These are not my favorite actors, just actors that have been in a lot of movies I’ve seen.
Tom Hanks: Terminal- great story, made me cry when Forrest Gump didn’t. Great performance, and a convincing accent to me. Really unique plot and an interesting antagonist.
Daniel Day-Lewis: There will be Blood- honestly this performance is the reason I decided to write this blog. Some of the best acting from an already incredible actor. Many powerful scenes in this movie.
Willem Dafoe: The Grand Budapest Hotel- I mean what a cool character, that scene with the fingers. Anytime he was in a scene it was more interesting. Also, John Wick was a good movie with him in it- but not really because of him. I notice Dafoe is in a lot of movies I watch but rarely plays a big role in them (besides Spidermen).
Leo: The Departed- probably a controversial pick but a terrific cast and director. It’s intense and funny, Leo really delivered. At its core, this movie’s characters are what make it special, you really feel like you know them and you’re invested in their fates.
In no particular order, here are some movies and shows I watched, loved, and would highly recommend. Some of them I grew up with and others I’ve seen in the past year, some of them are basic, and others maybe not so much.
The Queen’s Gambit, The Matrix, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Stand By Me, The Notebook, Mamma Mia (the original), 13 Going on 30, Gilmore Girls, Where the Crawdads Sing, The Sound of Music, How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, 10 Things I Hate About You, Amélie, Goodwill Hunting, Clueless, Scream, When Harry Met Sally, Miss Congeniality, Dirty Dancing, Forrest Gump, The Shining, Friends, Steel Magnolias, Stranger Things, Star Wars, The Florida Project, Moonrise Kingdom, The French Dispatch, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The End of the F***ing World, The Edge of 17, Les Miserables, The Karate Kid (the original), 500 Days of Summer, It’s a Wonderful Life, Psycho, The Fugitive, Pretty Woman, and Only Murders in the Building.
And here’s a short version of my to-watch list:
Roma, Léon (The Professional), and The Great Gatsby.
Last night I found an old video on a cheap little camera of mine. I’m in Joshua Tree on a camping trip, approaching my fifth-grade classmates and interviewing them each in turn. “What’s your name?” I ask. “What do you like doing – what are your hobbies?” Looking back, I realize I’ve always been a reporter.
My first real interview was with Jane Goodall some four years earlier when she came and visited my school in Bali. A few of the best students in the second-grade class, myself included, were selected to ask her questions about her conservation work.
In the sixth grade, I applied for a Scholastic Kids Reporter program after spotting an ad in a magazine. Once accepted, I began covering all kinds of stories and interviewing all kinds of people. Among those I spoke to (or listened to in press conferences) were screenwriters the Russo brothers, actor and writer Chris Colfer, director Rob Marshall, Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter, America’s Got Talent winner Darci Lynn Farmer, JoJo Siwa (no explanation needed), Congressional Representative Julia Brownley, and the casts of Captain Marvel, Avengers Endgame, Mary Poppins, Coco, and Young Sheldon. I even got to see Zendaya and John Cena in the flesh. Scholastic was quite possibly one of the highlights of my life.
Color: It changes constantly, but currently I’m liking electric blue.
Scent: Jasmine, or coconut if it’s summertime.
Flower: Pink tulips. If it’s a bouquet, wrapped in brown paper.
Season: Autumn, especially in Ojai, where it is still warm but not as sweltering and sweaty as in the summer.
Sport: Gymnastics, as always.
Book: How do I even choose? Maybe The Book Thief. Recently, though, I read The Virgin Suicides, which I thought was brilliant. The author’s poetic writing romanticizes even the most dreary of scenes.
Movie: Not my all-time favorite, but as of this past month, I loved the Mid-90s. The characters, the storyline, and the directing were all so well done. It definitely presented a perspective I don’t typically see.
Just 20 minutes ago, I tripped over a chair and a white man told me, “you gotta pull your pants up.” This made me livid, I looked back at him with a black man’s rage in my eyes, and I looked him up and down, pounced, and attacked. Flinging myself at the boy I begin by attacking his eyes, I begin to dig my fingernails deep into his retinas and claw them out. Working my finger through the eyes I take my other hand and shove it down his throat and pull from the back of it his Uvula. I then jump off, and with the boy screaming in agony on the ground I walked away and began to write this story. I know that may have been a little harsh, however, this is what will happen to you if you tell me to pull up my pants. PANTS DOWN FOR LIFE!!
I love old technology. The analog feel of buttons and dials under my finger, the lights of a stereo amp, the crackle of vinyl, and the warped sound of an overplayed cassette tape––all create beauty we so often lose in the digital world. The beauty of chaos, the unorganized, and the functionless. These devices hold value in their aesthetics but also through the stories that define them.
Such objects fill my room with stories from my own life and the countless others they’ve encountered. Next to my bed sits a CRT TV I found abandoned on the road. It works surprisingly well for a piece of technology made before Facebook, though, like the person who left it behind, not many would think much of it. It’s been replaced by two decades of 4K ultra-HD developments, which produce bigger, brighter images. Why would anyone watch a special effects masterpiece on something with the quality of a cave painting and a screen smaller than a shoebox?
I see its beauty though, the way it needs to warm up before turning on, the way it cracks and clicks when you try to push its archaic buttons, and the decaying colors of the few remaining VHS tapes, long-forgotten.
I imagine this TV didn’t change hands many times. It was probably bought new at Radio Shack in Ventura, six years before I was born. It probably sat in someone’s living room playing movies for their kids on family game night, and then their grandkids, and then it probably sat in the garage taking up space until they finally decided the black hunk of metal, glass, and plastic was an eyesore whose good days were as long gone as its remote. Now it sits as an exhibit in my room, a reflection of others’ memories and a piece of art for me to admire.
Like this old TV, I, too, can easily be overshadowed by things bigger and brighter. I surf with more passion than I’ve ever felt before, but by most standards, I’d be considered unremarkable.
Surfing’s the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered: walls of water like moving mountains, foam like a powerful avalanche, a board that goes from being your greatest ally to greatest enemy the moment it’s freed from your grip. Is the feeling of a wave worth the pain of falling? Often, it is. Small waves, no biggie, a couple seconds of being under frigid water, and then you paddle back out and try again. But when the waves become giants and the board a brute-force weapon, that fall begins to exceed your limits.
I remember going out on a day with waves far beyond my skill set—Goliath and Polyphemus in watery form. Before I even paddled for a wave, a set came in. The first wave blocked the sun as it groaned past me, the second feathered as I crested its peak, the third, I wasn’t so lucky. The avalanche hit me, immediately tearing the board from my hands. The wave was now groaning on top of me, thrashing my body like a ragdoll in a washing machine. Then, it was over. The wave passed, and I was okay. So what pushes me to surf in these conditions? I think it’s because putting myself in places beyond my skill set and comfort, where I’m deeply flawed, has shaped me. I find love and beauty in the places where I know I’ll fall, for it’s there that I find who I am.
I climb, hike, surf, and run, but most athletic is an unlikely yearbook superlative.
Like the TV, I, too, crack and click when I’m pushed too hard. If all that made me was performance, I, too, would be left on the street without a second thought, but I am my story not my statistics. I too, have beauty, which lies not in my achievements but in my imperfections.
I watched a new movie this week that by any standards is brilliant and moving. And in my opinion, one of the most underrated films.
“Cry, the Beloved Country” is based on a heartwrenching book that deals with really complex topics in such a unique way. I can’t even remotely relate to the characters yet I still suffered with them. This movie deals with issues of segregation and protests against apartheid in such a beautiful and moving way, combined with topics of fear, corruption, death, and forgiveness.
James Earl Jones was incredible. He manages to convey and make you feel so many things through really minimalistic acting. He doesn’t waste himself on meaningless gestures & histrionics, he lets you see the suffering of his soul.
The movie does a great job illustrating the battered country of Africa– where the land itself is described to be the essence of a man– as he navigates through Johannesburg and experiences all its corruption and violence. Many of the political, economic, and societal issues within Southern Africa in the 1950s are brought to light in this film,
This is a movie about black and white. A well-known theme in Hollywood, but I’ve never seen a movie deal with this subject so excellent as this one. The plot is unlike anything I’ve ever read or seen before. Alan Paton, the author of the book it’s based on, is one talented man.
I tested positive for Covid exactly one week ago. Surprisingly, the time went by fairly quickly, as I occupied myself with reading, homework, and plenty of Netflix.
Here’s everything I watched while quarantined:
The second half of The Italian Job. We started this during film studies, and I can’t say I know why. It’s a pretty good movie, but not exactly a classic. And as much as I like a good car chase, it’s a little less exciting when they’re driving minis.
Bridget Jones’ Diary. This has not aged well. Perhaps if I were to disregard the fatphobia and blatant sexism, it would be a fairly enjoyable watch. The premise itself is good – who doesn’t love a romantic comedy, with a relatable protagonist, and a love triangle? But the execution, not so much.
Several episodes of Gilmore Girls. Rory and Jess are beginning to flirt and I cannot wait to see how Dean reacts. I can feel a breakup is coming, and I am so ready! Dean might be absolutely gorgeous, but I personally detest him and his short temper. Rory deserves better.
The first couple of episodes of the Great British Baking Show season 10. This show never fails to make me smile and give me an appreciated British nostalgia. They always manage to find the sweetest bunch of contestants. I’m obsessed with the gay Polish guy.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I LOVED this one. Is Audrey Hepburn totally iconic? YES. Am I going to be Holly for Halloween? Very possibly. The only part I didn’t like was the scene where she threw her cat out of the taxi, and then proceeded to search for it in the rain. It gave me so much anxiety – I breathed a heavy sigh of relief when she finally found Cat.
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