Cheerful "BAM"blings

Of What's-Her-Face

My Five Woody Allen Movies of April

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Hannah had a great discussion with Wax Woody Allen in this picture.

(Well I’m reviewing these all at once because I forgot to review them as I watched. I usually have to wait a few days, at least, in order to see how a movie settles with me, but writing them all together may mean that they get kind of combined in my head. But I’ll do my best.)

Hannah loves Woody Allen, my mom hates him because he’s too dark, Dad doesn’t like his comedic timing as an actor but enjoys his stories, and I think Elizabeth likes him fairly well, so I was interested to see where I would come out on the subject. The only one I’d see before was Midnight in Paris, which I liked and is the only one my Mom likes. So, here are my 5 Woody Allen movies that my sister, Hannah, gave me in April.

 

Annie Hall

This was a good story, and probably one of the top of the week. I thought both Allen and Diane Keaton did a great job, and I enjoyed the format of the story; the way that Woody Allen’s character kept talking to the people around him and you could see into his head.

My older sister loves this movie, and so I think I was expecting to be a little more emotionally moved by it than I was. It might’ve been that for her, this was one of the first movies where she’d seen a good representation of a realistic relationship ending, but ending well. This didn’t feel like the only movie I’ve seen that’s done that (though I can’t think of any other examples) so I think it just didn’t connect with me as strongly as it did for her. But I thought it was very well done, it entertained me along the way, and I cared about the characters. It was a solid one.

 

The Purple Rose of Cairo

I had no clue what this one was about, and as soon as the major thing happened that made this movie what it was, I was like, “What? It’s THIS kind of movie?” The story gripped me quickly, and I very much wanted everybody to do well. The main guy was so charming! It was a great story that blended fantasy and reality beautifully, with moments of whimsy alongside the mundane. I was warned ahead of time that it ended sadly, so I was prepared for that and ok with how they did it by the time the ending came. It was definitely sad, but not necessarily hopeless. This one definitely entertained me and drew me in.

 

Take the Money and Run

The second one starring Woody Allen (see how nice my pattern was? He starred in every other movie) started off setting the tone right away, with its documentarial narration filled with zany silliness and morbid humor. It had me giggling all along the way, even for the jokes that didn’t make sense (him being a rabbi as a drug side effect made me laugh out loud even though it was nonsensical), and the movie kept its tone throughout the whole thing. It was surreal and making fun of itself, and while there clearly wasn’t a lot of depth to it, it was definitely a fun one to watch.

 

Bullets Over Broadway

“Yay John Cusack!” I’m pretty sure that’s what I said when I saw that he was in it. Anyway, this one was the most NORMAL feeling movie of the month; the one with the least amount of weird reality dimensions playing throughout. I liked this one pretty well, too, though I remember having some negative emotions towards it after finishing it; I can’t remember what they were now. The movie took an unexpected turn through the middle, which amused me, and I think when it climaxed that it resolved itself quickly but efficiently by the end. I remember being a bit worried that it wouldn’t end well, but overall I was satisfied. (Though I found it quite annoying when the lady kept going “don’t speak” and clamping her hand over his mouth constantly.)

 

Mighty Aphrodite

This one was a mix for me, because it had some very sweet moments, but it also had many more explicit innuendos (not surprising, considering the story) which I never enjoy, and the weird-reality-dimension-narration in this one was… odd. Maybe if I understood anything about whatever mythology they were talking about and how it connected to the story, it would make more sense and feel less out of place. So I just ignored it and assumed I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to get it. But despite those aspects, I did think it was a sweet movie and it had characters I rooted strongly for. (Also, Little Red Riding Hood from the recorded stageplay of Into the Woods with Bernadette Peters was in it, and I was very excited when I recognized her.)

PUTTING THEM IN ORDER
5. Mighty Aphrodite (sweet story but had several things I disliked)

4. Bullets Over Broadway (solid story and characters but I had conflicting emotions; maybe that would change on a rewatch)

3. Take the Money and Run (a solid silly one that was great fun)

2. Annie Hall (a very good story that I expected to like more than I did)

1. The Purple Rose of Cairo (the one that I was most connected to emotionally)

That was almost the exact reverse order of how I watched them! 🙂 Overall, I think Woody Allen has some great concepts and executions of stories, and while I’m a sucker for happy endings and his aren’t always happy, I love how he throws surreal atmosphere throughout the movies; it keeps them interesting, and I think he does a good job of the ending matching the tone of the story.

Next time… Elizabeth’s pick of 5 Best Picture Winners!


Pros & Cons of Short Hair

I have had my new, short hairstyle for… several months now (July or August but I’m too lazy to go and check exactly; my internet is too slow) and this cut has been the first time I have ever had hair higher than my shoulders.

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Oh YEAH?

So…. here’s a short little blog about the pros and cons I have discovered about my short hair! (We’ll pretend that this is my second blog for April. It’s the 31st, everybody! 😛 )

PRO

It’s easy to wear short hair under a hood in the wintertime! With my long hair I have to ponytail it and try to stuff it all inside, but with short hair… no hassle! 😀 1403680_3802486837301_1927042476_o

PRO

Low maintenance! I don’t have to brush my hair, just wet it and comb through it with my hands!

CON

High maintenance! I don’t have to brush my hair, but I have to wet it and blow dry it in order for it not to be either too flat or too “Morning Hair” (which is, by the way, much crazier with short hair then long)

CON

There’s really only one style for my short hair, so it pretty much looks the same from day to day without a lot I can do to make it look particularly interesting

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PRO

Then again, for somebody who is bad at making decisions, sometimes it’s nice to only have to scrunch up my hair with my hands and walk out the door without having to worry about which way to style it

CON

I can’t do this with it:

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Though whether that is an actual pro or a con is debateable

PRO

But with short hair, I can look slightly more like Nick Fury! (emphasis on “slightly”)

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PRO

Whether I’m exercising, playing sports or driving down the road with my windows down, it is SO NICE to not have hair blowing in my face or wisps flying out of my ponytail! (This might be my favorite pro about it.)

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Gotta keep your hair out of your face while you’re Dancing to the Rhythm of the Waves! (above) Or when you’re at a real dance class. (below) 11081450_10200541670300853_9045457608073927512_n

 

CON

I have to get my hair cut FAR more regularly than when I had long hair. I could probably go once or twice a year for a haircut with long hair (since it took me a long time before I started caring) but I have to go every 8-12 weeks with this cut (which is a lot for me)

PRO

And on a final Megillish OCD note, my cut helps create balance in my family! My Mom has no hair, so my Dad makes up for it by having a beard. My older brother has really long hair, so now I make up for that by having short hair!

What do YOU like about your hair?

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My Five Brad Pitt Movies of March

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Elizabeth actually got a picture with him last year! (Well, with his wax figure self.)

Well, I watched 10 new romances in February, so I’m continuing the movie-watching pattern! With the help of my family, I’ll be choosing a different category each month (by genre, by actor/director, year, etc.) and watching 5 movies in that category that I haven’t seen. Most of the movies are recommended by my sisters Elizabeth and Hannah, and this month was Elizabeth’s doing, as she loves Brad Pitt. I had already seen Ocean’s Eleven and Mr. and Mrs Smith, his best in her opinion, and so these were her next choices. Enjoy!


MEET JOE BLACK
I was told that this movie was silly… and it was definitely odd. It was one of those things where I could never predict what was gonna happen so it just kept doing things I didn’t expect. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. At first it was fun and felt like it was making fun of itself, but then it got all serious, which threw me off. I giggled everytime Brad Pitt did his Jamaican accent. Anyway, I guess it was sweet, but it was definitely a weird movie, and way too long. But it was a nice try.

(*SPOILERS* Also… did they EVER give a reason why Anthony was gonna die? I mean, he just believed him and walked off into the distance! Did he keel over out there? Did death just decide they didn’t want him to live anymore and manipulated him into following him? Were they just trying to be mystically “your time has come” without any physiological reason for his body to give out? I don’t get it! *SPOILERS*)


MONEYBALL
I’m never particularly interested in sports movies, but I don’t hate them either, they just tend to blur together (stand-outs being Remember the Titans and The Blind Side). However, this was a good one. The plot of them trying to switch up the structure and strategy of the team was more interesting than just “c’mon guys, we gotta train and be inspirational!”. (Though I might’ve enjoyed it even more if I had ANY idea how the structure of baseball worked.)

I really enjoyed the friendship between Brad and Jonah. It was sweet and fun to watch, and we all cheered when he first hired him. (Also, Chris Pratt! :-D) I also kind of liked that they didn’t have a triumphant final win, just because all the movies do. (Though that makes me sound like a terrible person.) Anyway, I enjoyed the watch and though I may not remember it a whole lot, it was a good movie.


FIGHT CLUB
*SPOILERS*
I was quite intrigued by this movie. The first half of the movie had me cracking up, with the support groups and his deals with Marla. Then I was just along for the ride with Ed and Brad, trying to figure out where this was heading but compelled all the way. I guessed the twist at one point (when Ed said something about “we” and Marla said “who’s we?”) but then wrote it off as silly because, of course, people SAW them fighting! But then, it turns out I was right and he was just completely insane! So that was fun.

I’m not quite sure if I bought the ending, at least not right away. Why didn’t Ed die and why did she go back to him so quickly just because he said he beat himself up? But I talked it over with people and I’m pretty sure the gun was fake, and I’m guessing that if I hadn’t watched an edited version (which took out a lot of Marla’s plotline) that her choice would make more sense. All in all, a fascinating movie that was entertaining to watch with a fairly satisfying ending! *END SPOILERS*


TWELVE MONKEYS
Now THIS, on the other hand, was frustrating to watch because I always felt like I was about to figure out what was going on but it never quite got there for me. I was mentally trying to rush to the end just because I thought maybe with the whole picture I could understand it, but I still didn’t. (*SPOILERS*) Why was his child self there at the airport? Why did the scientists send him back in the first place if they were the ones responsible for the virus? Why didn’t the police run after the guy that they were claiming had a deadly virus? *END (SPOILERS*)

It was mostly Bruce Willis, but Brad Pitt was entertaining to watch in his manic state of insanity. It kept my interest but I would have LIKED it a lot more if there was some sense of satisfaction in comprehending the point of the movie. Oh well.


SPY GAME
I get Redford and Pitt mixed up sometimes because they often play similar characters, and they have similar faces, (though Pitt’s voice is lispier and higher than Redford’s) so it was fun to see them both in the same movie. I think I was generally more interested in the “present day” storyline than the back-story (sorry Brad, since you were mostly IN the back-story) but I did like it the whole way through. I thought it was interesting and well-done, and I thought they both did a good job. I liked watching the two of them together. I might’ve felt the ending for Redford was a little too ambiguous for my taste, but all in all I thoroughly enjoyed this one.


RANKING THEM IN ORDER

1. Fight Club (Most fascinating)

2. Spy Game (Solid and entertaining)

3. Moneyball (Forgettable but good story and characters)

4. Meet Joe Black (Strange, discombobulated, long but made me giggle)

5. Twelve Monkeys (Frustrating to watch, unsatisfying ending, really wanted to get it but didn’t, unpleasant visually)


Join me next month as I discuss my 5 Woody Allen movies I’ll be watching in April! 😀


Meet The Family: Joel, The Antisocial Tigger

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! 😀

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Happy as a baby!

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Happy as a toddler!

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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?)

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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


My Ten Romances of February 2015

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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.)

 

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO

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.

 

SAY ANYTHING

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.

 

SIXTEEN CANDLES

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.

 

THE NOTEBOOK

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.

 

TITANIC

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:

  1. You will always be happier with a poor guy, because 9 times out of 10 rich guys are jerks
  2. 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
  3. There’s a 30% chance that one of you will die not too long after you get together
  4. Art is a good way to get someone to like you: try learning to draw, write poetry, sing or play an instrument

 

RANDOM AWARDS!

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


The Heaven Songs of Chris Rice

Well, as most of you know, I love Chris Rice’s music. 😀  And so I decided to do a blog on his “Heaven” songs. He sprinkles the theme of Heaven throughout a lot of his music, but there are a few that are specifically Heaven-Centered, and I think he does them beautifully. So here are my top Heaven-Centered Chris Rice songs, and why I like them.

 

Missin’ You
One of his earliest songs I listened to, this one originally stuck out to me when I was a teenager. It’s a beautiful melancholy tune about missing Jesus, even though we’ve never met Him. It’s full of longing, and it was a song that I really connected to emotionally. I have a soft spot for the songs that are just “oh Jesus, I want to see You so badly!” And this one does it beautifully.

‘Cause somewhere behind those stars
Is Someone who belongs to me
And I know in my deepest heart
There’s a place for You until I find the place You’ve made for me
Still I’m missin’ You

 

Smile
This is one that I liked relatively well at first, but on multiple listens has become one of my favorites of his. It’s the perfect way to describe the desire to someday get to Heaven and see Jesus. It’s basically the more cheerful version of Missin’ You, and actually uses some of the lyrics from the former song as background words, which is just perfect. Smile has a nice tune, honest words and make for a great worship song.

I just want to be with You
I just want this waiting to be over…
Every minute takes an hour
Every inch feels like a mile
‘Til I won’t have to imagine
And I finally get to see you smile.

 

Questions for Heaven
While this song may not exactly be deep, it’s fun. It’s a short little song about going through your day and collecting questions you would ask Jesus when you get to Heaven. While the carnival-esque music in this one isn’t my favorite, the lyrics are quite fun. (I’ve also caught 4 lyrical references to other songs of his in this one, which I hope was intentional.)

Why did You bother with so many stars?
Do You ever play tricks on the angels?
And what happened to all of those dinosaurs?
Where’s the Garden of Eden?
And what causes de ja vu?

 

Breakfast Table
This is a song that I more recently discovered and got into. This is a Heaven song/Love song. It’s about a guy who’s spouse has died, and he’s imagining their reunion in Heaven. It’s a very pretty description of just enjoying life in Heaven with someone you love, and whether or not it’s theologically accurate doesn’t change the sweetness of the song.

Save me a seat at the breakfast table
Save me a dance around the milky way…
And, baby, we’ll change our minds just like old times
And maybe we’ll just fly away
Or maybe we’ll stay

 

Circle Up
This song is one of the few of his that is actually about BEING in Heaven. It’s a lovely song with a cheerful tune about dancing with the angels and Jesus as you worship. This is one of my family’s favorites, and it doesn’t have any trace of melancholy in it, though the music is mellow, as always. You can’t help but smile when you listen to it.

Circle up, circle up around the throne
Old and young, saints of every history
Great and small angels are and seraphim
Grab a hand, twirl a dance, circle up and worship Him

 

Deep Enough to Dream
And finally, one of my very favorite songs of his. This was one of the first songs of Chris Rice that I discovered, and I loved it instantly. It’s a mellow, sweet song about a guy falling asleep and dreaming about Heaven. The sleepy melody and beautifully contented lyrics are a brilliant combination.

Deep enough to dream in brilliant colors I have never seen
Deep enough to join a million people for a wedding feast
Deep enough to reach out and touch the face of the one who made me
And oh the love I feel and oh the peace
Do I ever have to wake up?

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

And Your Praise Goes On/Come to Jesus: While these aren’t strictly Heaven songs, they both have storytelling lyrics that end in Heaven. Both beautiful, and the former is another one of my favorites.

O Freedom: I didn’t include this because it’s not an original, but it’s still a super pleasant version and fun to sing.

Wind and Spirit: This is more about God coming back to earth instead of us ascending into Heaven. But I really like this one.

Sneakin’ Into Heaven: This one is a little story about someone who sneaks into Heaven “with a borrowed halo”. Not one of my favorites, but it has Heaven in the title, so I had to at least mention it.

Baby Take Your Bow: This is more of a funeral “we’re saying goodbye to you” song than about Heaven, but it does have the lyric “just be yourself and you won’t help but make the angels smile”.


Why I Choose To Set Boundaries

With February being “Purity Month” at my youth group, where we annually discuss what the Bible has to say about relationships, sex and purity, I wanted to share some thoughts of my own. Quick summary of my life: I grew up in the purity culture, planned super strict boundaries for myself when I was young, became friends with several guys for the first time and became more comfortable around their “species” 😉 , went through a serious relationship, and am now back at home, single and evaluating my thoughts on “purity” and “physical boundaries”. While I have much to figure out still about love and relationships, I have discovered some reasons why physical boundaries are personally important to me. So here are my top 5 reasons that I choose to set boundaries for myself.

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1. Living a Lifestyle of Purity is Biblical and Part of My Faith
It feels like an obvious answer, but it’s not a cop-out. It is a real reason for me. I do love and live by my faith. However, when I say that purity is a part of “my faith”, I in NO way mean that my purity has any bearing on my salvation. Whether or not I am a virgin when I get married does not affect the fact that I’m a redeemed child of God. But purity, whether physical, mental or of the heart, is something that God values, and I should strive for it my entire life, now and long after I get married.

There are plenty of Bible verses that talk about “abstaining from sexual immorality”. People can go around and around, debating what constitutes “sexual immorality”; so instead of trying to please everybody, I should listen to what God is telling ME it means so that I can create convictions to please Him. So I prayerfully set my boundaries in order to avoid what I believe to be sexual immorality. Whenever I’m in a relationship, I want to be ready to say no to anything that I feel is wrong, even if the other person believes it’s ok. I want to live above reproach and be able to read Scripture and know that I am doing all I can to live by it.
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2. It’s Not Just What I Have To Do, But Who I Want To Be
Though my boundaries have shifted and changed somewhat since I was in high school, I’ve mostly kept the same conservative preferences. And that applies to my physical boundaries between genders. If I shared my specific convictions with people, there may be some who would feel that my boundaries are unrealistic, or even legalistic. And I try very hard to not push my boundaries on others or judge those who are less conservative than I am. But I don’t have these boundaries simply because I feel obligated to, but because they are what I want to have.

Though I don’t believe that my life or my marriage will be perfect just by having strict boundaries before I’m married, I do believe that there is honor, and reward, in adhering to my convictions. I want to experience guilt-free relationships; I want to do it right. While some people feel “freer” when there are no rules and they can do whatever they want, I feel the freest when I abide by the margins that God sets in place; I can have a clear conscience, and know that within those margins I can truly enjoy what God has given me.
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3. My Boundaries Remind Me Why I Believe What I Believe
In the heat of the moment, when I’m running on emotion, it’s easy to suddenly take things farther then I wanted them to go. I’ve personally experienced that moment when my flesh just says “pish posh to my rules, I don’t care, I’m doing this because I want it now”. And I don’t want to find myself in that place, where I’m running on so much adrenaline that I am ready to ignore what I believe to be right in order to satisfy a momentary high.

Now as a human, since I know that I still mess up, it’s possible I’ll still make mistakes in this area despite my boundaries. So I want to prayerfully consider what I definitely believe is wrong, and then set up boundaries so that making a first mistake doesn’t bring me to the danger zone. Say that I’m dating someone and that, for example, I don’t think kissing is wrong, but since I’m nervous about where it could lead, I make it something that I don’t do. If we end up having a kiss, I haven’t done something that I feel is “immoral”, but I have crossed a boundary I set up; and THAT gives us a chance to do a double take and reevaluate whether our relationship is amping up to cross any physical danger lines. That may be extreme to some people, but it’s just an example. And ultimately, I want my convictions to point me to God by reminding me: “your relationship should honor God, not your flesh”.

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4. I Don’t Want to Be Distracted By the Physical in a Relationship
I think this is true for most girls, but definitely for me: physical contact (particularly with guys) connects with my emotions. A hug from a friend makes me feel secure. Having my back rubbed when I’m sad makes me feel cared for. Being kissed makes me feel desired. While these are not bad things, and the fact that I feel something is actually important in a relationship, I don’t want the physical excitement to ever, ever cloud my vision of who I’m dating. I want to be with them for who they are, not because they give me physical affection. I want to love them for their personality and their character, and not be confused by the emotions stirred up by our physical contact. If I’m just dating a guy because of the physical affection I can get from him, that’s shallow and demeaning to both him and me. It needs to be about so much more.

Yes, you can make the argument that physical contact IS important in a relationship; it can be a way to show love, it can be comforting in hard times, etc. And I agree– to an extent. I used to think anything other than high fives with guys was wrong, and I don’t quite think that anymore. 🙂   But wherever I specifically choose to draw the lines, I want to be preventing the kinds of contact that is actively stirring up sexual desire. I DON’T know who I’m going to be marrying, and I don’t want to give parts of myself that I’m not ready to just because I think I will eventually. It makes it much harder to leave the situation, and it can create guilt and shame. When it comes to hearing God and my own heart, I will do whatever I can to make sure my heart is not clouded by deceiving emotions.

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5. I Believe in Redemption
Sometimes we do things that we never thought we would do, and we feel stained. We feel like we’re no longer “pure” because of it. Maybe we thought that we could be one of those people who did things perfectly as we envisioned, like the “good” Christian we strived to be, until suddenly we made a mistake that we never imagined ourselves making. We may think it’s easier to just say, “what’s the point? I’ve already messed up, so why bother trying to do anything different from now on?”

The reason is because it doesn’t end there. God doesn’t leave us in a state of feeling broken and sinful, but He tells us that we are redeemed and that we were already forgiven before we even made any mistakes. He’s not scolding us and saying, “Well, I thought my grace was enough for you, but I didn’t think YOU were going to mess up in THAT area. So you’ll just have to suffer for a little while I figure out what to do with the rest of your life.”

No; God is gracious and loving and He knows how to heal all our hurts and turn our life around, no matter what the circumstances. Yes, there are consequences. Yes, there are still struggles and we still have regrets and we still feel pain. But I know that because of Christ’s redemption, not only for my salvation but for my life, I can start again. I can choose to follow God’s Word to the best of my ability, and His grace will carry me through what I don’t feel I can do on my own. That’s how I can surrender to God: by trusting Him with the rest of my story.


My A-Z Blog (Part 2 of 2)

So here’s my second part of my A-Z descriptions of myself. It goes back and forth from negative to positive, though again, some of them are semi-neutral. You can read Part 1 here. Enjoy!

A-Z (Negative, Positive)

Awkward– I’ve learned how to socialize with people much better than I used to, but as it is for everyone, sometimes I’m just plain awkward. Maybe my mind is taking a slow time to process your question and I end up staring at you… or I get all tongue-tied because I’m nervous and then sound like an idiot… or I’m in an uncomfortable situation and spend my time standing in a corner and shifting my weight… I can’t escape it. I’m just awkward!

One of the few times you see me “organized” dancing; usually I just flail- Dancer

Believes in Balance– I know people who tend to be extreme in their emotions and their beliefs, but I feel like I’m sometimes the opposite. I try to believe the best in people, believe that everyone’s got stuff wrong and stuff right, and like to watch out for going to an incorrect extreme when fighting against part of the culture. Whether or not I’m good at BEING balanced, I sure believe in its importance.

Can’t Keep a Straight Face– Not that my face is always smiling, or always crooked (though my smile IS crooked), but that whenever I’m SUPPOSED to keep a straight face, I sometimes find it difficult. Not necessarily at really serious situations, but if people stare at me to try to make me break, I will almost instantly.

Dancer– NOT professionally. I just like to move. I don’t think I used to do it as much as I do now; but I love moving and dancing and bobbing and making motions and leg-swinging and hand-slapping to music, whether it’s in my head or playing in the room. It’s how I enjoy the music! 🙂

Easily Embarrassed– I can never come up with any stories for “most embarassing moment”, but I feel embarrassed whenever I say something stupid or awkward. Eh, I deal with it. What else can ya do?

Friendly– I’m not always at ease amongst people I don’t know, but I try to always be nice and kind to everyone. I like smiling and laughing, and when I say “Have a great day” I truly mean it.

Hardworking

Movin’ boxes, skirting buckets, helping people… keeping busy!- Hardworking

Guilt-Ridden– I have an overactive guilt complex. It doesn’t mean that I never blame other people for things, but I tend to dwell on things I did or words I said far longer than I should. After repentance and turning away from bad things, it’s still important for me to learn to let things go.

Hardworking– Though often I get too worried about people-pleasing or following rules, I have a strong work ethic and always try to do my best at whatever job I do. I may not be the most talented, but if you tell me what to do, I’ll do my best to do it well.

Indecisive– This is definitely a negative trait of mine. Well, maybe not. Some people tell me that I’m indecisive. But things like that can be misinterpreted. If I’m bad at making decisions, my worst is definitely in front of a menu. Or perhaps it’s whenever the decision affects other people. Oh, I don’t know! Maybe I’m not indecisive at all! Do you think I am?

Jolly and Jostful and Jolly Am I– Ok, this specific line comes from a weird song that was written by my sister, but it’s fairly true for the most part! “Jolly” may not be the most accurate word to describe me, but I’m generally a pretty happy and joyful person.

Kakorrhaphiophobic– The definition for this is “an abnormal fear of failure”. Yeah, I had to look up stuff for this K word, but it is so cool and long and it matches me pretty well (though “abnormal” is a bit strong), so I’m keeping it! 🙂

Mundane

Everyday life includes games with the family!- Mundane

Listener– This may come from years of listening instead of ever saying anything in high school and beyond, 🙂 but I really try to be a good listener. Whenever I catch myself cutting people off or ignoring others, I always try to reign myself in. I don’t always have helpful or encouraging things to say, but if by listening attentively I can help, then I’ll do it.

Mundane– While I have traveled with a drama company cross country and I have written multiple 50,000 word novels, I generally live a lot in the mundane kind of world: reading and writing, watching TV and movies, doing chores and organizing my room, shopping and cooking and just sitting around and talking. Not necessarily exciting, but familiarly pleasant.

Nostalgic– I’m a sucker for nostalgia. It makes me go “Aww” and feel all gooey inside. Unless it’s depressing nostalgia (like that one Christmas cartoon!). But I will gladly sit down and devote my day to singing along with Mary Rice Hopkins or watching through a season of Lambchop.

Ordinary– Again, not necessarily a bad thing. I DO like myself. I’m just an average person, who’s nice and loves people and has a good sense of humor. I’m not particularly great at anything; I don’t stand out, I don’t have a flashy personality, or a lot of charisma. I’m more of a background/side player. This ordinary girl has got her place, though, so I’m happy with it.

Quick to Snack

Though it wasn’t by choice I ate either donut 1 or 2 this time- Quick to Snack

Peacemaking– I like when people get along. I try to like everybody, and when people have trouble getting along it makes me sad. I’m not a good mediator because I’m not very direct; I’m better at being the listener and the nudger. You know, the “hey they probably just meant this” kind of person.

Quick to Snack– I had trouble with this Q, so I wanted to use “quick” and I was like, “well, I snack a lot, probably more than is necessary, and that’s something I haven’t mentioned, so we’ll go with that”. So there you are.

Respectful– I have great respect for my authorities or bosses, and I try to show that in the way I respond and obey/listen. I think I’m pretty respectful to everybody, but particularly so with authorities.

Self-Pitying– There’s something very self-satisfying about self-pity… on a selfish, pointless level. Playing the victim has it’s emotional perks, but it’s the wrong perspective, it’s defensive and it’s damaging. So I try to catch myself before I get too deep into one, which happens unfortunately frequently.

Takes Pleasure in Little Things– I love the times 12:34 and 11:11. I love sunsets and sunrises. I love seeing a heart-shaped rock on the ground. I like symmetry and palindromes and happy colors and alliteration and accidental rhyming and funny typos and ice cream, and I loved at McDonald’s whenever they ordered the new Diet Dr. Pepper or used sauces with their nuggets. If you find joy in the little things, then doesn’t that make your life just so much better?

Uncertain– I know a lot of these negative words have to do with me being unsure of myself, but I guess that’s one of the biggest issues in my life, at least that I’ve seen crop up a lot in the past few years. Uncertainty is different than having low self-esteem; I think I’m a fun and awesome person, but I usually doubt my decisions.

Verbal

I wrote out “I forgive you” 490 times for this VBS project- Verbal

Verbal– In case you can’t tell from ALL of these words I’ve used to describe myself (and by that I mean all the descriptions, not just the 26) I am a verbal person. As in, I like to sit and think and try to find the right way to say something; the proper phrase and the closest words. I’m not a good writer, but I am a writer. It helps me sort out my words.

Worrier– I worry a lot. About things I’ve said and done, what I should say and do, situations and people and all kinds of reasonable and unreasonable things.

Xerotic Skinned– I had to look up adjectives that began with an “X”, but xerotic means “dry”, and I have dry skin! I used to have eczema on my hands (though I ended up finding a method that pretty much cured the extremity of it) and I generally have pretty dry skin.

Yielding– By this I mean that I am sometimes not the firmest in my decisions, and that with enough pressure and doubt in my ideas being good ones, that it can lead to me crumbling in whatever I was trying to do. I’m hoping that this is something that’ll change, because it has caused me a lot of trouble in the past, both while being a New Life leader and otherwise.

Zetetic– I was looking up Z words and came across this one! It means “Proceeding by inquiry”. Also “investigating” or “seeking”. And although this word would describe my dad or Bekah more perfectly than me, I’m enough of an analytical question-asker that I’m going to use this one for me! 😀


My A-Z Blog (Part 1 of 2)

So my Mom recently reposted an old blog she had done years ago, where she had to list 26 things, one for each letter of the alphabet, that described her. I thought it was a fun idea, so I started writing one out.

Well, since I’m me and I ramble, I wrote out a bunch that were mostly positive traits with like one or two negatives mixed in and several that are in between. Which led me to think “can I think of a positive and a negative trait for each letter of the alphabet?” And as I kept going, I was like “Well, this really gives a fuller description of me!” And since I didn’t want to NOT use some of the positive traits that describe me well, but I didn’t want to be cocky about myself, I decided to do BOTH lists on two separate blogs. I have 26 letters in this one, alternating “Positive” and “Negative”. (Again, some of these are neutral and aren’t really one or the other. You can decide which is which.)

So without further ado, here is half of how I describe myself!!!

 

A-Z (Positive, Negative)

Adventurous– I don’t mean that I’m a daredevil or that I’m up for anything presented to me, because I’m neither. I’m more of a mild adventurer: always ready to go exploring in the woods, pleased to try new foods, willing to go ask a random stranger a question. I’m a wholesome and mild adventurer.

Cute

Isn’t this a pretty picture Elizabeth took of me? 😀 -Cute

Bashful– Not every introvert is shy, but I am a shy one. And while that’s not always a negative trait, it can add to the awkwardness I exude. When I was young it kept me from ever opening my mouth in a group setting, and though I’m better about that now that I’m older, it’s easy to revert back into my closed-mouth self.

Cute– You can take this however you want to, but I’m really not being vain. I just honestly think I’m pretty cute, both physically and personality-wise. I feel like I would really like myself and my quirks if I was my friend.

Dizzy– This really isn’t that common a trait in me, hehe, but sometimes at work I’ll just feel dizzy. And I run, and spin, and dance, so sometimes that makes me dizzy. But the biggest reason is probably because I often stand with one foot on the other, thus causing me to fall over, thus creating dizziness!

Easily Startled– Almost everyone who knows me in person can attest to this, and many will proudly say that they spent many happy hours (ok, maybe minutes) trying to get me to scream or jump or say “Whoa!”. I just hope I was able to satisfactorily entertain everyone through my reactions.

Fearful– Whether it be afraid of being alone in my house, or scared to confront someone, fear is a part of my nature that I’ve always known. As a child I wouldn’t go into any dark room at night without someone being in the upstairs with me. God has helped me and taught me a lot so far, but there is still much I have to conquer as far as overcoming fear in my life.

The game where I try to clap my hands with Bekah, but I still get surprised each time. -Easily Startled

Bekah and I have fun where I try to clap at the same time she does. -Giggler

Giggler– I really like to laugh. A lot. I mean, who doesn’t? And it’s generally pretty easy to make me laugh. And when I get tired, or when you get me going, I get sooo giggly! Just stay up with me and Elizabeth some night until 2:00 and you’ll get to hear it.

Hesitant to Open Up– This isn’t always a bad thing, but it canbe. Being hesitant to talk can make it more natural for me to listen, which is a plus. My major issue is when I’m the one who hesitates, and then I go into a mental pity-party about how no one cares about me. My thing this year is to try to take the relational initiative when an opportunity arises, and it’s been better so far.

Introverted– I really love people, but I get my energy from being alone. Spending time listening to music and either reading, writing, organizing, praying or exploring the outdoors are some of my favorite ways to enjoy myself and God, and to relax/recharge.

Jealous– This isn’t a strongly visible or permeating trait in me, but it definitely crops up. I wasn’t the jealous girlfriend type. Rather, I’m the person who feels envious of seeing close friendships because I wish I had that kind of closeness with people. Jealous may be a strong word for it, but it’s close.

Kind– What I mean by saying that I’m kind is that I actively enjoy (enjoy actively?) doing things for people. I like to serve, and to give, and if there’s a way to help someone’s day or meet a need that I’m able to supply, I like to do it.

Lazy– Yyyyeah. Procrastinator… lazy… I have a strong work ethic, but golly, sometimes I just have no self-motivation! It’s perfectly comfortable for me to sit around browsing Facebook and watching Netflix for days on end on my laptop. Ok, comfortable until the guilt shows up. Then I’ll snap out of it for a little while.

Merciful– I love mercy! I definitely believe in justice, but redemption and compassion and second chances and going the extra mile are things about Jesus that I love and want so much to emulate. I love Matthew 5 because Jesus talks a lot about that. I don’t know if I have the Spiritual Gift of mercy or not, but it’s a possibility.

Non-Athletic

Now Jenga! That’s a game I can play! (For the most part.) -Non-Athletic

Non-Athletic– I am really bad at sports. I run away from flying balls and scream when one is thrown at me, whether it be a baseball, basketball, volleyball or ping pong ball. I may try at some sports and not completely fail, such as croquet and bowling, but for the most part, don’t depend on me to do anything cool that requires athletic skills.

Organizer– Note that I didn’t say “organized”. That’s because, while I enjoy the act of organizing things, I am not perpetually in a state of organization. I like to declutter but I can go for a fairly long time before I feel like I have to. I am lazy, as I previously stated.

People Pleaser– (This has alliteration, so it trumps “Procrastination”.) Making people mad or uncomfortable is one of my least favorite things, while giving people joy or having them be pleased with me fills me with happiness. And although caring about what people think gives me empathy, if I place my identity in how others feel about me, or ignore what I know to be right in order to please someone else… well, the man and son carrying their donkey know how that feels, right?

Quiet– Everyone can attest to the fact that I am a quiet person, especially when you first get to know me. I can definitely talk when I’m comfortable, and I get comfortable a whole lot easier than I did, say, in high school. But you’ll still often find me to be quicker to observe than to speak up.

Rambler– My blog speaks for itself. No further explanation required.

Silly

Well somebody needed to shake hands with the Hulk! -Silly

Silly– I like dancing, and puns, and silly voices, and lip-syncing with whatever objects are around me, and watching Blues Big Musical, and making up new lyrics to songs. I’m not very over-the-top, but I can be silly, and I get silly AND giggly when I’m really tired.

Tired– This is the fate of every human being from teenager on up. It is inevitable for us to always be tired for the rest of our lives. If I’m having a bad day at work, it’s because I’m tired. If my words are coming out incoherently, I blame it on being tired. If I’m having a hard time paying attention, I’m just too tired. It’s used so often it’s practically a more common default than “fine”!

Unaggressive– Whether it’s in games, driving, or how I treat people, I am never someone you would describe as aggressive. Though I may take part in competition and enjoy doing well, I will rarely fight to win, and would very often rather lose if that means that everyone has fun. (My other options for U were “Upbeat” and “Undigested”. Like either of these better? 😉 )

Violent Hiccuper– I couldn’t think of anything else, so I went with this.:-) I have hiccupped quite consistently everyday for the past 3 years or so. Sometimes it’s quiet and cute, but sometimes it gets loud and bodily jolting. (Only for my body, of course, unless you’re leaning on me.)

Worshipful– I don’t mean this in a self-righteous “oh look at how spiritual I am” kind of way. What I mean is that I really enjoy the typical avenue of worship: singing and music. When I can just get in that state when I’m focused on God and only God… golly, I love it. I really like to get away from people with just my music and open space before me. Some of my best memories of times with God came through worship.

Xerophthalmic– Ooook, I’m stretching here. The definition for this word is “of or pertaining to abnormal dryness of the eyeball characterized by conjunctivitis, caused by a deficiency of tears and attributed to a lack of vitamin A”. And I’m pretty sure I don’t have ALL that, but I have dry eyes that twitch a lot, so I’ma keep it because I only have so many options for words that begin with X!

Zoning Out 2

Do I look irritated or what? -Zoned Out

Young-Looking– So far, I’ve noticed that people tend to think I’m younger than I actually am when they guess my age. I think the haircut helped me look older, but according to objective speculations, I can only suspect that I’m semi young-looking. We’ll see how long it lasts! 🙂

Zones Out– I mean, it’s not like nobody else does this, but I definitely zone out a lot. I usually catch myself, but if you’re ever sitting on the opposite side of the room and you see me staring unblinking at you for several seconds, I’m probably just zoning and about to snap out of it. 🙂


My Pride and Prejudice Spree

Best Old BookSo earlier this year I listened all the way through Pride and Prejudice on my MP3 player during work. That made me want to rewatch my favorite version, the BBC 6 hour show with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle… which made me rewatch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries… which made me go on a Pride and Prejudice spree with 4 other versions! 🙂 So here are my reviews of all the versions I have seen.

 

Pride and Prejudice (BBC TV Mini-Series, 1995, starring Jennifer Ehle)– I grew up watching this version, and so I think it’ll always be my favorite. Watching it this time, Elizabeth Megill and I quoted along with it almost the whole way through. I think Colin Firth does my very favorite Darcy. Maybe it’s because I just like him as an actor or because he was my first model, but I think he does the changeover from Proud Darcy to Trying-to-be-Humble-and-Friendly Darcy the best of any I’ve seen. The fact that they also had 6 hours to show the characters more in-depth also helps.

Colin 2

My favorite version!

This version is very close to the book, with very little, if any, changes to the feel of it. The theme stays true, the characters are all done well, and I really like this Elizabeth. She plays the fun-loving Lizzie who likes to laugh with the equal balance of respectable intelligence; and I think her flaws are portrayed subtly but realistically. Again, I grew up watching this one, so I have great fondness and affection for it.

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The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (Pemberly Digital, YouTube series, starring Ashley Clements)- This internet VLOG series is a modern adaptation of P&P, with some extreme switch-ups in the storyline. While they had to change circumstances and characters’ reactions due to the vast change in culture, I think they did a great job of staying true to the characters. The most onscreen characters are Lizzie, Jane, Lydia and Charlotte, and so the creators added a lot of new depth to Charlotte and Lydia. I mean, there WASN’T a whole lot of depth to Lydia in the book, which was the point, but I think this adaptation does some very interesting things with her character. But I won’t spoil Lizzie bennetanything else.

While the Lizzie and Darcy romance always has its cuteness and delight, I’m not as big a fan of this Darcy. I don’t think that his stilted behavior feels like it quite fits into the modern setting the way that everybody else does. Don’t get me wrong, he does a good job, but I still feel like he’s incredibly stiff by the end of the show. I hoped with a second viewing that I would feel a bit more connected to his character, but I still can’t quite get it. But that’s ok; it’s hard to do Darcy right, and I think Colin Firth’s is the only one I’ve really liked so far. And that’s only with a LOT of viewing.

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Bride and Prejudice (2004, Bollywood Musical, starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan)– This is another modernized version, but set in India and is a partial musical. (It has at least 3, maybe 4, song and dance scenes, which are all quite fun.) I saw it once long ago and then rewatched it for this challenge. It’s fun. The characters ring pretty true, and the songs and culture was enjoyable to watch. I like seeing their new takes on this story, and while it wasn’t superbly memorable, it was a pleasant watch. The modernization of Darcy is done differently than in the Lizzie Bennet diaries; the internet dude uses old-fashioned speak and is very stiff and proper, while this guy is just more of a snob who’s uncomfortable and scornful of the new culture he’s in. I can’t tell which is better, but they both have their different takes, which is fun for comparison.

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Pride and Prejudice (2005, starring Keira Knightly)- This will probably always be one of my least favorite versions. I know lots of people like it, and that’s fine. I appreciate it better on this rewatch than when I first saw it. It has some cool visual moments (the dance scene and the long shot with her on the mountain are my 2 favorites) and the music is very pretty. However, the colors and the look are all kind of ugly. Maybe it’s more realistic, but it doesn’t look very elegant; mostly everyone and everything just kind of looks unattractive. But I’m spoiled with the gaily colored BBC version I guess. 🙂

Keira

Most people’s favorite.

Darcy’s… Darcy. Unsmiling (less than Colin) and fairly boring throughout. I like him when he’s vulnerable, but that’s really it. Also, while Keira tried to give Lizzie a fun-loving attitude, sometimes in this version she just feels a little immature. She giggles at odd times and says things like “(dancing with him) would be most inconvenient since I’ve sworn to loathe him for all eternity”. It feels just a little sillier than how I perceive her character. Oh, and Bingly looks and acts like a complete dork in this version!

Lastly, this version is clearly implying that Lizzie is attracted to Darcy from the start but that she is trying to shove down her feelings because she’s prejudiced. (They almost kiss right after she rejects his proposal! That’s not Lizzie, that’s emotionally-charged-modern-romance-movies.) While this is their interpretation of the story, and I guess I can’t object to them taking liberties to create their adapted version, I personally prefer the story that doesn’t say you have to secretly be in love with someone because you hate them. I am sorry about my harshness for anybody who likes this version. 🙂

Pride and Prejudice (BBC TV Mini-Series,1980, starring Elizabeth Garvie)- This was a decent version, with good acting, characters that were true and dialogue very consistent with the book. The plus about these mini-series’ is that you have the time to delve into the thoughts of the characters as they transition, more so than in a 120 minute movie.

The reason this adaptation is slower and more boring than the others is that it’s very visually limited and plain. It plays very little mood music throughout the movie, and they don’t go to a lot of lengths to engage you visually. The long scene where Lizzie reads Darcy’s letter consists of drawn out shots of her sitting and him walking away while his voiceover recites the letter; this is followed by a long scene of watching her sit and hearing her voiceover thoughts that she’s thinking about the letter. This kind of thing occurs frequently throughout the film, and while it gives you quite an accurate depiction of the story with decent acting, as a movie it’s not particularly engaging or exciting.

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SPOILER ALERT!!!
Lost in Austen (2008, starring Jemima Rooper)- Well. …. I can see why Elizabeth hated this. This is a story where Amanda Price, an adoring fan of the book Pride and Prejudice, ends up switching places with Elizabeth Bennett, and her presence causes chaos and mayhem. There is so much different about the plot in this one that I can’t just critique it, so for anyone who wants to know (if you don’t, STOP READING), this is the movie in a nutshell:LostAyusten

-Bingly falls for Amanda
-Collins falls for Amanda
-Bingly falls for Jane after Amanda pretends she’s a lesbian, but Jane thinks he doesn’t love her so Jane marries Collins
-Darcy hates Amanda
-Darcy falls for Amanda
-Charlotte runs off to Africa because she doesn’t have anyone to marry and is never heard from again
-Bingly gets depressed, becomes an alcoholic and ends up running off with Lydia
-Darcy won’t marry Amanda because she lived with her modern day boyfriend
-Caroline hits on Elizabeth
-Wickham actually turns out to be the victim of Georgiana, who hit on Wickham but when he wouldn’t take her up on it she slandered his name
-Jane and Collins get their marriage annulled and she and Bingly get married
-And Elizabeth stays in the modern world while Amanda and Darcy get married.

It’s a bit ridiculous. Clearly they were trying to make a fun story about what would have happened if everything went wrong, but none of the characters actually would have responded this way. Everything that makes these characters who they are was flipped around and destroyed.

However, the best part was when Darcy and Amanda both decide they love each other, and she says, “Will you do me a favor?” and the next scene you see him coming up out of the water while she watches. (Because there’s this thing in England where all the women say that the most acclaimed visual moment is watching Colin Firth as Darcy come out of the lake that he swims in. It turns out to be a visual that doesn’t actually exist. But it’s something bunches of people insist that they saw anyway.) That part was fantastic. But other than that, it was an awkward and disarrayed movie. SPOILER END

So, those are my movie reviews! …. ….
Don’t really have an outro to this blog, so I’ll just leave you with this nugget of wisdom:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”