"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Winter Wonderland Tag // Revealing My White Witch Side


Merry Christmas to you all! How's it going? I am on break and am having a jolly good time doing nothing for the first time in months.  I have too many posts in the works to count, but I have been tagged! By Sam! And it's about winter! So of course I'm abandoning everything else in favor for that.

As much as I dislike this movie (too sad!), this is real footage of me.

If you're new here, you should know that I am a snow enthusiast. I love it, and it is one of my absolute favorite things. I call myself Jadis the White Witch, Frozone, or Elsa, depending on the day.

The Winter Wonderland Tag:
Link back to The Storybook Journal (the creator of the tag)
Answer the questions; think Winter-y thoughts! Include pictures, if you like.
Tag at least 3 other bloggers, or more if you're feeling ambitious.

1. Name a few things you love about Winter, and a few things you don't love so much about it.

SNOW. I am so obsessed with the snow. I will put up with anything when there is snow.

What I don't like that much is driving in it. Not that I ever do that as I have chauffeurs (aka my parents). But, it is necessary where I live to plow snow. And while that is just about my worst nightmare, it is the life I've chosen, so I must be brave. 

When I first got back, I hadn't driven a car in many months so my plowing was terrible (why is going backwards so confusing?) but a week later I was much better because I wasn't so drastic in all my movements. My dad does all of it besides my futile attempts, but I'm his sidekick, his apprentice.

If anyone were to ask...

2. When you were a child, did you "believe" in Santa Claus?

When? Did? Why is this all in past tense, folks? I think the legend of Santa Claus is an amazing tradition. The whole idea is that you have been given so much in life that you give back without any want of recognition or thanks. It is truly a humbling and kind thing. In my house, my parents always taught me that if you do something nice, you don't brag about it. It's a secret. It's hard. That is the message of Santa, so I believe it is an amazing practice.

3. Is there a book or movie that you really love to read in the Winter as opposed to other times of year?

I would love to read Spinning Silver - by Naomi Novak again and again in the winter. I started it in January this year and finished it in May, so I would love to read the whole thing in winter months. I also think of Anna Karenina as very wintery (I read it between January and March), and, as basic as it is, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

As for movies, Anastasia (1997) is definitely a winter one. And Murder on the Orient Express (2017).

Dancing bears once upon a December, you know.

4. Is there a particular Christmas movie that you watch EVERY year as tradition?

Well, it depends on who's in charge. If it's my younger sister, it's White Christmas (1954). If it's my dad, it's A Christmas Story (1983). If it's my older sister and my mom, it's A Child's Christmas in Wales (1987) (even though usually only they watch it). And if it was up to me, it would be It's a Wonderful Life (1947). Usually my younger sister (to my mom's dismay) and my dad (to my younger sister's dismay) win.

This year, though, we were all a little burned out on those. So we decided to watch a movie that had a Christmas scene somewhere in it. For some reason we landed on Sleepless in Seattle (1993) which I had never seen. I was not impressed, folks.

5. Do you usually get a real tree or a fake tree for Christmas? Who's in charge of decorating it at your house?

Always real. I'm in charge of helping to get it. In previous years I've dreaded this because it is an all day thing. Usually my dad and sister and I go to our usual spot (out in the woods), find a great one, then spend the next few hours looking around for another one anyway. I will say that I usually write some of my best scenes in my WIP in my head while doing this.

This year, though, it was the fastest we've ever gotten one! It was on Dec. 16th (usually we put it up on Dec. 17th so it wasn't that late for us, but usually we've gotten it a few weeks earlier), and we drove around, saw one, snowshoed to it, and voila.

We all decorate the tree together, though my younger sister has commandeered putting the lights on. And she's usually the one who does any additional decorating around the house.

6. Does your family usually stay home or go visiting (relatives, friends, etc.) on Christmas Day?

We have always stayed home. In years past we had some friends come visit us, but usually Christmas is a really chill holiday.

Get it, chill?

7. What does your family usually do on New Years Eve? Any traditions? Do you ever stay up till midnight?

Usually my younger sister and I stay up late while my older sister and mom go to sleep. And my dad wanders around, sometimes joining my younger sister and I in our efforts or sometimes just doing other things.

You've caught me red-handed...

8. Do you get snow where you live? If so, have you ever built a snowman and named him Olaf?

YES, there is so much snow where I am. SO MUCH. There are not places close to us that rival us. I have built many a snowmen, but I don't think I've named one Olaf? Maybe my sister did once? More along the lines of Frosty.

9. If it's snowing outside, would you prefer to go outside and build snowmen and enjoy it, or would you rather stay inside with a blanket and something hot to drink and maybe a movie or a book?

Go outside go outside go outside go outside go outside GO OUTSIDE. As much as people laugh at me, I, an adult, go and roll in the snow. I play in it. I throw snowballs at people. I pretend I'm an explorer. It's one of my tippy top favorite things to do. 

I have been known to sing this at the top of my lungs when I leave the house...

10. When do you start looking forward to or getting excited about Spring?

Never. Winter is my favorite season and I actually get a little depressed when it's ending. I do not like seeing my beautiful snow melt away. No, I do not say "Aslan is on the move", even though that would be the one thing that could have a possibility of cheering me up. I'm just too much like Jadis.

I tag:

I would tag more, but, well...

I don't want to shove this tag on someone who detests winter, ya know...

That's all from me, folks. Do you know anyone who is as obsessed with winter as I am? Besides the fictional characters I mentioned? Any other fictional people I should know about and relate to?

Thank you so much for reading! I hope to get another post out before the year is over but we'll see if that happens. So much snow to play in before I go back to my other home...(people think we have a lot there, but it is nothing. Nothing, folks.).

Happy holidays to all of you!

Chloe the MovieCritic

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Give Thanks for ...... Tag! // Movies Edition

Hello friends!

Happy late Thanksgiving! I hope you are all doing well! School is threatening to do me in for good, but besides some especially down days, this semester has been incredible. I am thankful for this corner of the world to return to whenever I need a break from real life!

Something that I am thankful for every day is story. The ability to convey emotions and messages to others through fictional worlds is so important to me, and I can't wait until the day that I get to do those things. For now, I'll just talk about my favorites.

You guys know how college works for Movies Meet Their Match: whenever I get time to write I either do a Top Ten post or a Tag. Today is the latter. Last year I filled out Hamlette's Give Thanks for Books Tag, and because that was so fun, I want to do it again. But this is Movies Meet Their Match, so movies time!

This was the image from last year.

(These are the rules from last year, but they probably still apply)
The Rules:
1. Thank the person who tagged you. (That would be me...)
2. Fill out the tag. 
3. Share the tag graphic in your post. 
4. Tag four friends.
5. Provide a clean copy of the tag for easy copying.

The Questions:

G -- A movie you're Grateful to a friend for recommending

Most times the world says a movie is generally "good" and I don't usually have people tell me that I should watch a movie based on whether I personally would like it. Except my family. And when it comes to my family, its not so much a "recommendation" as a "forcing me to watch it". But hey, I'm grateful! A few that come to mind are (that I was not going to watch anyway and they really had to make me...):

How my mom made me watch: Gandhi (1982) and Belfast (2021).
How my dad made me watch: Charade (1963) and The Great Escape (1963).

I -- A movie that fires your Imagination

Willow (1988). Guys, I want to write so much fan-fiction for this world because it really gets me going. Which is why I'm so pumped for the series coming out TODAY! Though I probably won't watch it until after finals. I just have to avoid spoilers for that long...

V -- A movie with a Vivid setting

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021). The setting was one of my favorite parts of this movie! Dragons are one of my favorite elements in fiction, so I was already sold by that, but how the WHOLE WORLD is based on dragons? Like, each clan is a different part of a dragon?? I love it so much and it is definitely inspiring my current WIP...

E -- An Encouraging movie

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013). It inspires you to live your life and admire the world. Finishing watching this movie, my sister and I felt so full of warmth and were ready for anything.

T -- A movie that Taught you something

Amazing Grace (2006)? I can't even pinpoint one thing that I've learned from this movie because the entire film taught me everything. It taught me about history, and compassion, and bravery, and justice, and standing up for what's right, and determination, and faith, and love. All in all, this movie puts in a good day's work.

H -- A Happy movie

I love that this question immediately prompted me to think of movies that a bawl during. Because the happiest movies to me also have gut-wrenching moments. But, I decided not to talk about those, but to find a movie with minimal crying (which is hard for me). Then I came up with two. One that makes ME happy (not that it would make everyone else happy...) and one that is pretty happy for anyone (while also making me cry only a tiny bit).

The one that makes me happy: Flipped (2010). If you don't know my love for this movie, just stick around for a few seconds. This movie is one of my all time favorites and I am saturated with joy whenever you get me started on it. It's adorable and life changing, and I wear the stupidest grin on my face the entire time I watch it.

One that is happy for anyone: Babe (1995). Aka one of the cutest movies of all time.

A -- An Amusing movie

I don't know if you guys are going to judge me for this, but I don't care because Kung Fu Panda (2008) is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. It never fails to make me laugh and put me in a good mood.

N -- A New-to-you movie or director you discovered this year

Los Lobos (2019) directed by Samuel Kishi. This movie was so incredible. I cried a lot. Even thinking about it makes me fall apart inside.

K -- A fictional character you feel a Kinship with

Luisa Madrigal from Encanto (2021)

The thing about tags is that they give you guys a sneak peak into what fictional stories are currently taking up residence in my brain. All those stories are working hard on writing their own posts, I just haven't gotten around to it. All that is to say that I probably have a post about each of these movies planned in my brain. So you'll hear more about Luisa later. But for now know that "Surface Pressure" was my anthem all summer and helped me through it.

S -- A movie you want to Share with others

Something about old movies makes me watch to watch them with other people. Probably because there is something so nostalgic and comforting about them? Okay, technically I haven't seen the whole movie (I missed a lot of the beginning), but I'm going with You Can't Take It With You (1938). It touched me when I saw it a few years ago and I've wanted to watch it again with as many people as I can because I think it has great messages. And I know NO ONE who has seen it. 

(Y'all should be happy that I don't want to share the saddest movies. I do, but I just don't list them here. This one did make me cry, though.)

I probably can't tag anyone with this version I have concocted, but if you want to do it, consider yourself tagged! Like, if you're procrastinating school work...

Clean Question List
G -- A movie you're Grateful to a friend for recommending
I -- A movie that fires your Imagination
V -- A movie with a Vivid setting
E -- An Encouraging movie

T -- A movie that Taught you something
H -- A Happy movie
A -- An Amusing movie
N -- A New-to-you movie or director you discovered this year
K -- A fictional character you feel a Kinship with
S -- A movie you want to Share with others

Thank you so much for reading! Tell me my dear readers, how has the last month been for you? Only a few more weeks for me and school is done for the semester! I'm so ready, but I'm sure I'm going to miss it once I get home.

What are some stories you are thankful for? Why? Give me all the reasons! And if you've watched anything recently that you think I would enjoy, let me know!

I'm thankful for all of you, my readers. Hang in there.

Chloe the MovieCritic

Monday, October 31, 2022

Top 10 Movies that Give Me Autumn Vibes

Hello, friends! Happy Halloween!

Feat. me jumping out of nowhere.

This semester has been absolutely wild so today scrambling to get at LEAST one post this month in. How have your lives been? Let's chat!

I don't know if you guys know this, but the word "vibes" is one of my favorite words. I think it's awesome and evocative of the perfect thing. It is a trend around the blogging world to recommend our favorite stories that perfectly fit a season, and I believe autumn is the most popular. That's because the weather is ideal for cuddling up and experiencing stories while also being reminded of the time of year that it is. In fact, recently I've seen both Samanthawise Gamgee and Sarah Seele post about books that are the epitome of fall. Check out 5 Books Which Should Be Read In October and Books for Autumn.

I'm going to do the same thing today. Except...


Because this is mainly a movie blog. (Sorry, Sam).

By the way, anyone have a guess for my Halloween costume this year? It's not Wanda, but it is Marvel.

When I told my younger sister I was going to do this, she couldn't believe it. In fact, she told me:

Well, I think it's a good idea. In the past I did not have extended experiences of fall, so I may have laughed at the idea of an autumn aesthetic. But, two years of living in a new place and seeing INCREDIBLE fall weather with gorgeous leaves and the sun beating down on it all...I'm a changed person. So I'm going to talk about it.

I had planned to do this a few days ago, but then yesterday I watched a horror movie and nearly made myself switch subjects. Again. I won't tell you how long it took for me to think of this in the first place, so no way am I changing now. But, I will add a rule for myself: avoid anything that takes place around an autumnal holiday. Examples:
-How To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) has a pivotal part of the story happen around Thanksgiving, so obviously it is going to feel like an autumn movie. Though, you wouldn't expect how much of a black and white movie would do that to you until you've seen it...
-How Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) is the most autumnal of the Harry Potter series, but it also seems that stuff happens around Halloween? Like the cool choir version of "Double, double, toil and trouble?" I could be making it up... Does anyone else think it is implicitly Halloween in that movie? Also, I typed up many musings on Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) before I realized that it takes place on Halloween, dash it all. You'll get those thoughts at some future date.
-How Coco (2018) and The Book of Life (2014) take place on Dia de Los Muertes. Even though I love those and they absolutely SCREAM fall to me, they are disqualified because the story is vital to November 1st. You should still watch them.

Mwahaa, out of context quotes.

I'm going to be talking about 10 movies because I think it is a delightful number. But I also have honorable mentions because I'm bad at making decisions. I'll say all of those then get into the 10 themselves, building up suspense and leaving the best for last...

Honorable mentions:
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) (but this may be just because I watch it in fall? I admit, I have a hard time separating those. The weather seems to be quite warm in this movie), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018) (can't decide if this is spring or fall),  Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002), and Tolkien (2019) (I literally talked about it in a whole--albeit short--post HERE). 

Starting at number 10:

10. Lo Que Arde (2019) (aka Fire Will Come).

I probably can't talk about this because I just saw it for the first time the other day, and therefore unlike most of the other movies on this list, I've only seen once. BUT I was so overwhelmed by the fall aesthetic that it has to go on this list. It's 10, so don't pick on me too much.

Guys, I had trouble paying attention to what was going on in the story (which was not good because I was supposed to be watching it for a class and then my homework was to comment on the story) because I was thinking "PRETTTTTTTTY" during every shot. I wanted a warm beverage and to cuddle up and just LIVE in the autumn of this world forever. 

Then it rudely changed to spring/summer (and other...). But, the majority was still fall, so I'm counting it! It's my blog, I can do what I want! The fact that it made me want to enter this world when I was operating on minimal sleep (from almost pulling an all-nighter to finish a project) is impressive.

I couldn't find ANY good images of the gorgeous fall scenery, so you'll just have to believe me. Or watch it yourself.

"Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles..."

All that tells me that it's perfect for fall. The weather in this movie feels crisp, doesn't it? So many things could happen if they aren't stopped, and something about that tension fits this season.

I think I've said enough. If you guys aren't convinced, let me know. Point me in the direction of someone who hasn't seen this (Maybe Tessa Dickinson?) and I'll launch into something eloquent.

MC, why are you including an animated movie when talking about aesthetics? Because animated movies are fantastic and you can't argue with me on this. This is one of my favorite movies to watch for Halloween--even thought it has nothing to do with it--because it is spooky and filled with spirits and just makes you feel like it is the dying of a season as there is suspense to escape it all. It is absolutely brill (sort/slang for brilliant. No one ever gets it when I just say that).

Studio Ghibli has a movie for every single season, and this is 100% the one for fall. Howl's Moving Castle (2004) could also be argued to fit here, but my sisters and I agree that that is more of an August movie. Here is animation at its finest.

There is rippling water, but you also get a chill in the air anytime you leave the hot bath house and despite its chill you prefer that to working your life away. Y'all, it's magic. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you should check it out.

This movie is one of my absolute favorites, so I will talk about it at any occasion I can. Today's excuse is how it shines out autumn from every scene. So many epic quests take place in the fall, don't they? That's because it's too hot to do anything in summer and too cold in winter? I don't know. I personally would probably go on an adventure in the fall, too. It kind of puts a time limit on your journey because you want to get it done before it turns too cold, and one can always think back on how warm home is. That's what you call motivation to keep going.

In addition to that you can wear cool outfits and feel awfully accomplished as you make it across the barren land.

I'm going to stop trying to convince you guys with my words and instead just show pictures of the pristine fall vibes.

There is some snow in this movie, so it's more late fall, when you are starting to get some snow. You know? Winter means DEEP snow, not light stuff. When they go up into the mountains you can really feel the change and it's so cool.

Not going to mention it not going to mention it not going to mention it AND THEY'RE MAKING A SERIES. I am counting the days, friends. I am so psyched. 

I'm not familiar with Australian weather, so this could be happening in what we call spring here in the States? I don't know. But, regardless, it makes me think of fall.

There is the comfort of a ranch amidst the ruggedness of the wilderness. Danger is present, hanging on the edge of a cliff, you know, so stakes are high. But then you go drink tea or coffee around a fire. The stampede of horses. The thrill of heights. The mountains are darkly welcoming.

MC, how many times are you going to have a version of this picture on your blog? As many times as I want because it is one of my tippy top favorites. I love these two and will never get over them.

Usually westerns feel dry and dusty, but this has an earthy feel that is totally autumnal. I know it has snowy in the title, but I don't think we ever see snow? That's because it's not what it's about, people. It's about horses. And darling Jim.

5. Fly Away Home (1996).

Have I never mentioned this movie on this blog? Time to fix that! The first time I watched this, I think it was in summer, but it has such a fall feel that I was immediately transported to that season. And so that is how it lives--what's the new phrase younglings are using nowadays?--rent-free in my mind.

There is a good dose of spring because there are eggs and baby geese (I swear, I can't think of what they are called. Help, anyone?), but autumn takes over all of that. This is on the edge of breaking my rule because it passes through Halloween and we see the characters carving pumpkins, but I don't think there is any dialogue during it? Anyway, it is not a plot point, so we are saying this is in the rules.

The father-daughter bond, the haunting lyrics of "10,000 Miles", soaring through the air, the honk of geese and roar of machinery. This checks all the boxes. Vibes are intact for sure.

4. The Illusionist (2006).

The genius of this movie's plot is...it's so good I don't have words for it. It is haunting in every way. The cinematography plays with lights and tints of colors that twist your mind. It looks at the past and unravels mysteries while at the same time making them larger than ever before.

From this and the next two movies on my list you could conclude that I just associate mystery with fall. You are absolutely right.

There is betrayal and ghosts and a detective trying to figure it all out. I really can't say anything about it because everything impacts everything else, but if you love jaw-dropping and complex things, this is for you.

Splendid, SPLENDID, I repeat. I applaud this movie endlessly. It's one of my dad's proudest moments that he was the one who introduced it to me and how much I love it.

(There is a scene in this movie that I really would prefer not to be there, so I close my eyes. Just warning you guys so you don't go into it without that knowledge)

3. Nancy Drew (2007).

NANCY DREW. I watched this movie a few years after it came out (2011, I think?) and it has been in my favorites ever since. It never gets old even though I know the mystery inside and out.

So, as I was saying, there's a mystery, but also school and fall in the city. And a girl who is trying NOT to solve a mystery, because that keeps putting her in danger. Nancy gets rude death threats and prank calls all the same. It is the kind of weather that you can ride around in a convertible in, but also have scarves and jackets. There's a creepy old house that is almost a museum, but is seeping mystery out of its seams. There is school drama and giving in to the want to discover the puzzle.

It's classy and fun and I love it. It has Ned and Corky in addition to Nancy and oh boy is there a bitter winter wind between them... Such dorks!

From the first few minutes of this show, the aesthetic is hammered into us. If mysteries are so important to the fall atheistic, so are foreboding mansions.

Sweaters and warm beverages and darkness and donuts and fear and muddy footprints and fire and violins.

This mystery is set from a different perspective than any other I know. I feel like most fall movies to me have a slower pace, but not this one. This one is rapidly changing as secrets are always at the risk of being exposed. Maybe it's Benoit Blanc's drawl that makes this feel like autumn? Maybe it's the knives? Maybe it's the ivy climbing the side of the house along with people? Maybe it's the family reunion and grief aspect of it all? Maybe it's the battle of greed vs. justice?

The filmmaking and the story tie it together so that this is 100% fall. 

This is my face every time I watch this movie.

And now for the number one...which is probably never as surprising as I have built it up to be...

Guys, at this point my blogging is me just seeing how many times I can talk about the same thing and get away with it. How many times have I mentioned that this is the ultimate fall movie? I know at least once, but quite probably more.

Yet another big, beautiful house, but more than that, it's being trapped inside of it. Then breaking out into the world beyond. A world with parks. And melancholy pianos and a vespa with wings. A world where a scarf can give you the ability to do everything you've ever wanted to. 

Yes, this is on the list for the scarf. And the coat. Which I talk about constantly. I'll know you get the point when you all tell me that you've seen it. Then I'll give it a break until next fall.

And yes, I am aware that the movie has a Halloween scene. And it is kind of a big turning point. But I don't care I'M PUTTING IT ON THIS LIST (that's a lie, as I do care very much because it's one of my favorite scenes because it is so adorable and just everything I love in a story). The WHOLE movie has a feel of autumn before that, so it just makes sense they added a Halloween scene. I started this whole post to talk about this movie and forgot about the Halloween scene (how could I!?) so we're plowing forward.

This is a movie that I've actually made it a habit to see every fall. Because it is that perfect. Autumn is a season of change, and the change in this movie is so personal because it's about how you see the world and people. That is the beauty of this season, and it is a masterpiece painted here.

Debate with me! If you think one of these movies isn't fall themed at all but SPRING or one of the other seasons, then let me know! I will say, for me winter means there must be snow. Therefore, anything slightly dreary but without snow is automatically fall. Are any of you surprised that Penelope (2006) is number one? My sister wasn't at all.

I just started watching Stranger Things for the first time to give me a boost of fall, so what else should I watch?

Thanks for reading! You've made my day. I hope you all are doing well! Let me know what you've been up to! Here's to all the treats and none of the tricks!

Chloe the MovieCritic
"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story." -Orson Welles