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A Slipping Beauty Blog

Monsters Inc. Review (spoilers)

Monsters Inc. (2001), written by Andrew Stanton and Dan Gerson and directed by Pete Doctor

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Monsters Inc. takes place in the world where the “monsters under your bed” live.  The entire society gets their energy from scream power which is acquired by scarers who go through teleporting doors to scare children at night.  The main plot revolves around Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan (“Sully”), who are the top scaring team in the whole of “Monsters Inc.”  However, when following a Randell, a competitive scarer, who was scaring after hours, a human child gets released into the monster world.  Now, Mike and Sully have to find a way to get the child back to the human world without getting caught, as human children are “toxic” to them.  Along the way they make many discoveries which could alter the fate of the monster world forever.

This movie is the absolute epitome of a great movie.  The humor is fresh and witty while still maintaining very human emotions and themes in the monster world.  This film had me and my dad laughing at every other line.

As far as characters go, Mike and Sully had the perfect chemistry, which was enhanced after watching Monsters University.  Their personalities perfectly balanced each other out and adding Boo to the mix made the group seem like a sitcom family.  Randall, who is the villain of the story, was absolutely delightful to hate and the twist at the end of the movie was absolutely genius.  It surprised audiences without slipping the rug completely out from under them.

Current Ranking:

  1. Monsters Inc.
  2. The Incredibles
  3. Ratatouille
  4. Monsters University
  5. The Good Dinosaur
  6. Monsters University
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Why Season 4 is my Favorite Season of Buffy

WARNING: Spoilers ahead

I know this is not a popular opinion, please be respectful in reading my thoughts.

Season 4, for most of the fans I’ve spoken to, is collectively considered the least favorite season.  Or, at least, at the bottom of the list.  Trust me: I am aware of the flaws, cheesy story plots, and an anticlimactic big bad.  However, there are a few aspects of this season that drown out the bad things for me.  In this post, I’m going to break it down.

1. I am a sucker for the overarching metaphors in this season

Throughout this season there are two overarching metaphors that impact the actual structure of the season itself.

First of all, there’s the representation of each aspect of Buffy in her band of friends.  Throughout the past three seasons, Whedon had established that Xander represents Buffy’s heart, Willow her spirit, and Giles her mind.  In Episode 21, “Primeval”, we get to see these roles literally established and used in order to enhance Buffy’s fighting ability.

Many complaints of season 4 are that the season seemed disconnected.  The characters were somewhat separated from each other and we lost the unity that the Sunnyvale High School library had to offer.  However, I quite enjoyed this about the season.  Moving on to college is a weird time and it marks the end of one aspect of your life and the beginning of another.  The way I interpret it, season 4 was intended to be written this way in order to represent not only the separation from your past and old friends, but internal parts of yourself being separated as you navigate the new territory of adulthood and college.  After all, at its core Buffy is about the transition from childhood to adulthood.  The show couldn’t move forward without addressing the specific change from high school to college.

2. My favorite episodes of all time are in this season

I think it goes without saying that “Hush” (S4, E10) is one of the most masterfully written episodes of Buffy, and possibly television history.  It’s easily in my top three episodes.  However, many other episodes that I just personally like are included in the season 4 lineup, such as “Fear Itself” (S4, E4), “Who Are You?”(S4, E16), and “Restless”(S4, E22).  This makes it my most rewatched season solely because of this.

3. Almost all the major characters (with the exception of Cordelia) are included

We not only are introduced to new characters, but the old characters that we’ve grown to love are still included.  I welcomed Spike’s return with open arms, as well as the introduction of Tara and Anya (I know she technically came in season 3 but we really got to know Anya this season).  There are still a couple episodes left of Oz’s witty banter at the beginning as well.  All in all enjoyed the interweaving of the characters.

4. Character Developments

We see Giles going through a bit of a midlife crisis during this season which is very enjoyable in my opinion.  It’s a time of weakness for him and when the gang realizes he really is as human as they are.  He doesn’t lose his mentor position, however his own character is deepened during this season in very simple ways.

The obvious other development is Willow falling in love with Tara.  This was handled in such an expert way and revolutionary in the representation of gay people in the media.  Watching this is what inspired me to come out myself.

5. I watched this season at a time in my life where the themes represented were relevant to me

This is probably what is truly behind what makes everyone’s favorite season.  Personal connection is truly why we love what we love.  For me, season 4 has the themes that connect with me most at this point in my life and when I originally watched it: transitioning from high school to college, being brave enough to break away from society’s expectations, questioning of one’s identity in more ways than one.  These all were messages I needed to hear.

June 25th, 2017- Mary Poppins Graduation Party

We brought Cherry Tree Lane to my house yesterday afternoon as we celebrated my high school graduation!  Many of the decorations were found on Pinterest and DIYed by me and my mom.  Here are some pictures from the event:

Mailbox decorated with Mary Poppins’ hat and parasolmary-poppins-party-mailbox.jpg

A “Spoonful of Sugar” for our guests.  Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes decorated with small silver spoons and pink icing.

The food spread included tea sandwiches, fruit salad, along with our old bird cage which was decorated as a tribute to “Feed the Birds”

mary-poppins-party-bird-cage.jpg

Other decorations, kites were a running theme throughout the party

mary-poppins-party-wall-decor.jpg

All in all a Jolly Holiday! Packing up for Costa Rica today, stay tuned for photos and journalling.

To-Read for July

As I’m leaving for Costa Rica in the coming days, it is crucial that I have ample reading material to take with me!  Here are some of the novels I’m planning on reading in the month of July.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

sorcerer's stone

Obviously this one’s been read before, however I’m participating in Pottermore’s book club and reading along with it.  Excited to delve back into this magical world and experience the stories as an adult.

2. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

and then there were none

A classic novel by a classic author, Christie is one of my favorite writers of all time.  This novel centers around guests arriving to an island and each disappearing one by one.

3. When the Moon Was Ours

when the moon was ours

This novel came up in an article on Goodreads and I thought I’d give it ago.  As June is pride month, many LGBTQ books were added to my list and I decided to pick this one to roll over into July.

4. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

a prayer for owen meany

This novel was added to my list in an odd way: my best friend was named after the main character in the story.  Excited to see what comes of reading it!

 

 

Beauty and the Beast (2017)-General thoughts

WARNING: there may be mild spoilers ahead, proceed with caution!

On Thursday night, I went to the first showing available for the new Beauty and the Beast with my best friend.  It was nice to sit in an audience of mostly adults who were Disney fans, as the showing was at 7pm on a Thursday night.  I had been waiting in anticipation for this film for many reasons.  Firstly, my favorite actress of all time, Emma Thompson, was playing Mrs. Potts, which is a dream come true.  Secondly, the story of Beauty and the Beast is one that’s touched my heart since I was young.  I’ve always identified the most with Belle of all the princesses and it’s so exciting that a live action remake is happening.  The messages of not judging others based on appearance and that people can change are so important in America’s current state.  I’m glad this film was released when it was.

The first thing I noticed was how differently everyone approached their characters.  No one tried to copy exactly what the characters were like in the 1991 animated film.  They all made it their own, which made the film more interesting to watch.  Maurice was a more developed character in this film, as was Le Fou, which added new elements to the story as a whole.

Musically, the two leads lacked ability and were heavily autotuned.  However, their acting in these moments of song were so strong that I almost didn’t even notice.  It was only back when I listened to the soundtrack that I really noticed.  My personal favorite numbers were “Gaston”, “Be Our Guest”, and “Days in the Sun” (which was an original song for this movie).

There were mild plot lines that were added, some of which were effective, while others were not.  I don’t want to go into too much detail, as I wanted to make this as spoiler-free as possible, but they were trying to add layers to the overall message of the story.  They were good messages, but so underdeveloped that the friend I was with missed them completely.

All that being said though, I really enjoyed this movie.  It was fun to relive the story and be part of the magic a generation later.

The Good Dinosaur Review (spoilers)

The Good Dinosaur (2015), written by Meg LeFauve and directed by Peter Sohn

Overall Rating: 4.5/10

The story of The Good Dinosaur takes place in an alternate timeline where dinosaurs still roam the earth.  It focuses on Arlo, the son of two Apatosaurus parents, and his journey to find his way home after he is separated from his family.  Growing up, Arlo is constantly trying to gain his parent’s stamp of approval, though he is fearful.  His fear gets in the way of him doing his job and experiencing the world.  He is only able to overcome this fear through the obstacles he faces journeying back to his parents.  Along the way he meets many creatures, and becomes friends with Spot, a human child.

The film definitely had its redeeming qualities.  The animation was on another level from previous Pixar movies.  The landscapes were a sight to see and the movements of the different creatures were appropriately tailored to their species and personality.  I enjoyed the family dynamic between Arlo and his siblings.  His motivation to impress his parents is one that almost any child can relate to.

However, this film does not stand out among the other Pixar films for me.  The plot was predictable.  The concept was so creative that I felt the could’ve done more with the story. It felt like they focused so much on animation that the storyline kind of got forgotten until they had not choice but to choose the obvious ending.

I also didn’t really enjoy many of the characters in this movie.  Arlo was dynamic and had dimension to his personality, however the familial unit and most of the antagonists seemed one dimensional.  I wasn’t really rooting for the “good guys” because they didn’t have adequate “bad guys” to balance them out.

Current Ranking:

  1. The Incredibles
  2. Ratatouille
  3. Monsters University
  4. WALL-E
  5. The Good Dinosaur

 

Monsters University Review (spoilers)

Monsters University (2013),  written by Dan Gerson, Robert L. Baird, and Dan Scanlon, directed by Dan Scanlon

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Pixar sequels truly redeem all of the poorly made (and rarely spoken of) Disney Animation sequels.  Monsters University is an easy to enjoy story that brings back the beloved characters of Monsters Inc..

The story follows a college bound Mike Wisowski, from when he is young and dreaming of college, to the day he steps off the bus.  He has been accepted into a highly competitive scare program with hopes to become a scarer and work for Monsters Inc..  James P. Sullivan, another scare student, has similar hopes and a reputation to go along with it.  When they’re both kicked out of the program, they pull together a team of unlikely candidates to compete in the “scare games” with hopes of winning back a spot in the program.

My favorite part about this movie was actually the ending.  It ended realistically and wasn’t predictable, based on where Monsters Inc. starts off.  The lessons learned from Mike and Sully’s failure is what drives them to ultimately become scarers on the scare floor.

I enjoyed the university feel.  Overall, the story wasn’t really deep or relatable, but it was never boring.  I disliked most of the characters that were added in for this movie.  All the members of OK I found to be flat, however it was balanced out by Sully and Mike and didn’t take away from their character development.

It was nice getting to see how an uptight, small monster like Mike and a large, laid back monster like Sully ended up as best friends and work colleagues.  That was the goal of the film and they achieved it in an above average sequel.

 

Current Ranking:

  1. The Incredibles
  2. Ratatouille
  3. Monsters University
  4. WALL-E

 

Being a “Grown Up”: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hi all, starting a new posting series for when I rewatch movies I haven’t seen in a long time.  Each will be entitled “Being a “Grown Up”” and will consist of 5 things I didn’t remember/catch the first time I watched the film.  This week’s installation: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996).

1. The Wizard of Oz Reference which changed my LIFE

The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I was overjoyed to hear the very obvious reference.  It alludes to the Wicked Witch releasing her flying monkeys not chase after Dorothy and her friends in the forest.  I’ll insert a clip from youtube here.

2. Sexual and language innuendos

Most of these occur when Esmerelda and Phoebus first encounter each other in the church.  A nice touch only the adults viewing will understand

3. Frollo is tempted by lust?

The song Hellfire is literally about Frollo being tempted by Esmerelda in a sexual way, not only ridiculing her sinful acts.  This is something I obviously didn’t pick up on when I was younger.

4. The extreme (and dark) themes of Christianity and damnation

I loved rewatching this movie because its commentary on “monsters” versus “men” and how “men” are quick to condemn other humans when they are in no position to do so.  Frollo is the prime example of this, where Esmerelda is the example of grace and compassion, which is much of what being a Christian means to many.

5. Why are the gargoyles IN THIS MOVIE?

Okay, yes I understand that this is a children’s movie and there needed to be comic relief.  But they take away from the main plot and were totally not needed.  It keeps this movie from being as amazing as it could’ve been.

Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water’s Edge-Review and Thoughts

I’ve waited years to play this game because I was so nervous about not being able to sleep at night after I played it.  However, after much consideration, I braved through it and was able to finish the whole game probably in about 15 hours total.

Those of you not familiar with the Her Interactive Nancy Drew video game series, this is a great first game in order to convince those unfamiliar that this is not just a game for children.  It can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Let’s start off with the story: Nancy has been sent on a relaxing vacation in Japan where she is staying in a ryokan in order to be completely immersed in Japanese culture.  However, the inn she is staying at is known to be haunted and her fun quickly turns into another mystery she must solve.  Consisting of an old family business, bickering siblings, and frightening ghosts, this game surely has enough subplots to keep players on their toes.

The game itself  is definitely one of the better games in the Navy Drew series that I’ve played.  It is probably in my top three favorite games in the series.  The graphics are amazing and the storyline has a nice arc that really allow you to solve this mystery step by step.  The characters are super fun to talk to and there are a variety of different personality types which definitely kept the game interesting.

The only thing I didn’t love was that the puzzles are so incredibly difficult.  Some of them took me almost 3 sessions of gameplay before they were completed.  If you’re one to enjoy tough puzzles, this game is definitely for you.

All in all thoroughly enjoyed the game and would recommend it to a friend.

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