In celebration, I walked 2.5 miles after the 5.5 yesterday, got everything done and was home by half past noon, then proceeded to spend the rest of the day on a couch potato media binge, consuming 2 books & 3 movies plus an hour's nap in the middle, and they were all pretty great. Hey, we haven't done a movie post in a while! That's way more important than all the TV I'm behind on, yes?
Big Miracle: I actually watched this last night. I am pleased to report that it is everything I dreamed it would be and more. It was basically the perfect movie. I deliberately didn't read anything about the real-life story beforehand, so everything was a surprise - a pleasant one.
But overall - it's got small-town heart, it's got the most ridiculously star powered cast I have seen in a long time, it's got an engaging storyline with compelling characters and no dead weight among them, it's got a Minnesota connection (with hilariously overwrought and inaccurate accents, which made us HOWL WITH LAUGHTER every time those characters spoke), and most importantly, it has whales. That's a lie. I mean, there are whales, but nothing is more important that John Krasinki and Drew Barrymore being the leads and endgame romance. Krasinski, in particular, is perfect in every way with every second of screen time. FORTY-FOUR FOR YOU, J-KRAS! I may never get over my shock that he managed to both pick a 100% quality script and finally luck out in the leading-lady department.
tl;dr: not one single thing bored or angered me about this film from start to finish. It was perfect. I even watched all the bonus features because I craved more of the story.
Mirror, Mirror: I figured it would be cute and fun, but in my dislike of Snow White's tweezer-needing eyebrows, I completely underestimated how amazing it might be. Between Julia Roberts being brilliant (SHE IS MY MOVIE STAR QUEEN FROM HERE TO ETERNITY), the 7 delightfully comedic robber dwarves with their extending pogo-stick accordion legs, a hot/frequently shirtless prince, some really cool animation, and a Snow White casually turning the damsel-in-distress role on its head without being all Snow White and the Huntsman levels of obnoxious about it, my eyes were like stars from the first minute to the last.
Tower Heist: This one's probably not going to go down as a masterpiece, but at the same time, it was a wild amount of fun -- and again with a cast full of star power. It had some heart to it and made you care about the ragtag group of thieves, and their heisting abilities were pretty spectacular. Parts of it felt excessively like an embedded commercial for the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, but the rest of the time I was cheering the good bad guys on. If they made a sequel for some reason, I would watch it.
Taken: I was never that interested in it before, but after someone compared that one episode of Castle to it, I was intrigued. And it blew me away - hit the ground running and never stopped; I have not been that impressed by an action thriller in a long time. Turns out it is actually super fun to watch a guy rampage through Paris, expertly and blithely killing everyone in his path. Mostly because it was also wonderfully emotionally manipulative in the sentimental Protective Father department and that is my favorite thing ever. Even though I never quite felt that Maggie Grace, much as I love her face, was young enough to be a believable 17-year-old. No matter how stupidly her character and her friend behaved for plot contrivance.
("We've just arrived in a foreign country with no adult supervision or anyone we know. Oh cool, a random hot guy started chatting with us on the street! We should totally hand him our fancy phone to take a picture of us. See, he didn't even steal it! We can TOTALLY trust him, so let's go ahead and take his suggestion to get in a cab with him. And let him know where we're staying! Alone! Right down to the exact location inside the building!" Like, I'm surprised her friend didn't mention where they keep the spare key so he could wait inside in case he comes by to visit when they're not home.)
tl;dr: Pretty sure that is the best Liam Neeson movie I've ever seen.
I was really happy when I remembered there was a sequel, only to find that I watched the first movie at exactly the wrong time because the current request list is 97 people hahaha! (estimated wait time: 4-5 months) Not sure I am willing to pay the 50-cent overnight rental fee to jump the queue for a movie that is not Big Miracle levels of outstanding, but I might before this adrenaline high goes away.
Also, has anyone here read Dinotopia? It's on my book-seeking wishlist, so I must have checked it out from the library at one point in childhood, but I borrowed it today when I saw it sticking out of the shelf, and I remembered absolutely nothing. It is the most beautiful book in terms of illustrations, but I had no idea it was so long (157 pages) or that the text was so detailed. Now I want to find it more than ever, but who knows where an oversized book like that will turn up secondhand.
[edit: ajklsdhafjklshdfjkas I vaguely knew there was more than one book, but omg, so many books.
[BAD LIBRARY Y U NO HAVE ANY OTHER ILLUSTRATED BOOKS. Now I gotta go through all the hassle of interlibrary loan.]
In other book treasure news, I pounced upon an ex-library 1960s copy of Old Yeller with lovely color endpages in the sale room. I don't know if I will ever actually read it because I loathe the ending THAT MUCH, but I felt like I needed to own it. Even though the whole story is tainted, I know it's 80% really good and I've only ever read the abridged version in my Disney anthology.
Aaand, I found a really nice, crisp hardcover of something called Schooled at the dollar store - it's so pretty and purple, even though it's obviously gonna be a 3-star read, that I want to keep it - so hurray for "adult novels that actually appeal to my interests" literally falling into my lap. I'm always wanting to read books about teachers, ideally ones around my own age, but always too scared to trust things that pop from mere keyword searches on the library catalogue. This basically looks like a YA novel from an adult perspective. Not sure on "adult" content yet but feel like it's probably not any worse than The Devil Wears Prada, and I loved that.
Let's end this post on a bummer! Remember how I like to talk about my beloved local Sara Lee outlet store?Magical place of low-priced bakery products, even more ridiculously cheap clearance items (75-cent loaves of hearty grain bread, 25-cent individual packaged desserts, etc), the only angelfood cake product sold at a reasonable price anywhere, that also has a 10% discount on Wednesdays so it was a nicer place than the gas station to get my 20-oz. pop fix in times of emergency, because it's literally a 5-minute walk from my house?
A tiny little place that, though the sort of barren ugly that comes from being inside a strip mall, feels like a small town business inside, with only 3 employees so you know everyone, the sort of business where if you come up a few cents short on cash they will smile and cover it for you, and that has a board behind the register offering "animal feed" expired bread by the cartload, and tacks up photos of the animals people feed with it? The place that's been here my entire life and that sometimes I love so much I can't even believe it's real and not something out of the 1960s, because it is just literally the most pleasant/convenient store I've ever been in besides the local grocery store in my college town? (which closed in 2010 because eff you Coburns)
Yeah. Out of nowhere - there was literally like a week's notice - they're closing down. Well, technically moving, but they "don't know where" yet, and while it's physically impossible for them to move any closer, we have no idea if it'll even be in the same town. :(