Monday, March 18, 2013

Top Ten Movie Picks

Today I am taking part in Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh's Top Ten Movie Blogfest (hence the very creative and clever title) where participants are asked to list their top ten movies (hence the blogfest's very clever title).

This seems like a very easy blogfest (click on the logo to the left for a complete list of participants), but the real trouble comes from having to narrow down your favorite movies to just ten titles. I solved part of this problem by posting lots of my favorite movies all last week, but really all that did for me was leave me with a list of new movies to watch (Mystery Men, Time Bandits and more!). Not that this is a bad problem to have. It's just a time consuming one.

Anyway, I'm delaying. So here it is, after hours upon hours of careful deliberation, my current top ten favorite movies of all time...

(All movie images come from

10. The Avengers (2012, written by Joss Whedon and Zak Penn. Directed by Joss Whedon)

I know I just raved about this movie last Thursday but the truth remains that this is one of my favorite movies, and I will watch it constantly (much to the delight of my significant other) so, for now, it gets a spot on the list. I don't want to rehash my favorites moments (but if you look at my last post, you can read them) so here are a couple more...

Steve Rogers: Are you nuts?
Tony Stark: Jury's out.

Bruce Banner: Captain America is on the threat watch?
Natasha Romanoff: We all are.
Tony Stark: [to Steve Rogers] You're on that list? Are you above or below angry bees?

9. Stranger Than Fiction (2006, written by Zach Helm and directed by Marc Forster)

This is one of the two Will Farrell movies I actually like (Elf is the other) and the only one I built a lesson plan around so I could show it  in my classroom.

It's the story of an IRS auditor named Harold Crick (Will Farrell) who suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear as he's the main character of a novel being written by Kay Eiffel, an author (Emma Thompson) known for killing her main characters. Queen Latifah is Penny, Kay's assistant. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays the object of Harold's affection and Dustin Hoffman plays the literature professor who attempts to help Harold figure out which story he's in.

Some favorite lines:

Penny: And I suppose you smoked all these cigarettes?
Kay: No. They came pre-smoked.

Professor: Little did he know. That means there's something he doesn't know, which means there's something you don't know. Did you know that?

Kay: Like anything worth writing, it came inexplicably and without method.

8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975, written by the Monty Python Guys. Directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones)

King Arthur and the knights of the round table go on a quest to find the holy grail. Hilarity ensues. This is another movie for which I created a lesson plan because I really wanted to show it to my students. It was a good lesson plan, too, I swear. It's hard to pick a favorite scene but I think I have to go with Arthur's encounter with the Black Knight (Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left!)

Some favorite lines:

Black knight: It's only a flesh wound!

French soldier: Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.

Arthur: What are you going to do? Bleed on me?

7. Dead Poets Society (1989, written by Tom Schulman and directed by Peter Weir)

This movie is about an English teacher (Robin Williams) who inspires his students to love literature, think for themselves and challenge society. It all goes horribly wrong, of course, but it's a beautiful film that makes me cry every damn time. And yeah, I liked showing this one in school too. (Please note that there were days in which I did not show movies in my classroom) My absolute favorite scene in this film is at the end... it's the O Captain My Captain! part where Ethan Hawke and a bunch of the other boys stand on their desks. Awe. Some.

6. The Princess Bride
(1987, written by William Goldman and directed by Rob Reiner)

Early on last week, I talked about my favorite 80's fantasy films and this particular title was conspicuously absent from that list. This is the reason why. Even though it's a kissing story (or maybe because of it...), this movie has been on my top ten list ever since I first saw it. If the other 80's fantasy films didn't already make me love the fantasy genre, this one would've done it on its own. The entire damn movie is awesome and quotable, and I love to reference it.

And though I firmly believe there is no bad part of this movie, some of the best of the best are... the rhyming scene (would anybody like a peanut?) on the boat. At night. In eel-infested waters. Inigo and Westley's sword fight, and the visit to Miracle Max.

Miracle Max: Have fun storming the castle!
Valerie: Think it'll work?
Miracle Max: It'll take a miracle.

5. Amadeus (1984, written by Peter Shaffer, directed by Milos Forman)

This movie chronicles the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as seen through the eyes of his jealous rival, court composer Salierai. It's pretty damn amazing and takes my breath away every time I watch it. My favorite scene takes place at the end when Salerai helps a dying Mozart write the La Crimosa. I don't know if you've seen this movie or know of this particular song, but this scene is a perfect example of how music can take a story to a completely new level. My favorite line would probably be anytime Tom Hulce (who played Mozart) giggles and/or laughs. If you've seen this movie, you know what I'm talking about.

4. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003, written by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens (based on Tolkien's works) and directed by Peter Jackson))

Yeah, I know. I'm totally cheating by including all three of these films into one spot on this list, but it's damn near impossible to watch one without watching the other two, so I'm counting them as one. My favorite scene is probably in Return of the King, at the end where everyone's in Gondor watching Aragorn be crowned and he tells the hobbits "My friends, you bow to no one."  But I also love Pippin at the secret council meeting in the first movie when he asks "Where are we going?"

3. Shakespeare In Love (1998, written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, directed by John Madden)

William Shakespeare meets his muse and writes Romeo and Juliet (in which the first draft was called "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter) Delightfully witty and did I mention it stars a very swoon-worthy Joseph Fiennes as William Shakespeare?

Favorite scene: There's a scene where an inspired Will writes pages and pages and pages and, as a writer, I love it quite a lot, but I'm going to go with the moment he convinced Ned Allyn to perform the part of Mercutio by telling him that the play is titled "Mercutio."

Favorite line:

Henslow: No, no we haven't the time. Talk prose.

2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994, written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the short story by Stephen King)

A story about two imprisoned men and the bond they form. And a pretty awesome jail break. Just really gorgeous storytelling from beginning to end. My favorite scene is when Red plays the harmonica given to him by Andy. The symbolism that can be found in that snippet of a scene just makes my head explode with happiness.

Favorite line(s):

Red: I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

1. Serenity (2005, written and directed by Joss Whedon)

C'mon. Did you really think the Big Damn Movie wouldn't be my #1?

Some favorite lines:

Mal: I aim to misbehave.

Jayne: Shiny. Let's be bad guys.

Zoe: At last we can retire and give up this life of crime.

And last, but not least, here's my favorite scene...

Thanks to everyone who made it through my entire list. I tried to keep it short; I really did. And a big shout out to Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting today's blogfest and giving me a reason to drone on about my favorite movies. I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's picks!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Film Favorites: I Need A Hero (and a hug)

I write to you today from the pit of despair, where I am Westley having the life sucked out of me. I write to you from the swamps of sadness where I am somehow both Atreyu and Artax. I write to you from...other depressing-type places. I'm sorry. I'm just...too sad to think of any others.

If you follow NFL news at all, you may have heard that my beloved Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (as seen to your left) signed a deal. With the Denver Freaking Broncos. So today is the last day I can use the picture seen on your left because my beloved Wes Welker is a New England Patriot no more.

Obviously I am taking this poorly very well. While I have received taunts assurances from L.G. Smith that Wes Welker will be well taken care of and will look smashing catching PEYTON FREAKING MANNING'S touchdowns in his new blue and orange uniform, and while I am sure she's right, my heart is bereft and broken.

So while it may seem silly, I'm going to need a while to be okay with this. And by 'a while', I, a really long time because the truth remains that I'm still pretty pissed with Adam Vinatieri and I am was way more attached to Wes Welker than I was Adam.

And don't even get me started on Johnny Damon.

But let us not dwell on that...disappointment. Instead, let's take a look on the awesome side of life where the Veronica Mars movie was greenlit, thanks to Kickstarter and the efforts of fans everywhere.

In just eleven hours, fans worldwide raised the two million dollars needed to finance a big screen version of one of my all-time favorite television shows. And last time I checked, pledges are still rolling in.

The goal was to raise two million in thirty days, and the unfailingly loyal fans of this show did it in eleven hours.

Of course now we have to wait until 2014 to see this movie, but hey, it'll be worth the wait. And can I please buy my tickets now?

So now that we've covered the Facts of Life portion of this post, let's get down to my rundown on my favorite superhero/comic book  movies. I'll try to make it a little more brief than my previous posts, but I make no promises because first on my list is...

1. The Avengers

(Partially) written and directed by my idol—and yours—Joss 'the boss' Whedon, this movie really needs no introduction as I've talked about it nonstop since I saw it last May and, judging by the amount of money it made, most of you have seen it. And as for favorite moments/lines, there are seriously too many to list here. I really just want to post the entire movie for your viewing pleasure, but I am going to limit myself to just five moments and/or lines. If I don't happen to list your favorite, tell me what it is in the comments because I'm sure I love that moment too.

—Natasha's interrogation scene at the beginning, especially the parts where she kicks everyone's ass while tied to a chair and the snippet of Phil Coulson on hold.

—Hulk smashing Loki

—Hulk punching Thor

—Tony Stark: No hard feelings, Point Break, you've got a mean swing.

—Tony Stark: It's good to meet you, Dr. Banner. Your work on anti-electron collisions is unparalleled. And I'm a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.

Damn. Was that five already?

2. The Dark Knight/ The Dark Knight Rises

I've always Batman as a superhero—so much more than Superman or the Flash or Aquaman— and while I want to give a special shout-out to the 1966 Batman movie starring Adam West and Burt Ward (some days you just can't get rid of a bomb), I thought these two most recent Batman offerings were fantastic. I'd include the first in this trilogy too if it hadn't been for the unfortunate casting of Katie Holmes. Sorry, Joey Potter, but it is my opinion that you didn't belong in this movie. 

I don't know what I can say about Heath Ledger's Joker that hasn't already been said and more eloquently so than anything I could've come up with (which probably would've been 'awesome' because I apparently do not have a varied vocabulary whereas good movies are concerned)  and just last weekend I finally watched The Dark Knight Rises and spent most of the movie in love with Joseph Gordon-Leavitt and Anne Hathaway (possibly the best Catwoman ever. Sorry, Lee Merriweather) while squinting at Bane saying "I know that's supposed to be Tom Hardy, but how is that possible?"

Favorite lines (all from TDKR):

Lucius Fox: [to Batman] I like your new girlfriend!
Catwoman: He should be so lucky.

Catwoman: You could have gone anywhere, but you came back.
Batman: So did you.
Catwoman: Well then I guess we're both suckers.

3. The Incredibles

This is an animated film released by Pixar in 2004—featuring the vocal talents of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson and Jason Lee—that tells the story of a family of superheroes attempting to normal lives in suburbia. It has a great story, great animation and some truly hysterical scenes. Like when Edna Mode tells Bob why his redesigned superhero outfit could not have a cape. Or the scene of the family dinner. Or the conversation from the scene where superheroes undercover Bob and Lucius are rescuing people from a burning building:

Bob: Can't you put this out?
Lucius: I can't lay down a layer thick enough. It's evaporating too fast!
Bob: What's that mean?
Lucius: It means it's hot! And I'm dehydrated, Bob!
Bob: You're out of ice? You can't run out of ice! I thought you could use the water in the air!
Lucius: There *is no* water in the air! What's your excuse, running out of muscle?
Bob: I can't just go smashing through walls! The building's getting weaker by the second, it's going to come down on top of us!
Lucius: I wanted to go bowling!

But my absolute favorite scene (and the one I still quote from today) is the following:

And that's going to do it for me today. Tune in tomorrow when I'll probably talk about my favorite spoof movies.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Favorite Films: Spies Unlike Us

I'm a little late getting this post out there today, and I have The Store to blame for that. And if you don't care for today's genre, you can blame The Store for that too because my co-workers unanimously requested that I not post anything today that would require me to sing the Magic Dance song from Labyrinth on an endless loop while performing my own (slightly terrible) version of the actual dance. Normally, I don't much care what my co-workers want, but I'm hoping if I take this request seriously, they might do the same with my request that they stop discussing #1 Boss's cellulite ad nauseum. Apparently, the new crop pants do absolutely nothing for her figure. And I'll stop there because I don't want you to have the same nightmares I'm now having.

Anyway, so to appease my co-workers, I'm going to turn from 80's fantasy films and the silly music that accompanied them in favor of globe-trotting intrigue, deception and violence. Lots and lots of violence. (That's right, co-workers. Go ahead and talk about cellulite now!)

And just in case none of that intro was clear, today I'll be sharing some (again note the 'some') of my favorite spy/secret agent movies. And there are a lot of them (but I don't talk about all of them, I swear). I just love the action, I really do.

Hello, Salty Goodness!
1. Casino Royale/Skyfall

I have made no secret that while I love Bond movies in general, I think Daniel Craig is the Best. Bond. Ever. And it's not just because of pictures like the one found on the left (although it definitely doesn't hurt. Hellooooo, Nurse!). It's because I like a Bond who doesn't solely rely on gadgets. I like a Bond who can take out the bad guys with his bare hands if he needs to. The opening fight sequence of Casino Royale (released in 2006) followed by the crane/embassy fight followed by every other fight in this movie just really hammers home the point that this is a new breed of Bond. Skyfall (released in 2012) was equally, if not more so impressive. It was just a damn cool movie. And I may or may not have a crush on Q because he's freaking adorable (and awesome. Very, very awesome).

My favorite line from Casino Royale comes early on, just preceeding the aforementioned crane/embassy fight. Bond's incompetent partner repeatedly touches his earpiece and Bond finally says, "Stop touching your ear." And, for whatever reason, that line is often quoted in my house.

My favorite line from Skyfall belongs to Q:

Q: What did you expect? An exploding pen?

My favorite exchange from Skyfall is between Bond and Q:

Q: I'm guessing this is not official.
Bond: Not even remotely.
Q: So much for my promising career in espionage.

2. The Bourne Identity/ Supremacy/ Ultimatum
A man with amnesia and a bullet wound learns that he is a serious ass-kicking superspy-soldier-assassin guy with a killer apartment (no pun intended) in Paris.

The first movie is, by far, my favorite, (and henceforth will be the focus of this segment) but I have a hard time watching the first one without feeling compelled to watch the other two soon after. Again, this is another movie with an awesome fight scene at an Embassy. Consulate?  (note to self: avoid embassies...) And I swear the entire series contains some of the craziest chase scenes ever. The kind one needs Dramamine to be able to enjoy.

One of my favorite scenes, though, doesn't involve any fighting or stunt driving. It's in the first movie between Jason and Marie after she's retrieved a hotel bill Jason needs without going through the endless amounts of trouble Jason was setting her up for. It goes a little something like this:

Jason: What happened?
Marie: Nothing.
Jason: Did something go wrong?
Marie: I've got the records. This guy at the front desk was smiling at me, so I thought, all this trouble, maybe it's easier to just ask for them.
Jason: You have the bill?
Marie: [pulling paper from pocket] He made me a photocopy.
Jason: [incredulous] You just asked for it?
Marie: I said I was Mr. Kane's personal assistant.
Jason: [pause] Oh. Okay. Good thinking.

3. Undercover Blues

This movie, released in 1993, stars Dennis Quaid and Kathleen Turner as Jeff and Jane Blue—ex-spies vacationing in New Orleans with their baby girl. While there, they're harassed by one inept but determined mugger (played by a hilarious Stanley Tucci), a pair of local police detectives, and then the FBI who needs them to help with just one more job. 

The Man and I find this movie to be absolutely hilarious and endlessly quotable, as evidenced by the fact that we can't stop quoting this movie. Here are a few of our favorite lines:

Jane: You took our child into a knife fight?
Jeff: It was a fair fight. Two of them, two of us.

Ted: Cute baby. Boy or girl?
Jeff: Gosh, I hope so.

Jeff: I don't know what brand of vacuum you're currently using, but the Electrolux is the biggest sucker of them all.

Bad guy: Don't make any sudden movements.
Jeff: Why? Is there a bee on me?
Bad guy: I want you to get up from the table very, very slowly.
Jeff: 'Very, very'? Not just 'very'?

And.... I'm out of time because I've got to get to work, so I'm going to end this list here (please hold your applause). But here are a few

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)

1. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
2. Taken (2008) starring Liam Neeson
3. Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg
4. Haywire (2011) starring Gina Carano and Ewan McGregor
5. Hanna (2011) starring Saorise Roanan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett
6. North by Northwest (1959) starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and a crop duster plane

Told you I loved this genre. Tune in tomorrow to find out my favorite superhero/comic book movies! I'm guessing you already know my all time favorite, but the rest might be a surprise!

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Favorite Films... The 80's Edition

As you may already be aware, I am an 80's child, so I am so freaking excited to talk about today's selection because it's all about some (please note the some. I can't possibly cover them all because then we'd be here for three days) of my favorite movies from that decade.

Let's get started because I can't wait anymore!

1. The Dark Crystal

I'm pretty sure I don't have to say anything more. I mean, c'mon! It's the Dark Freakin' Crystal, man! But I'll deliver the spiel anyway... this is a 1982 movie by Jim Henson and Frank Oz and features some pretty damn awesome muppets. Puppets? Animatronics? Whatever you call them, they're awesome.

The plot centers around a young Gelfling, Jen, who's on a quest to find a missing shard of a magical crystal in order to save the world from the evil Skeksis. Along the way, Jen meets another Gelfing, Kira, and her rabid pomeranian, Fizzgig (just kidding about him being a pomeranian. He just really looks like one). Eventually they encounter Aughra, the Keeper of Secrets, and ride weird-looking things called Landstriders and then (spoiler alert!) they save the world.

But it's not easily done and there is some pretty intense, scary stuff to be found along the way, but I think this is the film that really inspired my love of all things fantasy.

Favorite Lines:

Aughra: Where is he?
Jen: He's dead.
Aughra: Could be anywhere then.

Jen: Wings? I don't have wings!
Kira: Of course not. You're a boy.

2. The Last Unicorn
Released the same year as The Dark Crystal, this animated film (based on the novel by Peter S. Beagle)  cemented my love of all things fantasy. I honestly don't know which one was released first, but it doesn't matter. 1982 is the year I fell in love with fantasy.

This movie features the vocal talents of Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges, Angela Lansbury, Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee. It tells the story of a unicorn (Mia), a magician (Alan) and a woman (Tammy Grimes) on a quest to find what has happened to all the other unicorns. It's said the Red Bull (not to be confused with the horribly-bad-for-you energy drink) has chased them all into the sea. Along the way, the unicorn is accidentally turned human and then accidentally falls in love with the son (Jeff Bridges) of the evil king (Christopher Lee) who controls the Red Bull.

Favorite Lines:

Unicorn: I am no longer like the other, for no unicorn was ever born who could regret, but now I do. I regret.

Molly: Why must you always speak in riddles?
The Cat: Because I be what I be. I would tell you what you want to know if I could, mum, but I be a cat. And no cat anywhere ever gave anyone a straight answer.

Unicorn: I cannot change you into something you are not. I cannot make you a real magician.
Schmendrick: Ah it's okay. Don't worry about it.
Unicorn: Oh I won't.

3. The Never Ending Story

Released in 1984, this movie tells the story of tormented school boy, Bastian. One day, while escaping from bullies, he ends up in an old book store and ends up "borrowing" an ancient story book. He spends the day hiding in an attic reading the book and is drawn into the fantasy world of Fantasia which, of course, is in need of saving.

This movie had a huge impact on me. Atreyu (portrayed by Noah Hathaway) and his horse, Artax, were the coolest freaking thing ever. I wanted to be the female version of Atreyu so damn badly, I spent a lot of my formative years running around with a homemade bow—a slightly curved stick and some kite string— on my back (I occasionally still do this. I can just afford better weaponry now). And the scene where (SPOILER ALERT) Atreyu loses Artax in the Swamps of Sadness still depresses the hell out of me. Just thinking about it now is making me a little misty-eyed. All right, fine, a lot misty-eyed. But I'm sure I'm not alone.

*cue crickets*

This movie thrills and delights and makes you hold your breath and gasp and yelp and all those kind of things. The part with the wolf near the end scared the bejeezus out of me when I was younger and still makes my pulse race today. And the very end, with Bastian and Falcor remains just a very cool moment in cinematic history.

4. Labyrinth

Last, but not least, is this 1986 movie featuring Jennifer Connelly as Sarah the girl on a mission and David Freakin' Bowie as the Jareth the Goblin King. It has some awesome muppet action, some very cool songs (yes, that are on my iPod) and dances and endless quotable opportunities (at least if you're me).

The goblins come and take Sarah's baby brother away so she goes after him. She's given thirteen hours to navigate her way through the labyrinth. If she doesn't make it, Jareth will keep her brother. Along the way, Sarah encounters some strange places (the bog of eternal stench, anyone?) and meets a varied cast of colorful characters including friends Hoggle and Ludo, the Fierys, the Doorknockers (one of us always lies and one of us always tells the truth...), and more!

And did I mention the songs and dancing? Here's a prime example...

Since I can't possibly top that, I'm going to end here for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow when I talk about some other movie genre that I love. Will it be superhero/comic book movies or spy/secret agent movies? Or something else I haven't yet thought of?

Until  next time...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Goal Success and Movie Week Kick Off!

There's a lot to talk about today and I've been saddled with an extra shift at The Store (be sure to watch my Twitter feed for sarcastic haiku!) so I'm going to just jump right into things, starting with a recap of my goals from last week. I know you've all lost sleep wondering how I did with them—although the title of today's post might be a bit of a giveaway—and I don't want to keep you in suspense any longer...

1. Complete edits for part three of Effigy. This is approximately 185 pages.

Done. They actually went a little too well, which maybe doesn't make sense to anyone who isn't me, but I got to the end and I just...I felt like I had missed something. Not quite sure what to do about that, but I can kind of feel another freak out attempting to work its way in. Blurg.

2. Attend New Hampshire's Writers' Night Out event. This is a networking event held in various locations all over the state, and will be held in the Mount Washington Valley for the very first time. So I am going to do. And socialize and network. Even though the very idea of it makes my stomach hurt.

I did this too. I was very concerned about it, but it was a small group of writers with whom I was already acquainted so that helped a lot. As did the rather large Long Island Iced Tea I drank in record time (it's amazing how much easier socializing gets once you've downed one of those). It was pretty funny watching a group of writers attempt to socialize with each other and the general public. Are all writers so socially awkward, or is it a MWV thing? I'm not entirely sure the bartender will be happy to see us come back next month.

3. Start walking again. It's supposed to be above freezing for much of the week and the sidewalks are kind of clear, so it's time to hit the pavement again. Attempt to get at least three three mile walks in this week.

I did this too. I even did some extra mileage because I'm a go-getter. No, wait, no I'm not a go-getter at all. I just did some extra mileage because that's just how things worked out.

To celebrate three 100% completion weeks in a row, I am giving myself the gift of no goals for the next week. There are a few run-off edits to be completed for Effigy, but I have until the end of the month to finish them.

And now for something completely different...
Next Monday, Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting the Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest so I am taking advantage of this to host my own little movie week on My Pet Blog. I don't know how many posts there will be (how things go at my day job this week will determine that), but how ever many there are will be about my favorite movies, by genre—for example Superhero, Spy/Secret Agent, Heist, Animated, whatever. Then, next Monday, I will reveal my (current) Top Ten all time favorite movies. 

Today's featured genre is swash-buckling. Maybe that isn't normally a genre, but it is today because that's what I'm in the mood for. So here are some of my favorite swash-buckling movies (yes, I have more than one...) 

1. The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Released in 2003, based on a Disney theme park ride, and staring Kiera Knightly, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, this movie kills me. I love it. I'm not as fond as the two sequels, but I will gladly watch this first one over and over again. Action, swordfights, humor and Johnny freakin' Depp playing the world's coolest pirate. What's not the love?

Favorite lines:

Will Turner: You cheated!
Jack Sparrow: Pirate.

Elizabeth: Like pain? Try wearing a corset!

Jack Sparrow: Why is the rum gone?

2. The Three Muskateers

There have been many upon many movie versions, but the one I'm talking about is the so-bad-it's-awesome 1993 Disney classic starring Keifer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen and Oliver Platt as the titular Muskateers. Chris O'Donnell, doing some of his very finest eyebrow acting, stars as D'Artangan, but the real casting coup here was Tim Curry as Cardinal Richelieu. It's possible I have entirely too much making fun of this movie.

As there are too many favorite lines to count, I'm just going to share with you this one scene:

[five Cardinal's guards ride up as Athos and D'Artagnan prepare to duel]
Athos: Only a fool would try and arrest us twice in one day.
Jussac: You're under arrest.
Aramis, Porthos: A fool.
Jussac: Are you coming peacefully or do you intend to resist?
Porthos: Oh don't be so stupid, of course we intend to resist! Just give us a moment, all right?
[to his comrades:]
Porthos: Five of them, three of us. Hardly seems fair.
Aramis: Maybe we should give them a chance to surrender.
D'Artagnan: Excuse me, but there's four of us.
Athos: It's not your fight. You're not a Musketeer.
D'Artagnan: I may not wear the tunic, but I believe I have the heart of a Musketeer.
Porthos: Warrior!
Aramis: Poet!
Athos: You got a name, boy?
D'Artagnan: D'Artagnan.
Athos: Athos, Porthos, Aramis.
Porthos: Pleased to meet you again.
Aramis: Pleasure.
Porthos: Everyone acquainted?
[the four whirl around and unsheathe their swords]
Porthos: NOW, we are prepared to resist you!
3. The Count of Monte Cristo 

Not sure if this one counts as a swashbuckling movie, but there is a big sword fight at the end, so I'm going to let it slide. This is a 2002 movie starring Jim Cavezial, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris, and a young Henry Cavill. The storyline only very loosely follows its source material (sorry, Alexandre Dumas!) but, in my opinion, it's the better for it. This movie is packed with action, adventure, revenge, and sprinkled with a healthy dose of humor (thanks, in large part, to Luis Guzman), and I always love a movie that can make me laugh.
I was hoping to find a video of Luis Guzman's best moments in the movie, but alas, there isn't one, so I will share with you instead the trailer:


So that's going to do it for me today. Sorry about the extreme length. If you made it all the way to the end, please award yourself massive amounts of bonus points. Who knows—someday they could be worth something...

Until next time, all.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Writing Wisdom (An IWSG Post)

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of uber blogger and author Alex J. Cavanaugh and is an opportunity for insecure writers everywhere (not that any of us are ever insecure, right?) a safe environment in which to confess their deepest fears or offer encouragement to others, or some combination of the two. Click on the graphic to the left for a complete list of participants...

As I'm still languishing in the land of the endless edits, I'm going to cheat a little on today's post and just share with you some of my favorite, most inspirational writing quotes and other...things (I couldn't resist including a little Nick Miller). I assume you'll forgive me because I assume you've all been there at one point or another as editing is one of those necessary joys and/or evils (depending on your personal feelings on the subject).

First up is my idol (and yours... don't try to deny it) Joss 'The Boss' Whedon...

"I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of."

"Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE."

And now for some others...

And finally, because I am obsessed with Nick Miller the Writer (from the show "New Girl")...

Happy Writing, all!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Insert Title Here.

I don't have a cool song title for this Monday's post. I thought about using "I Don't Like Mondays" but I don't think I care about Mondays one way or another. Then that made me think I should use "A Case of the Mondays" from Office Space, but I decided to save that for a day when I'm actually having a case of the Mondays. That'll probably be my next shift at The Store, regardless of what day it actually is. The Store's like that.

Anyway, here's where I ended up with last week's goals:
1. Implement changes to part two of Effigy. This is approximately 150 pages, which is still no small amount, so try not to put it off so long this time, okay?

Done and done. I finished early even, wrapping up this part of the edit by Friday evening so I could take the entire weekend off. I know I should've gotten a jump start on the next round of edits, but damn, I really wanted/needed the weekend away from it.
2. Attend my goddaughter's dance recital, which, normally wouldn't appear on a goal list, but this particular recital is held in a location which will require me to drive to a city with more than two roads running parallel to each other, and possibly parallel park my car, which is a concern because I haven't parallel parked a vehicle since the day I passed my driver's test and my current car is a lot larger than the tiny little sedan I drove that day.

I did this one too! Of course, I drove up and down the road until a space opened up that wouldn't require me to truly parallel park my car, and because it was in front of a school, I'm probably on some watch list now, but it'll be a good long while before I have to go back there so I think it'll be all right. Let me just say my goddaughter is a beautiful dancer, and I couldn't be prouder.

3. Read a book.

I actually read two books. Look at me, all overachieving. What ever will I do next?

Oh wait. I know...

Here are this week's goals:

1. Complete edits for part three of Effigy. This is approximately 185 pages.

2. Attend New Hampshire's Writers' Night Out. This is a networking event held all over the state in various locations. This will be the  first time its held in the Mount Washington Valley. So I am going to go. And socialize and network. Even though the very idea of it makes my stomach hurt.

3. Start walking again. It's supposed to be above freezing for much of the week and the sidewalks are kind of clear, so it's time to hit the pavement again. Attempt to get at least three three mile walks in this week.

So that's going to do it for me today. What are your goals for the week?

Until next time... 


Friday, March 1, 2013

In Which I Review Books

So I spent quite a lot of time in February editing and not reading, but I did manage to get a few titles under my belt. Here's what they were and what I thought of them...

Sever- Lauren DeStefano- (THIS WILL PROBABLY CONTAIN SPOILERS) The final novel in her Chemical Garden trilogy. I thought the first book was rather beautiful (as was its cover), and I liked it far more than I thought I would. The second book was still good, but it didn't thrill me nearly as much. This third book is beautifully written (though I quite hated the cover) and really sad at times (which I don't mind because I like sad stories). But, I also thought it was a tad incomplete, especially knowing this is the final installment in the series. I felt like poor Gabriel was reduced to an afterthought, and I thought, after everything he'd gone through in the first two books, that he deserved more. And Rhine spends two entire novels trying to find her way back to her brother, then when she finds him in this book, everything fell flat. I wasn't wild about the resolution of the virus/fever storyline, mostly because there didn't seem to be much to it. But I enjoyed Cecily and Linden and Reed and, again, the writing is lovely, and I did think the actual ending of the book was a very fitting end to the series.

Touch and Go- Lisa Gardner- I don't mean to sound condescending (well, no more than I usually do, anyway) as she's a bestselling author while I'm an unpublished nobody, but I think her books keep getting better. This is her first book where I didn't figure out the ending long before I got there. There were a number of well-placed red herrings (and one that seemed to be rather lame), but I thought this was a very well-crafted mystery. I liked the three narrators, particularly Wyatt (the New Hampshire cop) and I hope we see him again some time.

Looking For Rachel Wallace- Robert B. Parker- One of the early Spenser mysteries. I've loved this series ever since I started reading it in high school, and this novel is one of my favorites from that series. I decided to reread it the other day during a snowstorm and a snowstorm a big part of this novel. Plus, there are some very funny moments to be found here. If you're a fan of detective stories, and you haven't read this series, you really, really should.

The Lady of Rivers- Philippa Gregory- This is the third novel in her Cousins' War series, but the first chronologically. I am a huge fan of Gregory's novels, but I haven't been the biggest fan of this particular series (The second book, The Red Queen, I didn't much like at all).  It tells the story of Jacquetta, the mother of Elizabeth Woodville (who becomes the Queen of England and is the central character in the series's first book The White Queen) and I thought it fluctuated between being very cool and rather boring. So I didn't hate it, but neither did I love it. I vastly prefer the Tudor novels.


That's going to do it for me today... I have to get back to editing. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!