Monday, January 18, 2016

Movie Monday... Lee Daniel's The Butler

Hello Lovely Readers,

This post is dedicated to the wonderful Alan Rickman... who I fell in love with as Colonel Brandon.
Last week after hearing of his passing I went home and searched Netflix to see what films they had of his on. One of his films is Bottle shock, which if you haven't seen it is great, but I have seen it a few times and at that moment didn't feel the need to re-watch it.

 He has some great lines in it...
Another one of his films on Netflix was Lee Daniel's The Butler, it had been on my list for awhile but I never got around to watching it... so I wanted to check it out and see how Alan Rickman fit into the casting. Just to let you know he plays Ronald Regan and is really only in the film maybe 15 or 20 minutes, but was still a powerful movie.
{Alan Rickman as Ronald Regan}
I know there are a lot of racial issues in the film that I don't feel adequate to discuss...that almost made me not want to write this post. However, I think it is important for the lessons of the past to continue on to the present.
I don't like to consider myself an ignorant person (I guess no one does) but as history lover sometimes I will admit I like to sugar coat things or romanticize things... but there has been lots of struggles in our country and I think it is important to remember them because if we don't we will continue our ignorance. I think what got to me the most was just the hatred that exists in people (I almost typed "existed" but I know hatred still goes on). Which, I think is so sad because over and over again we are told that we are all God's children and God died for us... so how can we hate? I am not saying I don't have this down perfectly but I found this film to be a good reminder of how a little hate can become a big hate.


Okay I will step off my soap box and will now discuss the film... the casting was great from Forest Whitaker playing Cecil Gaines to Robin Williams playing President Eisenhower. I felt the story did a great job of showing the transition in time in the costuming, hair and makeup, and setting of the Gaines' home to the decorations of the White House. I also think the movie showed a great transition of what one man and what one family can go through to make a difference in small and big ways.

{Lenny Kravitz as James Halloway}
The movie starts in 1926 where we see Cecil's father shot in cold blood for standing up to the boss's son, which shocked me and then a few minutes later see two African American being hung. Yeah it really takes your breath away... So don't watch if faint of heart. But Cecil gets out of the situation and grows up to be a strong worker and though some think he is being "subservient" he is doing his best with the situation he has born in. We watch his son Louis Gaines (David Oyelowo) become more political doing protesting, freedom rides, and he gets beaten up, thrown in jail, attacked by KKK. (Yeah this is the part where the hatred comes in and it was hard to watch).
Over the course of the film both men grow... one learns not be so quiet and one learns to work more withing the system to effect change. But beyond the lives of these two men times continue to change and stories continue to unfold. I found it amazing to watch how much the country and even the world can change within a few decades.

Not to detract from the story, there was just a few details issues I that made me question it... the biggest one being James Marsden playing President Kennedy, as much as I think James Marsden is gorgeous I don't know if he looks like John F. Kennedy.

I also did not like that at the end it felt a little to political and that it was pushing an agenda. However, I will not let these facts detract from the powerful story it told. It is rated PG-13 for some language and powerful image (I would say the language that got me the most was how many times they used the N-word).

As this post is dedicated to Alan Rickman- I wanted to share this short interview of his I found on making this movie...

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Mostly Picture Update

Hello Lovely Readers,

I hope this New Years is finding you well... I know its only been six days but if you are like me you are still writing 2015 and then doing your best to make the 5 look like a 6. A few of my last post have been about movies, books, and favorite Christmas songs so I thought it was time for a little update on my life. 

I know Christmas is behind us but I am still replaying the moments I had with my family...

 A morning selfie of my nephew and I (he loves me even if it doesn't look like he does in this picture)
... he is showing signs of having red hair so I call him "little ginger man"
This is us at the park... notice the short sleeves, yeah Christmas in Houston is hot and humid
Playing with my niece and nephew... they invented the game "Squish Attack Aunt Blaire"
Helping my "little ginger man" open his first Christmas gift from me... Yep its a book
Books was unintentionally my theme for gifts

So even though the weather did not feel like Christmas with the family and the kids it was very Christmas-y

Speaking of books...
I am currently re-reading Mansfield Park and it quickly topping my list of favorite Jane Austen novels. Emma and Sense and Sensibility are at the top of my list but this one is joining the ranks. It is not the typical Austen novel because Fanny Price is not like her other heroines who speak their minds or stand up for themselves... no Fanny spends most of the time sitting around and thinking about the people around her, she is also often ignored by her family, and she seems okay with this because she doesn't want attention. The very first time I read this I couldn't finish it because she was so quiet and so mousy that I couldn't stand Fanny Price... now with age I have begun to love her.
Great article "In Defense of Fanny Price" {link}
If you are looking for a modern update of Mansfield Park I recommend the YouTube Series "From Mansfield with Love" (link to channel)

Here is a short trailer:
It is told as a video letter from Franks (Fanny) Price to her brother who is in the navy (or something like that) and she is recording her life for him. Thus far I have enjoyed these YouTube series updates on classic literature... so good job media specialist on keeping us in love with classic stories.

With my progress in NaNoWriMo (I got to 35,000 words) I was able to finish the first part of my story and made a good start on part 2... so I am eagerly making progress on it. After November, I didn't get much writing done, and while I was away for Christmas I didn't get any writing done (I did do some minimal editing on the plane rides). That's okay, as my friend reminds me I am doing this for myself... and while I would one day love to be published I am not on any deadline. Though I do have the goal of finishing the rough draft this story and get to the editing process. Though sometimes after writing a scene I think "Oh this would be much better someplace else" so my outline has gotten a bit of editing to it... and I think I might have to go back and re-write some scenes. Oh well... I love this process and enjoying the moments.

 I don't have a lot of prime time shows I am watching right now. But New Year's weekend was a good TV/ Movie weekend for me.
My friend and I went to go see Star Wars ep. 7 on New Year's day and then I watched the Sherlock "The Abominable Bride" episode. I don't want to give away any spoilers on either one of these things but I thought both were great... obviously for different reasons.
Also this weekend was special as it was the premier of Downton Abbey season 6.
Uh once again I don't want to give out any spoilers but the scenes between Mr. Carson. Mrs. Hughes, and Mrs. Patmore were my favorite. 
{Scenes from ep.1}
 Also over Christmas the show When Calls the Heart, also released their special episode. 
When Calls the Heart, is probably one of my guilty pleasures but I don't care it is a cheesy Hallmark Channel on the frontier period drama.
Needless to say my fangirl heart was very happy over New Years.

Usually I end these updates with a YouTube video I have recently discovered... and I don't want to break with tradition.
Song: "Hello" by Adele (cover)
Clips: Gilmore Girls- Rory and Jess

I think this song is actually quite fitting for their relationship and as the cover is sung by man, I think it tells the story from Jess's perspective.
I am eagerly awaiting for the release of the Netflix reunion episodes that last time I checked were to begin being filmed this year. YEAH!

Hope you have a good day.

Monday, January 4, 2016

I won't say resolutions but goals

Hello Lovely Readers,

It is the new year and I am sure like a lot of you, you are thinking about what you want to accomplish in this year. I don't think I really like the term resolution but I do have some goals I want to work on this year.

1) I want to be better in my quiet time... the last couple of months I have felt a little flat and I think one reason for this is that I have not stayed consistent in my Bible reading and prayer time. When I do pray and when I read the Bible it hasn't really sunk in and it hasn't made an impact on my life. I know I have a habit of looking to people, and silly things like TV shows and novels to fill me and give me comfort. I know things will always let me down.

My Bible reading has been scattered at best...and the last time I really felt connected I followed a scheduled that I made out for myself but inspired by friend. Lately I have been thinking about how faithful God is and His promises. So with the help of my topical index in the back of my Bible I am looking up passages... I have done this in the past with looking up passages that mention "Hope" (link) and it really helped me feel unstuck and encouraged my faith. I highly recommend if you are feeling stuck to think of a word (example: hope, faith, guidance, prayer or refuge) and to study passages on that subject.

Blog post... Hope is an Act of Waiting
2) Praying for others... Over the last couple of months I have also noticed when I sit down and pray I get so focused on my own problems I forget about others so I need to pray for others more. In that I need to get bold and ask "how can I pray for you?" I am an introvert so it is easier for me to hide behind this blog than actually talking to people and a couple of days ago I posted on Facebook asking people for prayer request but I need to actually talk to people and check in on them. However, if you are reading this blog and we don't see each other that often feel free to Facebook message me, text me or email me with a prayer request (Contact me)

As I was writing this I got distracted by Facebook (a common occurrence) but I saw my friend post this and I thought it followed what my last two goals have been...
3) Read and share more... In 2015 I did a reading challenge of trying to read 26 books (link) in the year (I think I ended up reading 30 or so books), at first I really like it as it helped me get out of my "post graduate brain slump" but over time I found I was "controlled" by the challenge and for a bit I resented it. I am not doing a challenge this year but I do want to read just as much and I want to share about them as well. While I usually write a "book blurb" post about different books I did not have a central area for sharing books I have read... well inspired by a conversation with my sister I decided to make a list of books I have liked over the years and I hope to add to this list. Click on my "All about books" to read more (link). I will keep posting my book blurbs but for books I highly recommend I will post them on this list... hope this helps you all find a good story. I also recommend the blog "Modern Mrs. Darcy" she has made her life about reading and writing about books and she post e-reader discounts (link to her Facebook page).
Modern Mrs. Darcy on Facebook
4) I want to finish the rough draft of my current work in progress "Quiet Hope" and get to the editing process of it. In that process I want to share more of my story with you all... sharing parts of my story (even if in rough draft) with you all has always kept me inspired to keep writing. I will try to get some post up soon.... hope you enjoy.

Have a good 2016!