Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The "Just a List of Random Questions" Tag


Hamlette tagged me for this one.  Here goes!


The rules for the tag are:
~ Paste the button onto your blog post.
~ Leave a new list of questions (or just pass on the question list you answered) and tag a few people of your random choice (and say why you tagged them, if you have time!) (Be original and nonsensical in your question-creativity - make the blogging world a cheerful place :-) And be disastrously random.

Now for the fun...

~Write down three facts about you - one of them is WRONG. Let your commenters guess in the comments which one is wrong (and tell them in the comments after a while)
~Answer the questions of the person who tagged you - make it all super random and interesting :-D

 Three facts about me:
1. I've climbed to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite
2. I've skiied and snowboarded
3. I've gone paragliding

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Favorite role from your favorite actor?  I’ve answered this before, so to not be boring and repetitive, I'm going with my current favorite actor, rather than my long-held favorite.  And that would be Richard Armitage.  Favorite role would have to be Thorin from the Hobbit movies, but Harry Kennedy (from The Vicar of Dibley) might be a close second for the sheer quantity of heart-stopping smiles and the discussion re: falling into debt.

Favorite role from your favorite actress?  And again not to repeat, I'll go with current era instead of classic, though that means I don't truly have one.  To me, favorites are those actors whose work you seek out because you want to see them in more things.  I'm going to go with Famke Janssen, because I think she's fabulous, and I have watched movies just because she was in it.  Favorite role would be the first thing I saw her in, way back in the early 90's, which was "The Perfect Mate" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  She made a really good episode great, and it's still in my top ten of that series.

Book you've read that you tell people not to bother reading?   None.  Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it.

A food you refuse to try?  Tripe.  Well, offal of any kind... just, no.

Your favorite article of clothing?  Right now?  Probably my Battle of the Five Armies sweatshirt, just because it is so soft and comfortable, and it's still cool enough in the mornings and evenings to wear it.

Have you ever gone to see the same movie in the theater more than once?  Many, many, many times.  And will do so many, many, many times in the future. Repeat viewings are one of the great joys in life.

Do you paint your toenails?  Not usually.  Only if someone talks me into it.

Do you wear any piece of jewelry every day?  I never take my jewelry off!!  If it’s not something I can leave on 24/7, it’s not something I will wear.  (Although, I do own a couple of shiny bracelets I wear only to the opera.)  So, right now, I’ve always got on my Evenstar necklace, my small hoop earrings, two bracelets (a leather braided one and a wristband with a quote), and a ring.  And yes, I wear them all to bed and in the shower, including the leather bracelet. 

Are you on Pinterest?  No.

Do you collect anything?  Seriously collect?  Like go actively hunting for stuff for my collection of X?  No.  But I buy a lot of what I love.  So, soundtrack and operas CDs, and movie stuff from movies I love. 

Have you ever asked a famous person for their autograph?  Yes, but only at venues (conventions, stage back-doors) where they would expect such a request, not if I run into someone cool just out and about.  That's their private time, and I respect that.

Have you been outside the country you were born in?
  Sure.  Mexico and Canada, and most recently, Australia.

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I'm not going to tag anybody, cuz it looks like most of the people I know who would answer have already been tagged, but if you feel like playing along, here are some random questions!

My list of questions:

What's your favorite place to go for a walk/hike?
What kind/color pen do you prefer to use?
What's your favorite event in the Winter Olympics?
What decorations are on your keychain?
If you're in place you've never been, do you prefer a map or a GPS or asking for help to find your way?
Did you have a piggy bank growing up?
What's the second-to-last movie you watched?
Can you hula hoop?
What's the coolest theme park you've visited?
If you could be any mythical creature, what would you choose to be?
What's your favorite movie that has a wedding in it?

Thursday, April 09, 2015

MEMM - Day 28 - Favorite Middle Earth-related item(s) you own

All of it!  Or I wouldn’t have bought it to begin with.  LOL.  I’ve very fond of movie stuff.  My house is filled with movie merchandise, from posters to action figures, to t-shirts and sweatshirts, to jewelry, to magnets and tote bags and luggage tags, to wristbands and license plate holders for my car with choice quotes, to simple pads of paper and pens... if it’s in my house, it’s a good bet it’s got something to do with one of my favorite movies.

Let’s see, though.  Favorite?  Probably my Aragorn necklace (Evenstar) that I never take off.  I would feel naked without it around my neck.


And I love my Fellowship poster of the Argonath that has been on my wall since 2001.  I just had my poster for Battle framed, so both sets of movies are now represented on my wall.


And I love my two framed quotes (one Gandalf, one Thorin).  I'll post a picture of those later, as I need one more thing framed to complete that area.  But it's really cool.

I’m also extremely fond of my hair beads.  I am a braid-a-holic.  I’m always braiding parts of my hair.  Not all of it.  I look better with my hair down, but I cannot stand hair in my eyes.  So, braids are perfect.  I can braid just enough to get it out of my eyes or add accents.  I used to wear a lot of Herger braids (from The 13th Warrior).  Or now, I do a lot of dwarvish braids.  Sometimes elvish braids, but my hair is thick and wavy, so dwarf style braids work much better in it.  And where it’s easy to fishtail someone else’s hair, it’s not so easy to do your own, at least not neatly.  And finishing off a braid with a bead just makes them so much better than just having a mere rubberband at the end. 



Wednesday, April 08, 2015

MEMM - Day 27 - Favorite end song

Is there any doubt?  "The Last Goodbye."


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

MEMM - Day 26 - Favorite one-on-one fight

Boy, these movies are filled with great one-on-one fights.  From Saruman/Gandalf, to Sam/Shelob, to Frodo/Gollum, and all the fights in-between, there are many very satisfying confrontations.  Before The Battle of the Five Armies came out, my answer would have been Aragorn/Lurtz from the end of Fellowship.  But Battle did come out out, and now, of course, my favorite one-on-one fight is Thorin/Azog.


This is also a nice long showdown, for once.  And when they finally get out on the ice, alone, it just gets even more satisfying, right down to the conclusion. This one-on-one fight makes me very happy to watch.


Monday, April 06, 2015

MEMM - Day 25 - Characters you wish you liked more


Eowyn. Which is a bit of a cheat, as it is really Miranda Otto I wish I liked more, not Eowyn.  But there are only a precious few moments in the movies where I see flashes of the Eowyn I loved from the books in Miranda Otto's portrayal.  The rest of the time, movie Eowyn is whiny and bug-eyed, and every time she’s on screen, she makes me roll my eyes and want to fast-forward.  This is one of the few examples in the Middle-Earth movies of my own long-held expectations not being met or exceeded.

So, I wish I liked Miranda Otto more in the role because she makes me not like this version of Eowyn, and Eowyn's my second favorite character in Return of the King novel, so I find that disappointing.


Saturday, April 04, 2015

MEMM - Day 24 - Favorite moment/line in The Battle of the Five Armies



Well, now.  All of it.  I’m not being facetious, either.  When trying to answer this question, I realized this movie joins a very select set of movies where I love every part of the movie so much, it is simply impossible to pick a single favorite moment.  From the opening logo to the end credits, I love it all.  I have very clear favorite moments in the other five Middle-Earth movies, moments I wait for, moments I don’t want to miss.  But in this one?  The whole movie is a series of constant favorite moments.  If I start trying to name favorite moments, I promptly override myself with each subsequent moment.  It is simply impossible to pick one in a movie this perfect and wonderful.


The other movies that are in this rare category are, very interestingly, also movies with large casts!  I don’t think that’s coincidence, but I’m not sure what the significance is, either.  They are also all action movies where favorite characters die, and they are all very funny, though none is a comedy.  The other two are:

The Dirty Dozen
The 13th Warrior

And now, added to that list:
The Battle of the Five Armies


Those three movies are so fabulous, from start to finish, that I have no single favorite part that I wait for.  There is not one thing I would change in any of them.  I love everyone in the cast, from the leads, to the characters with only a couple of lines, I love every line of dialogue, every action sequence, every note of the scores, even every death.  I am simply not able to pick a favorite moment from any of these.  Each is one magnificent, perfect ride.  My sister shares this, and these are also the only three movies she cannot choose a favorite moment from either.  Part of why these particular three are impossible to pick a favorite moment from is the bond she and I share over them.  These are “our” movies.  The ones we quote constantly to each other.  A single line of dialogue from any of these has more meaning and history and shared love than any other movie.  We share the same sense of humor, so we laugh at all the same moments (many of which no one else would find funny).  And we can still talk for hours and hours about any of these movies with each other, at the drop of a hat, even though you think we'd have talked about everything there could possibly be to say by this point (particularly on the two older movies).

These three movies are, of course, at the top of my personal movie favorites.

Friday, April 03, 2015

MEMM - Day 23 - The Hobbit character you understand the least

That would be Gandalf. 

I don’t get Gandalf in the Hobbit movies.  Gandalf seems such a meddler in this trilogy.  I mean what is he thinking?  There’s a dragon sleeping in Erebor that needs to be taken care of ere it joins the growing forces of darkness.  Let’s send thirteen dwarves and select a poor hobbit who’s happily minding his own business and send them in to face it.  Sure Thorin is rightful King under the Mountain, so maybe we can kill two birds with one stone and reclaim the arkenstone and reunite the dwarf kingdoms at the same time we dispose of the dragon -- but dude... what if they fail and all you do is feed him and his company to a psychotic dragon who would then be awake and ready to terrorize more than just Lake-town?  And Gandalf also knows full well what happened to Thror, and he knows Thorin’s going to be in trouble with dragon sickness, but he just sort of keeps ignoring that, even when people like Elrond keep reminding him of it.


Really, Gandalf is like his own self-fulfilling prophecy.  "I suspect we're going to have trouble with the dragon, let's go do something about it, oh, look, we not only have trouble with the dragon, but now we've got orc armies and Sauron to deal with."  He propels events into action, forces the orcs to attack Thorin's company, forces Sauron to appear.  He fails to meet the dwarves so they end up facing the dragon alone and Lake-town gets toasted.  He’s quite meddlesome and bossy in this trilogy, and it seems everyone survives the last movie's events despite him, not because of him. 

I do not have these issues with Gandalf in LotR.  He is neither bossy nor meddlesome there.  He’s very protective of everyone and Middle-Earth itself (though he still fails to show up when needed... bad habit of his).  But in Hobbit??   Gandalf is very fishy in the Hobbit.

Where in LotR, he answers everyone's questions honestly even when they won't like the answer:  "I would not take the road to Moria unless I had no other choice."  And he lets others make decisions: "Let the ringbearer decide" -- which includes a healthy measure of Frodo trust right there. In Hobbit, on the other hand, he is secretive, he flat-out ignores Thorin's questions if he knows Thorin won't like the answer, and Bilbo isn't given nearly the trust that Frodo is.  It's quite a different Gandalf!  I like to think he simply learned his lessons from his time with Thorin's Company , and when it's time to guide Frodo and the Fellowship, he has a much better understanding of how to deal with Hobbits and quests in general.  Because that makes sense to me.

He also has the creepiest last line to Bilbo.  Granted, Bilbo has outright lied to him for the first time, but still.

“You’re a very fine person, Mr. Baggins.  And I’m very fond of you.  But you are only quite a little fellow, in a wide world, after all.”  

And the way his smile vanishes the minute Bilbo turns his back.  Gahhhh!  My sister and I looked at each other after that moment, and both of us shivered.  Thank goodness we get back to Hobbiton and end with old Bilbo and a much less intimidating Gandalf, or I would have been permanently wigged out by our dear wizard.  That parting of Bilbo and Gandalf in the woods at the Shire border at the end of The Battle of the Five Armies remains the part of all six movies that creeps me out the most.  Never get on a wizard's bad side!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

MEMM - Day 22 - Costume you most want to wear

Well, this is an easy one.  While I admire most of the costumes, I wouldn't actually enjoy wearing most of them.  (Though I wouldn't mind stealing pieces of various costumes!)  Boromir's outfit may be my favorite, but it's too heavy and confining.  And I wouldn't wear a dress unless forced to.  The outfit has to be practical, not too hot or cold, comfortable, and allow me full movement for running and walking about.  Which really leaves me with Aragorn's Strider outfit.

It's got layers, which is the key to comfortable clothes!  Take that jacket off when it gets hot, roll up the sleeves, add a cloak when it gets cold.  It is perfect, and I can't think of any other outfit in all the movies I would be as comfortable wearing daily as this one.



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

MEMM - Day 21 - Favorite couple

Kili and Tauriel.

 

I am very fond of defiant romances.  These two defy their own races’ prejudices, their own individual expectations, and they also defy the movie goers who complain “but it didn’t happen in the book,” etc.  Good for Kili and Tauriel!  I personally love these two.  He’s handsome, she’s beautiful, they’re both so very young and impetuous and wide-eyed about life... why wouldn’t they fall for each other?  I love how they just open up to each other immediately, start telling and listening to each other's stories, how simple it is for them to start sharing things, even when one is technically a prisoner.  They don't care and they waste no time. Their limited time together is delightful.  They make me grin, which I can’t say for any other couple in Middle-Earth (well, except for Celeborn and Galadriel, but that’s naught to do with the two of them and is only because Marton’s on screen.  I’m always grinning if he’s around.)

I also admit, I am very fond of tragic romances.  Hey, what can I say?  My first bondings with fictional characters in life were in opera and, while there are plenty of comedies and operas with happy endings, the majority I grew up did not end well for one or both lovers.  Didn't stop me from loving the characteres, in fact, I just loved them all the more because their time together was limited.  Also, my first Shakespeare experience was Romeo & Juliet, and that was a Profound Experience on my youthful, unsuspecting life, let me tell you.  One of those moments in life so strong that the emotional impact has never faded.  (Hm, randomly, I just realized I have exactly three novels with where the romance ends well.  Out of nine.  Um... yeah.)

So, yeah, I love Kili and Tauriel. I love that they don’t end happily, but they make the most of their time together.  Their whole doomed romance just resonates for me.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Murder on Stage 17 (1977)

This is my entry for Carissa's Jeff Goldblum blog fest.  Click here to view the links to the other entries!


Originally I was going to write about his character in The Grand Budapest Hotel, cuz I'm a sucker for honest characters with integrity, who do the right thing regardless of risk and clear danger... but time slipped away from me.  I did, however, have time to re-watch a second season episode from one of my favorite television series, the 1970's television show, Starsky & Hutch, an ep called "Murder on Stage 17," which guest stars a ridiculously young Jeff Goldblum. How young?

This young!


This episode is not a fabulous episode, but that doesn't mean it isn't a lot of fun.  Because this ep is about making movies, specifically about making a Western!  And I love Westerns.

The basic plot of this second season episode concerns, as the title indicates, a murder on the movie set.  Starsky and Hutch go undercover as stuntmen (!) on a Western movie, to 1) keep the lead actor (Steve Hansen, played by Rory Calhoun) from being the next murder victim, and 2) catch the killer. This is highly improbable, but we just grin and go with it, as what makes this episode so fun is watching them deal with being thrown headfirst (literally) into the movie-making world. They also get to wear cheesy bad-movie Western costumes and be complete dorks. 

("We're not out of our element here, not at all.")

Their first experience on the movie set is participating in a staged fight.  However, when the real stunt guys decide these newbies are idiots and decide not to pull their punches, they get a bit more than they bargained for, not knowing the two are actually cops with plenty of street-fighting experience.  The director of the film, Harry Markham (Jeff Goldblum), thinks it's great and keeps that scene in the film.  Naturally.  Who wouldn't?

Goldblum doesn't get all that much to do, other than watch things intently (when is Goldblum not watching something intently?) and yell "action" and "cut."

 (Markham watching the fight intently)

He's also apparently convinced that the top buttons of his shirt are evil and should never be touched or fastened.  Ever.



 (and I mean ever)

Markham decides to give Hutch a bit part in the film, with one line to say, but Hutch gets stage fright so badly he can't remember his one sentence and louses the whole thing up.  But the scene gives Goldblum more dialogue and screen time, as he tries to get the performance he unfathomably thinks Hutch can give him...

(Markham directing Hutch... intently, of course)

Starsky gets his solo filming moment standing in for Hansen and getting "knocked out" with a chair in a bar room, and Markham is closely overseeing everything, so more screen time!

Then the bad guy guy makes his play, and Hansen is forced to walk alone down the middle of the backlot Western Street, in a classic walk towards a waiting bad guy.  Except Hansen has Starsky and Hutch shadowing him, so of course, they stop the bad guy (not before he does a bit of damage), and all ends well.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Beginning of the End

So, there's this little phenomenon, that only happens (at least to me) when I see a movie six or more times in the theater, on the movies I really really love enough to see that many times.  The more viewings, the stronger the feeling gets.  It doesn't happen to movies I only see once or twice, even if I then watch them a jillion times on DVD.  It only happens in theatrical viewings, where you cannot pause, you cannot stop, you cannot leave, you cannot slow time down, all you can do is immerse and experience.

That phenomenon is... the Beginning of the End.

The beginning of the end is that moment in the movie where the real world intrudes on your viewing and you suddenly have that awful thought, "aw man, the movie's wrapping up and isn't going to last forever."  It's a mix of sadness, because it means the glorious viewing is going to come to an end soon, and also excitement, because usually there's good stuff you can't wait to see in the ending either.  Every movie I've ever seen many many times in the theater has that really intense realization moment, from the first movie I saw over twenty times in the theater (Star Wars) to current day viewings.  It only happens after about the sixth viewing, because before that, I am just watching the movie, taking it in, still learning it.  After about six viewings, the movie viewing experience changes into something different, and then the beginning of the end becomes a Thing.

So, since we've been talking Lord of the Rings and Hobbit, I thought I'd share two of my beginning of the ends.  Why only two?  Because I've only seen two of the films more than six times in the theater:  Fellowship (17 times) and Battle of the Five Armies (9 times).  I didn't see the other four films combined enough times to even equal Battle's viewings.  And watching them repeatedly on DVD just never develops that same acute feeling of the impending ending as the theatrical viewings do.  At home, you can always back it up and watch it again.  You can start over.  You can pause without missing something.  It's on a small screen with distractions like children and cats and dogs and the doorbell.  It's just not the same thing as being in a movie theater at all.

In Fellowship, it's this moment:


The famous log that Saruman's orcs are about to step on as they chase after the Fellowship.  And one orc steps precisely in the worn-down spot and always cracks me up.  Hitting that moment in the movie would always be the  "aw" moment, the "we're wrapping up," the "there's only one more awesome fight left," the "this movie won't last forever and we're heading for the ending" moment.

In The Battle of the Five Armies, it's this moment:


That's the first time in the movie I start realizing the ending's approaching.  It's the beginning of the end.

My sister, who has been my primary multiple-viewing partner over the years, experiences the same "beginning of the end" intense emotional feeling (in fact, she's the one who coined that phrase), but her beginning of the end moments are quite different from mine 99% of the time.  Same feeling, but evoked by a different section of the movie.  The only two I know we share are Star Wars and Fellowship.  The beginning of the end in Battle for her is much earlier, right after Fili's killed.  That still feels like the middle of the movie to me.  I'm way too caught up there to notice the end is nigh. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

MEMM - Day 20 - Favorite moment/line in The Desolation of Smaug

1.  Smaug busting out of Erebor, covered in liquid gold, and that spiraling flight into the air to shake it off.  Glorious!  I wait the whole movie for that moment.


2.  Every time Thorin taunts Smaug, and every time Smaug gets even more pissed off and either sprays the ceiling with fire or thrashes around in fury.  Both make me laugh with delight.  "You have grown slow -- and fat -- in your dotage... slug!"


3. Bilbo and the butterflies.  Because it is just so beautiful.


Favorite lines:

Thorin's "What did we miss?" Also very fond of "Is there no end to this accursed forest?"