Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top 10 Movie/TV Couples

I really must learn to do more original blog posts someday.  Really, I must.  But I read a "Top 10 Movie Couples" list on another blog a long while ago (of course, I'm doing mine in a single post, and the other blogger devoted an individual post to each couple - if only I had that much originality;) ), and I rather wanted to share with you faithful darlin's who indulge me in this little nest of fangirling friends who read my blog about my personal favorite movie couples:)  By the way, it is again a countdown list, with the #1 couple being my favorite;)  As with the Top 10 Movie Heroes post, however, this list is subject to change whenever I next watch a movie with a romance in it.  Just so y'all know.  But after much deliberation, I think I have decided upon a reasonably accurate list of my favorite couples.  Notice "I think" - key word.  Besides, there were quite a few couples that were so close to making it onto this list that I can't be completely sure.  Also, I would like to point out right from the start that I do NOT endorse everything in all of these movies.  Some contain sinful elements, but they're either easily skippable or not discussed in much detail.  Everyone gots it?:)  All right.  To continue (again, I shall have more to say on some couples than others).

#10:  Charlie + Sophie from Letters to Juliet

So this is one of those movies I was talking about.  However, while one element of the movie is just plain wrong, Charlie and Sophie's relationship is precious.  I tend to vastly prefer couples who meet and immediately get off on the wrong foot, because…well, let's face it.  Couples who argue, even when you know that they are SO supposed to be together, are far more entertaining;)  And Charlie and Sophie fit right into that category:  "Can you imagine what would have happened if she hadn't seen sense?"  "Well, yeah, you wouldn't be here, and that would be an upside." ;) So anywho, if you don't know the storyline of Letters to Juliet, do allow me.  Sophie is a "fact-checker" for a newspaper in New York City.  While on a trip to Italy with her fiancĂ© (the really unfavorable element:-/ ), she encounters the "Secretaries of Juliet,"a group of women who collect and respond to the letters girls from all over the world leave at…whatever the place is called (Juliet's Castle??).  As Sophie aspires to be a writer herself one day, she begins to help the Secretaries, and in so doing discovers a 50-year-old letter from a woman named Claire, who at the time had a romantic conundrum on her hands.

Sophie decides to respond, even at this late date, to Claire, and thus brings Claire and her grandson, Charlie, to Italy.  "It's all quite entertaining," as one of the gnomes from Gnomeo and Juliet put it, and I recommend the movie, if you can get past the fact that, unfortunately, Sophie is living with someone she isn't married to:-/  Aside from that (and various other, smaller objectionables (that isn't a word:D ), it's a grand movie;)

#9.  Georg + Maria from The Sound of Music

I would first like to point out that though I love Georg and Maria as a couple, I really do not like their love "scene."  It is far too mushy and nuzzly (that's not a word either!:D ).  In my opinion.  However, I like the quotes leading up to it.  "Oh, I'm sorry."  "Yes…you are?"  There are so many admirable exchanges between Georg and Maria, really: 

- "Were you this much trouble at the abbey?"  "Oh, much more, sir!"
- "It's the dress.  You'll have to put on another one before you meet the children."  "But I don't have another one!  When we entered the abbey our worldly clothes were given to the poor."  "What about this one?"  "The poor didn't want this one."
- "Fraulein, is it to be at every meal, or merely at dinnertime, that you intend on leading us all through this rare and wonderful new world of…indigestion?"  "Oh, they're all right, Captain; they're just happy."  *Outburst of sobs from the children*    

;)  I loves them.  I loves how Maria changes the Captain's relationship with his children; how she changes his and the children's lives.  And then how she runs away because she's scared, and how the Mother Abbess counsels her:  "Maria, if you love this man, it does not mean you love God less."  I shall have to file that nugget of wisdom away for future reference;)  

"What's that?"  "It's singing."  "Yes, I can hear that.  Who is it that's singing?"

#8.  Aragorn + Arwen from the The Lord of the Rings trilogy

I think I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

Okay, never mind.  This couple is awesome.  They go through so much before they can finally be together in a world of peace.  Arwen sacrifices her immortality and practically all companionship except for her father in order to wait for Aragorn.  Aragorn stays faithful to Arwen even when he assumes that she has sailed to Valinor.  (Well, I maintain that he wavered a little, but hey, I should cut the guy some slack.  Eowyn is, after all, pretty cool as well.)  And then they're reunited at Aragorn's coronation, and it's just too sweet;)  <3

#7.  Declan + Anna from Leap Year

Again, a couple from a movie that has a few (ahem) issues.  This one might be a little more problematic than Letters to Juliet, actually…but I'm not sure.  Go see for yourself.  (Because, though there is premarital sin going on in this movie, it isn't gone into a lot of detail with, and aside from that - and the usual swearing/lying/brief inappropriate scenes - the movie's fantastic.)  So, background:  Anna (otherwise known as Anna-from-Boston;) ) is fed up with her boyfriend(Jeremy)'s delay in proposing, so she decides to follow him to a conference (I think it was a conference, that is) in Dublin, there to propose to him on Leap Day, in accordance with an old Irish tradition.  Her journey is complicated by unfavorable weather conditions, however, and long story short, she ends up at a pub in…where was it?  Anywho, she ends up at a pub in desperate need of food and shelter, and utterly determined to get to Dublin.  The pub's proprietor, Declan, though at first reluctant to take her ("Let me tell you something about Dublin, Anna-from-Boston.  Dublin is the city of chancers and cheats and back-stabbin' snakes.  It's where the worst of humanity collects to poison this fair country.  I wouldn't take you to Dublin if you were to offer me five hundred euro."), is eventually forced into taking her out of financial necessity.  So begins a hilarious trek to Dublin that makes for an extremely entertaining movie and a wonderful romance.  "After you, petal."  "Thank you, sunshine."  "Would you like a hand with the bag, pumpkin?" 

#6.  Han + Leia from the Star Wars movies

What?  They're cute together.  Like, really cute.  Especially in the second movie, which has the most about their relationship in it.  I love when Han's about to leave the Hoth rebel base, and he tries to say goodbye to Leia.  "Well, your Highness, I guess this is it."  "That's right." *Awkward pause* "Well, don't get all mushy on me.  So long, Princess!"  Oh, heck.  Why don't I just list some of my favorite quotes:

- "You're imagining things!"  "Am I?  Then why are you following me?  Afraid I was gonna leave without giving you a goodbye kiss?"  "I'd just as soon kiss a Wookie!"  "I can arrange that!"  
- "Why, you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking…Nerf herder!"  "Who's scruffy-looking?" 
- "Well, Princess, it looks like you've managed to keep me here a while longer."  "I had nothing to do with it.  General Rieekan thinks it's dangerous for anyone to leave the system until they've activated the energy shield."  "That's a good story.  I think you just can't bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your sight."  "I don't know where you get your delusions, laser brain."
- "You don't have to do this to impress me."
- "Would it help if I got out and pushed?"  "It might!"
- "What do you think of her, Han?"  "I'm tryin' not to, kid."

#5.  George + Emma from Emma (2009) AND Philip + Syrena from Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides

That's right, a tie!!!  I had practically finished this post when I realized that I hadn't even thought of Philip and Syrena (yes, apparently that's actually how her name is supposed to be spelled), so I found a convenient place to put 'em and put 'em there:)  (My humblest apologies for the awkward positioning of those pictures - they simply refused to do what I wanted them to;) )
Now, about Emma and George:  *Sigh*  How I love this couple;)  They're SO FLIPPIN' SWEET!!!  As I've said before, even when they're fighting, their adorableness and how you can tell that they totally belong together are almost unbearable:)  Go watch the movie.  Now.  

And about Philip and Syrena:  Again, "they're SO FLIPPIN' SWEET!!!" is most likely the best description of their relationship:)  Probably even more so.  But anyway, I just love them to pieces.  "You are different." ~ "Give her back!  Please, please, give her back!" ;)  Dawwwwwwwww. 

#4.  John + Margaret from North and South (2004)

*Clears throat and grins*  So.  Thornton and Margaret.  Um, yeah, love 'em.  Their story is quite similar to Pride and Prejudice (a darker P&P, I mean), and…it's pretty much awesome.  Especially in the second and fourth episodes.  It's epic, muchly so.  

I just wanna let you know…the chemistry between those two hands is ridikilous!;)  Heehee if you don't get it, go to this link and watch:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0zAgzmHhxc.  (And I apologize for the swearing.)

Okay, now, for some absurd reason, every time I watch this part (meaning the riot scene), and Margaret gets hit, I always think, when Mr. Thornton stands up to face the crowd as she's laying there unconscious:  "He's an angry elf!" ;)  Why?!

I love this part at the Thorntons' dinner party.  And the part I was just talking about in the riot scene.  And *sniffle* the proposal scene.  And - never mind.  Y'all get the picture;)  Oh, forget what I just said, one last thing:  "Look back.  Look back at me."  You now have my permission to bawl.  

#3.  Neil and Christy from the Christy TV series/movies


You would not believe how stuffy it is in there how difficult it is to find a good picture of these two.  Sheesh.

Okay, so I just recently "discovered" this awesome couple as I was sick and bored.  So I started watching one of the Christy movies (the ones made after the TV series).  I was instantly hooked on Neil and Christy's relationship, but then, horrors!  The movie ended with the love triangle between David, Christy and Neil unresolved!  Well, that wouldn't do.  I found out in which movie the love triangle was resolved, and watched it.  Then I began to watch the TV series on YouTube, and watched almost the whole two seasons in two days.  (I did skip a few, though.)  Yeah.  I loved it.  And now I'm reading the book, which I have kinda-sorta read before (meaning I've read some of the "interesting" parts and the ending).  Granted, there are a few (ahem) cheesy parts in both the TV series and the subsequent movies (more in the movies), but overall it's just plain terrifical;)  (Does anyone else absolutely LOVE Neil's accent??  "That blundering fool has hurt you!")  I like their arguments, too:  "Well, you are a stubborn, stupid Scot who doesn't deserve Daniel!"  "And you are a rotten cook!" ;)  I think this couple, more than any other couple I've seen, made me want to scream (internally, that is) at the characters in the TV series:  "PEOPLES!  These two belong together!  Why can't you all see that?!?!"  *Sigh*  Oh, well.  Everything comes right in the end;)

#2.  Edward + Jane from Jane Eyre (2006)

Guys, I'm telling you, I am SO excited that we're reading this book next year!  It's a great book, and I really can't wait for the movie night that I intend to make sure we have;)  Overall, I prefer this version - the 2006 with Toby Stevens and Ruth Wilson - but I also enjoy the newer 2011 adaptation.  I think that both Michael Fassbender and Toby Stevens did excellently as Rochester, but...I think Toby Stevens was Rochester;)  (But, then again, Michael Fassbender's acting in the scene after Jane finds out The Great Secret was better, in my opinion…he did, after all, have the better scene material, I think...hmm…)  This is such an emotional, involving story, and I can't wait to watch it with y'all!  (We shall have to skip at least one particular *aHEM* scene, though.)  I'm dying to fangirl about some of my favorite parts, but since I'm not sure that all of you have watched/read Jane Eyre, I shall control myself:) 


Drumroll, please…

And #1 is…

Faramir + Eowyn from the The Lord of the Rings trilogy!!! *confetti*



Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Phantom of the Opera

I'm warning you right now, peoples:  this is going to be one loooong post.  It's going to be like a movie review/comparison (of the 25th anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall and the 2004 film adaptation), FULL of spoilers, opinionated opinions (haha), and (surprise) some deep reflections about certain unfavorable elements of the story;)  I have a suspicion that I won't complete this post in one day...Right, well, let's get down to business to defeat the Huns!

I'm sorry.  But I had too;)  Gerard Butler(PotO 2004)'s portrayal of the Phantom looked so much (at least in the "Phantom of the Opera" scene) like Antonio Banderas with The Smolder to resist;)  But, that being said, I feel I have to defend Gerard's performance.  In one review of the film that I read, the blogger said that his was the "worst Phantom ever."  I took personal offense at that statement disagree.  Er, wholeheartedly.  Granted, Gerard Butler's voice wasn't quite as powerful as, say, Ramin Karimloo's (25th anniversary - cough, cough), but seein' as how this was his first attempt at singing in a film, I think he did pretty darn well.  His voice was perhaps a bit gravelly at times, but his EMOTION, peoples!  (AHEM: "All I Ask of You"/Reprise - I'll get to that.)  And, of course, his acting was terrifical, too.  

Moving on to the 25th anniversary's Phantom:  Ramin Karimloo.  

Boy, oh, boy;)  This guy has got one awesome voice.  I suggest you listen to it.  Immediately.  Of the two, I think I prefer Ramin Karimloo just barely.  The main reason?  His voice.  (Sorry, but it's the truth.)  And, of course, no one can sing (in "Final Lair") "GO NOW AND LEEEAAAVVVE MEEEEEEEEH!!!" like he does.  Gerard Butler sings/says "Go now and leave me!"  That's pretty boring after hearing Ramin's rendition.  (Sorry, Gerard.  Really, I did love your performance - a lot.  I'll get to my favorite bits later.) 

Now, I love the Phantom.  A lot.  BUT, much as I love and pity him, we must address some unpleasant issues regarding the man.  However mistreated he was or is, Erik (oh, by the way, apparently his real name is Erik, so I'll try to call him that) is a murderer.  The unhappy fact remains.  And he doesn't just kill one person.  He kills three - or at least he does in the movie.  In the play, he kills two people.  He also writes a painfully inappropriate song (which is unfortunately difficult to get out of your head!) for his "Don Juan Triumphant".  (Referring to "Past the Point of No Return".  Yes, I realize the melody is good, but go actually read the lyrics.)  And then there's the matter of "Music of the Night."  *Heavy sigh*  Oh, dear.  Now, I will be the first to admit that the melody for MotN isn't just good - it's great.  But again, the lyrics are a bit of an issue.  Not quite as bad, but still an issue:

Turn your face away from the garish light of day
Turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light
And listen to the music of the night
Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams 
Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before
Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind
In this darkness which you know you cannot fight
The darkness of the music of the night
Floating, falling, sweet intoxication
Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation
Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in
To the power of the music that I write
The power of the music of the night

Admittedly, I chose the worst lyrics to put there.  But think about it.  That's a whole lot of darkness.  Now, what does Scripture say about this?  ("Uh…"  "Scripture says…")  "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." (Ephesians 5:8-11)  "'I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness." (John 12:46)  Contrasting the lyrics with those verses, it appears that MotN has, um, some issues, shall we say.  Jesus told us that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).  God has promised to turn the darkness into light before the blind (Isaiah 42:16)  It sure seems like God is a fan of light, and He's into dispelling the darkness therewith.  But MotN is urging someone to leave light behind, calling it "garish"; "unfeeling."  MotN is urging someone to "let their darker side give in."  Well.  All righty, then.  And the original MotN is even worse:

Close your eyes, for your eyes will only tell the truth
And the truth isn't what you want to see
In the dark it is easy to pretend
That the truth is what it ought to be

*Facepalm*  No.  No, no, no.  I don't think it's even necessary to expound on what's wrong with those lyrics.  Nevertheless, I might be over thinking this thing, who knows.  But that's the conclusion I've come to.

Now that we've got all that out of the way, let's move on to all the things I love about this musical:)  (Oh, one more thing that I don't like about it, though.  *SPOILERS!*  Christine ends up with Raoul.  I do not like this.  But yet again, I'll get to that.  So technically we're not done with the cons of the musical.  Sorry.  *END OF SPOILERS*)  So.  Christine.

Emmy Rossum plays Christine Daae in the 2004 film, and…well, my feelings about her are mixed.  She's really beautiful (duh), and I do love how she portrays Christine torn between Raoul and Erik (but then I also love how the 25th anniversary actress does, too).  On the other hand - well, um, apparently the filmmakers didn't know the meaning of the word "modesty."  Especially during the "Phantom of the Opera" number, she, uh, didn't have a whole lot on her.  (But I love how they did her hair, especially in "Think of Me" - see above picture.)  Also, I have to say that the amount of sliding she did in her singing rather annoyed me:  "And through music, my soul began to soooahhhr!"  It seemed like maybe the only way she could reach the high notes was by sliding, and it just sort of - oh, well.  (You see, in my first two years of SVCC, we kind of had it drilled into us to never slide.  Ever.)   Speaking of "Think of Me," I wasn't at first a huge fan of her rendition, which was probably because I had watched Sierra Boggess's (25th) exuberant performance first, and so the fact that Emmy Rossum basically just stood there as she sang was a little weird to me at first.  However, I read a blogger comment that Sierra Boggess's ToM seemed "too happy overall to really communicate the wistfulness of the piece."  (Oh, dear me, how inconsiderate I've been.  Here's a link to her blog, which I have been reading but not following(:/) for quite a while:  http://miss-dashwood.blogspot.com/2013/09/phantom-of-opera-at-royal-albert-hall.html)  I think I'd have to agree with that, even though I could also argue for Sierra Boggess that she was just portraying Christine's total excitement at securing her first starring role.  (Assuming it was her first starring role.  Which I'm pretty sure it was.  Anywho.)  So all in all, I do like Emmy Rossum's version of ToM.  And her last "of me" was rather delightful;)  

This, peoples, is the lovely Sierra Boggess, who happens to be in possession of one of the best voices I've ever heard.  I have in the past couple months become quite fond of both her and Ramin Karimloo. So here's an adorable picture of them:   

You're welcome.  Now, between Sierra Boggess and Emmy Rossum, I prefer Sierra Boggess's Christine (okay, why don't we just cut to the chase?  I prefer the 25th anniversary in general).  I just like her singing and acting better overall.  (Not that Emmy Rossum isn't a great singer/actress, too.  I just didn't love her version of Christine.) I love the enormous amount of emotion Sierra Boggess puts into her performance, particularly in "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again."  That's my favorite song from the musical, I think, and Sierra does an incredible job with it.  Much as I would love to play Christine Daae someday (IF, that is, certain *ahem* changes were made to the play), I'm a bit concerned that I would simply copy her performance for the entire show!;)

Now, dear Lord, about Liesel about Raoul.  Um…I don't like him.  Much, that is.  I think I'm softening towards him, but…I just, I just wish that *SPOILERS* Christine had chosen the Phantom instead of Raoul.  But, then again…oh, I don't know!  It's a difficult situation.  Raoul has a better moral character throughout the show, but - but - the Phantom needs Christine!!  "Christine, why?  Why?!"  I can't help feeling that if Christine had stayed with him, he would have changed.  And in his defense, I don't think he necessarily enjoyed spending the majority of his days beneath a theater, shunned by that small portion of society that had seen him (with the exception, of course, of Christine and Madame Giry).  But more and more I'm having an unsettling feeling that that's just "wishful thinking, probably mindless dreaming".  (Sorry.  Taylor Swift song, in case you didn't know.)  So I guess I don't really know how I feel about it all. *END OF SPOILERS*  

(Would you not agree?:D )

I would now like to talk about "All I Ask of You/Reprise," specifically as portrayed in the 2004 film.  Visually, that scene was beautiful, and I loved how they had Erik behind the pillar for the whole song, but that did make it rather difficult to enjoy AIAoY for what it is as a song.  And then, of course, the "All I Ask of You Reprise" is such a fantastic song that just - just - ugh.  "How romantically tragic!" (A Gnomeo and Juliet quote, just to lighten the mood.)  And oh, oh!  The rose!!!  That is such a wonderful little touch that is sadly left out of the stage production.  That was probably my favorite part of Gerard Butler's performance -   him kneeling in the snow, crumpling the rose he had given to Christine.  The heartbreak on his face just about broke my heart!  (Oh, and other little touches.  I loved that he had a little model stage with a Christine figurine in his lair.  Some could call that cheesy, but…then again, I liked John Carter.  I don't really mind cheesiness;)  But the whole lighted candles rising out of the water was a bit too unrealistic for my taste.  Moving on.)  

Okay, now, I've been alerting y'all to spoilers when they come so far (even though I think everyone reading this has already seen PotO), but now I'm going to skip everything and move into "Final Lair."  (Or "Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer…", whichever you prefer.)  And that, darlings, means that spoilers will be flooding in, and so I'm not going to tell you in advance any more.  Proceed at your own risk;)

This last, climatic scene is so doggone intense!  And I love just about every minute of it.  The lyrics are mind-blowing.  Shall I list a few of my favorites?;)

"This face, which earned a mother's fear and loathing - a mask, my first unfeeling scrap of clothing!  Pity comes too late!  Turn around and face your fate!  An eternity of this, before your eyes…"
"Christine, forgive me, please, forgive me!  I did all for you and all for nothing!"
"Farewell, my fallen idol and false friend!  We had such hopes and now those hopes are shattered!"
"Pitiful creature of darkness - what kind of life have you known?  God give me courage to show you, you are not alone!"
"So do you end your days with me, or do you send him to his grave?"  "Why make her lie to you to save meeeee?"  
"Angel of music, who deserves this?  Why do you curse mercy?"
"Angel of music, you deceived me!  I gave my mind blindly!"
"Christine, I love you…"

Oh the FEEEELLLLSSSSS!!!!:)  So do I agree with Christine's choice, or do I think she should have stayed?  I don't know.  Mixed feelings.  I tend to side with the character I pity, but…oh, well.  

I love Phantom of the Opera.  A lot.  It's probably my favorite musical.  (But it's so SAD!!!  Why do I like it so much?  Oh, duh, the music.  I figured it out:D )  But this post has dragged on for too long, and I'm going to end it now.  Au revoir.