favorite films and other pretentious opinions

Hello, gang.

It’s me! I’m back! I’m not dead! Hurrah!

I’ve been away for quite a while, so I thought it was high time for me to dust off this old blog and make it a lovely place for discussion once more. Things are moving. Styles are changing. Posts are happening. It’s gonna be great.

While this is primarily a book blog, I wanted to ease into it with a little something different. Because, you know, I can do what I want.

ron

Real talk time. I am Obsessed™ with films. I love ’em. I love the format and the artistry and the fact that they can tell a good story within a two-hour time frame. I was talking with my parents the other day about our favorite films (because films are a family hobby in the Hopkins household, along with alliteration). And it got me wanting to give IN DEPTH explanations and analyses about my favorite movies because I am, by nature, an English major, and graduating has not changed that.

So here are my TOP FIVE FAVORITE FILMS*

*at the moment**

**and in no particular order

1. amélie (2001)

amelie

This! movie! is! my! life!

I first watched it when I was a senior in high school, taking a college-level Intro to Lit class. I mostly hated that class because the teacher was horrid and literally made me cry one time (a story for another day), but I do have to give her thanks for introducing me to this movie.

Amélie changed my life. Which is funny, because the tagline of the film is she’ll change your life. But Amélie did. For the first time I could remember, I experienced a character who I connected to and related to on a deep personal level. I was AmélieI still am Amélie, in many ways, but to seventeen-year-old, cripplingly shy, uncomfortably introverted Natalie—seeing a character like Amélie navigate life successfully, albeit in her own odd way, made me hopeful that I could, too.

I love her for that.

Aside from that, Amélie is just a lovely film. The style and music are wonderfully Parisian. (I listened to the soundtrack on REPEAT my freshman year of university.) The characters delightful. The romance charming. One of the most beautiful things about the film (and the titular character) is its attention to small details. Nothing in life is too small or insignificant for notice. I think it’s a nice thing to remember.

If you haven’t ever seen Amélie, um, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE? Kidding. But really, you should watch it.

Note: it is in French, so if subtitles irk you, maybe don’t watch it? but you still should??

So, my little Amélie, you don’t have bones of glass. You can take life’s knocks. If you let this chance pass, eventually, your heart will become as dry and brittle as my skeleton. So, go get him, for Pete’s sake!

2. dead poets society (1989)

robin

This is a fairly new love of mine, but a good one.

Like with Amélie, watching Dead Poets Society was kind of a Life Moment™ for me. I felt so much its passion for literature, its yearning to exist fully, its need to love with a love that’s more than love. This movie just felt so BIG in my heart that I wasn’t surprised when I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks after.

And there’s a lot to love in this movie. Lovely, inspirational Robin Williams?  New England Prep School aesthetics? Autumn coziness? Soft boys just doing their best?

I can’t take it. I can’t. It’s too much for one heart.

Basically, the movie follows a group of boys who reinstate the Dead Poets Society, a society of literature lovers who say things like carpe diem and definitely do things for the #aesthetic. They’re a little pretentious, but, boy, do I love them. Especially Todd Anderson, shy boy and quiet poet (beginning to see a pattern?). The mighty yawp scene never fails to make me cry. Actually, this whole movie makes me cry. I’m crying right now just thinking about it.

It’s lovely. It’s so unbearably lovely. I want my life to feel like Dead Poets Society. I’d at least settle for a John Keating to guide me through these times of trouble and discuss poetry with me.

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

3. good will hunting (1997)

will

I must really love Robin Williams, because he’s in two of my top five movies. And what’s not to love? Nothing, I tell you, nothing.

Good Will Hunting is also a new favorite, though I wonder at how I’ve lived most of my twenty-two years without the movie. It’s similar in a lot of ways to Dead Poets Society, in how it makes you feel and how it makes you cry. I was sobbing buckets the first time I watched this, but thankfully I was alone. (I’m what you call an Ugly Crier.)

The film follows Will Hunting, a young genius working as a janitor at MIT. Unsurprisingly, his genius is discovered, along with a plethora of emotional baggage from his childhood. Enter Sean Maguire, psychologist, and MY FEELINGS.

It can be a hard movie to stomach at times, but I think it makes it all the dearer. It’s such a delightful juxtaposition of really lighthearted moments, like the scene about Sean’s late wife’s farting habit (classic), and much darker themes of abuse and loss. I just love that this movie isn’t afraid to make you hurt. Because hurting is a part of life, and sometimes we need to hurt before we can fully heal.

Watch Good Will Hunting. Love it. Cry about it. (Especially during that scene.)

You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.

4. austenland (2013)

jane

Okay, bit of a change of pace to the previous films. I may be a pretentious person, but I also know how to appreciate a good cheesy, goofy romp. I delight in the absurd and ridiculous and overly romantic. Sue me.

Austenland holds a really dear place in my heart. I watched it in theaters my freshman year of college with my then-roommate who was quickly becoming my best friend. This movie was kind of a monumental moment in our friendship. We laughed at it and loved it and quoted it to each other in daily conversation. It was—is—our best and most hilarious inside joke.

Since then, Austenland has kind of become a hallmark of my best friendships. You don’t like Austenland? With its hilarious characters? Its most quotable quotes? Its flawless satire of regency society and romance? Its perfect casting of JJ Field as Mr Nobley? Sorry, we can’t be friends.

If you like anything to do with Jane Austen, romance, or happiness, please watch this movie. It even makes a Hobbit joke. I know because I can quote tHE ENTIRE MOVIE.

Mr Darcy said to Jane, “Jane, listen! Listen right now! If you were to sleep with me tonight, I would actually speak to you the next day, unlike any man that you would meet a hundred years from now.”

5. pride and prejudice (2005)

lizzie

This film is the epitome of aesthetic. I watch it and my skin is clear, my crops are flourishing, my grades are up. Everything is beautiful while watching Pride and Prejudice. Of all these films, this is the one I’ve loved the longest, from the moment I first watched the opening title sequence as a young girl, Dario Marianelli’s lovely score in the background. It’s a nostalgic film to me, one that reminds me of home and sister love and cozy afternoons with my mom.

And for those concerned, YES this is my favorite adaption of P & P. Obviously. Don’t get me wrong—I like the Jennifer Ehle / Colin Firth version. But this film is an emotional experience. It captures so well the heart of the novel and these characters. Although it’s hard to translate Austen’s satirical and all-seeing voice from the novel, this film, I think, does a wonderful job giving us a bird’s eye view of this community of people, with all its glances around corners and peeks through windows. If I haven’t said it enough, I’ll say it again—it’s a beautiful, beautiful film.

Also, Keira Knightley? Amazing. And Matthew MacFadyen. And everyone else.

I just love this movie. It makes me very happy, and everyone needs a good, lovely, happy movie as a favorite film.

If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.

And there you have it. My favorite movies. Do you have similar ones? Or different one entirely? I’d love to know (especially if any of you have good recommendations).

Till then.

xx, natalie

 

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in which i’m rather a romantic

Hello, world.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I am rather fond of Jane Austen’s stories. I think they’re so lovely and clever and important.

Sometimes, though, her six novels just aren’t quite enough.

DAY 23: MY GUILTY PLEASURE

Goodreads Summary:

The only place Darcy could share his innermost feelings was in the private pages of his diary…

Torn between his sense of duty to his family name and his growing passion for Elizabeth Bennet, all he can do is struggle not to fall in love.

Mr. Darcy’s Diary presents the story of the unlikely courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Darcy’s point of view. This graceful imagining and sequel to Pride and Prejudice explains Darcy’s moodiness and the difficulties of his reluctant relationship as he struggles to avoid falling in love with Miss Bennet. Though seemingly stiff and stubborn at times, Darcy’s words prove him also to be quite devoted and endearing – qualities that eventually win over Miss Bennet’s heart. This continuation of a classic romantic novel is charming and elegant, much like Darcy himself.

I really really really like these books.

happy smiling aww jeremy renner aw

Amanda Grange has written each of Austen’s novels from the lovers’ perspectives, which is basically exactly what you would expect them to be–aka glorified fanfiction–and it’s so good.

I may be a pretentious English major, but I can also take a lot of pleasure from cheesy, romantic stories, so long as they have decent grammar and involve characters that I love. These novels check at least one of those boxes (jk they check both).

yours, Natalie

Tune in tomorrow at noon for the next post!

in which i delight in anything ridiculous

Hello, world.

sorry this is late sorry sorry

I have many favorite female characters (let’s get real). Yet, when I think of my favorite, only one character has inspired so much admiration and aspiration from me.

DAY 16: MY FAVORITE FEMALE CHARACTER

Goodreads summary:

First published in 1813, “Pride and Prejudice,” Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners – one of the most popular novels of all time – tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins the novel, that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.

Whatever your opinion about Jane Austen’s books (I, personally, am a huge Janeite), you’ve got to admit that Elizabeth Bennet is a total BAMF. She’s everything I aspire to be–loyal, passionate, and witty as heck. Plus, she manages to win Mr Darcy, so that’s pretty cool.

pride and prejudice mr darcy elizabeth bennet
*swoons*

More than her romance, though, Elizabeth is such a lovely, complex character. She doesn’t quite fit into the life she’s been given–she doesn’t smother her emotions, but uses them as her moral guide, even when they may contradict societal norms. She wants to be seen as a full, intelligent person, which was rather extraordinary for her time.

And she has faults–so ever many faults (reference: the title), especially in a time when women weren’t supposed to be anything less than perfect. But does she let them define her? Heck no. (I pity the thing or person who ever tries to define Eliza Bennet.) She learns from her mistakes, but she also holds her ground when she knows she’s right. It’s important to know when to do which–something she discovers in the book.

And though she takes some knocks and blows throughout the novel, Elizabeth knows her soul and person, and she doesn’t let any thing alter her sense of self. I think that is such an important thing.

Ever since I was I young girl, I have always wanted to be like Elizabeth. I think inside my soul I might be a little like her, although outwardly I act more like Jane. I rather keep my thoughts and judgments hidden. Maybe one day I’ll let my inner Lizzy reign free.

rosamund pike keira knightley pride and prejudice jane austen elizabeth bennet

Now, excuse me while I go watch Pride & Prejudice (the Keira Knightley version obviously) for the umpteenth time.

yours, Natalie

Tune in tomorrow at noon for the next post!