Why Everyone Should Read Gone With the Wind

B is for Best-Selling Novel

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Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

When it came to look for a Best-Seller to put on the list I decided to start first with 1916, as that book would be celebrating its 100th anniversary.

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But I didn’t see any I was a very big fan of so I went to 1926. Nothing there as well.

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I decided I would then check 1936 and if I couldn’t find a book I was a fan of I would try 1896, then 1886, then 1876, and then go back to 1946 and on and on until I finally found something.

However, I stopped at 1936 with Gone With the Wind.

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Gone With the Wind was published in 1936 and at time sold 176,000 copies. It was a best seller in 1936 and 1937, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1937, and by 1938 sold a million copies. In 1939 the film came out and the book sold two million copies.

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My first introduction to Gone With the Wind was when I first watched the film when a friend and I were going through AFI’s list of the best films. We made it to #15 before we became too busy and haven’t finished doing it since.

Oh well.

Oh well.

Anyways, I watched it and thought the movie was really good. The cinematography was absolutely stunning, it was full of good quotes, and Clark Gable was just amazing as Rhett Butler (funny thing is Margaret Mitchell didn’t want him as she thought he wasn’t handsome enough to be Rhett).

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I didn’t care for Scarlett as I thought she was a…

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And thought she was just horrible, not Vivian Leigh’s performance but her.

Then three years later, as it was on my reading list, I decided to read it, borrowing my mother’s copy. And when I read it I was amazed at how it was a truly fantastic book!

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And I believe that everyone should read it at least once.

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So the book is a huge epic! It follows the Irish O’Hara clan from the father’s immigration into the new world and settling in the South, the radical changes from the Antebellum period, to the Civil War, and the Reconstruction era.  At the heart of all this chaos is the story of the beautiful, ruthless Scarlett ‘O’ Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

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So let’s list off why one should read this book:

A) Shows How the Irish were Viewed in America

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So we start off with Gerald O’Hara, head of the clan. Back in Ireland he was a part of a Catholic Emancipation group, like the Ribbonmen or such and ends up having to flee because of his political activities. He comes to America and isn’t always treated very nicely, as the Irish weren’t. Often they were made fun off, not allowed in certain areas, and thought to be taking over jobs. He starts working in his brother’s store but what he really wants is land, the very land that was denied him back in Ireland as no Catholic Irish could ever own anything.

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He eventually wins a plantation in a poker game and spends a long time building it up and having it be one of the richest ones in the area. He then decides to marry, but while these Southern families enjoy his wealth and propsperity; none could ever think of marrying their daughter to an Irish immigrant who’s family is unknown. The only thing for him to do is try to find a woman somewhere else, as he returns to his brother for help in finding a bride.

Yes, most don’t realize this but the wealthy South wanted to be like the old manors of Europe. Be the master of the land with pure bloodlines of other wealthy families, not bringing any low class in, and very racist against any that weren’t established in their group. This kind of racism against the Irish and Catholics went much farther than the South and was seen all over the country. Many times Irishmen and women had the lowest class jobs, found it hard to get land and keep it, and found themselves competing against African Americans who would work for lower wages (in the North). While Gerald O’Hara does extremely well, a lot of Irish weren’t able to ever reach that, especially in the South at this time.

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B) Scarlet O’Hara

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Scarlett is a Southern women in the Antebellum period and has very little schooling. All that is expected of her is to marry well and have plenty of children. But Scarlet has always felt different and out of touch with the time she lives in.

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She is extremely intelligent and has great business acumen. In fact it is often remarked that if her brain had been born into a boy she would have been able to go far.

Scarlet doesn’t have life easy either. With the Civil War she finds herself becoming a nurse, a midwife, and eventually has to take on the plantation or risk starvation. Because of those experiences it makes her hard, as with the book we see how she is constantly worried if things will turn out alright, if they can make it, or if they will be back to starvation; everyone looking at her to take care of everything.

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That is an incredible burden to be laid on a teenager (as she is about 17 or 18), let alone one who’s education was “how to look her prettiest”. She becomes tough because if she doesn’t, none of them will survive.

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When the home is attacked, she defends it shooting the deserter and protecting the home and people.

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Now she does steal her sister’s boyfriend, so she has faults, but she does it because she has foresight none of the others do. He has a hardware store, but when Scarlet takes over she also creates a lumber mill, triples the money, and is able to provide for everyone. Even though she accomplishes all this everyone still tells her she isn’t being a lady, running businesses and doing better than her husband. They try to convince her to stop, but she keeps on doing it. Using her “ladies mind” which contains a powerful way with numbers.

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She continues to be this strong, forceful woman throughout the rest of the novel; even though she does make a lot of bad personal decisions. Still, for a woman in the 1800s to have her own business, earn her own money, choose who she will marry (several times), is pretty awesome! She is a powerhouse of a character.

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C) Not as Racist as People Think

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People had slaves and if a book mentions it, that is not racist. In fact in this book the slaves aren’t really shown to be stupid, slow, or other clichés; except Lettie who is mentally disabled (something we understand more now than we did then). There is the house slave who didn’t want to work in the fields, but being a house slave was seen as better than an outdoor slave and slaves on the inside often treated the field slaves as being lower class.

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In fact this book isn’t racist to African Americans, but points out racism and hypocrisy that African Americans faced from those who were trying to free them. It is often remarked that while the North wanted the Southern slaves to be free, that did not mean they actually wanted to work with those freed slaves or have them near. There were plenty of racist people living in the North fighting for African American rights, but if they were near an African American they would still treat them cruelly. Mitchell points this out when the new Republicans brought in by Reconstruction say they would never have an African American nanny their children as they have “diseases” and “uncouth ways”. In fact they would much rather ship over an Irish immigrant than ever let their child be touched by someone black.

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What jerks

Many say that Mitchell started this “Mamie” stereotype  creating a myth that all Africans were pleased with being slaves; which Mitchell does not do. Like The Help, which by the way everyone loved and praised, she shows that because the nannies lived in the house and raised the children they sometimes became like family. It didn’t happen with everyone, but in this case Mamie was a mother to Scarlet more than her own mother.

Also people are all different and have their own views, even if they live in the same area. Mitchell presents a look at the many ways people regarded slavery; indifferent as Scarlet, necessary as Mr. O’Hara; and how some treat African Americans rudely, cruelly, or like family.

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D) The Person You Love are Not Always True

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Scarlet is in love with Ashley Wilkes, but they could never marry as her blood (Irish) is too inferior for the Wilkes family. He is to marry none other than his cousin, but instead of flat out saying that to Scarlett, Ashley likes how this beautiful woman who everyone wants loves him and leads Scarlett on, trying to make sure her “flames of love kept burning” because it made him feel good. He was such a jerk and a coward! I mean we’ve all had guys like that who say “they would make the commitment”, but their life isn’t quite together yet. They haven’t reached their plans. And then when you try to move on, they always snag you back, bemoaning that if only things were different; trying to get you to wait for them.

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They get their poisonious hook into you and keep you.

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My friend was in the snare of a guy like Ashley for three years. He would go on about how they couldn’t be together, she deserved someone better; but as soon as she started to move on or see other people he would pop in about how much he cared about her. Constantly stringing her along in this cycle.

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Thankfully she finally realized it or she would have been like Scarlett constantly pining after something she thought she needed when the real prize laid before her. It is horrible, and this book really teaches you the errors of being stuck on someones hook.

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E) Stop Looking to the Past

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Like most people, Scarlett gets stuck in the past. All she can do is think of Ashley and wish of Ashley.

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How many of us have had a broken heart and instead of realizing how that person wasn’t right and deciding to move on, we cling to the past dreaming, wishing hoping. How many of us waste our time like Scarlett?

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Scarlett was so consumed with her dreams and thoughts of the past that she was blind to the person who really loved her, that if she had only let her dream of Ashley die and stop mooning about him she would have seen how much better Rhett was for her.

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F) Never Be afraid to Say How You Feel

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Everyone talks about Scarlett’s blindness and how she was unable to see what she has but you know who was a real coward? Rhett! Rhett never told her he loved her until the very end. Maybe if he had not been so afraid to admit his real feelings and told her the truth about how he felt instead of distancing himself for the fear of her breaking his heart or lording over him, then they might have had a chance at true happiness.

Yes it can be hard to be vulnerable, or share your heart with others. Things can go very wrong of the person doesn’t care. But they can go just as bad of you say nothing and let the person you love pass you on by.

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G) Hold On to Tomorrow

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As Little orphan Annie says, “So you got to hang on ’til tomorrow, come what may!” Even after all she’s been through, Scarlett has an optimism that seems to go against everything else about her. She has faith that in tomorrow things can change. Life is hard now but in the flip of a dime it could turn out better. This kind of optimism we should instill in our life as well. Anything could happen tomorrow, don’t give up as things can get better.

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To start the 30 day challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

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For more on Gone With the Wind, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more on Margaret Mitchell, go to I Will Survive

For more Ayn Rand quotes, go to The Power is Yours

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Today’s carol is O Little Town of Bethlehem. Phillip Brooks visited Bethlehem in 1865 and three years later wrote the poem, asking his organist Lewis Redner to write the music.

“As Christmas of 1868 approached, Mr. Brooks told me that he had written a simple little carol for the Christmas Sunday-school service, and he asked me to write the tune to it. The simple music was written in great haste and under great pressure. We were to practice it on the following Sunday. Mr. Brooks came to me on Friday, and said, ‘Redner, have you ground out that music yet to “O Little Town of Bethlehem”? I replied, ‘No,’ but that he should have it by Sunday. On the Saturday night previous my brain was all confused about the tune. I thought more about my Sunday-school lesson than I did about the music. But I was roused from sleep late in the night hearing an angel-strain whispering in my ear, and seizing a piece of music paper I jotted down the treble of the tune as we now have it, and on Sunday morning before going to church I filled in the harmony. Neither Mr. Brooks nor I ever thought the carol or the music to it would live beyond that Christmas of 1868.”

Amazing. Now it is famous and such a part of the festive year. My favorite version is the Nat King Cole one.

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For more Christmas carols, go to We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Fanning All Over the Place

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Yes, its true.

I am such a fangirl and have so many, many, many fandoms that I belong to. They take over my life! I mean if you think of all the hours that are put into being a massive fan, it’s astounding!

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Here is a list of  things (alphabetically) that constantly take over my life. I’m actually breaking this up into a series of posts, as just one was tooooo much.

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Anne of Green Gables Series

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I love Anne of Green Gables. It is one of my most favorite book series and books turned into films. The book takes place in Canada in the early 20th century. Marilla and Matthew Cuthburt, two elderly people, have decided to take in an orphan boy to help take care of their farm, Green Gables. When Matthew goes to pick the orphan up, he finds a girl instead of a boy! A redhead named Anne. Anne proves to be widely entertaining, spirited, imaginative and a whole lot of fun.

Anne is just so awesome how she is always trying to find a kindred spirit and using her optimism and sweetness in everyday life. She also has an overactive imagination and gets herself into the best scrapes.

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All my friends say that I am just like her, which I have to say is definitely true. While I’m missing the red hair; I most definitely have the same temper, imagination, and tendency to get into accidents/scrapes.

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Yep I totally would have whacked him too!

So the first book Anne of Green Gables, is about her life as she lives on Prince Edward Island. You get introduced to her character along with meeting the rest of the people who live on the island. She studies hard and ends up getting a scholarship to college, but things happen that makes her decide to wait and become a teacher for the present.

In its sequel Anne of Avonlea, it chronicles her time as a teacher on the island, and her desire to become a writer. She continues to get into scrapes, even though she that being older should make her wiser. Her family also takes in twins, Daisy and Davy, to raise.

In Anne of the Island, Anne goes to college and it chronicles her years there. She also gets six proposals.Yes, not one, not two, not even three, but six!

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In the end, she agrees to marry one of her suitors. I won’t tell you who, as you have to read!

Anne of Windy Poplars she can’t get married right away as her fiancé is still in school. She goes to Windy Poplars to teach and has to contend with the politics of the areas, as certain “old families” run the roost.

Anne’s House of Dreams Anne is married and has to deal with the issues of early marriage, running a home, and eventually kids. But that doesn’t stop her from her earlier imaginative games and friendmaking.

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Anne of Ingleside details her married life, spotlights her children, and visits old friends and flames.

Besides the wonderful, imaginative, and fun Anne; you also have one of the best romantic heros ever. Gilbert Blythe.

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Yep, I’m Anne. I know I say stuff like that all the time, but if I had to pick a fictional character I’m really like, it is her. We are the same although I live about a hundred years later than her. (Yeah an exact 100 years, spooky).

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Which means that Gilbert is absolutely perfect for me. Still looking for him. Someday I’ll find him.

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Definitely check out the books and the films. Just an FYI the films move away from the stories, and the first two are the only good ones.

For more on the Anne of Green Gables seriesgo to Part XI: A Movie Lines List’s Excellent Adventure

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Austenite/Janeite

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Do I really need to explain this? I mean look at the title of my blog and half the things I write about. I am a huge Austenite and love everything Jane Austen.

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Jane Austen was an amazing woman who faced all kinds of adversary. She grew up with money, but ended up living in poverty. She fell in love with a high class man, but his family intervened and sent him away. She was given another opportunity to marry a wealthy man that would have saved her and her family from destitution, but  she couldn’t marry him as she didn’t love him.

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She continued to wait for her true love; although he never walked back into her life. Her first book she ever wrote, Northanger Abbey (then called Lady Susan) was published post-mortem. Her second novel and the most famous, Pride and Prejudice, was turned down several times before being published. In fact, it was published after she wrote her third novel, Sense and Sensibility.

Austen wrote not only great stories that have stood the test of time, but wrote about real issues and her more radical thoughts/philosophies, that wouldn’t be as easily accepted if spoken in person.

There is so much more I could say, but that would take several posts to fill it up. I recommend reading On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas: Merry Christnas from the Austen Novels to read more of my love for Jane Austen’s work and her characters.

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For more on Jane Austen, go to Opening With…

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The Avengers

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Now I may be one of the few that are far more interested  in The Avengers than Magic Mike but I see that as a good thing. The Avengers are another part of the Marvel (now Disney) family. The comic originated in the ’60s, with the team consisting of Iron Man, Ant Man, Wasp, Thor, Hulk, & Captain America. Superheros from all the Marvel comics have joined up as team members through the years, such as Kitty Pryde and Wolverine from the X-Men. Even solo acts like Spider-man, have joined up for a while.

Now the film was amazing. The Avengers is one of the best superhero films to come out.They did an outstanding job as the film gave each superhero its chance to shine and made it about them as a whole, instead of one individual (that’s how it’s done X-Men. Yeah I’m looking at your 2000 series that was really only about Wolverine). Plus you have some extremely hunky guys. There is Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, and Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk.

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LOVE IT!! Check it out!

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Back to the Future

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I LOVE Back to the Future. Words cannot describe what this film means to me.

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After the first time I saw this film, I immediately became obsessed with it. I memorized every single line in the films. I would comb through the TV listings, and watch it every, single time it came on. One time I even got up at 4:00 am! That’s commitment right there. And why not be obsessed with it? Duh, it’s AWESOME!

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The film is a combo of Science-fiction, historical fiction, the ’50s, and the ’80s. All things I love and hold dear. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), is the youngest of the McFly household and growing up in 1985. He wants to be a musician but is afraid of failing. He’s close friends with amateur scientist and millionare, Dr. Emmet Brown, Doc for short. Doc has finally created the time machine he’s been working on for 30 years. And put it in a Delorean.

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Before he can set out on his trip through time, Doc is killed by the terrorists he bamboozled for uranium. Marty jumps in the car and takes off, accidentally going back to 1955 and messing up his parent’s meetup. If he doesn’t get them back together, he’s history.

What’s not to love? Comedy, romance, science-fiction, great music, clothes, Michael J. Fox? Plus amazing gags!

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This film was a hit and followed by two more films. In Part II Marty goes to 2015 to fix something, but indadvertedly causes his present to be destroyed. When he goes back to 1985, he finds out his father is dead, mom is married to Biff, and the whole town is run by Biff and is a hell hole. He then has to go back to 1955 in order to refix the time stream. But, it won’t be as easy as before, he can’t run into himself or else the whole time-space continuum will be destroyed!

Part III, Marty discovers that the Doc from 1985 has gone back to 1885. He then has to get the 1955 Doc to help him out and send him to 1885. When he gets there, he discovers that Biff’s however many grand pappy, “Mad Dog” Tanner, is planning on killing Doc.

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They not only have to figure a way to get back without any modern convinces, but to make the issue even harder…Doc falls in love with a 1885 woman. Will they survive the Old West? Will Marty ever get back to 1985? Watch to find out!

Great mix of the ’80s & Western film

I visited Universal Studios in 2012 and was devastated to see that they had hardly anything from Back to the Future. The clock tower was destroyed in that big fire, the ride had been taken out for “newer” things, and you couldn’t find any cool souvenirs. When I went in 2013, things were different. Universal Studios has a studio museum that they constantly move props in and out and they had a whole Back to the Future collection. I was having a ball, in fact I wanted to climb over the plexiglass and sit in the Deloran.

Here are the clock tower building plans

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And the beautiful car

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For more on Back to the Future, go to Just a Friendly Reminderhearts banner

Batman

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So I love Batman. He will always be my favorite of the DC comics. And I like all the Batmans!

So here we have a man who’s parent’s die and cause him to become a vigilante; always hoping to finally destroy crime as that was the thing that killed his parents. He is a billionaire, but other than that a normal person. I mean, unlike Superman who has a gazillion powers, Batman relies on his mind, martial arts, and inventions.

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He also has his strain of the double life. Just like Sir Percy Blakeney aka The Scarlet Pimpernel, Don Diego de la Vega aka Zorro, and Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastián d’Anconia from Atlas Shrugged. Batman knows that this charade of a playboy not only hides his intelligence, but the fact that he is be a main piece in destroying the crime. It has to be hard to be thought of and treated “as the richest man and the most spectacularly worthless playboy on Earth” (pg. 56, Atlas Shrugged). But Batman knows that it is a must to continue his work.

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So there are many versions of Batman and I pretty much love them all.

So besides the comic books you have Batman (1966 – 1968), starring Adam West. This is a hilarious show as it just makes you giggle. It’s fantastically corny.

Then you have Batman (1989) starring the handsome and wonderful Michael Keaton. In this we have Batman taken to the big screen in a darker way, with none other than the Creeper McCreepy Creep Jack Nicholson as the Joker. He is one of the best as his uber creepiness in real life was magnified on the screen. A great film, you should check out.

In Batman Returns, Michael Keaton is back and facing up against Christopher Walken, the Penguin, and Catwoman. I never really liked the penguin’s part in this film, but Michelle Pfeiffer is the best Catwoman ever. Halle Berry and Anne Hathaway wish they could be as awesome as her. Definitely worth seeing for her and Michael Keaton.

Batman Forever totally sucked. Val Klimer is too stiff and monotone as Batman, Nicole Kidman the therapist is a sex-crazed woman who needs to help solve her own issues before getting into others, and Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face is just…no wrong. Wrong. The only bright spot is Jim Carrey as the Riddler. He was absolutely perfect, and the only reason I watch this film.

That’s probably how most of us fans would act when we meet out idol.

Batman and Robin is…its a mess. I know it. It is full of puns, lots of stuff makes zero sense, but I LOVE IT! I can’t explain it. I find it absolutely hilarious. I love Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. Its more of a parody, and I love it.

Besides that you have a some great cartoon series that came out. Such as Batman: The Animated Series. This has to be one of the best versions of Batman ever made. It really develops into the psyche and relationships of Bruce, Dick, Barbara, Comissioner Gordon, etc. Plus you have great villans like the Joker, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, etc. It is definitely worth a watch, and it is free on Amazon Instant Watch. I have my own favorite episodes, but Nostalgia Critic really hits on the best ones in the series (although I would add Harley & Ivy episode to that list).

Then we have Batman Beyond. In this they took the story to a different level. It was very dark and used the colors black and red only. It takes place in 2039, and Bruce is all alone. All his old friends have died or left him alone. Terry McGinnis gets involved with Bruce accidentally, and eventually Bruce trains him to become the new Batman and avenger of Gotham City.

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And then we have the new Batman films. Now I really liked Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. I didn’t like The Dark Knight Rises however, but I’m like the only one. I just couldn’t get into it and hate how they chose to end with Bane after the Joker. Come on now, seriously. But I thought the first film was great. The only issue I had with the second film was that they didn’t give Two-Face enough screentime, and that he didn’t argue with himself as much as he should have. He didn’t have the same rooted issues. But all in all they were really good.

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And I’m super pumped for Batman vs. Superman. Bring on the bat!

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For more on Batman, go to That Girl is Poison

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Bones

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I love Bones because of one reason really, FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth played by David Boreanaz.

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He is AMAZING!

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Bones is about forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) who gets hired by the FBI as a consultant to help them solve cases. There is also an amazing secondary cast: wild, artistic, Angela Montenegro who does facial reconstruction; Dr. Jack Hodgins, an entomologist who spurned his family’s wealth and “buisness” to study science; Dr. Zack Addy, genius graduate student who is unfamilar with “social norms”; and Dr. Lance Sweets, the young, handsome, FBI psychologist who helps them out.  It is a great show, that I highly recommend.

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Ah, the life of a fangirl

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Stay tuned for Part 2!

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For more on my fangirlness, go to How I Differ from Others

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Peeta Please!