Movie Musings

Dead Poet’s Society | Movie Musings

(Moving Musings are my thoughts on some of the all-time greats in cinema. I love story and the power that comes with it, so I thought it would be fun to occasionally post about them. Also, there shall be spoilers. If interested in past Movie Musings, just click here!)

“Words and ideas can change the world.” Mr. Keating

“What will your verse be?”

Since I’m only three Movie Musing posts in, it’s safe to say all the movies I’ve shared about are all time favorites. Ones I have seen many, many times. I love to watch them with friends, because I like watching epic movies with people I’m fans of.

Except this one.

This one I watch alone.

Why? Because there’s no “blink away tears” kind of crying with this beautiful and powerful film. Nope, it’s more like “commence bawling and messy times two crying.” There’s no in between. I watched this a few weeks after Robin Williams’ tragic death, and y’all, only made it worse.

Yet, I’ll continue to watch it because there is such beauty in this film. In case you aren’t familiar, here’s the trailer:

It’s so beautiful and timeless. It speaks to the heart and our longing for beauty in the world. I love each of the characters (well, except for our buddy who throws Mr. Keating under the bus) so much.

Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures

I love Neil Perry for his passion, even if he crushes my heart with his final decision at the end of the movie.

I love Todd Anderson for being so young and naive, yet brave enough at the end to take a stand.

I love Knox Overstreet and his you-only-live-once approach to love.

I love Charlie Dalton for everything he is.

And I love John Keating because he represents all the teachers in my life who have challenged me, encouraged me and believed in me.

The scene in which you cry your eyes out. Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures

And because this movie is one of the most quotable, I had to share a few:

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

“To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here — that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

“There’s a time for daring and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.”

“When you read, don’t just consider what the author thinks, consider what you think.”

“Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, ‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.’ Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!”

“Carpe, carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

May we daily live extraordinary lives and to the fullest because of the freedom we have!

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Have y’all seen this masterpiece?

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Movie Musings

Gladiator | Movie Musings

(Moving Musings are my thoughts on some of the all-time greats in cinema. I love story and the power that comes with it, so I thought it would be fun to occasionally post about them. Also, there shall be spoilers. If interested in past Movie Musings, just click here!)

First things first: Y’all I LOVE this movie. It has all the pieces in a story that captivate my attention. A hero driven by something greater than himself, a purpose, a perfect soundtrack that stirs your heart as soon as you hear it….I just love it. Even the phrase Maximus likes to say is one of my favorites, “Strength and Honor.”

And if you didn’t know, my cat’s name also happens to be Maximus. And this scene? Mic drop.

(This may have also been the recording to my voicemail in my early days of cell phones. I thought I was such a cool college kid in 2000.)

This movie also has one of my favorite all time movie quotes:

“What we do in life, echoes in eternity.”

Now onto our main characters: Commodus and Maximus. Of the quote “strength and honor,” one had both, one had neither. One thought it was okay to have a society that fed off of death. How disturbing that a whole culture rejoiced and thrived off of human life fighting to the death for entertainment. The other? He fought to keep the dream of something more beautiful alive; a Republic. A nation for the people.

© 2000 – Dreamworks LLC & Universal Pictures – All Rights Reserved

Also Commodus is ridiculously creepy. Why else didn’t we like him? He was a coward, he cared only for himself, created laws depending on his mood and had little care for the people of Rome, the people he was supposed to be serving.

Yet, on the other hand, soldiers and gladiators alike trusted and followed Maximus, many to death. Why? He had honor, integrity, he put others before himself (and why Marcus Aurelius wanted him Emperor), loved his family and was brave (among other attributes). He was what a leader should be.

© 2000 – Dreamworks LLC & Universal Pictures – All Rights Reserved

What makes a leader? What makes a person the kind of person others will follow?

Furthermore, when I watch this movie, I often ask myself: What will my legacy be? Both Commodus and Maximus left very different legacies. Will I be remembered as one who fought for the people and where I put others before me? Did I give my life and heart to something beyond myself?

Lord, may the answer to that question be yes.

Have y’all seen this movie? Share some of your thoughts!

Movie Musings

Movie Musings | Shawshank Redemption

(Moving Musings are my thoughts on some of the all-time greats in cinema. I love story and the power that comes with it, so I thought it would be fun to occasionally post about them. Also, there shall be spoilers. If interested in past Movie Musings, just click here!)

“Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.” Andy in Shawshank Redemption

I fell in love with this movie the first time I saw it (which I think was in college). Why is this one of the best? The storyline is incredible, it’s portrayed so well, the ending and the underlining theme of hope. It’s one of Stephen King’s finest (sidenote: how does he write a story like this and then some of the most nightmare-ish horror films?!!).

It’s still one of my favorite movies of all time.

There’s one scene where, after one of their old time buddies, Brooks, kills himself after getting out (he’d been there for decades and wasn’t able to cope with the new outside world), Andy was in the Warden’s office and played music over the speakers that belted it out to the fields and all the inmates. He locked himself in the office, so they had to break down the door to get in, but for a few moments those inmates heard something beautiful. He ended up getting a week in solitary for the act.

When he got out all his buddies asked him why he did it.

Andy: “Hope.”

Red: “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. It’s got no use on the inside. You better get used to that idea.”

Andy” “Like Brooks did?”

Red gets up from the table angry. Andy later gives him a harmonica, but that was a profound moment, showing what people can become if they give up on hope. Yet, even with it all Andy never does.

Later, Andy continues to struggle, especially after his young friend Tommy gets murdered by the Warden because Tommy had the evidence needed to prove Andy was innocent (he was in jail for the murder of his wife and the man she was having an affair with).

Andy gets two months in solitary and after threatening to stop helping the Warden with his shady schemes, the Warden comes back with more death threats on his friends.

He finally gets out and Red immediately knows something is different. Yet, even with that Andy tells Red about Zihuatanejo, the little town he’ll go to when he gets out.

Red tells him to stop with his pipe dream since they aren’t getting out. Andy’s response?

“It comes down to a simple choice really, get busy living or get busy dying.”

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”

He makes Red promise him to find the a volcano rock and box in a field. He gives him nothing more than how to find it, but he gets him to promise to find it. Andy does escape in his brilliant dig through the walls scheme and makes it to beautiful Zihuatanejo.

A little time later, Red gets paroled after decades locked up. He follows through with Andy’s promise and heads out to Mexico to meet him.

Red’s final quote heading out to Mexico to meet his friend Andy is a perfectly fitting one:
“I hope I can make it across the border.
I hope to see my friend and shake his hand.
I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams.
I hope.”

Sidenote: I absolutely love Red’s character. It helps that Morgan Freeman portrayed him masterfully, but the character himself is great and I love him as the narrator.

“Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.”

While I know this story wasn’t written with the Gospel in mind, I love that a story will still draw you to THE Story our hearts are all longing for and the HOPE we have in that.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7

Hope is a beautiful beautiful thing friends.

Have y’all seen this movie?

Bookish Radness, Movie Musings

8 of the Best and Worst Movie Adaptations

There’s something that happens to all book nerds when they hear the rumors are true and their favorite book is coming to the big screen. First there’s absolute excitement.

Then, utter terror. Because WHAT IF THEY RUIN THE BOOK FOR ALL ETERNITY?? Like when you hear about terrible casting or who was chosen to direct it and all you can say is this:

These types of details can ruin a book nerd’s life folks. Dramatic? Yep. But no less true. So today is a list of movies gone right and movies gone…well..those I don’t speak of.

(Some of) The Best

The Client (or any Grisham novel really): The casting on this was phenomenal, it’s an excellent read and action packed. Oh and Mark Sway (be sure to say that in a very Southern accent). Seriously Tommy Lee Jones is so fantastic in this one, as is Susan Sarandon. I think I might need to stop writing and go watch it. I also loved The Pelican Brief, but that could be more based on the fact that it stars Denzel Washington and well, need I say more?

Harry Potter: Besides capturing my beloved characters so well, I thought the movies did an excellent job of being light-hearted in the beginning and then moving to the deeper and darker storyline as it went on. Of course there were a couple artistic additions to the movie, but nothing that drastically shifted it from the storyline. Although I’m still angry they had Dumbledore hollerin at Harry in the Goblet of Fire. Did not happen in the book people!

Lord of the Rings: The trilogy did not disappoint. I mean where do I even start? Where details left out? Of course. But have you read LOTR? We’d still be watching them if they included everything. But as with Potter, they did a good job with artistic license.

Pride and Prejudice: I know, there was a lot of details left out, but I added it because I love the movie a bunch and they did a fabulous job capturing the characters and their personalities with the casting. Who doesn’t love Darcy? Or want to punch Lydia? Anyone else annoyed beyond measure by Mrs. Bennett?

I also have to admit I’m not a huge fan of the BBC version. Mr. Collins in that version CREEPS ME OUT. Like I could barely handle any scene he was in. I really should be putting Emma on this list, because that one was pretty much word for word.

Catching Fire: Man oh man, did the second movie vastly improve from the first. I mean BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS. Not in the acting or special effects (I thought those were great in the first movie), but following the storyline. Can we chat about how much I cried my eyes out when they were in Rue’s district???? My oh my. Many friends who haven’t read the books understood a lot more after watching the second movie. So yes!! I can’t wait for the final book to be made into a movie!!

C- Category

The Hunger Games: Did I just write that? Especially after just gushing over the second film? I did. But hear this first – I like the movies and I’m counting down the days until the next one. But if we’re all being honest, they left out some major details. If you didn’t read the book, I’m pretty sure the mine explosion (shown as an elevator going down and then white smoke) was totally random. Plus, I’m still angry about the scene after it was announced two winners from the same district could win if they both survive. In the book, this is the moment you really feel and see that Katniss cares for Peeta. She literally YELLS OUT HIS NAME. The movie? A whisper. I shouldn’t be so angry, but y’all I AM. They also play up Team Gale/Team Peeta. LAME. As you can see from the previous category, they do much better with Catching Fire (although QUIT IT WITH GALE PEOPLE).

(Some of) The Worst

The Bourne Identity: My first thought after finishing the first movie (I loved the books) was “Did we read the same story?” While the movie series itself is entertaining and I enjoy each one they release, they get an F- for following the book. At least they got his name right.

Eragon: I hope they redo this one. So then we can all act like the first release didn’t happen. Such a great series, yet the movie…just no. No no. No. It didn’t work. Which is a bummer because a lot of the casting was fabulous. John Malkovich (sidenote: If you haven’t seen Red, you need to rent it/download it/amazon it immediately. He is reason alone to watch that movie), Jeremy Irons…you can’t go wrong with names like that. But, as much as it hurts to say, they did.

Alright, it’s your turn friends. Add your two cents with favorites and not so much favorites! Did I get mine right?

Movie Musings

Why the Hey Did I Watch These Movies as a Child? Plus Some 80s Classics

Today’s kids grew up on Harry Potter. You know what they missed out on? Movies featuring balls of fur rolling around eating people.

Jealousy, my friends, should be the only response.

Today belongs to my youth. Today’s post is an ode to my youth and the crazy movies I stumbled upon. Why I watched many of these, one will never know. Will I include photos for the first half? No. That image search would give me nightmares.

So without further ado, here’s three of my “favorites.” And by “favorites” I mean, what.the.hey.

IT – I’ve talked about this many times before. That’s probably a hint for all you psychologists about the effect this had on me. Clearly I’m still working through my issues of a murderous clown preying on small children on rainy days. What a great film to watch before the age of 10. By that I mean DON’T.EVER.WATCH.THIS.FILM. I should also bold that last statement just to get the point across. I still have the dialogue between Georgie and IT in the sewer seared in my brain. Apparently I thought it would make me seem cool if I watched it. It didn’t.  (I should confess…my parents had no idea I watched this until after the damage was done)

Arachnophobia – The name says it all kids. The name says it all. It’s bad enough I watched this when I was eight. It’s even worse I WANTED to see it on my birthday. Because nothing says happy birthday to an eight year old child like a screaming spider flying across the screen. I still remember the amount of air I got during the first scene that included a spider jumping out of a plant. I guess I thought I was ready to act like I was 30. Kids, don’t grow up too fast. There’s plenty of time for that. But who am I kidding?? If a movie like this came out now, you wouldn’t see me near it. The fear Indy has of snakes doesn’t come close to my hatred of spiders.

Critters – After watching this, I couldn’t touch an Easter egg for years (the little jerks hatched from eggs and unsuspecting people painted them as Easter eggs one year in the movie). According to wiki, this series (why yes, there was more than one) is about “a group of malevolent carnivorous aliens from outer space, called Krites, that have the ability to roll into balls and combine into a pernicious sphere that can roll across the landscape and cause mayhem. In appearance, the individual Krites resemble small furry/spiky animals with large mouths and many sharp teeth. Throughout the movies they attack humans by biting and attempting to eat them, or at least a piece of them.” Why wouldn’t you want to watch such a film??

But friends, not all my childhood was full of petrifying films. Oh no! I grew up in the 80s aka the decade of awesomeness. Photos from these? Heck yes, they’ll give you a clue to the incredible-ness of each film.


Back to the Future – This is a given. “McFlyyyyyyy!” The good news is, 2015 is just around the corner, so I’m pretty excited for the hover board to finally make its appearance. Oh and flying cars.

Goonies – If you have to ask why, then please stop being my friend. Unless it’s because you are young, then I’ll gladly regale in tales of this film. Every time I watch this movie, I still want to drop everything and go look for a pirate ship.

Every Disney cartoon ever created. Except The Fox and the Hound. Kuddos to producing the second most depressing cartoon ever Disney (second only to Dumbo).

Cloak and Dagger – It took awhile for me not to fear the Riverwalk, less I get kidnapped by a crazy grandma lady with missing fingers, but I simply love this film! Following little Davey, who stumbles across secret information from spies in a video game, it’s full of adventure and espionage. Seriously, still one of my favs. Plus, you have to appreciate the old school video games they have.

Flight of the Navigator – This film makes me want a pet alien. It’s a simple plot really: “In 1978, a boy is moved 8 years into the future and has an adventure with the alien ship that is responsible for that.” It’s as awesome as it sounds. “Compliance!”

Labyrinth – The only negative of this film is David Bowie’s creepy pants. Other than that, it pretty much sums up the 80s (and maybe the effects of the 70s….) “Allo….No, I said “‘allo,” but that’s close enough.”

Dark Crystal – Between this and Labyrinth, it makes me wonder what was going on with Jim Henson during the creation of these films. This movie is so tripped out I don’t even know how to describe it. All I know is my siblings and I loved the recorded-from-TV version we had and watched it all the time. Well, if you must know, here’s the official description: “On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and so restore order to his world.” Add puppets and you know that’s award-winning material right there.

Alright my fellow children of the 80s (or anyone else really), what are some of your favorites? And for you youngins (I kid! I kid!) who grew up in the 90s, what are your favs (because I’ll actually remember those like yesterday)?

Movie Musings

Wait….Yoda dies?!? What?!

I can’t believe this is the last installment! (Be sure to check out Part I & Part II if you missed those)

The one thing I knew for sure before starting was this: THINGS WERE ABOUT TO GET REAL.

Jabba’s crew of friends creeped me out. His red-eyed sidekick will probably show up in my nightmares for the next three month. Actually Jabba grossed me out the most. I wanted to fast for 8 months on his behalf.

During Jabba’s club party session I was hoping Captain E.O. would show up and save the day. Because that’s what Michael Jackson’s music does. It saves the day. “We are here to change the world…gonna change the world!”

YODA FREAKING DIES??? This movie sucks.

You know what was the only thing that helped me recover from Yoda’s sudden death? Ewoks!!! I was beginning to wonder when those little balls of fur would make an appearance. I always wanted a new stuffed Ewok back in the day (Disneyland has you exit the Star Wars ride right into the gift shop. Genius move Disney). Or maybe I would buy one now. It’s possible.

C-3PO makes me laugh in any scene. I could not stop chuckling when the Ewoks started worshiping him. Funny turn of events that one was.

And you guys could have warned me how hot the Emperor was. A girl can’t resist teeth and beady eyes like that.

I take back all the mean things I said about Vader. Now I just feel bad for him :(. I think I might need to watch Episodes I-III to get the back story of what made him turn. I get that was really the only way it could end for him, but it was still kinda sad…

Okay, so final question: if you’re a Jedi and die, you turn into a talking ghost that only Luke can see?

Alright, alright Star Wars fans. Even 30 something years after it was made it’s still a good story. I might even buy them on Blu ray.

May the Force be with you.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Movie Musings

I Think Darth Was a Little Upset

Hello! And welcome to Part II of a three part all-about-Star-Wars series! Be sure to check out Part I and why it took me nearly 31 years to watch it along with my take on Episode IV. Today’s installment we discuss The Empire Strikes Back.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back was so much better than IV, I should just end my post here.

Boom. Done.

Just kidding, I’ll add a few more thoughts that y’all are so eagerly awaiting ;).

Please tell me this intro makes it into Episodes I-III. Otherwise it just wouldn’t be right.

I kinda love Han. His lines make me chuckles. “Laugh it up fuzz ball!” & in referring to C-3PO “Take the Professor in the back.” Yep, I like him.

And how cute, Luke and Han are b/f/fs! I know, totally cheesy, but I’m glad they are. Can we also take a moment to talk about Luke’s hair in this episode? No, then just kidding, I didn’t notice anything different either.

I have no words for Yoda, except maybe “What the…”

First his little surprise appearance scared the crap outta me. I was expecting a wise & stoic character who was oh so serious. Instead he’s a mischievous little old man with a funny accent 🙂 Wise? Yes, but I think I laughed every time his face appeared. And I think he stole teaching ideas from Mr. Miyagi…you have no idea why you waxing on and waxing off until later. “Try no! Do or do not. There is no try.” Classic Yoda-ism.

I did like this response from him. Wise little Jedi master that one is.
Skywalker: “I don’t believe it!” (After seeing the ship lifted out of swamp)
Yoda: “That is why you fail.”

Can we also talk about the aliens of my youth? It makes me wonder..

Also I didn’t know Vader wasn’t the most powerful end all character for the Dark Side. All these years…and I knew nothing! Apparently there’s a creepy looking old man who calls the shots. That’s all I got from his 2 minute appearance on a screen. That and his face will probably give me nightmares when he finally does show up.

Vader gets the butthole award of the movie (sometimes that’s the only fitting word). Yes, I already knew that, but he decided to get extra loco with killing people left and right, gleefully telling Luke he’s his Dad and being an all around jerk. “By the way Luke, I’m your Dad & you didn’t really need that hand anyway, so I’ll chop it off.” Rude.

Why the hey does Vader where the mask anyway? All the movie gave me was a quick look of the back of his bald head. The mask better be removed by the end of this series. None of this Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget nonsense.

So…is Obi really gone or not people??

P.S. Two words concerning Leia & Han: Called it! Go get him Leia!

I’m kinda sad there’s only one left of the originals…

Movie Musings

So…Have Y’all Ever Heard of Star Wars?

I just watched Star Wars… for the first time.

And I’m in my thirties.

And apparently it’s kind of a big deal.

Yes, I know. I should have. Did I hate American movie culture? Did I hate the 80s? No silly, but here’s the quick background as to why in 2013, I have finally watched Star Wars. Reason 1. My parents weren’t into it, so there were no VHS’ laying around to watch when I was growing up. 2. My parents weren’t into it and there’s a rumor they often influence your life. 3. When I was finally old enough to care the new ones were released and so since 1999, I’ve had an internal debate of whether I should start with Episode 4 or Episode 1.

Good news, I started with Episode 4. I feel like I might be the only person over the age of 30 on the planet who has never watched them, but if you’re like me, well hello :).

So this three part series is my review on this slightly popular movie series.

Episode IV: Hope

First thought, not at all what I expected. But as I did expect, I rather enjoyed it. While it is a bit outdated and technology has come a long ways since then in movies (obvi), the graphics and such didn’t bother me. Maybe because I grew up with movies like The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and A Muppet Family Christmas (complete with Fraggles), strange creatures are totally legit to me.

These are the things I notice while watching Star Wars.

And the characters?

~ Obi-Wan Kenobi is the space age version of Gandalf. He BETTER NOT REALLY BE DEAD! Rude if he is. RUDE.

~ Han Solo is a total bad, yet redeemable, boy. Never would have pinned that one. Hello Sawyer mixed with a little bit of Dr. Jones.

~ Luke Skywalker is kind of a dork. But a cute dork.

~ I can see Leia totally kicking more butt in the rest of the movies.

~ And Chewbacca? He kinda makes me laugh when he’s not supposed to be funny. No idea why. Maybe it’s the strange sounds he makes.

~ How do I get my own R2D2?

There were two things I knew before. Vader is Luke’s Dad (although I don’t know when this information is revealed) and Luke & Leia are siblings. So with that in mind, I’ve decided Han and Leia better end up together. If not, I quit.

So yes friends, this was an entertaining film. BUT just so we are all clear, I still stand by my Hobbits :).

P.S. To my everlasting shame I can’t get my parents into Lord of the Rings or Narnia either. My arguments of Christianity (hello Gospel story through a fuzzy Lion named Aslan), a great love story, adventure, friendship and the power of the ring have had no sway. A single tear has been shed for this. On numerous occasions.

P.P.S. I shall still refuse to ride the Star Wars ride at Disneyland. Motion sickness at its finest. Nah thanks.

On to the next!! Oh and please no spoilers about what’s to come. That will make me sad.