Deep questions

The following questions have initiated actual discussions in the Harris household lately:

How did Mother Gothel learn the song to sing to the magic flower?

Would Rapunzel have lived forever if Eugene hadn't cut her hair?

And will her hair ever grow again?

AND are the rest of her tears magic, or was that just a one time thing?

Do mermaids have gills..or lungs? Or...BOTH?!

Don't all the people that were on the wedding boat now know about the existence of mer-people?

Can you guess what movies Maddy has been loving lately? (That isn't one of the questions that we've talked's a question I'm asking you.)

She's also been into "Lady and the Tramp," but apparently that one is normal enough that the only question we've had about that one is what year it happens in. We decided early 1900s, which Wikipedia confirms. 1909.

Maybe we need to watch the news more.

Also, feel free to weigh in on any of the above questions. Any and all opinions are welcome.

Movies: the Famous, the Fantastic, and the Forgotten

Hello hello.

That's all the greeting I can muster up right now. I assure you, it was very heartfelt.

Just thought I'd clear my head of the thoughts that are bouncing around in there about some movies that we've watched recently. I promise to do my best to just get to the point on each one, since there are three of them and all...

"Valentine's Day"

I dubbed this one "the Famous" because, seriously, who isn't in this movie? I'll tell you who's not not in this movie: Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Hector Elizondo, Patrick Dempsey, Taylor Swift, Taylor Lautner, Jennifer Gardner, Queen Latifah, Shirley Maclaine, and Jamie Foxx. Just to name a few.

I felt like this movie focused on all the wrong things and very few of the right. There are a million different stories going on and while they all tie together to some extent...there are some that you seriously could just care less about. The only story I loved involved Jennifer Gardner and Ashton Kutcher. Totally predictable, but they were such freakin' adorable characters I didn't care too much.

Bottom line: An over-advertised movie that falls short of the spectacularness you would expect from a movie with Julia Roberts in it. Poor Julia.

"Alice in Wonderland"

AKA "The Fantastic." Not in a "This movie was fantastic!" kind of way...but more of like a "This movie is about fantasy and 'fantastic' is the adjective to communicate that!" kind of way. Not that it wasn't good, because it was!

I thought the acting was pretty impressive. Alice (Mia Someone-I've-Never-Heard-Of) was great, and then with Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter (love her), and Anne Hathaway thrown into the mix, you've got pretty quality materials. It wasn't as funky as you'd expect from Tim Burton, but was definitely more twisted than the Disney version and had a darker feel to it than the book. Alice also wears some dresses that I would love to wear for maybe like a day...they have a whimsical punk rock-ness to them that I think is fun.

Bottom line: Not boring, not craaaaazy, good acting, and a mature-ish twist on a classic story. It was fun to watch and I think it's worth seeing.

"Beyond a Reasonable Doubt"

I hurt for this movie. Did you ever hear of it? Neither had I. But we rented it with some friends a few weeks back.

In this movie, a reporter gets suspicious that a DA is falsifying hard evidence in his cases. To prove it, he decides to incriminate himself in a murder with only circumstantial evidence and see if any "new evidence" turns up to convict him. As you might have guessed...things kinda go wrong.

Sounds like a pretty good story, right? I think so. But I guess they couldn't prove that beyond a reasonable doubt, because someone didn't give them the money they needed to make this movie halfway decent. Bad acting, a horrible soundtrack, and just general not-put-together-well-ness make this movie a true disappointment, and prove that a good plot doesn't always cut it.

Bottom line: Heartbreaker. If you can feel bad for movies, that is...

So...yeah. Glad to get those off my chest, get another blog post out into the wide wide world, and make my eyes tired so that I can hopefully fall asleep quickly tonight.

Anyone else seen any good movies lately?


See "Avatar": check.

Honestly, I didn't want to see this movie. We saw the preview a while ago and I was like, "Nuh uh."

And Dallin was like, "Uh huh."
And I was like, "Nuh uh."
And Dallin was like, "Uh huh."
And I was like, "Nuh uh."

Anyway, we ended up going for Dallin's birthday.

I guess it was inevitable. I mean, I am somewhat of a movie person. And this is only the biggest (read: most expensive) movie like, ever. It kind of felt like something that almost had to be done. Like death and taxes...with popcorn and surround sound. Except we didn't get popcorn because it's expensive and we saw the movie in 3D so tickets alone were like 25 bucks. For two of us. Sheesh.

Ok anyway, we saw "Avatar." And it was...good. It was better than I was expecting it to be. I thought the graphics would end up looking cheesy, and I'd already heard from various people that the story was a thumbs down.

But the graphics were actually pretty incredible. They didn't look cheesy or fake at all, and I didn't even get a headache from the 3D-ness. AND the blue people thing did not bother me as much as I was sure it was going to. They didn't look too fake either...except for the fact that they were, you know, huge and blue. Someone really took their time on this one. I'm not an art or computer person by any means, but I totally enjoyed looking at this movie.

That being said...the movie relied pretty much entirely on those amazing graphics. The story was pretty, um, predictable. Observe:

A guy thrown into a new world with the natives' chief's daughter as his guide. Guess what's going to happen? If you've seen "Pocahontas," you know: they're going to fall in love to the dismay of both of their native groups.

The guy starts out collecting information about the blue people for the humans, who are trying to get the blue people to leave their tree home because it sits on a pile of insanely valuable minerals. Whose side do you think he's going to end up on?

The humans have divisions amongst themselves: the politician is there for the money, the military guy seems to be there for the sole purpose of ruthlessly killing as many blue people as possible, and the scientists are there to peacefully explore the world, hug the trees, and become BFFs with the blue ones. Which group do you think will be vindicated when all is said and done?

See? Not hard to guess. Throw in a few deaths of the most beloved characters and a lot of futuristic weapons, and you got yourself a movie.

Oh, and don't forget the political agenda here. Embrace nature, participate in weird tribal chants and spiritual ceremonies if you can, and accept everything and everyone. Oh and scientists never have ulterior motives. But don't accept anyone that has anything to the military, because they are just iron pumping, macho fools who crave the death and destruction of any civilization that is not their own.


"Avatar" is not a terrible movie, but I think it's more eye candy than anything. It's cool to watch...and hey, if you get lost as far as the story goes, you can a) get back in pretty quick because it's so predictable, or b) just forget it because it's lame anyway. Don't you love having options?

p.s. The estimated budget of this movie was $280,000,000. That's a lot of zeros. And each CGI created frame (not second...frame) took an average of 47 hours to complete. I'm not crying "Waste!" here, but...c'mon.

A movie and a book

I got books for Christmas.

Glory, glory hallelujah.

I was in serious need of some new books to read, let me tell you.

And with nursing time + time holding Maddy while she's sleeping, I've actually had time to read!

More glory, glory hallelujah!

Also...Redbox. The final glory, glory hallelujah is inspired by this one word.

It just so happened that I watched a Redbox movie AND finished a book this weekend. Whoa. you want the good news or the bad news first?

I don't know who would want the good news first. Ending on a bad note? That doesn't really make sense to me.

So, the bad news first. The movie.

Man, I was hopeful for this movie. I remember wanting to see it when it first came out, after I saw the preview. And I feel like I've heard a lot of good things about it from several different people. So when I was the annoying person at the Redbox machine who had no idea what movie I was getting, I saw this one and went for it.

Not what I was expecting. Depressing. Oh, so depressing.

For those of you who don't know, The Soloist is about an LA Times reporter, who, desperate for a story, writes about a homeless man he hears playing the violin on the street. Turns out, Nathaniel (the homeless man) had attended Julliard for showing amazing promise on the cello, but fell behind and eventually dropped out because he started having serious mental issues. The reporter's articles about Nathaniel open LA's eyes to what life is like for the homeless in their city.

Unfortunately, I felt like the movie focused way too much on the negative. By the time we were supposed to be getting something even remotely inspiring or uplifting, I was too depressed. The messages didn't really balance each other out anyway; the positive aspect of the reporter's sort of change of heart (even though he never really seemed like a jerk or anything) was not enough to offset the thousands of homeless, troubled souls.

In short, I felt like no one really changed, and nothing was really accomplished. Is that reality? Maybe. But it does not make a good movie. In my humble

And now for some good news! I finished this book this weekend:

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

I realize that any avid readers out there have very likely already read this book, since it got all kinds of acclamation and stuff when it came out a few years ago, but you know what? I just barely read it. So lay off me and let me give you a brief summary of why I think this book is composed of awesomeness. I love the idea of bullet points here. Let's roll with it:
  • Extremely well written. No trite phrases (*cough*TWILIGHT*cough*). 800+ pages seemed like much fewer.
  • Clever! Written like a mock history, complete with footnotes.
  • Original. Puts a mature spin on the "magician" thing.
  • 100% clean. Let's face it...that's not too common these days.
  • Just a little bit eerie. Not in an "I'm horrified and need to sleep with the lights on for a week" kind of way, but more of like a "Whoa that's kind of creepy in a mystical sort of way" way. More Harry Potter book 6 than Stephen King. That's a good thing, I think.
It was really just all around enjoyable to read! I highly recommend it. Yes, it is pretty long...but I wouldn't let that deter you! Like I said, it goes by fast. And you'll feel oh so accomplished at the end.

So, up next for me is Stockett's The Help. I'm anxious to see what all the hype is about on this one. Don't worry, I'll be sure to let you know what I think of it...just in case you, you know, care.

So...what have you read/watched lately, hm?


It was awesome.

I am tired.

But really, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

All previous thoughts still stand. No, they didn't always stick to the book. But as a movie, it was suh-weet. Best one yet, I'd say.

However, there is one final thing that should have been included in the last post, but was not. I feel I must share this with you now.

I am what you might call a Harry Potter Purist. The ultimate solution to this whole book vs. movie thing would have been to never make the movies at all, and let the story exist as it was meant to, in beautiful Times New Roman.
Or you know, whatever font it is.

But then, where would Warner Bros have scraped up $4.5 billion?

I'll just leave it at that.


The sixth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is coming out in 29.5 hours.

Or, you know, something like that.

Let me say this right now – I am NOT a Harry Potter franchise fanatic. I am a Harry Potter book fanatic. The difference?

I cried standing in line waiting for the 7th book.
I left for a few minutes halfway through the first movie because I had to pee.
There was no peeing while reading a new Harry Potter book.

This is not to say that I don’t really like these movies. I love the whole story in general, so sure, I’ll stand in line for a few hours to get a decent seat at a midnight showing. I will not, however:

-watch the movies over and over until I have them memorized (honestly, I’ve only seen each of them 2, maybe 3 times)

-know the names of the actors’ pets and/or significant others

-send Rupert Grint a get-well card because he got the swine flu (he really did, you know. But no card from me!)

There is something else I won’t do when it comes to these movies. I will not say this:

“Ugh! That wasn’t NEARLY as good as the book! How could they have left (insert seemingly important scene) out?”

I have one thing to say to people that say things like this: Are you insane?

Of COURSE the movie wasn’t as good as the book. OF COURSE they couldn’t include all the nuances and details of the written word. No movie based on a book has ever been able to do that. If you ask me, that's what made the Lord of the Rings movies so good.

But I digress.

Seriously - can you really expect movie makers to be able to cram everything - every thing - into a 2 hour movie? Or even into a 3 hour movie? It can't be done. It. Cannot. Be. Done.

And you know what else? That doesn't necessarily mean the movie is doomed to failure. Movies and books are two very different things. A book might need a whole paragraph to explain what a character is thinking, whereas an actor has to portray that thought or emotion in a single camera shot. A movie director might have only a few scenes to develop a subplot that the author devoted chapters to. Something might happen in the book that could be done in a more visually appealing way on the screen, so they change it. An author's job is to describe. A movie maker's job is to show.

You get what I mean? There's no way they're going to be the same. In fact, if someone made a based-on-a-book movie in which they included every little detail from the book, the movie would most likely be criticized as lengthy and drawn-out, with a whole bunch of wasted camera time.

And as much as I love the Harry Potter books, I do not want to watch fairly to moderately crappy kid actors try to do the story justice for hours on end. The adult actors are brilliant (hello, Alan Rickman!), but please - the kid actors are not. They're getting better as the movies go on, to be sure, but they are not great. Not great.

Anyway, I will never judge how good a movie is based on how closely it stuck to its book. This I solemnly swear.

I am really very excited for this movie! The previews look spectacular. I'm a little curious as to how action packed it's going to be. I mean, the end is going to be killer, to be sure, but before's not exactly the most plot-driven of all the books. Hopefully they can keep it moving along.

I love Harry Potter.

Do you? You should. Then we can be nerds together.

"And now, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure."

Katie's Top 10 Christmas Movies (part 1)

Love movies. Love Christmas. Do the math, people.

There's a list on Moviefone that counts down their top 25 Christmas movies of all time...but my eyebrows raised more than once while I was reading it. I decided to take on this task for myself, just so the universe knows how I feel. Mind you, 25 is a lot of Christmas movies, once you start to think about it. I don't think I could list 25 Christmas movies that I really like, much less like enough to give a place of honor on a favorite list. But there are 10. Oh yes, there are 10. I'm breaking this down into two posts for reading and writing ease. Hope you don't mind... here's 10 through 6!

#10: Santa Claus is Comin to Town (1970)

Really, this one earns its position by way of nostalgia. The classic Christmas-movie-making technique of clay-mation, the catchy songs, the cute penguin Topper, the villainous Burgermeister Meisterburger, Burgermeister Meisterburger's name, and the fact that Fred Astaire narrates, all combine to make a fantastic Christmas classic. Did I mention the cute penguin Topper?

Favorite part: the song "Put One Foot in Front of the Other." Don't ask me why - just love it.

#9: Miracle on 34th Street (1947/1994)

Old versus new. Can't decide; really I can't. In all honesty, I've probably seen the new one a few more times. I put the picture of the old because it is, obviously, more of a classic. I think the remake was done really well though. This movie just makes you want to believe in Santa Claus - which, of course, I do. But seriously, poor Santa being put on trial! It makes you sad for this movie's world. And then he's saved (huzzah!) by the post office/a dollar bill, depending on which version you're watching.

Oh my gosh. This is the perfect time to show you guys something:

Totally and completely 100% real. A customer brought it to me at the bank to exchange it for a "normal" one. I think she was worried no one would take it.


Favorite part (old): Pretending to be monkeys OR Santa blowing the bubble gum bubble. Classic.
Favorite part (new): Christmas morning, when all the little girls dreams come true. *sigh*

#8: Holiday Inn (1942)

The only reason this is so far down on the list is it's large dependence on other holidays besides Christmas. But don't get me wrong - this is a Christmas movie, and it's a Christmas movie I heart. I mean, this is where the song "White Christmas" came from. "White Christmas," people! That song is beautiful. And, fun fact - it won an Academy Award for Best Song the year it came out. But this movie is splendid. Great actors (oh, Bing Crosby!), great songs, and funny. Seriously, this movie is funny.

Favorite part: The ending, by far. Linda's crying, singing "White Christmas" all alone. Then she sees Jim's pipe and hears him whistling and she looks around for him and...there he is! Ah. Talk about "melting her heart right down to butter," Miss Maimie.

#7: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

Ah, the clay-mation capital of the world. Seriously, clay-mation = Rudolph. This movie is just cuteness clay-ified. Although, let's face it, a lot of the characters are grumpy gusses. The head elf guy, rudolph's parents, even Santa! But Rudolph makes up for it. And Clarisse is cute too. And Kirby, the elf (pictured above) who wants to be a dentist! Which is just so random it makes me laugh...

Favorite part: When Rudolph talks to Clarisse and she says he's cute, and then he gets so excited he flies around yelling "I'm CUUUUDE! She said I'm CUUUUUUDE!"

#6: Elf (2003)

Oh my. You want to see me laugh? Turn on this movie. There will be laughter. Will Ferrell isn't really my most favoritest actor ever, but he's hilarious in this movie. His innocence is just amazing. For those of you who don't know, Buddy is a human who snuck into Santa's bag one Christmas and was taken back to the North Pole, where he stayed to be raised by Santa's elves. But when he finds out he's a human, he sets off on an adventure to find his dad, and spread some Christmas cheer in the process. He loves sugar, syrup, singing, and Christmas trees. I'm already giggling.

Favorite part: Mmm...either the escalator, the Christmas-gram, or the date. Hard to say.
Favorite Quote: "I just like to smile, smiling's my favorite."

So there we go - one half down and one to go! Stay tuned. Go watch a good Christmas movie while you're waiting. With a blanket and some HoCho. Mmmm...

Twilight: Movie Style

I definitely went to see the midnight showing of Twilight Thursday night. I mean, of course I did. I'm not one to back out of a good midnight showing. Heck, I even went to the midnight showing of Quantum of Solace, just so I wouldn't miss the party. Of course, Dallin went to that one too, whereas he wouldn't have been caught dead, alive, sleeping or anything else within miles of a theater having a midnight showing of Twilight. No matter - I saw it with my mom, aunt, and sister Sarah. Of course, we didn't get to sit together, unless we wanted to sit on the front row (which we tried...but it was in one of those huge-o theaters with the huge-o screen, so sitting that close made everything literally blurry). So we ended up scattered around the theater, sitting next to strangers. lol.

So...the movie. I was really looking forward to it. Like, really. As I've said before, I'm not the biggest fan of Stephanie Meyer's writing. The books are repetetively repetetive. But, the stories carry the books through, so I was excited to be able to experience the sweet story without the annoying writing. I was, however, a bit disappointed. Some thoughts:

1) Edward=ew.

Look at this guy:

No, not the best looking guy in the world. But not bad, either, right? Right. This is what the fimmakers had to work with. Plenty of room to work, in my opinion. However, they took this potential and turned it into this:

Seriously, this is the closest picture I can find to what he actually looks like in the movie. Some other promotional pictures keep him looking pretty good, but this is what he really looks like in the movie. Oh and since you can't see his hair in that picture...

THAT is his hair! And the wind is not blowing, folks - it just sticks straight up like that. Constantly.

Now, I know this guy is a vampire. I know he's not supposed to look normal. But he is supposed to be cute. And I don't care what all those 11 year old girls say... this guy is not cute. He's just not!! His face is too white. It's beyond pale and nearing clown territory. And he's got about 12 coats of this hideous purplish red shade of lipstick on that you can't really see in these pictures but is blatantly obvious in the movie. And his hair, by the end of the film, just overwhelmed me. It's not cute. It's ridiculous.

2) Acting= comical

Expressions! The whole cast had issues with this. They were either too goofy (Mike), too vicious (James), too bored (Bella) or too...clueless (Edward and Jasper). Seriously, they looked like mindless, frightened idiots most of the time.

3) Effects= cheesy

The special effects are cheesy (slow-mo, flying/running, etc). And I've already complained about the makeup.

4) Story= huh?

As far as interpretation of the story goes...I was all right with it. I don't think anyone that hadn't read the books could have followed it at all. Edward and Bella's love is crazy- they basically love each other because...they love each other. Bella's love for him is more like an obsession, which does not come off in the movie at all. And Edward's "drug-like" love for her just comes off creepy and stalker-like. And let's face it, the whole idea of being in love with a vampire is hard enough to wrap your head around. Those of us who have read all the books might get it...but I don't think anyone else would.

5) Tree climbing+flashbacks=yay!

The music is actually really good. I'd buy the soundtrack. The scenery is good too. Basically, the ambience set up the movie to be good...and lots of other things wrecked it. There were some good scenes that I thought were really cute (tree climbing, Edward's flashes of Bella when he has to save her) but generally, I thought it was weird and disappointing. Bummer.

Speaking of bummers, my wisdom teeth and I have parted ways. I think I'm handling the separation pretty well. I'm not puffed up like a chipmunk, but ice definitely feels good. The medication helps, but it was really annoying to sleep basically sitting up. I've watched a few movies, eaten a good deal of applesauce, and blogged (of course)! And I keep tasting blood...blegh. Wonder how Edward does it...