Saturday, April 23, 2016

In defense of that Anne movie we all hate

I may be wrong about this, but it seems to me that there's a bit of a stigma regarding the Anne of Green Gables movies roundabout the blogosphere.  And it's certainly one to which I contribute myself.  It's about the shunned Anne movie, the third one, Anne of Green Gables:  The Continuing Story.

To be clear, this is my least-favorite of the Anne trifecta.  I'm pretty sure it's most people's least-favorite, and there's good reason for that.  As we all know, it stays about as close to the storyline of Montgomery's books as I do to meat.  So I freely confess that up until a couple weeks ago, I disliked AoGGTCS as heartily as anybody.  

But, then I re-watched it.  And guys, let me tell you, we do not appreciate this movie enough.  I mean, it definitely has its weaknesses (ahem, understatement there), but it also has many strengths.  I'm going to try to elaborate on some of them, because after watching it again, I've realized that it's a pretty gripping, well-made film.

So, here we go.  Bullet-point defenses of the (admittedly-worst-of-the-trilogy-but-not-nearly-as-bad-as-we-make-it-out-to-be) third Anne movie. Beware of spoilers, which will be liberally peppered throughout!

~ The cast

While Marilla and Matthew are both *sniffle* deceased in this one, several of the original actors played their characters faithfully throughout the entire trilogy (I love it when that happens).  Megan Follows, Jonathan Crombie, and Schuylar Grant all reprise their roles, and bring fresh insight and new depth into Anne, Gil, and Diana respectively, while still maintaining their classic charm. (Look at me, sounding like a back-cover blurb over here.)  Even Josie and Moody make appearances!  I don't know the actors' names for those two (sowwy), but it makes me happy to see them, and that they're married.  Josie is actually quite wonderful--still difficult Josie, but, as I said, there's new depth to her, and we get to see another side of her.  Heck, doesn't the actress who played Mrs. Lynde pop in momentarily?

~ The character of Jack Garrison

Actually, Jack creeps me out.  But he's a very complex character, and exploring that complexity brings up interesting results (plus makes for great philosophical discussions). 

~ The plot

I know, I know.  From the books' perspectives, this plot has literally nothing to do with anything.  (The closest similarity I can think of is that Anne and Gil's children do go off to fight in a World War, but that's it.)  

HOWEVUH.  If you watch this movie looking not at its fidelity to the source but at the story it tells…it's stinking amazing.  (Again, this is still my least-favorite.  Just so we're clear.)  It's nearly gut-wrenching, actually. Its depiction of the stark, ugly reality of war is gripping, uncomfortably realistic, and by turns tragic and hopeful.  The complexity of the plot is also a plus--we've got a stolen manuscript, a web of political intrigue, the care of an infant literally dropped onto Anne, a husband gone missing in a war zone, and "it's all quite entertaining."

~ The emotion

Honestly, it makes me tear up several times, and that very rarely happens.  The weightiness of it really impacts you--the realism with which it treats front lines, wars, and the incredible hardships of those left behind.  Powerful, I tell you, powerful :P

~ The tie-ins to the original movies

THE FLASHBACKS!  Oh my word, the flashbacks.  As I've mentioned before, I'm kind of a sucker for flashbacks, and this movie is no exception.  Seriously, they're awesome.  And the scene at the train station.  Just. so. much. yes.  Guys, she goes to get Dominic like Matthew went to get her, and it's so stinking sweet!  THEY EVEN DO THE PEEKABOO THING.  

It really is a pretty good, albeit frustrating-at-times movie :)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Inkling Explorations {April 2016}

It seems like forever since I've done one of Heidi's awesome Inkling Explorations!  So here I am for the April edition :)  This month's prompt is:

~ a description of a lady in literature ~

After much thought, I've decided to go with a passage from one of my favorite-ever books (Ivanhoe), describing one of my favorite-ever heroines (Rebecca of York).  Here we go!

Yet had the Jewess this advantage, that she was better prepared by habits of thought, and by natural strength of mind, to encounter the dangers to which she was exposed.  Of a strong and observing character, even from her earliest years, the pomp and wealth which her father displayed within his walls, or which she witnessed in the houses of other wealthy Hebrews, had not been able to blind her to the precarious circumstances under which they were enjoyed.  Like Damocles at his celebrated banquet, Rebecca perpetually beheld, amid that gorgeous display, the sword which was suspended over the heads of her people by a single hair.  These reflections had tamed and brought down to a pitch of sounder judgment a temper which, under other circumstances, might have waxed haughty, supercilious, and obstinate.

From her father's example and injunctions, Rebecca had learnt to bear herself courteously towards all who approached her.  She could not indeed imitate his excess of subservience, because she was a stranger to the meanness of mind and to the constant state of timid apprehension by which it was dictated; but she bore herself with a proud humility, as if submitting to the evil circumstances in which she was placed as the daughter of a despised race, while she felt in her mind the consciousness that she was entitled to hold a higher rank from her merit than the arbitrary despotism of religious prejudice permitted her to aspire to. 

Thus prepared to expect adverse circumstances, she had acquired the firmness necessary for acting under them…

Thus prepared to consider herself as the victim of misfortune, Rebecca had early reflected upon her own state, and schooled her mind to meet the dangers which she had probably to encounter.

You have to read the book to learn about Rebecca's story, and then to experience those stunningly brilliant tête-à-têtes she and Bois-Guilbert (*insert sobs*) have. They are seriously amazing, and the book would do you good.  So go read it ;)

Thanks for a great prompt, Heidi!  I love this link-up :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Wake up the city and sound the ALAAAAAARRRMMM!"

(First of all, a HUGE thank-you to Ashley for telling me how to manipulate the video-gimmick's idiocy and get the correct videos to come up!  Thanks so much, girl!)

GUYS.  As I mentioned in my previous post, Olivia has a new musical jam.  You know how I adore Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame?  WELL.  Recently I discovered that the self-same Alan Menken and Stephen Swartz who collaborated on the music for the Disney movie (and for Pocahontas; one more proof that these two are the best Disney films evah) also created a stage musical version.

It is on.  Guys, I can't stop singing the praises (heh) of this musical!  Okay, yes, I haven't actually seen it, nor have I actually listened to more than three of the new songs they added, BUT, still and yet, those three happen to be three of the most flippin' amazing things I've ever had the good fortune to hear.

The first one I'm going to show you is called "Esmeralda" and is, apparently, the act one finale number.  People are comparing it to "One Day More," and while I can't claim that it's on the same scale as ODM, I will say that I like it better ;-P  I've been listening to it nearly every day or two for about a week, and it just brings joy to my soul, guys.  Here it is.  Drink it in!

I JUST.  People.  This song.  I love basically every single stinkin' thing about it.  

There are so many parts that give me goosebumps from the sheer epic-ness, like whenever Michael Arden hits a note *ahem*, or whenever the chorus joins in, or when they play the "God Help the Outcasts" motif when Phoebus is having the crisis of conscience (props to one of the YouTube commenters for first drawing that last one to my especial attention).  It just makes me really, really happy :)

This next one, "Made of Stone", is with Quasimodo and the gargoyles (don't let that deter you from listening to it--it's seriously tragic and amazing).  This is when Frollo is about to burn Esmeralda, and Quasimodo is so exhausted and discouraged that he's contemplating giving up.  They really expanded the scene and went deeper into what Quasimodo must have been feeling than the movie snippet alternative, and I think it's pretty great.  Have a listen:

"Let it remain alooooooone, and my one human eeeeeeeeeeyyyee will ever more be dryyyyyyyyy, until the day I diiiiiiiiiiieeeee--as if IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII were made of STOOOOOOONNEEEE!"  

Michael Arden, WHO ARE YOU?!?!  I'd never heard of him before, but man oh man.  Just…#respect.    It's such an accurate picture of what Quasi's psyche must have been in that moment--perfectly capturing years of rejection, seclusion, disappointed hopes, heartbreak…gahhhh.

…And, finally, the best for last!  (Well, I think.  This one and "Esmeralda" are kind of tied for my favorite.)  "Someday" is just achingly gorgeous.  It's too much, I tell you, too much.  It's sort of like "I Dreamed a Dream" in the beginning, but then it's basically "Imagine" (only with no lyrics that I in any way disagree with).  It's just. too. beautiful.

In all seriousness, it makes me melt inside.  And--eeeeeekkk!--I'm getting to sing this (AND "God Help the Outcasts") for voice lessons!  

I really love the lyrics.  They're so simple, yet incredibly powerful.  It's a song about the heaviness Esmeralda sometimes feels, but also her unshakeable faith that the world can and will improve.  *happy sighs*

Okie-dokie, there you have it.  What I've been geeking out over lately :D  Have a wonderful day, you beautiful starlets!  

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Life According to Literature Tag

I'm trying to put together a post fangirling about my latest musical obsession love, but the video-gimimick is refusing to pull up the right videos, even though I can easily get them if I'm just searching for them on YouTube itself.  Needless to say, this is quite frustrating (because you guys need to know the splendor and glory that are "Esmeralda" and "Someday" and "Made of Stone"), but, no matter.  I'll keep trying :)

In the meantime, I saw this tag in Natalie's post, in which she linked to Hamlette's post, in which she linked to somebody else's post, and on and on the linking goes ;)  Anywho, I took an immediate fancy to this tag, and decided to fill it out!  (Obviously.)

Apparently, the original rules say to only use books you've read within the last year…some of these I've read within the past year, and some of them I'm not exactly sure.  And some of them I haven't actually read yet, but am going to soon or am in the process.

Describe yourself:  The Book Thief ~ Markus Zusak {Thankfully not in her life conditions, praise God!}

How do you feel today:  Right Ho, Jeeves ~ P.G. Wodehouse

Describe where you currently live:  In My Father's House ~ Ann Rinaldi

Hehe.  I'm proud of that answer ;D

If you could go anywhere, you would go to:  Greenwillow ~ B.J. Chute

Your favorite form of transportation:  Peter Pan ~ J.M. Barrie

Your best friend is:
Perfectly Unique ~ Annie F. Downs  

You and your friends are:  Little Women ~ Louisa May Alcott  {"SCIENCE"}

What's the weather like:  Dandelion Summer ~ Lisa Wingate  {I know, I know, not summer yet, but soon!  And there are lots of dandelions, so, y'know, it works.}

Not dandelions, I know, but isn't it pretty?!

You fear: That Hideous Strength ~ C.S. Lewis 

What's the best advice you have to give:  The Lord of the Rings ~ J.R.R. Tolkien  {Always a good idea ;D}

Thought for the day:  My Utmost for His Highest ~ Oswald Chambers

How you would like to die:  Ivanhoe ~ Sir Walter Scott  {Ha.  KIDDING.}

Your soul's/imagination's present condition:  Hinds' Feet on High Places ~ Hannah Hurnard {By God's grace; He's been helping me get out of a funk lately, and is drawing me back to this book, I think.}

Hope you all enjoyed that! :)  Have a lovely day, and never forget that God loves you no matter what you do <3