Sunday, September 26, 2010

Movies, Books, and Bible Reading

In this episode of what Caitlin's been wasting her time on, we have some quality entertainment for you (in my opinion).
I love Hayao Miyazaki movies.  I have ever since my parents taped the version of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (renamed Warriors of the Wind)that they had on HBO when I was like three years old and they butchered the entire thing.  He was also involved with Spirited Away, which is probably the movie most people have seen that involves Studio Ghibli.  Anyways, he/they make super fantastic, fantasy movies.  I like his movies because they are smart childrens movies that have messages for adults too.  The movies all share similar elements like a very strong female (usually young) lead, magic, there is always some sort of flying element, and there is usually an environmental and anti war message (those last two I'm not crazy about, but I get over it).  Well, Ponyo is probably the youngest and childish movie he has made, but that is not to say it is not worth seeing.  The story focuses on a young goldfish princess who escapes from her father (some wizard or spirit of the ocean) and finds refuge with a 5 year old boy.  She finds the strength to turn herself human with her father's magic and stays with the boy, but it causes a horrible imbalance in the world.  The two commence on an adventure to save the world from being destroyed and to save Ponyo from changing back into a goldfish.  Disney's releases of these movies annoy me a bit because they only use celebrity voices that you would know, and I find it slightly distracting.  Whatever happened to employing voice actors that can actually act in an animated movie.  This seems a difficult feat for well known live action actors, and I hate it when I can recognize their voices because that is all I see, not the character.  But don't let this minor quibble stop you from seeing these beautiful movies. B
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
If you haven't noticed, I kinda love Harry Potter.  I have since I started the reading the books back in 7th grade (yes that was before they became an international smashing success).  I think the movies just keep getting better and better.  The acting, the cinematography, the story lines improve with each installment.  I know a lot of people do not like this book/movie the best because it focuses more on relationships and on back story rather than progressive action, but I really like it.  Both book and movie are full of character development (my favorite thing) and you get to learn a lot about Tom Riddle/Voldemort.  Sad thing in this movie is that they only show two back flashes, when there was a plethora for them to choose from, there was a random burning of a house that is kind of important that never happened in the book and only succeeded in pissing off a family's Christmas, and the ending is seriously lacking in action that should have been there.  And, no Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), one of my favorite actors.  Sad day.  But it is the most mature of the movies so far. A-
Wind at My Back Season 2

I first learned of this show about 10 years ago when the Hallmark channel or whatever it used to be called replayed them along with Dr. Quinn and Christy, some of my other favorite shows.  Wind at My Back is done by the same company that did the Anne of Green Gables miniseries and Road to Avonlea that used to play on the Disney channel back when they played quality shows and movies.  Wind at My Back follows Honey Bailey and her 2 sons, Fat and Hub, and her extended family.  It takes place in the 1930's Great Depression in Canada.  It deals with their struggles during this time financially, emotionally, raising a family, etc.  It is not too serious, every episode has a slight light feel, but that is not to say it is paltry or unimportant.  But, if you enjoyed Road to Avonlea or Anne of Green Gables at all, you will enjoy this super adorable serious, and there is some awesome clothing and hair inspiration in it too! A-
Little House on the Prairie Miniseries
I watched the miniseries Disney made based on the first two books of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series.  I have to say this is far superior to the 70's TV show.  Definitely not as syrupy and sweet, though still a fine example of family fare.  It is very well acted and chronicles the family's difficult journey to the Prairie, setting up a homestead, and fighting off the Indian attacks.  It is more serious that I expected from Disney and the soundtrack is very high quality.  I definitely recommend it if you enjoyed the TV series, enjoyed the books, or enjoy movies about a journey or family.B+
This is the first time I have ever watched this musical, and by chance caught it on TCM this week.  Gigi is dubbed the last great traditional musical MGM produced.  MGM also made My Fair Lady, and Gigi has a similar feel.  It takes place in 1900 Paris.  Gigi (Leslie Caron) is the main character, a young adolescent girl, about 16, who is very carefree in spirit.  However, she is being groomed by her aunt and grandmother to be a courtesan, and they are teaching her things like how to eat cold lobster properly, how to choose a proper cigar, etc.  Very important things, I assure you.  The young man in this story is Gaston (Louis Jourdan), a playboy of sorts and all the papers follow his every move.  Gaston is becoming bored with his lifestyle and finds refuge in his time he spends with Gigi, who at first, enjoy a more younger sister older brother type relationship.  But as the movie progresses, Gaston begins to think of Gigi as something more.  The songs are cute, the acting is fantastic, and the story is great, though I am surprised at the references to sex in this movie.  For the 50's, its pretty shocking to me, though extremely tame in today's standards.  A-
Peter Pan
I love anything to do with Peter Pan, and/or Tinkerbell.  That includes Disney's Peter Pan, Tinkerbell movies, Hook,  Peter Pan the musical and Finding Neverland.  This version of Peter Pan I definitely think is the best.  It is far darker than any I've seen, the acting is superb, and the filming/cinematography is gorgeous.  And, Jason Isaacs as Mr. Darling/Captain Hook?  Yes please.  I tend to be very critical of child actors, as I've said before, but I think all the children pretty much hold their own against the adults.  And the soundtrack is pretty much magical.  A+

The Demon's Covenant, Sarah Rees Brennan
This is the second book in the Demon's Lexicon Trilogy, and it just keeps getting better.  The first one is one of my very favorite YA books.  The writing is fun and sharp.  It is never dull, and the dialogue makes me laugh out loud at times.  It centers around 2 different sets of siblings.  There is Mae (older sister) and Jamie (younger brother), and Nick(younger brother) and Alan(older brother)Obviously, it deals with demons, but also evil wizards.  There is not much I can truly say about this plot without ruining the first book, but I can say that Nick and Alan are very good at getting rid of demons and wizards, which is how they first meet Mae and Jamie.  The main focus of both books is love.  Not just romantic love (though that does make an appearance), but more love of family.  Mae and Alan both go to extreme lengths to protect and save their respective siblings, and its book like these that I love most.  It also reminds me quite a lot of Supernatural, which can only be a good thing in my mind.  A+
Iron King, Julie Kagawa
This is one of the first books that focus solely on the Fae, or more commonly known as fairies.  The main character, Meghan, is 15, almost 16, and lives with her mother, step father and half brother.  When she was younger her father mysteriously disappeared, leaving practically no trace to follow.  Her step father has raised her but hardly notices her, same goes for her mother. The only one at school who really likes her is her best friend, Robbie.  On Meghan's 16th birthday, she finds out her brother has been kidnapped and exchanged with a changeling, and that her best friend is actually a fairy, and that she is more connected to his world than she realizes.  This book reminds me a lot of Jim Henson's Labyrinth movie, which I quite enjoy.  It is not boring in the slightest, and the two male leads, Robyn and Ash (prince of the Winter Court) are quite charming and very well written.  They are each given their own unique personality.  However, my problem with this novel over all is the main character.  This is girl is pretty much as dumb as a box of rocks, is gullible, and is pretty weak. She annoyed me to no end.  So, by all accounts with me not liking the main character, I shouldn't like this book at all.  However, with all the other elements, Meghan's annoying nature is canceled out and I plan on reading the next one in the series. B-

Bible Reading
Joshua 7- 2 Samuel 1
Basically what I have been reading is the story of David.  How he started off as a shepherd in his father's fields, to the slayer of Goliath, to Saul's right hand man, to Saul's most wanted, to being King.  There are just a few points I want to touch on.
1 Samuel 18: 1-4
"After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king's son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn't let him return home. And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself.  Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt"
 First off, don't we all yearn for a love and bond with someone as strong Jonathan and David's was.  It is a pure and unbreakable relationship, and one that you can not deny was God designed.  Jonathan was exactly what David needed in his life, and at every step he provided something else to him.  David, at first, needed a genuine friend.  And then, later on, he allowed David to escape from his father's wrath.  Critics of Christianity try to pervert Jonathan's love of David, and honestly it makes me sick.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  And, from the beginning of this chapter, when Jonathan gives David his clothes and weapons, we know that this is just the beginning of putting David ahead of himself.  And is that an implication to David being King, I see as well?

1 Samuel 18: 7-9
This was their song:
"Saul has killed his thousands,
  and David his ten thousands!"
This made Saul very angry. "What's this?" he said. "They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they'll be making him their king!" So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.
 This is what they sang in the streets, that David was a better warrior than Saul, and Saul became jealous.  Forget money... jealousy is the root of all evil.  Jealousy makes otherwise good people, ugly on the inside.  It makes people hate others because they have what the other person does not have.  Jealousy causes people to not be happy.  If you are jealous of someone you are saying you are unhappy with something about you.  Jealousy can take hold of you very easily and color your every move and word.  Is this something you struggle with?  Because I know I do.  I've even flat out told friends in the past that I am jealous of them.  It's not something I'm proud of, and honestly I struggle with it a lot.  And its not really about just one thing.  It is a whole lot of little things that I wish I could have but don't.  The past 2 weeks or so, I have been sort of in a slump or funk or whatever you want to call it.  I'm not really sure why, or even what my true reasoning for it is.  I've just had this really negative attitude and been short tempered and all around grumpy, and I feel at least part of it is because of me wanting a different life/situation than what I have, even though I live a perfectly great and fabulous life.  I've been praying lately for God to give me the strength to help me curb my jealousy and to help me to see the joy in what I do have.  I have so much to be thankful for, I get embarrassed at times with this issue, but it is just one of the many struggles that I live with daily.
1 Samuel 30: 6
David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God.
 I believe this happened when the Amalekites invaded where David and his men had been staying.  I love that David alone found strength in the Lord.  Here they are in this desperate situation where everyone thinks they have lost their entire families, including David.  And what does everyone do?  They blame David.  And what does David do?  He turns to the Lord and looks to Him for strength and knowledge.  How awesome is that?  If you were in that situation, would you be able to not freak out and rely solely on God?  I hope I could say "yes" that is exactly what I would do.  However, knowing me, I would probably freak just a little and then pray about it.

And lastly, our sermon today in church was about poverty.  And at first, it honestly felt like I was back in my social work classes learning about poverty and what we, as social workers and government workers need to do to help.  Here are some of the statistics I hope I wrote down correctly:
Of those in or applying for Low Income Housing:
83% are single Mothers
46% of those single mothers are 18 years old or younger
80% live on about $1,200 per year
and, 36% of those considered low income could not find adequate housing for themselves
Now are those statistics shocking to you?  Because they were for me.  I thought our pastor was going down the path of saying how the government needs to help them, how we need to help the government, which is all I basically heard all 4 years of college.  However, I was pleasantly surprised.  Right off the bat, I am going to say I will not apologize for my politics, and I do not hide my views on things very well.  I think the government pretty much does jack squat.  I don't think any of their programs truly help or get to the root of the problem.  And, I do not believe it is really the government's business to get involved in these type of affairs.  The government should not make me charitable.  Me, as a Christian, should feel and want to be charitable.  I as a Christian should want to give back to God...and in turn to those in need, as a response to our faithfulness.  I (me personally) need to give back what God has given me.  Christians should be the agents of change in the poverty problem.


Matt Hubbard said...

Thank you for writing down your thoughts, Caitlin. You make me think. Thank you for this gift.

Justice Pirate said...

I hate hate hate when people try to pervert David and Jonathan. They were just so close as if they were best friends who understood enough other in so many accountable ways that they had a love that was just so amazing. It bothers me that people try to make it seem like it was romantic. I do think that this is what happens sometimes for gay/lesbian couples but that they confuse it with the romantic love and pervert it too. It is an easy deception.

great reviews!

Benjamin said...

I agree, Justice. The relationship of Jonathan and David is too often interpreted through 21st Century lenses. In reality, platonic soulmates can and do occur--and they are good! It is true that it is easy to confuse a sexual component into an emotional bond, but that doesn't make it necessary or positive.

I had a soulmate when I was a kid whom I loved 'as my own soul.' But people insinuated things, including his parents, and we were eventually forced apart. Both gay people and church people assumed we were gay. The only difference was in how they felt about it.

But we weren't gay. We were like brothers. And it was the most painful thing in the world to lose our friendship so needlessly.

I'm writing a book about it, a book that follows the story of Jonathan and David--I'd love your input.