Sunday, December 29, 2013

Just Ranting

Warning: This post contains nothing but complaints and whining. Do not read if you do not care. If you do care, by all means, read on. Just keep in mind that this post is really just to get out my frustrations. Carry on. 
I thought senior year was supposed to be fun? 
Earlier today I was mentally going through my schedule for next semester, and it nearly brought me to tears. The realization struck me that I'm going to be busy all. the. time. I'm dual-enrolled in five classes at my local community college, plus I'm taking a western literature class with a few fellow homeschoolers, plus I'm working two part-time jobs, plus I'm rehearsing for a show I'm in (that part I'm super duper excited about, though!), plus I'm trying to remember to breathe in the meantime...
Needless to say, I’m both terrified and kind of sad. My social life is going to be nonexistent. I’m barely going to have time to hang out with the people I actually enjoy in between my classes. I’m not going to have a single available day for a sleepover throughout the entire semester. My last bit of senior year is going to be a big ole pile of busy and I hate it. Honestly, thinking about it earlier began to stress me out, and I haven't even started the semester yet. 
I love dual-enrolling, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like I’ve bitten off far more than I can chew. When I first started taking college classes in 10th grade, my goal was to graduate high school with my AA degree. Due to some setbacks junior year regarding math classes, it became evident that that goal was not going to be reached. So, I formulated a new goal; graduate high school with as much college under my belt as possible, stay at my local community college for one more semester so that I could finish up whatever credits I had left, and then transfer to the 4-year college of my choice in the Spring of 2015. It seemed fool-proof until just a few weeks ago. 
I was gallivanting around Walt Disney World with a large group of friends when one of my good friends and I started (for whatever strange reason) talking about growing up. We got on the topic of school, and she asked me a question I had never thought to ask myself: “so, why are you working so far ahead and taking so many college classes?” I knew I had a problem once I realized I had no good answer. “Umm, well, like, to get my AA degree soon, and like, have a chance to, like, go to graduate school, and, um, finish sooner, I guess, and, um….” Literally, THAT WAS MY ANSWER. I felt so stupid. Then I realized, why the heck am I wasting my childhood away, just to get my degree a year or two sooner than my peers?
I have looooved not having to go to a traditional high school. I tried private school for a couple of years, but it wasn't my cup of tea. The mere thought of public school makes me want to vomit. (Disclaimer: I have nothing against the public education system in and of itself. It’s just most definitely not for me.) Not many people take homeschoolers seriously, so I made it my mission to prove them all wrong. Also, I wanted to prove to myself that I was smart. But the pressure I have put on myself to do as much work as possible and get as far ahead as possible is really catching up to me. I’m starting to crack. It’s not even that I’m worried about the workload… a lead role in a play, four college classes, an in-depth homeschool course, and two part-time jobs? Bring it on. Rather, what I’m worried about is the time span. It’s too much for the short amount of time I have in a week. 
I want to do my best during this last semester of senior year, but I want to enjoy myself, too. My desire is to look back at this time in my life and say “wow, I’m so glad I was able to surround myself with the the people I love. I’m so happy I got to spend time with the ones who lift me up and help make me a better person. I’m overjoyed that I got to go to as many social events as possible to expand my knowledge of what I was learning. I’m so glad I got to do what I love.” 
I do not want to say “wow, I worked a lot.” 
I’m a responsible person. I don’t want to go out and party every night, or hang out with friends every single day, or have sleepovers every weekend. However, I want to take advantage of the time I have left to just be a kid, because once my childhood is gone… it’s gone. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks

Sometimes spontaneous plans are the best plans. 

After a very long day of entertaining my cousins (aged 10 and 4) and an evening of dinner and Christmas gift-exchanges, I was beat. Seriously, I just did not want to do anything or see anyone or go anywhere. Quick side note: my mom and I have been talking about going to see Saving Mr. Banks since it recently came to theaters, but we were never really sure when we would be able to go seeing as we're both so busy all the time. Well, in spite of the fact that I was ready to shut out the world, cuddle under my covers, and call it a night, we decided to bolt out of the house at 7:35 to try and make the 7:40 showing at our local theater...and I am so glad we did. 

I was sure Saving Mr. Banks would be the type of movie I'd enjoy, even though I knew very little about it. I didn't exactly get the chance to "over-prepare myself" for this movie by reading articles, reviews, and plot summaries. I was in for a complete surprise. I did know the general idea of the story: Walt Disney, along with his production team, struggle with author P. L. Travers as they try to convince her to share her beloved Mary Poppins with the world via the silver screen. I figured this would just be an interesting film about the whole process of making a movie out of Travers' classic book--which it was, however, there was a much deeper level to this movie. It had substance, it had quality, and it had me crying multiple times. 

This movie taught me so much. Saving Mr. Banks is about so much more than you would think; it's about helping a woman release the tension which her past had been giving her for so many years. It is about the complications which often accompany family life, and how misunderstood good people often are. It is about letting one's regrets go and opening up to what the future holds. It's about escaping from whatever cages hold a person prisoner. It's about singing your way through life, letting your imagination assist you in moving on.  I am so glad I got to see this movie with my mom, because I was an absolute sobbing mess. It was okay, though, because she was crying just as much! 

Saving Mr. Banks is a work of art. I want to go into every detail about the film, but I want everyone to be blessed with the same privilege I had whilst going into the theater: unknowingness. We're often touched emotionally when we least expect it--it's a spontaneous occurrence. But like I said before...sometimes being spontaneous is the best way to go. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Do you want to build a snowman? 

I saw Frozen tonight, and now I want to build a snowman! I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, but I have to say, it really surprised me. I went into it with quite a few expectations. Now I know not to do that anymore because this movie was absolutely nothing like I thought it would be. That's not a bad thing, though! Let me explain... 

SPOILER ALERT! | I thought about keeping this post spoiler-free, but then I thought hey...that's no fun. I'll be going into detail about everything because this is my blog and I can do that. Consider yourselves warned! 

Feeling and tone: The movie had an overall different feeling than what I was expecting. Seeing as the animation greatly resembles that of Tangled, I was expecting the movie to give me the same feeling Tangled did as well. This was not so, however the vibe I got was still very interesting. I'm going to try and describe this next part as best as I can: Frozen did not necessarily have a "classic Disney" feel, but it definitely had an old-timey Disney vibe. Hahaha, not very coherent, but whatever. My cousin/friend, Brianna, (I LOVE having a relative who's also my best friend and fellow Disney geek!) compared it to Brother Bear as far as tone goes, and I couldn't agree more! Both Brother Bear & this movie had a sense of culture, family, and what it means to truly love someone. Now, in spite of Frozen's "old-timey" feel, it was very contemporary. The music style is more Broadway than most Disney movies--but hey, I'm not complaining about that! 

Characters: The characters were so on-point. I'll probably leave someone out by mistake, but I'm going to talk about each of them individually. 

Okay, so Anna is obviously the main protagonist of the movie. It's common for everyone to love the main character simply because they're the main character. They're designed to make you fall in love with them. But here's what I love about Anna: she's so real. Yes, she's your stereotypical animated Disney princess in terms of her looks: big doe eyes, teeny tiny waist, hair that every real life girl dreams about having--all of it. However, her personality is different. 
She is an adventurer who is also a bit clueless, a beautiful girl who is also really clumsy, and a lonely girl who just wants to love and be loved in return. In the beginning of the film, Anna was very naive and desperate. Throughout the film, though, she develops into a strong, confident woman who knows what is truly important and does what she can to make things right. She cares about her family (especially Elsa) soooo much, and she would do anything for them. Honestly, anything. 
Sure, Anna sometimes (okay, often times) acts impulsively and doesn't always think about potential consequences which may follow her actions, but she does everything with the desire and intention to put someone else's needs above her own. Anna is selfless and brave and I admire her so much. (Even though she is a little bit crazy.) 

We love Elsa. Here's the thing...she's not a misunderstood villain; she's not a suppressed genius; she's a girl who grew up thinking there was something wrong with her and so she felt the need to shut everyone out and hide a huge part of herself. 
Conceal, don't feel, put on a show... 
She was so ashamed of what she did to Anna when they were kids--even though it was only an accident and she actually helped keep Anna alive long enough to get her help. But because she felt she had done this awful thing to her sister, she shut her out. She shut everybody out. Throughout the beginning of the movie she was just scared and lonely. It wasn't until after her coronation that she let it go. 
She left Arendale because she didn't want to hurt Anna, but also because she just wanted to be free. It wasn't until she realized that shutting everyone out and isolating herself wouldn't make her free, but the love she has for her sister and her people would. 

This guy. I like this guy. He's kind of a weirdo, but maybe that's why I like him so much. He's definitely no Prince Charming...not even a Flynn Rider...but he's so dorky and adorable that you just want to give him a big hug. Also, he was a really cute little kid. Anyways, moving on! 
Kristoff obviously had a weird childhood considering he was raised by trolls and his lifelong best friend is a reindeer. But, just like each of the characters in this movie, he learned and he grew as a person. He realized that, while animals and mythical creatures (seriously though, I can't get past the trolls) make great companions, we, as humans, need relations with other humans as well. He may have a song called Reindeers Are Better Than People, but he comes a long way. He, probably learning from Anna, discovers how to put other people's needs and well-being above his own. It is evident by the end of the movie that he truly does know how to love. 

Hans is the reason I don't trust pretty men.
This guy swoops into the story like the suave prince that he is. He's attractive, poised, has great hair, and he's voiced by Santino Fontana. Could he get any more perfect??
Well, here's where the spoilers I mentioned earlier come into play: Sorry to break it to you, ladies, but HANS IS THE BAD GUY. SERIOUSLY. 
He was just a power-thirsty, selfish, cruel person who manipulated and took advantage of Anna just so he could be one step closer to the crown. This guy has some serious underlying issues, and let me tell you, I did not see his personal plot twist coming. Even though Hans was the villain, he was a very well written character. I mean, I had no idea he even was the villain. THAT'S GOOD WRITING RIGHT THERE.

I adore Olaf. He's so ridiculous and dumb and honestly just kind of a wacko but this frozen guy completely warmed my heart. Immediately after the movie, I wanted to go to the Disney store and buy a stuffed Olaf and take him home. He was a great comedic character, and such a sweetheart.
"Some people are worth melting for." AWWWWWWWWWW!

Yes, Sven is a reindeer. Yes, he was one of my favorite characters. 
While watching the previews for Frozen, I was afraid that Sven was going to be exactly like Maximus from Tangled. This movie proved me wrong yet again! Sven, while he did resemble Max with some of his mannerisms and his overall animation, was totally his own character. He was Kristoff's loyal sidekick who always stayed by his side. He was also just a big ole cutie pie who liked to catch snowflakes on his tongue and attempt eating Olaf's nose. (It was a carrot, don't freak out.) 

There you have it. I loved these characters sooooo much! 

Plot: Right after the movie finished, I was very uncertain about how I felt about all the different plot lines and mini stories which occurred throughout the course of the film. However, as I sat here and tried to explain what bugged me about it, I came up with nothing. Naturally, I started wondering why I couldn't think of anything. I finally came to the conclusion that I actually liked all the crazy stuff that happened! Even though in the moment it seemed like it was just a whole bunch of story line all thrown into one movie, all the sub-plots were leading to the one end goal: to reunite Elsa and Anna. 

My only complaint at this point is that I feel Anna and Kristoff (spoiler alert: they end up together, and boy oh boy are they adorable!) didn't have very good character development. They kind of just met--and I don't recall them ever officially introducing themselves to one another--and Anna talked him into accompanying her on her journey to find Elsa and talk her into coming home. Not much happens on this journey for Anna and Kristoff's romance; they talk briefly about how Anna is engaged to Hans, whom she had just met (laaaaame), and Kristoff barely opens up to Anna about his own personal life. The movie goes on, they go through adventures together, and by the end of the film they're in love!? I don't know, it just seemed a bit lacking to me. I probably missed a lot of Kristoff/Anna bonding because I was focusing on everything else that was happening in the movie, so I'll have to see the movie again. Not complaining. ;) 
In spite of my nit-pickiness over Kristoff and Anna's road to romance, I firmly believe the character development for all the characters was overall really well done. Everyone started off one way and, although they did not necessarily change, they evolved into a stronger version of themselves. 
Side note: I normally don't trust Wikipedia, but I found this entry on Frozen and it really is nicely written. Check it out for a good overview of the plot, plus some awesome info! <> 
 All in all, I give Frozen two thumbs up! It was a heartwarming story that had me laughing throughout. The music will forever be stuck in my head, but that's okay because it's beautiful. I can't wait until I can see it again; when I can really just sit back and enjoy every little thing that happens. I love all the detail in this film. 

Well done, Disney. Well done.