March 31, 2012

Movie Review - October Baby

"I'm Hannah, and this is my story.... And it's not what you think."

“You saw me before I was born.” Psalm 139:16 (NLT)

“As the curtain rises, Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her first theatrical debut in college. Yet before she can utter her first lines, Hannah – unscripted – collapses in front of the stunned audience. After countless medical tests, all signs point to one underlying factor: Hannah's difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to what she then learns from her parents: she was actually adopted … after a failed abortion attempt. Bewildered, angered, and confused, Hannah turns for support to Jason, her oldest friend. Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his group of friends on a Spring Break road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past … and find hope for her unknown future. In the midst of her incredible journey, Hannah finds that life can be so much more than what you have planned.” (Synopsis from the film's website)

I heard about October Baby last year in an emailed newsletter I get from Provident Films. It looked really good – especially because it had something to do with adoption, which is something that my family is very convicted about. My parents previewed the film on the day it came out, then Arwen and I went to see it on Sunday. It was such an amazing movie... thus the review. : )

The Story
October Baby opens with shots of a little girl and boy running in slow motion through fields and then jumping into a pond, holding hands. Before they do, they kick off their shoes and socks, and the little girl tosses her asthma inhaler onto her shoes. When I saw this, I literally couldn't stop smiling. It was such a good opening to a movie – it shows the long-time relationship between Hannah and Jason, then the constant health issues that Hannah has had since she was born. (A little bit of a spoiler, but I just had to say it!)

After 19-year-old Hannah collapses onstage (in an intense and well-acted moment), she finds out about her birth in an awkward and quite shocking way. That night, she tells “her oldest friend, Jason” (who is not her boyfriend, which surprised me a little) the truth that she'd just learned. He offers to take her to the hospital in Mobile, Alabama where she was born. When he's actually planned it out, he asks her to come with him in a scene that had me laughing out loud (and makes me smile now just thinking about it).

The trip lets you get to know all of the characters better, especially Hannah and Jason and Jason's obnoxious girlfriend. (I wanted to slap that girl...) When Hannah and Jason separate from the group and go to the hospital by themselves, there are several plot twists and what seems like dead ends that had even me wondering how Hannah was going to find her birthmom.

And, once again, I'd better stop. : )

The Characters and Cast

Hannah Lawson is a very solid character that is very well fleshed-out in the film. Like any good character, she has multiple layers and varied strengths and weaknesses. When she finds out the truth about her birth and the events surrounding it, she doesn't fall into the “depths of despair," but keeps her spirits high while she's searching for her birthmother and accepts her past. Also, for a reason unexplained, Hannah has never had a boyfriend. She calls herself a “weird homeschooling freak,” which made me laugh and like her all the more!

The character of Hannah Lawson is played to perfection by Rachel Hendrix, who has only been in one other film as a minor character. When Hannah finds out more and more about her past, she responds as I and any other sane person would – with tears. And yet, with every new fact, Hendrix brings a new depth of emotion to the screen every time! With every new fact gained, her facial expressions change and aren't a repeat of the previous emotion. Frankly, I was a little shocked to find out that she'd only been in one other movie and a car commercial – she's such a good actress!

Jason.... All I can say is “Smiley face.” Arwen and I walked away from the theater both saying, “I like him!” Jason is such a good friend to Hannah and I really appreciate the fact that he's still her friend and even supports her after she finds out that she was adopted. He goes to such lengths as to organize a road trip especially for her, get a rental car, pay for a hotel room, and a lot more! Even after she's overcome by her emotions numerous times in the film, he stays strong and constantly tells her, “It's going to be okay.” *Slight spoiler alert!* Near the end of the film, he even calls her dad, Dr. Lawson, to apologize for overstepping his bounds, which I don't think he did. But, hey - it's still a really good scene and made me like him even more. *End spoiler alert* There was only one thing Arwen and I think he should have done differently, but that was very minor.

Jason Burkey is a very good actor, too – and yes, that's his actual first name! I usually judge actors and actresses based on if they can do a good cry, but it was when Burkey almost cried that made me decide I liked him as an actor. (Well, I liked him in the first scene he was in... but it was then that I really decided I liked him.) He was able to act with so many different emotions – friendliness, humor, anger, sadness. I was also surprised to find that he hadn't been in many movies, either. It always makes me happy when people like the Kendricks and the Erwin brothers choose virtual unknowns to play main characters, especially if, like I saw on Burkey IMDb movie list, they are “found out” and chosen for other movies.

Truman (I can't find the actor's name) and B-Mac (Chris Sligh) were characters that supported Hannah, too, and went on the road trip with her. They were mainly added for comic relief, but I liked them anyway, especially Truman, who delivered such awesome lines as, “Am I German?” and “Excuse me – do you realize this is a library?” B-Mac also made a reference to Star Wars that Arwen enjoyed – “This is our Millennium Falcon, if you will,” speaking of Evelyn, the Volkswagen van that the group takes the road trip in. (Yes, the car has a name! Love it!) As a side note, you might recognize Chris Sligh from American Idol Season Six. He got the chance to sing in October Baby twice.

Objectionable Content
October Baby is rated PG-13 for “mature thematic material,” which is throughout the film. This movie is about an abortion survivor, but they don't say much than that (except for a mild description of something that happened to another abortion survivor). It's a hard subject for most.

Also, there is a scene that Arwen and I thought Jason could have handled differently. There are a couple chances when it could get "iffy" between Hannah and Jason, but they both respect each other and make good decisions.

Usually, in an independent Christian film, such as Fireproof or Come What May, the quality isn't very good. Everything (or sometimes just something) is a little off – the acting, the script, the camera quality, the lighting. I've watched many different qualities of independent Christian films – Remember Me, What If..., Flywheel, The Widow's Might, Facing the Giants, Sybil Ludington, Mandie and the Secret Tunnel being just a few of them. Being a big fan of independent Christian films, no matter what the quality, I've gotten to where I ignore it. But movies I've watched recently, such as Courageous and To Save a Life, are exceptionally better than the rest.

October Baby is no exception. At times, I found the quality better even than Courageous, which I still love. The entire movie was shot so beautifully, I found myself forgetting it was an “indie film.” The picture below is one of my favorite shots. See how the camera caught the sunlight? Simply breathtaking.

In Conclusion
The more people I talk to about October Baby, the more I'm shocked to find that a lot of people know and have heard about it, but for some reason haven't gone. Let me just say that it was worth it! Totally worth it. I keep wanting to go back and see it again!!!

October Baby is a movie that I have put on my favorite movie list and will probably go see again before it comes out on DVD. (At that time, I'm buying it!)

Please go see this exceptionally well-done movie! It'll challenge you to think about your views on many issues, especially abortion!


March 26, 2012

Birthday Party!

Yes, a birthday party means pictures! Hope you don't mind.... : )

We celebrated my younger brother's birthday a few days after his actual birthday and had a few of his friends over for a pretty awesome airsoft gun fight. (I got almost addicted to airsoft last summer... Needless to say, I had a blast!) After that, we played Capture the Flag, and that was equally fun, complete with some amazing rescues (and attempts)!

We got these little trays a few years ago and they've come in very handy for parties! (We've tried to guess what else we can spell with them, too: pray, tray, part, tarp....)

Birthday boy and some of his friends (and my little brother showing off his gun!)

Here he is again with the gun. He's become a huge fan of Roy Rogers over the past few months, which makes me SO happy. (I'm a big fan, too. I even have a picture of Roy and Dale in my room. LOL!)

We had an awesome airsoft fight, even if we all looked dorky in the glasses!

Happy Birthday sign made out of camouflage wrapping paper!

Me, a friend, and Arwen (hehehe - that was the only "camo" shirt I had... whatever...)

Friend and adorable little brother!

Arwen made up a SWEET (in every sense of the word) ice cream cake. Here's how it stacked up: cookie layer, vanilla ice cream, cookie layer, vanilla ice cream, then drizzled with chocolate and peanut butter and topped with mini Reeses cups. YUM!!

Close-up of the top... Yes, it was delicious.

Arwen also though that the ice cream cake wouldn't be enough, so she made two dozen cupcakes. We still have leftovers of each!

Now, no picture post would be complete without pictures of my little brother. *sigh* Isn't he adorable?!

Studying his gun... He wanted some eye protection, too, even though we were in the back yard by now. : )

And the cowboy boots complete the look!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures! A special thanks to my good friend for taking a few of them, then to Arwen for the (very cute) pictures of my little brother!


PS: (You can do PSes in a blog post - they're not just strictly for letters or emails. I've done it before and I'll probably do it again... lol!) Arwen and I went to an AMAZING movie last night. (Hint: It was not called The Hunger Games.) My next blog post will be about it and how much we loved it!

March 23, 2012

Movie Review - Jane Eyre (2011)

I knew you would do me good in some way. I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you. - Edward Rochester, Jane Eyre

"After a bleak childhood, Jane Eyre goes out into the world to become a governess. As she lives happily in her new position at Thornfield Hall, she meets the dark, cold, and abrupt master of the house, Mr. Rochester. Jane and her employer grow close in friendship and she soon finds herself falling in love with him. Happiness seems to have found Jane at last, but could Mr. Rochester's terrible secret be about to destroy it forever?" (Synopsis from

My sister, Arwen, read Jane Eyre a few months ago and really wanted to watch the new adaption. After getting several varying reviews from different friends and reading the PluggedIn review (a great resource, by the way!), we rented it. What a ride! I really don't know where to start.... How about the beginning?

The Story
The actual beginning of the movie is kind of confusing. You really just have to sit through it and stow away all the information for the "AHA!" moment later. (It helped having someone watching it who'd read the book... even though she didn't really explain it to us.)

"A bleak childhood" - that just about describes it! When Jane's parents died, she went to live with her (evil) Aunt Reed and (equally evil) cousins. When she's old enough, she's shuffled off to a boarding school run by a madman whose ideas about discipline sent shivers up my spine.

Years later, Jane leaves to earn a living as a governess. She finds work for a mysterious man named Edward Rochester and his young ward, Adele. Jane soon finds herself developing an attachment to Rochester despite his weird ways.

Soon, strange things start happening. Very strange things. (And I think I'll leave it at that. I don't want to spoil it for you!)

The Characters and Cast

Jane Eyre is probably one of my new favorite heroines. Yes, I've never read the book, have only seen this version, and I started watching the movie knowing only that it was my grandmother's favorite book, Arwen liked it, and that it was a Bronte novel. However, I think just watching the movie once convinced me that Jane Eyre is a very good heroine. She has very important characteristics that you want in a heroine, most importantly very strong convictions. Jane doesn't let down the barrier between the employer and the employee until the very last possible moment. *Spoiler alert!* When she finds out the truth about Rochester's past, she ignores her emotions, her deep love for him, and his pleading for her to stay and stays true to her deeply-rooted convictions, praying, "God help me!" *End spoiler alert* Truly a great heroine!

Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) did an amazing job with Jane's character. I could tell she delved deeply into Jane's story to figure out how to portray such a deep character. Every emotion that Jane felt was vividly portrayed by Wasikowska and didn't look like acting!

Edward Rochester.... I think I'll be very honest and say that when he first showed up I didn't like him. At all. He was weird! As the movie progressed, I found myself liking him, then liking him a little more, then despising him, then really liking him. Rochester was a very interesting character with a deep, dark secret. I truly didn't come to a final decision until the final scene (which was, by far, my favorite scene in the entire movie).

Michael Fassbender was a great pick for Rochester. Though I haven't seen him in any other movie, I think he made Rochester a very deep character - every look full of meaning, whether good or bad - and pulled it off in the end.

St John Rivers literally drove me batty. I found myself yelling at the TV, saying, "Are you for real?! What is your problem?!" He is a Catholic who is firmly rooted in his convictions, like Jane. He believes he knows God's plan for Jane's life - labor and not love. The last scene he's in... ugh, I nearly left the room. I couldn't stand him and was so glad when his character left the screen!

Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, The Adventures of Tintin) is a very convincing St John. I'd really like to see another movie he's in - he's such a brilliant actor! (I don't know if I'd be able to see past the St John Rivers character, though.... Depends on if Bell's lost the beard!)

Jane really had an awful childhood, but it just goes to show that what happens in your childhood shapes you as an adult.

As a side note, Amelia Clarkson did an amazing job with her character, the young Jane Eyre. First, she she looks exactly like what Jane would look like when she was younger - a very important thing for the casting directors to look for. I think it's so annoying when the different actors for the characters don't match up! (Belinda from the Love Comes Softly series, anyone?) Second, the wide range of emotions she pulls of is really astounding! Third, I think she did a really good job fainting. (Another issue I have with actors and actresses.) : )

Mrs. Fairfax is actually a relatively small character - a housekeeper at Thornfield, Rochester's estate - but I just wanted to mention her because it was so good to see Judi Dench again! She's been in a lot of movies, but you might recognize her from the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice or Cranford and Return to Cranford. When she first appeared, I literally smiled and said, "Miss Matty!" One of my favorite scenes that she was in was in the end. "You could have come to me. I had a little money put by.... You could have come to me!"

Objectionable Content
There are a few things I would warn you about, though. One of the very few things in this movie that you might be worried about is a painting of a woman that Jane looks at. The camera shows it for a split second first, then focuses on it later in the movie for longer than a few seconds. I've heard that it almost begged for a higher rating - PG-13 instead of "just PG."

The one other thing is some blood after an act of violence. You don't see this person get stabbed, but you do see the wound. My younger sister was a little scared and didn't look, but I told her later that, after seeing most of all three Lord of the Rings films, she wouldn't have been bothered by it at all.

Bottom Line
Even though the film is a little confusing at first, I think it's worth it. (Definitely a movie you'd have to watch twice to understand everything the director, screenwriters, etc are trying to say!) I'm definitely going to see it again and might even buy it!

It's a thrilling, nonstop ride that leaves you hanging until literally the last five minutes!
8 out of 10


March 21, 2012

Spring is Here!

I love spring... : )

Below are some pictures I took at a friend's house. Enjoy!


March 17, 2012

Character Questions

More questions... : )

I tell you guys that I like writing, but I really haven't posted anything about my writing. Sorry! lol. Once, I had a guest post by one of my characters, but I don't know if anyone understood. hehehe...

Anyway, these are questions I found that you can answer about one of your characters. I chose...

Kale McAllen
From my yet untitled work (my One Year Adventure Novel novel)

1. What is their full name?
Kale (Something) McAllen. She's 15 and has a twin brother named Glenn. (A little more than what the question asked, but, hey...)

2. Does his or her name have a special meaning?
To me, or do you want me to Google it? lol. Just kidding. *sheepishly* Not really. I just thought it was a cool name, and when I tried it, it just sort of clicked.

3. Does your character have a methodical or disorganized personality?
Methodical. Definitely. She's very organized and has to stay that way - her situation in life demands it.

4. Does he or she think inside themselves more than they talk out loud to their friends? (More importantly, does he or she actually have friends?)
No (to the first question). She's an introvert around a lot of people, but among a few people (probably five tops), she's really animated with her speech. She's like Mr. Knightly (from Emma) in the way that she speaks her mind to people and tells them what she thinks. (Just don't ask her to talk to a bunch of people!) She does have friends, but Kale's always been around people who, frankly, hate her, so she doesn't really have much reason to like them.

5. Is there something he or she is afraid of?
The person who is against her who will not be named at this time... Yes, she's deathly afraid of this person.

6. Does he or she write, dream, dance, sing, or photograph?
Write – no. (No time!) Dream – yes. (About her future, etc.) Dance – yes. (Well, she'd like to, but she really doesn't have the chance while she's going through all the obstacles I put in front of her. *cue evil laughter*) Sing – eh, not really. (She doesn't have much of a singing voice. Sorry, Kale, but it's true!!) Photograph – she'd say, “What's that?” (Keep in mind that her story is set in the 19th century...)

7. What is his or her favorite book? (or genre of books)
Whatever she's reading at the moment. She loves any book she can get her hands on.

8. Who is his or her favorite author and/or someone that inspires him or her?
She doesn't have a favorite author, but she does have a few people who inspire her. (Her brother, Glenn, for example.)

9. Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Poor dear, she's never tried it! It'd probably be Mint Chocolate Chip, though.

10. Favorite season of the year?

Hope you guys liked learning a little about what I write and what I'm working on. More questions soon! Unless you're already bored... : )


March 14, 2012

Anne of Green Gables Tag Questions

It's Anne of Green Gables week over at Miss Dashwood's Yet Another Period Drama blog, and I thought I'd answer the tag questions that she posted a few days ago at the start of the week. Enjoy!

1. How many of the Anne books have you read, and how many of the films have you seen?
I've seen the first two movies numerous times, and I "watched" the third one through my fingers. (I didn't like it at all, but I'd like to see it again just to remember why I didn't like it as much. I was only eight when I watched it, but I think I'll remember why pretty fast!) The second is my FAVORITE and I could watch it over and over... and over and over!

2. If someone yanked your hair and called you carrots, what would you do to him?
Probably crack a slate over his head. (Except my hair isn't red... I'd still get mad if anyone called me Carrots, though!)

3. What would you do if Josie Pye dared you to walk the ridgepole of a roof?
See how high up it is. If it wasn't too high... maybe. If it was more than a story hugh, I'd just let her dare away! : )

4. If you had the opportunity to play any AGG (I'm abbreviating from now on because I am a lazy typist) character in an AGG play, which role would you choose?
Probably Anne. If she was taken by an actual red-head, I'd claim Diana!

5. If you were marooned on a desert island, which AGG character would you want to have as a companion? (Anne, Gilbert and Diana are not options. Let's keep this thing interesting. Not that they're not interesting.... oh, yay, now the disclaimer to this question is longer than the question itself. Lovely lovely lovely.)
First choice would be Anne, but since she's not avaliable... Emmaline Harris. She's one of my favorite characters from the second movie. Instead of crying over our fate, we'd probably quote different books and plays together!

6. If there was going to be a new adaptation of the Anne books and you could have any part in making the movie, what would you choose to do? (screenwriting, acting, casting, costume-making are a few possibilities)
Anything that gets me on the set! LOL!! I'd probably choose casting director, though, just to make sure that everyone was casted right. Of course, I'd be against a new adaption from the start because I think the versions that are out are absolutely wonderful. (I would NOT have any objection to a new adaption of the third one, though. Mine would follow the books!)

7. What are, in your opinion, the funniest AGG book/movie scenes? (choose one from the books and one from the movies)
Well, I can't really say one from the books because I've never read them. (Sorry! I'm getting to it! Just see it on my Books I'm Reading (or planning to...) page!)
Only one from the movies? Ugh. Let me think. Probably "The Carrots Scene" from the first one and the "Pitching and mooning?" scene from the second one. (I would say the "Don't eat it, Ms. Stacy!" scene, but it embarasses me too much because... I'd do the exact same thing. HA!)

8. What are, in your opinion, the saddest AGG book/movie scenes? (choose one of each again)
No book scene again... sorry, guys! : )
*Spoiler Alert!* From the first movie - when Matthew dies. Sadness! And from the second movie... when Gil almost dies. I can't watch! It's just so... *sniffs* Every single time, I ask myself, "Why can't she just SEE that he's the one for her?!" (That, and the first proposal. Gil's line "Please say yes!"... WOW! Made me tear up the last time I saw it!) *End Spoiler Alert*

9. Which AGG character would you most like to spend an afternoon with? (again, Anne and Gilbert and Diana are not options for this one--think secondary characters)
Josie Pye. *laughs* I know she's the "villian," but she's just so funny! We'd probably spend the entire afternoon picking at each other. hehehe....

10. What is your definition of a kindred spirit?
A really good friend that knows you extremely well and shares your likes and dislikes. I am blessed to have a few of these. : )

Wow, that was fun! (Or maybe I just like answering tag questions about movies or books I like!)


March 7, 2012


If you want to hear some pretty amazing music, click here. It's a playlist of all of the songs that ThePianoGuys have uploaded. I listen to their music a lot (probably a little too much, lol...), and their newest song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Simple Gifts, is one of those wierd songs that makes me really happy when I listen to it. No words, but awesome piano and cello music.

Some of my favorite songs include (but are definitely not limited to):
Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Simple Gifts (Piano/Cello)
Rolling in the Deep (Piano/Cello)
Moonlight (Electric cello)
All of Me (Piano)
Without You (Piano/Cello)
Love Story Meets Viva la Vida (which, for some strange reason, isn't on their channel. You can see that video here)
Bring Him Home (from Les Miserables - Piano/Cello)
Nearer My God to Thee (for 9 cellos)
The Cello Song - Bach is Back! (Cello - duh!)

Yes, I realize that all of these songs, excepting All of Me, have a cello in them. *sigh* I know, I know - how can a violinist like cello music? Well, I like it when it's played right. (Just kidding...) So even if you're a violinist and strongly against all cello music, please check these songs out anyway. It'll be worth your time!!!

Take a look and enjoy!

March 3, 2012

Skeeting!! : )

No, we didn't go skeet-shooting, we went skiing. That's just my little brother's word for what we did.... : ) We had an absolute blast - partially because it was just so much fun, and partially because we planned a surprise for our friends on the second day of skiing... wow, that was fun! Anyway, here are a few pictures! I think I took about two hundred picture total... in three days. Yeah, I'm not much of a skier, but I loved taking pictures! : )

My little brother and his new friend... such sweetie pies!

I was really surprised when I'd heard that this little girl had gone all the way to the top of the mountain a few times and down the black diamond (for all you non-skiers, that's the hardest run)... and this is only her second time skiing.

The gorgeous view from the freestyle run!

He actually got some air!!

My adorable little brother 'skeeting.' He did such a good job!

Asking where they were going and if they could go faster... : )

This was the surprise... on Friday, a few friends from NC came to ski with us!

"Look at my awesome, first-time snowboarding abilities!"

Ouch.... This one was literally seconds after the previous picture. lol!

We had such a blast and decided that we'd make it a tradition. Can't wait for next year!!