Saturday, October 24, 2015

"The road is now calling, and I must away…"

Like Naomi just mentioned in one of her posts, I miss you guys!  Logically, I know I've been able to blog at a more reasonable, healthy (probably) pace, but I just feel like I never get to post or comment!  Sigh.  Oh, the woes of the school year;)  

Anyway, I just had to let you all know that for the next week or so, I'll be even more absent.  I'm going on a road trip with my parents and my younger brother, so…yeah.  

It's a cool location, though;)

Let's just say Sarah Whitting would be proud *wink wink*

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Awesome Food Award

The lovely Heidi has nominated me!:D

Thank you, Heidi!

The rules:
1). Thank the person who nominated you, as well as link to their blog.
2). Answer the 10 questions provided.
3). Come up with 10 more questions that relate to food.
4). Nominate at least 5 people.
5). Let those people know they've been nominated.

Heidi's questions:
1. Your thoughts on cheese?  Cheese is nice:)

2. Favorite pizza?  Green pepper and cheese from Domino's.  IT IS SO GOOD.

3. Have you always had a “traditional” dinner (i.e. turkey and all the fixings) on Thanksgiving?  Pretty much, but wouldn't you know it?  I don't care for Thanksgiving fare (HA!  I'm a poet, and you did not know it!) that much.  I like cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, but that about does it:-/

4. Favorite Thanksgiving dish to prepare?  See above;P  

5. Your favorite breakfast?  
Bagels from Mr. J.'s (have you had Mr. J.'s?  They're amazing) with their signature cream cheese.  Sometimes I like eggs with it, and sometimes I don't, but fruit always makes any meal better, so I tend to have that often as well.  

6. Favorite kind of bread (i.e. whole wheat, French, sourdough, cinnamon-raisin, etc.)  
I like baguettes a lot, and also garlicky bread:D

7. Favorite vegetable?  Good question!  Hmm…probably either carrots, green beans, peas, or avocados (are avocados vegetables or some other odd food group of which I'm unaware?).  I would say tomatoes, but then one risks being pulled into the vegetable/fruit debate…:D  (Even though, technically, I guess my other answers could also be debatable.)

8. Do you like sweet or sour?  Usually sweet.

9. Most unusual/unexpected ethnic dish you’ve ever had?  I am NOT an adventurous eater.  Nope.  If anything, I'm picky and squeamish.  So…yeah;)  Oh, but there are these packaged meals called Madras Lentils, that look absolutely disgusting, but taste surprisingly okay.  There is that.

10. Hamburgers or hotdogs?  *primly*  I'm assuming you are referring to before I became a vegetarian?  Then, it was hotdogs.  Hamburgers are revolting to my taste buds, frankly.  

I'm going to bypass nominating people (it stresses me, remember?) and inventing new questions, but if you would like to fill out these questions, consider yourself nominated!:)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Letters to Juliet {2010}

Today I want to review one of the most darling movies I have ever seen, Letters to Juliet.  (And I do intend to start posting more original and diverting things than just continual movie reviews, I promise.)

 This movie is just so…*blissful sigh*  It's utterly satisfying, wholly delightful, and nigh on to perfect.

Sophie Hall is a sweet, ambitious woman who dreams of becoming a published writer for The New Yorker, at which she works as a fact-checker.  While in Verona on a "pre-honeymoon" with her fiancé, Victor, Sophie stumbles upon the Secretaries of Juliet, a group of women who collect the notes heartbroken young ladies leave at Juliet's House.  These secretaries then respond to all the letters they can, giving advice and solace as they are able.  Sophie is interested and begins helping them, as her lovable but slightly self-absorbed fiancé is preoccupied with his passion as a chef.  After finding a dusty old letter hidden behind a brick in Juliet's wall, Sophie is determined to respond to its writer, Claire, even though it's half a decade "too late" for all intents and purposes.  Surprisingly, the response letter actually reaches Claire, now sixty-five, and she travels to Verona with her grandson Charlie in order to try and find Lorenzo, the lover she abandoned years before.  Their paths cross, and Sophie joins them on an adventure across the Italian countryside in an attempt to track down and revive a love story that's fifty years old.  And I shan't say any more than that;)

The story is unabashedly predictable, and you don't even care.  You get to revel in the savory Italian flavor of the music, the locations, everything.  You fall absolutely irretrievably in love with all the characters, and you're just swept up into this sheer delight for the senses.  It's awesome.

All the acting is superb (in my opinion), and the script, while effortless and engaging, is meticulously honed to make for wonderful dialogue.  There are a few--a precious few--corny lines, such as "Do you believe in destiny?" and "When we are speaking of love, it's never too late," but they are very scarce and don't detract from the magic of the rest of the movie at all.

Also, for a chick-flick, this movie is commendably clean.  (Dove Family Approved, as a matter of fact.)  It is obvious that Sophie is living with Victor prior to marriage, but that may be the only inappropriate thing, and even that isn't fleshed out at all.  Unless I'm forgetting some minor part--ah, yes, one of the secretaries (an elderly, eccentric lady) does make a rather off-color remark about a couple at one point, but she was speaking within the terms of marriage, and it's all over so quickly that you hardly notice.  There are no Scenes whatsoever, not even the beginnings of one.  There is a bit of profanity, however, including one usage of the s-word, but it never becomes gratuitous.  I think that other than that one instance it's confined to "Oh my God" (not that I'm condoning that, but it could be worse), and there may be a few other very minor expletives.  Also, the kissing does get a leetle much in one scene, but that depends on your perspective.  And it's a very sweet scene notwithstanding.

SO, now that I've got the caveats out of the way…

I love this movie!  I just re-watched it the other night, and I must have forgotten how thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable it is.  It just…everything about it is so delightful.  I know I keep using that word, but that's seriously the best term for it, I think.  It's lighthearted but not cheesy, and it's adorable, and you should watch it.  Now.

The music is lively and amusing, even though (if you're like me) you can't understand it because practically all of the vocal tracks are in Italian.  It does, however, feature Taylor Swift's "Love Story," and I've actually heard a Rumor that the movie was inspired by that song.  I don't know if that's true, but it makes me happy for some reason:D

As I mentioned earlier, the script is excellent.  Every once in a while they'll throw in some true-to-life gem to happily surprise the viewer, like this one below.

That little moment, though it's only about 25 seconds long, is so sweet.  Hearts.

I like Sophie.  She's spunky without being brash, kind and sweet without being cloying, and she can hold her own at repartee, as Charlie learns to his chagrin;)  

Now…about Charlie.

Where does one start with Charlie???;)  At first, he's basically Henry Higgins, except likable.  He's kind of like a giant teddy bear trying to be a grizzly.  (Did I actually just write that?  I'm getting cheesy in my old age, people…)  His facial expressions are priceless, and just his whole blustering objection to the entire venture ("Charlie doesn't approve, which makes this all the more fun") is adorable.  He is just a rather adorable character, really.  I love how he calls his grandmother 'Nana' and 'Gran' interchangeably.  And when he's uncomfortable, and starting to like Sophie, his awkwardness is hilarious:  "Oh, no, no need.  She's tough as old nails, that one.  Churchill in a dress." ~ "Is this one of those situations where you say the opposite of what you really mean?"  All of his lines are awesome, really:  "She's coming?  Oh, she's coming!  Oh, splendid, splendid!" ~ "I said 'could have been.'  Let's not get carried away, I have a reputation to uphold." ~ "It's over, done!  We found Nemo!  The curtains have closed!  Exeunt omnes!"  

And OH MAH HEAVENS ABOVE, his and Sophie's relationship!

Their goodnatured hatred of each other in the beginning, and then their slow respect for each other, and then--and then--gah.  It makes me happy.  

The ice cream scene, though… :D

Wanna watch this movie yet?  Yeah.  I thought so.

I am now going to start talking about the latter portions of the movie, so…spoilers.  You know.  If you don't want to find out what happens, read no further!  

I feel I should mention Victor.  I really do like him, too.  (I think Charlie is better suited for Sophie, of course, but still.)  Victor is…*sigh*  Victor is lovable, too.  ("Win-win!")  His devotion to his culinary work is adorable, even though it does cause him to neglect Sophie.  The scene when Sophie has to break up with him does make me sad.  Because I think he did genuinely love her, just not…enough, if you catch my meaning. 

And Claire!  Claire is, as Sophie put it, awesome.  She's candid, loving, welcoming, elegant, approachable, and wants the best for the people in her life.  

I love how accepting she is of life as it is.  She doesn't rant and rail when things don't go as originally planned, and she doesn't even give Charlie a harsh talking-to (which it could be argued he deserved) at that one part where he says Hurtful Things to Sophie.  She just gently points out the truth of the matter to him, and loves them both throughout the movie.  

And when she finds her Lorenzo…

These two are actually married in real life.  I KNOW RIGHT?!

…we're so happy for her:D  Though I suppose the whole riding-up-on-a-horse thing could be picked apart as corny.  But it was INTENTIONAL, people.  

And the last scene.  Sophie arrives at the wedding intending to tell Charlie she loves him, but then--horror of horrors!--Patricia is there.  He introduces her to Patricia…and his ex-girlfriend's name was Patricia.  So what is Sophie supposed to do now?  She can't tell him, but she can't stay either, so after the toasts, she not-so-subtly leaves the reception, and he not-so-subtly runs after her.  

"Of course.  A balcony."

I LOVE THIS PART.  The acting is great, the feels are there, and the dialogue is awesome.  

"Patricia's my cousin!  She's my cousin!"  
"How is that legal?"
        ~  ~  ~
"I live in London:  a gorgeous, vibrant, historic city that I happen to love living in.  You live in New York, which is highly overrated."
"Pardon me?"

And then...

Whereat we can all sit back and sigh with satisfaction and happy-warm-fuzzies and think what a splendid movie we just watched.  (Except that it gets even better, because he promptly falls off the vine.)  

In closing, because I really need to get off the computer, GO WATCH THIS MOVIE.  You won't be sorry you did.  

Quote Game Answers

Here are zee answers!:)

#1: "I'll get that arrow, pretty boy, and I'll do it with my shirt on."  Answer:  Mulan (Yao)

#2: "Oh, what I'd give for a hundred years, but the physical interferes--every day, more. O my Creator, what is the good of the strongest heart in a body that's falling apart?"  Answer:  Evita (Eva Peron)

#3: "Forgive me. Where are my manners?" "You know, I've been wondering that since the day I met you."  Answer:  Letters to Juliet (Charlie Wyman and Sophie Hall)

#4: "No matter how loud you shout, you will not drown out the voice of the people!"  Answer:  Amazing Grace (William Wilberforce)

#5: "Sweet, loving angel of all things merciful!"  Answer:  Penelope (Jessica Wilhern)

#6: "Yes! I love her! I love her with every breath I breathe!"  Answer:  Belle (John Davinier)

#7: "Let's go steal the Department of Defense." "Isn't that treason?" "We'll give it back."  Answer:  Leverage *NOTE*  That is a television series, so I suppose I should have mentioned "guess which movie or tv show each quote comes from".  Abject apologies, and all that.  (Nate Ford and Parker)

#8: "Sometimes all you need is just twenty seconds of courage. Just literally just twenty seconds of just insane bravery, and I promise you, something great will come of it."  Answer:  We Bought a Zoo (Benjamin Mee)

#9: "I think you are the most selfish human being on the planet!" "Now that's just silly. Have you met everybody on the planet?"  Answer:  Two Weeks Notice (Lucy and George)

#10: "I ask for nothing--I can get by--but I know so many less lucky than I. God help the outcasts, the poor and downtrod; I thought we all were the children of God."  Answer:  The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Esmeralda)

Players' Scores:
Morg:  6/20
Erudessa Aranduriel:  5/20
DKoren:  2/20
Jessica Prescott:  4/20
Rosie McCann:  4/20
Emma, Plain and Tall:  4/20
Rose:  4/20
Laura Yackel:  10/20
Miss March:  3/20
Chloe Linn:  5/20
JH:  2/20
Lois Johnson:  2/20
Miss Meg March:  5/20
Naomi Bennet:  2/20

Please note, I did x-out of 20 because there were 20 possible right answers, if a player decided to guess the characters.  So you all did a lot better than the scoring makes it look;) 

Thanks for playing!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"…You'll learn things you never knew you never knew."

I'm not having the best of days today, so I thought I'd cheer myself up by writing a blog post and watching a good ol' Leverage episode:D

I think I've mentioned this before, but I really love the animated movies Pocahontas and Anastasia.  Unfortunately, a lot of people don't seem to share that affinity.  I think at least part of that is due to the fact that both movies are, speaking from a strict historical standpoint, inaccurate.   And while I have complete respect for the fact that historical accuracy--or lack thereof--has a large bearing on how much many people will enjoy a movie, in some ways I think we can tend to take this too far.  Historical accuracy is a broad spectrum, and it has its place, but when a movie is made "for children" and makes no claim to be a biopic of the historical figures with whom it may or may not deal, shouldn't we be more lenient in our expectations of authenticity?

Anastasia hardly follows the real story of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, but there is such merit in the movie.  

Fabulously animated, with a chillingly beautiful musical score, and sprinkled with a fantastic cast of characters, the story remains respectful of the facts while presenting us with a sparkling, elegant, emotional picture of what the Lost Princess's life could have been, had circumstances been slightly different.  

The film cleverly incorporates historical tenets into the plot.  Rasputin, while he probably did not send hordes of green-bat-demons to derail a train containing Anastasia, was a highly controversial, religiously mystic individual closely connected with the Tsar and his wife.  (Oh, and in case y'all didn't know, he WAS almost as scary in visage as 20th Century Fox decided to animate him.  Seriously.  Go give him a Google if you're seeking insomnia.)  

Aside from that…it's just a dang fine story.

This may make me sound callous and uneducated and dismissive, but frankly, I would rather have a stunning story to an animated movie than the tragic, bleak facts of the history of Anastasia.  Where, if I may be so bold, would the redeeming point of a story be in such a movie, especially as marketed for children?  What would it teach them?  "Hey, kids, be glad you weren't born in Russia, because you just may have been herded into a basement and assassinated by a firing squad."  (I know I'm rambling a bit. Told you I wasn't having the best day.)

In contrast, this gorgeous piece of animation contains universal themes such as home, family, sacrificial love, triumphing over dark spirituality, etc.  And the characters are engaging, likable/dislikable as they're supposed to be, respectively, and you are caught up in the story, the music, the visuals, and the relational and spiritual tension.  Gah, just go watch it, okay?  (But be prepared that it is creepy as heck in some parts.)

As for Pocahontas, one of the makers even stated that they were not attempting to create a historical biography.  The Disney version of Pocahontas is a vibrant, earthy, uplifting painting of, once again, what could have been, not what anyone necessarily thinks was.  

And it's stunning.  The end.  

I guess my point is, is it worth it to dismiss some of the most vivid, amazing animation, glorious music, and compelling drama you're ever going to find in favor of some historical veracity that was never even promised in the first place?  Anastasia and Pocahontas are two of the most beautiful movies I've ever watched, and I've really loved getting to delve deeper into them recently.  I think if we are willing to lay aside our (well-intended) desire for strict historical accuracy in cinema, we'll open up far more movie opportunities (now I'm just getting cheesy).

Just try these movies.  Try them with an open mind, understanding in advance that they are not biopics, and watch them for what they are--just plain amazing films.  I think you'd enjoy them.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Bedtime Movie Tag

Ivy has tagged me!  Thank you so much, Ivy; I love tags:)

1.)  A movie that kept you up all night
Hmm.  This is a toughie, 'cause there's more later about movies that made me scared and thus kept me up…oh, I know!  The Sound of Music.

:)  This marvelous piece of cinema has kept me and my family up past midnight almost every New Year's Eve that I can remember.  It's tradition;)  Along with opening stockings while watching, instead of at Christmas.  (Yes, you may now all be jealous of our awesome New Year's habits.)

2.)  A movie that made you scared to sleep
Little Dorrit.  *shudders*  Just…no.  Rigaud and Ms. Monotone (I don't remember her name) FREAKED THE EVERLIVIN' DAYLIGHTS OUT OF ME.

I don't really like Little Dorrit.

3.)  A movie that made you go to sleep
I'm usually pretty good about keeping awake during movies, actually…but Fiddler on the Roof MIGHT have seen me nodding off the first time I watched it. 

To be fair, I was, like, six.  So I had a slightly shorter attention span, particularly if anything about a movie remotely depressed me.

4.)  A movie that left you tossing and turning all night in anticipation of its release
There haven't been very many, but lately I have found my thoughts turning to 2017 Beauty and the Beast of an evening.

I just can't decide if I can make peace with the casting of Belle.  I have nothing whatever against Emma Watson, but I've never seen her in anything; I only know some of the movies in which she has acted, and, I mean…I don't know.  I really shouldn't judge her aptitude for portraying Belle simply by hearsay and my own conjecture, but…I can't help but wish they'd cast someone who looks a little bit more like Belle.  Say, Alexis Bledel or Amelia Warner (Amelia Warner might be a bit too old, though).  But then again, Lily James probably wouldn't have been the first person to pop into my head for the role of Cinderella, and look how that turned out;)  

5.)  A movie that has your dream boyfriend/girlfriend ship of two separate movies
Like Ivy, I'm a wittle confuzzed.

6.)  A movie that would be your worst nightmare to live in
Um…I dunno…maybe Mad Max:  Fury Road?  I haven't seen it, but I saw the trailer, and I think that basically speaks for itself.

I remember the trailer exceedingly depressing me.

7.)  A movie that reminds you of nighttime
Maybe The Phantom of the Opera?  It's got a lot of nocturnal musicality about it…hehe;)

I guess it's supposed to remind you of nighttime.  The whole catacombs-of-an-opera-house-as-a-location thing really helps with that, don't it?

8.)  A movie that has a nightmarish cliffhanger
The Desolation of Smaug isn't exactly prime cuddle material.

But I was kind of done with that movie by that time, anyway, so…I didn't really care;P  I actually liked the third installment the best of the Hobbit movies. 

9.)  A movie you actually dreamed about
Isn't it so fun when you dream about movies?  Most of the time, that is?  I've had dreams with several movie characters in it…The Fellowship of the RingAnastasia…but one really interesting dream I had involved North and South (2004).

I dreamed up an extra scene where Margaret is crying about something, Mr. Thornton is comforting her, and then is asking her to 'reconsider.'  It was a very touching death scene, I cried when I wrote it little moment, if I do say so myself.  (I later realized that it didn't really fit with their relationship, since he would never have brought himself to petition her again until, well, the train scene, and she was not the kind of girl to be crying onto his shoulder about her own troubles.  The reconsidering thing actually would have worked better with Anne and Gil or Laurie and Jo, I think.)

10.)  A movie monster you would not want to find under your bed
*shivers*  Ew.  I'll go with Shelob.

Well, that was fun:D

Now, as to tagging…I nominate everybody who's reading this.  That way, if you want to fill out the answers, you've been officially tagged, and if you don't want to, there's no pressure.  (Tagging people stresses me.  I don't know why.  I think it's because I always forget someone, or I feel like I should tag everybody, which makes it difficult for some other people to tag people, so…yeah.)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Lately, I've Been...

'Ello, loves!  Because I don't want to keep throwing movie reviews at you, here's one of those random life update posts.  (And, Ivy, I am planning on doing that tag eventually!)


To the 2013 Romeo & Juliet soundtrack.  The above track, "Wedding Vows," is one of my favorites ever.  I just…GAAAAHHHHH.  I mean, that soprano!  I can usually hold my own as a soprano, but GOOD GRIEF.  She just…soars.  (That sounds cheesy.  But it's true!)  Honestly, this entire soundtrack just does something to me.  It's so ethereally beautiful and uplifting and mellow and exciting and all the goose-bump-inducing things that a movie soundtrack should be.  


Trying to complete The Bookshelf Project.  Progress is slow, but fairly steady.  At the moment I'm at the very beginning of The Last of the Mohicans following a failed attempt to start The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, after re-reading Lewis's Till We Have Faces.  I tell you, that man was brilliant.  BRILLIANT, I say!  Every. stinkin'. time., that ending just...


Obviously, I did not write that;P

Ehh.  Just school stuff, mostly, and a little bit of poetry/other devotional thoughts now and then. 


The Philadelphia Story so much that it's driving my siblings crazy.  I love that movie so ridiculously much.  I've also been watching Beyond the Mask recently, about which I have, let us say, mixed feelings;)  

I just recently finished watching the fourth season of Once Upon a Time, and…eccccckkkk, I DON'T WANT EMMA TO BE THE DARK ONE!  Too much draaaaaaammmmaaaaa!  Plus, I swear, if they make her do anything to Killian…

Oh, OH, and *SPOILERS*  when Belle had to banish Rumple, and then we saw her hanging out with that pathetic excuse for a Will Scarlet (okay, okay, I did kind of like him, but HE IS NOT WILL SCARLET), I kind of panicked that Rumbelle was coming to an end.  They've never been my favorite couple, and I don't think they ever will be, but…but…they were always THERE.  And they're Beauty and the Beast, for crying out loud!  I'm not a big Rumplestiltskin fan (I know, I know), but he and Belle BELONG together.  So I was glad that it all worked out as it did…that is, I would be, but for the various extenuating circumstances…*END OF SPOILERS*  And can I just say…ROWENA WAS CRUELLA!!!!  SQUEEEEE!!!:D  I was looking forward to that going into the season, and I was not disappointed.  First, that was one of the most perfect casting choices EVER.  I mean, just thinking about Cruella in the original book…Victoria Smurfit was perfect.  And then of course her LINES were hilarious…"There's a very good explanation, of course…you see, I'm a really terrible person, and I left her in the woods to die."  Her backstory episode kind of ruined it for me, though.  *shudders*


Pinterest:D  It's actually not being TOO much of a distraction, so that's great.  Thank the Lord…and the fact that I don't have the mobile app, so I have to get onto our family computer in order to check things, dontcha know.

Indian summer days in the middle of October *blissful sigh*

Watching movies with me mummy and daddy and siblings.


Choir répertoire and "Once Upon a December" from Anastasia--I might be playing and singing this with another friend for my Christmas piano recital!!!!!!  We're a little excited;)

Also, randomly bursting into snatches of music from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers:  "Theeeey kept occupied by sewin' lots o' little old togas for them tots/And sayin', 'Someday, women folks'll have rights!'"  "Yes sirree, spring disposes that it's all one supposes…"  "In November, the snow starts to fly/Piling up ankle-high/By December it's up to your knee/Still a bride's a bride to be."  I need to stop loving that movie so much.

Adios for the present, mi amigas!:D

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Awash With Glory

I walked down the hill, asking the Lord,

"What do You wish to show me?"

Worried I'd missed His timing,

Concerned there was somehow now nothing He could reveal 

in this gathering gloom--

Then I rounded the bend, and I saw.

The full majesty of an October sunset shone forth,

Advancing from a distant peak as from Mount Zion itself.

The firmament shot through and suffused with holy fire,

The pavement of the dwelling place of the Most High

 awash with His glory.

To the left, falling into a quasi-display of the Northern Lights;

To the right, eddying into flawless brushstrokes of pink and lilac.

And with the sight came a surety:

God is.
God loves.

And then there's this, because everyone should have the chance to see this picture.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lorna Doone (2000)

The 2000 movie version of Lorna Doone is one of those movies that my parents and my older siblings used to watch and quote and laugh about, back when I was still too young to see it, and when at last I did get to watch it a number of years ago, I wasn't quite sure what I thought of it.  (I think I was about eleven or twelve then, though, and I was easily creeped out, so that might have had something to do with it.)  I enjoyed it, but it also seriously disturbed me.  

NOW, I quite like it--probably love it.  I don't watch it very often, because it is a haunting, not-easily-forgotten story, but whenever I do, I enjoy it.

However, as Miss Dashwood put it in her review (which is impossibly clever and scarily accurate, plus just an all-around great review of LD),  "I really, really liked this movie. However, I can never resist poking fun when there's something around to poke fun at, so I may make a few jokes at the characters' expense. This does not in any way reflect upon my opinion of them--the hero in particular. He's a great guy but he's also easy to laugh at."  And that's basically what I'll probably do, okie-day? :D

The story, for those of you who haven't watched/read about it, is basically Romeo and Juliet, at least at first, set in Exmoor, England, involving land and social disputes--except for the fact that this feud is understandable, since, ya know, the Doones (one Doone in particular *ahem*) are murderous sociopaths who have made it their business to raid, pillage, plunder, and otherwise pilfer their weasley black guts out.  So, yes, the epic old tale of star-crossed lovers and dreadful fate and whatnot.  

While the fact that Lorna and John's relationship is established in pretty much the course of one 24-hour period annoys the heck out of me if I think about it for too long, somehow they managed to do it well in this movie.  The two are really very sweet, and if the beginning of their relationship is idyllic and cliched and unreasonable, do they ever have a lot to go through as it progresses.  The makers didn't skimp on emotional tension (can I get an amen to that??), even as regards the starry-eyed lovers.  They have their fights and their disagreements, which I appreciate.  T'is a shame when movies don't portray the "real life" side of love, isn't it?  On to characters!

John Ridd is…an interesting fellow *struggles valiantly not to laugh*.  He's a terrific guy and I love him dearly but he can't sing is also just the leetlest bit silly.  You guys who've watched the movie, you know what I mean.  He's brave, open-minded, and for the most part, constant, but…he can be a bit goofy at times, too.  And the hair, of course, doesn't help too much.  (But then, knowing as we all do Richard Coyle's propensity for flamboyant hairstyles, we really can't be too surprised, can we?)  Nonetheless, he's quite lovable, and his acting is great.  "You break my heart and then accuse me of cruelty!"  (I likes his accent muchly.)

I like Lorna a lot, and I'm not quite sure why.  Maybe it's that she seems just a little bit more intelligent than John in terms of relationships and not wanting to rush into them *aHEM*.  Maybe it's that she's generally a rather quiet lass, and I'm partial to quieter characters.  (Is it just me, or is there a bit of a scarcity of introverted but graceful heroines?)  Maybe it's the fact that she doesn't begrudge her captors, not even Carver.  Anyway, I like her.  Plus, ya know, she's gorgeous, as are her outfits and hairstyles.

*cue scary Lord of the Beans theme music*

BA-BAM.  Here's Carver.  Pretty much as he looks:  a creepy, booted, mohawked, pedophiliac, disagreeable stalker whom we all like a little, much to our chagrin.  I mentioned him here, and that's about all I got on him at the moment.

The supporting cast boasts several period drama favorites, such as Barbara Flynn and Joanne Froggatt.  They're all variously entertaining, especially Tom ("You should never have left her."  "All things considered, I agree.") and what's-his-face-who's-played-by-James-McAvoy.

John's face.

Hehehe;)  While I'm not the biggest fan of Joanne Froggatt *ducks rotting vegetables*, I do like her in the second half of this movie (not the first half, 'cause she's just annoying in the first half), and her relationship with aforementioned-and-pictured James McAvoy-dude is vastly amusing.

This scene, though, when the army people are preparing to leave:

"You know I'm not much good with words, but, um…"
"You love me, and you think we should get married when you get back?"
*cocks head*  "Wellll…"
"I accept.  You can kiss me if you like."

:D  Aren't they the cutest, though?  When they come riding back and she comes running out to meet him and then at the end when they're walking through the wheat field (his hair in that last scene, though…)!

All in all, though it's not exactly a feel-good movie, it's powerful and sweet and difficult and one of the few movies that your whole family might actually enjoy watching together.  And DAT ENDING THOUGH.  Wow.  Sheesh.  Okay, stopping right there because, ya know, spoilers;)    

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

I watched the classic Western The Magnificent Seven the other day, and…

It truly was magnificent, and I think what I most appreciate about it is that it wasn't melodramatic (as older movies can tend to be), and it wasn't unnecessarily tragic.  Realistic, yes, sad, yes, but with a gentle ending that exhilarates you in a quiet, happy way.  

Quick overview of the story:  three men from a poor Mexican village enlist hired gun Chris Adams to help them redeem their town from the oppression of Calvera, a hypocritical bandit who glibly robs them of all their resources and kills any who oppose him.  Chris in turn puts out an "advertisement" for backup and, in the end, seven hardened cowboys arrive at the village as a reinforcement for the townspeople.  Individually and as a group they begin to prepare the village for Calvera's next raid, and in the process become attached to those they are protecting.  

The movie fulfills all the criteria of a great '60s Western--meandering (in a good way) pace, epic scale, horses, dust,  scarcity of romance (but there is one romance because there's got to be at least one--and I'm glad of it; I do like a romance in a movie, I admit), and a glorious musical score.

As to characters…just yes.  Of course, with a cast like that, you really have to try very hard if you wanna go wrong, but still.  I LOVES THE CHARACTERS.

Bernardo is my favorite of the Mag7 (Hamlette alerted me to that phrase and I have adopted it heart and soul).  His relationship with those three boys…be still, my heart.  *SPOILERS*  Honestly, though, when they come running up to him as he's dying and he takes the time to point out their fathers' bravery to them, and then THE LINE, "What's my name?" and JUST GAH (the flowers). *END OF SPOILERS*

But then there's also Chris…

The fact that he was played by my beloved T. K. Yul Brynner may or may not have had something to do with my opinion of him.

…and Vin…

…and Britt…

…and Chico…

Random, but that scene when he
finds the cow and pretends to be a
matador…I was laughing.  He
provides some great comic relief,
and his relationship with Petra,
though not my favorite, is still pretty
adorable, no?

…oh, all right, the only ones of the seven to whom I didn't really get attached were Lee and Harry.  Ehh.  Though I did feel sorry for Lee, and Harry's last scene…I loved Chris in that one especially *sniffle*

The film boasts some killer dialogue, too.

"Their families told them we would rape them."
"Well, we might.  But in my opinion, you might've given us the benefit of the doubt!"

"He's prejudiced too, huh?"
"Well, when it comes to getting his head blown off, he's downright bigoted."

"We're ashamed to live here. Our fathers are cowards." 
"Don't you ever say that again about your fathers, because they are not cowards! You think I am brave because I carry a gun; well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility, for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground. And there's nobody says they have to do this. They do it because they love you, and because they want to. I have never had this kind of courage. Running a farm, working like a mule every day with no guarantee anything will ever come of it. This is bravery. That's why I never even started anything like that... that's why I never will."

"If you get killed, we take the rifle and avenge you. "
"And we see to it there's always fresh flowers on your grave. "
"That's a mighty big comfort." 
"I told you he'll appreciate that!" 
"Well, now, don't you kids be too disappointed if your plans don't work out." 
"We won't. If you stay alive, we'll be just as happy." 
"Maybe even happier." 

"I just didn't want you to think you were the only sucker in town."

"We deal in lead, friend."

As I mentioned earlier, I like that this movie wasn't cheesy, wasn't melodramatic, wasn't tragic for the sake of being tragic, and wasn't "a downer."  I'm not saying some of the characters don't die, but not everyone dies (was that a spoiler? I sowwy).  

I really liked this movie.  It was engrossing, humorous, emotional, and happy at the same time.  (I may or may not have rewound the ending about five times.)  *SPOILERS*  While the deaths of certain characters were extremely sad, at the same time something about the ending felt very right.  The Elder (I forget his name) giving that beautiful blessing ("You are like the wind, blowing over the land, and passing on.  Vaya con Dios."), Chico at last releasing his fantasies of glory and his disdain of honest farm work and returning to Petra, and Chris and Vin riding off together in companionable silence.  It was just a very satisfactory ending. *END OF SPOILERS*

Go watch it!