Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Ten Favorite Animated Movies

Been a while since I did one of these, huh?  Today I'm focusing on animated feature-length films.  I think it's a pretty nice mix of classic and modern, Disney and Pixar and some non-Disney too.  I've loved some of these since I was a small child, and others I saw as a teen or adult.  There's even one I just saw this past year and immediately loved so, so much.

1.  Robin Hood (1973)

Ye olde story of Robin Hood robbing the rich to feed the poor and battling Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham... except, they're all animated, talking animals.  Hilarious and heartwarming and swashbuckling and wonderful.  I have loved this movie so long I can't remember the first time I saw it.

2.  101 Dalmatians  (1961)

Two dalmatians and their owners stop the evil Cruella de Ville from turning 101 sweet puppies into a coat.  Much less grisly than it sounds, but at the same time, too dark for me to let my little kids watch it yet.

3.  Toy Story (1995)

The whimsical, witty answer to that question of just what toys talk about when we're not around to hear them.  With a script co-written by Joss Whedon, you can't help but laugh at the characters as you fall in love with them.

4.  Tangled (2010)

Rapunzel paints, sings, wields a mean frying pan, and dances her way into the heart of an errant knave and the audience.  I first saw this last year, and after the first hour or so, I was like, "Well, this is nice."  But after the lantern scene, I was like, "I looooooooooooooooooove this movie!"  Yeah, it shot into the top 5 tier that fast.

5.  Cars (2006)

A smirky race car gets stranded in a ho-dunk town run by an ex racing star who doesn't want the other townsfolk to know he used to be famous.  I first saw this at a drive-in theater, how perfectly fun is that?

6.  Aladdin (1992)

A humble thief finds a genie, gets turned into a prince, and tries to steal a princess's heart.  I was so very nutty about this movie when I was a teen, and I just introduced my kids to it last month (minus a couple of the scarier bits).

7.  Frozen (2013)

Do I even need to tell you what this is about?  Princess Elsa accidentally unleashes an eternal winter and nearly kills her sister, but it turns out all you need is love, just like the Beatles said.  Visually stunning AND heart-warming (pun totally intended).

8.  Anastasia (1997)

Two con men pass off an orphan girl as the missing Princess Anastasia of Russia.  Twist is, the orphan they pick?  Really is Anastasia.  First saw this at a friend's house my freshman year of college, during my first Thanksgiving away from home.  Love it, love the soundtrack, love the sheet music -- just a delightful movie.

9.  Lady and the Tramp (1955)

A prim and proper Cocker Spaniel tames a hound dog with her innocence and loyalty to her humans.  Sweet and sentimental, yes, but sassy and funny too.

10,  The Iron Giant (1999)

A lonely little boy befriends a giant robot, but fearful townsfolk think it's a Communist threat and try to destroy it.  This is a poignant look at growing up, friendship, acceptance, and love, and I wish more people had seen it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

MEMM Day 27 - Favorite end song

Obviously, "The Last Goodbye" from TBOTFA.  Nothing can compare.

And since I'm pretty sure you've heard the Billy Boyd version already, today I'm sharing Peter Hollens' splendid a capella version, which you've probably heard too, but just in case, why not?

My second-favorite ending song is "Into the West."  I have the sheet music for it, and I love playing and singing it.  The refrain in particular touches a melancholy-yet-contented chord in me.  Since I shared the Peter Hollens version of "The Last Goodbye," here's his version of "Into the West" too.

And actually, the first Peter Hollens video I ever watched was his rendition of "The Misty Mountains."  So I'm going to share it too.  Because I can.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Violets, Love, and a Link-Up

Heidi Peterson has started a new link-up series on her writing blog, where she'll post a subject each month, and whoever wants to can do a post that involves that subject and then link up on her blog.  This month's subject is violets, and as soon as I read that, I knew what I wanted to post about:  the scene in A Room with a View by E. M. Forster where Lucy falls into a sea of violets, quite unexpectedly, rather the way one falls in love.  Here it is, from chapter six:

At the same moment the ground gave way, and with a cry she fell out of the wood. Light and beauty enveloped her. She had fallen on to a little open terrace, which was covered with violets from end to end.
"Courage!" cried her companion, now standing some six feet above. "Courage and love."
She did not answer. From her feet the ground sloped sharply into view, and violets ran down in rivulets and streams and cataracts, irrigating the hillside with blue, eddying round the tree stems collecting into pools in the hollows, covering the grass with spots of azure foam. But never again were they in such profusion; this terrace was the well-head, the primal source whence beauty gushed out to water the earth.
Standing at its brink, like a swimmer who prepares, was the good man. But he was not the good man that she had expected, and he was alone.
George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped quickly forward and kissed her.
Before she could speak, almost before she could feel, a voice called, "Lucy! Lucy! Lucy!" The silence of life had been broken by Miss Bartlett who stood brown against the view.

Isn't that a marvelous scene?  Even if you don't know the characters (and if you don't, please do yourself a favor and read the book!), that description of the violets, of a place where "beauty gushed out to water the earth" is so magical, isn't it?

Violets are one of my favorite flowers -- I love finding them growing wild in my lawn.  I have African violets in my kitchen too, to have a spot of beauty all year long.

Oh, and this month's link-up also involves a giveaway!  Go here to learn more.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

MEMM Day 26 - Favorite one-on-one fight

Hmm.  This is actually a really tough question for me, because I'm not sure I have one.  I haven't had one particular one-on-one fight that I look forward to with great delight in any of these movies.  I guess I'll go with Sam vs. Shelob because it's such a heroic moment, and Sam really comes into his own there.

Also, I'm a big fan of killing spiders, or even just wounding and driving them away, so on a personal level, I'm happy Sam dispatches Shelob :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A New Guest-Blogging Adventure

Starting today, I'm writing an occasional guest post for James the Movie Reviewer about some of my favorite movie soundtracks.  The first one is up here today, focusing on the score for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966).  I hope you dig it!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Ten Favorite Screen Characters Tag

Jamie over at Two Blue Eyes tagged me with this a few days ago.  I'm supposed to list off my 10 favorite characters from movies or TV, and then tag up to 10 bloggers to do the same.  I haven't done one of my lists of ten favorite something-or-others for a long time, so I thought this would be a good addition to that series :-)

These are characters I love on screen, though some of them I also love in the books or comics that inspired them.  But I am referring here to particular onscreen incarnations, okay?

1.  Sgt. Saunders (Vic Morrow) from Combat! (1962-67).  I love so much about Saunders.  His courage, his stubbornness, his moral certainty, his compassion -- he's such a nuanced, layered, complex character, and I love him dearly.

2.  Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) from the X-men movies.  Ahh, Wolvie.  What can I say?  I would love to be Wolvie, to have his swagger, his lack of caring about what other people think, his high level of snarkiness.  I'm going to be very sad when Hugh Jackman turns in his claws in a couple of years, as I can't imagine anyone else embodying this character nearly so well.  I kind of don't want to see anyone try.

3.  Angel (David Boreanaz) from Angel (1999-2004) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I have so much sympathy for Angel, with his load of guilt for his past misdeeds, and his burning desire to help people, to atone for all the misery he's caused, to find forgiveness.  And I admire him, too, the way he stands back up every time he stumbles.  Doesn't give up, this vampire of mine.

4.  Sawyer (Josh Holloway) from Lost (2004-2010).  What can I say about Sawyer?  I've never been exactly attracted to "bad boys," but I'm fascinated by con artists and Southerners, so I was interested in him from very early in the series.  I love how he reinvents himself over and over, but can never actually change who he is inside.

5.  Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett) from the Granada Television productions (1984-1994).  I love Sherlock Holmes in the original stories, and Brett's performance most closely matches the Holmes in my imagination.  He's brilliant, brusque, and so impatient, but has a kind heart and a twisty sense of humor.

6.  Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) from the Hobbit movies.  I rhapsodized here last month about why I love Bard so much, so today I'll just say that I admire his devotion to his family and his determination to protect them.

7.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth) from the Avengers movies.  I get so annoyed by people who write Thor off as brawny eye candy.  He's so much more than that!  He's intelligent, but somehow a bit guileless, and his overlooks the faults of people he loves, which is why Loki can trick him so easily.  He's loyal, protective, trustworthy, and unselfish.

8.  John Reid (Armie Hammer) from The Lone Ranger (2013).  John Reid is my doppelganger.  Seriously, he is like a male version of me -- I've never found another movie character I identified with quite so closely.  I love his blend of naivety, intelligence, bookishness, manliness, and loyalty.  He's not at all like the original Lone Ranger character, but I am totally cool with that.

9.  John Watson (Martin Freeman) from the BBC's Sherlock (2010--).  He's so unendingly nice, isn't he?  And he puts up with so much nonsense, not without a growl or two, but still, he's the best friend anyone could ask for.

10.  Heath Barkley (Lee Majors) from The Big Valley (1965-69).  Heath's one of those characters I want to hug and take care of.  He's had a rough life, growing up illegitimate and fatherless.  I love how he fits into the Barkley family when he finds them, and yet is always just a little bit "other," never quite feeling secure in his new role as brother and step-son.  Of all the characters I love, he's the one who needs the most emotional TLC, though don't get the idea that he's weak or helpless!  He can shoot, brawl, and ride with the best of 'em.

Now, I'm supposed to tag 10 bloggers, so here goes:


Play if you want to!