NO IDEA WHY because this movie DEFINED MY CHILDHOOD.  Seriously, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this.  We have the pre-release version (long story short, a good friend’s dad was a theater marketing guy for Paramount, so he’d give us the VHSes after he was done with them – actually, a good chunk of these movies are from him.  Thanks, Mr. A!), so I’ve been in love with this movie for a while.  Then, when the 10th anniversary Blu-ray came out, Katie and I lamented how old we’ve gotten and bought it.  Because duh.  Everything is amazing – the cast (Emma Thompson!  Martin Short!  Baby Joseph Gordon-Levitt!!!), the post-apocalyptic-18th-century-SPACEPIRATES setting, the hilarious references to older movies (“Dang it, Jim, I’m an astronomer, not a doctor!”), and the incredible accuracy to the original Robert Lewis Stevenson book.  (And, I mean, it’s probably my favorite adaption.)  Plus, Jim was one of my first major fictional crushes (not telling you what the first one was – it’s embarassingggg), and Doctor Doppler and Captain Amelia were probably my first ship (before I even knew what shipping was!).  This movie is amazing.  Plus, dang it, that SONG.  And the soundtrack is E P I C.  I used to do my math homework to it.  Every single day.  And this huge paragraph just goes to show just how much I LOVE this movie.

If you need something fantastic in so many ways, go for this one.

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Cinderella (1997)

*adjusts hipster glasses* Chances are, you haven’t heard of or seen this one.  It’s based on the Rogers and Hammerstein musical (originally on television in 1957, starring Julie Andrews), and it played a major part in my decision to go see Cinderella on Broadway in 2013.  (I’ll take this opportunity to say again that I saw the original cast – meaning Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes.  Yes, Cosette, this is true.)  To be completely honest with you guys, I got this movie (the VHS from Target – yes, I’m that old) as a reward for success in potty training.  It’s been in my family for a while, and my baby sister watches the same VHS I did.  *melts from the happy feels*  The music is amazing, the sets and costumes are breathtaking, and the color-blind casting is genius.  (How Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber had Paolo Montalban as a child, I will never know.  But I love it.)

If you need a dose of amazing music sung by the TALENT that is Brandi, Whitney Houston, and Bernadette Peters (THE QUEEN), be prepared – this one will knock your socks off.

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Pride and Prejudice

This one seems a little mature to fit in this list, but TRUST ME – IT BELONGS.  I can almost remember the day we got introduced to this movie by our amazing friends in North Carolina (who also introduced us to Redwall, Monk, The Penderwicks, and Hogan’s Heroes) – mid-November of 2005.  We were at their house for a literature class, and their sixteen-year-old son (no joke) casually mentioned that they were going to see “the new Pride and Prejudice” later that day and asked if we’d heard of it.  The second my mom said no, he gasped a little and found the DVD for us to borrow.  He later told us that the new one wasn’t any good and that we should just stick to the old one.  (Before you guys fall in love with him, just know that he’s married now.)  I love this movie.  I like the new one (we’ve formed a cordial friendship ever since I’ve decided that it isn’t as bad as I thought it was), but this one is amazing.  It’s what started my love for period dramas.

If you haven’t seen it yet… seriously, why are you even following this blog.

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Little Women

This one is such a classic, and I connected with it in so many ways when I first saw it.  Jo and I are both second-born, love writing, have a flair for theatre, and are tomboyish.  I can’t see Laurie played by anybody else, either – Christian Bale is Laurie.  And it’s so accurate to the book!  (Which, confession, I didn’t read until about 2012.  What can I say – I’ve never loved classics.)  I’ve seen this one too many times to count, and I still can’t watch Beth’s death scene without covering my eyes or fast-forwarding (because we have the VHS, duh).  The only thing I don’t love is the fact that Jo and Laurie didn’t end up together.  I understaaaand why Laurie wasn’t right for Jo and why Prof Bhaer was, but… dang you, Louisa, they were SO CUTE.

If you love period drama, watch this one.  (And then listen to the musical.)

anastasia

Anastasia

SWEET BUTTERED CRUMPETS, THIS MOVIE.  I’ve been in love with Dimitri ever since 1997.  (He. Is. Mine.)  The entire thing is amazing, but the music is what makes up for the historical inaccuracies and the creepily-almost-demonic Rasputin.  “If I can learn to do it, you can learn to do it!”  And ‘Once Upon a December’ is one of my favorite songs of all time.  Not to mention all of the songs are breathtaking (even the kind of lame, totally 90’s ‘In the Dark of the Night’), just like the costumes.  (GAH.  I need ALL OF THEM.)  The action is amazing – that train scene, guys.  *dies*  Plus, hello, the love story between Anya and Dimitri – TALK ABOUT GOALS!  I shipped them (along with Captain Amelia and Doctor Doppler) before I knew what shipping was.  I want a guy like Dimitri, guys – sassy and loyal and a little bad.  *WINKKKK*  This movie has just the perfect amount of romance, one-liners, action, and comedy.  I will never get over this movie.  It’s on Amazon Prime and I don’t care to mention how many times watched snippets on my phone in between study sessions.  It keeps the kid in me alive.  ; )

If you just want to see a really good animated movie, watch this one.

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Barbie: Princess and the Pauper

Say what you will about all Barbie movies being self-insert fanfiction, but this list had to have at least one (and it’s probably the stupidest movie on this list but I love it anyway).  This one’s gotta be my favorite, probably because of the music.  (I’m sensing a theme here…)  I listened to some of it the other day and got all nostalgic again while realizing I still know all the words to ‘Free‘… plus all the other songs.  (“Imagine life without the strife of an unfamiliar groom!”)  And my relationship with my husband/boyfriend/whatever will not be complete until we sing ‘If You Love Me for Me,’ amen and amen.  Plus, the older ones are just so much better than the newer ones.  (We still own this one, Nutcracker, Rapunzel, and Swan Lake, and my younger siblings watch them all the time.)  I love all of the stupid lines (“It was always lilac!”) and all the music and the insanely unbelievable and predictable plot and all the plot holes and the stupid romance subplots and just everything about it.  I don’t know how or why Martin Short sunk so low, but b l e s s.

If you need something to watch at 2am after studying for six hours *cough* not that I’ve done that *cough* but… yep.

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i couldn’t find a picture of josh and buddy together… but who needs that when you can have just this adorable little kid, amiright?!

Air Bud

One word: Dimples.  This movie introduced me to them, and I’ve never been the same.  (I’ve also harbored a nineteen-year-old crush GOOD GOSH HAS IT BEEN THAT LONG on Kevin Zegers.  The other day, I found myself speed-watching an episode of a TV show that I’m not interested in just because Kevin played a very sick teen and I needed to make sure he ended up okay.  {He did.})  This movie is amazing.  It tugged at my baby heartstrings and I cried when Josh told Buddy to leave.  (The pudding cup, guys… *sobs*)  I still can’t watch it without crying when Buddy comes back, even though there’s no way he can help Josh with the basketball game.  (HE’S THERE FOR MORAL SUPPORT, OKAY?!)  I still watch this occasionally.  And my opinion on all the Air Buddies movies – no.  Just… no.

IF YOU NEED TO SEE SOME ADORBS DIMPLES (on a twelve-year-old but whatever), WATCH IT.

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Hook

This movie really set in stone everything I want from an action film – ACTION SCENES STARRING SMALL CHILDREN.  (Just kidding.)  Seriously, though, I will never stop loving this movie.  I just watched it again with the kids that I babysit, and let me just say… it’s a classic.  Robin Williams is amazing, Dustin Hoffman is fantastic, and, according to Blimey Cow,  you’re not a REAL homeschooler if you haven’t seen it.  (“RU-FI-OOOOOOOOOO.”)  Plus, John Williams is phenomenal, as always.  And I’m always just 100% here for anything about Peter Pan, so yeah.  (Speaking of: Peter Pan: Return to Never Land.  First movie I distinctly remember seeing in the theater, and ‘I’ll Try‘ never fails to make me weep.)  When I first saw it over a decade ago (whyyyyy am I so ooooolllllldddddd), the scene when Hook kidnaps Peter’s kids freaked the living snot out of me, but in a good way.  (When that handle turns, SHIVERS RUN DOWN MY SPINE. S O.  G O O D.)

If you want a true 90’s classic, go for it.

lww old

*intense war flashbacks*

Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1988)

The newer version (yes, the newer one that came out over a DECADE AGO) is also on this list, but this version belongs first because I fell in love with the world of Narnia because of this movie.  (I loved the books, but I didn’t get around to reading the books for myself until I was about nine, long after I first saw this movie.)  The 80’s feel is kind of redic, the clearly-human-people-in-animal-costumes (the Beavers, anyone?), Animatronic Aslan whose mouth goes up and down – even when he’s not talking – YES IT’S ALL INSANELY STUPID BUT THIS IS THE NARNIA THAT I KNOW AND LOVE.   We had this library we would go to every Tuesday that was in a church that had all of these amazing books and movies but my siblings and I would get one of the old Narnia movies every other week, without fail (this one the most).  I remember being insanely offended at nine years old when I found out that “they” were making another one.

If you want intense war flashbacks because you had an amazing childhood, give this a much-deserved rewatch.

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OH MAH GOSH I LOVED THIS SO MUCH.

Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)

I seriously have so much love for both of these versions, so they both belong on here.  Like I said before, I was mad when I found out that a reboot was being made.  Then I saw the trailer and I was like, “NOPE, I’M GONNA SEE THIS.”  I took some friends for my eleventh birthday and loved it.  (Even though I left the theater with a friend to go to the bathroom during the Stone Table scene because I was so freaked out.)  This movie influenced me so much, and the entire series formed a lot of my views of God (even though I didn’t know it at the time).  Plus, everybody said I looked so much like Georgie Henley that I cut my hair short like hers.  Of the three reboots that have been released (SO FAR – SILVER CHAIR, BABYYYYY), this one’s probably my favorite.  I had such a crush on Will Mosley (and of course I don’t still have a crush on him even though he only gets more hot why would you say that) and it was one of the first movies that I saw in which WWII played a pretty big part (we thought we’d gone into the wrong theater for the first eight minutes!).  Anyway, this one’s such a classic and, thus, such a favorite.

If you want to see an amazing version of an amazing classic… yes.  Just yes.

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Muppet Treasure Island

“He’s some kind of a blind fiend.”  “I believe they prefer visually-challenged fiend.”  Seriously, the sass in this movie is unreal.  Which is why my siblings and I loved it so much when we were younger.  Pirates, swordfighting, hilarious one-liners, MUPPETS – what’s not to love?  It’s one of those movies that’s somehow distinctly for homeschoolers, and I didn’t care about conforming to the stereotype when I was six.  Even though Jim’s voice is so high – seriously, the kid hits notes that I can’t hit with a ten-foot pole – and even though some of it is so stupid, we still loved it.  (And I’m pretty sure my older sister had a crush on Tim Curry’s Long John Silver, even though she’ll flat out deny it if you ask her.)

If you want to see (another) hilarious take on Stevenson’s classic tale, here you go.

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look at how cute this guy is!!!

All of Roy Rogers’ movies

My siblings and I own and have seen so many of these and I CANNOT NARROW THEM DOWN.  (Seriously, we own a collection of twenty, plus about twenty other standalone DVDs.  It was an obsession.)  Roy Rogers influenced me so much that I even read not one but two biographies about him and his wife, Dale Evans (and their relationship is just so many goals).  (At fifteen.  When I hated nonfiction!)  Many, many, many happy hours were spent with my siblings watching classics like Eyes of Texas and Jesse James at Bay and Young Bill Hickok and Sons of the Pioneers and Hands Across the Boarder and Heldorado and Roll On, Texas Moon and Springtime in the Sierras and then reenacting the scenes in our backyards and other friends’ backyards.  I wrote so many western short stories and scripts because of him.  And then to grow up a little more and find out that he was a CHRISTIAN who had NINE KIDS, FOUR of which he ADOPTED?!  It’s unreal.  He was my first childhood hero (I even put a framed photograph of him and Dale up on my bookshelf… where it still stands today) and I know I’ll love him for forever.  AND WAY MORE THAN JOHN WAYNE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

If you love Westerns and haven’t seen at least a dozen of Roy’s old movies, you really need to do this for yourself.  Watch one.  Eyes of Texas is probably my favorite.

Honorable Mentions
(because expanding already-too-long lists is what I do BEST)

All of the Pixar movies, but especially my favorites – Toy Story (1,2,&3) and Up
ALLLLL
 of the old Disney movies, but especially my favorites – The Lion King and Beauty and            the BeastAladdin, Pocahontas, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Mulan
The Rescuers
The Great Mouse Detective
The Iron Giant
Mary Poppins
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The Love Bug
Escape to 
(and Return FromWitch Mountain
The Princess Diaries
(mostly just the first one, though – I didn’t see the second one ’til like             2011)
The Emperor’s New Groove
The American Girl movies, especially the Kit one (STANLEY TUCCI)
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (two words: Bryan Adams)

Gosh, this entire post has given me so much nostalgia and now I feel SO INCREDIBLY OLD.  Please tell me that you’ve seen at least some of these!  (And if you haven’t, let me know in the comments and I’ll pop us some popcorn because it’s time for you to L I V E.)

ten short movie reviews.

While cleaning out my purse (lolz, what a joke) I looked through all of the ticket stubs from the movies I went to see last year.  I keep them because (in case you didn’t know) I’m a huge bit of a movie geek.  And because I’m a movie geek, I decided to do a short review of all of the movies I saw last year.  Enjoy.

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Unbroken | 12/26/14

I didn’t “technically” see this one in 2015, but it was close enough.  I loved this movie so much.  It had a zillion of my favorite actors in it, and it introduced me to a few new actors (including Domhnall Gleeson, my current film crush, who is gracing the forefront of the gif above the title of this movie – yes, you’re welcome).  In fact, I loved it so much that I wrote a review of it.  And if you haven’t seen it yet, seriously, what are you waiting for?!

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies | 1/31/15

This movie was just a big meh for me.  I know people who loved it, but most of my friends came back from it very disappointed (as we all were with the second one – minus Ben *wink*).  I didn’t even go see it ’til more than a month after it came out because I was so afraid of being disappointed.  The movie was okay.  I mean, it wrapped everything up, but it just felt like a mess.  And the CGI for all of the action scenes?  No.  The only thing that redeemed it was because it had some of my favorite actors in it (and the fact that Martin Freeman is just the perfect Bilbo) and it was decent enough to watch.  I don’t know how many times I’ll be watching it in the future, though.  IMHO, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was MUCH better, and I’ll be watching that over the Hobbit trilogy in the future.  (Extended, of course.)

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The Drop Box | 3/3/15

This was probably the only documentary I watched in 2015.  (That just goes to show how much interest I have in them.  #whoops)  It was still fantastic.  If you don’t know about it, click here to go to the website.  Watch the trailer.  It’ll make you cry.  I watched the film with some friends (including friends who were adopted), and it made all of us cry because we had such a connection with unwanted children.  It was beautiful.

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The Avengers: Age of Ultron | 5/7/15

YEAHHHH, BABY.  Even though I loved this movie, there were some things in it that I’m still mad about.  For instance (and spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it yet), the fact that Joss shot Clintasha out of the water was just unforgiveable.  Now Natasha’s with Banner, who totally freaked her out in the first film?  Nope.  It’s canon, yeah, but I’m not accepting it.  Let’s hope the Russo brothers dismiss the whole Brutasha thing in Civil War.  (“That was just a phase, Steve.  How stupid do you think I am?!”)  Also, did Pietro have to die???  He can zip around super fast but not fast enough to evade a series of bullets?  SERIOUSLY?!  *sigh*  I still loved the movie, though.

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Tomorrowland | 5/23/15

This one got a bad rap by the critics – but, honestly, never listen to them.  They’re the ones who decided that Star Wars was too mainstream to give it many Academy Award Nominations.  (Speaking of, who else is mildly perturbed about the all-white Oscar Nominations?)  Anyway, I actually really liked this movie.  It started out explaining that everyone thinks the world is destined for destruction.  And then the bad guy has a super-unsettling speech about how everyone embraces all of the dystopia-craze because they feel like it’s unavoidable.  (“You resign yourself to a terrible future because that future doesn’t ask anything of you today.”  Gosh, it just gets better.  Watch it.)  All in all, it’s a little “green,” but it’s definitely worth watching, if only once.  (I’ve seen it twice since I saw it in the theater and it impacted me all three times.)

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Paper Towns | 7/23/15

Katie and I saw this the night before it officially came out at the special Night on the Towns event (which included a preview of a trailer for another movie, and then a Q&A session with a lot of the actors, cast, and John Green).  I really enjoyed that one, probably because it was so close to the book (which I really loved).  It was one of those young adult movies you can watch with your girlfriends and feel all warm and fuzzy inside afterwards.  (Also, it was totally fun to see it with a bunch of other fangirls.  When Ansel Elgort made a cameo appearance, everyone screamed.  Including me.)

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Ant-Man | 9/7/15

This is another one that I loved, despite what the critics said.  I thought it was going to be totally stupid, but it ended up being one of my favorite Marvel movies!  So hilarious and so all-around fantastic.  Plus, hello, it’s (a slightly older) Paul Rudd from Clueless!!!  The girl character (played by Evangeline Lilly, aka Tauriel) was kind of one-dimensional (my pet peeve in movies – girls who are only there because there has to be a girl for the guy protagonist to fall in love with), but she was fine.  My favorite character, though (besides Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang), was Luis, played to comedic perfection by Michael Peña.  For months afterwards, my siblings and I would refer to something as being “crazy stupid fine.”  And it worked.  For everything.  (Here’s the link to his scenes.)  (Fun fact: I still haven’t seen War Room yet because my parents saw that while we watched Ant-Man.  Guess that makes me a bad Christian, huh?  XD)

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The Peanuts Movie | 11/7/15

Oh my gosh, this movieeeee.  It was like nostalgia from my childhood coming back and slamming me in the chest.  Yes, I cried because, yes, it was beautiful.  The movie spanned an entire year, so that gave the filmmakers plenty of time to do nods to the old movies – skating on the lake, Christmas, Schroeder and his piano, Thanksgiving, the Red Baron (IN WWII!), Valentine’s Day.  And there was a dance and I was shipping characters all over the place, and it was literally one of the cutest things I watched last year.  I saw it with my younger brother and sister, so it was kind of weird that two teenagers and one young adult were sitting in an animated kids’ movie, bawling our eyes out… but we loved it.  (And the gif is of Pigpen because he literally cannot be cuter.)

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 | 11/20/15

Saw this the day it came out because of obvious reasons and bawled my eyes out.  I was also pretty freaked out by the (many) jumpscares and kept accidentally flinging my arms into the empty seat beside me.  (When I saw it again this past Sunday with some friends, I almost jumped into my bff’s brother’s lap.  It was embarrassing.)  This movie was everything I thought it’d be, and I loved it.  Katie came with me, though, and hated it.  So that wasn’t fun.  : P  It wrapped up the series perfectly and I was a very content fangirl.  (Now I need to read the books again.)

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens | 12/21/15

SWEET BUTTERED CRUMPETS, THIS MOVIE WAS SO FANTASTIC.  I’ve already written a blog post kinda fangirling about, but I’ll do some more here.  I was totally blown away by how great it was.  I guess my standards were low enough for that to happen, but I honestly didn’t think I’d enjoy it enough once – let alone want to go see it again (which I’m doing later today *party emoji*).  It just… gah.  It had its faults, yes (like the fact that you lost all fear of Kylo Ren after he took off his helmet and the fact that it seemed like all of the good parts of the original trilogy and barely anything more), but it was still fantastic.  I’m really interested in seeing how the whole Kylo/Ren/Finn/Poe thing works out, especially since half the fandom insists that Finn/Poe is a thing.  (I ship Reylo, but I think they might end up being cousins… sigh.)  We saw this with my cousins, aunt, uncle, grandparents, dad, and my little brother (his first Star Wars movie), and that definitely added to my experience.

I also saw God’s Not Dead 2 last night (my dad got tickets through a pastor thing).  I can’t figure out how to share my thoughts on it without spoiling anything (HA), so I’ll wait to post my review (if you guys want it) ’til the day it comes out.

Thoughts?  Did you guys see any of these movies?  Do you agree or disagree with me?  (I typically only go see movies that I know I’m gonna like, which is why it seems like I like every movie I saw in the theater this year…  So, yeah.)

PS: My next post is (I think) going to be my big answers post, so make sure your questions are sent in before Sunday and I’ll post my answers sometime next week!