Your Name

Ever watched a movie that had you in mortal fear that it would end and leave you hanging on the edge of a cliff forever doomed to be in agony?

No?

Well then, I have the movie for you!

Last weekend my husband and sister and I went to see Your Name in theaters (in Japanese with English subs yay!) and wow. We were not disappointed.

Aside from a few awkward moments (because body switching with the opposite sex will do that) I found this film to be breathtaking, beautiful, well written, solid, and fun. Well, fun in a heart pounding “Oh my gosh does this fade to black mean the end please don’t say it ends this way I will scream in the middle of this theater” type of way.

As you have noticed in my talking about stories, I really hate to go into much detail because I don’t want to spoil anything. But I feel that is especially important for this film because the twists were just wow, and I didn’t see them coming. So in order to protect you from spoilers, I’m just going to leave the trailer here, back away slowly, and tell you emphatically: Go see this film.

 

Have you seen a movie recently that you’re excited about? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! 

Tale as Old as Time

I sat on my parents’ bed, the time to leave for church fast approaching, watching Belle and Beast as they glided across the floor in their iconic first dance.

Something stirred inside of me then. Something big and beautiful that I didn’t have words for. As I put on my coat a short while later, about to head out the door, I realized that there was a word to describe it: Romance. That feeling, that pull, that longing for it to be me someday. Despite Ariel and Eric deciding my marital goals at an early age (I would of course be marrying a Prince named Eric and changing my name to match the Mermaid’s), it was Belle and Beast who first conveyed to my young heart what a beautiful romance looked like.

I sat in the theater, tears welling in my eyes, hugging my husband’s arm, watching Belle and Beast as they glided across the floor in their first dance. Emma Thompson sang of the “Tale as old as Time”. The room around them burst into sparkles of light as they spun around.

Something stirred inside me then. A deeper understanding now of the type of love that is worth everything, and, perhaps, a breath of a future in which my daughter would watch this scene and feel an awakening inside of her. Perhaps she will grow up to draw inspiration from this story for her wedding. Perhaps I will watch her twirl around a room with her love.

 

Yes, Beauty and the Beast is a Tale as old as Time.

But more so is what it represents.

Hidden Figures

The first movie I had the pleasure of seeing in theaters this year was Hidden Figures. What a perfect film to hit off 2017 with. This story is beautifully written, compelling, interesting, fun, and leaves you simply glowing with pleasure and pride for our fellow humans.

The story focuses on three brilliant women who use their God given talents to rock the world of the Space Program and obtain justice for the colored people working for NASA.

I don’t really want to give you a detailed review, that just isn’t my style. Nor do I want to spoil anything, ’cause that isn’t my style either.  But I just want to get out there that this movie is brilliant and beautiful and is so well worth going to see.

It’s one of those stories that hit a 5 star with me,and that’s a pretty big deal 🙂

So if you haven’t seen it yet, then you really should. Why? Well if you need a list of reasons…

Ten Reasons You Should Go See Hidden Figures Tonight:

  1. It has good role models.
  2. Low language (though there are several mild words, especially at the beginning)
  3. A look into what it took to get man into space
  4. Jim Parsons is in it
  5. Romance that isn’t highly sexualized
  6. A good sense of what really matters in life
  7. You get a look at what it was back in the 60s to be a person of color. It gives you a greater understanding than you would have just reading text books about it.
  8. Beautiful humor
  9. Space stuff!
  10. It is an extremely important story, I believe, and one that needs to be told.

I know, I know. I’m still being vague. But I can’t tell you everything! You just have to go see it yourself 🙂

What was the first movie you saw this year? 

Story Exploration: The Neverending Story

Story Type: Movie

Overall Rating: 2 of 5

Description in one word: Weird

Description in One Sentence: An attempt to show the wonder of story and the need for hope in the world with 80s music and creepy animatronics.

A couple months ago, my sister and I watched The Neverending Story for the first time. As soon as the opening credits began we knew we were in for something weird. As the film progressed, we weren’t disappointed. There were a lot of “What?”, “Huh?”, “Aaaaahhhh!” and “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?”

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In the end, I was left feeling deeply disappointed. Because this film had so much potential. It dealt with two themes that are deeply important to me, it had a book seller and a boy who had read Lord of the Rings and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at an extraordinarily young age, and it tried very hard to give a sense of wonder to the audience.

And maybe, when it first came out, it did accomplish that for people. I could say it’s just that I’m stuck in a CGI generation and I need more lifelike effects to make me believe. But I don’t think that is so. The 1970s BBC Chronicles of Narnia films are some of my favorites ever. They were my first enterance into Narnia, and though there are no stellar effects like in today’s movies, I believe they do a phenominal job in instilling wonder into the beholder.

So what is it about The Neverending Story that made it lack?

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Throughout the film, I felt disconnected and weirded out. Even though pity and empathy and even interest was established in the main character, once he started reading The Neverending Story, the disconnect began. Everything was so strange, foreign, and rather distracting. The MC of the book was, honestly, annoying. And then, when the ending occurred, my sister just sat there saying, “Wait… huh? What just happened? I don’t get it. I’m confused.”

Perhaps that was it. Confusion. Perhaps if the makers had narrowed down the phenominal, and focused more on the writing instead of freaky creatures it would have presented it’s golden themes in the manner they should have been.

Despite the weirdness, however, we will be watching the second movie. Because, well, we’re weird too.

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Story Exploration: Into the Woods

Story Type: Movie/Musical

Overall Rating: 2 of 5

Described in One Word: Sad

Described in One Sentence: The threads of classic fairy tales are woven together to create a melancholy tapestry.

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First off, I knew absolutely nothing about Into the Woods before watching the movie, and that includes the stage production. I vaguely knew that there were a lot of un family friendly things in the stage production and that Disney cut those out. I would more than likely hate the stage version because of that, especially with how I feel just about Disney’s version. With that disclaimer out of the way, let us continue.

I didn’t get to see Into the Woods when it came out in theaters. We had to wait until the end of August for our turn to finally get it from the library. After such a long wait, my hopes were pretty high for this film. In the end, however, I was kind of disappointed.

Now don’t get me wrong. This film holds in it Disney Magic, making it aesthetically brilliant and beautiful to watch, and of course there are songs that will stick in your head and that many of my friends sing out with gusto. But instead of at the end of it feeling joy, I felt sad. Depressed, even.  There wasn’t a whole lot of hope in the story.  And, perhaps, that was its point.

Following the familiar fairy tales but in the original oft-times gory fashion was quite the interesting twist to begin with. But the continuation of the sad and rather dark story just brought me down. In the end I felt rather cheated.

But you know… this reminds me of The Princess Bride (why yes, I am referring to my favorite book for more than likely not the last time, thanks for noticing 😀 ) Goldman says he suffered so much when he thought that Buttercup had married Humperdink because he was outraged. It wasn’t fair. But he didn’t realize that until his teens when a neighbor woman told him that life isn’t fair.

And it’s true. Life isn’t fair. Sometimes, horrible things happen. There is pain and Agony (see what I did there?) and tears.  Sometimes, Princes are not princely. Children have to grow up without one or both of their parents. Our actions have consequences we never thought possible.  But even in all of this, we can make the right choices. The choice to stand up and be the father you need to be. To stand by others who have helped you, been there for you.

Perhaps, that is what Into the Woods is trying to say. That even when endings are not fair, even when there are no happily ever afters, it doesn’t mean that everything is hopeless. You can still step up to the plate and make a difference in this world, and you have something that other people need.

The thing is, if that is what they were trying to say, they didn’t do that great a job in my opinion. If they had, I would not have left the film feeling the way I did. I didn’t feel motivated or empowered or hopeful.

Despite the feeling of sad emptiness, I think there are still things you can glean from the movie. And I would also like to point out that Rapunzel’s story was awesome.

Also, the entire movie is worth watching just to see the Agony musical number.

In a nutshell: If you like Happily Ever After Disney, you probably won’t like this story. But if you like sad things and original Grimm and lots of food for thought, then by all means give it a watch.

Have you watched Into the Woods? What are your thoughts? Which song gets stuck in your head the most?