Monday, May 20, 2019

"There: as the girl very properly says, 'Gaaaaaahhhhhhhnnn.'"

In honor of Liza Doolittle Day, a brief tribute to my beloved My Fair Lady.

Because Y'AAALLLLLL.  This movie gives me literal life.

It's bursting with color and showmanship. 

There's a positively superfluous extravagance of outrageous costumes. 

There's a gorgeous tribute to flowers in the midst of grimy urbanity. 

It's one of those movies that you could watch dozens of times and never run out of new layers to uncover.  (How do I know this, you ask?  Experience, my dear, experience.)

It's got one of the most immensely satisfying and fascinating relational dynamics I've ever seen: that of Eliza and Higgins.  Every time I watch it I find new insights into their relationship.  I love looking for hidden glances and subtle eyerolls and silent giggles.  I love watching Eliza's character develop and reveal her true identity as someone much more self-possessed and forceful than Higgins had bargained on dealing with.  I love to watch his arrogance come tumbling down.  

Because come tumbling down it most certainly does. 

My Fair Lady 1964 Rex Harrison Image 3

The whole movie is one big validation of the dignity of Eliza Doolittle, even though it doesn't appear to be at first.  

It's about a woman who's willing to seek professional help to improve her life, who puts up with a bunch of nonsense from a giant man-child who thinks his education gives him the right to treat everybody as if they don't matter except insofar as they are useful to him.  But then, once she realizes that they are on a much more equal plane than she initially thought ⎼ once they've been working together for a long, hard time and coming into more of a relationship with each other ⎼ she recognizes his antics for what they are, and she refuses to sit there and take it anymore:

"I know I'm only a common, ignorant girl and you're a book-learned gentleman, but I'm not dirt under your feet."

He's gotta shape up or they are done.  Whatever their dynamic is ⎼ romantic or platonic ⎼ it will be nonexistent if he doesn't get his act together. 

In the end, the professor is defeated by the flower girl, and we get a frabjous movie into the bargain, and I couldn't be happier. 

£1.25 GBP - Hepburn, Audrey [My Fair Lady] (50489) 8X10 Photo #ebay #Collectibles

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Monarch of the Glen {Seasons 1 - 7}

accurate representation of their relationship and the
series as a whole

Monarch of the Glen is an early-2000's TV show from the infamous BBC.  My parents and younger brother and I watched the show in its entirety last year, having previously watched a few seasons several years ago.  And we loved it.

// Overview //

It's about a dysfunctional but loving Scottish family (who all have inexplicably British accents) eking the last scraps of viability out of their family home, Glenbogle, a relict estate in the highlands.  The son and heir, Archie MacDonald, returns from his profitable culinary career in London to the old house after several years of semi-estrangement.  There he reconnects with his oddball parents and their three equally eccentric, loyal retainers. 

Monarch is charming and funny and flawed (like pretty much any TV show ever).  Even when the makers make choices that could be termed interesting and are definitely frustrating, and take the show in some unexpected directions in later seasons, you find that you've become so attached to the characters that you'll follow them to the end anyway.  

Image detail for -Monarch of the Glen IV | Knowledge Network

// Characters //

It's something I've started appreciating recently:  TV shows (at least in my experience) tend to be better than movies at presenting you with characters who are by turns endearing and off-putting, at giving you representations of real people who are alternately lovable and error-prone.  Of course, television has that advantage over film just based on length of time in which to flesh out the characters, so that's no surprise.  But it's something I'm only now starting to realize. 

This one is no exception.  Every one of them do stupid ─ really stupid, and damaging ─ things over the course of the show.  All of them make biiiiiggg mistakes.  

But all of them are worthy anyway.  And that's exactly like real life. 

The series opens with Hector Naismith MacDonald, the clan patriarch.  He's inimitable and immortal and the biggest pain in the butt you'll ever encounter.  But you'll love him.

Molly is the actual definition of Too Pure For This World. ♥

Lexie is My Girl.  Her character arc is amazingggggg, and it makes me so proud.  She goes from an overly flirty cook with a secret self-esteem problem to a self-possessed woman who owns her worth as a human being.  *SPOILERS* (Like that one episode in Season 5 when she comes into that board meeting with this awesome confidence and that Lexie smile: "I'm Lexie MacDonald.  And how are we all?" :')) *END OF SPOILERS* 

bbb24edf1826d1a560628508a3ca0a9b.jpg 500×362 pixels

She's just generally awesome.  (And yes, I love her even with what happens between her and Paul later in the show.  That is RIDICULOUS and WRONG, but I think Lexie genuinely recognizes that, and I think she takes good steps to resolve it.)

Golly is probably the one about whom I have the most mixed feelings.  Lots of things he does really annoy me (for instance: was he or was he not a male prostitute in that one episode?? I AM CONFUSION and also disgust), but I love other aspects of his character.

Archie is precious forever. ♥

Monarch of the Glen

Duncan is gawky and sweet and deep, and I like how the show develops him.

Kilwillie is hilarious and ostentatious and adorable.  He has some fantastic lines.

And then there are a bunch of significant characters that appear a few times and/or enter the show as regulars in later seasons.  Those would be Jess, Katrina, Paul, Ewan, Stella, Iona, Lizzie, Donald, and Zoe.  Katrina and Stella can both be pretty annoying and/or detrimental, but they also have their good points.  All the others are certainly flawed, but are overall positive characters. 

☘ // Ships // ☘


Archie has several ladies after him at various times: specifically, Justine, Katrina, Stella, and Lexie.  Lots of triangles. ;-P  But Lexie is the one who wins him in the end, and she proves to everybody (even viewers who might initially have doubted that the two of them would be a good fit) that she truly does love him ─ persistently and unselfishly. 

And I love their relationship arc.  (Despite some pretty distressing "bumps" close to the end of the series. :-P)

*MAJOR SPOILERS*  After Hector's death, Molly also has several suitors.  The only one I root for, though, is Golly. :)  

Whiiiiich is why the whole Meg subplot reaaaaally irritates me.  (Like, Golly, come on.  You're CLEARLY still in love with Molly, not Meg, and Meg doesn't deserve this.)

(But the baby is sweet, of course. :))

Anyhow.  That last episode sure draws you along!  You don't know who Molly's going to choose.  But, once again, my ship sailed and I was happy.  

Monarch Of The Glen: Golly & Molly (Alexander Morton & Susan Hampshire)
Exhibit A: Sweet.

I also like Jess + Duncan and Paul + Iona.  (Paul, bless him, has this unfortunate tendency to fall in puppy love with anything in a skirt; but I think he and Iona actually have the secure potential for a truly good, lasting relationship.  They're really cute and sweet and their dynamic seems healthy.)  (ALSO HER WEDDING DRESS THOUGH.  That was, like, the most goals wedding dress I've ever seen onscreen.)

☘ // Quotes // ☘

This show has some fantastic dialogue.  I actually wrote down a few of the best lines as we were watching.  Behold:

- "There are some things, Kilwillie, up with which one shall not put."

- "If I die first, you have my permission to eat me."

- "Spare me the clap-trap!"

- "Spa-am?"

- "Your chance remark may have saved the day."

- "I shall need a dead fish."

// Content //

Like most TV shows, it's evident that the characters do not subscribe to Biblical views of sex.  However, though we as viewers may know that a couple are not saving sex for marriage, we are not going to actually see much of anything.  There's some kissing, some cuddling, some innuendo.  Nothing graphic, or even approaching graphic.  (There's one instance when a minor character is nude, but we cannot see any details.)

There is one strange episode in which the estate experiences a full moon or eclipse or something like that, and apparently that makes literally everyone extremely "horny."  I don't know, man.  It was weird. :-P  (One of the subplots of the episode is that one of the characters is struggling with, um, dysfunction and then is "cured."  Like I said, weird.  And cringey.)

Additionally, we find out that certain characters either have engaged in adultery in the past or are currently in an adulterous relationship (those relationships always end).  Likewise, one character is (very briefly) unfaithful to their spouse, physically but not sexually. 

I'm sure there's minor language scattered throughout. 

There's one dramatic death that involves explosives, but I don't think it's graphic, either.  (I haven't actually watched it, heh.)  Hunting/killing, that kind of thing.

// Recommendation //

I would recommend this to almost anybody!  If you like Scotch-Irish geography, culture and heritage, you'll probably like this.  If you like eccentric, frustrating, lovable, humorous characters, you'll probably like this.  If you like slice-of-life stories that involve relational and financial conundrums, you'll probably like this.  If you like slow-burn relationships, you'll probably like this.  

If you (exclusively) like fast-paced, high-energy thrills, you probably won't like this. ;-P 

I will warn you, there is a big and sad death almost halfway through the show.  After that, a couple of the most important main characters leave as well (though they don't die).  

However, I think it's worth it, even all the way through.  Sure, there are flaws, but it's very endearing and very entertaining.  Give it a go. :)

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Obscure one-liners from The Princess Bride that need to be assimilated into our vernacular posthaste.

A little over a month ago, I reread William Goldman's The Princess Bride ─ which is basically my favorite thing on planet Earth ─ and since everyone knows the movie but fewer people seem to have read (and enjoyed) the book, I wanted to share, out of context, some of the best one-liners from that magnificent tome.  I think we should all start using these quotes in our everyday conversation whenever possible. ;)

✾ "Madam, feel free to flee!"

✾ "God grant you your quota of smiles."

✾ "I myself am often surprised at life's little quirks."

✾ "Frankly, and I hope you won't be insulted, no."

✾ "I was, do I have to add, disheartened."

✾ "I mean if we even had a wheelbarrow, that would be something."

✾ "You're an enemy of art and I pity your ignorance."

Enjoy! :)

(Also, this is a really funny parody of the movie adaptation.  Have fun.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Movies: Month in Review {April 2019}

America's Sweethearts  (2001)
This had some content that I wouldn't usually watch in a movie, but for some reason it didn't bother me too much in this one.  (I guess because, though I enjoyed parts of it, I wasn't very attached to it, so it's not like it really tainted something I was greatly appreciating, if that makes sense.)

Hank Azaria was, as usual, a comedic gem; and I was mildly, pleasantly surprised by how the film took a couple clichés and spun them ever so slightly.  Beyond that, not one I would watch again.

Forever My Girl  (2018)
Oh, dear.  Bless.

(It's just . . . pretty cliché, you know?  And there's not much new exploration of the story's tropes, so . . . I wasn't too impressed.  But it was sweet enough.)

I Capture the Castle  (2003)
Yes, dear friends mine, there is a movie adaptation of I Capture the Castle!  And it stars Romola Garai as Cassandra!  And Henry Cavill as Steven!  And lots of other good actors/tresses!

So, what's the catch?

It's, um . . . R.

BUT WAIT COME BACK.  It's because Topaz is a nudist, remember?  So there are a couple brief nude shots, as well as one or two almost nude.  (And there's some use of Jesus' name in vain, unfortunately.)

I enjoyed watching this!  I was undecided about the story itself even when I read the book, and I still am.  The movie heightens the family tension and poverty, so it's heavier than the book.  I really like Neal. :)  Simon seems incredibly sleazy.  (I can't remember if I thought poorly of him in the book.)

So, yeah.  I've got mixed feelings, but I'm glad I watched it and I enjoyed doing so.

Robin Hood  (2018)
Aaaaaaaaaand, nope.

[I actually only watched about half of this, but still.  Not really my cuppa.  (Though it had some potential, so maybe it got better in the second half.)]

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall  (1996)
I've seen this twice now and really enjoy it.  I like seeing Toby Stephens and Tara Fitzgerald together.  (Warning for anybody interested:  The worst of the content is that there are some sexual scenes between a wife and her abusive husband ─ some violent, some not ─ and a brief scene of one of his affairs.  Plus one instance of the G-d word.)

(Great shortage of good stills available.)

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!  (2004)
Eh.  Topher Grace was good, and I liked Kathryn Hahn, too; other than that, nothing special.  (At least, not for me.)

Woman Walks Ahead  (2018) 
I thoroughly enjoyed this.  It made me think.  Weeks later, I'm still mulling over it.  (Some content in this one, too, particularly "pervasive strong language," as the movie raters would say. ;-P)

That was probably the best new-to-me movie-watching month I've had in a while!  Did you see any standout films for the first time in April?

Friday, May 3, 2019

Album Spotlight: Dream Country {Sarah Darling}

[Verse 1] / Golden fields, wide open skies / A million stars, to paint the night / Horses run, and rivers wind / And cowboys ride / [Verse 2] / Wind blows wild, on an open range

An idea for a new blog series came to me several months ago, and today I'm finally implementing it.  

I don't know about you, but as much as I love music, it's extremely, extremely rare for me to find an album--be it pop, alternative, Christian, soundtrack, whatever--that I love in its entirety (or very close thereto). So when I do encounter one where I think, "Wow, every single one of these songs [or nearly every single one] is great and I love them all", it's a cause for much jubilation. Especially if that album stays appealing to me over a long period of time.

And so, since a different kind of post is always nice to try, I thought it might be fun to occasionally "spotlight" one such album here on the blog: an album that is entirely or almost entirely Olivia-approved.

The first album to receive the honor is Sarah Darling's Dream Country.

Now, I'm not a big country person.  I'm really not.  However, this particular specimen is right up my alley.  I think a lot of it is due to the fact that Sarah doesn't feel the need to insert any kind of twang into her singing voice, so the songs are both beautiful and restful.

You can listen to the full album here, if you wish; and I'll just highlight my personal favorites.  (Note:  I don't think I've ever listened to "You Take Me All the Way," but all the others, as I recall, are decent.)

✾ "Where Cowboys Ride"

I love how wistful and breezy this is.

✾ "Starry Eyes"

A friend ─ you know who you are ─ introduced me to this song, and I love it.  I'm all about that Childhood Nostalgia and Growing Up jazz, so this is very muchly my aesthetic.  Such awesome lyrics, such awesome music.

✾ "Montmartre"

Her voice is so incredibly soothing and delicate, yet rich at the same time.  I love it.  And I love that she sings about some unique topics, like appreciation for specific places.

✾ "Halley's Comet"

Okay, I'm fine!  Not crying, or tempted to cry!  Unaffected!

(Seriously, how are her songs so gentle and aching??)

✾ "Stargazer"

I love this song.  It reminds me of one of my characters, and it's so soothing and understanding and cathartic. ♥

Have you guys listened to any of Sarah Darling's music?
What do you think of the idea of this new series? ;)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The 5 Things Tag

When Eva recently did this tag, I knew I wanted to join in!  I've seen it floating around before, I think, but I've never answered it for myself.  So here we are! ;)

5 Things You'll Find in My Purse

  • My wallet
  • My phone

peeta mellark

  • My CPR mask, because now, having taken a class, I never feel like I can be without it
  • Tissues.  I get nervous when I don't have Kleenex readily handy!
  • Ibuprofen

5 Things You'll Find in My Bedroom

  • A lamp
  • A little framed still from one of the Winnie the Pooh movies that I found at a thrift store and that makes me happy ♥
  • Perfume

Moon jellyfish babies

  • A saucer chair
  • Books :)

5 Things I've Always Wanted to Do

  • Go to Disney World
  • Star in a musical
  • See Prince Edward Island

Anne of Green Gables... I love Dianna's outfit :)

  • Be on a talk show (don't ask)
  • Learn how to cook more stuff

5 Things That Make Me Feel Happy

  • Watching movies
  • Finishing a book and updating my Goodreads status

  • Beach-combing
  • American Sign Language

5 Things I'm Currently Into

  • Woman Walks Ahead, a really good, thought-provoking Western/period drama about 19th century race relations with the Native Americans. (Warning: Definitely some content.)
  • Several of the songs on Ben Platt's Sing to Me Instead album. I don't mean to make sweeping generalizations or anything, but his voice on this album is one of the most powerful things I've heard in a long time. (I mean, there are some lyrics I disagree with, bUT STILL.)
  • Writing.  I'm really enjoying working on my Susan Pevensie story!

It's gon' be tough in parts, y'all.

  • Watching videos/reading stories about Christians' experiences with the Church's bad handling of topics like sex, modesty, etc. It's something I've been thinking a lot about lately. 
  • The Books of Pellinor series by Alison Croggon.  Review hopefully to come at some point because er mah werd. 

5 Things on My To-Do List

  • Show my parents The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and possibly I Capture the Castle, as well.  (I just discovered that both of these are on Amazon Prime, and I really enjoyed watching both of them!  More thoughts on that later.)
  • Finish the school semester well
  • Clean/organize my room
  • Read all the books ♥
  • Continue to practice the piano more often

And with that, I leave you.  Mwah!

Friday, April 26, 2019

My Top Ten Most-Favorite Books {at the moment & for some time now}

Dang, these lists are hard. ;)  As with my top ten movies post, these are in no order.

The Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Obviously. ;)  At first read-through, it was pretty dense--even (dare I say it?) dull in parts.  But after reading a companion to it, reading it again revealed how deeply, spiritually gorgeous nearly every sentence is.  The trick with this trilogy is to read it slowly, allowing yourself time to digest its beauty.  

There are just certain passages and chapters that make me feel so many things. ♥  I love it. :)
The Princess Bride
by William Goldman

I deeply, deeply, deeply, deeply love this book.  It means a lot to me. ♥  It has everything: fabulous characters, a crazy amount of humor, adventure, "torture, true love!" ;)  And every time I read it, I discover more depth to it.  (Yes, believe it or not, there's depth to The Princess Bride.)

Ella Enchanted
by Gail Carson Levine

I've read this book so many times.  It was probably my first "favorite book," actually.  Love it very much. :)  

I love how simply and unpretentiously Levine writes this.  She makes very little fuss and bother, but she's not afraid to add the occasional bit of fairytale sparkle.  

Peter Pan
by J.M. Barrie

The first time I read this, I thought it was quite odd and disjointed.  Then as I began rereading it and I started realizing how quintessentially British and charming and humorous and whimsical it is, it became a favorite.  It's practically perfect. ;)

Till We Have Faces
by C.S. Lewis

If I had to pick just one of Lewis's books to delineate as his best, it would probably be this one.  Narnia is timeless and so important, obviously; Mere Christianity was really influential for me personally, and its message is also really important; but Till We Have Faces is so exceptionally written.  And its spiritual depth is staggering.

by Sir Walter Scott

For the record I don't know what that pose is. xD

This book makes me so happy. :D  I love the medieval aesthetic and the old-fashioned language and the classic feel and Bois-Guilbert and REBECCA and Rowena and WAMBA and just everyone.  

The Hundred and One Dalmatians
by Dodie Smith

Apparently I love old English children's books that Disney then took and adapted with a liberal amount of creative license. :-P  This is all kinds of fun.  Thoroughly and blissfully escapist. :)  (And the illustrations are fabulous.)

Hinds' Feet on High Places
by Hannah Hurnard

Again, a book that's been incredibly meaningful and influential for me personally.  I love the free incorporation of Scripture verses and song lyrics, and all the different settings--from the mountain valleys to the mountain peaks, and from the seashore to the desert, and from the forests back to the mountains.  And its connection to Song of Songs really gives you a better/different understanding of and appreciation for it beyond the initial impression it makes. 

Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott

This one can occasionally get a little long for me, but I love the characters and the setting and the humor and the basic storyline so much.  I love the development Alcott gives all the characters and the way we get to see the sisters grow up together.  Laurie is precious (and he and Jo definitely don't belong together) and Beth is remarkable and Amy gets too much flak and John Brooke is actually wonderful and I just love them all. ♥  

(Although the only iteration of the story that's actually convinced me of Jo and Bhaer as a couple--including the book--is the '94 movie.  Maybe we should work on that??)

The Horse and His Boy
by C.S. Lewis

All of the Chronicles are wonderful, but The Horse and His Boy is my favorite.  I've listened to this verbatim audio version (narrated by Alex Jennings) so many times, and it's perfect and it never grows old to me.

I love that this one steps away from the Pevensies as children and instead focuses on some other (equally awesome) kids while giving us a glimpse into the Pevensies' Golden Age.  I love Shasta and Aravis and Bree and Hwin so much, and I love their journey from Calormen to Archenland to Narnia.  I love Rabadash and Lasaraleen.  I love the line, "For even a traitor may mend.  I have known one that did."  (*cue all the crying*)  I love the Hermit.  I love Shasta and Aravis's relationship.  I love the line, "Does it ever get caught on a hook halfway down?"  I love Aslan's presence and all his interactions with the characters.


What are your all-time favorite books??