Current Favorites: Movie Edition (Part 2)

Hi everyone! I’m getting close to publishing my review of Sleeping Giants but I wanted to do something else in the meanwhile. I mentioned before that I am a huge movie buff and I already posted a list of favorite movies. Most were pretty mainstream but I still felt they were somewhat under appreciated. I decided to do another one in the same vein. So here are some more movies that I love and recommend to you all.

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Pacific Rim – directed by Guillermo Del Toro, 2013

I’m a huge fan of science fiction and Guillermo Del Toro so I couldn’t resist adding another of his movies to a list. I already talked about The Shape of Water but I wanted to talk about this particular movie. Pacific Rim delivers on amazing visuals and classic robot vs. monster action. It’s a delight to watch as it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a fun sci-fi romp. It also stars Idris Elba, who I have a massive crush on. It really is just a fun movie to watch. Sadly, I heard the sequel isn’t that great but at least the first one is good.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Directed by the Russo Brothers, 2014

I already mentioned one Marvel movie in my previous list and I didn’t think I would mention another one as most of you are more than aware of the MCU. I, however, cannot fail to mention how much I adored this movie and I will even go so far as to argue that it is one of the best Marvel movies or at least it is one of the best sequels. The action sequences in this movie are so well done and I loved the emotional stakes this movie brought. This movie also introduced two of the best MCU characters: Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier and Sam Wilson as the Falcon. This movie is just so wonderfully composed. It has a perfect balance between action and emotion. Also the cast is just wonderful. MCU is really great at casting in general. If you haven’t seen this one yet, I cannot stress enough how good this movie is.

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Heathers – Directed by Michael Lehmann, 1988

Now, it’s time to take a sharp left turn from sci-fi/action to dark teen comedy. I have never been a fan of teen movies and that includes the slew of movies that the 1980s produced but Heathers changed my mind. Winona Ryder is probably more relatable in 2018 than she was in 1988. I enjoy the dark, twisted humor in the movie. It definitely bends the classic teen genre in more ways than one. I also enjoy the “girls with guns” trope in this movie. I don’t think it is for everyone but it is still a good movie for anyone with a sick sense of humor. It’s also incredibly quotable. (Note: I know that this isn’t the original poster for the movie but I liked it better. Also the musical adaptation is really great.)

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Call Me By Your Name – Directed by Luca Guadagnino, 2017

Let’s get into some romance, shall we? When the Oscar buzz was going around, I heard this movie come up a lot. I was very bored one Friday night and decided to see if I could find it. I was very glad that I was able to watch this sweet and unconventional romance. The movie has a very intimate vibe that fits the beautiful aesthetic of the Mediterranean. Timothee Chalamet deserves recognition for his wonderful performance. The relationship between the two main characters is touching and understanding. I know a lot of people have gripes about the age difference in the relationship but it is in no way portrayed in a creepy Lolita-type way. This is a wonderful story about two men uncovering the truths about themselves through each other. I should note that this is based on a novel that I would love to read one day.

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The Imitation Game – Directed by Morten Tyldum, 2014

I still remember seeing this one in theaters because it was the only one available that particular night. The theatre was super busy so my mom, sister, and I decided we might as well see this one because we all love Benedict Cumberbatch. Anyways, I ended up becoming incredibly invested in this movie, which is about mathematical genius Alan Turing and his struggle to crack the German Enigma code in order to help the British forces during WWII. If you don’t know who Alan Turing is, he essentially paved the way for artificial intelligence. Sadly, his life was tormented as was on the autism spectrum and he was a gay man during a time when you could go to jail for that. This movie is more about humanity than it is machines, which makes it so enjoyable to watch. It is dramatic and heart-breaking. Cumberbatch and Knightley both give award worthy performances. I would recommend this movie to the history buffs out there.

Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die: Reviewing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Hi everyone! I’m back from a much needed Spring Break and I am counting down to graduation at this point. I had a different review planned as I wanted to do a review of Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. That one will come eventually but I managed to get a hold of the electronic version of one of Thompson’s most famous novels. Hunter S. Thompson has always fascinated me and I really wanted to read one of his novels. I can’t do any justice explaining what Hunter S. Thompson was like as a person so I will leave some links below with information on him. In the meanwhile, I will tell you how I felt about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. 

Based on real events in Thompson’s life, this novel follows the drug addled and lurid journey of Raoul Duke, a jaded journalist, and Dr. Gonzo, his erratic attorney with a penchant for getting in trouble with the law. The two begin an odyssey to the Mint 400 motorcycle race in Las Vegas and find themselves in the midst of the ugliness hidden in Sin City. Thompson’s semi-autobiographical novel examines the fall of the counterculture of the 1960s and the reality behind the infamous “American Dream.”

Thompson’s novel was just as wild to read as I thought it would be. It’s not necessarily a stream-of-conscieneness type novel but it isn’t terribly coherent as far as the plot goes. Granted, the narrator is on every single recreational drug that he and his attorney could get their hands on. Within the drug-fueled action of the novel, there are some slow and thoughtful moments that offer an excellent insight into the culture of the early 1970s with Las Vegas being the perfect backdrop for American consumerism. Its fascinating how Duke deals with his inner turmoil as well as the navigating a landscape that doesn’t accept his authenticity. The one thing I truly enjoyed about the novel was how authentic it felt. Thompson’s feelings are made loud and clear with Duke as his mouthpiece. This novel is definitely hard to read at times as it jumps about and has some graphic descriptions of Duke’s hallucinations. If you enjoy unique narrations and an honest look at the American landscape, then I recommend this novel for you. I can definitely see myself reading this again and I might want to check out the movie. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a wild ride that delivers in its emotional and mental depth.

General Information on Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson’s Daily Routine

Interview with Hunter S. Thompson

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

 

Types of Literary Narrators I Hate

Hello everyone! I am currently catching up on the last new novel I got so, hopefully, I will be giving you a review of that soon. I’m coming up on spring break so I might wait till then. In the meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about certain story telling styles I don’t click with. These mostly apply to first person narrators but there are some things in third person stories that I can’t stand. There are certain things writers do when it comes to their narrators that just piss me off and make the story less enjoyable. Now, I’m going to share with you the kind of narrators that I am tired of reading about.

The Skeptic: The is narrator mostly shows up in horror or science fiction. From the beginning of the story, they have to remind you that they don’t believe in the paranormal or supernatural. This narrator has to remind you every other sentence that they have always thought ghosts were stupid. You don’t have to remind me every five seconds that your are skeptical. This is when the “show, don’t tell,” rule should come in to play.

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The Philosopher: This narrator loves to ask sweeping, broad questions or statements in order to get the reader thinking about the meaning of life or something like that. When a story begins out with some line like, “since the dawn of time, there have aways been things hidden from humans…” then I start to roll my eyes. If you want to incorporate philosophy in your story, that’s fine but there’s a way to include without immediately boring the reader.

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The Romantic: This narrator has the biggest crush on another character in the story and they will stop everything to go on and on about the love of their life. Their crush breathes and the world stops turning. Their crush has the most amazing eyes in the whole entire universe and not a single other person’s eyes compare to it. Listen, I like romance as much as the next person but there’s a better way to convey a relationship between two characters.

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The Pessimist: Life sucks and this narrator won’t let you forget it. This narrator is hard to read because you start to feel depressed over fictional things. I want to enjoy a book to a degree and I can’t do that when the narrator won’t give me anything to enjoy. Believe it or not, there’s always some sort of “silver lining.” Don’t let this narrator get you down.

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The Narrator Who Is Not Like Other People: This narrator is just so unique and different. They are not like average people. They are so extraordinary because of whatever talents or features they have. You mostly find this narrator in YA novels because teens want to live vicariously through this super special character. The author takes great care to let you know how different their character is from the rest and it’s exhausting. Again, “show, don’t tell” is a good rule here.

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The Hardened and Angsty Soul: This narrator is a step up from the pessimist. This narrator has seen some sh*t in their time and everything they do comes back to whatever traumatic even they experienced. They always refer vaguely and bitterly back to this event and all of the other characters tell them that they need to move on but they just can’t because angst. I’ve seen this one pop up in plenty of detective stories and it’s pretty common in action movies as well. You’ll probably know who I’m talking about.

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Note: This is not meant to shade any specific authors. These are just observations I have made while reading. Feel free to debate me or agree with me in the comments. I like to hear your feedback.

You do not believe although you have seen: Reviewing The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Hi everyone! I want to begin out this post by saying thank you so much for your response to my post about anxiety. I’ve been doing a lot better and I hope that you have been feeling well too. Now that we are past that for now, I’m going to talk to you about one of the more famous horror novel, The Exorcist. I should note that I’ve never seen the movie but I have seen the more famous moments. In general, I’ve always been really fascinated with the paranormal. Some of you are already rolling your eyes but, if I’m being honest, my life would be just a little more boring if I didn’t believe in the possibility of ghosts or demons or whatever. I’ll talk about this more after I give you my review of The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Chris MacNeil is a struggling single mom and actress whose only source of happiness is her young daughter, Regan. Chris realizes something is wrong after Regan begins spending time with an imaginary friend she calls “Captain Howdy.” When things begin to escalate to the point everyone in the house is in danger, Chris calls on the help of Father Damien Karras in the desperate hope that he might save her daughter. Soon, they are faced with a dangerous entity who wants to destroy everything dear to them.

I do want to give a bit of a warning. There are some very graphic parts in this novel that those who are sensitive may not want to read. With that being said, the novel delivers with all of the horror elements. It has just enough gore, scary real-life details, and the psychological elements. I liked the build up to the final event of the actual exorcism itself. It was a terrifying and interesting experience that didn’t feel too convoluted or drawn out. This is certainly a very plot driven novel if you prefer the that type of novel. If you aren’t familiar with horror then you might not enjoy this novel but horror fans should give this one a chance. I had a hard time putting this novel down and it is a surprisingly quick read. William Petter Blatty’s classic horror novel lives up to its reputation with plenty of scares and suspense.

Note: The novel is based on a real life event. If you are interested, I’m going to leave a link below. You might have heard of the Roland Doe case before. If you haven’t, it is an interesting read. You’ve been warned again as there are some graphic details.

So you’ve just had a panic attack? Here’s how to help yourself!

Hi everyone! I keep saying that I wasn’t planning to post more but I felt like this was something I needed to talk about and, hopefully, I can open up a conversation about anxiety. As of today, I have experienced probably the most severe panic attack that I’ve ever experienced in a while. It was bizarre. I honestly thought I was having an allergic reaction. It was that bad. I have had some bad panic attacks in the past but I’ve since learned better coping mechanisms and I wanted to share those with you. Whether you have experienced panic attacks before or you’ve had your first one, there are some useful things you can do before or after.

  • TALK TO SOMEONE!!! Honestly, the worst thing you can do while feeling anxious is isolate yourself. A tiny bit of alone time is fine but you need to reach out to someone and it doesn’t matter who it is as long as you trust them. This has been my biggest source of help.
  • Find a distraction. When you’re coming down from anxiety, your natural instinct is to analyze everything you’ve just been through. This isn’t the best idea. Turn on your favorite show, read a book, go for a walk, or do whatever your favorite hobby is. I find this to be very centering.
  • Get a “totem.” My mom stole this idea from the movie, Inception. If you remember, each of the characters in the movie had a distinct item that they used to help them tell if they were still in a dream or not. This is the same concept. Find a small item that you like  and keep it on you. If you start feeling anxious, find that item and use it to center yourself. My choice is a small Iron Man plushie. I like to keep him in my bag and he makes me a little happier.
  • Breathing exercises help a lot. You feel a panic attack coming up and your breathing starts to pick up. This can lead to a few more problems. Look up breathing exercises to use in order to prevent any shallow breathing or hyperventilating. This can also prevent you from feeling light headed or faint.
  • LET IT HAPPEN!! If you feel a panic attack coming on, the worst thing you can do is to try to fight it. I’ve had panic attacks in public places and it’s not a fun feeling. It doesn’t matter where you are when it happens but you need to let it pass. You will feel better when it is over. I’ve only felt better after a panic attack. It feels like a giant balloon bursting and then I’m just deflating. Afterwards, I just feel tired. Don’t be embarrassed. Just take care of yourself. Someone will understand, I assure you.

I’ve realized that I’ve started getting into lifestyle territory now but I’m going to connect this back to literature because I’ve read a few books that specifically tackle anxiety and other mental conditions. Some have been accurate and some are not. I’ve learned to incorporate some of my feeling in my writing. I hope that this helps some of you. Feel free to leave some of your tips in the comments. I’d like to keep the conversation going.

To Russia with Lust: Reviewing The Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

Hello everyone! I finally have a book review to give you and I am so happy to share another nerdy side of me. I have mentioned before that I love mystery/thriller novels but I have never mentioned that I love spy novels. In fact, I love the spy genre in general. I’ve seen almost all of the James Bond movies and I do have a few of the original novels but I haven’t gotten to reading them yet. I had a bit of a phase when I was younger where I was really into spy stuff. It kind of stuck with me after all of these years. I will now talk to you about The Red Sparrow, the first book of the Red Sparrow trilogy.

Dominika Egorova, wanting to become the perfect spy for Russia, finds herself in the infamous “Sparrow School” where she trains in the art of seduction. Nathaniel Nash, wanting to break away from his family’s legacy, decides to join the CIA and is caught in the middle of a new kind of Cold War. The two promising young spies are pushed into the dangerous world of sexpionage, double agency, and secret alliances. Dominika and Nate must find a way to survive their missions and save their countries.

Spy novels have somewhat fallen out of trend but Matthews brings a new angle to the genre as he worked for the CIA. This knowledge certainly shows in the writing and I found it fascinating. I enjoyed the character of Dominika. She has synesthesia, which plays in really well with her skill set. I definitely found myself rooting for her throughout the book. Nate was also an enjoyable character. He was charm but he isn’t meant to just be James Bond knock off. Some of the pacing in the book was a little off when it gets to chapters that are solely about different government officials meeting but I guess that is where some of the realism plays in. Spying is not that glamorous of a job. I do feel obligated to give a warning that there are a few scenes of sexual violence in this novel that were a bit hard to read at times. There’s also a lot of jargon that I didn’t quite understand but I appreciated the use of it. Other than that, I really enjoyed this novel and definitely enjoyed unravelling all of the mysteries. I’m going to go ahead and recommend The Red Sparrow if you are interested in spy novels. I will definitely try to read the rest of the trilogy as I cannot get enough of this stuff.

Note: I haven’t seen the movie yet. I’ve heard mixed reviews, though. If you’ve seen it, let me know if it is worth it.

 

Celebrating the Feminine: Some quotes in honor of International Women’s Day

Hello Everyone! I wasn’t planning on posting again until my next review. I finally got a new book to read but I haven’t been able to sit down and read it yet. Hopefully, I will get you that review soon. In the meanwhile, I decided to celebrate International Women’s Day with some quotes from famous female authors. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to share your favorite quotes in the comments or make your own post.

“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.” – Bell Hooks

“Above all, be the heroine of your own life…” – Nora Ephron

“I am too intelligent, too demanding, and too resourceful for anyone to be able to take charge of me entirely. No one knows me or loves me completely. I only have myself.” – Simone de Beauvior

“I am not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” – Jane Austen

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab life by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We already carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better.” – JK Rowling

“A word after a word after a word is power.” – Margaret Atwood

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

“The beginning is always today.” – Mary Shelley

“If theres’ a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” – Malala Yousafzai

 

 

 

 

 

A Few of My Favorite Musicals

Hi everyone! I just finished my Harry Potter re-read and, alas, a new book did not magically appear before me. Rather than dwell on that, I decided to talk about another passion of mine: theatre. I have been involved in theatre since I was very young. I did musicals with a summer theatre group until I was in middle school. Once I got into high school, I immediately became involved in drama club and it was what made those four years stand out. I did a little bit of acting but then went to working the stage crew. Eventually, I became a student director. When I graduated, I debated doing a minor in theatre but decided against it. That, however, doesn’t mean that my passion for theatre has stopped. I decided to share with you some of my favorite musicals and maybe I’ll do a post about my favorite plays later.

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“Hamilton: An American Musical” by Lin-Manuel Miranda: Call me basic but I absolutely adore this musical with all my heart and soul. It is so well-written and you feel as though you learn something new every time you listen to it. “Hamilton” really brought me back to Broadway after I was starting to fall out of love with it. It’s fun, inspirational, unique, and heart-warming. I never fail to get excited once it pops up on my playlist.

the great comet of 1812

“Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” by Dave Malloy: This is a good musical for you book lovers out there. It is based off of only 70 pages of War and Peace but it still captures so much emotion. With Josh Groban and Denee Benton as the titular characters, they help bring the story so much life along with the rest of the incredibly talented cast. The music is a great blend of modern pop music and classical music, dubbed “popera.” I highly recommend this energetic and engaging musical.

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“RENT” by Jonathan Larson: Again, you can call me basic but this musical helped me fall in love with Broadway. It has such a diverse cast of characters and some of the most iconic songs known to theatre geeks. I could recognize the first note of “Seasons of Love” from 100 miles away. This musical also never fails to make me tear up when I watch it.

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“Side Show” by Bill Russell and Henry Keiger: I saw this one about two years ago when my college put it on. I was required to go for my Art of Theatre class. I’ve always had a fascination for the “freak shows” of the past so I was interested. This particular musical is based on the lives of Violet and Daisy Hilton, who were conjoined at the hip. The musical didn’t initially do well when it was on Broadway as it is kind of controversial. Regardless, it is still a great musical that has only recently been revived. If you liked “The Greatest Showman,” then I recommend you check out “Side Show.”

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“Dear Evan Hansen” by Pasek and Paul: As someone who has been dealing with anxiety and panic attacks, I felt a pull towards this musical when I first heard “Waving Through a Window.” Though it deals with heavy subjects, this musical has a very uplifting message that anyone can relate to. Ben Platt is absolutely brilliant in his role as Evan Hansen. “Dear Evan Hansen” embraces the age of social media and the teens who rely on it in their lives.

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“Heathers: The Musical” by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy: I have never been a fan of musicals that are adaptation but “Heathers” changed my mind. I ended up listening to the music before I even saw the iconic movie that the musical is based on. It is an incredibly quotable musical with attitude and depth that you wouldn’t expect. I now love the movie and the musical. If you love the 80s, then this one is for you.

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“The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber: This is yet another testament to some of my basic tastes but, you have to admit, “The Phantom of the Opera” has certainly held up over the years. I saw the movie for the first time and I was blown away by the drama of it all. I still want to read the original novel by Gaston Leroux one day. In the meanwhile, I will still struggle to hit Christine’s high notes in the titular song.

 

Thoughts I have had while re-reading Harry Potter

Hi everyone! I am still without a new book to read but I have filled that void with Harry Potter. I’m currently on book five and I’m about midway through. Even though I have read this series countless times, my thoughts have changed as I have gotten older. In this post, I’m just going to give you a list of thoughts I have had while re-reading this series.

  • Why did they leave baby Harry on a doorstop all night? Why couldn’t they have waited closer to morning before leaving him?
  • How can these two grown adults be so awful to their own nephew for things he doesn’t know yet?
  • Hagrid is actually the best character in these books.
  • Ron’s snarky comments are actually bits of foreshadowing.
  • Hermione is too nice. If my friends kept asking to copy off my homework, I would have snapped at them by now.
  • The Weasley twins threw snowballs straight at Voldemort like true legends.
  • Literally, how can anyone justify Snape’s behavior?
  • Everyone keeps punishing Harry for things he doesn’t even know about!!!
  • I’m sad Winky the house elf wasn’t in the movie.
  • Everyone keeps roasting Hufflepuff and it is hilarious. (No offense to the Hufflepuffs)
  • I’m convinced that Dumbledore hires the Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers mostly for his own amusement.
  • Does Draco have nothing better to do than to harass the Gryffindors?
  • McGonagall is a badass and I will fight whoever says otherwise.
  • Remember when Dumbledore calmly asked Harry if he put his name in the Goblet of Fire?
  • “We’ve done everything we can to make the TriWizard Tournament safer for the students!” *puts even more students in danger in the second task*
  • SIRIUS BLACK DESERVED BETTER!!!
  • All of this food sounds delicious. I would kill for a pumpkin pasty right now.
  • Oh shit, it’s Umbridge.
  • It’s comforting to know that even wizards have to put up with bullshit politics.
  • DOBBY DESERVED BETTER!!
  • Harry is an innocent soul who just wants to chat with snakes and play Quidditch.
  • The sass in these books is giving me life.
  • Voldemort is so dramatic. He just has to monologue.
  • I’m still sad Peeves wasn’t in the movies.
  • How about we give Neville a break?
  • Honestly, Harry and Ron making up nonsense for their homework is the most  realistic part of these books.
  • Hermione, do not get upset that exams are cancelled! Do you know how many people would kill for that?
  • They’re just kids, for god’s sake!!
  • These kids are in danger!! Let’s surround them with soul-sucking monsters!! – stupid adults
  • Yeah, I still want to go to Hogwarts.

I’ll keep you updated as I finish the series. Let me know what thoughts you have had about Harry Potter or if you agree with me.

Here is my biggest thanks!

Hi everyone! I don’t mean to brag but I just wanted to thank you all because I have reached 200 followers! I did not start this blog thinking that anyone would be interested but 200 of you proved me otherwise. I am beyond happy at this news and will continue to do my best to give you quality content. I am still working on doing new blog series that will allow me to interact more with you all. Let me know if you have any ideas for me. I am always looking for feedback.

Anyways, I really just wanted to say thanks for following me and I hope you continue to enjoy my content.