Tag: Star wars

Updates and Friday 5: Songs when I was a Teenager

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you have all had good weeks.  The last few months have flown by for me.  It’s been a bit dominated by headaches but a lot of fun experiences too.

Mainly I keep growing in my video creation skills.  It might not sound like much to be excited about but it really is thrilling to continue learning and growing.  Just today I figured out how to alter color in Adobe Premiere (a really tough software to use).  That was a huge breakthrough!

Anyway, it keeps me busy and motivated.  Next week we have Batman v Superman and I will be reviewing all the Superman and Batman movies on my blog.  I have watched all the Batman movies and in the weeds with the Superman movies right now.  This weekend is Superman 4, Superman Returns and Man of Steel…Yikes!

On Sunday I am doing a ranking video with my friends Abby and Jeremy where we are each giving our rankings for the Star Wars films.  It’s been tougher than I thought because I like most of them for different reasons.  Here’s the link if you are interested in watching.  https://plus.google.com/events/c7gog64knsdhfnbve6521ehh6k4?authkey=CLedlabMkNfIhAE

This week for the Friday 5 the topic is Songs from When I Was a Teenager.  This one was actually kind of easy for me as they are still songs I love.

  1. Who Am I? From Les Miserables- I am running out of Les Miserables songs but I had to pick one for this category because Les Mis was the first music I really fell in love with and I still love it to this day
  2. Ease on Down the Road- Musical theater was pretty much the music that meant the most to me in high school.  In fact, theater was more important to me than film or books at that time.  The Wiz was my favorite play I was ever in hence this song on the countdown.
  3. Hands by Jewel- Jewel’s Spirit album really spoke to me.  I remember my friends even getting annoyed with me because I would just play it over and over again (that’s so my personality.  Repetition never bothered me). I still love the album and song.
  4. Thy Word by Amy Grant- My Mother and I had a lot of conflict about music.  I felt she judged me too harshly for the music I liked and sought her validation. It was kind of silly looking back on it but Amy Grant was a singer I felt was an olive branch to my Mom.  She was Christian and a pleasant singer we could both agree on.  Thy Word is one of my favorite of her songs.
  5. Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight- REM’s Automatic for the People is another album I listened repeatedly too throughout my teen years.  I still love every song.  This is a deeper cut but it’s got a great hook and I love that you can hear Michael laughing in the take. That’s just awesome.

So those are my Friday 5 and a little updates on things going on.  What about you?  What are your favorite songs from when you were a teenager?  What do you think of my list?

Are you pumped for Batman v Superman and what is your favorite Batman or Superman movie?  How would you rank the Star Wars films?

Sorry this post is a little jumbled but sometimes it just works out that way.  Love you guys!

The Nostalgia Accusation

I don’t know if all of you are aware but nostalgia has become a dirty word for some in discussing media.  Recently I reviewed Fuller House on my youtube channel and the response was positive to my video; however, on a forum I noticed phrases like ‘only idiots drinking the nostalgia koolaid would like this’.  This type of accusation really annoys me.

So let’s talk about nostalgia.  The dictionary defines nostalgia as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations”.  So in other words it’s looking at something from our past and remembering it in a positive, happy way.  I get nostalgia for lots of things.  For example, whenever I drive past my old house in American Fork that I lived in with Camille and Megan I feel very nostalgic.  Whenever I go to BYU I remember all the good times I had there and it causes me to feel good- nostalgia.

Now granted these feelings are by nature stilted.  We remember either the bad or the good in the most vivid colors, and we may magnify those emotions with the passing of time.  So something that was sad becomes devastating.  Something that was happy becomes perfection.  We all do it.  It’s part of being human.

I guess where I get annoyed is the exaggeration brought on by nostalgia is only part of that memory.  I loved going to BYU, and just because I remember it with probably too much nostalgia doesn’t mean it wasn’t a genuinely wonderful time in my life.  I feel like people who say ‘you only like it because of nostalgia’ are throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  Nostalgia is part of the experience but there are really things I liked about it.

Nostalgia being part of an experience is not a reason to devalue said experience. If I love a movie because it reminds me of my Grandpa that doesn’t mean my other reasons for liking it are somehow less valuable because of a personal connection. Am I supposed to separate myself from all my life experience when viewing art and give some kind of robot review?

Recently I saw a critic on youtube eviscerate Star Wars Force Awakens and of course she accused all of us who liked it of being ‘blinded by nostalgia’.  I’m sorry but that is just not true.  Was nostalgia a part?  Probably but it also had a villain who was a true apprentice, it had a female hero who is discovering who she is, it had BB8 who was adorable, it had awesome light saber fights, it had a storm trooper rebelling.  All of that was great!  And yet I feel like this critic would discount everything I just said and accuse me of only being nostalgic.  That irritates me.

Now make no mistake there are definitely things I like for nostalgia purposes that I know are crap.  And you know what I own to that.  I know The Cutting Edge is not a great movie.  I get that, but I watched it with my friends in high school and it brings back good memories.  What’s wrong with that? I don’t expect you to have the same attachment to it and fully admit it isn’t a great movie.  And it’s not like I would give it an A+ just because I love it for nostalgia.  I would probably give it a C+ because that’s what it deserves, even though I love it.

I guess I just feel like the nostalgia accusation is a cheap way to discount what someone says.  I’ve had people claim I was nostalgic about Star Wars, Little Mermaid, Wizard of Oz, The Muppets, the list goes on.   These are all things I genuinely love and can give you reasons. I guess there is a little bit of nostalgia but that’s way down the list of why I enjoy those properties, and yet it is used as a reason to throw away my opinion?  That frustrates me!

I’ve even had people accuse me of nostalgia for things I didn’t like as a child.  I was not interested in fantasy or superheroes at all growing up.  And yet when I enjoy Avengers: Age of Ultron or other films people claim it is nostalgia.  It’s not.  I just liked it!

And I am not immune from the nostalgia accusation.  Just the other day I was talking to someone about the Care Bears movies and they were saying how people they knew LOVED them.  My response was ‘it must just be nostalgia because they aren’t that great’.  And then I stopped myself and realized I was doing the very thing that drives me crazy.  Maybe they have perfectly good reasons liking Care Bears? Or maybe it is nostalgia and what’s wrong with that?

I guess I just feel like nearly every time I’m accused of nostalgia it’s actually not the case.  I like what I like and I try to give as good an explanation as I can.  If nostalgia is part of that experience I will own to it, even celebrate it.  Nostalgia is a powerful thing and if we like something because it reminds us of our life that is great.  I just don’t like being accused of it when it isn’t true.  It makes me seem less objective than others who are ‘untainted by nostalgia’.

What do you guys think?  Can you relate to what I am saying?  What’s your view on nostalgia?  What’s something you enjoy but you know it is mostly for nostalgia sake?

Teaser Tuesdays: Force Awakens Novelization

Yesterday I saw Star Wars Force Awakens for the 4th time, so you could say I liked it!  It’s the Star Wars movie we’ve all been waiting for.  It also didn’t explain everything that happened before the events of the movie; nor, did it hesitate to leave questions unanswered.  This weekend my friend Jeremy, Abby and I are going to be talking Force Awakens like we have the previous 6 films over on my youtube channel.  To prepare for that discussion I decided to read (or listen too) the novelization of the movie.  So far there isn’t a ton of new information but there are little details I’m getting out of it that I didn’t notice in the movie.  The book is written b Alan Dean Foster and if you liked Force Awakens I recommend reading it.  The audiobook is excellently done.

 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.

force awakens novelizationAnyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page.
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

Here’s my teaser from  of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at 1 hr 10 min:

She tried to think of something else.  Something that had changed.  Something that seemed different- if only to keep her mind from atrophying.  But there was nothing. Nothing was different.  Nothing was new. On Jakku things never changed

I actually love that quote because I think it is a side of Rey we don’t get to see in the movie.  She’s restless and bored, and I got more tired in the movie.  That’s why reading these types of books are fun.  You get to relive a favorite movie while adding on new details only in the book.

My brother and I talk all about Force Awakens if you are curious for our review. I would love if you checked it out and gave it a thumbs up.  Share what you thought of the movie.

What are you reading right now? Anything you are anticipating in 2016?

I’d love to convince other readers to do the Tuesday Teasers because I am always looking for good book recommendations.  Give it a try!

Here is the link to our discussion video for Sunday if you want to join us.  If you have questions you’d like answered email them to me at smilingldsgirl@yahoo.com

https://plus.google.com/events/ca41hpkbo69ir9um8re68rmuv24

Why We Love Star Wars

star wars rachelAs everyone knows yesterday was the official premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise.  I have now seen it twice and will be posting my review both on youtube and at my movie blog by the end of the day tomorrow (I’m so behind nearly everyone else I know!).  Recently I also did a series on my channel with my friends Abby and Jeremy looking at all 6 Star Wars films proceeding Force Awakens, so it has been on my mind for some time. 

Without giving anything away on my review I will say the new film made me very happy.  I’ve seen it twice now and left with a huge smile on my face each time.  That said, I have read a few reviews from people mystified at the whole Star Wars thing.  To them it was just a generic space movie and the series has always been a bunch of generic space movies.

To a certain extent they are right.  At its core the plot for any Star Wars movie is generic serials going back to the 50s and earlier.  Why then does it matter and connect with so many people?  Why when many of us saw the trailers did we cry?  Why did people buy their tickets to the premiere months before?  Even with the near universal displeasure with the prequel trilogy, why do so many still love Star Wars?

I’ve given this a lot of thought and I think it comes down to world building.  While the plot structure of a Star Wars movie may be generic, the world Lucas created is not.  Other iconic characters such as Indiana Jones or Superman may be great but the world they inhabit isn’t very different from our own.  It is a rare film that not only gives you a story but also creates a whole new world.  So while we may have seen sword fighting before we hadn’t seen light saber battles.  We have seen the battle of good vs evil before but never a force of light and darkness and a spiritual leadership known as the jedi. The original Star Wars gave us new planets, characters, armor, and even the most humorous robots we’d seen in movies. All of that combined to take a somewhat generic story into something that inspires imagination, creativity and discussion.

It’s this immersive world that allowed Star Wars to still matter despite the prequels because the love of Star Wars was never really about the story to begin with.  The world is still there however tarnished.  We just had to work through it waiting for the movie that would do something right with that world. 

And the other thing to consider is while the prequels disappointed there was other product in books and animation that did not, and there was always the stories we told each other while playing in that world as kids. And of course the original trilogy was still there to watch on vhs.

Look at Wizard of Oz in contrast which has to take off of the novels and a movie owned by Warner Brothers. As a result, when a studio tries to give us that world back they can’t really do it.  This leaves us with a ton of bad films, none of which are set in the Oz of the original movie (there is little to no similarities to between the Oz of Return to Oz, The Wiz, Oz the Great and Powerful and Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return.)  Even when Star Wars made a bad movie it was always in the world we loved and so we could find things to hang our hopes on and talk about.

Lord of the Rings is probably the closest counter- example as we got mythic world building but even that followed novels, which in a way limits creativity a little bit.  It’s harder to tell our own stories in our play and conversation in a world where the stories have already been laid out so meticulously.  Star Wars never had that.  The world always had great potential for stories instead of the stories dictating the world.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense but I’ve just heard people exclaim ‘why does everyone care about Star Wars?  Isn’t it a movie made for children?’.  Well the answer is yes it is but it’s the world that we love and the stories we saw on screen and the one’s we played out by ourselves or with our friends.

The other reason Star Wars is important to people is because it laid out a decisive right and wrong, light and darkness in the force.  We live in a PC era where nobody wants to say anything is bad or good.  It’s refreshing to find a source material where it is clearly delineated.  Especially kids need to see that kind of dichotomy.   They need a way to order their life and know how to make the right choices.  If it is just because ‘Mom says no’ than they aren’t likely to follow but if they know about good vs evil and have a reason to follow the light than they will. 

So, while you may or may not be a Star Wars fan, I think it is important to remember it is not about a mere movie.  It is about a world that was introduced to many of us when we were little, a world that changed movies, pop culture and that we told our own stories within.  That’s a powerful thing.

Teaser Tuesday: How Star Wars Conquered the Universe

This week is all about Star Wars in my life including my reading (or audiobook listening). I’ve always been someone that has enjoyed non-fiction, particularly books that analyze trends and the odd behavior of groups.  The Big Sort, The Great Good Place and Bowling Alone are 3 of my favorites.  And as my last post said– nothing is a bigger trend or has more hype than Star Wars!

That’s why I decided to read Chris Taylor’s book ‘How Star Wars Conquered the Universe’.  I just started it but am finding it very interesting.  He starts  trying to find someone who has never heard of Star Wars before.   Follow me on Goodreads to find out what I thought of the book in the end.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.

Taylor-How Star PBAnyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page.
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

For mine I am listening to it in audiobook so I don’t have the page number but have the timecode.

Here’s my teaser from 2hr:34m of How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor

“Space soldiers in their Tommy Tomorrow and Flash Gordon guises were far from the only obsession in young Lucas’ life.  Soon they weren’t even the central one. In his teens Lucas’ attention shifted from drawing and comics to cameras and cars.  An auto accident, the most important turning point in Lucas’ entire creative history led him to rethink his approach to school. He discovered the study of humanity and became fascinated by photography.  Only then belatedly did he fall into film”

So far I am really enjoying the book.  It’s more about Lucas and his history making Star Wars than I thought it would.  As a fan of Star Wars and movies in general it is fascinating to learn about.

What non-fiction do you like?

The Value of Hype

In just 2 short days I am going to be seeing what may be the most hyped movie of all time- Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  To say I am excited would be an understatement. I can’t wait!!

I’m sure many of you have heard people saying ‘it can’t match the hype’ and others will say after it was ‘overhyped’.  I honestly have a hard time understanding this reaction and so I thought I would put in a plug for hype and why it can actually be a good thing.

First of all, I should point out that somehow I was born without sensitivity to over-exposure.  I could eat the same thing, listen to the same music, watch the same movies over and over again and never grow sick of them.  It’s just the way my brain works.  If I like it on viewing 1, I like it (sometimes more so) on viewing 30.  I have books I reread every year and enjoy them just as much as the first time.

I honestly can’t think of anything that I liked and then hype ruined for me.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

There are a few times when something has been over-sold to me.  Like the first time I saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail I had heard it quoted a million times so I was a little disappointed.  Then I saw it again without the expectations and loved it!  The Godfather would be another example that once I just watched it as a movie and not anticipating a masterpiece I liked it much better.   When I came home from my mission people way over-sold M Night Shyamalan’s movie Signs, which I think many see the flaws in now but back then I was sold quite the bill of goods.

There are also certainly times when I disagree with the hype- like last years Birdman, a movie who’s popularity baffles me to this day.  It had some good things about it but I had big issues as well.  That said, I am happy that other people found something that inspires them.  I want everyone to enjoy the cinema.

So all that said how can hype be a good thing?

I think it is actually pretty simple.

Watch the news and what do you see?- war, destruction, natural disasters, crime, racial profiling and prejudice, abuse etc.  There is so much to be downtrodden and sad about.  Then look at people watching the Star Wars trailer or a little girl belting out Frozen songs.  The smiles on their faces say it all.  People hype things up because they love them.  You build up enough of that love, amongst enough people, and it becomes hype.  I’m not sure where the line goes to over-hype but I just don’t see how a bunch of happy people is a bad thing?

The other day I was having a discussion with a friend about the whole bronies movement.  This person was very critical of this particular fandom and while I think it is unusual if it is making them happy who cares? If they find connections and enjoy something weird together what’s the harm in that?

As I said there is so much to be discouraged about these days that even if I don’t share in the fandom (say Twilight or Batman) I love seeing the joy the participants have.  It feels good to be a part of something bigger than yourself in life.  I love when that can happen going all the way back to being a little girl belting out Little Mermaid for literally years.  Some happy moments of my life were probably groan inducing for the ‘over-hype naysayers’.

Such fandom and hype also can connect you to other human beings in a way maybe every day life might not (especially with social media).  For example, this year I went to a Survivor event in New York City and got to know tons of nice people.  All over a silly TV show! It was a joyous happy time and that’s what I am anticipating on Thursday- just  having fun with my friends and being happy together watching Star Wars!

So I hope people will just enjoy that other people are happy and excited about something in their lives.  If you aren’t into Star Wars than just smile and think about your own passions and what excites you.  Please don’t be a grumbler and poo-poo people’s good times.  If someone asks your opinion than say it or if you have a blog/channel post it but let people be happy and enjoy whatever it is they are pumped about.  Positive energy folks!  If Star Wars should teach us anything it’s that a positive force is a good thing!

What fandoms are you a part of?  What have you felt great hype for in your life (It’s fun when it happens right?)?  What has let you down that you were hyped up for?

hype

 

Phantom Menace Review and Discussion

Check out my first Star Wars review of Episode 1: Phantom Menace. My friends Jeremy and Abby joined me for a google chat about the movie. I’d love for you all to take a look as it was my first time hosting a live google hang out. I think it went pretty well.

Rachel's Reviews

phantom menace99Hi guys!  So yesterday marked the start of my new Star Wars series and I am going to be doing reviews on this blog plus a new web series on my youtube channel.  I am going to be discussing with my friends Abby and Jeremy each of the Star Wars movies and yesterday we tackled Episode 1: Phantom Menace.  It was my first time doing a Live Google Hangout and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Most people know I was not a fan of the Star Wars prequels but I have always stood up for Phantom Menace a little bit because Attack of the Clones seemed so much worse at the time  (we will see what I think this week).  But I have to say on the rewatch Phantom Menace was a lot worse than I remembered. It has some decent sequences but at the core it…

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