Jason’s Out There… Watching… Ready to Kill… Thirsty for Young Blood: Friday the 13th, Part II (1981)

And if you listen to the old-timers in town, they’ll tell you he’s still out there, some sort of demented creature, surviving in the wilderness, full grown by now… stalking…Jason’s out there… watching… always on the prowl for intruders… ready to kill… ready to devour… thirsty for young blood.

So today is Friday the 13th!

And you know what that means! Time for one of my traditions!

Suit up in Ghostbusters’ clothing!

That’s how I roll

Pick up some pizza:

And watch some horror films!!!!

And of course as this isFriday the 13th in October, you all know exactly which film I will be reviewing.

Yep, this is the whole reason why I moved all the TV episodes to Tuesdays. So I could review Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th.

I was so busy with my movie marathon:

That I wasn’t able to post my review in time. I will be updating soon though. Promise! Until then:

And if you listen to the old-timers in town, they’ll tell you he’s still out there, some sort of demented creature, surviving in the wilderness, full grown by now… stalking…Jason’s out there… watching… always on the prowl for intruders… ready to kill… ready to devour… thirsty for young blood.

So you all know how I don’t like sequels:

But I decided to watch this and surprised myself in enjoying it more than I thought.

Slow down everyone, I haven’t changed that much. I didn’t say that I loved it, but I did enjoy it a lot more than I thought I wouldSo the film starts off with a review of what happened at the end of the original Friday the 13thWhen the real killer’s identity was discovered, the fight, almost drowning in the lake, etc.

Pamela Voorhees: [high voice] Kill her, Mommy! Kill her! Don’t let her get away, Mommy! Don’t let her live!
[normal voice]
Pamela Voorhees: I won’t, Jason. I won’t!

It has been two months since then, and Alice has been horrified with nightmares and flashbacks. One night she has had a bad one when Jason comes and kills her.

Why is Jason so old? In the first one he died as a child. If he becomes a ghost/monster/zombie thingy-why is he so old? He should have stayed a child. Like in the original film.

Friday the 13th (1980)

They never say why, just that he never died fully and was living on his own in the woods hunting, etc. But if he never died, than why was his mother so angry and trying to get revenge on the people who caused her son’s death. The fact that he is still alive ruins all the motivations and stuff from the first.

I will say, that Jason may be a crazy, psycho, serial killer-but he is courteous. After he kills Alice he turns off the kettle that Alice was using to make tea. That was nice of him.

Oh, well

Five years pass and Paul is a camp director, having called in the new recruits. He’s training them in the basics before the summer season starts. They aren’t at Camp Crystal Lake, like in the original, but right next door. Paul warns them of the story of Jason, but doesn’t believe in him or the things he “did”.

The next night some of the counselors go out to party in the town bar, while others have to stay behind. Two of them got caught by the police checking out Camp Blood, one guy is in a wheelchair and in training for the olympics, one girl wants to do with the olympic guy, one girl is searching for her dog, and the last guy is there to try and make it with one of the girls. Of course, Jason starts taking them all out one by one.

The reason why I liked this film was that the characters were actually not too dumb, and you felt bad that they died. I mean there was still sex scenes (this is Friday the 13th), Vicky walks around outside in her underwear to get something from the car (why?), and one of the ladies wears a shirt and shorts that cover nothing and walks around naked for a chunk of time.

But while I only cared for like two in the other film, in this one I was sad each time they were taken out.

So sad

But then Paul and his assistant Ginny come back. I don’t know why, but Jason doesn’t kill Paul-he knocks him out. Ginny has to run from him and she is hardcore. She attacks him, tries to trick him into thinking she’s his mother, and does the final knockout. Pretty sweet!

But the end is weird. Did Paul die? Why didn’t Jason kill Ginny? What’s real and what is a dream?

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to A Survivor… Unclouded By Conscience, Remorse, or Delusions of Morality: Alien (1979)

For more on Friday the 13th, go to Tuesday the 17th: Psych (2009)

For more camp movies, go to Someone Very Special: The Addam’s Family Values (1993)

For more on the holiday Friday the 13th, go to Don’t Fear the Reaper

For more slasher films, go to Have You Checked the Children: When a Stranger Calls (1979)

For more serial killers, go to Is She Mrs. X?: So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)

For more sequels, go to I Don’t Kill People Anymore: Psycho II (1983)

For more ’80s films, go to China is Here Mr. Burton. The Chang Sing, The Wing Kong, They’ve Been Fighting for Centuries: Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

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I Don’t Kill People Anymore: Psycho II (1983)

I don’t kill people anymore.

So you all know how I feel about sequels.

I can’t stand them, there are few and far between that I can actually watch, let alone love.

But I decided to review the sequel to Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th. And to take that one step further, I’ll be reviewing a sequel to horror films that spanned sequels and influenced the horror genre. First one:

You all know that I love Alfred Hitchcock:

Master

And how much I love Psycho.

So I thought I would give this a watch when it came up on AMC‘s Fear Friday. This film takes place 22 years after the original, Norman having been receiving help that whole time has finished the program and will be released to society and the Bates Motel.

Norman thinks he is ready to live his life again, but there are many others who are not. One of which is Marion’s sister Lila Loomis (she and Sam ended up getting married).

Lila Loomis: What about his victims? I have a petition here signed by 743 people against Norman Bates’ release, including the relatives of the seven people he murdered.

Norman sets about living a normal life as much as he can, hopeful that life will be better.

Dr. Raymond: You don’t have to stay. I could find you a place in town.

Norman Bates: No, no. I… I want to stay here.

Dr. Raymond: As long as you realize the memories are more likely to reoccur here. But you know how to handle that now, don’t you?

Norman Bates: Sure.

He discovers the person placed in charge of the motel while Norman was sent away was using the motel as an hourly one and to deal drugs. Norman kicks him out, takes a job at the local diner run by Mrs. Spool, and things seem to be going well. He even befriends a young waitress, Mary Samuels.

Things start going downhill fast when Norman is given mysterious notes and phone calls from Mrs. Bates.

Then a womanly figure in black is seen running around the complex and bodies are piling up.

Norman is trying to keep it together, but is feeling the pressure and unraveling with every attack. Objects in blood are found in the house, he starts forgetting what he was doing and where he was, items of his mother’s he thought were given/thrown away all end up back in the house.

Mary feels bad for him as he is trying so hard, she ends up moving in with him to help him keep it together. And when the sheriff comes to question him about an incident, she outright lies to protect him.

Sheriff John Hunt: Are you sure neither one of you heard anything between four to five this afternoon?

Norman Bates: No, I was…

Mary: [cutting Norman off] He was with me all afternoon. We were walking in the fields behind the house around that time.

Sheriff John Hunt: Okay. Nice to see you again, Norman. [the sheriff and his deputy walk out. Mary closes the front door and watches them walk away]

Norman Bates: [to Mary; bewildered] Why did you do THAT?

Mary: Do what?

Norman Bates: Lie to the sheriff. You weren’t with me all afternoon!

Mary: I had to do something! He was going to arrest you! [Norman suddenly holds his head in pain, and slumps down into a nearby armchairNorman, what’s wrong?

Norman Bates: It’s starting again.

Is someone trying to make Norman go crazy? Has Mrs. Bates risen from the grave? Or is Norman starting to kill again?

I have mixed feelings about this movie.

Hmm…

Let’s start with the negative:

So this movie was made in the ’80s and they decided that the classy way the original film was made wasn’t going to fly with modern viewers. So there is a lot of blood, gore, sex, etc.

Now what was positive:

I like this

I loved that they had the original actors reprise their roles. Anthony Perkins is just sheer perfection at playing a sweet innocent man you just feel sympathy and empathy for-and at the same time flip and be frightening.

I liked that the director really concentrated on trying to copy Alfred Hitchcock’s style and use the same angles and lighting he did.

The story line had a few issues, but for the most part they tried hard to be suspenseful like the original and have an ending you weren’t expecting.

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to For All You Know, A Witch Might Be Living Next Door to You: The Witches (1990)

For more on Psycho, go to We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes: Psycho (1960)

For more sequels, go to But If Any of It Fell Into the Wrong Hands…:Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, Secret of the Ooze (1991)

For more ’80s films, go to That’s What We’re Trying to Find out! We’re Trying to Find Out Who Killed Him, and Where, and With What!: Clue (1985)

For more on Fear Fridays, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

Midnight in Austenland

Day 10) J is for Jane Austen: Choose a book based on, a sequel to, or a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s works

So I know I said I wasn’t going to review one of Austen’s works as that isn’t really fair as I talk about her books all the time.

reading Jane Austen

But I never said anything about a retelling!

Go on...

Go on…

So I’m going to review my absolute favorite out of all the books I have read so far.

Austenland

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale

So I one day I was going through Goodreads and looking at if any authors I liked had published anything new. I really enjoyed reading Shannon Hale, and thought Austenland was pretty good except for a few things, so when I saw that she did a sequel I decided to check it out.

library

I got the book and started reading it…but then I couldn’t stop.

100pgs

I became so invested, I actually snuck it into my History of American Music class and read it instead of listening to the jazz music.

RealLifeVSBook

This book was AMAZING!!!!!

Iloveit love

It had Austen and mystery, both things I love!

Put my crime-solving cap on.

Putting on my crime-solving cap on.

I just adored every page of it and didn’t want it to end.

SadBookEndedfinishedover

So the book is a sequel, but you don’t have to read them together or in sequence. While the place they visit, Pembrook Park, is the same; the characters and story lines are new and different.

While the other book focused on Pride and Prejudice this one went more Northanger Abbey; something I appreciate as it just doesn’t get enough love.

Bruce-Almighty-Love-Me

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

Charlotte Constance Kinder is a nice woman. So nice no one thought she would live an interesting or adventurous life. But you know what Austen says about that.

adventures

Charlotte went to school, met a nice man named James, married him and had two kids; and then did the unexpected. She created a website, sold it for an outrageous profit, and started another one.

Wow

Wow

She bought nice things for her, her husband, their kids. Everything seemed fine, but then it turned out her husband was cheating on her and wanted to leave her for another woman.

heartbroken

Fast-forward, he is remarried and living with his new wife receiving alimony from Charlotte. And Charlotte is alone, left to pick up the pieces of her life.wantYoutoStay

She starts dating A LOT!. Anyone and everyone her friends and friends’ husbands toss her way; but nothing feels good or right.

hitonyourefuseyouareanonowayNo

Besides being worried about her own self and issues, she starts to worry about her daughter. Will she make all kinds of horrible mistakes, have “Daddy issues,” or go looking for love in all the wrong places?

Not good

Not good

She makes a really bad decision to have a private investigator follow her daughter’s boyfriend around, and even tries it herself; convinced that he is going to hurt her. After her daughter says she she doesn’t remember what it was like being her age, Charlotte decides that her daughter is right.

I'm crazy

I’m crazy

That Easter she goes home and digs through her old items that her mom saved and tries to look into her teenage mind. She finds a diary and on the first page is a list she made.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE I’M 30

  • Get married [✓]
  • Have a baby [✓✓]
  • Walk in high heels without wobbling [✓]
  • Climb Kilimanjaro…
  • Understand Physics [✓ish]
  • Help save the whales or other animals in danger [✓]
  • Read Jane Austen…?

Charlotte couldn’t remember why she wanted to read Jane Austen, but the next weekend the kids are with their father, and Charlotte devotes the weekend to reading

JaneAusten

And she reads and reads and reads. And before you know it, she is a hardcore fan.

AnatomyofaJaneite

And caught in the Austen cycle like us all.

austendisiilouisionmetcycle

Charlotte’s sister-in-law Shelby convinces her to take a vacation when the kids are with their dad for the summer. The only place Charlotte wants to go is into Austen’s books

escaperealityreadbooks

And luckily we have just the thing…Austenland.

heartPemberly

Yes, for a few weeks Charlotte will leave, breathe, and be Regency woman. And at the end of her time there is a big ball.

ball-in-emma-300x291

And possibly a proposal…

marrymeKnightly proposel28o7_250

Charlotte is sold on it, packs up her stuff, and flies out ready to dive into her fantasy.

Let'sdothis

As Charlotte is a “quality guest”, i.e. rich, she gets the best treatment and the gold standard in clothes, transportation, etc. Charlotte takes on the character “Mrs. Charlotte Cordial”, a widow with two kids. In this story, Charlotte doesn’t have to go it alone but has a “brother”, Edmund Grey.

northangerabbeyeleanorhenrytilney

Besides him there are two other ladies, Miss Elizabeth Charming (from the previous book) and Miss Lydia Gardenside. And then there are two other men who will come to call on them: Colonel Andrews and Mr. Thomas Mallery who is…

TallDarkBrooding

Charlotte meets the ladies and enjoys Miss Charming, but is shocked to see that Miss Gardenside is none other than the famous pop sensation, Alisha. What is she doing here?

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

So their days at Austenland begin and one of the reasons I like Charlotte better than Jane Hayes, the heroine of the last book, is that Charlotte embraces her love of Austen and goes full force into it.

the-grady-twinsPride&Prejudice Elizabeth Jane come play with us the shining

That day the Colonel has a surprise, they are going on a trip to an old crumbling abbey! What mysteries await them?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

As they journey in twos, the phaeton holds only that umber, with Charlotte with Mr. Mallery. Mr. Mallery is very intense and lives and breathes being the Regency gentleman. When two backpackers come upon them he isn’t threatening but so forceful that he causes the pair to run off like frightened rabbits.

And run fast

And run fast

When they reach the Abbey it turns out there us a dark tale that goes with the old ruins:

Three hundred years ago (~1520) the abbey was home to twenty-one nuns, an abbess, and one novice. They worked in the kitchen garden, growing healing herbs, kept goats and chickens; everything was peaceful until one January night.

shiver

The sisters made dinner as usual and sat down to eat. The abbess was getting older and not feeling well, so after she made the tea she blessed the meal and went to lie down. She rose an hour later to do chapel prayers, but found all the nuns dead!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The abbess went through trying to find one that was alive. There were no wounds on the body, but all’s pulses had ceased. All except Mary Francis, the novice.

The next morning, the abbess awoke to find that Mary Francis had cleaned up from dinner, and laid all the nuns out, covering them with blankets.

No one was ever hanged for the deaths…the bodies were buried, the abbey abandoned, and the abbess went to live with a niece and succumbed to dementia. But she was known to cry out: “Either she saw who did it or she did it herself.”

Mary Francis was an orphan and after the deaths wandered from house to house as a trying to work as a servant, but the suspicion around her past always pushed her on. Some believe ghosts still haunt the area….

screamhouseonhauntedhill

The last place she went she worked for a few years, and they say uncanny things happened. The place she worked? Pembroke Park.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At first they don’t believe the house is old enough for the story to be true, but Mr. Mallery corrects them. He is second cousin to the Wattlesbrooks and says that parts of the houses go back that far. Sadly he would have inherited the grand old house, but his grandfather lost it in a card game.

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

Colonel Andrews says that that isn’t the end of the story, he has an old text that they may read and reveal all.

I love it!

I love it!

Charlotte is enjoying Pembrooke Park because she doesn’t have the strain of having to do the work. As her “brother” Edmund pointed out, she is here to have fun and relax, Mr. Mallery and the others have to work to impress her. It is a nice feeling after all those blind dates and trying to put on a show that you are okay; all you have to be is yourself or your character and the others have to do the real work.

spockstartrekidon'tknowokayiguesmovingongo

The group has a picnic in which Colonel Andrews reads from the diary of Mrs. Kerchief, the housekeeper three hundred years ago, and supervisor of the newly arrived servant, Mary Francis.

(I’m just going to paraphrase as it would take to long to write word for word)

“Hired the new scullery maid, Mary. No one else will hire her because what happened. I don’t care what happened in her past as long as she is ready to work.

Coal is running low and they seem to be burning more and more these past weeks. Simon says that it is Mary, she bring the cold with her. Nonsense. Still…she sleeps in the room next to mine and at night I hear noises I have never heard before. It wakes me up”

Gilmore girls creep

Mr. Mallery “Regency” flirts with her and Charlotte finds herself surprisingly enjoying every minute of it.

When they return to the house, Miss Gardenside retires as she is suffering from “consumption” (is it really or something else? Maybe withdrawal?). Miss Charming and Charlotte are still psyched from the mystery and decide to search the house.

dangerous-crossing-crain-b16weirdsuspicious

However, the only thing they stumble upon is a maid dressing. No clues, no bodies, no nothing.

Before Divorce: When Charlotte first started her website it was just to be a hobby. She liked growing plants, she often helped others, and decides that it would be nice to have a place people could go for inexpensive custom residential landscaping. They weren’t as grand as those who would visit the place and see it, but her designs based off a questionnaire they answered were cheaper and still beautiful. People loved it. She had to hire employees, and revenue increased crazily, and she made her first million.

That night they are having dinner toasting to each other when who should walk in, Sir John.

That guy!

That guy!

This is the only thing that enhances if you read the previous book, but like I said it is not necessary. You quickly learn why we hate this guy. Sir John is Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s husband and he doesn’t care about the park or their home. All he does is drink, gamble, and take any of Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s money away. He also tries to hit on the women, and doesn’t take no for an answer. In the last book, they had to cart him off as he was causing problems.

im-back

uh-no-gifuhno

This time he goes by Mr. Wattlesbrook instead of Sir John, and is dressed in modern day clothing instead of Regency wear. It unsettles everyone, but Colonel Andrews tries to bring them back to 1820.

19thc_christmas

That night they are interrupted of their sleep. As they go outside they see firetrucks and that Pembrooke Cottage, (the one Miss Amelia Heartwright stayed in, in the last book) has been burned. Mr. Wattlesbrook has no remorse even though he started the fire.

CaptainPlanetFireWheeler

Mr. Mallery has a bucket by his feet, as he was trying to put out the fires. He is furious that the cottage went as it was his inheritance. Now that is the character’s motivation, but he seems as if he is really upset, the man behind the character.

weirdtwilightzone

The next day Charlotte continues her search of the house. She really has become invested in the mystery and wants to find clues.  After a finding nothing and a game of croquet, she goes to Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s office to call her children.

dangerous crossingphoneringsscared

This does not go well at all. Her daughter finds out she had hired a private detective to follow her boyfriend.

ouch Hermione

Her son doesn’t want to talk to her.

Not good

Not good

She finds out from Justice, the new wife, that her son called her mom.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Not a good call at all.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Charlotte decides to snoop through the office and discovers that Windy Nook and Bertram Hall properties were sold off, foreclosed, and contained a series list of debts. She sees the former casts and notices that Mr. Mallery used to be in all of them. Mrs. Wattlesbrook is a very smart businesswoman, so it is clear that the one who caused the trouble is Mr. Wattlesbrook.

Jerk

The next day rained all night and morning. The group play charades and a card game that involves running about.

regency christmas 4

But after the men leave to do whatever they do, maybe a break room, the women are embroidering.

back_stitchflower

They are interrupted by the return of Mr. Wattlesbrook, who once again is dressed in modern clothes and tries to get in with Charlotte.

hitonyourefuseyouareanonowayNo

The men come and try to carry him off. Miss Charming thinks it is a part of the “experience”, but Charlotte doesn’t think that Mrs. Wattlesbrook would do such a “messy” plot.

irongiantreallyhmmokayyeahright

Hmm…

That night is stormy, spooky, gray…

rainydayperfectday

Just perfect for reading more about the mystery of the nuns, the diary of Mrs. Kerchief!

I hear sounds in Mary’s room at night. It sounds like a pacing or scraping. It is unnerving and I want to talk to her, but in the morning Mary Francis is so tired I can’t say a word. The girl Betsy who used to room with her took off and never came back to get her money. The cook says she feels a cold wind around her…

The lights go out and all they have are firelight. They decide to play a game called Bloody Murder, with Mrs. Wattlesbrook going off to bed.

StarWarsComaSleep

They decide to play the game: the murderer has to hide in the house somewhere, after a count of fifty the rest hunt him out. The first to discover the murderer shouts, “bloody murder”, and all run after him. After that they all run off, and the murderer chases them. If he catches them, they fall down and the last one to “die” is the next murderer.

They draw straws and the short one leads Mr. Mallery to be the murderer.

One of the characters I love is Charlotte’s “brother”, Edmund. He is just so fun and fantastic, a real Mr. Tilney.

mrtilneynorthangerabbeysass

Charlotte finds Mr. Mallery and ends up being the only one who has been touched. Now she is the next murderer.

She doesn’t want to walk and go around the house on her own. She is extremely scared and as she roams the dark halls she accidentally goes into a secret room. As she is searching the room for a way out, she finds a person laying on a chaise. She goes to touch them, feels the hand…they are dead!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She goes running out and finds the group telling them everything. They don’t believe her and can’t find the room. Charlotte is so incredibly freaked out, that Miss Charming can see that she needs a little care and asks if she wants to sleep in her bed for comfort.

thankyou15

The next day, she starts questioning people trying to find out who the dead person was. Eddie goes to help her and they find the room but nothing but a fencing foil.

They leave for breakfast and run into Mary, Charlotte’s maid. Mary is really strange, always jumpy, and acting weird.

strange things are afoot at the circle k

She tries to tell Mrs. Wattlesbrook about the dead body, but she doesn’t believe her. She thinks it is just part of a game.

Whatever.jpg cheese fries

Charlotte deduces that the dead body must be Miss Gardenside’s nurse or Mr. Wattlesbrook as they are the only two missing; and that it must be a part of the Colonel Andrews mystery as no one seems to care.

Eddie, Edmund, doesn’t believe that the murder is real, but helps Charlotte investigate. He is hilarious and I just love him. Forget Mr. Mallery with his brooding, smirking is so much better.

tilney dating 888982326_n

After Divorce: Justice, James’ mistress, sends Charlotte an invite, can you believe that? An invite!!!

Charlotte worries about how the divorce affects the kids but James doesn’t care. He says that 50% of marriage end in divorce. Here are statistics that matter to Charlotte.

-James saw the children 75% less than before

-He missed 85% of their afterschool woes

-He was absent for 99% of their family dinners

-100% of Charlotte’s marriage ended

That night they read the diary:

Mary and I were shelling peas. Mary has been here for three months and doesn’t seem as if she can settle down. All the other hands treat her horribly but all Mary does is pray. Why does she pray so much? For other or her own soul?

The next day Charlotte picks up her search with Eddie. They go back to the room, but find nothing but a glove, a washing dishes type of glove. Is that part of it?

suspicious Hmm

Charlotte drops it as she thinks it is nothing. Eddie picks up fencing foils and the two duel before lunch.

You're so cute

Even though everyone has forgotten the game, Charlotte still thinks that someone might be after her, but who?

Gilmore girls creep

The next day Charlotte goes riding with Mr. Mallery. They stop a while so Charlotte can call her kids, but no answer. She tries her husband, no answer. Charlotte spends the rest of the night worried about them and that something happened. The next day she finds out their phones were dead.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

The next day Charlotte decides to write her kids a letter. Eddie joins her and consoles her over her missing her kids. He shares about his daughter and that he misses her as he hardly gets to see her. They start writing and Charlotte wonders if Julia exists, but Eddie is writing a long letter to someone.

letter

After the letter writing, Eddie goes over the dances, as “their mother” was a dance instructor. They have such fun, with Mallery interrupts them. They go for a walk, but are found by Colonel Andrews who tells them he has a great passage for tonight.

Everyone is mean to Mary. They start chanting “What do you know of our Mary? Twenty-one nuns did she bury.” We were working outside when there was a howl and they saw something white and filmy, floating. It had a horrible screeching voice that shouted “Leave innocent Mary alone. The nuns cannot rest when folk stain Mary’s name with lies.” Mary was the only one who wasn’t afraid, but continued her work.

Right after they read that, they see a ghost outside!

GHostFantasia

They all run after it and try to find it, but the ghosts disappear.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Charlotte is the only one who notices tire tracks on the ground, as if someone drove their car.

weirdtwilightzone

The next morning, Charlotte takes Miss Charming and Miss Gardenside aside and tries to have them help her find the missing clue. They come across a painting of Saint Francis. Miss Charming spots it as a fake and they rip it open, finding a note written in lemon juice:

Among the dusty tomes stands

The work of the saint

And one girl’s confessions

Penned without constraints

They run to the library and find a book on St. Francis, in it is Mary’s tale. The nuns died accidentally. The abbess eyesight and memory was failing and she accidentally boiled yew, poisoning them.

OMG gasp

That answers one question, but what about everything else? What about the secomd mystery with the dead body? Then Charlotte gets a few more realizations:

  1. The Murderer approached the victim and had to lure them into that room, with an intent to kill.
  2. The victim was killed in a secret room and the body abandoned on the sofa, as whoever had to leave, and then return to move the body at a more convenient time.
  3. Charlotte finds the body in the room. The body was not smelly; so they were killed recently.
  4. Charlotte announces the find, but all claim to know zero about the room.
  5. Charlotte hears a thud in the middle of the night, below the secret room. Maybe someone tossed the body out the window?
  6. The next morning the body was gone.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

Before Divorce: Late nights “working”, phone calls from unlisted numbers, caller hangups, James never touching her, James staying out of town but spotted by a friend, lingerie in the closet not her size…etc. It is easier to solve someone else’s mystery than your own. Sometimes we see only what we want to see.

They only have three more days, only three more days to solve the case. Charlotte sees that Mrs. Hatchet, Miss Gardenside’s nurse, has returns and deduces that Mr. Wattlesbrook must be the murdered one. She questions the men about the night they removed him and they say that they put him in a room out of the way as he was incredibly wasted, Edmund punched him after he spoke nastily about the women, and the next day he was gone.

suspicious Hmm

Later Charlotte looks after Miss Charming as she seems out of sorts. Miss Charming was unhappy thinking of her former husband. She had married and helped her husband build up the business into millions, as she was the brains of the operation. She found him with a salesclerk, divorced him, and took off with the staggering alimony. She’s been running as she can’t go home and and face that she was dumped.

Broken Heart

Afterwards, Charlotte decides that with the limited time left, she can’t be messing around. She has searched everywhere for the body and there is only one place left, She and Eddie, the Watson to her Sherlock, head to the pond. She goes swimming to see what it may hold and finds a car submerged.

OMG gasp

They convince Mrs. Wattlesbrook to call the police and it turns out that Mr. Wattlesbrook is dead. Now the question is, which one of the guests is a killer!

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Could Mrs. Wattlesbrook have done it? Eddie? Colonel Andrews? Thomas Mallery? Miss Charming? Miss Gardenside? One of the staff?

WhoDoneItMystery?whodunit

Charlotte realizes she doesn’t really know any of these people and any one of them could be a killer. And they may be after her next!

tumblr_dr.jekyllhydemirrorsneakupbehindscareaah!

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So I won’t reveal the ending, as it was amazing. Shannon Hale just did a fantastic job.

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And that through the rest of her trip Charlotte learns her own worthiness.

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And is able to pick up to the strong person she used to be.

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I also just loved Eddie and thought he was just an amazing character. A real Mr. Tilney!

find mr.tilney

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

For the previous post, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

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For more by Shannon Hale, go to Austenland

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Candy Girls

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

For more mysteries, go to Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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As this is a book that goes to the past but is also modern, I thought the best carol would be What Child is This?

In 1865, William Chatterton Dix was an insurance company manager and became seriously ill. During this time he gave his life to Christ, writing this carol. He set it to the song Greensleeves which has been registered in 1580 by Richard Jones.

I have never been a fan of this song, I’m not sure why, until I heard the Josh Groban version, so that’s the one I went with.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to At Midnight, Your Coach Will Become a Pumpkin Again, and the Animals Will Regain Their Original Shape Until Your Next Ball: Ella Enchanted

Austenland

So this isn’t part of our 30 Day challenge. I just felt I needed to post it as I wanted to review the sequel for the 30 Day challenge and I couldn’t do the second without the first! After this we will continue the 30 Day challenge.

Austenland

Austenland (Austenland #1) by Shannon Hale

I first read this book back in high school, I was a freshman or sophomore at the time. I really loved the premise of the book and most of the characters and thought the story was fantastic. I only had one issue, and that was with the main character Jane. I hadn’t really been in a relationship before I read this and I thought the main character was a bit…bonkers. She seemed to throw herself into “relationships” without them even dating, like Gigi in He’s Just NOT That Into You.

I then went on to read the sequel as soon as it was printed, Midnight in Austenland, and just fell in love with it. I thought it was amazing!

I love it

Then the film trailer came out for Austenland and it looked like it was to be mostly this first book, but have a few traits of the sequel that I loved. I was so excited.

FangirledWhenSeeingPreviewI tracked that film and when the release dates were changed, waited. And waited. And then when it wasn’t released in any theater near me, I waited some more for it to come out on DVD.

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I rented it as soon as it was out, watched it, and adored it from beginning to end!I thought it was sooo much better than the book.

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But then I began thinking…what if the book wasn’t as bad as I had thought it was? Maybe as an adult my perspective would change then when I was a teenager? It has been almost ten years (time flies!) since I last read it and decided it would be the perfect time to reread and review it (especially as I want to review the sequel but can’t until I review this one!)

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Austenland

Jane Hayes is obsessed with Jane Austen.

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She reads all of Austen’s books and watches the 1995 miniseries again and again.

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But unlike most fangirls, Jane is ashamed of her love. I don’t know why, I embrace mine.

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It goes for the rest of her work as well.

Anyways…Jane’s mom comes to visit with her great aunt Carolyn. Carolyn is super rich and her mother is trying to get her into the will. She hides her Austen items and DVD disc, (I proudly display mine), but Carolyn finds it.

clueless mybad oops

Carolyn waits until Jane’s mother goes to the restroom and warns her about Darcy, letting him in and taking over.

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Hey, I don’t see anything wrong for striving for a guy like that or any other Austen man. I don’t want to settle. I want someone special.

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Six months later, Aunt Carolyn dies and leaves something for Jane. She gets all excited dreaming about what she could buy or do with the money:

Good job screenwriters.

But it turns out she is not rich.

Reality Sucks

Instead she gets a three week paid vacation to go to Pembrook Park in England. There she is in a Regency Westworld (except no killer robots), dressing, talking, and acting as it it is 1816. There is no scripts or written endings, but there is a ball and you might meet your dream man there.

see cute guy look

Now they make it seem as if wanting to be with an equivalent of Darcy is a bad thing and that that love is to blame for her bad relationships but that’s not true she is crazy when it comes to relationships. She thinks every guy she has ever been with is her “boyfriend”, even when they haven’t even dated! Even when she just talks to them or thinks about dating them.

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She goes to the Park reading about all the rules they have to follow in that time period. In fact there are a lot of rules with the park as to what they can and cannot do.

She meets Mrs. Wattlesbrook who introduces her to what she will wear and introductory rules. She is now to go by the name Jane Erstwhile, instead of Hayes, and although they were supposed to change their ages and create this fake cover story; Jane wants to be real.

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So Jane finds out that she isn’t the usual type of client. Most of the time, like in Westworld, they have a ton of money. Unfortunately, Jane is not rich so she will not be treated special like the other two guests: Miss Elizabeth Charming and Miss Amelia Heartwright.

Really?

Really?

Jane has to get rid of all her modern items, although she secretly holds back her cell phone, and dress only in Regency wear.

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She meets Theodore, the undergardener, who helps her learn the dances she’ll need to know for the ball.

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Jane is ready and determined that this vacation is going to be great and she will conquer.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #1 Alex Ripley, 4 yrs

She was four years old, he kissed her, and he moved to Minnesota that summer, never to be seen again.

The next day is day one of Jane’s trip to Pembrook Park. She meets her “aunt” Saffronia and “uncle” Sir John Templeton who she will be staying with during her time there.

She meets Miss Elizabeth Charming who is a very wealthy, buxom, and “twenty-two” (fifty). She is extremely wealthy, recently divorced, and looking for a book happily ever after ending.

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The two then meet the men, the reason they are here. The first is the fair-haired, roguish, open man Colonel Andrews.

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And then we have Mr. Nobley: tall, dark, and brooding.

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You know how I like them!

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And Jane likes what she sees.

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Sir Templeton is pretty much just drunk all the time and not interesting. Colonel Andrews is a  lot of fun, and Nobley? Well…

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Elizabeth Charming really wants one of the men and throws herself at both of them, making for some fun and interesting adventures.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #1 Justin Kimble, 12 yrs

They started “going out” in 4th grade when they shared Pixy Stix, scored each other as 1os, and gave each other Valentines. But then he chose another girl for the folk dance and it was over.

So this is a big part of my problem with Jane (Hayes). Those aren’t real relationships, she shouldn’t count them. She was just a child!

The next day she goes out for a walk and runs into Theodore. Even though they aren’t supposed to talk, as he is a servant, they do anyway. Theodore hates the Regency story and gives up on it, revealing his name is really Martin Jasper. Even though it is against the rules, Jane actually starts to like it. It is a secret, “bad”, and Martin is a nice connection to the real world.

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Jane starts to feel strange about this whole “fake Regency” thing, as if she can’t do it. Mr. Nobley and the Colonel see her grow pale and Nobley urges the Colonel to get her some water. There Jane and Nobley have a private conversation, where Jane tries to figure out how Mr. Nobley can pretend like this. Mr Nobley misunderstands her and becomes upset.  He tells her that she can’t play games and try to trap him.

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Later while the men are out doing their manly things, the women wait for Amelia Heartwright to call. They hope she won’t be attractive as it seems there isn’t enough men for everyone. She comes in, and you know how we girls are.

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Unfortunately, she is absolutely beautiful; but along with that she is very kind and hard to dislike. But Jane’s earlier dismay proves to be true as Mr. Nobley and Miss Heartwright appear to have had a history. With those two paired and the Colonel for Miss Charming; Jane is left alone with no one.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #2 Rudy Liev, 15 yrs

Rudy was hilarious and always cracking jokes, ones that were extremely harmful and unfunny. After four months of dating he told everyone when Jane kisses, she licks like a cat. He continued to make fun of her, the moniker “tiger tongue” staying with her even at her ten-year reunion.

After they break up, she reads Pride & Prejudice for the first time.

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Miss Charming won’t let herself be dominated or destroyed, and immediately snags both gentlemen for Whist after dinner. Miss Amelia makes up the fourth, leaving Jane out in the cold again.

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Which unfortunately sets her in Sir John’s drunken sights. He passes out, and tired of overhearing the lively conversation from the whist table, Jane decides to go out for a walk, major Austenland and Regency no no.

clueless mybad oops

Jane hears a TV and goes to it, being Martin’s  trailer. She overhears the Knick game and is invited inside. Things ensue, and before you know it they are making out. Jane leaves after their session and heads back to sneak into the house.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #3 Dave Atters, 16 yrs

Star of the high school basketball team and Jane was extremely infatuated with him. One night he tried to put his hand up her skirt, she refused, he dumped her.

Instead of blaming Dave she blamed Mr. Darcy for her high expectations of men.

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Dave was a jerk. High expectations have nothing her other than you fell for a guy who thought he was the best and didn’t want to take no for an answer.

You should have high expectations. You shouldn’t have been dating a jerk like him. Any guy who won’t respect you isn’t worth it.

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Every night she goes to see Martin and they make out, eat junk food, etc. She is bored with Regency things as she can’t stand to do any more of them.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

Uh, embroidery is not boring or easy. It is hard work and fun. I”ll have to post some of the things I’ve done.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #4 Ray Riboldi, 17 yrs

Ray was nice, and Jane decided after the last two boyfriends she wanted a nice guy. After a few months, two guys who’d been longtime friends played a prank involving Ray’s jeep and dog poop, telling him to stay away from pretty girls. He then retaliated to Jane believing she was the one to put them up to it.

Jane has horrible taste in me, but she can’t blame Austen for it. The men she are picking are the problem. Maybe you should befriend and get to know them instead of going into “dating” them.

She gets bored of relaxing during the day, which I don’t get. Two weeks in England, relaxing? Sounds good to me.

Let's go now!

Let’s go now!

She runs to see Martin, but he ends that, being offended that she is “one of those women” interested in Austen stuff and that she was with the other two men this morning. He’s a total jerk and Jane is upset as she came all this way, just for more disappointment.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #5 Rahim, 35 or 40 yrs

She meet him while working the perfume counter at age 19. He dates her for three weeks taking her to expensive restaurants, buying her gift; Jane almost fulfilling a cliché of being a “shopgirl”. I say almost because when he took her to her apartment and tried to sleep with her, she laughs and it ends.

Jane is depressed. She has no one, made a fool of herself going after Martin, and is still the fifth wheel. That night she turns down a game of whist and heads outside to walk again.

Saint Elmo's Fire Love sucks

Mr. Nobley surprises her, having come to check on her. He warns her about Martin, his protectiveness getting her all upset. Later she comes back in the house and sees the book Mr. Nobley always reads with a pay stub made out to a Henry Jenkins. Hmm? Could that be his real name?

Thinking Hmm

As she starts for her room, she comes upon a drunk Sir John who hits on her.

Uh no.

Uh no.

He tries to get with her, but she knees him in the groin and stops him.

No thank youhowaboutno

Mr. Nobley comes upon them, and lends a hand. Here he shows his other side, no longer brooding and distant, but actually charming funny, and dare I say…a delight.

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Jane is thoroughly disappointed in all that happened and decides no more nice-Jane. She is going to rock Austenland and be the best Regency lady ever.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #6 Josh Lake, 20 yrs

Met at a college carnival fundraiser when two groups of friends merged together. They get stuck in a ride and the fear and adrenaline make them start a relationship, but after three months they both know there is no pop to the relationship and break up.

Not Austen’s fault but Jane’s for letting the situation’s emotions create a false relationship and love. Like in Bones when Booth and Hannah get together.

The next morning, Jane pulls out her smuggled cell phone and emails a friend for info on Martin Jasper and Henry Jenkins, hoping to unearth the real person under the mask.

That morning the men are out of town, which upsets Miss Charming. She didn’t dole out the big bucks to be ignored or play second fiddle to Miss Heartwright.. She goes to speak to Mrs. Wattlesbrook and straighten out what her vision of Austenland is.

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Jane, bored, goes to visit Miss Heartwright. She doesn’t really want to, but as this is something Emma would do, she’s in the game.

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When the two ladies return to the park, they have an unexpected visitor! Miss Heartright’s jilted lover has returned, a Mr. George East who has recently become Captain. Miss Heartwright takes off, and Jane rings for a maid to show Captain East to his room.

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Hmm…so now we have three ladies and three men. But who goes with who? And will Jane get the dream proposal promised?

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #6.5 Paul Diaz, 20

She meet him in a watercolor class, sort of talked believing they clicked, but when she asked him out; he didn’t even know who she was.

At dinner Jane flirts as widely as she can, staying in Regency fashion. She throws Mr. Nobley out as it seems Miss Charming and Miss Heartwright care for him. Instead she tries to kill the Captain and the Colonel with her charm.

Emma

That night Jane, the Captain, and Colonel stay out of cards and tease Mr. Nobley. The teasing goes a little too far with Jane giving a short rant on the men of the day:

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And Mr. Nobley has a longer rant about women. Clearly he has some wounds.

ouch Hermione

They then dance with East taking Heartwright and the Colonel paired with Miss Charming. Jane is left all alone until Mr. Nobley steps up and asks her for a dance.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND 7 Juan Inskeep, 25 yrs

Gay.

The next morning the men are out “shooting”, Miss Charming is upset and heads out to see Miss Heartwright, so Jane goes upstairs to check her email. Nothing on Martin Jasper but she hit the motherlode on Henry Jenkins. He studied theater and history at Cambridge, and four years ago was in a crazy divorce. He was very calm but recounted how when his wife cheated on him with a neighbor, he forgave her; when she sold his car to pay for a wild weekend in Monaco, he forgave her; but when she shish-kabobed his fish because he said he wanted kids: that’s when he decided the relationship needed to end. Sounds like a modern-day Mr. Rochester with a crazy, cruel wife.

She is crazy!

She is crazy!

Later in the library, she overhears the Colonel’s proposal to Miss Charming. One man down and two left to go. The game is on!

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #8 Bobby Winkle, 23 yrs

They started as friends and moved on to dating. The relationship lasted six months and then he left for an internship Guatemala. He returned six months later and never called.

The next day they play croquet. Andrews and Miss Charming, Nobley and Miss Heartwright, & Jane and Captain East. Jane doesn’t mind being with Captain East as he is not only attractive but as bad at croquet as she is.

However, she notices that Mr. Nobley keeps staring and watching her. And even more she realizes that she cares what Mr. Nobley thinks about her.

OMG gasp

The game is interrupted when Mrs. Wattlesbrook drives up. They found Jane’s cellphone and she is to be kicked out of Austenland.

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She goes to get in the carriage upset that the men didn’t stand up for her. Before she gets in, they are interrupted by Miss Heartwright. She claims that it is her phone, she accidentally brought it, and that Jane was holding it for her. Because Miss Heartwright is so wealthy, they let her pass.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #9 Kevin Hyde, 27 yrs

She loved him. They dated for almost two years, Jane even went wedding dress shopping, but one day he told her he wanted to end it. He said it was too hard and that he wasn’t having fun.

The next day Miss Heartwright and Mr. Nobley are going horseback riding. They invite Jane, who determined not to be a third wheel, invites Mr. East. As they ride she tries to have intimate time to flirt, but Mr. Nobley keeps messing things up when he separates them. He eventually makes up Jane looking poorly, and sends the other two on ahead.

That guy!

That guy!

Jane is angry with Nobley for messing things up, but then he relays that Miss Hearwright asked him to intervene and give them a few minutes alone to talk about their past.

clueless mybad oops

She and Nobley start talking and he manages to trick her into revealing something personal, her love of painting and her old dream. They are interrupted by East, but later that evening she finds a package for her. When she opens it, it is oil paints, an easel, and canvas.

How sweet!

How sweet!

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #10 Peter Sosa, 29 yrs

She met Peter in the work elevator. They dated for five weeks and he was perfect. She started to dream only to have that crash down when he revealed that he was already dating someone. His girlfriend bet him he couldn’t make the next girl fall in love with him, and the little game went too far.

The next day is rainy and Jane spends the morning painting. She’d rather not tear herself away, but does as she knows she needs human contact after all that time alone.

She goes to the library to read and is met by Mr. Nobley. He reads the book to her, but it is too boring they cannot continue.

The Colonel wants to do a play, but they would need Mr. Nobley and he refuses. However, after Martin approaches and tries to re-romance Jane, Mr. Nobley tries to warn Jane against him once again. Jane finds herself falling for him, and promises to stay away from Martin if Mr. Nobley performs in the play.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #11 Clark Barnyard, 23 yrs

He was a younger man and someone she worked with. They joked and flirted for months when he asked her out finally. They start kissing when he tries to get her clothes off. She had to tell him no four times before he stopped, confused as to why they weren’t going to have sex.

This wasn’t even a real boyfriend! They went on one date! Jane is a tad delusional.

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Mr. Nobley continues to look and watch Jane. They run off together to practice their parts, and actually break a few Regency rules with proximity.

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Jane feels secure in having Mr. Nobley at her ending. But as they talk she remembers the ball is in two days and the vacation ends in three. It will all be over soon. 😦

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They come upon a tender moment of Captain East and Miss Heartwright. While they talk about love and whether it can be done under fiction; Mr. Nobley reveals he had a “friend” who was heartbroken but if you asked him now, “he” might be opening his heart again to another.

Is it a "friend" or him?

Is it a “friend” or him?

They perform two hours later, badly, but something happens with Mr. Nobley. They way he looks at her, kissed her cheek…it seems more than just a part. But that’s silly it can’t be…real?

Could it?

Could it?

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #12 Tad Harrison, 35 yrs

They were engaged after a year, adopted a dog, and picked out baby names. But he wouldn’t set a date. A year later, they take a break and Tad starts sleeping around. He kept the dog.

The next day, Jane paints all morning. After spending the whole morning alone, she goes out looking for the men. There are only two days left!

She sees the Colonel talking to someone out of sight  and overhears that the Colonel has to get back to work, only to see it is her! Disgusted Jane goes back to her room and starts painting again.

Men?

Men

Later that evening, Mr. Nobley takes her aside and asks her about her painting. They spend a long time as Jane shares her feelings of painting, the things she has been doing; just going on and on. Mr. Nobley smiles through the whole thing and asks to see her paintings.

How sweet!

How sweet!

He compliments her work and then leaves. But then returns to ask her to reserve the first two dances for him.

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FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #12.5 Jake Zeiger, 30ish yrs

Her neighbor that she saw every time she gets her mail. She tries to ask him out, but he turns her down as he never saw her as anything but neighbor.

This was not her boyfriend either! Just in her head!

idonotthinkitmeanswhatyouthinkitmeansprincessbrideinigo

The ball comes and Jane is dressed elegantly. She is approached by Martin, dressed up as an extra, who tries to get the first two dances, but Nobley interferes, whirling her away.

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Eventually they break way from the group and Mr. Nobley asks for her hand in marriage. Jane is upset at the faux love and walks away, deciding Mr. Darcy is not for her but she needs a “real man.”

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She runs off to find Martin, as he is “real”.

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They make plans to meet up the next day and for Jane to rearrange her schedule and get a few extra days in England.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #13 Jimmy Rimer, 38 yrs

They walked the same path every day in central park for five months. Then Jimmy snorted when laughing, and Jane avoided him.

The next day she says good-bye to Miss Charming and she and Miss Heartwright head out. It turns out Miss Heartwright is not British as they thought. She is a rich wife who comes out annually to have some fun. She shares that it was Mr. Nobley’s idea to save Jane from being thrown out, asking her to pretend it was her phone.

OMG gasp

After Jane dresses in her old clothes returning her Regency wear, Mrs. Wattlesbrook lets her know that Martin is an actor. He was picked for her but had to be taken out if circulation when thinks got too heated.

What jerks

What jerks

Jane is so angry at them making a fool of her, picking a gardner as her match instead of any gentleman because she’s poor and not an “ideal” client.

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Jane lies about her magazine, pretending she is a staff writer, threatening Mrs. Wattlesbrook and having a ton of fun making her sweat.

FLASHBACK: BOYFRIEND #14 Martin of Sheffield, 29 yrs

An actor posing as a gardener, who posed as a gentleman on the Austenland estate.

Jane heads to the airport: angry, sad, and feeling foolish. As she is thinking to herself, she hears in the airport:

Paging Miss Jane Erstwhile

Is it Mr. Nobley?! Did he comes after her?

Double double yay

No. It is Martin.

2013-11-27-bradpitt friends ugh slap face stupid

He was sent by Mrs. Wattlesbrook to mend things. He tries a few lines, but Jane sees right through them all.

No thank youhowaboutno

But then the most surprising thing happens. A man dressed in Regency wear approaches! It is Mr. Nobley.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

He tell her that he loves her! He got caught up in the role and gave her the same old proposal he always does, the Darcy proposal. But he truly does love her. Being with her was different than being with anyone else.

lovedyou Persuasion

Martin and him fight, calling each other names; but Jane is just done with it all. She boards her plane saying good-bye.

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On the plane, she is surprised to see that Mr. Nobley has bought a ticket and will be joining her on her flight. She questions why Mrs. Wattlesbrook would go that far, but he tells her she didn’t send him. He came on his own, he Henry Jenkins. In fact, Mrs. Wattlesbrook never sent him to go after Jane, not at the park and not now.

Wow

He knows she has no money, he never heard the article rumor, and bought the ticket even though he is deeply afraid of flying to prove his love. He tells her that if it is too much he can wait, if they just start out slow and then see where it takes them.

WaitingLove

But then he says he lied.

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Ah snap, knew it. It was too perfect.

Reality Sucks

He tells her that he doesn’t want a fling. For him it is all or nothing and he is throwing himself at her feet.

How sweet!

How romantic!

And then this part, this is the best:

“But wait, stop, it’s not supposed to end this way! You’re the fantasy, you’re what I’m leaving behind. I can’t pack you up and take you with me.’

‘That was the most self-centered thing I’ve ever heard you say.’

Jane blinked. ‘It was?’

‘Miss Hayes, have you stopped to consider that you might hav this all backward? That in fact you are my fantasy?”

How sweet!

How sweet!

Present: Boyfriend #15 Henry

Jane is taking this relationship one day at a time and no longer seems to be ashamed of her Pride and Prejudice love.

In the end Jane does the one thing everyone dreams of, she gets a “real” Mr. Darcy.

Don't Stop Believing!

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So I liked the novel, the only issue I really had was Jane’s feeling ashamed at being an Austen fan. I just don’t get it and it made her less likeable. I also didn’t like how she complained about her vacation or blamed her horrible choices in men on Austen. Those things were corrected in the sequel and film which is why I liked them better.

But the end was just perfect. It was incredibly romantic and just the type of thing we dream of. Hale sure knows how to write

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For more by Shannon Hale, go to I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to The Bend and Snap

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Meet Cute: Darcy & Elizabeth Style

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So even though this isn’t a part of our scheduled posting, as it is a post in the first 25 days of December I am going to add a Christmas Carol.

Today’s song is one that my sister loves and used to play all the time. It is On This Very Christmas Night or Christmas Canon by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

This song was published in 1998 and strayed from rock to being in the form of a children’s choir. It is a great song, but once played remains in your head forever.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol

But If Any of It Fell Into the Wrong Hands…:Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, Secret of the Ooze (1991)

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But if any of it fell into the wrong hands… I’m well aware of the risks.

So now we come to our last Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle review of Horrorfest V. Will they be back next year? I don’t know. But for now, let’s get this review on the road.

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If you’ve been following me you’ve read this already, but for the new readers I’m giving a little background as to why I choose a TMNT film. If you have seen it already, feel free to skip ahead

So this is our third installment of four reviews of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ films.

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So I know those of you who haven’t been following me, and have stumbled upon this post are probably really confused. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? As a horror film? NO WAY.

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I know you are all saying to yourselves, hey this is a superhero movie, not a horror film. Au contraire, you see the turtles are radioactively enhanced to be larger; agile, smarter, etc. In fact the only thing that separates them from other radioactively changed creatures: such as the ants in Them, the giant spider in the Tarantula, or even Godzilla. They choosing to use their abilities for good and be superheroes doesn’t change the fact of how they were made.

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This Post We Are Switching Things UP!!

So I started Horrorfest V with the 2014 live action film, and worked backwards to the 2007 animated version.  The former had a Frankenstein-like quality and the latter had monsters. I decided to skip Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993) when they travel back in time to Japan, and went with the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)Now we are going to look into the sequel where we get the turtles backstory along with more mutated creatures.

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So we saw a big shift with this film. Because of complaints about violence, the film was lighter than the original and the turtles hardly use their weapons. Casey Jones was seen as “too violent” and his character replaced by one of the turtle stuntmen actors, Ernie Reyes Jr., being the teenager Keno.

They also had a bit of a fight over the story. The comic book writers wanted them to follow their stories, like the first film did, while the TV execs wanted them to follow the TV as that was more mainstream and child friendly. What we have is a combination of the two, with elements from both.

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After their battle with the Foot clan, the Turtles found themselves homeless. April took them in, and they have been living in her apartment since then, off of a lot of pizza delivery.

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Pizza delivery boy, Keno, is out dropping off his pizza’s when he comes across a burglary.

Not good

Not good

Keno: Hold it! You guys are under arrest.

Burglar: What are you, night security?

Keno: No, I’m a pizza delivery.

[the gang laugh and attack, and Keno easily kicks their butts]

Keno: Did I mention I also study the martial arts?

But even with that, Keno is no match for their numbers. Luckily he has a a certain, special crew looking out for him.

But Keno has seen them, and four giant turtles is something he won’t forget easily.

AMAZING!

AMAZING!

Back at the house the turtles get into am argument over whether to stay hidden or reveal themselves. Raphael is eager to be “out of the shadows”.

Couldn't resist

Couldn’t resist

Splinter: Their world can never be ours.

Michaelangelo: Uh… Not even pizza?

Splinter: [after pause] Pizza’s okay.

[the turtles sigh with relief]

Michaelangelo: Man, give a guy a heart attack.

Meanwhile, Tatsu has grabbed the remaining members of the Foot and have them situated in a junkyard to regroup. He is planning on taking lead control of the Foot, when he is interrupted.

The Shredder

The Shredder

OMG gasp

Yes Shredder lived! And he is back with a deep rooted vengeance and a thirst for blood. Turtle blood.

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So April is out reporting on Techno Global Research Industries (TGRI) as they are doing a cleanup of a few spilled canisters. April feels as if there is more to the story, but she can’t get anything else out of Professor Jordan Perry.

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After she is gone, Professor Perry reveals there is a lot more going on.

[after being given a giant mutated dandelion]

Professor Jordan Perry: You know, if the soil’s contaminated so far away, there must be more leaky canisters than we thought.

TGRI Assisstant #1: Well, how can that be? They were only buried fifteen years ago.

Professor Jordan Perry: Fifteen, fifty. Just make sure that the rest are found and removed!

TGRI Assistant #1: Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to invite the press.

Professor Jordan Perry: Sometimes the best place to hide is right out in public.

TGRI Assisstant #1: But if any of it fell into the wrong hands…

[Perry looks as giant dandelion]

Professor Jordan Perry: I’m well aware of the risks.

And unbeknownst to them, April’s new camera guy is watching.

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And he’s not just a reporter who has stumbled onto this story; but a member of the Foot.

Not good

Not good.

When Shredder finds out about this, he wants Dr. Perry as he has a plan.

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Back with the turtles, they have been watching the report and fighting whether to continue or watch something new. Splinter comes in, and when he sees the report reveals something the Turtles never expected…that company was the one that created/housed the mutagen that made them all.

WHAT!

WHAT!

They decide they need to find Dr. Perry and find out the answers to their questions, and to why or how they were created.

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Both groups head down to TGRI, after the Dr. and the last canister of mutagen.

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They all fight, but Shredder makes off with both prizes.

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When they return to the apartment, they have another surprise. Keno has come to “deliver pizzas” but in reality to track down these things he saw. And what he sees is a shock.

[about to leave April’s apartment, having seen Raph’s foot pretruding from behind the changing curtain and becoming suspicious about their weapons “she” has lying around]

Keno: One last thing, though. I think you might want to know about THIS! [slams his foot on Raph’s]

Raphael: ARGH! [Raph comes out from behind the curtain]

Keno: It’s you guys!

Raphael:[cluthching his foot and being held back by Donny, Leo, and MikeyAh, ah! Let me hurt him. Please! Tell me I can hurt him! Please, please! Grr!

[Splinter puts his hand on Keno’s shoulder]

Splinter: I think you’d better sit down.

[Keno sees Splinter and faints]

After Keno wraps his head around what is going on, he wants to help. He tells them how the Foot are recruiting people and that maybe he should go down and be a spy for them. This is rejected by Leonardo as he knows that if Keno, a pizzaguy, found them, then the Foot will be there soon. It is time to find a new home.

However, Raphael doesn’t always listen to Leo, and he and Keno come up with a plan.

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Meanwhile, Shredder is trying to force Dr. Perry to redo the mutation that happened to the turtles. He wants a duo of monsters that he can control and unleash on the turtles. His crew searched all New York, and all they could get was a wolf and a snapping turtle. Dr. Perry continues the experiment and they become Tokka and Rahzar.

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These took place of Rocksteady and Bebop, the mutated Rhino and Warthog.

But while these are gruesome creations, they aren’t exactly what the Shredder wanted.

And they unleash him out in the city.

The turtles, san Raphael, have found a new home in an abandoned subway area. They head out to try and help the city while Keno and Raphael try to infiltrate the Foot. They pass the tests and Keno is in, but then Raphael is captured by the Foot.

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Keno escapes and warns the turtles who head out to the junkyard.

There they meet Tokka and Rahzar and discover that while they are babies, they have recived a higher dose of the mutagen and are much stronger. They save Dr. Perry and head back to their new home.

Back at their place, Donatello questions Dr. Perry about the mutagen and finds out it was an accident. This upsets him as he thought, maybe, there was more to why they were created.

Splinter: What troubles you, my son?

Donatello: I-I don’t know. I just thought there would be more to it; to the ooze, to you know, us!

Leonardo: I know!

Donatello: I just always thought there would be something that… I thought we’d find out we were special.

Splinter: Do not confuse the professor’s words with your current worth, my son.

Donatello: But I don’t believe him! There’s just got to be more to it!

But soon, they must focus to the task at hand. Shredder has given April a message, the Turtles must fight Tokka and Rahzar that night, or else they will be unleashed in Central Park. They are now on a timeline and must work quickly to figure out a way to stop them.

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They discover that the creatures must eat their antidote and Michelangelo comes up with the idea to infuse donuts with them.

They try their plan out, but things do not go right.

They end up breaking a club wall and take the fight to the dance floor, music by Vanilla Ice.

Shredder has drinken the last of the serum and mutated gimself.

Is the Shredder dead? Never! You can never stop him!

Back at home Splinter asks about the fight. The turtles try to hide some of the events, but the people of New York saw a LOT.

Splinter: Were you seen?

Leonardo: Of course not, Master Splinter.

Donatello: We practiced Ninja.

Michaelangelo: [off camera] The art of invisibility.

[Splinter appears from behind RaphSplinter: [holds up the New York Post, with a front page picture of the turtles on stage, with the headline “Ninja Rap is Born!”] Practice harder.

[the turtles groan]

Splinter: Ten flips, now! And remember: “Go Ninja, go Ninja, go!” I made another funny! Ha ha ha ha!

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A fantastic film, and the last of our series. And because I just love this guys I decided I just had to be one for Halloween.

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Man, I love being a turtle!

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to I Can Make You all Go Away! Any Time I Want To!: Charlie X, Star Trek (1966)

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For more on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, go to I Came Upon a Shattered Glass Jar and Four Baby Turtles Crawling into a Strange Glowing Ooze: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

For more on creating monsters, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For more films based on books, go to It was a Horseman, a Dead One. Headless: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

We’re Mad Scientists. We’re Monsters: Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015)

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“We’re mad scientists. We’re monsters.”

So I know many of you see this film on this list and are probably thinking to yourself:

Whattheheck

Why would I put an action/adventure, superhero film on my list of horror films? Well I’m including it because of this reason: 1) You have two, not one, TWO scientists who create two, not one, but TWO creatures.

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So I’m sure you all who have been following me know how much I liked The Avengers film that came out two years ago.

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Not me, that’s for sure.

I loved this film and thought it was the best superhero film. It covers a team, but each character was given their own moment to shine. It had great dialogue, amazing scenes, and was just altogether fantastic.

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Now as for the sequel? How did I feel about it.

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I thought it was horrible!!!!!

EW!

And it sucks because I was jazzed about this film. James Spader? Love him in everything! Our dream team, the Avengers? Awesome! Having some X-Men characters finally in it and teasing with a full on cross over? YES!

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But then is sucked.

You ruined it!!!!

You ruined it!!!!

And believe me, my opinions based on this film isn’t just from one viewing. I saw it at the midnight showing, I saw it in 3-D the Sunday after with my nephew, and then my friend and I went and saw in June after seeing Jurassic World. Each time I saw it, the more I thought it was just done poorly, 2015’s Godzilla (which strangely, the same actors who were husband and wife in that movie are the Maximoff twins in this one.)

So this is going to be a slightly different review, I will give a brief synopsis and then go on to list why I didn’t like this film.

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So the film starts with the Avengers taking down what they believe is the last cell of HYDRA out in a small Eastern European country. They are also after the scepter Loki had in the first film. They believe they have accomplished it when they run into two “enhanced creatures” or whatever they call them, Wanda/Scarlet Witch and Pietro/Quicksilver Maximoff. Wanda has the power to manipulate reality, while Pietro can run at super fast speeds.

Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) Ph: Jay Maidment ©Marvel 2015

Wanda uses her powers to cloud each Avengers mind and mess with their ability to think, espechially Tony Stark. After the defeat, of everyone, (except the Maximoff twins), the team returns home to the tower in New York to have a party and celebrate the end of the Avengers.

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Tony convinces Thor to allow him to study the scepter, believing he can use it to create a robot that will be able to save humanity and keep it safe. He convinces Bruce Banner to assist him. See here is where we have the Frankenstein parallels.

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In Frankenstein, Dr. Frankenstein believed that his work could save humanity: it could bring about immortality, he could save people who’s limbs were lost reanimating dead limbs; etc. Instead he creates a creature, that immediately tries to destroy him. It also has a goal in mind and tries to force Frankenstein into playing his games and doing what he wants. Frankenstein realizes his mistake in trying to take God’s place and create something he has no control over, but it is too late. His creature has decided to destroy not only him, but everything he loves.

With Tony, he believed that his work could save humanity: it would protect them from aliens and any threat too large for humans to handle. Instead he creates a creature, Ultron, that immediately tries to destroy him. It also has a goal in mind and tries to force Tony into playing his games and doing what he wants. Tony realizes his mistake, but it is too late. His creature has decided to destroy not only him, but everything he loves.

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The team has discord and seems to be falling apart, when after a brief pastoral retreat they come back in the game and go after Ultron. They steal the machine he was going to use to create the perfect body, with Tony comes up with a second idea. Use Ultron’s plan, but instead of Ultron, input his best friend/butler, J.A.R.V.I.S.

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So here we have The Bride of Frankenstein parallels.

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In the Bride of Frankenstein, Frankenstein has realized his mistake. Never again will he ever make another creature, but instead be satisfied with what he has already accomplished. Then an old friend, ), comes around and convinces him to make another creature, to be the opposite and balance out the first. Now while Frankenstein knows it is wrong, and has seen how out of control things could get with his first creation, he decides to do it again creating a bride for the creature.

So in this Bruce Banner has realized his mistake in assiting in creating Ultron. Never again will he ever make another creature, but instead be satisfied with what he has already accomplished. But then Tony starts wheedling him, insisting and convincing him to make another creature, to be the opposite and balance out the first. Now while Bruce knows it is wrong, and has seen how out of control things could get with his first creation, he decides to do it again creating a yin to Ultron’s yang, Vision.

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So after the create Vision, they go after Ultron, ending back where the film started; but this time with Vision, Scarlet Witch, & Quicksilver (Wanda and Pietro both choosing to go with the Avengers than Ultron).

The fight to save the world, losing an avenger in the process. Back in New York, the old has gone it’s own way and a new Avenger team is born.

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Now on to the issues.

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1) What an Opening, “What” as in “What is Going On?”

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The first scene was all over the place, in a ton of slow motion, and unrealistically packed with action that I thought they were pulling a Toy Story 2 and it was a video game.

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I mean come on, in that one scene they are practically posing for the camera.

It might have been the drugs I was on for my ear infection, but yeah I legitamitely thought it was some kind of tease, that is how horribly fake looking that beginning is. It didn’t feel like it was happening, but as if you were watching a bad community play. I mean I saw several times where Black Widow should have been shot but “wasn’t”. The fighting in the first one was much better.

Also no context as to what it going on, why are they after Loki’s scepter? Where did it go after the first Avengers film? Now some people might say “if you watch the TV show you’ll know”, but that’s not what a sequel is about. A sequel is created to enhance characters or events from the first film/book, having a progression from the previous to the next. Not suddenly throw everything at you with you like I don’t know what is going on.

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2) Slow Mo needs to Go No Mo’

Stop stop it now!

Honestly Joss Wheedon, the ’90s called, they want their special effects back. But seriously, waaaaaaay tooo much. It looks horrible, it is distracting, and just takes your viewer out of the right state of mind.

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3) Calling Someone Out for Cursing Worth Talking About, But Create an Evil Robot and That’s Just a Moment Thing

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Seriously. This a running joke for everyone, it keeps rearing its ugly head throughout the film. But Tony? They are mad for a nanosecond, and then they move on. Really guys? Really? The Robot is definitely worse and worth discussing.

And he doesn’t make just one thing, but TWO! TWO!!!!!

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4) Enhanced Not Mutated

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I don’t know who’s idea it was to not make them mutants and the children of Magneto, but that was beyond stupid.

THEY ARE MUTANTS NOT ENHANCED MUTANTS!!!!!! And they are Magneto’s children.

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5) Clintasha or Brutasha?

So I did not like Black Widow and Hulk together. I really wanted it to be Black Widow and Hawkeye.

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Now I might not have minded the whole Brutasha if it weren’t for the fact that it came out of left field. Natasha does go get him in the first Avengers film, but that’s all we see of their interactions. There is nothing to suggest anything romantic, and no chemistry between them,  but yet we are expected they are considering running away together?

Girl Please

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6) Visions…I Guess?

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So what is up with the visions that Scarlet Witch makes. They never really explain her powers in the film so is it magic? Really the future? What?

They also don’t make any sense. For Tony it is his fear, and a bit of the future. Black Widow, a hidden memory, Thor a fear/vision. Captain America? How does what he sees relate to anything?

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7) Tony Pop Culture Allergy?

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So unlike Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, etc. Tony is a HUGE pop culture junkie. Yet when he creates artifical life, he doesn’t even consider how things could go horribly wrong. Wouldn’t he have seen Jurassic Park, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Frankenstein, The Terminator, I Robot, etc? Espechially as three that I just listed involve bad robots? Wouldn’t that make him pause, at least for a moment.

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8) I Leeloo Ultron Robot

The part when Ultron awoke and then starts researching to figure out his purpose and what he’s supposed to do made me think if The Fifth Element.

Ultron’s breakdown around his objective is also very similar to V.I.C.K.I., in I Robot, when she starts killing mankind to save mankind.


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9)Massive Iron Man Vs. Hulk

I feel like someone thought of this and then wrote the script around it. I know everyone thought it was super cool, but I actually thought it was kind of a worthless scene.

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10) Green Acres is the Place to Be

So the whole crew go out to Clint’s farm so that they can regroup and figure out a new plan. To me it seems like a ripoff from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), when they go to upstate New York to heal and refigure out what to do.

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11) Motorcycle Mama Knows NO Bounds of Gravity

When Ultron tosses the ground at Black Widow and she is able to not only stop in time but turn so she isn’t hurt.

Really?

Really?

Impossible and dumb thing to do. Just no, no.

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12) Copying Captain Underpants

So there was this book series in the early 2000s, Captain Underpants, about two kids, George and Harold, who hypnotize their principal into thinking he is their comic book creation, Captain Underpants.

In the sequel, Attack of the Talking Toilets, George and Harold use the nerdy kid’s  science fair project, a 3D printer, and accidentally bring a giant toilet and his toilet army to life.

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When Captain America isn’t able to stop them, they then create a Giant Robot to battle and destroy the toilets.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is like the same exact plot. Just switch out toilets for Ultron & the robots, and Giant Robot for Vision.

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13) A Death That Didn’t Need to Happen

So people have been complaining that no one really dies in a superhero film, they always come back to life again. This coupled with Joss Wheedon liking to make us cry, meant he was going to kill someone and he killed Pietro.

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That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. The man has SUPER SPEED!!!! You really think he wouldn’t be able to just move around the bullets in time?

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I mean for once Fox did a better job than Disney.

Just so much awesome.

And if they are going to kill him, why not save him in the Stargate cradle thing? Hawkeye used it. And why does he, Cho, and Coulson get to survive?

You know why, because he is just being a pain, like Wes Craven when he killed Randy but let Dewey survive. And you know what Wheedon? Because that was so stupid, I’m going to ignore it.

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Let’s face it, we all know how it should have ended:

So no banner as I couldn’t find a pic that worked right. Instead I’m going to end with those who criticize films best:

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to A Giant Metal Man: The Iron Giant (1995)

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For more on The Avengers, go to Avengers Assemble!

For more evil robots, go to She’s Been Totally Different…Like Stepford: Ted, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

For more mad scientists, go to Unleash the Savage Instincts that Lie Hidden Within: I Was A Teenage Werewolf (1957)

For more Frankenstein, go to It’s Alive, It’s ALIVE!: Frankenstein (1931)

For more on The Bride of Frankenstein, go to I Want Friend Like Me: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

For more on sequels, go to It’s Happening Again, Isn’t It?: Scream 2 (1997)

For more How It Should Have Ended, go to I’ll Be Back: The Terminator (1984)

For more CinemaSins, go to Let Them Fight: Godzilla (2014)

 

25 More Films of Christmas

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So two years ago I tried to do a Christmas countdown, the 12 Posts of Christmas, but I discovered that it is really difficult as you get involved in Christmas activities. So last year I decided to make it easier on myself and did a singular post listing 25 of my favorite films that were either classified as Christmas movies or had a Christmas scene in it. Since it worked so great last year, I decided why not do it again? So here are 25 more films of Christmas! (Once again these aren’t my my top favorite 25, but randomly picked and then rearranged them in the order of how I love them.

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25) Holiday (1938)

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Holiday (1938) is a remake of the 1930 film. In it Johnny Case (Cary Grant), a self-made man, is heading to his fiancé Julia Seton’s house for the holidays. While on the surface the two appreared perfect for each other, as Johnny spends more time at the Seton household he finds himself having more in common with Julia’s younger sister, Linda (Katherine Hepburn). Johnny now finds himself in a dilemma, should he honor the commitment he made to Julia? Or should he try to find love with another?

Why it’s Great: Hepburn and Grant made four films together, and anytime you have these two paired up you have pure gold. Grant is his attractive, charming, and at times comical self. Hepburn is the silly, comedic, oddball, and modern woman that she always does great at. A fun film. Plus those scenes of Grant tumbling? Priceless.

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24) The Polar Express (2004)

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The Polar Express is based on the short book of the same name. In the 1950s, a little boy, no longer believes in Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, he hears something outside and goes aboard the Polar Express, the train that heads right up to the North Pole and Santa’s home. He makes new friends on the train, helps control the train, meets a ghost hobo who tries to teach him morals, and ends up in the North Pole coming face to face with Santa Claus.

Why it’s Great: This is a cute kid’s movie. Tom Hanks is pretty amazing at how he plays almost every character in the film. The kids are cute, especially the geeky, know-it-all tattletale. He makes me laugh. It has a good message of faith, believing, leading, etc. It also has a couple great songs: The Polar Express and When Christmas Comes to Town. It does have a few problems though. Mainly it suffers from the same issues all small picture book film adaptions face, extra content to fill the time block. There are a lot  of unnecessary songs, characters, and scenes; that if they had been culled would have resulted in a stronger film. But on the whole it is a cute, family, Christmas film.

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23) Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

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The sequel to Home Alone (see #2 on the list). Home Alone 2 has Kevin McCallister once again finding himself spending Christmas on his own, but this time he’s in New York! How did this happen? Well this year instead of going to France, the McCallister clan is heading to Florida. Once again they find themselves running late to the airport (but this time being sure they have Kevin) and have to run to catch their flight. Kevin stops for a moment to get batteries out of his dad’s bag and accidentally follows the wrong man onto a plane to New York City. He starts living it large at the Plaza and using all his dad’s credit cards and cash (as he has his bag). Everything goes well, until he runs into the two thieves he harassed the year before and sent to prison. They come after him, but luckily he has rigged his uncle’s townhouse into one giant trap.

Why it’s Great: I have to say how he gets alone again was done really clever. The scenes of him just spending the dough and buying pizza, ice-cream, going on huge toy shopping trips, etc is fantastic. That was all the things that kids wished they could be able to do. Tim Curry plays the hotel manager who notices the lack of an adult and is awesome in being evil and trying to trip Kevin up. Unfortunately, the second half the film falls a little flat. I mean what are the odds of the thieves running into Kevin in New York City? There are a gajillion people who live there. Also the traps aren’t as clever as in the original film. It wasn’t nearly as great as the original, but still one fun holiday film.

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22) Elf (2003)

Go here to see who you are

Go here to see who you are

One Christmas a baby boy accidentally gets on to Santa Claus’ sled and is transported to the North Pole. One of the elves adopts him and raises him as his own child, naming him Buddy. One day, Buddy overhears some elves mention he is a human. He goes to his elf father and discovers the story of his adoption. They tell him who is real father is, and Buddy travels to New York City to meet him. When he firsts meets his father Walter Hobbs (James Caan), Walter doesn’t believe Buddy’s story to be true. After a DNA test confirms it, Buddy is introduced to the family. Buddy befriends his stepmother, stepbrother, and makes new friends. However, he doesn’t fit in well with “humans” and after an argument with his dad, decides to return to the North Pole. On his way he runs into Santa who is having trouble using his sleigh and magic as people don’t believe in him anymore. Now Buddy has a bigger problem to solve. How can he save Santa?

Why it’s Great: Now let me say that I am not that big a fan of Will Ferrell. I only like a few of his films, and this is one of those. The story is silly, but the reason it works is that Ferrell goes all in to the character of Buddy. Unlike everyone I know, I do not watch it over and over, but I do think it is definitely worth checking out and viewing around the holidays. And I do have to agree that I am as crazy about Christmas as Buddy.

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21) Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

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Dr. Seuss’ beloved book finds itself heading to the big screen with Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Jim Carrey plays the Grinch, the beloved grump who hates the Whos and hates Christmas. He terrorizes Whoville, and all are afraid of him. Except one girl, Cindy Lou Who. Cindy Lou is eager to find out all she can about the Grinch and why he is the way he is. She discovers his sad childhood and decides making him the Holiday Cheermister will repair everything. When her idea has disastrous results, the Grinch decides to head down to Whoville and steal Christmas.

Why it’s Great: Jim Carrey really is the only reason why the film is great. Like The Polar Express, it suffers from being stuffed with extra scenes, characters, and things not needed in order to fill the time block. And I absolutely hate the song “Where Are You Christmas?” But as I said, Jim Carrey is a great Grinch. His makeup is amazing, I mean look at him! He’s looks just like the illustration. The backstory of why he is mean loses ground, but the film really picks up once he starts stealing Christmas. I love how they illustrate the song and copy the scenes from the original film. It’s worth watching the film to see that scene. It may not be as great as the Boris Karloff version, but it is still a fun Christmas film.

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20) The Santa Clause 2 (2002)

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This is the sequel to The Santa Clause (see below #6). Eight years has passed since the original film and Scott Calvin, AKA Santa Claus, has just discovered that if he is to remain being Santa Claus he has to have a Mrs. Claus. Scott also discovers that Charlie has been having a lot of problems and and acting up. So the elves create a robot Santa to fill in for him, and Scott heads back home. He stays with his ex-wife’s family, trying to reach Charlie, and becoming an uncle figure to Charlie’s sister Lucy. When talking to Charlie’s principal he finds himself falling for her, but will she believe him and go with him back to the North Pole? Also, while Scott has been gone, his robo-Santa has become and evil dictator. Will Scott be able to stop him in time to save Christmas?

Why it’s Great: I like how this film deals with real issues. Charlie is having problems as he misses his father, has the stress of having to lie about his dad’s job, etc. I loved how realistic it was as this are issues a boy who’s father has to be away for his job would actually deal with. I also enjoy the scenes of Scott and Principal Carol Newman. There were real dates and actually showed them falling in love over a period of time, it wasn’t instantaneous. And the Principal’s reaction to “I’m Santa” talk was completely real. Some scenes are definitely cheesy and silly, but I have to say this is one of the better Disney sequels and one great film to watch at Christmas.

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19) The Toy That Saved Christmas (1996)

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So this film is part of the Veggietales series. Veggietales was a series of Christian films that lasted 30 mins and told two stories that were either a retelling of a bible story or had a strong biblical message. And all the characters were fruits and veggies! The Toy That Saved Christmas was the first Christmas Veggietale video and starts with a green onion, Grandpa George, telling his granddaughter Annie a Christmas story. In the Veggietown (or wherever they live), December is here which means CHRISTMAS!!! All the kids are excited. They see a commercial on TV for a new toy Buzz Saw Louie and everyone wants them. Besides having a saw, Louie talks and tells people that the true meaning of Christmas is getting stuff. This was planned by the toy factory owner as he wants to sell more toys. When more Louies are being made, something happens to one, and it comes to life. It starts to wonder if getting stuff is the true meaning of Christmas. Louie escapes from the factory and gets stuck in the snow. The next day Bob the tomato, Larry the cucumber, and Junior the asparagus all go sledding and come upon the toy. They also run into Grandpa George who tells them the true meaning of Christmas. After the hear the message they want to tell the world the good news? But how? They get the idea to use the factory owner’s equipment and make a commercial. Will their plan work? Will everyone get to know the true meaning of Christmas?

Why it’s Great: It is an incredibly funny and adorable film. This is one that my family has to watch every year. Besides the comedy, adventure, and fun it also has a lot of great songs. One of my favorites is Can’t Believe It’s Christmas! as it truly captures being a kid excited about the holiday. And then there is the hilarious silly song Oh Santa!If you don’t watch the film at least check out that song.

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18) Lady and the Tramp (1955)

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The classic story of a rich girl who meets a boy from the wrong side of the tracks with one major difference-dogs! Lady is a cocker spaniel is a Christmas gift to “Darling” by her husband Jim “Dear”. She grows up in the household, becoming a real “Lady”. Everything changes when Darling gets pregnant. With a baby coming Lady is unsure of what her life will be like. The baby comes and Lady realizes that she loves him as much as her other masters. Things seem to be great until Darling and Jim Dear have to go away on business. Jim Dear’s Aunt Sarah comes to watch the baby, and brings along her two siamese cats that cause problems for Lady, and gets her a muzzle. Lady embarrassed, scared, and confused; runs away and straight into a mutt, Tramp, from the other side of town. He not only frees her, but the two have a romantic dinner, a moonlit walk in the park, etc. However, when the Tramp gets Lady to chase chickens, she winds up being sent to the dog pound. There she hears all about Tramp’s sordid past. She is freed from the pound but chained up outside by Aunt Sarah. The Tramp visits to apologize, but Lady won’t hear anything. Then a rat tries to get into the nursery. Will Lady be able to save the baby? Will Lady and the Tramp get back together?

Why it’s Great: It is an old story that has been done before, but the choice of dogs is great. I love how the dog thinks Jim Dear and Darling are their real names as that is only what she hears, and there are also some great dogisms. The We Are Siamese song is really catchy and the pasta scene is just adorable. This film actually has two Christmases in it; one when Lady is first introduced, and the second at the end of the film. Making this a great film to see round the holidays or any time of the year.

For more on Lady and the Tramp, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines

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17) Chasing Christmas (2005)

Chasing Christmas

This abcFamily film, part of the 25 Days ’til Christmas countdown, tells the story of A Christmas Carol in a completely new way. Jack Cameron is a modern day Scrooge. He caught his wife with another man at his daughter’s Christmas play. Not only is the marriage over, but so is his love for Christmas and Christmas spirit. At the Bureau of Yuletide Affairs (BYA) the company is reviewing which holiday grumps need a little Dickens spirit. He assigns Christmas Past (Leslie Jordan) and Present (Andrea Roth) to take care of him. Past has started to become disgruntled with life. Every year it is the same thing over and over again. So he decides to do something about it. After taking Jack to his childhood in the ’60s he knocks him out and takes off. Present is then sent back to catch Past and help Jack find his Christmas spirit. As they travel through time Jack discovers a lot about himself and his family. When they reach the ’70s, they accidentally break their time machine and are desperate to find Past in order to get back to the future. Will they ever catch up to Christmas Past? Or are they doomed to stay in the ’70s? And more importantly, will  they be able to save Jack’s love of Christmas?

Why it’s Great: The twist on the classic is extremely hilarious, fun, and adorable. In fact, the film is almost a parody of all the films and TV episodes that rip of Dickens’ work. The characters are lovable as you have the sarcastic, unhappy, stick-in-a-rut Past that wants to relive the good times instead of just visiting. Then there is Jack, the average guy who gets pulled into this adventure and really starts having a great time.  Then there is Present, who knows nothing about the past and has to educated by Jack. This is actually pretty adorable, as it awakens his love for different things as he explains why they are important or special. A truly great film, loosely based on one great book.

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16) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

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The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer started out as a short poem, then transformed into the hit song, and ultimately (like everything) found its way into film. Rudolph is the son of Santa’s flying Reindeer Donner. Everyone bullies him and doesn’t want him around because he has a blinking, red nose. Rudolph ends up not being able to deal with it and runs away, hoping to find a place for misfits. As he heads out, he runs into an elf named Hermy. Hermy is also a misfit as he doesn’t want to make toys, sing carols, or other elf-y things; he wants to be a dentist. As the two journey out they run into a miner named Yukon Cornelius, hunting for silver and gold, who joins up with them. They have to fight the Abominable Snow Monster, when running from him they hitch a ride on ice and end up on the Island of Misfit Toys. Rudolph, conscious that his nose almost got them attacked by Abominable, he takes off on his own. He later returns home to find that his family has been captured by the Abominable Snow Monster while searching for him. It’s up to the team to save them from the monster. Everything seems like it is going to be a great Christmas until the fog rolls in and Santa won’t be able to see where he is flying. That is until Rudolph steps up to the plate.

Why it’s Great: My earliest memory of this cartoon was when I was three years old. My family was visiting my aunt’s house, and being kids, us cousins were running around everywhere. I ran smack into my cousin Sean, and began bawling. I was bruised, so I did have a reason to be sad, but I wouldn’t stop crying. I kept going and going, until my mom told me that I could watch Rudolph if I stopped crying. I stopped immediately. My favorite character as a kid actually wasn’t Rudolph. I loved Yukon as I thought he was hilarious and I loved Hermy as I too wanted to be a dentist (which everyone thought was weird). Watching it as an adult, I still love it. Happy Anniversary Rudolph! Here’s to another 50 years!

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15) Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too (1991)

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It’s Christmas time at the Hundred Acre Woods and Christopher Robin is writing a letter to Santa Claus. As he is finishing the letter, asking for a sled big enough for him and a friend, he asks each one of his friends what they want for Christmas. Rabbit needs a new fly swatter; Tigger a snowshoe for his tail; Eeyore an umbrella to keep snow off his house; and Piglet asks for whatever Santa wants to give him. Christopher Robin sends his letter off into the wind and to Santa. The next day, Christmas Eve, Winnie-the-Pooh is drawing his Christmas tree on the wall when Piglet comes in and tells him that Pooh forgot to ask Santa for something. They chase after the letter, find it, and take it to Rabbit’s house to add on Pooh’s request for honey. As they are doing that everyone asks for an upgraded present: Rabbit a super bug sprayer, Tigger a special bouncing boot, and Eeyore a mobile home. They send the letter out, but when Pooh gets home a southern wind has sent the letter the same way. Pooh and Piglet don’t want Christmas ruined so they set out to fix everything. They try to create the gifts asked, suit up, and head out. Will their homemade gifts work? Will Christmas be ruined? Or will everything turn out just right?

Why it’s Great: First of all it’s Winnie-the-Pooh. Secondly, the story is amazingly sweet. Once Pooh realizes that Christmas might be ruined, he tries to do everything in his power to make it right. A great story of friendship, love, and Christmas!

For more on Winnie the Pooh, go to Heartbreak Hotel

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14) Christmas Every Day (1996)

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Billy hates Christmas! For him it is always the worst day of the year and this one is no different. It starts off with him tripping, his uncle coming to visit and crashing into the garage, the pies burn, he misses his basketball shot, he loses the jellybean thousand dollar contest, messes up the Christmas pageant, and gets socked in the eye. To top it off, his uncle is bringing his monster conglomerate store, Value Mart to town, and will be putting all the smaller businesses, (including his dad’s store) out of business. Billy sarcastically wishes it was Christmas everyday, and gets his wish granted. At first he is in denial, then he makes it the most selfish Christmas, then tries to make it the most unselfish Christmas, but still remains stuck in the day. After he has been going through all those days, he finally stops thinking about himself, but tries to make it the best Christmas for his friends and family. Will it be the best? Will he finally get to December 26th? Will he be able to stop his uncle from bringing in his Value Mart?

Why it’s Great: My sister and I loved this movie so much. We would watch it every year on the 25 Days ’til Christmas until they stopped showing it. I just rewatched it a week ago and love it as much now as I did then. I thought Billy was pretty realistic in how he dealt with being stuck in Christmas, sort of the preteen version of Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day. He gets over his Christmas hate much quicker than in Groundhog’s Day, but he is a kid and hasn’t been jaded as long. The best part, of course, is the fact how Billy learns from his past mistakes, and ultimately does create the best Christmas for himself and everyone.

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13) Batman Returns (1992)

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The Joker may be gone, but Batman is back to the big screen in his film Batman Returns. It’s Christmas time in Gotham, but even though it is supposed to be a time of good cheer, crime still abounds in the city. Oswald Cobblepot (Danny DeVito), who as a baby was thrown down the sewers by his rich parents because of his deformity only to be saved and raised by penguins, has returned 33 years later as the Penguin and leader of the Red Triangle Circus Gang. He kidnaps businessman, Max Shreck (played by Christopher Walken) and blackmails him about his dirty business dealings into making the Penguin a citizen of Gotham. Shreck agrees and promises to do even better, promising to make the Penguin mayor. Shreck has some plans he wants to put in motion, but knows the current mayor would not approve. Unfortunately, Shreck’s secretary, meek Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) has discovered them. Shreck does the only thing he thinks he can do, he kills her by throwing her out the window. Unbeknownst to him, Selina is revived by nine cats and granted “9 lives.” She goes home having fully transformed in her personality, creating a black leather outfit, and becoming Catwoman. She returns to work for Shreck, planning on destroying him when he least expects it, and runs into Bruce Wayne. The two begin dating, while at night their alter egos begin fighting. The penguin and Catwoman team up to destroy Batman. They sully his reputation, but Batman is able to outwit the Penguin and disgrace him. Upset, the Penguin renounces humanity and kidnaps the first sons of all the wealthy families of Gotham during Shreck’s annual Christmas party. Bruce takes Selina as his date to the party and the two discover that they are Batman and Catwoman. What does this mean to their relationship? Will Batman be able to stop the Penguin? Will Catwoman get her revenge?

Why it’s Great: So Christmas does play a role in this film as a little more than a backdrop. There is a line about mistletoe that is the key in discovering each other’s identities. When Batman and Catwoman are fighting the first time Batman says, “You know, mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.” In which Catwoman replies, “But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.” When Bruce and Selina are at the party, Selina tells Bruce ,“You know, mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.” In which Bruce replies, “But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.” But that’s not the reason why I like this film. First of all Michael Keaton has to be my favorite Batman, he just gets the stoic and serious, along with debonair and slightly fun side correct. I mean out of all the actors I think he captured the duality of Batman’s character the most. Then we have Michelle Pfeiffer who has been the best Catwoman to date. Morally ambiguous, vengeful, focused on her goals, but still having a heart of gold. No one could have played her better. Plus Christopher Walken as the bad guy? Perfect. The only thing I don’t like is that the Penguin was much sillier than I would have had him be. Danny DeVito did a great job and he looked great, but a lot of his lines and obsession with birds of all kinds were just a bit too silly. Otherwise, this is one great film to watch anytime.

For more on Batman Returns, go to Fanning All Over the Place

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12) The Year Without a Santa Claus (1975)

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Santa Claus is sick and tired, and has decided that he does not want to do Christmas anymore. After all, no one believes in him anymore. Mrs. Claus is determined to prove Santa wrong and sends out two elves, Jingle and Jangle. The two get into some scrapes and end up in Southtown, USA. Their mistakes cause Santa to come down and try and help out. The two elves and a small Southtown boy, Ignatius, end up getting the Mayor to agree to giving Santa a holiday, only if it snows in Southtown. The chance of that happening, -100%. The elves go to Snow Miser, but he it isn’t his territory and he can’t do it unless his stepbrother Heat Miser agrees. Heat Miser will only let them, IF he gets the North Pole. Something that Snow Miser will never give up. Will they be able to get the two to compromise? Will Santa get his holiday? Will we have a year without Santa Claus?

Why it’s Great: This is a cute film that tries to revitalize the Christmas spirit. It has some great numbers like the Miser Brothers’ SongI Believe in Santa Claus, I’ll Have a Blue Christmas, and Here Comes Santa Claus. A cute film that old and young will love.

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11) The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow (1975)

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In The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow, Lucas a shepherd boy is blinded by lightening. Nearby is the nunnery, who takes in the orphan boy. He befriends a girl Lisa, who helps him. Sister Theresa, one of the nuns, takes care of Lucas, even describing the snow that wishes would come. Lucas is chosen to be an angel in the play, and as it starts snowing, a Christmas miracle occurs. The snow falls in Lucas’ eyes and grant him back his sight. He remains with the nuns and the priest, finally having a family.

Why it’s Great: This is a cute and cuddly Christmas film with great songs. You’ll enjoy this half hour production, along with their version of White Christmas and The First White Christmas. It is a great addition to your Christmas lineup.

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10) Borrowed Hearts (1997)

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Sam Field is a millionaire who is trying to negotiate the biggest deal of his life with Javier Del Campo. The only problem, Del Campo only likes to do business with family-orientated people, and Sam is a confirmed bachelor. He hires a family to pretend to be his, but that doesn’t work out very well, and he is unsure of what to do. Enter Kathleen, single mother and worker at Sam’s plant. She is trying to save up money to buy a house, but so far does not have as much as she needs. A chance meeting, winds up with Kathleen and her daughter Zooey pretending to be his family for a few days, which expands into weeks as Del Campo wants to spend Christmas with the Fields. As they spend more time together; Sam, Kathleen, and Zooey all learn more about family and learning to love again.

Why it’s Great: I love this film sooooo much. It’s one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. I will not go to far into it, as I have written a separate blog post on it that you should check out.

For more on Borrowed Hearts, go to On the 9th Day ‘Til Christmas: Borrowed Hearts (1997)

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9) Rise of the Guardians (2012)

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In Rise of the Guardians, Jack Frost (played by Chris Pine), is created in the depths of a pond and suffers from amnesia. He doesn’t know how or why he was created, but just goes around having fun. One day Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin) discovers that the Boogeyman Pitch, has returned and notifies the other Guardians: Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), Australian Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and the Sandman. They learn that their creator, the Man in the Moon, has chosen Jack Frost to join them as a Guardian of Children. Pitch goes about trying to destroy the children’s beliefs in these characters, and attacks the Tooth Fairy’s home, stealing her helpers. The other Guardians pitch in to help her out, doing the same for the Easter Bunny. Will they be able to defeat the Pitch? Will Jack finally learn who he is and why he was chosen? Will they secure the children’s belief in Jack Frost, Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman?

Why it’s Great: When the film first came out, I thought it would be really dumb, but then I saw it and loved it. It is funny, cute, sweet, everything you’d want in a family film. The characters are amazing and just perfect as they bring your childhood to life. I just love this film and could watch it over and over.

For more on Rise of the Guardians, go to Dreaming of the Sandman 

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8) Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

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It tells the story of the Robinson family, (they are Swiss), who are traveling to New Guniea but end up getting stuck in a storm, abandoned, and stranded on their broken ship. They pack up every bit of supplies they can and travel to the nearest place, a little island. The family consists of the father, mother, and three boys; Fritz (my fav the cute one), Ernst (the smart one), and Francis (the baby). The family creates a tree house and lives on the island going through many adventures; dealing with wild animals, saving a young teen, fighting pirates, etc.

Why it’s Great: This was a favorite of mine as a kid, although more beloved by my sister than me. It has everything you could want: action, adventure, pirates, etc. Plus, like Supernatural, you have your pick of which brother to chose from. Do you like a brawny man of action? Or are you more interested in a thinker and planner? And let’s not forget their amazing treehouse. I wanted one like it so bad growing up. It used to be in Disneyland, but they replaced it with Tarzan. And yes, this film does have Christmas in it. The Robinson family has sent out Ernst and Fritz to explore the island, and are sad that they won’t all be together for Christmas. The boys surprise them with a zebra for Francis, and a rescued hostage. It is classic Disney at its best, and a worthwhile checkout any time of the year.

For more on the Swiss Family Robinson, go to Snakes on a Post: Chinese New Year

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7) Jingle All the Way

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Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a workaholic. His wife and child are very upset with him, and the only way he can get back in their good graces is to pick up a Turbo-Man doll. Only problem is, EVERYONE wants one and EVERYONE is sold out. This causes him to go on one crazy adventure involving a faux toy factory, a postal postman, a mall doing a Hunger Games to sell off their remaining doll, battling a reindeer, storming a radio station, bombs, fistfights, etc. Howard even goes as far as replacing Turbo-Man in the Christmas parade in order to try to get a doll. Will he be able to do it? Will his family be reunited for Christmas?

Why it’s Great:  This movie is so freakin’ hilarious. I just love it so much. All the crazy things that happen to Howard as he tries to achieve success in his quest to get the doll. And that end fight scene is just great. A true holiday classic that I watch every year I can.

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6) The Santa Clause

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Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is a self-absorbed and selfish toy designer. This Christmas Eve he gets to have his son spend the holiday with him, while his ex-wife and her husband celebrate elsewhere. Of course he is not only extremely late (too much partying at the office), but he burns their Christmas Eve dinner. Things are not going as planned. That night Charlie hears something, and the two go out to investigate, surprising Santa and causing him to fall off the roof! Scott puts on the suit, and the two go out to deliver the gifts. After the deed is done, Scott discovers that when he put on the suit he entered a clause, that is a decree, making him the new Santa. He doesn’t believe it, but as the year passes, his body starts to become more Santa-like. Will he have enough faith to become Santa? Will he be able to change his ways so he can be more like Santa?

Why it’s Great: Like Borrowed Hearts I have done a post on this, so I’m not going to talk too much aout it. It is a truly hilarious movie with some truly memorable lines and scenes. I love this movie so much that I don’t even always wait for Christmas to watch it. Defintely worth seeing again and again.

For more on The Santa Clause, go to On the 11 Day ‘Til Christmas: The Santa Clause (1994)

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4) Christmas With the Kranks (2004)

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Based on the John Grisham novel, Christmas with the Kranks shows how one can never truly skip Christmas. After Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) discover that their beloved daughter Blair won’t be coming home for Christmas, they decide to forget it entirely. No decorations, no Christmas cards, no Christmas party, no Christmas tree, zip. Instead, the two will go on a lovely cruise. It starts out a great plan, until they start getting upsetting calls from the neighbors who want to win the best decorated street contest; tickets from policemen who are used to them buying multiple calendars, charities who expect their yearly donation, etc. As they are getting ready to go on Christmas Eve, they get a call from Blair who is surprising them by flying home-with a fiancé. They have to rely on their neighbors for help in making this the greatest Christmas ever.

Why it’s Great: I just realized that this is the third Tim Allen movie on this list. Guess it was a good thing I decided to save Toy Story for another time, or else there would be four. Anyways this is just a hilarious film, from beginning to end. Grisham is a true master and the actors really bring his work to life. This is a truly great addition to you Christmas lineup as it is funny, heartwarming, and covers the true meaning of Christmas.

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3) Goodfellas (1990)

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A film based on the real life of gangster turned FBI witness, Henry Hill. Half-Italian, half-Irish; Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) has always wanted to be a gangster. He is taken under the wing of mob-boss Paul “Paulie” Cicero, to work under James “Jimmy the Gent” Conway (Robert De Niro) alongside Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). The trio hijack cars, commit insurance fraud, and the famous 1967 Air France Robbery. They spend most of their time at the Copacabana, hanging out with women. Hill meets Karen, Jewish and upper class, and the two eventually marry. At first Karen is alarmed at Hill’s lifestyle, but eventually becomes enamored with the perks. They continue to live the criminal lifestyle, ultimately having to serve a stint in prison. There Hill discovers how “real” money can be made in drugs, and his life starts to take some real twists and turns.

Why it’s Great: Now this film isn’t for everyone, but if you are a fan of the gangster genre then you need to check this out. It covers the life of Hill pretty accurately, and of course the actors they chose are just amazing-De Niro, Liotta, & Pesci. In fact if this wasn’t a Christmas list countdown, I probably would have it even higher. And for the Christmas part of the film, well this is no Christmas film but the holiday does play into a crucial part of the film. My friends and I used to have “gangster film and spaghetti” parties, with this one always being one of the main courses.

For more on Goodfellas, go to Sucky Sequels: Mean Girls 2 (2011)

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2) Home Alone (1990)

HomeAlone

Kevin McCallister’s whole family is getting ready to fly to Paris for Christmas, spending the holidays with his uncle and aunt. The night before they leave, Kevin is punished (unfairly) to sleep up in the attic by himself, where he makes a wish that his family would just disappear. When a tree limb crashes on the powerline, the McCallister’s find themselves waking up late and rushing out the door to the airport, in order to catch their plane. And…completely forgetting Kevin. At first being home alone is just fun and games, but when two robbers try to get into his house, Kevin finds himself defending it, in very imaginative ways.

Why it’s Great: This movie became so popular, almost every family pic after it tried to recreate it’s success. It is funny, memorable, and the scenes where Kevin is just wolfing down junk food was every kid’s dream. It is one fantastic movie, great for Christmas or anytime you want a laugh.

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1) Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970)

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In Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, postman Special Delivery Klugman (Fred Astaire) is prepared to answer all questions about Santa Claus. In Sombertown, the Burgermeister Meisterburger discovers a baby on his doorstep, with a tag saying Claus. He sends one of his stooges to take the baby to the orphanage, but a wind blows the baby away. The forest creatures take the baby to the elf family Kringle, where he is raised as one of their own, Kris Kringle. The Kringles used to be toymakers for the King, but an evil man, the Winter Warlock, keeps them from continuing this tradition. Kris resolves that when he is old enough, he will brave the forest and Warlock, in order to give their toys to the children in the nearby town. He manages to slip the Warlock and heads to the town. Unbeknownst to Kris, toys are outlawed in Sombertown. He meets the school teacher, Jessica, and convinces them all to take toys. Kris almost gets arrested, but runs away, only to be captured by the Winter Warlock. When he gives the Warlock a gift, it melts his icy heart and removes his evil. Winter Warlock teaches Kris a few tricks, like magic snowballs that allow you to watch anyone. Kris keeps coming back and giving more toys, first handing them out to kids, then leaving them at night, lastly putting them in the children’s stockings. The Burgermeister Meisterburger lays a trap and catches Kris. In order to free him, Jessica gets the Winter Warlock to give reindeer his flying corn, and thus Kris’ eight flying reindeer were born. Jessica and Kris get married and move to the North Pole, Kris reverting to his given name of Claus.

Why it’s Great: This film is absolutely adorable and Christmas is never the same without at least one viewing of this film.

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Merry Christmas All!

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For more on Christmas, go to O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

For more on Christmas movies, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more quizzes, go to Simply Fantastic

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Dreaming of the Sandman

A Whole Lot of Fanfare

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So here we are in part four of my fandom posts. You know, I originally planned this as one post and now I am laughing at myself for even thinking that. I guess I didn’t realize how many things I loved. It seems that every time I start on another post, I add like three more things to the list. Well I hope you all are enjoying these and that it sparks your interest in checking these things out.

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Agatha Christie

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Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors. She revolutionized the way mysteries are written, and created a wonderful collection of characters. Not only are her plots amazing, but I like how she presents all the information to you that she gives her detective characters, putting the two of you on equal footing. Although, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot tend to always be smarter. She also does not shy away from doing extremely radical ideas, such as having a child be the killer or having a part of the narration be through the killer (although at the time you don’t realize that person is the killer.) Her work is so great that every time I am in a bookstore I hunt down her books as I hope to one day own them all. I strongly recommend reading any of her novels. When you start one, you just can’t stop.

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I’m such a fan that I have not only read her mysteries (and watched the films and TV series) but I have read her biography and romance novels that she wrote prior to the mysteries.

Here are a few that I absolutely love: The Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Secret Adversary, The Secret of  Chimneys, Murder on the Links, The Murder at the Vicarage, The Sittaford Mystery aka Murder at Hazelmoor, Peril at End House, Murder on the Orient Express, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans aka The Boomerang ClueDumb Witness, Death on the Nile, Appointment With Death, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas aka A Holiday for Murder aka Murder for ChristmasAnd Then There Were None aka Ten Little Indians, One Two Buckle My Shoe aka Patriotic Murders aka An Overdose of DeathThe Body in the Library, Murder in Retrospect aka Five Little PigsThe Moving Finger, Murder After Hours aka The HollowCrooked House, Murder is Announced, They Came to Baghdad, Funerals Are Fatal aka After the FuneralWhat Mrs. McGillicudy Saw aka 4:50 from PaddingtonThird Girl, Nemesis, Curtain, and Sleeping Murder. I know that seems like a lot, but there is so much more of her books I could have also included.

For more on Agatha Christie, go to Quite a Horror Story: Agatha Christie’s Poirot Hallowe’en Party (2011)

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Awkward

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So I was a huge fan and fangirled over the first season of this show. After that, it kinda went downhill for me and I stopped watching it, so I have no idea how it is now. But that first season, that first season is gold.

So I was flipping channels one day and just happened upon Awkward. As I was watching the episode I decided that I would watch the first one to see what’s what, and that’s it. I was hooked.

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I watched all the episodes I could to catch up, and then reached the point where I had to be like all the other fans and watch one by one.

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And I was a mega-fan. I actually went on the message boards.

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I would write constantly my thoughts on the episodes, how I felt about the whole love triangle, who I wanted her to end up with, and promoting the J-train all the way (will explain in a minute).

So what is the show about? Well, Awkward is about Jenna Hamilton, nerd girl, who hopes this year will be different. Jenna has had a crush on this guy Matty McKibbon, forever.

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She is surprised when at summer camp he wants to have sex with her. She thinks that maybe this could work out, this could happen, but nope. After Matty gets what he wants he ignores her.

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She gets home and gets this horrible letter stating everything wrong with her. She is reading it in the bathroom when she accidentally slips and falls. The big prob, her blow dryer fell in the tub, she spilled all her razors and asprins, etc. It looks like she was trying to commit suicide.

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Everyone thinks she was trying to commit suicide, even though she keeps telling them she wasn’t. Now she has to go to counseling sessions all the time.

Not only that, but she constantly picked on by the most popular girl in school, Sadie, who is jealous of how pretty Jenna is. Now this was one of the reasons why I liked this show. Jenna reminded me of a more sexually active (as I abstain) and more passive version of myself. As I was bullied too by other girls. Of course, I would have reacted differently.

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Now to further the drama of the year she has the guy issues. First there is Matty who only uses her for sex.

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He never wants to publicly be seen with her, never acknowledges her, and puts her down in front of everyone.

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Then you have Jake. The two start of as friends, then Jake realizes he has feelings for her.

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He breaks up with his girlfriend and tries to date her, never pressuring her for anything, not caring who knows he likes her, etc.

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And now Matty gets mad. As soon as Jake mentions he’s into Jenna, now Matty is into Jenna. Eventually it all comes down to Jenna having to make a decision as to which boy to pick. And I of course was all about Jenna and Jake, the J-train as us fans called it. Jake was just so perfect!

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Sweet, sensitive, funny, and completely secure in himself that he didn’t care what anyone said about him dating Jenna. Plus, the best thing ever: he showed Jenna that a relationship is more than sex. Sure that’s what he wants, but he can wait a long time, making sure he got to know the person, before he did anything.

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So season one was great, and ended perfectly.

Season two was where I had issues. Matty purposely tries to do stuff to break the two up as he wants to be with Jenna. That whole, you have it I want it.

And not only that, the kept writing it so Jenna was unsure if maybe Matty really loved her and that’s the guy she should be with.

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This dude only wanted you for sex! Only sex. He never wanted to have a conversation. He didn’t care how you felt. He paraded other girls in front of you. He treated you horribly! Horribly! And you think that’s love?

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Plus he was too ashamed to even be seen with you.

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And, and he made fun of you in front of the whole school!

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He is a horrible human being.

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So like I said, I stopped watching it. First season is golden! And that is where it ends for me in my mind. So defintely check out the first season, the rest of it depends really whether you are a Matty or a Jake fan. J-train all the way!

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Deadwood

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Deadwood was one of those series that ended too soon. It lasted only a season, but was so cool. It tells the history of Deadwood, South Dakota; one of the most famous Western towns.They combine a lot of historical figures; such as Seth Bullock, Al Swearengen, Wild Bill Hickok, Sol Star, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp,George Crook, E. B. Farnum, Charlie Utter, Jack McCall, and George Hearst; along with blending it with fictional people. It’s not 100% accurate, but is really awesome! I loved this show as I love practically anything Western. Plus it has the handsome Timothy Olyphant.

This doesn't feel right.

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Diagnosis Murder

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Diagnosis Murder was one of my absolute favorite TV shows growing up. It came on every Thursday night on PAX, now ION, and it was the only time that my parents would let us stay up past our bedtimes on a school night.

Dr. Mark Sloane (Dick Van Dyke) is the super intelligent doctor at Community General Hospital in Los Angeles, CA. He always loved mysteries and wanted to be a detective, achieving this dream by helping his police detective son, Steve (played by his real son Barry Van Dyke). The two are rounded out by Dr. Amanda Bentley (Victoria Rowell), the medical examiner; and Jack Stewart (Scott Baio); guy from a crime family turning on that life and making something of himself. Jack ended up leaving to go to Denver, and they brought on Jesse Travis(played by Charlie Schlatter), my second favorite character. Jesse is the sweet, handsome, and adorable resident at Community General, and later head of the Emergency Room.

It was one awesome show that balanced mystery, medicine, and crime. You used to be able to watch them all on Youtube, but for some strange reason they took them down. 😦

But if you can get a chance, you should definitely check it out.

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Frank Peretti

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Frank Peretti is one of my favorite authors. In fact I was able to meet him once and totally fangirled over him. But he was super nice as he autographed my books and actually spent a long time talking to me. It made the other people in line mad, and I can’t blame them, but I didn’t care as I had just met FRANK PERETTI!

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Frank Peretti started out being a pastor, but discovered that it wasn’t the life for him. He drifted from job to job, and while working in a snowshoe factory he wrote his first novel, This Present Darkness. He has now written over 30 books for adults, teens, and children. His books are amazing as they always have great, realistic characters, action, adventure, suspense, and a moral message. Everytime I read his works I feel great! Although also like this:

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So I haven’t read everything, but I’ll tell you what I think about the things I have read.

Hangman’s Curse– This was the first of the Peretti novels I read, and when I read this one I was hooked. The Springfield family of four- mom, dad, teenage twins (boy and girl), work for the government as an undercover unit to infiltrate places the FBI, CIA, and Police departments can’t. A sort of 21 Jump Street. They are sent to a small town to investigate the mysterious deaths of students. Students who are bullying others, are being killed. How? By a ghost of a student who hung himself. Or at least that is what everyone is saying. When the team goes in, they discover that there is much more to this plot then they could ever have imagined.

It was an amazing book! Suspenseful, supernatural, action, etc. It had me on the edge of my seat furiously flipping pages to discover what happens next. And the ending is so unexpected and fantastic!

This book was turned into a movie, in which it was absolutely amazing. I’ve been meaning to do a post on it for Horrorfest, and will soon.

Nightmare Academy– A healthy, extremely intelligent boy runs away from home and is found a few months later naked, incoherent, and with the mental capacities of a one-year old. The only thing he seems to remember is two words-Nightmare Academy. The government calls upon the Springfield family, who once again go undercover. The twins pretend to be runaways and are approached by a woman from the Knight-Moore Academy. They agree to go, but this school is more sinister than they imagine. The two are drugged and wake up in a place where there are no morals, no truths, but a world where anything you believe is right is right, and absolutes are non-existent. Their parents had been keeping an eye on the twins, but find they’d been carried away right under their noses and there is no trace that they even existed. Who are these people? What are they doing to the kids?

This books was freakin’ amazing.

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It is suspenseful, it is mind-boggling, it is realistic, is crazy…I could go on. Let me just say that if any of you are a fan of Hunger Games, Maze Runner, or Divergent this will totally be something you’d love.

This Present Darkness– His first novel and a really amazing one. In this book a small town becomes the battleground in a war between the angels and demons. A collection of people want to take over the town and its college in order to indoctrinate the students into believing their untruths. On the other side of the battle is an agnostic editor, Marshall, and his star reporter, Bernice, trying to figure out what is going on in the town as nothing sits right with them. Fighting alongside, but unbeknowest to them, is Hank, the pastor of a little church and a true prayer warrior. It has action, comedy, suspense, drama, and the supernatural

Piercing the Darkness The sequel to This Present Darkness. In this novel, a group of people are set on closing down a Christian school, removing kids from a widowed Christian teacher, and causing their school material to be the only thing taught. Once again people find themselves fighting in the earthly and spiritual realm. This book is its own story with its own characters, but Peretti does bring back a few favorites such as Marshall, Hank, and Bernice. It was a great read, and almost as good as the original.

Prophet– John Barrett is the attractive and most popular news anchor on his station. He is estranged from his father and son, but in everything else doing absolutely splendid. Money, fame, adoring fans. Everything changes when his father dies, and no one seems to find the circumstances suspicious. Later he finds out that his news station is being selective in what has actually occurred and changing stories so they are sensational, instead of truthful. This causes John to start looking for the real truth and sets him down a path he never thought he would ever go down. It was a great book that sucks you in.

The Visitation– I have yet to read this, as you all know my to-read list is in the millions, but I have seen the film. In this a man comes to town who seems to have miraculous powers and claims to be the son of God, Jesus. Yet, there is more to this man than meets the eye. The film was amazingly good and you can all expect a review of it to be coming in some future Horrorfest.

House– House is actually a collabaration between Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker (the Christian version of Stephan King). This is not my all-time favorite books of his, mostly because Ted Dekkar style really doesn’t suit me. He’s just a bit too dark. I wouldn’t read this until I had finished all of Frank Peretti’s other books. They made a movie out of this and it was on Amazon Instant Watch, a while back, but I couldn’t watch it. I’ll get around to it eventually, and you’ll probably see it popping up on a future Horrorfest.

For more on Frank Peritti, go to A Little Bit of Love

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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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I can still sing the intro to this show 100% perfectly. Oh I loved this show growing up, and of course Will Smith. I think everyone was in love with him, I mean come on funny and attractive? Carlton was another of my favorites because he was so incredibly straightlaced. And don’t forget Geoffrey the sarcastic butler. But wait…I’m getting ahead of myself

So the story is about Will (played by Will Smith) who in West Philidelphia was born and raised. And on the playground is where he spent ost of his days. Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool-shooting some b-ball outside of school. Then a couple of guys who were up to no good, started making trouble in the neighborhood. He got in one little fight and his mom got scared, and said your moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air.

His uncle Phil and Aunt Viv grew up poor, but have moved up the social ladder-him a judge and her a professor, and are now rich. They at times seem to have forgotten their past, which Will reminds them of.

Their oldest daughter is Hilary, vapid, only cares about shopping, and for lack of a better word-bimbo. She is sweet and always providing comic relief.

Their second child is Carleton, who is about the same age as Will and always butting heads with him. Carlton is a super prep, nerd, ultra-conservative; but extremely hilarious. And a great dancer.

In fact “The Carlton” was so popular they reprised it on Dancing With the Stars.

Just Dance you guys need to add this to your repitoire.

The youngest child is Ashley. Ashley is still trying to figure out who she is and, as her siblings are older and in that phase where they want nothing to do with their younger sis, she gets really close to Will and bonds with him. She ends up with a singing career, encouraged by Will.

And rounding out the the household is the British, sarcastic butler. Hmm…I wonder who had it first? FPBA or The Nanny?

Anyways, it was a hilarious show and the essence of the ’90s.

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LifeasaFangirl

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For Part 3, go to Fantastic Fantasies

Stay tuned for Part 5

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For more posts on my love of books, go to A Sad and Lonely Place

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Over and Over Again

I Survived!

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I survived, did you?

So this year’s Horrorfest was very, very different. After last year’s issues, I started writing this in May. This was the first time I have ever fully planned out a Horrorfest, as I had all the films picked and almost all finished by September.

So for the past two years, you have heard me say how I haven’t been able to complete all of Universal’s Classic Monster Films. Well I finally did it.  Wooot!!!

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Once I wrote that post, I was so excited. You see, I felt I really couldn’t do a post on any werewolf films until I had covered the first one. I thought it was only right to start with the original. With that done, I could move onto any other werewolf film I desired. And I did. I decided to end Horrorfest with The Wolfman (2010). But then I decided to take it one step further. About every five episodes has a werewolf in it. It was a howling good time.

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I also decided to do When a Stranger Calls, because of the phone harassment I had experienced. I took this one step further by doing  all four of the Scream films, along with the Alfred Hitchcock film Dial “M” for Murder.

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Speaking of Alfred Hitchcock, after hearing me complain for two years about trying to review one of his films, I have reviewed not one, not two, but three Alfred Hitchcock films. I was only planning on doing Under Capricorn, because I was planning on talking about Samson Flunky for St. Patrick’s Day 2015. I ended up doing Shadow of a Doubt as it just entered my mind and Dial “M” for Murder. Still haven’t gotten around to Psycho. Well, there’s always next year.

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So every year I mention wanting to do  Vincent Price films; like House on Haunted Hill. The Tomb of Ligeia, The Pit and the Pendulum, etc. I didn’t get around to any of those famous Vincent Price films, but I did do a film with him in it. I went over Laura (1944), which is when he is really young.

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So I hope you all enjoyed it! I did. But then everyday to me is October.

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So I usually put in a poll to see what you all you like, but I decided that I don’t care. I liked them all. Instead I’m just going to list them below for some of you who might have missed them.

Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

It’s Coming From Inside the House: When A Stranger Calls (2006)

In Their Proper Place: Metropolis (1927)

What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?: Scream (1996)

I’ll Be Back: The Terminator (1984)

Let Them Fight: Godzilla (2014)

Unleash the Savage Instincts that Lie Hidden Within: I Was A Teenage Werewolf (1957)

What is This Thing?: Phantoms (1998)

Only A Woman: Queen of Outer Space (1958)

Happily Ever Aftermath: Grimm (2012)

It’s Happening Again, Isn’t It?: Scream 2 (1997)

You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

You Will Die in Seven Days: The Ring (2002)

Keep Clear Of the Moor. Beware the Moon: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

I Was Here For A Moment. And Then I Was Gone: The Lovely Bones (2009)

Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die

Tuesday the 17th: Psych (2009)

All I Know About Trilogies is That in the Third One, All Bets are Off: Scream 3 (2000)

Who’s Afraid of Cory Wolf: Boy Meets World (1994)

But the Book, It Will Never Close…: Along Came a Spider (2001)

Every Time I Bring a Girl Over, You Try to Eat Her!: Vampires Suck (2010)

Murder is My Favorite Crime: Laura (1944)

Monster Movie: Supernatural (2008)

You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat: Jaws (1975)

Don’t F*** With the Original: Scre4m (2011)

Werewolves Roam Among Us: Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (2000)

The Past of a Man: Under Capricorn (1949)

There’s Nothing Out There. Nothing in the Mist: The Mist (2007)

What Have We Done to Each Other?: Gone Girl (2014)

The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

Every Time I Bring a Girl Over, You Try to Eat Her!: Vampires Suck (2010)

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Every time I bring a girl over, you try to eat her! It’s not fair!

So I LOVED this movie! I found it so freakin’ hilarious, OMG.

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So I am not a fan of the Twilight series, never read them and never seen them (except for the one time my friend and I watched part of it with the audio off and made the characters say funny things and Everything Wrong With Twilight). All my friends were into it, and at my school people would get into literal fights over who was better Jacob or Edward. It was like Raider and 49er fans fighting, but much worse. I was never team Edward or Jacob but:

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After all:

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I had friends who were hardcore fans (Twihards as I called them) and told me everything, but I couldn’t find it that interesting. I thought it was just a rehash of old things:

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And I’m a purist. My vampires need to be like Dracula and my werewolves like The Wolf Man.

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Anyways, so this movie came out in 2010 and when I saw the trailer, I was intrigued as it looked really funny.

And it was! The jokes were spot on, not only spoofing the film but the pop culture of the day.

From Edward’s strange, crazy ways.

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To Jacob’s constant stripping and showing his body.

To the fights girls would have over the guys.

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It even has a cameo of Buffy the vampire slayer.

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It was so great I wanted to watch it again. You should definitely check it out.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to But the Book, It Will Never Close…

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For more on Vampires, go to When the Itsy-Bitsy Spider is No Longer Itsy-Bitsy

For more on werewolves, go to Who’s Afraid of Cory Wolf?

For more parodies, go to All I Know About Trilogies is That in the Third One, All Bets are Off

For more modern teenage remakes, go to Unleash the Savage Instincts that Lie Hidden Within

For more films based on a book, go to I Was Here for a Moment. And Then I Was Gone

For more on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, go to You Can’t Have Just One!

For more on Everything Wrong With, go to Let Them Fight

For more fangirl posts, go to How I Differ From Others