Tag Archives: movies

Currently: January 2019

Currently at Lindsay Loves

It has been a while, dear readers. School started after my last post, of course, and I had a tough summer leading up to that. My annual Epiphany card should be at my doorstep tomorrow, ready to be sent, so it seemed like the right time to update this space.

(I’m also still off from school. This is the perk that made being in school all the way through midday on December 21 almost worth it. Almost.)

Here’s what I am currently…

Choosing: To share here that Mr. Man and I broke up. Several months have passed since then. I’m moving on.

Tidying: My closet, just a little bit. It’s never been full. I have a walk-in designed for two people, and I’m the only person that lives in my apartment, so I shouldn’t be able to fill it. I did have a tottering stack of clothes that are out of season or too big (but perfectly good), so I finally caved and bought a storage bin to hold them all. The whole space is much brighter now!

Resolving: To not let school take over my life. It’s simply not an option. I’m struggling with a lot of feelings, my mindset, negative self-talk, and the normal stress of my chosen field. Times are tough. I made it through the first half of the year. Second halves have not historically been an area of strength for me, but I can’t predict the future.

Exploring: The world of cinema. I went home for Christmas, as usual, so I had access to cable. I’ve been a cord-cutter for so many years that I always forget how hard it is to resist the siren song of over 100 channels. I usually dig around in the schedule to find my Christmas favorites, but this year was bad.

I saw Aquaman (gorgeous but blah story) and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (incredibly complex) in theaters.

I watched all of these on TV:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  • Life Size 2: A Christmas Eve
  • The Greatest Showman
  • Now You See Me 2 (first non-HP movie I’ve seen with Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
  • The Santa Clause 3
  • Captain America: Civil War

I watched at least half of these on TV:

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Now You See Me
  • The Santa Clause (my favorite Christmas movie)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • The Lion King
  • The Holiday (my other favorite Christmas movie)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

And then I watched War Games on VUDU so I could get a discount for renting White Christmas, which is another favorite Christmas movie. So that will bring my total to twenty movies in two weeks… but every time I’ve tried to complete that list, I think of another one I saw!

Refreshing: My water filter. I love my Brita pitcher, but I flat-out ignored the filter change indicator. It’s built right into the lid; I had no excuse. My water does taste much better now.

Recapping: September through December (oops)

  • I reviewed a book for NetGalley for the first time in forever. It’s rather popular (my review; I don’t know how the book is doing).
  • I went to the dentist and was left alone without so much as a “sorry for the wait” check-in for thirty minutes. It was awful.
  • I was a bridesmaid in a dear friend’s wedding back East.
  • I got to see my sweet godson for the first time in years. His family is nearby again!
  • I finished reading the Bible. It took me eleven years.

So what’s new with you? What are you exploring currently?

Currently is hosted on the first Wednesday of each month by Anne of In Residence. Won’t you join us?

Hope and Joy (Review: “Light of Love”)


I love sisters. I have one actual, biological sister, and I love her. I also have an ever-growing number of female friends who have entered consecrated religious life, though, and I love them, too. For the record, I also love my friends who have become priests. I tend to hang out with people who follow Jesus pretty seriously, sometimes even into vows with him and his Church.

One of my nun friends, Sr. Dede (who I knew first as a nun, but who became a friend) said once, in a reflection on her vocation, that she sought to “be the stained glass window through which the light of Christ may shine.” I took that to heart, and I offer that phrase in my prayers to this day. It is in that spirit of shining with the light of Christ that I approached Light of Love, a hour-long film by Imagine Sisters. The organization is dedicated to making Jesus loved “by introducing the world to religious sisters in love with Christ through media.” In the film, I got a lamp-lit view of what it means to follow Christ with your whole heart and your whole life. Sisters are a great example of how to love Jesus.

Read the rest of my review at Austin Catholic New Media.

Booking Through Thursday: Dream Cast


It is not Thursday, but I was so pathetic at posting last week that this is going up today anyway!

Do you ever sit and wonder who could be cast as your favorite characters? (Please feel free to give examples!)

What actors do you think have done particularly excellent jobs with some of your favorite characters?

Ooh, two separate questions, and both of them are delightful.

I’m not a big fan of dream casting. The ladies at Forever Young Adult do one for every book they review. While I like the concept, dream casting requires so much knowledge. I love to read YA, but I don’t like to watch nearly as many TV shows with teen stars, so I wouldn’t know who’s available for dream auditions, so to speak. These days, I’ve been reading mostly for my column. Religious nonfiction doesn’t have casts so much as author photos.

I’m usually pretty happy with actual casts for books-turned-movies. My imagined Professor Snape looked kind of like a troll, so it was easy to prefer Alan Rickman. It’s always easy to like Alan Rickman. Then again, I did not like Michael Gambon in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at all. He was too harsh. Dumbledore was always a quiet kind of intense, not a shouting kind.

I’m interested to see if Jennifer Lawrence can do a good enough job with Mockingjay to make me like it better than the book. I thought she was fine in The Hunger Games, but if she can win an Oscar, maybe she can make PTSD-afflicted Katniss actually interesting. The first book wasn’t easy material to work with, but I was pleased with the way it turned out. (I actually just re-discovered notes I made for a film review here but never posted. Now I don’t even want to bother!) A good actor does not necessarily a good movie make, though.

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 188

— 1 —

Well, it’s been a long time since I did one of these, but let’s not fail to start with a video. I’ve been watching super-recent reruns of How I Met Your Mother (and not even intentionally—that’s the beauty of reruns!), and I realized that I forgot to check the latest of HIMYM’s real fake websites: lilysinlabor.com.

[Note: Neither HIMYM nor some of its real fake sites nor parts of this video are super family-friendly, but they are all hilarious.]

— 2 —

As I type this, I just finished watching Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves on BBC America. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before, but I enjoyed it. It seemed a lot grittier than other Robin Hood movies I’ve seen, and I was fed up with Kevin Costner’s haircut (seriously!), but it was cool to see Snape Alan Rickman fight. How exactly do you stay that awesome for so long?

— 3 —

I don’t work on Fridays, so I was nowhere near campus for the UT bomb threat this morning. I did get all the emergency alert text messages, though, so I knew what was happening. I watched the news coverage on TV once it finally started, but listening to their inaccuracies and lack of information made me so fed up that I just quit watching. I was reaffirmed in my decision to never watch TV news in general (except for press conferences, maybe), and I can confirm that the best information comes straight from the source.

The only valid point the news had was that some students didn’t receive the texts. First of all, that’s just a technical glitch, and second of all, not all students can be assumed to have phones. They’ll find out the old-fashioned way: their friends, classmates, strangers, and TV reporters on the street will tell them.

— 4 —

I will give the TV news one credit: they knew it was a bomb threat before the texts came right out and said it. I had a suspicion from the directions (move out of buildings and get far away from them), but it would have been nice to know from the beginning. There’s a fine line between inciting panic and giving information (see also Virginia Tech).

— 5 —

I knew it would be tricky to come up with all seven takes this week. And it is. I’ll try to be more interesting next week.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for People Who Like Meg Cabot and J.K. Rowling

It’s still Tuesday, so this is a marked improvement over last time. I was tempted to just go with Harry Potter-esque recommendations this time around, but then I remembered my soft spot for YA romance, so I decided to split my list in the hopes of sharing the love (and making it to all ten books, to be honest).

Top Four Books for People Who Like Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries

  1. Sloppy Firsts, by Megan McCafferty: If you liked reading about Princess Mia’s life problems, you will like Jessica “Notso” Darling. She’s older than Mia, so the content is a little heavier and has more sexual references, but the lighthearted romance is still there. Jessica is not quite as funny, though.
  2. The Possibilities of Sainthood, by Donna Freitas: There is a strong Catholic religious theme to this book, as the title would suggest, but this heroine has Mia’s humor on lock. She tries so hard to find a sense of purpose in her life and snag the boy of her dreams—sounds like Mia to me. (See my review at Austin Catholic New Media for more.)
  3. Someone Like You, by Sarah Dessen: Sarah Dessen showed up on every single other TTT for summer reads I saw. Her books I’ve read are much cleaner than the ones for adults (seem; I don’t read adult romance), and they still feature teenagers with problems. The main characters from this book were combined with the family from That Summer to make the movie How to Deal, starring the always-fun Mandy Moore.
  4. The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger: I’m going out on a limb here. I have only seen the movie, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Plus, Anne Hathaway is also the main character in the movie adaption, where she plays a journalist who takes a fashion editor’s assistant job just to make some money and kill time but finds herself reevaluating her identity. That’s so YA.

Top Four Books for People Who Like J.K. Rowling

  1. The Chrestomanci Quartet, by Dianna Wynne Jones: I think Witch Week, the first book, was among the first fantasy books I ever read. I picked it up in a bookstore one day and thought a story about witches in boarding school sounded interesting. (See what I did there?) It took a while to identify and collect the other books (this was before the Internet got big, guys!), but I loved them all and still have them back at my family’s house. Each book is very different, even in terms of how magic works from world to world, but the enchanter Chrestomanci (krest-oh-MAN-see) links them.
  2. The Song of the Lioness Quartet, by Tamora Pierce: One of my oldest friends, Jenn, introduced me to this series when I was in about the fourth grade and she was in fifth. I borrowed hers and devoured them, but I later bought my own reprint edition of the set. I still have these, too! Alanna trades places with her twin brother so she can train as a knight. Hijinks, magic, and several romances ensue.
  3. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis: “This is a surprising recommendation,” said no reader ever. They are Christian allegories, but they contain many similar fantasy elements.
  4. The Tempest, by William Shakespeare: Bear with me. Shakespeare intimidates many people, but The Tempest takes place on an island and has a sorceror, so there’s magic. It’s also a comedy, so there’s a play-within-a-play and comic relief and a happy romance at the end and all those good things. It’s probably my second-favorite comedy after Midsummer.

That is technically only four books each for a total of eight, but I recommended several series for HP fans, so I’m calling it a night.

Life Can Be Beautiful (Review: “October Baby”)

Last month, I went to see October Baby when its distribution expanded to Austin. Although I am a Christian, I do not feel automatically compelled to like Christian films. Holy people still sin; Christian films can still be terrible. I’ve never actually seen any of Sherwood Pictures’s movies (Facing the Giants, Fireproof, or Courageous), but I haven’t intentionally avoided them. I hear the acting is bad. An over-reliance on volunteers has plagued many a church endeavor.

I will admit, though, that I saw October Baby in a theater (on a Friday!) partly so that films of its nature will continue being made. It’s not that I want more material for critics to pan: I want the industry to improve. It’s hard to start making better Christian movies if you stop making them altogether. Think about how popular superhero films are right now, or how many dozens of paranormal teen romance novels you can find. When one works, more get made.

A few years ago, I went with the youth group I helped chaperone to see To Save a Life. I’m admittedly a sucker for stories about teenagers with problems, but I thought it was a good movie overall. The acting seemed okay, although it wasn’t phenomenal. The story did not end perfectly, and it was compelling and realistic without being too preachy (though not without being preachy at all, of course). I enjoyed it so much that I bought it on DVD. I knew it would be worth re-watching and contemplating. (It deserves its own review one of these days. Stay posted.)

photo by Martina Thompson, licensed CC BY-NC-SA

I’m not sure that I can say quite the same about October Baby, but I definitely enjoyed it. The movie tells the story of college freshman Rachel, who collapses on stage at her first major theatrical performance. Her suddenly worsened illness is linked to her lifelong health problems, which began with her difficult birth. Eventually, Rachel’s parents reveal that they adopted her after she was born during an attempted abortion. (Many pro-lifers will recognize this as the story of Gianna Jessen.) Torn over this new facet of her identity, Rachel sets out with her best friend Jason to find her roots and figure out who she’s going to become.

Without giving away too much of the story, I found it reasonably realistic. Some of the secondary characters were either too heavy-handed with the comic relief or entirely useless, though, which annoyed me. There’s a line between a background character and a flat secondary character, and it must be respected. Having lived in the areas where the film takes place, I can attest to the general behavior of those locals, as strange as it may seem. Sometimes people really are too nice to believe. Despite those odd characterizations, the acting left me with no complaints. When I learned that Jasmine Guy and John Schneider were featured, I knew this movie would be different. Hiring recognized actors brings so much credibility to a film such as this!

One of my favorite aspects of the movie was that Rachel and Jason demonstrated a beautiful and healthy relationship. He treated her with respect and protected her without being controlling at all, and she accepted his affection without losing herself in him. She was still independent, but he helped lift her up. They had a long history that contributed toward their future, and I believed that they had a genuine and Christlike love for each other. I can’t say that about every movie pair.

October Baby is clearly a message film. Its tagline, “Every life is beautiful,” suggests a kind of hope that many people have lost these days. Whether you find hope in God or in the balancing power of “the universe,” October Baby will help remind you that there is goodness inherent within people. The future may not be dazzling, but it can still be bright.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Be Made into Movies

That’s right, dear readers: today is one of those twice-a-month days where you get two posts about books from me (TTT and my column at ACNM).

Top Ten Books I Would Like to See Become Movies (or TV Shows, but Has That Ever Really Worked Out? Sweet Valley High, I’m Looking at You)

  1. Bumped: I haven’t read Thumped yet, but you’d better believe I am stalking the library’s website to see when they get it. I don’t want to invest in a bad sequel just to have it right away. I have a vision of the two books being jammed into one story so they can hack-and-slash it into a coherent film. More people need to be exposed to that kind of thought experiment!
  2. The Westing Game: Apparently there was a Hallmark/Showtime movie in 1997, but if schoolchildren can figure out that it wasn’t that good, then it clearly wasn’t that good. This week’s original poster mentioned the brilliance of the recent Sherlock Holmes films. People (myself included) clearly love mysteries, and The Westing Game was a pretty great one.
  3. unPlanned: It would probably only be a Lifetime movie, but any kind of movie helps spread the word, right? Abby’s story needs to be more widely known. The pro-life tide is slowly turning. Her book was a significant wave.
  4. Any of the remaining Princess Diaries books: Where Disney went wrong was changing just enough and waiting just long enough that they couldn’t attempt a sequel that resembled the books at all. Mia Thermopolis is a wonderful character. Someday I will get around to reading the last five books, because I have to know what happened to her. Maybe this one could be a decent TV show. If people are still watching Gossip Girl, then The Princess Diaries could work. It does have less scandal, though. Conundrum.

That’s all I’ve got! Also like the original poster, I kept running into books that are already movies. I also read too much nonfiction lately. You can only have so many biopics before you almost beg for someone to grow wings.

Bonus: I was going to suggest The Chosen, but then I discovered that there was a movie made in 1981, and you can watch the whole thing on the IMDb via Hulu! Hooray for free stuff!

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