TTT: L’Abri Film Night

I’m celebrating this week’s movie freebie by reminiscing about my time at L’Abri, a Christian hospitality ministry.  I was at their location in England for three months earlier this year.  Every week, on Wednesday evening, our study room was transformed into a theater.  One of the staff members would pick a film and we would watch it while eating cinnamon-sugar popcorn.  When the movie ended, we’d spend half an hour or so discussing it.

The movies that were chosen were usually the kind that make you think.  I got to see several fantastic titles (some of which I’ve included in my list) and lots of foreign films.  I love watching movies that engage you on a deeper level than mere entertainment.

So, I’ve chosen a list of movies that I would show at L’Abri if I had the chance.

  1. Midnight in Paris (2011): One of my all-time favorites, this movie has a lot to say about nostalgia and the dangers of Golden-Age thinking.
  2. The Imitation Game (2014): I watched this one on an airplane and had to stop it multiple times just to think about what was going on.  In addition to being a great historical piece, the messages about homosexuality is an important one.
  3. Les Miserables (2012): Although I prefer the stage version, the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece raises great questions about grace, forgiveness, and redemption.
  4. Inside Out (2015): I watched this one while at L’Abri.  Pixar movies do such a great job at creating movies that are both entertaining and enlightening.  Inside Out is no exception with messages about the complexity of emotions.  It can also be seen as a critique of American uber-positivity.
  5. Lars and the Real Girl (2007): Here’s another one I was introduced to at L’Abri.  The premise is odd and uncomfortable at times, but it’s really a beautiful message about community.
  6. About Time (2013): Again, one of my favorite movies and one of the few to make me cry.  You think it’s going to be a happy romantic comedy, but then it turns out to be a beautiful story about family and what makes life worthwhile.
  7. Her (2013): This movie is super weird and uncomfortable at points.  I include it on my list because, when we watched it at L’Abri, it raised so many question and thoughts that we were still talking about it for a week and a half later.
  8. The Truman Show (1998): This movie raises so many ethical questions, especially since it predates the rise of reality television, and I’d love to have a discussion about it.

What movies make you think?  What ones would you like to have an intellectual group discussion about?

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up hosted at The Broke and the Bookish

For more of my bookish adventures, add me on Goodreads!

Tear Ducts of Steel

I rarely cry.  Is that weird?

I know people who cry at everything from sad movies to diaper commercials (apparently, the babies are so cute they can’t emotionally handle it).  Tears of devastation and rage are shed in the wake of global tragedies and tears of joy flow forth when reunited with loved ones.  There are tears for everything–tears of frustration, of deep sadness, of the messiness of everyday life.

And then, there’s me. Continue reading

Sunshine Bloggers Award

Once again, I’m a bit behind regarding awards.  Oh well!  Better late than never!sunshine-blogger-award-300x300

A while back, Aimee from Pocket Writes nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award!  It’s always an honor to be considered–especially since this award has to do with being uplifting and encouraging.  Thank you so much, Aimee!

Every award is different and this one involves three things: thank the person who nominated you, answer the given questions, and nominate others.  I’m covering two out of those three things.  (See my Award Policies page for more info on why.)

Now for the questions…

What is your biggest fear?

I can handle most insects, but I’m downright terrified of centipedes.  The way they move with all those legs… ICK.  On a more serious note, I think my biggest fear is mediocrity.  I want so badly to make an impact on the world, to help people and bring light and hope to dark places.  It’s so easy to fall short of dreams for the sake of what is easy and comfortable.  But I’m doing my best to make the most of each day, knowing that big dreams happen in small steps.  I’ll get there someday.

Which one thing are you addicted to?

Nutella.  Oh my gosh.  It’s dangerous how much I love Nutella.  Any jar around me needs to be locked up lest I eat the entire bottle in a terrifyingly short period of time.

Do you have any pet peeves? What are they?

I hate it when people don’t shut doors all the way.  I really dislike anything that glows in the dark when I’m trying to sleep.  Also, it drives me crazy when my parents talk in loud voices early in the morning.  My room is right next to the kitchen and the sound goes right through my door, waking me up.

What is your perfect idea of a ‘relaxation day’?

Lounging on my couch in pajamas drinking tea while reading a book or watching Netflix is absolute heaven.  I also really enjoy shopping, especially this time of year when all the stores are filled with sweaters and scarves.

How do you deal with stress?

I tend to avoid it as much as possible.  For example, in college I rarely procrastinated because the threat of being stressed was too formidable.  Most of my essays were written a week before they were due.  When stress does happen, my worldview tends to shrink to the point where I get tunnel vision.  Everything is suddenly about me, my stress, my problems.  I tend to throw a pity party for myself and forget about other people’s issues and concerns.  I think that I become a pretty icky person to be around–which is why I go to great lengths to avoid being stressed.

Which is one habit of yours you wish to improve/change?

We sell these little pumpkin-shaped chocolates at my family’s apple orchard.  Throughout the day, I constantly snitch them.  I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember.  It’s an awful habit and I sometimes feel guilty… but I also love eating chocolate.

Where’s your favorite ‘hanging out’ spot?

Probably my bedroom.  There’s nothing better than curling up in bed with a book.

How do you prefer to spend your weekends?

I currently work most weekends, but if I had them free, they would be lazy with a few social plans thrown in.  If I’m busy one day, I like to have the other to relax and recharge.  I love sleeping in, reading and drinking tea, spending time painting, or going for a morning bike ride.  Sundays involve church, but the rest of the day is mine.  I like spending afternoons doing non-energetic social things like shopping or hanging one-on-one with a friend.

Are you a movie buff? What are your favorite movies?

I wouldn’t call myself a buff, but I really enjoy watching movies and never miss watching the Oscars.  Favorites include Midnight in Paris, The Princess Bride, Ever After, While You Were Sleeping, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Sound of Music, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and anything from the Disney Renaissance.

Which event do you feel changed your life the most?

There have been several, but my first major life event happened my freshman year of high school.  Believe it or not, up until this point, I was a committed basketball player.  I started playing on teams as early as they were offered.  In middle school, my winters were consumed with multiple practices a night.  But as I got older, the game became more serious and it was evident that I wasn’t able to keep up.  My teammates excelled while I regressed.  I had a coach tell my mom that, “I can’t have your daughter on the court screwing things up while the other girls could be out there winning.  If anyone had been cut this year, it would have been her.  Be thankful she’s out there at all.”

Scarred from a diminishing basketball career, I entered high school and joined the marching band.  There, I made tons of new friends with whom I shared more interests than any of my former teammates.  At the end of the season, all my band friends started talking about how they were joining the Speech team once winter came.  Up until this point, I had planned on staying in sports… but I started to reconsider.  Why stick with a sport I’m not good at with people I don’t like very much when I could be giving speeches and hanging out with my friends?

Long story short, I joined Speech.  Looking back, this decision was absolutely HUGE.  Speech shaped me in ways that sports never would.  It gave me a chance to write and perform my own pieces, to become a comfortable public speaker, and hang out with my friends.  My Speech career was extremely successful–I ended up captaining the team for two years and competing in the State tournament.  In college, I was able to judge meets assist in coaching for the local high school team.  Through Speech, I gained my voice, learned leadership, and picked up critical thinking and analysis skills that I know will play a key role in my future.

What did your ten-years-younger self think you’d be doing right now?

Honestly, I don’t think twelve-year-old Amelia had many lifelong ambitions.  She wanted to go to college and someday get a boyfriend.  She’d be pleased to know that I now have a degree, but probably wouldn’t be too thrilled that her twenty-two year-old self has yet to date anyone.  It’s okay, little Amelia.  There’s still lots of time.

———–*———-*———-

Thanks, again, Aimee for the nomination!  She answered similar questions to mine, so be sure to visit her Sunshine award post to see her answers.  Check out her blog as well–she’s a really good writer, likes books, and does really cool cross-stitching.

What’s Your Favorite Movie? (Writing 101, Day 8)

A while back, my friend Holly from In Spec made a post about the movie Lost in Translation. When you’re done reading this post, please check her site out because she is a smashing good writer. At the end of the post, she posed a question: What is your favorite movie?

(I love it when bloggers ask questions at the end of their posts because I’m the type of person who usually doesn’t comment on things. If I don’t have anything to say, I usually keep silent. That’s why I love the “like” button so much. It allows me to appreciate without articulation. But I digress.)

Holly is an old friend (we went to high school AND college together), so of course I answered her question. I told her that my favorite movie is Midnight in Paris.

If you’ve never seen it, let me give you a synopsis. Normally, I’d post the trailer, but it is one of the few that reveals little to nothing about the movie. Midnight in Paris is about a man who goes to Paris with his fiancé and future in-laws. This man is an idealistic dreamer. Although he made his millions writing Hollywood screenplays, he has always dreamed of writing novels. When we meet him, he has just finished a major draft. During the day, our characters, joined by some friends they unexpectedly meet, soak in Parisian culture by visiting museums, palaces, and wine tastings. Frustrated his companion’s shallow pseudo intellectualism, our hero takes a midnight stroll to clear his mind and finds himself… well… I don’t want to spoil things.

I adore this film. The first time I saw it, I was practically rolling around on the ground salivating. (Yes, I was geeking out that much. My mother can verify this.) Midnight in Paris feels literary—with themes, motifs, cultural statements… all the things that gets a former English major excited.

Midnight in Paris is all about nostalgia. It’s about the longing that dreamers have for times-gone-by. The film deconstructs the idea of the “Golden Age”. It explores the way we idealize the past and beautifully points out that the people in our Golden Ages were doing the exact same thing. Ultimately, the film celebrates times gone by, but encourages viewers to appreciate and delight in the present.

I’m a naturally nostalgic person, so this film tugs at all my heartstrings. It’s got a star-studded cast, filled with all kinds of fun surprises. The film is poignant, frustrating, and very, very beautiful.

Since Holly has given me such a great model, I’m going to end this post in the same way she ended hers:

What is your favorite movie? What do you like about it?

Removing the Pedestal: Why Paper Towns is Culturally Important

This weekend, my the film adaptation of my favorite John Green novel is being released.  In light of this, I’d like to pause my usual On the Shelf book reviews in order to talk about why this story is important–not just to me, but to culture in general.

As far as plots go, Paper Towns is predictable.

Q, the hero of the book, fits the average, nice guy mold to a tee.  He drives his mom’s minivan, hangs out with the band kids, and hates the whole idea of prom.  He actually tries (to an extent) in school, never breaks rules, and is secretly in love with the girl next door.

Then, one night, Margo Roth Spiegelman (the beautiful, mysterious girl Q loves) shows up at his window and takes him on the all-night, prank filled adventure of his dreams.

We live in a culture that idealizes women.  We place them up on pedestals, see only the pieces of them that we choose, and in the process.  Women are seen as perfect, pristine creatures that must be served, protected, and loved.  In the process, their humanity slips away.  Idealized women are scattered throughout literature, starting with the Troubadours in medieval France.  It was true in the Victorian Age when Coventry Patmore wrote his famous poem about “Angels in the House“.  It happens in Tennyson’s Guinevere in Idyls of the King–a poem in which the failure of Camelot’s queen to live on a pedestal brings about the destruction of a nation.  The idealized women shows up in the form of Daisy Buchanan in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.  There are hundreds of examples out there.  Literature and film are great shapers of how people think and the presence of supposedly perfect women only leads to the expectation that such women actually exist. (Newsflash: They don’t.)

It’s not surprising, then, that our fictional friend Margo finds herself on a pedestal.  In fact, this is one of the first things we ever learn about her.  In the novel’s prologue, Q informs us that:

The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightning, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.

When the wonderful miracle that is Margo disappears, of course Q feels compelled to rescue her.

In addition to idealizing women, culture has messages for men as well.  You see, we live in a culture that is obsessed with guys “getting the girl”.  Don’t believe me?  Go pick up any chick flick released in the past thirty years.  You’ll see what I’m talking about.  So many movies and books teach men that they can get the girl if they just try hard enough.  Although this story line leads to some adorable, enjoyable, films, it also introduces rhetoric that is alarming.  It implies that nice guys get girls.  Which isn’t always the case.

Messages like these are powerful.  They have consequences.  In 2014, Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree on his college campus to enact revenge against all women.  His logic?  Watch the video he made before committing his murders.  It’s bone-chillingly familiar.

Back to Paper Towns.

The story has been told before.  Average boy (Q) loves unattainable, idealized girl next door (Margo).  Idealized girl disappears and average boy feels the need to rescue her.  They fall in love, ride into the sunset, and live happily ever after.

Or do they?

This is where Green turns the tables.  This is where things get good.

What if Margo is aware that everyone around her idealizes her?  What if she would rather disappear completely than continue living on her pedestal?  What if Q goes on a quest to save her but, instead of saving her, discovers that he never actually knew her in the first place?

The story’s main message is pounded into Q’s head through retracing Margo’s steps and closely analyzing Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself”.  In order to find Margo, Q must put himself in her shoes, to see the world as she does.  In the process, he learns that he knows nothing.

Q’s quest, ultimately, isn’t about Margo at all.  It’s about stripping away preconceived notions and learning to see people as they really are.  At one point, one of his friends even points this out, saying “You know your problem, Quentin? You keep expecting people not to be themselves.

Ultimately, this leads to Q’s major revelation:

Yes. The fundamental mistake I had always made—and that she had, in fairness, always led me to make—was this: Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl.

This is why I love Paper Towns.  Green spoon feeds us the expected “boy gets girl” story only to turn the tables.  The story isn’t about finding Margo.  It’s about taking Margo off the pedestal and restoring her humanity.  It’s about stripping away the ideal and acknowledging that people, even beautiful ones, are cracked, flawed, and messed up.  In the end, the story presents us with the challenge of seeing people as they really are.

My favorite line from the book states it perfectly:

To finish it all off, I’m really looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation.  I know it won’t be exactly like the book, but I’m okay with that.  I’ve been assured by John Green (via Vlogbrothers videos) that it stays true to the message of the book–a message that I believe is powerful and relevant.

P.S. Much of this post was influenced by the Courtly Love literature class I took this past Spring.  A huge thank you to my professor for giving me insight into the importance of these messages and the way they affect society.

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award (Part II)

Exciting news!  Amanda from Amanda Under Construction was kind enough to nominate me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award!  I met her through Blogging 101 and her site is a real treat–do check it out! sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-014 Since I’ve received this award before (see first post here), I’m going to skip all the hoo-ha and simply answer the questions.  (There’s more to it, but if you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ll know that I’m super awkward about the whole nomination business.)

Amanda’s Questions:

1. Favorite social media platform?

Probably Instagram.  It doesn’t suck up a great deal of time and I love all the photos.  (Follow me at ameliab648!)

2. Favorite movie? Most recent movie you’ve seen?

Most recent: Jurassic World

Favorite: Midnight in Paris

3. What’s been the best day of your life so far?

Describe it! I’ve actually written posts about this!  “An Afternoon in Austria” describes the process of getting to five of the best days I’ve ever had.  On my travel blog, “The Austria Post” gives more of a general impression.  In it, I talk a lot about how visiting my friends impacted my Christian faith at the time.

4. Ryan Gosling or Jake Gyllenhaal?

Both are attractive, but if pressed to choose…

5. Name a female that you look up to/you see as a mentor/role model! (Celeb, mom, whatever.)

This woman:

Not only is J.K. Rowling an incredible storyteller, but I’m always blown away at her poise in the public sphere.  Her 2008 Harvard Commencement speech is one of my absolute favorites–I’ve listened to her wise words about the importance of failure and benefits of imagination multiple times and they never fail to give me chills.  Her rags-to-riches story has always inspired me greatly.  I also really admire her empathy to those less-fortunate and her incredible ability to send scalding, but still elegant retorts in 140 characters or less on Twitter.

6. Best compliment you’ve ever received?

Four years ago, I spent the summer before my freshman year of college volunteering at my local library.  There was a librarian there I really liked.  Recently, my mother was at a meeting for prominent local business people and ran into her.  The librarian, recognizing my mom, inquired about my current well-being.  When I heard about the encounter, I was shocked that she actually remembered me.  After all, three months of shelving books once a week isn’t enough to really make a lasting impression… or so I thought.  My mom then said something that has stuck with me: “Amelia, you’ll be surprised at the impact that you make on people just by being true to yourself.”

7. What makes you feel better when you’re feeling sad?

Scented candles, hot baths, romantic movies, cuddling my cat, and curling up with a good book.

8. What’s your favorite word?

Nostalgia.  I’m a deeply nostalgic person and find the word’s etymology fascinating.  The two portions in their Greek form, “nostos” and “algia”, literally translate to “the pain of home”.  Just thinking about this definition makes my heart ache for an idealized time-gone-by that can never be found again.

9. Bookstores or libraries?

Bookstores have my heart, but libraries have my soul.

10. What do you most like writing about?

Most of the posts I’ve been the most proud of tend to be musings about the past or future.  Trying to articulate how a place or event shaped me tends to draw out my best thoughts.  Attempting to use words to give shape to the future usually has the same effect.  That aside, I love writing about books.  My weekly On the Shelf posts have been particular favorites lately.

Thanks again, Amanda, for the nomination!

Cinderella

I’m a sucker for fairytale retellings.  My favorite being Cinderella.

What fascinates me about fairytales is that, even though the stories are hundreds of years old, they are still being told.  They hold a valuable place as cultural markers.  The stories a culture tells speak volumes about the culture’s values, customs, and fears.  All fairytales have their core elements.  Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger, Snow White eats the apple, Rapunzel is saved from her tower by a handsome prince.

The thing about adaptations is that they tweak the core elements of a fairy tale.  Changes are significant because they reveal the values, customs, and fears of culture today.  It’s amazing how we can tell a story can be told for hundreds of years and continue to find new ways to tell it.  What if Snow White didn’t eat the apple?  What if Sleeping Beauty never pricked her finger?  What would happen if Rapunzel wasn’t saved, but left of her own volition with not a prince, but an outlaw?

As you may know, I’ve been looking forward to Disney’s new Cinderella for a long time.  (See posts here and here for my anticipation).  I caught wind of the film three years ago and have been following its production ever since.

With adaptations like the book Ella Enchanted or the movie Ever After out there, what’s so special about this movie?  Well, it’s a remake of the animated movie.  And I HATE the animated movie.  I think it’s one of the worst adaptations out there.  So I was excited for Disney to have a chance to redeem itself.

I saw the movie yesterday and, for the most part, I agree with many of the critics.  Disney played it pretty safe.  It’s your traditional Cinderella tale with all the elements: dead parents, evil stepmother, stupid stepsisters, forced servitude, fairy godmother, a pumpkin coach, leave before midnight, forget the slipper, etc. etc. etc.  They fleshed out the characters a bit, but it’s nowhere near as convincing as the development in Ever After.

Did Disney redeem itself, though?  Absolutely.  What the movie lacks in innovation is more than made up for in how stunningly beautiful it is.  Everything about the film is gorgeous–from the costumes to the sets to the dashing Richard Madden as the prince.

My favorite part of the entire movie was probably Cate Blanchett’s performance as Lady Tremaine.  Her costumes were stunning and every line was delivered with the perfect level of poison.  I’d pay to see it again just to soak in her villainy.

To be honest, if I think too hard about this movie, I’m pretty sure I’ll make myself dislike it.  (My inner feminist can’t deny that the heroine of this adaptation is ridiculously passive.)  So, for once in my life, I’m not going to let myself think.  It’s the kind of movie that is made to be enjoyed.  You watch it, feel warm fuzzies, and then go on with life.  I’m determined to sit back, soak in the prettiness, and daydream about Richard Madden’s smile.

To my Cinderella fans out there–what did you think of the movie?  Let me know in the comments!

I’ve become a hermit and I don’t even care

These days, I don’t seem to get out much.  It’s been a month since I moved back into the dorms and it took until tonight for me to actually meet my floor-mates.  I rarely see my friends anymore.

At times, flying solo is a bit lonesome.  I go hours without talking to anyone but myself.  It’s easy to let myself get all sad and mopey about this, but I do my best to remain positive.  When it comes down to it, I don’t really mind.

After all, life continues to steamroll by and I’m moving with it.  Even if there are moments when I wouldn’t mind company, I’m staying busy and thriving.  I’ve been working hard and am ahead on homework.  In the evenings, I’ve got Bible studies, prayer meetings, and worship nights to attend.  Between work and study, I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the library.   I’m organizing a letter-writing program for college students and elderly in the community for a group project.  On Saturdays, I judge speech meets for the local high school team.

Then, there are quiet nights like this one.  The homework is done, library shifts completed, the meetings have been attended and there is only me, my paint, a jar of Nutella, and a Wes Anderson film.

Life, my friends, is good.

 

The Battle of Five Armies

This weekend, I visited Middle Earth via the silver screen for the last time.  To say I’m a Tolkien fan is an obvious fact.  I mean, I DID name my blog from one of his lines.

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS

I remember my first exposure to The Hobbit.  I was six or seven years old and we rented the old 1970’s cartoon.  It was creepy, kind of terrifying, but my brothers and I enjoyed it enough to delve further into Tolkien’s world.

In fifth grade, I read the Lord of the Rings for the first time.  The movies were coming out around this time and I followed them religiously.  Despite differences from the books, I adore the film versions.  I have them memorized.  I listen to the original trilogy on audiobook every summer.

The main difference between the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fanchises is that the original trilogy came out when I was still in my formative years.  I was an excited child, ready to eat up anything Peter Jackson dished out.  As I grew older and learned to see the books and movies as different entities, I continued to love them out of childhood nostalgia.  The Hobbit, however, is different.

The first time I ever read The Hobbit was at the age of ten.  I was in fourth grade.  Mr. Achartz, my teacher, read it aloud to us.  I had a copy and followed along.  I fell absolutely in love.  Ever since, I’ve been reading and rereading the children’s story to the point where I don’t even need the words for the story to appear in my mind.

My main issue with The Hobbit movies is that I’m WAY too intimate with the source material.  Not only did I grow up on the story, but it’s something I’ve put a great deal of academic thought into.  Last fall during my term abroad, I wrote a ten page final essay on the uncanniness of Mirkwood that not only scored the best grade possible, but took first prize in the annual essay contest in my university at home.  The novel’s themes, centering around the idea of home, fascinate me and hold my heart.

It’s been incredibly painful, to be honest, watching the world eat up the film versions.  I enjoyed the first one well enough, but was absolutely devastated by the second.  Peter Jackson mutilated my beloved story.  The characters come and go to and from all the right places, but the events that transpire are totally different.  I was heartbroken by this.

Going into the final version, to say I had expectations would be a lie.  I didn’t even watch any of the trailers, to be honest.  I knew that the film would never match my idealistic childhood imaginings.  So I didn’t expect it to.  I went into The Battle of Five Armies with a mindset of detachment–these weren’t my beloved characters.  This isn’t my beloved story.  It’s an adaptation, a version that is not my own.

Having this mindset helped a LOT.  I actually really enjoyed the movie.  The pacing, of course, was really weird.  One of the finest moments of the novel is when Bard slays Smaug, which happens in the first ten minutes.  Most of the movie is focused on the battle and resolving Thorin’s issues with pride and, as the movie calls it, “dragon-sickness”.

There were things I really enjoyed.

Smaug, for one, is absolute and total perfection. It’s a shame his role is cut so short. Benedict Cumberbatch is incredible.

Once I pushed aside the weirdness of the Tauriel/Kili thing, I was able to actually cheer for the cross-species couple.  (Although I’m still miffed that they actually created a freaking awesome female elf and the stupid studio only allowed her existence if she was part of a love triangle.  WOMEN DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE IN LOVE IN MOVIES.  Rant over.)

I also really enjoy Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Bilbo, especially his weird little twitches.  It’s been fun seeing Bilbo grow and evolve as a character, finding his courage and facing down deadly foes.  But, through those little movements, Freeman conveys that deep down, Bilbo is not at home.  He isn’t comfortable.  He belongs in the Shire, in his armchair with a cozy breakfast and a large stock of pipeweed.

I also am head-over-heels in love with Lee Pace’s Thranduil.  He’s one of the most arrogant, (insert many profanities here) characters I’ve ever encountered.  And I love it.  Oh my goodness.  The internet has done some beautiful things with this character.

Because GingerHaze’s Party King Thranduil comics are the best.

I also pretty much adored Legolas throughout the entire film.  But that’s mainly because I don’t take Orlando Bloom seriously.  Every time he does something, I turned and obnoxiously whispered to my older brother, “Legolas does what he wants!”  He never listens to his father, never follows orders.  Out of nowhere, he opens up to Tauriel about not knowing his mother.  And at the end, he dramatically announces to his father that he isn’t returning to Mirkwood.  To which Thranduil goes, “Okay cool, just so you know, your mother did love you.”  At this point, I whispered to Joe (my brother), “So all this time, Legolas just had serious mommy issues.”  And he goes, “And now he’s going on the Middle Earth equivalent of a three-month backpacking trip in Europe to find himself.”  It’s fun not taking Legolas seriously.  (Because even in the original movie trilogy, all he does is point out the obvious.)

There is certainly a great deal more to say and there are a lot of things I could complain about, but I’m trying to be better at not being a total elitist English major snob.  So as far as movies go, it is an entertaining and enjoyable one. I will leave it at that and go read the book.

What are your thoughts/opinions on the movies? Love them? Hate them? Tell me about it in the comments!