Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Ze Results!!

We Made It!!!! I can't believe the A-Z Challenge is done! This was a great launch to our new blog and we had loads of fun visiting and meeting new people. We laughed and learned a lot from the posts we've read. We hope you guys will come back and visit us often. 

And now for the results. As promised on our very first post, we tallied up all the votes from each post so feast your eyes on the winners!

Y for Young Love
Choices: Romeo and Juliet, Jack and Rose-The Titanic, Ally and Noah-The Notebook, Landon and Jaime-A Walk to Remember, Jamal and Latika-Slumdog Millionaire, Ron and Hermione-Harry Potter, Buttercup and Westley-The Princess Bride
Winner: Westley and Buttercup

X for X-Men and Superheroes
Choices: Beast, Phoeonix, Storm, Superman, Spiderman, Batman
Winner: Batman tied with Storm

W for Whoops we almost forgot Musicals
Choices: The Sound of Music, Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Les Miserable, Grease
Winner: (Write in vote) Phantom of the Opera

V for Victories
Choices: Braveheart, Rocky, Rudy, Seabiscuit, Billy Elliot
Winner: Braveheart

U for Unique Concept
Choices: Every Day, Unwind, What’s Left of Me, A Monster Calls
Winner: Every Day

T for Teachers in Film
Choices: Dead Poet’s Society, To Sir With Love, Lean on Me, Good Will Hunting, Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Winner: Dead Poet’s Society tied with Good Will Hunting

S for Seriously Scary
Choices: Exorcist, Silence of the Lambs, Saw, Disturbia, Nightmare on Elm Street, Psycho
Winner: Nightmare on Elm tied with Exorcist

R for Real Life Made into Film
Choices: Donnie Brasco, Social Network, Lincoln, A League of Their Own, Titanic, 42
Winner: The Social Network

Q is for Best Quote
Choices: Too hard to name them all. Haha
Winner: Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer. ~Ernest Hemingway

P for best Prison Scenes
Choices: Chicago, Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile, Bad Boys, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Lockdown
Winner: Shawshank Redemption

O for Out of this world
Choices: The Wizarding World in Harry Potter, Narnia, Middle World, Pandora, A Galaxy Far Far Away
Winner: Favorite other world: Narnia

N for Necessary Evil
Choices of Villain Hero match ups: Ryan Hardy/Joe Carrol from The Following, Sarah Connors/The Terminator from The Terminator, Harry Potter/Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter,Louis de Pointe du Lac/Lestat de Lioncourt from Interview with a Vampire,  Neo/the Architect from The Matrix
Winner: Ryan Hardy/Joe Carrol from the Following

M for Magical Movies
Choices: Harry Potter series, Lord of the Ring Series, Peter Pan, Practical Magic, Jumanji, Seventeen Again, The Neverending Story, Stardust
Winner: Harry Potter Series  

L for Lone Hero
Choices: John McClane from Die Hard, Wolverine from X-Men, Frank Martin (Jason Statham) from The Transporter, Brian Mills (Liam Neeson) from Taken
Winner: John McClane

K for Kick-Ass Kids
Choices: Harry, Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter, Cal from Walking Dead, Arya from Game of Thrones, Will and Lyra from His Dark Materials Trilogy, Todd and Viola from Chaos Walking Trilogy, Jake from the Dark Tower series, Hit Girl from Kick Ass
Winner: Harry Potter trio

J for Just Can’t Wait for those Summer Blockbusters
Choices:  Iron Man 3, Star Trek-Into Darkness, The Fast and the Furious 6, The Hangover 3, Wolverine, Mortal Instruments-City of Bones
Winner: Iron Man 3 tied with Star Trek: Into Darkness

I for I Love You
Choices for best love scene: Jerry McGuire, The Notebook, Moulin Rouge, Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Say Anything
Winner: Princess Bride tied with The Notebook

H for Horror Novels Made into Films
Choices: The Exorcist, Dracula, The Shining, Amityville Horror, Silence of the Lambs
Winner: Silence of the Lambs

G for Good Girls Gone Bad…Ass.
Choices: Sarah Connors-The Terminator, Katniss Everdeen-Hunger Games, Brienne of Tarth-Game of Thrones, Mashone-Walking Dead, Trinity-The Matrix, Selene-Underworld, Fox-Wanted
Winner: Three way tie-- Katniss from Hunger Games, Selene from Underworld, Trinity from The Matrix

F for Fantastic Fight Scenes
Choices: The Battle of Helms Deep from LoR, Kill Bill, Princess Bride, Karate Kid, The Matrix
Winner: Battle of Helms Deep

E for Electrifying Openings
Choices: 1984, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Waiting, Catcher in the Rye, The Crow Road, Peter Pan, Playing in Traffic, Dark of the Moon, Scorpio Races
Winner:  “It isn’t true what they say about my brother. That he ate those children.” Dark of the Moon, Tracy Barrett

D for Death Scenes with the most Impact
Choices: Psycho, The Happening, Moulin Rouge, 300, Gangs of New York
Winner: Shower scene from Psycho

C for Creepy Characters
 Choices: Voldemort-Harry Potter, Alex-A Clockwork Orange, Annie Wilkes-Misery, Pennywise the Clown from IT ties with Annie Wilkes from Misery, Pennywise the Clown-It, White Witch-Narnia, President Snow-The Hunger Games, Marisa Coulter-His Dark Materials, Big Brother-1984
Winner: Pennywise the Clown-It ties with Annie Wilkes-Misery

B for Bad Ass Boys
Choices:  Damon-Vampire Diaries, James Bond-James Bond,  Rick Grimes-Walking Dead, Khal Drogo-Game of Thrones
Winner: James Bond

A for Animals we Love in Books
Choices: Wilbur-Charlotte’s Web, Crookshanks-Harry Potter, Hedwig-Harry Potter, Toto-Wizard of Oz, Misty-Misty of Chincoteague, Old Dan and Little Anne—Where the Redfern Grows, Oy-The Dark Tower
Winner: Hedwig from Harry Potter

Now that it's done, how'd you do on the challenge? Did you make it to Z or did you poop out around J? I don't know if Tamara and I would've been able to do this if we hadn't made it a joint effort. We hope you've enjoyed our A-Z Challenge. We certainly had fun with our theme!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Young Love

Aaaah...spring is in the air. That time of year when a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love....(that is a quote I still remember from one of the Little House on the Prairie books). And who doesn't love young people falling in love. I mean, love at any age is great, but there is something truly magical about the first time. Through books and movies we get to vicariously experience that magic again and again. No wonder teenage/young love is such a popular theme. 

And here are some of my favorite young couples. 

Romeo and Juliet: What can I even say? Despite the fact that they both die in the end, this story is timeless because this is the kind of crazy, burning, all-consuming love everyone wants to feel at least once in their lifetime. 

Jack and Rose, Titanic: I always hate the fact that Jack died in the end. I also know the movie wouldn't have been nearly as good if he hadn't. haha Still, it always seemed  like maybe he should've at least looked for his own board to float on? Just a thought. At any rate, I still love this classic rich "spoiled" girl meets poor "salt-of-the-earth" guy and they both realize that love can overcome any difference. 

Allie and Noah, The Notebook: This is a story about the amazing strength of love and it's ability to transcend both distance and time. Allie and Noah will always be the most romantic couple I've ever seen. 

Landon and Jaime, A Walk to Remember: I know this movie isn't as big as the first three I named, but  it's a beautiful story. Jaime teaches Landon to believe in himself and, in return, he teaches her how to live. It's another "troubled-boy-saved-by-the-love-of-a-good-girl" story, but with a heartbreaking twist. If you're going to watch it, make sure you have your tissues ready. 

Jamal and Latika, Slumdog Millionare: His whole life, Jamal never forgets Latika. She inspires so much of what he does. His unwavering devotion to her makes this couple really stand out as one of my favorite young loves. 

Ron and Hermione, Harry Potter  Come on. You guys knew you weren't getting through this without a HP reference. Haha. And I know Ron and Hermione aren't from some awe-inspiring romantic movie but that is exactly why I love them as a couple. Their love is like a little plant that grows amid this wild jungle of epic events. It develops slowly but, by the end, is even stronger for how well they know both the good and the bad in each other.

Buttercup and Westley, The Princess Bride: As you wish. What more can I say? 

Which couple do you love most? Who would you have included? 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for X-Men and other Superheroes

I’m a huge fan of the X-Men. I never had any comic books, but plan to remedy that soon. I was all about the cartoon when I was younger. Loved it! I remember having a conversation with my mother when the second movie came out and she casually called one of the mutants by name—Nightcrawler. I stopped what I was doing, and looked at my mother. That’s when she told me she used to read comics when she was growing up. They were her brothers’ books, but she took them and read them. Even kept reading them when my sister and I were children…um, what?

I was floored. But now, looking back on that conversation I shouldn’t have been. My mother and I have always shared the same taste in books…mostly. So I shouldn’t have been shocked to know she was that much of a fan of something I loved.

 Here are some of my favorite X-Men and Superheroes:


Beast: I know Wolverine gets a lot of attention and rightfully so, but Beast is my favorite. I like how intelligent he is. He’s a chemist, geneticist, and a medical doctor. How can you not love him? And he’s kind of snuggly… that is until he rips your face off.  


Jean Grey or Phoenix: I really loved her character in the cartoon more than in films. I’d love to have telekinetic powers, not so much telepathic. I don’t really want to get into people’s heads, but moving things with my mind is awesome!


Storm: I have to say as a teen watching Storm in the X-Men cartoon series was amazing. I was like, ‘is she black?’ Blew my mind. While Storm isn’t the first black comic book character, she is the first black female. I remember thinking she was so beautiful with all that white hair, but then I was a bit underwhelmed with her power, especially when compared to others like Cyclops and Wolverine. It wasn’t until years later that I realized she is one of the most powerful mutants in the X-Men universe. The power to control weather is pretty epic…kind of God-like.


Now for the others:

Superman: Have I mentioned how much I love, love, love Superman? No? Well let me tell you all the reasons. He’s a simple farmboy at heart. He stands for truth, justice and all that’s good in the world. He’s so dreamy that you don’t care he’s wearing a unitard, his underwear on the outside, and a cape. Oh and…he can FLY! Nuff said.


Spiderman: I really hate spiders. Let me correct that, I hate spiders inside my home. They can do what they want outside. But I love Spiderman. He’s witty, nerdy, and he seems like he’s having fun when he’s out saving the day.


Batman: I have a lot of respect for Bruce Wayne/Batman. He doesn’t have superhuman Gotham would get cleaned up that way. No, he built some gadgets, supped up his ride, donned his rubber suit, and hit the streets. Gotta love that.
strength, nor is he an alien from outer space. He’s just a billionaire who decided to go beyond donating his money to charities with the hope the streets of


So vote for your favorite mutant and superhero from this list. As always, tell me who I’ve missed if your favorite isn’t up here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Whoops...We almost forgot Musicals!!

All these letters and polls but we almost forgot musicals! How could we? Musicals are awesome, especially when they are done well. In my opinion, some of the best musicals ever made are: 

The Sound of Music: I watched this about a billion times as a kid. The tunes are all really catchy and it's an awesome, inspiring story. What's not to love? 

Moulin Rouge: This movie is a crazy extravagant feast for the eyes. One of the most beautifully visual films I've ever seen AND it's got a truly epic love story. And Ewan McGregor. :)

Chicago: Who knew watching a bunch of murderers sing and dance could be so much fun? 

Les Miserables: I'm cheating. I haven't actually seen this yet. I watched another version of it years ago, and I remember loving the story. My family used to perform shows in nursing homes and my daughter (who was four at the time) always sang Castle on a Cloud. I have a soft spot for Cosette. Can't wait to see this. 

Grease: LOVE this movie. If you think about it, it's such a horrible message. Give up your identity to date the boy you like! haha. But Olivia Newton John and John Travolta were so awesome in this and the songs were so catchy that it will always be one of my favorite films. 

Which one is your favorite out of the ones I named? Is there another one you'd have added to the list? 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Victories!

My taste in films and books are wide and eclectic…to some extent. One of my favorite types of films is the ones with victorious endings. The battle is won, the underdog is triumphant, and good kicks evil in the ass. So here are a few of my favorite film victories.

Braveheart: Yes William Wallace was beheaded, but there is no doubt his passion, drive, and fearlessness is what helped Scotland win their freedom even after his death.


Rocky: Classic underdog movie. You have the cocky champ, Apollo Creed, and the unknown Italian how he wins that makes his victory all the sweeter. Oh, and it has one of the most recognized theme songs out there.
Stallion. Its one of those films that you know the ending before it begins. Rocky has to win, but it’s all the stuff in between and just


Rudy: After overcoming the odds, small statue for football, dyslexia, and all-around rejection, Rudy not only gets into Notre Dame, but gets on the football team. He finally gets to play in the last game of his senior year. And Notre Dame wins. Victory for Rudy!


Seabiscuit: Small horse, big jockey, and an old trainer is a recipe for disaster. This should just tell you, never judge a book by its cover…or a horse by its size, cause Seabiscuit can go!!!


Billy Elliot: Sometimes victory isn’t about winning a battle, game, or race. Sometimes it’s about being brave enough to go after what you want out of life. Billy, the son and brother of rough coal miners didn’t really understand why dancing made him feel like energy. But when he is finally able to dance in front of his father, basically saying ‘this is me, love it or leave it’, he has himself a victory. I think there are small victories all over this film. And the end, with a grown up Billy dancing lead in Swan Lake is the best victory of all. Love this film!

There are so many movies for this category. Tell me which of these is your favorite. As always, tell me if your favorite isn’t up here!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Unique

I've heard it said that there is no such thing as an original story. It's said that stories are just recycled again and again, told in different ways.All stories do fall into certain categories. The hero with a quest to defeat evil story. The love story. The inspirational story. The dystopian. The, "who did the crime?"  Etc...Etc...So, yes, if you're going by the theme, stories are all recycled. BUT--sometimes they are recycled in a way that is so original that the story reads like nothing I've ever read  Below I've listed some of my favorite unique premises.

Every Day by David Levithan: This is a love story about A, a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living a different life. There's never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached.  Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It's all fine until the morning A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because, finally, A has found someone he wants to be with. Day in. Day out. Day after day.

What's left of me by Kat Zhang: Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else--two souls woven together in one body, taking turn controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But, as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren't they settling? Why isn't one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away and their parents begged for more time. Finally, Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except she wasn't...

Unwind by Neal Shusterman:  In America after the Second Civil war, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called "unwinding." Unwinding ensures that the child's life doesn't "technically" end by transplanting all the organs in the child's body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen year old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting--he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. It's wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.

To me, most story premises are not this unique. In fact, these were the only four I could come up with. Do you know any others? And which concept here catches your attention the fastest and makes you want to read the book?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Teachers in Film

We all know that teachers are the cornerstone of our society. They are often underappreciated and underpaid, but sometimes there’s a movie dedicated to just how great teachers actually are. Here are a few of my favorites.

To Sir, with Love: Classic film staring Sidney Poitier. It was one of the first movies with the formula teacher winning over the unruly inner city students, but it works so well partly because Poitier’s performance. If you like inspirational films and haven’t seen this one yet, it’s worth checking out.  



Dead Poets Society: One of my favorite films staring Robin Williams. I tear up whenever I think of
the end. “O’ Captain! My Captain!” Love it!


Good Will Hunting: Another Robin Williams film. I know the professor was the one who discovers Matt Damon’s character’s brilliance, but it was Robin Williams’ character who used his wit, charm, compassion and patience to teach Matt Damon. Great film!


Lean on Me: Love this film! I have an aunt who’s a principle in a rough school. I often call her the female Joe Clark. “They used to call me Crazy Joe, now they can call me Batman!” So many quotable lines in this film.


Fast Times at Ridgemont High: Okay, so I know this isn’t really an inspirational teaching film, but if you’ve seen this movie, you know that Sean Penn’s fantastic portrayal of stoner Spicoli was only made better by his interactions with the hard-assed teacher, Mr. Hand. I wish I’d had to nerve to order a pizza to class and then when questioned about it say, “Learning about Cuba, and having some food.”


Have you seen any of these films? If so, which one is your favorite of the list? How much do you love teachers? As always, let me know if I’ve missed your favorite from the list!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Seriously Scary

What is it about being scared that we like so much? The adrenaline? The power of confronting our worst nightmares from the safety of our couches?  Or just the same thrill you get when you're a kid and someone dares you to look into a mirror and chant, "Bloody Mary" three times?

Personally, for me, I love the suspense of it all. I like being made to jump when I don't know it's coming, much more than I like guts and gore. Below are a combination of movies that made me jump and movies that scarred me for life. haha.

Exorcist. This one definitely falls into the scarring me for life category. If you've never watched the Exorcist uncut, do yourself a favor and keep it that way. Seriously disturbing. I had to choose this picture because it was the least creepy and I didn't even want to look at the others.

Silence of the Lambs. This fell more into the category of making me jump, although Hannibal Lecter is definitely one of the creepiest characters ever.

Saw. Too much blood for me. Scarring.

Disturbia. One of my favorite movies. Plenty of lighthearted moments, but also tons of times that had me jumping.

Nightmare on Elm Street. I know tons of people aren't scared by these at all, but the concept of  a deranged killer who could get to you in your sleep--thereby making it impossible to avoid him--always scared the living crap out of me.

Psycho. This one made by the master of suspense, which makes it easy to guess which category it falls into. But I'm still a little scarred as well. :)

So, which category do you prefer? Suspenseful horror or scares-the-crap-out-of-you-in-traumatic-ways horror? Any faves I didn't name?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Real Life Made into Film

Sometime when I’m watching a movie and I see the words ‘Based on a true story' I get so excited. Especially when I had no idea I was about to watch a film inspired by real life events. After the film is over, I usually do my own investigating just to see if they got it right.

The list below is of some of the few popular ones that I liked.

Donnie Brasco: Al Pachino and Johnny Depp, how can you go wrong. The film tells the story of FBI agent, Joseph Pistone as he infiltrates the mob and the line begins to blur between agent and ganster. Really great film.


The Social Network: The Story of Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook. This film didn’t portray Zuckerberg in the best light. Maybe he is a jerk, maybe it’s creative license on the part of the film creators. Who knows? I think one thing most can agree on is that he was instrumental in creating something that millions of people use daily.


Lincoln: Confession. I haven’t actually seen this yet, but I’ve read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and it’s pretty much the same thing, right? J Actually, I love history and have read about Abraham Lincoln—non-fiction and without vamps—so I do plan to see it. Have you seen it? What did you think? I know I’m going to have to strum up my courage to see Tommy Lee Jones in that wig on a large screen. Yikes!


A League of Their Own: LOVED this film! This was based on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from a story written by Kim Wilson and Kelly Candele. The film had struggle, love, comedy, and quotable lines: There’s no crying in baseball! Great film.


Titanic: We all know this story and I’m sure none of us believe the band kept playing! But there are accounts of the band continuing to play as the ship went down. Um…dudes, play on the lifeboats...or not. Nobody’s listening anyway. James Cameron has a way of capturing the heart of the bigger issue, though he doesn’t seem to be able to do it in less than 3 hours. J There’s a billionaire—it’s always a billionaire, right—who plans to rebuild the Titanic and sail it along the same route. This time there will be enough lifeboats…we hope. Will you go?


42: The story of Jackie Robinson. Second confession. I haven’t seen this yet either. I know the story of Jackie Robinson through reading and I plan to see this as well. Sometimes movies about racism make me uncomfortable, but then, I guess they’re supposed to, right? I think that is, in part, why I’m dragging my feet. It looks good, though. Have you seen it? Did you like it?


I know there are tons of good films in this category, but I couldn’t post them all. Of these, vote for your favorite and as always, tell me if your true favorite isn’t up here!