Archive for March, 2015
I have often described my oldest-younger brother as “an odd duck”, and it’s pretty true, albeit vague. To put it more specifically: Joel has the most extreme sanguineness paired with the most extreme introversion that I’ve ever seen paired together. I didn’t realize this until the last few years, as he’s really started growing into his own. And so now I get to blog about him! 😀
Happy as a baby!
Happy as a toddler!
And happy as a teenager!
Joel turned 18 years old this month, (yikes!) and he was the first of us that was born in Illinois. From our childhood until now, Joel has been:
1. The hammiest and loudest of all of us kids (at least the boys)
2. An enthusiastic initiator of games, sports and other activities
3. One of Elizabeth’s favorite siblings to shop with
4. A boisterous debater who can rant about both hates and loves with equal fervor
We all loved being video recorded as children, but Joel was perhaps one of the hammiest of us. Someday we’re going to turn all of our VHS’s into DVDs, and then I can show you the awesome clip of Joel enthusiastically singing “Santa Fe” from Newsies and acting it out just like Christian Bale did. (Would any of his drama team be surprised?)
Playing Jesus for youth group
When we were younger, Joel was always willing to be in skits, family plays or anything that involved being front and center stage (even if it meant playing the damsel in distress because his sister Elizabeth wanted to be the main character superhero). My sisters and I loved to play “games” where we made up characters and lived through their life, and Joel’s favorite way to participate was to play the moody stranger who showed up suddenly on the family’s doorstep and was silent and secretive. It annoyed us at the time, but it made for great memories.
Now, Joel still carries on his love for drama by being a part of Alive Drama Team, our church’s play-writing and skit-performing ministry team. He also loves to do lip-syncing, and he sings and dances with abandon, no matter where he is or who’s paying attention.
Delving into the Bible
However, on the flip-side of Joel’s love for attention, he also is an extreme introvert. You wouldn’t know it to see him interact at church, but he definitely loses energy the more he is with people. He doesn’t spend much time alone in his room to recuperate (that I’ve noticed) but he often escapes to music, movies or gaming in order to get some energy back. There’s a story from when he was in middle school, and after a full afternoon of hanging out with people, he went and hid under the tables to avoid conversation. I don’t think he does that anymore, 😉 but too much stress or socialization makes him feel that he needs to withdraw in order to gain some more strength to continue. Which is not surprising, due to all the energy he expels every time he’s around his friends!
Always willing to be James Bond serious
Joel currently works at McDonald’s, but he eventually wants to be a lawyer, which fits him well since he loves debating. Get him in an argument, and you can’t get him to shut up! Whether he’s fighting hardcore for something he believes in, or playing devil’s advocate in order to give you something to argue against, he can debate as enthusiastically as all get-out. (I dare you to ask him what he thinks about Gaius from the TV show Merlin!) However, despite his strong-willed obstinacy, he has a heart that is willing to learn and change, and when it comes to serious topics, his emotional connection to everything he says is equally as evident. He has a quick and creative mind that he utilizes in fun, such as during improv games, or important discussions about things he cares about.
Joel loves movies and TV shows, heavy rock music or any song he can sing along to, playing board games, organizing events, video games, being a team with his younger brothers, partaking in conversations, showing off, lip-syncing, sports, ballroom dancing and competition. He has a generous heart and is passionate about God and ministry. He wants people to think deeply, and at church he has oftentimes stepped up to speak or help lead Bible studies. He likes adventures, from dressing all fancy and visiting restaurants, to traveling across the world on missions trips. He is chivalrous, energetic, courageous and strong-willed.
Ever the goofball!
While he’s not the most conventional guy you could meet, he’s an extremely loveable dork; so don’t take him seriously when he either brags on himself or bashes himself nonstop. He mostly just wants to make people laugh, and he does a good job of it. Seeing my oldest-younger brother grow up is so much fun to watch; I’m extremely proud of him, and I know that God has created a wonderful man who will be a wonderful husband, father and leader someday.
HOW WE ARE ALIKE:
1. We both love singing loudly and dancing crazily
2. We’ve both worked at McDonald’s
3. We both had issues with fear when we were kids
4. We’re both adventurous, though in very different ways
The three adventurers, exploring Whiteside County restaurant by restaurant because we have money
HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT:
1. His default is to be loud, while mine is to be quiet
2. He’s a front and center person, while I prefer being the audience or behind the scenes
3. I love reading, but he’s bored by it if he already knows the story
4.He’s a very competitive person, and I’d rather lose if that means everyone is happy
So last month I watched 10 romances that I had never seen before. Most of them were watched in the very last week of the month, hehe, but I did it! I originally had Juno, Once and Shop Around the Corner on my list but switched them out for the last three because they were easier to find. So here are my reviews and various thoughts! But first, disclaimers:
- I didn’t bother putting “spoiler” in front of any give-away opinions, so if you haven’t seen the movie and plan to, don’t read the review.
- Though I made it through all of the movies, there was definitely a lot of sexual stuff in the majority of them, whether it was in the form of innuendos or inappropriate scenes. However, because none of them were stand-alone in this issue, I didn’t bring it up in any individual review, so take any recommendations with a grain of salt because there are definitely scenes I skipped and would recommend skipping.
GONE WITH THE WIND
I was warned by my sister, “This movie is super long, and both of the main characters are terrible people”, so I wasn’t taken surprise by the length, or the anti-love theme. While the romance in this isn’t a great example of what love looks like (except for Melanie, who is of course the only good character in the movie) I think it was actually an interesting look at how Scarlett’s selfishness brought her misery all her life. She was a fairly interesting character when she wasn’t constantly whining, and the first half of the movie really helped to set up why she became who she did. The visuals and music were very good, and everyone did a great acting job, so I can see why it won all those awards. (Also, I always thought that the famous line was, like, the ENDING ending of the movie, so it was nice to have that extra 30 seconds that gave her a little bit of hope. It made it feel slightly less depressing than I expected.)
I was also warned about the length of this one. “It’s long and depressing and full of people looking at the snow and talking about the cold.” Despite how true that is, it was still an interesting movie. I thought that Yuri was very sweet. But I was a bit more bothered by the infidelity in this than in Gone With the Wind. I think that’s because it felt less negative because both of the characters were “good people”. It was kind of like, “it’s war times, we’re in trouble, so we are justified in grabbing our few moments of happiness we can get”. And I was sad he never went and looked for his family. Overall, though it was fairly boring, it was artistically pretty.
All I knew about this movie was the visual with the boombox, which is a fun visual that has very little significance in the actual movie. John Cusack is super cute as a teenager, but then I’ve always liked him as an actor. Anyway, I liked the movie. The story was enjoyable, as well as the two main characters and their development. There’s nothing about it that quite stood out to me as amazing, but it was a good watch and had some very sweet moments.
I enjoyed this one, too. It was sweeter than I thought it would turn out to be going into it, and it had a fairly satisfactory ending. I thought the scenes with Samantha and her Dad were really sweet, and I was glad that she had someone who knew about her life by the end. I also really thought she was gonna get together with Anthony Michael Hall, so the ending wasn’t something I would’ve guessed early on. But I liked it.
This one wasn’t bad. I thought the opening scene with the music and the boat on the water was really pretty, but I thought the opening scene with Ryan meeting Rachel was really annoying. As a whole, though, I enjoyed it but wouldn’t rave about it. I didn’t particularly like either character but it worked with what they were trying to do; the fact that they acknowledged that they fought all the time and that it would be hard was better than just ignoring it and pretending that their relationship was wonderful. I really liked James Marsden’s character. The scenes at the end of their life were sappy but sweet. I can see why people like it, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite.
I did not expect to like this one this much. The visuals were amazing, the love story was very sweet and believable, and the music made me cry at the end. I was expecting this to be much more cliché and “our love can get us through anything”, but it really wasn’t. This love story of two people meeting and really having an honest connection and impact on each other was very moving. (Plus the infidelity wasn’t as bad because they didn’t actually do anything until after she left the break-up note.) Glad I finally watched this, and I’m glad I liked it. Leo’s character was great, and Kate was very good, too. Very sweet and well done.
A WALK TO REMEMBER
When I was a teen, I got this movie mixed up with “Gone With the Wind” because they were both romances that girls said they loved, with 4 words in the title, one with a W, and neither of them I knew anything about. But the stories are SO different. It was a sweet one, but I didn’t get into it the first half. I felt like her character was awkward and weird; not necessarily as a teenager who is awkward, but as a character that I didn’t get what she was trying to do. Maybe I just didn’t like the acting. But the movie grew on me as I watched it. I think I liked the guy character, and it was a fairly sweet story. But I don’t have a lot else that particularly impressed me about this one.
THE LUCKY ONE
This is the Nicholas Sparks story movie that I liked the best so far. Maybe it’s just that I like Zac Efron, hehe. His expressions when he was trying to win the chess game cracked me up so much. But I liked the characters in this better than in some of the other movies, and it felt like a steadier romance, as well as story. The kid was cute, and I liked the way they slowly built up the relationships between all of them. While not something I would rave about, I thoroughly enjoyed the watch.
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL
The first half of this movie was so lovely, and so charming, and I instantly fell in love with the characters. Guido was great, and his steady cheerfulness and trying to keep his son from terror throughout the entire last half of the movie was very touching; the last scene of him, when he walks funny to his death just so that his son will laugh…. ah man, I wanted so badly for things to come out ok for this family. And when the boy finally saw his mother at the end, I burst into tears. I knew going into it that this was “a sad movie that I might not like”, so I expected somebody to die and hoped not all of them would, so the ending gave me hope enough to like the movie. If I had had different expectations my emotional reaction might have been very different. Either way it had beautiful characters and was very well done.
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE
I liked this movie, though not as much as I expected to. I wouldn’t have pegged it for a Best Picture winner, but it definitely had good acting and a good story. Everyone did a very good job and it was fun and sweet and very poetic. I might have gotten into it more had I known more about Shakespeare. There were possibly references that went right over my head due to my lack of expertise. But otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the watch and thought it was fun, well-done and satisfying.
THINGS I LEARNED FROM THESE ROMANCES:
- You will always be happier with a poor guy, because 9 times out of 10 rich guys are jerks
- Parents don’t know anything about your love life. Exceptions: if they forget your birthday, if they wish they had married their poor guy, if they’re your grandma
- There’s a 30% chance that one of you will die not too long after you get together
- Art is a good way to get someone to like you: try learning to draw, write poetry, sing or play an instrument
A Walk to Remember: The only movie where the girl had strict physical boundaries and the guy respected them
Shakespeare in Love: The only movie where the girl actually ends up staying with the rich guy she doesn’t like
Gone With the Wind: The best negative portrayal of infidelity and how destruction follows selfishness and jealousy within relationships
The Notebook: The one movie when the rich guy was not a jerk
MY ORDER BY PAIRS:
-Least Favorite Movies: A Walk to Remember, Doctor Zhivago
-Least Favorites Characters: Gone With the Wind, The Notebook
-Can’t Differentiate Them In My Head: Sixteen Candles, Say Anything
-I Liked Watching: The Lucky One, Shakespeare in Love
-Favorites: Life is Beautiful, Titanic