Monday, October 25, 2010

My Top 15 Movies

I've had major writer's block last week and this week. So I thought I'd go with an easy blog post today. These are my top fifteen favorite movies, in no particular order. These are the movies I watch over and over and over about five million times. The ones I quote constantly. Enjoy!

15. 10th Kingdom
Technically, this is a miniseries that's about ten hours long. Ten hours you say?! Trust me, it is completely worth it. I have a deep love of fairy tales and this movie just encompasses that love. And it doesn't portray fairy tales in a way that is overly sugary--the fairy tales they reference are the real deal, gritty and raw. Not to mention I freaking love Wolf. He's so darling!
Best Quotes: "They just split up! Doesn't that ever happen here?!" "No, we either live happily ever after or die from horrible curses." "Well, you may not get hurt. But huff puff, you won't get loved either."
14. Breakfast at Tiffany's
Ah, Audrey Hepburn. She is my favorite. She just...gah, amazing. She's classy, graceful, charming...the woman is classiness incarnate. This Halloween, I'll actually be dressing up as Audrey Hepburn's portrayal of Holly Golightly. Sigh. This movie brought into the fashion world the little black dress.
Not to mention, this is an incredible movie too. It's romantic and beautiful and I love watching it on Sunday mornings.
Best Quote: "You know what's wrong with you miss whoever you are? You're chicken. You've got no guts. You're afraid to stick out your chin and say, 'Okay, life's a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that's the only chance anybody's got for real happiness.' You call yourself a free spirit, a wild thing, and you're terrified somebody's gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you're already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it's not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It's wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself."

13. Charade
Hee hee. Another Audrey Hepburn movie. Can you blame me? She's awesome. And in this, she's paired with Cary Grant. Cary freaking Grant. Lovely. Plus, this movie is the perfect combination of comedy, drama, and suspense.
Best Quote: "What are you doing in there?" "I'm having a nervous breakdown."

12. Enchanted
Amy Adams is a new favorite actress of mine. She just makes giggle and she's just wonderful. And Enchanted is amazing. It's almost a satire of Disney movies and the little tributes to Disney princesses are just absolutely lovely. It really makes you think about putting the whole fairy tale of love into a modern perspective. Not to mention it's freaking adorable.
Best Quote: "Is this a habit of yours? Falling off of stuff?" "Only when you're around to catch me."

11. Howl's Moving Castle
It goes without saying that Hayao Miyazaki films are epic. There is no logic in Miyazaki films--YOU DO NOT QUESTION THE MIYAZAKI. But my favorite of his films is Howl's Moving Castle. Christian Bale is an awesome Howl. It's a generally sweet movie with really incredible animation.
Best Quote: "I've had enough of running away, Sophie. Now I've got something I want to protect. It's you."

10. Lady and the Tramp
Disney movies are in general one of my favorite things, but there are a few that have a special place in my heart. Lady and the Tramp is one of these. During some of the worst times in my life when I was little, I would pop in two movies to comfort me. This was one of them. It's romantic and beautiful and makes me wish I had a cocker spaniel. And if Tramp wasn't a dog, I'm pretty sure he would be freaking hot. Not to mention, Peggy Lee is in this movie. PEGGY LEE. And she sings in it.
Best Quote: "He's a tramp, but I love him, yes, even I have got it pretty bad."

9. Leap Year
This has come out pretty recently but I've watched it approximately 177 times. I don't know what it is about it. It just makes me warm inside. Plus it's Amy Adams again. And she is awesome. Maybe it's Matthew Goode's Irish accent (he's British, but he still does an awesome Irish accent). Maybe it's the fact that it was actually filmed in Ireland and the scenery is gorgeous. I don't know. But I love it. Makes me sigh in a nice warm way.
Best Quote: "Just put 'em in the wash, they'll be grand."

8. Mulan
This is the second movie that I used to pop in when I was little. I think I related to an awkward out of place girl trying to find her place in the world. Not to mention, it was about a girl who was really close to her father, and at that time, I was trying desperately to get close to mine.
Best Quote: "The greatest gift in honor is having you for a daughter. I've missed you so."

7. The Princess Bride
If you haven't seen this, you suck. If you have and you somehow don't like it, you still suck. This movie is the epitome of amazing. If you want romance, action, comedy, and drama, look no further. Siiiiiiiigh.
Best Quote: "Death cannot stop true love. It can only delay it for a while."
6. Sayonara
Mmm, Marlon Brando. If you've only seen him in the Godfather movies, you are missing out. I mean, DAMN. I promise, he wasn't always a scary old guy. He was quite sexy in his prime. And this movie is beautiful, and ground-breaking in its own way. It portrays the race problems of the time and challenges them upfront. I would also like to say, I have not read the book and don't plan on it. Because the book does not have a happy ending. And I prefer to glory myself in the ignorant bliss of this movie, that Ace Gruber and Hanaogi lived happily ever after. Tra la la la la la.
Best Quote: "A lot of people are going to be unhappy about this marriage. Do you have anything to say to them?" "Yeah. Tell 'em we said sayonara."

5. Last of the Mohicans
Yeah, yeah, I know, historical inaccuracy, blah blah blah, slight racism, blah blah blah, inaccurate portrayal of native Americans, blah blah blah SHUT UP. I don't care. This movie a fave due to the pure romance, the breath-taking, heart-grabbing, romance. All girls want a Nathanial who will fight for them. Not to mention the music is incredible.
Best Quote: "You be strong, you survive! You stay alive no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you."

4. While You Were Sleeping
I love Sandra Bullock. I feel that she is the Audrey Hepburn of our generation. I have seen all of her movies and one of these days will post a list of her best films. While You Were Sleeping was one of my first, and one of her earlier ones. It's hilarious. It's a great holiday movie too, and also stars Bill Pullman.
Best Quote: "I'll cut the deck--high card gets Lucy. Okay, best two out of three."

3. The Last Unicorn
Do not be fooled by the frou frou title. This animation film is badass. It's also dark and filled with adult themes that I never caught onto when I was younger. It's all about the loss of innocence. Pretty heavy stuff for a children's movie. Not to mention the unicorn, Amalthea, is played by Mia Farrow. Lovely.
Best Quote: "Where have you been? Where have you been?! Damn you! Where have you been?!" "I am here now..." "And where were you twenty years ago? Ten years ago? Where were you when I was one of those innocent young maidens you always come to? How dare DARE you come to me now! When I am THIS!"

2. Practical Magic
Another Sandra Bullock movie--can you blame me? This is actually my favorite Sandra movie. I just think it's beautiful. It reminds me of the bond I have with all of my friends--pure sisterhood. Not to mention the main theme is "Crystal" by Stevie Nicks. Sooo haunting and lovely. And I love the idea of the romance between Gary and Sally. Sigh. Very few romance movies can make me cry, and this is one of them.
Best Quote: "Curses only have power if you believe in them...and I don't. You know...I wished for you too."

1. The Mummy (plus the Mummy Returns!)
Do NOT speak of that monstrosity that is the third movie. They replaced Evelyn with Maria freaking Bello. Unacceptable. We will ignore it. I mentioned before that this is my favorite movie. This is true. I know it by heart. I someday hope to find a man who loves it as much as I do, and will be willing to stay home Saturday nights and watch it with me fifty times, reciting every line. If we're feeling especially frisky, he recites Rick's lines and I'll recite Evy's. Sigh. Point is, I know this movie by heart. And it's amazing. My brother, who likes to pretend he's an Egyptologist, enjoys pointing out all the mistakes. I enjoy punching him when he does this. If I want to know about Egypt, I'll turn on the history channel. This is a Stephen Sommers flick for God's sakes. Nothing will be accurate in it. I watch it for the breathless adventure, adorable romance, and hilarious dialogue.
Best Quote: Too many to choose from! I guess, my favorite would be, "I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-hunter, or a gunfighter. But I am PROUD of what I am!" "And what is that?" " a librarian!"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mother Mine

I hope if you're reading this blog, you also read my darling mother's blog too. Mombat's Corner. I've linked it before, go find it. After you read this. Seriously.

In my mother's latest post, she admits that she isn't always the best mother. Well, she doesn't tell you the HALF of it. All the years of neglect, cruelty, starvation--mine was a hard life, indeed. For instance: My mother had a horrible habit of snatching me up, sitting me down, and forcing a brush through my tangled, matted hair. It was painful. It was torture. Never mind that I didn't brush my hair ever and it was beginning to resemble the kind of brush my brothers clip from the backyard. Horrible, horrible woman.

And once, when I was four, while we were driving, I humbly pointed out the spotted horses we were passing--"Look at the dalmatian horses, mommy!" My mother said, "No Kathleen, those are Appaloosas." Silly, silly woman. "No mommy. They're dalmatian horses."

She stood corrected.

And worst of all--the fourth of July starvation incident.

After a full course dinner, my parents took all us kids out to watch the fireworks. It was such a spectacle. The crowds, the explosions, the many many concession stands selling every kind of junk food a six-year-old could dream of. I was dying--I needed those cheesy nachos and ketchup-smothered hot dogs. Those crunch bags of doritos. But my unrelenting, harsh mother refused to buy me these overpriced delights. I was HUNGRY.

The next day at church, I trotted up to the altar for the children's sermon. Our pastor was giving a very serious sermon on children who didn't get to eat like we did. He asked us little ones how many enjoyed the fireworks. We all raised our hands. He then asked jokingly, "How many of you didn't get to eat last night?" In reference to the poverty-stricken children of the sermon and how we were blessed.

However, I was NOT a blessed child. Whilst watching the fireworks, my mother didn't buy me a single inordinately expensive snack. I dutifully raised my hand.

On the sidelines, my mother watched in horror.

The pastor said, "You didn't eat last night Kathleen?"

I said tartly, "No, I didn't! And I was really hungry!" My mind was mourning the loss of those nachos.

The congregation burst into laughter, all glancing at my mother who was by now permanently tomato-faced. I was confused. Hungry children are no laughing matter.

Amidst the ruckus, the pastor shouted, "Shame on you, Linda! Well, Kathleen, today at the church picnic we'll make sure you're first in line!"

After the service, my mother explained to me that the pastor had not meant the yummy snacks the were selling at the fireworks, he meant had I eaten at all? Oh, he meant that dinner mom had served with the gross veggies and meat and stuff?

But the pastor was good to his word, and I did get to go first in line at the picnic. At least church loved me.

My mother does have her moments however. One of my favorite memories is of my eighth birthday. This was during the period where we had just moved to our new state and hadn't gotten our house. Our living situation was not good. Not to mention, I was a lonely, crabby, smelly little girl who didn't understand quite what was happening to her family. Not to mention finances were awful--I didn't expect anything for my birthday. I was miserable. Mulan had just come out, and what I wanted the very most in the world was the Mulan and Shang barbie doll. Mulan and Shang didn't officially get together in the movie--a travesty in my seven-year-old mind. I needed these dolls to create my own story and make sure they got together. It wasn't for my personal gain--it was for Mulan and Shang.

But my mother trotted in the morning of my eighth birthday and gently woke me up. I was sharing a room with my brothers, but I didn't mind. It was better than the other option.

Now one of the fads in 97-98 were those bean bags that you threw against the wall and they screamed something. My mom had gotten me one and had flung it at my feet, where it bellowed, "OH NO!" My mom got a kick out of it. I did too.

Then my mom handed me my first present. I unwrapped it, and it was the Shang Barbie! Hallelujah! I looked at her hopefully.

My mother's face fell. She handed me another package. "I'm sorry honey, I just couldn't find the Mulan barbie. They were all out. All I could find was the horse."

I stared. Riding proudly on the toy horse, Khan, was my Mulan doll.

As you probably have gathered from my slightly wry posts, my mom is pretty much awesome. A couple of things about her:

1. My mom is possibly the classiest woman in the world. She could give Audrey Hepburn lessons. I have seen her look into the face of a demon and not flinch, but speak with grace and beauty whereas anyone else would have bitch-slapped.
2. My mom is unbelievably talented at both writing and music.
3. My mother has the most compassion of anyone I've ever met. She has taken all of my closest friends under her and treated them like her own daughters.
4. One of my mom's very few flaws is her inability to accept that she's the most wonderful mother in the world and how beautiful and special she is.
5. Another is when her kids do stupid things, she blames herself for 'bad parenting.' No, mom, we're stupid on our own.
6. No matter what any of her kids have gotten into, she has made herself get into too, so she can be a part of it. Beanie babies, pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Chaotic, Calvin and Hobbes, Bone, C.S Lewis--all or our various hobbies, she's been a part of.
7. My mom has an amazing faith in God which I wish I could emulate.

All in all, my mom is epic. :D

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

John Wayne Meets C.S Lewis

When I think of who reminds me of my Grandpa, I get a weird mix of John Wayne and C.S Lewis, possibly with a bit of Clark Gable thrown in. Odd combination? Probably. But I love him anyway.

One of the best things about transferring to my new university is the close proximity to my grandfather's house. For years my Grandpa has sort of been a character in a letter--someone my mom tells stories about, writes me letters, sends me checks for every birthday--you know, someone I dearly love but don't really know all that much about. Not to mention he's 95. I mean, what could we possibly have in common?

Well, actually a lot. I started coming over to clean up his house more often last year and what ended up happening is I would get stuck in a comfy chair and listened with rapt attention to his stories. He would tell me random stories about his youth, usually ones that had popped into his head because something reminded him of it. There was one where he swiped his uncle's grenade, filled it with gunpowder, and set it off in the middle of the road. That caused a large crater which the local farmers scratched their heads about, wondering what on earth was up with the soil erosion lately. There was another how he met my grandmother on horse-back, asked her out dancing that night, and promptly got stinking drunk. My grandmother told him in no uncertain terms that she never wanted to see him again. We see how well that worked out.

And I realized talking to my Grandpa that I actually do have a heck of a lot in common with him. We both love crossword puzzles--I always get the pop culture references and he gets the random ones so working together we can finish it in under twenty minutes. We're both mad about milk--that's probably where I got my deep love of all things dairy. We have very similar senses of humor.

Another wonderful thing about spending this much time with him is really getting to know him and understanding his moods and personality. For instance, even though he's 95, he HATES being helped around. He doesn't care that it takes him five minutes to get up from his comfy chair, he'll do it himself and you will wait patiently, darn it! I go out to breakfast with him every Saturday morning (ugh, generally in the wee hours of the morning when God isn't even up yet) and I always offer to drive to the diner where we eat and he always refuses. He's a stubborn old coot.

One of my personal habits is every Saturday morning, when I get up around 5:30 (ugh......) I always dress up. Sometimes I wear a dress, I put on makeup, never forget the heels...I think it amuses Grandpa when we walk in the diner and all the old timers hoot at me and ask Grandpa where on earth he picked up such a classy broad. Hee hee...I'd be more offended if they weren't all over 70.

And lately I've realized how much I love my grandfather. Before I moved into my house, while I was still staying with some friends of my parents, I decided to stop by his house and say hi. I was driving down 750 north, an old county road, when I saw an ambulance with its lights on driving down the opposite direction. Being the good little driver I am, I pulled over and waited for it to pass me.

But it didn't pass me.

It backed into my Grandpa's driveway.

At this point, I very nearly had a heart attack. Completely forgetting my car, I opened my door and tore down the road, running about half a mile. I saw two ambulance personnel unloading a stretcher.

"W-what's going on? What's happening? Is he okay?" I cried but they didn't answer me. At this point, I was very near hysterical tears.

It was here when Betty (my grandpa's 89 year old girlfriend...yes, my 95 year old grandfather has a girlfriend. Just cuz he's old doesn't mean he's dead.) came towards me, telling me to calm down and the he was all right. He just hadn't eaten much last night or this morning and had been coughing a little so she had decided to jump the gun and call the ambulance to make sure he didn't have pneumonia. Grandpa seemed ok too, if not a little dazed and probably annoyed at all the fuss. I swallowed my hysterics and went into his bedroom to call my father and mother.

I explained the situation to my mother, who told me she was glad that I was there, at the very least. That though she was two states away from her father, at least she had me to make sure everything was okay. My dad talked to me too, and sensed how distressed I was. He told me I needed to keep it together, because I was the only real family around that Grandpa and my mom could count on. My Aunt was in Nashville, my cousin, who I'll call Cake, cuz she loves the band, was working and lived in Indianapolis--I was the closest. I realized my father was right. Even though I wanted nothing more to crawl into my Granddad's closet and sob hysterically out of fear and relief, my family needed me.

So, I grabbed a few of my Grandpa's books. I called my parents friends who I was staying with, who I'll call Fiona and Tom, to let them know the situation. I walked back to my car and drove to the hospital. And there I stayed with my grandfather for about four hours while they ran tests. The prognosis was that my grandfather had a slight bout of bronchitis and was severely dehydrated. They put him on antibiotics and gave him several pamphlets about getting enough fluids. It was here I became very nazi-like in watching how much water my Grandpa drinks. He doesn't mind--I think he finds it amusing. When I told him he had to finish his water before leaving the restaurant, he commented dryly to the waitress, "She's the boss."

A little about Betty--don't get me wrong, I love her to pieces. My biological grandmother died when I was about one year old, so Betty is the only real grandmotherly figure I've ever had. She's taken care of my grandfather for years and I dearly, dearly love her and am eternally grateful. I believe she saved his life when he had pneumonia two winters ago.

But the woman drives me crazy.

My dad once said that when she gets to Heaven, she'll be arguing with God about how He runs things. My dad's not far off. Betty is very high-spirited and very...oh, I'll just say it. She's damned bossy and very controlling. This has caused her to butt heads with me, as I am also kind of controlling and a little bossy, and ESPECIALLY with my dad. She's also a little critical. And she also likes my cousin Cake better than me. She tends to go on and on about how much Cake is helping my grandpa, how hard Cake has it, how clever Cake is and how hard Cake works--this would be fine if I didn't already have a deep-seated insecurity when it came to my darling cousin. Don't get me wrong, I love my cousin. We're blood. She's only a year older than me, we've always gotten along, and I'd say we're pretty good friends. But I've always felt insecure when it comes to her. Cake is blonde, I'm brunette. Cake has lovely blue-green eyes, I have boring dark brown eyes. Cake learned guitar before I did and was in a bigger band than I was and played much larger gigs. Cake has a Perfect Boyfriend, something I've never had and don't really plan on picking up anytime soon. Cake also has a thorough knowledge of home improvement--stuff like sanding tables, painting, electric knowledge, etc. She is quite at home at Home Depo whereas I wander aimlessly and call my dad to help me pick out the right kind of nail. I've always felt that Cake was the original, better model and I was the cheap knockoff.

All this I can ignore--most of it I've gotten pretty much over as the years have gone by. I've pretty much come to the realization that Cake and I are very different people and we both have merit and worth in our own ways. My Grandpa knows this too.

But when Betty tends to start going on and on and on about how wonderful Cake is, it tends to strike at that insecurity again. For instance, see this convo:

Betty: So, do you have everything out of the sunroom? (I was using my Grandpa's sunroom as storage for most of my stuff during the summer--he offered, insisting that we shouldn't have to pay a storage locker when we could just use his place.)

Me: Mostly, I think I just have a nightstand and a few boxes left that I haven't had time to grab.

Betty: (in a very superior almost snotty tone) Well, you better get that stuff out now, because Cake wants to reorganize and clean that area up and she can't do that if your things are lying about.


It's here I'd like to say once again how much I love my Grandpa. He waited until Betty had left and then turned to me and promptly said, "I just want you to know, you are very welcome to use my house as storage whenever you like. I don't care, and Cake doesn't care. It just burns Betty up that you do but it's not her house, it's mine and I say you can use it whenever and however you like."

My Grandpa's not really the emotional type. It took about four months of my constant visits for him to say he loved me right before I left and he still doesn't say it that often. I don't care, I've learned to read in between the lines. This was my Grandpa's way of saying that I wasn't burdening him, he loved me as ME, not as my cousin and didn't consider her better than me at all. Which was exactly what I needed to hear.

In closing, I know my Grandpa won't be around forever. But I also know how blessed I am to have him for the time I've had and will have.