Sunday, December 31, 2017

Favorite Onscreen Couples of 2017

I'm shamelessly copying the awesome Faith over at Just Way Too Boss.  She wrote a blog post about -- can you guess? -- her favorite onscreen romances of 2017, and I told her that I might steal her idea, and she told me to fire away, so here I be. :-P  

Like Faith, I'm not necessarily talking about couples who made their screen debut in 2017, but those that I first saw in 2017.  And I'm afraid I'll probably forget some, as I didn't keep track of all the new movies I watched this year, unfortunately. :-/  But thankfully I was reminded of a few important ones that I almost omitted. ;)

So here we go!  Let's review my favorite onscreen couples of 2017. 

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* Bella & Vernon *
This Beautiful Fantastic

As I mentioned in my review, these two charries were not only adorable and extremely shippable together, but they were fantastic (heh) individually as well.  Loves them lots. <3  (Also, who first came up with the abbreviation 'charries'?  I approve greatly. :-P)

* Nickie & Terry *
An Affair to Remember

This movie is definitely a new favorite -- I'm so glad my mom brought it home from the library!  The romance between Nickie and Terry is a classic, hands down.  As somebody observed in one of the special features that I watched, this film is unique in that it carries the couple through both the first thrill of falling in love on a cruise ship to then having to deal with reality and try to keep that love alive when the ship returns to New York.  And it does it really, really well, in my opinion. ;D

* Illya & Gaby *
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

I don't think I've talked to someone yet who's seen this movie and not fallen for Gaby and Illya's relationship.  ('Course, I haven't talked to a TON of people who've watched it, but I think it's fair to say that it's crowd-pleasing.)  The thickly accented, macho spy and the whippersnapper car mechanic are adorable together. <333

* Frank & Sarah *

I wasn't sure about this at first:  the age difference seemed to be a bit much to me.  But, surprisingly, I ended up finding them really sweet. <3 

* Sky & Sarah / Nathan & Adelaide *
Guys and Dolls

An old musical with that cast and that storyline?  Count me in!  These two romances are quite cute and fun. :)

* Harry & Marie *
To Have and Have Not

Though this romance was perhaps sultrier than is strictly beneficial, there's no denying that Bogart and Bacall nailed their roles.  And at least it was fairly non-dramatic -- they worked together quietly and efficiently, knowing when to stow their snark and be serious.

* Danny & Tess *
Ocean's Eleven & Ocean's Twelve

I really liked Danny and Tess.  I think George Clooney and Julia Roberts managed to pull off a great chemistry -- the couple seemed real, not too fancy-free and not too dramatic.  Comfortable, you know?

* Jack & Katherine *
Newsies Live!

I almost forgot this one!  *appalled gasps*  Anyway, this couple was basically ALL THE YES.  Can you not look at that gif and see how adorable they are??  Jeremy Jordan and Kara Lindsay were perfect stage partners, I think.

* Jasmine & Aladdin *
Season 6 of Once Upon a Time

Arguably my favorite new-to-me screen romance this year, though, was Once Upon a Time's take on Jasmine and Aladdin.  I'm not sure entirely why, but this couple really grabbed me (and I'm not even a huge fan of the animated Aladdin).  I think it's because these two have a level of sweetness -- real, genuine sweetness and concern for the other person, not cloying sweetness (at least, not to me) -- that the other couples of Once didn't quite achieve or have lost somewhere along the way.

Don't misunderstand me: Captain Swan is prrrobably still my favorite couple in Once, and Aladdin and Jasmine definitely have their cheesy moments (*cough*), but there was something about them that really latched onto me, too.  And I think that in terms of pure, unadulterated sweetness, Jasmine and Aladdin probably have Emma and Killian beat.

But that's just my take on it. ;D

Honorable Mentions

Belle & the Beast (Beauty and the Beast)
Henry & Carina (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales)
Jim & Julie (The Big Country)
Gregory & Rose (The Mirror Has Two Faces)
Tom & Cinzia (Houseboat)
Billy & Julie (Carousel)
George & Holly (Breakfast at Tiffany's)
Charlie & Rose (The African Queen)
Bryce & Juli (Flipped)
John & Holly (Die Hard)

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2017 has been a great movie discovery year for me!
How about you?  Who are some of your new favorite couples?

(And no, I haven't seen this yet. :-P)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Disney Princess Book Tag

Hamlette did this tag awhile back, and I decided to do it because it was simply too fun to pass by. :D  Hamlette apparently snatched it (and the picture below) from Rissi over at Finding Wonderland, who apparently got it from yet another blogger, so . . . Anyway, here are my answers. ;)  (I used Hamlette's idea of pairing the princess with my book answer for each picture.)

(I think credit for this image goes to Rissi?)

1. Snow White - Name your favorite classic

If I'm interpreting "classic" as the old classics, like pre-20th century, than Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. :)  (And it's also just one of my favorites, period. ;))

2. Cinderella - Name a book that kept you reading well past your bedtime

There have been several!  But more recently, Dawn's Early Light by Elswyth Thane.  You can read my Goodreads review here!

3. Aurora - Name your favorite classic romance

*freezes up*  Yikes.  Classic romance book?  See, that's a toughie.  I love a lot of the romances in classics, and I love the way they're portrayed in the movie adaptations, but the books themselves are not often my favorites.  Such is the case with Persuasion by Jane Austen, which is the book I'll use for this question.  Persuasion is actually (probably) my favorite J.A. story . . . I have what I call a "Jane Austen hierarchy" about which I need to do a post soon.

4. Ariel - Name a book that's about making sacrifices and fighting for your dreams

Ummmm . . . *draws a blank*  Oh!  Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson.  (This is a great book, guys, and it really deserves more attention. <3)

5. Belle - Name a book with a smart and independent female character

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.  (I love this book.  I need to read it again. :))

6. Jasmine - Name a book with a character who challenged the social conventions of his or her world

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows has several unconventional characters (and very precious ones they are, at that).

7. Pocahontas - Name a book with an ending that was a roller-coaster of emotions

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak?  That's all that's coming to mind, even though I felt so sure that there were more . . .

8. Mulan - Name a book with a [totally boss]* female character   [I decided to change the adjective because of Reasons ;-P]

When the first "totally boss" female character who comes to mind is Rey but that's not a book . . . #sigh

Anywho, let's see here . . . I guess the girl in Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell is pretty boss.  

9. Tiana - Name a book featuring a hardworking, self-made character

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

10. Rapunzel - Name a book that features an artist

I really couldn't think of one, but Amy in Little Women is an artist, isn't she?

11. Merida - Name a book that features a mother-daughter relationship

Passing by Samaria by Sharon Ewell Foster has a good relationship between its protagonist and her mother.

12. Anna and Elsa - Name a book that features a great relationship between siblings

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

I tag anyone who wants to do this!  (I know, I know, I'm sorry, but I've got things to do and places to be and ain't nobody got time for specifics. :-P)

Have a great day, everyone!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Recent Developments

This post is not as important as that title makes it sound, by the way.  I'm basically just going to talk about some of the things that have been "on my radar" recently: stuff I've been watching/listening to, movies I'm looking forward to, a friend's new blog, etc. Just the usual. ;)

First and arguably most important:  one of my best "real life" friends started a blog!!!!  I am quite happy. :D  Y'all need to go see it posthaste:  I'm telling you, this girl is amazing and you won't regret getting to know her.  (Plus, she just did a post about The Nativity Story.)  Check out her blog here!

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Two of Peter Hollens' relatively new videos are fantabulous and I've been watching them pretty often. :-P  

I have fond memories of listening to the Mamma Mia! soundtrack, so I really liked his "ABBA Disco Medley". :D

And I also love Taylor Swift music (judge away), so his and Evynne's mash-up of 1989 was fun, too.  I think they did a really good job with it!  And 1989's not my favorite of her albums, so. :-P

In fact, I listened to a lot of T. Swift music a few weeks ago when I was studying for tests and such.  It helped. :-P

(Also, speaking of YouTube peeps, have y'all checked out Jess & Gabriel's channel, or Marcus & Kristin's?  They're adorable. :D)

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OKAY, GUYS, SO.  I don't know if I ever formally announced it on this blog, but this summer I got to watch the "re-release" of the Newsies Live! revival they had released in theaters in February.  Previously, I had thought that Newsies just wasn't the show for me, having only listened to a tiny clip of the music.  Welp, that filmed revival sure blew that idea out of the water, and I became A Devoted Fan.  ('Cause like it was really really really amazing.)  If I were to go off onto my Newsies fangirl tangent, we'd be here a while, so I'll just leave it there and return to the point:  one of me blogging pals, Erudessa Aranduriel of The Flowering Vales, mentioned in one of her posts that she watched this self-same revival (which I had thought was only in theaters those two times) on Netflix!  Cue the "HOLD UP" thoughts and the eager checking of Netflix later that day.  And . . . she was right!  That same show is on Netflix!!!  So a HUGE thank-you to Erudessa for mentioning that and thereby making, if not my month, at the very least my week. ;D <3 <3 <3

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I really want to see The Greatest Showman.  It might be disappointing, I know, but I really want to see it.  

And, y'know, The Last Jedi is out, too, so that's a thing.  (Please, no spoilers!  Or, really, much of any non-spoilery thoughts, either.  I'd prefer to know as little as possible about it going into it, so I can go into it with unclouded expectations. :))

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Thanks to Miss Woodhouse for this gif! :)

I can't think of anything else to say, so I'm going to take a good friend's advice and, since I've come to the end, stop. ;-P

What's up with y'all?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Have I ever mentioned that I love Christmas?

Pinterest and I, together with a severe case of "Christmas in July" daydreaming, teamed up to explain to you all why the yuletide is actually the most wonderful time of the year.  This is the result.

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First things first:  Jesus is literally the reason for the season, and none of this would be so nice if He had not come to us.

This post will mainly be about the more "shallow" side of Christmas, and hence the above "disclaimer," if you will.

For one thing, the holidays give you kind of the best of everything.  (Except weather, I suppose.  But then again to some people winter weather IS the best kind of weather.  So.  There you are.) 

Decorations and such go without saying, so I shall provide examples of other things.

  • The Nativity Story 

[I know I've mentioned my extreme love for this movie before, and I know I've mentioned Oscar Isaac's Joseph before . . . but seriously Oscar Isaac's Joseph, though.  ALL THE HEARTS IN THE WHOLE WORLD. <3 <3 <3]
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • Elf   [It's entertaining and it's a lot of fun to quote, if nothing else. :-P]
  • Little Women   [Hey, the beginning is Christmas-y.  It can count.]
  • A Christmas Story

[This movie is legit hilarious. XD  I had heard a lot about it and had actually watched some of it several years ago, but I didn't get all the love for it that I kept hearing a lot of people express.  But then I watched the whole thing last year and I got it, dontcha know. ;)  It's seriously awesome.]

Music  (titles are linked to YouTube where possible)

I might go a little bit overboard in this section.  Just warning you. :-P

Favorite tracks:  "Magnificat" ~ "O Savior of Our Fallen Race" ~ "How Suddenly a Baby Cries" (GUUUYYYYYS) ~ "Fullness of Grace" ~ "Joy to the World" ~  REALLY ALLZ OF THEM <3 <3 <3
Favorite tracks:  "Go, Tell It on the Mountain" {BEST VERSION EVER.  (Maybe.)  I love how unbelievably relaxed and chill it is.  And the finger-snaps?!} ~ "Christmas Dreams" ~ "Heaven Everywhere" ~ "Christmas Is" ~ "You're Here" ~ "Be Born in Me" ~ "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" (I am SUUUUPER picky about renditions of certain traditional carols, and this one isn't EXACTLY what I want from a version of this particular carol -- more on that later -- but I like it.)
Favorite tracks:  "Angels We Have Heard on High" ~ "Auld Lang Syne" ~ "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" ~ "The Little Things" ~ "Some Children See Him" ~ "Mary, Did You Know?"



I mean. 


I love seeing how most of us change our headers for the winter!  (I'm not remotely suggesting that there's anything wrong with NOT changing your headers with the seasons, though, just to be clear.)  It makes me happy to explore all the new looks. :)

I've loved ever so many of y'all's headers, but one of the winter ones that has really stuck in my memory is this one, made by zee lovely Naomi:

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

I seem to remember she paired it with a lovely background that was soft, deep blue, and it was awesome. :D


Y'all have a collection of special Christmas picture books, right?  Because THEY ARE THE BEST. <333  I love One Wintry Night (that's a little more than a picture book, actually), The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, and The Boy with a Wish particularly. <3

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker deserves its own category.  I grew up going to see it every year, and I still love it very muchly. <3

The music (have y'all listened to "Pas de Deux" lately?!), the dancing, the aesthetic, the actual story itself . . . gahh, it's beautiful.

I love basically everything about Christmas, is the point.

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."

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Are you a huge fan of Christmas, too?

P.S.  Oh, and by the way, I'M DONE WITH FINALS AAAAGGGHHHH!!!  I'm very happy. :D  How are my fellow college peeps doing?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

This Beautiful Fantastic {2017}

You know how occasionally you'll find a trailer and it just looks so good and you get super psyched for it and then finally you get to see the movie, and even though it had the potential to be a letdown, like any movie you're excited about does, it isn't -- it's actually just as amazing as you thought and hoped it'd be and so afterward you're just like 

Basically, that.

Set against the backdrop of a beautiful London garden, this contemporary fairy tale stars Jessica Brown Findlay and Tom Wilkinson.  Facing eviction in a month if she can't resurrect the dying garden in her backyard, reclusive librarian Bella Brown (Findlay) meets her grumpy next-door neighbor (Wilkinson), who happens to be a talented horticulturist.  As the two form an unlikely friendship, Bella begins to wonder if she can revive both the garden -- and her dreams of becoming a children's book author -- in this magical, witty film about life and love, also starring Andrew Scott and Jeremy Irvine.  {synopsis from the back cover}

This movie is very much "a yes from me."  I loved it.  I know I throw that word around pretty flippantly, but I really can see this one becoming a favorite.  It had a way of nestling quietly, placidly, and contentedly into my heart.  Everyone connects with different movies, and I definitely connected with this one.  It has a soothing, gentle presence, even though (in my opinion) it's a fully well-rounded movie with depth and humor and happiness by turns.  It's not always sunshine and roses, but then again, it is, too -- that's sort of the whole point.  I felt peaceful after watching it.  It completely (or almost completely) satisfied my story sense, and it's just what one needs now and again.

In style, it reminds me of Penelope; it's similar in color palette, quirkiness of characters, and uniqueness of theme.  That isn't to say that on the surface it's the most original thing ever, but some of the themes underlying it aren't ones you see every day in a movie.

It gives a sweet, sympathetic, non-victimizing look at some struggles such as OCD (I think?) and phobias.  

It recognizes and celebrates the fact that most of us have a bit of oddball in us, and (as a dear friend was recently telling me) there's nothing wrong with that -- there are people who will love us in a multitude of ways just as we are.

It's a love letter to plants and the people who care about them.  That first scene in Alfred's garden makes you feel that vibrant, impressionistic energy flowers have; it makes you remember greenhouses and the moist, sweet air inside them, and the buzzing, humming, happy activity that seems to permeate a plant-filled space, even while there's an equally coexistent hush and stillness.

The characters are infiltrative little things, grabbing your heart so quickly you're surprised.  And it's not just the primary characters -- there's one secondary who really touched me, too.

All of the actors nail their roles.  Jessica Brown Findlay does a flawless Bella Brown.  Tom Wilkinson is excellent as always.  Billy is what you might call precious, and the way Jeremy Irvine was able to portray his nervous energy and occasional stammer was really good.  AND AND Andrew Scott's Vernon is probably my favorite.  (But I don't know.  'Cause I love Bella and Alfred too.  I can't really have any of those three without the other two, ya feel me?  They needs each other, sweet little trio that they are. <3)

Seriously, I loved Vernon!!!  Andrew Scott maaayy have had some rather biased brownie points awarded him because of you-know-what *ahem*, but he just played Vernon so well, man.  Someone fangirl with me about Vernon, okay?  Pretty-please?

[Because for real like the scene below when he and Alfred are interrogating Billy ("Yeah, I know, I'm trying to test him out") . . . and his first scene . . . and his relationship with Bella, and how he tried to make her answer when she had locked herself in her room by threatening to spill crumbs . . . and . .  ]

There are so many little things about this movie that I loved.  Here's a list: 

* I like how it takes its time depicting the garden's transformation -- it doesn't magically become a bower in the space of a few three-minute montages.

* The librarian lady.  Am I right or am I right.  (I'm right.)


* I like how some of the film quality isn't 100% pristine.  It makes it seem more real.  Like, during that one scene in Bella's bedroom when she's been crying and Alfred's talking with her, the lighting isn't perfect and the image is a little grainier and dust mite-y.  AND THAT'S COOL.  Because it was probably that time of day when the blinds would be partially drawn and the light would be creating a very specific sort of "aura" in the room, and they captured it.  So I think that's pretty neat. :)

* The lovely, completely perfect soundtrack.

* The ending was perfect (except for one thing which I'll talk about below).

And now we come to my one dissatisfaction with the movie, but it involves spoilers, so use caution, eh, what!

*SPOILERS!*  I shipped Bella with Vernon more than with Billy.  So I was actually sort of on-board when Bella thought she saw him with someone else.   As I said before, Billy is precious and I do love him, but I did want Bella to end up with Vernon more.  So, that's rather disappointing. :-/  But the rest of the movie is so beautifully done, and at least Billy is a good "second choice," so I don't think it'll affect my love for the movie that much.  (But then again it IS quite disappointing . . . )  So, anyway, while I wish that had turned out differently, I'm willing to let it slide. ;)  *END OF SPOILERS*

I could ramble on about all my favorite parts of the movie and the myriad reasons why I loved it, but I think you'll have to watch it for yourself.  And I hope you do, because it's wonderful. <333

Here's to Bella Brown "and future generations of spectacularly dysfunctional artists."

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Winter Look

So I made a new look!  I feel like I may have to make another one for the after-Christmas winter months, but we'll see. :)  I'm also still working on the sidebar, so there may be more pictures/quotes later.  

Anyway, what think you all? :D

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P.S.  Also, who is this child and where has he been all my life?!?!  (Quick note about the video for anyone who might watch it:  he does use God's name in vain several times and I probably don't agree with a lot of the stuff in some of the shows he's been in/talks about in this video, BUT STILL.)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Movies: Month in Review {November 2017}

GUUUUYYYSSS, IT'S DECEMBER!!  Do you know what that means?!?!

*confetti explosions*  I'M SO EXCITED, GUYS! <3333

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A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (2000)

Aww, this was cute and sweet. <3  The way Charlie Brown and his friends talk is Quite Excellent. ;)

Adam's Rib (1949)

I greatly enjoyed this.  I'm a pretty big Katharine Hepburn fan, so that's not much of a surprise, but still.  It posed some interesting, rather controversial questions, but I liked the way it resolved them.  K. H.'s character had a valid point in terms of gender role, but that blinded her a bit in terms of the case itself.  So the way she and Spencer Tracy worked through that was cool.  

Also, the character David Wayne played was a terrible smarmster, undoubtedly, but he was rather funny. ;)  "Don't you do it, Amanda."

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

Okay, I'll admit it:  I kind of love the Kung Fu Panda movies. :-P  They have fantastic animation, gorgeous music, awesome main charries, and terrific villains.  This one was no different!  

RED (2010) & Red 2 (2013)

I've been wanting to see these movies for a long while now, and I finally got to!  Absolutely loved the first one (probably even more than I expected); really didn't like the second one.  Since the first one was so fabulous, the second one just seemed more like gratuitous shoot-'em-up rather than the actually adorable action-comedy that the first was.  (John Malkovich, Bruce Willis, and Mary-Louise Parker were probably my favorite characters.  They were spot-on. <3)

The Moon-Spinners (1964)

I remembered Natalie having written a little about this movie, so I picked it up at the library.  And it was most enjoyable!  Hayley Mills is adorable, and Mark is adorable, and the scenery is beauteous. <3

This Beautiful Fantastic (2017)

This movie is just . . . yes.  ALL the yes.  I'm hoping to get a review done soon, so stay tuned. 

To Have and Have Not (1944)

Yet another one that's been on my mental "possibly-to-watch-someday" radar for a long time, since I read Hamlette's thoughts on it.  I liked it vey mucho!  "Bogie and Bacall" are amazing together, and the end was adorable.  I Approve. <3

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What movies have you been watching lately?
Have you decorated for Christmas yet?

P.S.  Oh, and guys, were y'all aware of this?  I for one am very down. ;D