Sunday, December 30, 2012

Les Miserables

Today, I went to see Les Mis. with my mom and cousin. I have never read the book nor knew anything about the storyline. I went in blind and came out thoroughly impressed and not a little perplexed. I knew that this was a musical, but I just wasn't prepared for all the lines to be sung by each and every character. At first I was like "is this seriously going to continue like this?" Yes it did. After the first hour or so, I got used to it and enjoyed it.

I had heard the famous song, "I Dreamed A Dream," before--thanks Susan Boyle--so I knew what to expect when Anne Hathaway's character, Fantine, sang it. But I was not prepared for how it was delivered or how it came to be. Was anyone else? I mean, this is one woman who would go to make sure her daughter was properly taken care of. I don't know about you other ladies, but as she sang, I saw her story dance before my eyes. I saw her fall in love with a handsome gentleman, sleep with him, become pregnant, then once he got what he wanted, he left her with a baby. As I am told by my cousin--who has started to read the book--Fantine's baby was nearly a year old before the father skipped out. Which just makes the story a little more sad.

Fantine's character was played by the beautiful and talented Anne Hathaway. I was thoroughly impressed with her singing and acting in this movie. It is so unlike the other movies that she has been in. From royalty to prostitution, Hathaway practically steals the show and has earned that Golden Globe that she received. My favorite scene of hers was when she returned at the end to help Jean Valjean--played by Hugh Jackman--pass into death. I will admit that her parts made me (and the audience) tear up.

Next we have Javert, played by our favorite gladiator, Russell Crowe. His singing, I believe was the weakest of all the secondary characters in this movie. Maybe it was just his voice, but his scenes weren't the strongest until he threw himself off that bridge with a rememberable splat and crack! It was sad that he was unable to live with the feelings that Valjean invoked in him and no man should have to die in that fashion. Though I like Crowe as an actor, this was not my favorite performance of his.

I have to admit that Amanda Seyfried's singing voice as Cosette was a big shock for me. Who knew that she could sing outside of "Mamma Mia" and that high? Though we did not see much acting Bon her part, I think she did an acceptable job for the part she played.

Now, I have never seen Eddie Redmayne in any kind of main role (I have not had the pleasure in seeing "The Pillars of the Earth" though it is on my list). His character, Marius, had a lot of good moments and difficult singing parts. I am happy to say that he hit them all with flying colors. Though I don't think I can get the image of him floating in human excrement out of my mind any time soon. It was nice how Valjean told Marius about who he really was and the younger man kept that secret even as he and Cosette were at besides Valjean's death "bed." That made me like him a lot...and for punching Sacha Baron Cohen's character in the wedding scene.

Speaking of Cohen, he played the conman-innkeeper Thenardier who was married to Helena Bonham Carter's character, Madame Thenardier. These two were quite the pair, huh? Their main scene at the inn was the only time that I actually laughed more than once at--mainly because no one died during that scene.  As always, Carter donned her crazy hat and played a spectacular performance which was only amplified by Cohen's performance. These two, though the most unlikely pair of both characters and actors, a great act that audiences were able to enjoy throughout the movie.

Lastly, we have Jean Valjean himself, played by Wolverine himself, the handsome Hugh Jackman. With a character so unlike his others, Jackman took a huge risk in taking this part. I don't know of any other parts of his that required singing, and that much singing at that! As the main character, that is to be expected, but there was still a lot of singing. Not that his voice wasn't unpleasant, but there were some parts that his voice was stretched a little thin on the high notes. He displayed the true theme of this musical, redemption, and shocked the world that he was not just a member of the X-men. Otherwise, thumbs up Jackman!

The plot was overall excellent, I have no complaints there. This movie was a tear jerker, to be sure, and I would advise anyone (any girl, I guess) to bring tissues because you will cry at one point or another. The three times that I cried the hardest were Fantine's song "I Dreamed A Dream," when the little boy was shot, Gavroche, along with the rest of the rebels, and when Valjean died at the end. Watch out for those scenes. They cause bouts of emotions.

The music was exquisite and very agreeable. My mom, who had seen Les Mis. on Broadway, thought that all the actors/actresses did excellant jobs, so if you aren't going to see the movie because this new version could not compare to the old, suck it up and go see it. You will be thoroughly surprised. My favorite song has to be the last one that everyone sings. It was first introduced to us when the group of rebels were singing it and has stuck with me all day.

I have no complaints about this movie. The director made it as authentic as he could, though some of the CGI effects were obviously hokey and needed a little touch up. But I'm no expert, so don't take my word on that.

For this movie, it would give it a solid 4/5 stars.

What's your opinion??

Thanks for taking the time to read this through, I would greatly appreciate a comment if you could.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Direction?

So I've been thinking...since I fail at blogging at a regular bases, that I would just blog about the movies that I've seen, the book s that I've read, and the music that I have listened to. I guess that you could say that I plan on critiquing pieces from these three categories. For the most part you would be right.

But I am not a professional critic and have no delusions that I am. I can guaruntee that there will be spoilers and some biase oppinions to be found. Feel free to tell me what you think about the pieces that I discuss. Comments and feedback is encouraged! This is a friendly environment and if you wish to comment, please keep your comments civil and respectful.

I will begin. This new adventure in a blog to follow.

Please and thank you!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Marines Boot Camp?? Any survivors?

So here's the thing. My little brother just left for Marine Boot Camp in San Diego, CA and I want to know what it was like for other people. But where do you go about looking for that kind of thing? You can't exactly expect to find the answers on the Marine Corp. website because they'll say that it's tough but survivable. I want to know, from other recruits who have gone to Camp Pendleton what they thought about it, what their experiences were like, and what I should do from home to make it easier for my brother (i.e. what to say in letters and the like). Does anyone have any ideas?

This is Day 1 of when he's gone and only ninety more to go. My parents and I are waiting by the phone, hoping he'll call tonight or early tomorrow morning. It's a three hour difference from here in Michigan when compared to California, so we don't know when the phone will ring. *sigh.

It was harder seeing Jake off than I had thought. The Staff-Sergeant that came to get him answered some last minute questions before he took my little brother off with him to Lansing and a hotel where they would keep him at before going to Detroit to catch his flight. There were two others that were going with him from the Lansing Recruitment Office, so we were happy that he had some people that were keeping him company. I learned that we only have 10 days with him, 21 depending, before he has to go to MCT for another 3 weeks. Then he's supposed to go to his job training school--wherever that happens to be--before he's stationed. The Staff-Sergeant said that he won't even have time to come back and see us before he's stationed. Not even a day to say "Hi!" and "Bye!" before he goes.

What the fuck? Really? That's stupid! My mom was about in tears when told, but she held them off until Jake was out the door. I knew that he was excited to be going and that helped, but still I cried when I saw him off--crazy I know, but it happens. Then my dad was crying, and seeing men cry really turns on the waterworks. And my cousin, Elise, who's staying with us until October, was crying as well! Now it's just the four of us and my parents are already riding my ass about doing family stuff, taking over my brother's chores, and figuring out what to do with my life after I graduate from college. I'm all for my brother already knowing what he wants to do for the rest of his life, but that doesn't mean that I do!

Anyway, what I want to know is what other people thought of Boot Camp (any boot camp really) and what I should say in letters that would help him. Please leave a comment/feedback, it will be greatly appreciated!


Friday, October 28, 2011


Hey, everyone. I know that it's been a long time since I've blogged about...well, anything. But truthfully, this is the first time that I've had a little down time to be able to do anything other than homework for my classes. I can say that I can not cross off some books that I've read from my "Books to Read Before I Die" list. I can personally say, that I like Jane Eyre better than some of Jane Austen's books. Which is a great surprise to me since I thought (before I even started reading Jane Eyre) that I wouldn't be able to get through the whole thing without wanting to goudge my eyes out.

Unfortunately, in my Philosophical literature class, I'm currently reading Anna Karenina and that book makes me want to goudge my eyes out. My professor thinks that assigning us 150some pages to read for homework every class period is a good thing.  He knows that I'm taking other 300-400 level classes (since he's my professor for two more of them) so I don't know why he can't just make us read 100some pages instead. What really jerks my chain is that the last day that we're reading this book, we onyl have to read 50-70 pages. Why couldn't he have spread it out equally each day? I have no idea.

In one of my other classes, I read Sense & Sensibility and I can honestly say that (after watching the movie for plenty of years) I still hate Willoughby!! It could be that I hate him more since I know guys who were like him, or that his character is just unappealing to me. Either way, it doesn't justify his leading Marianne on, with the intension to seduce her, before dropping her faster than a hot potatoe to marry the girl with 50 thousand pounds who is a jealous bitch.  Excuse my language, but it's the honest to God's truth.

Other than school, I can say that I have no complete social life. Today and tomorrow are the only days that I have actual plans to do anything with friends. I'm going shopping with one friend for a dress for another friend's wedding in a few weeks (bad, Katie, bad bad bad!) and tomorrow I'm hosting a good-bye breakfast for another friend who's leaving for bootcamp on Monday.  [Man that was a long sentence.]  Thankfully, I got some of my homework done so I don't have much to worry about over the weekend.

On a whole and completely different topic, I've had a couple of different story ideas running through my head. I can already hear my cousin saying that I'm already working on another story that she loves and I need to focus my work on that, but I've hit a pretty efficient wall between me and creativity for that story so it's on the back burners. Anyways, the main story that I've been thinking about is from a guys POV (first one that I'm attempting) who ends up in the hospital after a drunk driving accident which causes nerve damage in his legs (meaning he has to relearn how to use his legs).  While there, he meets a young woman who's helping out in the children's wing by reading Beauty & the Beast.  They bump heads because he's a stuck-up rich guy who doesn't think about anyone but himself while she's the embodiment of everything good (not literally, but I'm going to make her look like a saint).  As you can probably imagine, they eventually come to like each other but when he confesses that he loves her, she doesn't say the words back because...yeah, like I'm about to spoil the ending for people (if my wish comes true and I suddenly become a famous writer overnight) if it doesn't become published.  I guess you can call this book a mix between a Disney fairytale remake and a Nicholas Sparks novel.

Well, I'm off to the races (aka class) and wish everybody a great weekend!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Future Travels

Lately I've been thinking about traveling. Mostly I'm thinking about going to Italy, Croatia, England, France, St. Petersburg. These are just the few in the long list that I have going. I know that almost every country, and city, on that list is practically clique. Except for Croatia. That one I know probably surprised a few of you. Well, I've been reading up on some of the sights there and a lot has really caught my attention.

Here in the States, I've gone to A LOT of National Parks, so when I see that other countries have them, I would gladly jump at the chance to be able to go there and explore areas that I've never been too. Croatia has eight NPs and I'm interested in going to, Plitvice Lakes, and Mljet. Wanna know why? Below are two pictures of the falls at Plitvice:

Now do you know why I want to go there? It looks absolutely beautiful there. From what I was looking at prices, 1 US dollar equals almost 5.50 kunas (croatian currency). So it's less expensive to go there than it is London. I've compiled a list of the places in Croatia that I would like to go, other than the parks. There are actually art museums that I'm really interested in going too. Surprising really, since I'm not really into museums here, especially art museums.

But then again, I REALLY want to go to the British Museum, even if I'm only there for a day or two, that would be where I would spend most of my time. I guess I'm interested in history, as long as it isn't American History.

If I won the lottery, a few million dollars maybe, I would travel to all the places that I've been wanting to go to for a while. I would make it as inexpensive as possible so I can save what's left to go again later. Would I travel alone? Most likely. That way, I won't have to worry about what other people want to do while I just take in the scenery for a little while.  That, and I can take my time while in the museums and such. My family will tell you, I can stand to be on my own more than others.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Vacation Log: 5 - The End.

I know that it's been a while since I last updated, but it's been busy the last few days.

August 9th:

We drove to Yellowstone and did some hiking around Old Faithful. There were a lot more people there than I have seen in a while. It probably didn't help that author C.J. Box was there to autograph books and such. It was a poopy day. The weather was shifting between rain and sunshine. We visited the new visitor center. It was very nice and more hands on than others in the park. We hiked along the geyser basin for what felt like forever. I have to say, though the geysers and thermal pools are beautiful, they smell like rotten eggs and sulfur. I absolutely hate that smell with a passion. For my suffering, we ate dinner at the Hamilton Store which is right next to the Old Faithful Inn. It's a gift shop and a diner. I love their burgers and their fries. Then we went back to Aunt Barb's and Uncle Ted's house.

[Pictures will be added ASAP]

August 10th:

We didn't spend the whole day at Yellowstone because we needed to get back to Livingston to pack since we were leaving in the morning. We went to the South Rim Ridge Hike of the Lower Falls and walked the whole 1.5 miles of it. I have to say, though it gave us great views of the canyon and the falls, the hike was mostly uphill the whole way there. It was pretty steep in places and the altitude made it difficult to breath. We started that hike at around 9:30am and didn't get back to the car until 12:30pm. Thankfully, I had my knee brace so it didn't bother me as much as it would've.

We went to have lunch at a picnic area with one of the worst smelling outhouses that I've ever been in. It smelled like someone tried to cover the smell with a freshener that only seemed to blend with the odor and make it a hundred times worse. On the way back to Livingston, we got stuck in a couple of traffic jams caused by people stopping to take pictures of buffalo and elk. Seriously, there are a TON of animals in the park, and they stop to take pictures of just six of them. People were leaving their cars in the middle of the road while they got out to take pictures of them and getting too close in the meantime. Now, I can understand that maybe this was their first time seeing them, but if you're going to take pictures, pull over to the side of the road and then get out.

August 11th & 12th:

On the two days that we drove home, we were either following or being followed by rain clouds. When we drive through South Dakota, on the horizon in front of us, there was a gigantic thunder cloud. We could see the lightning and knew that it was a bad one. We were between Rapid City and Presho when we sat a total of 7 trucks rolled onto their sides in the median. There was one that laid across the highway so they had to divert traffic off of the highway. I was driving at this point and thoroughly freaked out. But, there wasn't any wind causing me to have difficulty driving, so we suspected that we were going with the wind, not against it.

We stopped in Presho to get gas and switch drivers. But as it turns out, the gas station was out of power. There was a group of bikers that told dad that they heard of 80-85 mile an hour winds coming from the storm that was just ahead of us. So I happily handed over the wheel. We hadn't hit the storm yet, when we were shown the most spectacular display of lightning that I've ever seen in my life. I'm serious. I've never seen lightning like that. It would start off zipping across the sky and stay visible in one spot for a few seconds. There was this one where it started on my side of the car and zipped to Jake's side--all the while it would crash down to earth while it went. It lit up the whole sky with colors of blue and yellow. It was absolutely amazing. It wasn't so amazing when we hit the storm. The wind was absolutely terrible and the rain made visibility next to impossible. Though the speed limit is 75, we were going, at the most, 65. By the time we made it to Sioux City in Iowa, we beat the storm there but it was close to midnight. I didn't get to sleep until almost one thirty in the morning.

We left around eight the next morning and the storm had hit us again, though not as hard; it was more windy than rainy. When we drove over the Missouri River, they had sandbags up on either side of the road because the water was SOOO high! It was ridiculious! There was a farm that was under water and the water was just on the other side of the bags of sand! When we left Iowa, it was still cloudy the while way back to Michigan, but it wasn't horrible. The storm that was chasing us, hit Michigan this morning while Jake was mowing the lawn.

You know how when you get home from a long vacation, you just want to relax? Well, that didn't happen with us. We had a power outage while Dad and Jake were out west that caused something in dad's computer to fry and now he has to order a new part for it because it won't start. We had a few leaky pipes that we found out about while I was in the shower-I didn't have any hot water to speak of. The roof is leaking in my grandpa's living room and we now know isn't caused by my air conditioner that is right above where the crack in the ceiling is. And lastly, when we figured out that the pipes were leaking, they were leaking in the dining room (because the ceiling was wet) and in the basement (because there was water down there were there shouldn't be). My, today has just been a mess one right after the other.

My, it's good to be home.

[Pictures will be added at a later date.]

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Vacation Log: 4

Yesterday, we did a lot of driving. We visited two ghost towns, even though one of them still has people living there. The first one was still occupied, and there were only a few buildings that could be considered ghost town material. The second place was in Bannack. In the photos below, I only have photos of the buildings that really interested me. In them, they looked like great scenes for horror movies. With it being a ghost town, I think the whole thing is appropriate.

Then at the end of the day, on our way back to Aunt Barbe's, we saw the greatest rainbow I've ever seen. You don't get rainbows this vibrant in Michigan. To make it even better, it was a double rainbow and one of them was almost a full rainbow because you could see the end of one on the other side of the street.

Because we did a lot of driving, we didn't get to see as much, but we did get a lot of great pictures. Which are below. Today is going to be a day of relaxing so I don't suspect a lot of exciting things happening today. I may just skip tomorrows blog and add it to tomorrows. That way it will be longer and more interesting.

Anyway, have a good day everybody!

This was taken in Marysville. Ghost Town #1

Taken inside a hotel in Bannack. The stains remind me of the scene in The Messengers [featuring Kristen Stewart] when her mom/stepmom tried to get the stain out of the wall in her bedroom.

Picture of the upstairs hallway.

The sweet staircase in the hotel.

Those were the chains that the townspeople used for their mining. Believe me, they're heavier than what they look.

A shot of the town.

This house reminds me of Boo Radley's house in To Kill A Mockingbird.

On the way home.
Picture 1 of the rainbow. You can just see the second rainbow on the right.

I love this picture. I did it myself.