Book Club Picks: The Illustrated Man

Thirteen weeks after a Friday the 13th, we have another

Don’t worry I got you covered with my new post.

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I am now right on track!

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want.

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

I don’t remember when I first read this book, but I know it was after Fahrenheit 451Out of all his short story collections; this is my ultimate favorite. The stories range from funny, thoughtful, and downright creepy. It is an incredible collection and once you start, you just can’t stop. I’ve talked about this book before, but here we go again:

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

Since I have posted on this before, I am only going to discuss the stories we went over in our book club.

The Illustrated Man starts with an average joe taking a walking tour in the summer of Wisconsin. As he stops for the night he is come upon by an illustrated man.

This man used to work for the circus, but back in 1900 he broke his leg. Looking for a way to make money while he rested, he went to a tattoo artist who covered him from neck to belt. What he didn’t know was that this tattoo artist was a witch.

Yes, she infused his illustrations with magic making them be alive and always moving telling their story.

However, there is one blank spot on his back. If you are a woman, you see your whole life from birth to old age. If you are a man, you see how you die.

The illustrated man warns his companion not to look, but he doesn’t listen and has to see them…

Illustration I: The Veldt

The Lion King

This is what the DCOM Smart House is loosely based on.

The live in the future in a smart house that does everything for them. They even can change the pictures on the walls to be anything they want them to be. The children constantly want it to be a veldt with lions.

The parents try to discipline their children and get them to do more but all they want to do is sit around and have the machines do everything for them. The parents determine it is time to turn off the house and go back to how things are supposed to be. Will the parents be able to change their kids? Or will the kids make sure their parents can never boss them around again?

“The lions look real, don’t they?…I don’t suppose there’s any way—–‘

‘What?’

‘—that they could become real?”

No one else really enjoyed this story as they felt it was too sad. I like it as it is a great blend of creepy and thrilling. It shows you why you should not spoil your children-and a big wake up to having your kid just sit in front of a tablet, phone, or TV. I love it, and think you should check it out.

Illustration III: The Other Foot

HateTwilightZone

Mars has been colonized only by African Americans. Now they hear that European Americans are traveling to Mars and decide to institute a Jim Crow law for them. Will they decide to make them pay for past wrongs, or will they all be able to start a new life in equality?

“This is the other shoe, Mayor, the other foot…”

We all loved this story. It has such a great message and a fantastic ending!

Illustration V: The Man

Bethphage-Jesus-enter-Jerusalem

A crew arrive on a planet ready to have glory and fame, but find the people uninterested as the person who came before them brought extreme happiness and bliss. One crewman believes him to be Jesus and wants to learn from the people. The Captain, however, is set on getting his glory and will stop this man any way he can.

“Leave these people alone. They’ve got something good and decent, and you come and foul up the nest and sneer at it. Well, I’ve talked to them too. I’ve gone through the city and seen their faces, and they’ve got something you’ll never have–a little simple faith, and they’ll move mountains with it. You, you’re boiled because someone stole your act, got here ahead and made you unimportant.”

The member who chose the book, this is her favorite story. She loves how it plays out and how the character’s testimony was so strong it helped the one man believe and have faith. She compared it to Christianity and Jesus. We all enjoyed this story as well. 

Illustration VI: The Long Rain

rainbreakfastattiffaneyscat

We have colonized Venus, but it is a horrible place of endless rain. Sun domes were built to help us stay sane and in health, and this story follows a group of astronauts as they hope to make it to the dome, but will they?

“Drops fell and touched other drops and they became streams that trickled over his body, and while these moved down his flesh, the small growths of the forest took root in his clothing.”

We all enjoyed this story as well. One member posed a very interesting question: Does the sundome exist or is it just a mirage?

Illustration VII: The Fire Balloons

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A group of priests go to Mars to start a church and help bring peace and morals to a crazed group of colonists. One priest makes it his mission to try and bring Christ to the Martians.

“We feel absurd here—even I; for it is something new, this business of converting the creatures of another world.”

One member just loved this story. He felt that it was a perfect illustration for missionary work and just loved how the one priest had such a fire and desire to be there for the fire balloons and try and show them God’s love.

Illustration IX: The Last Night of the World

TheEnd_Title_2

A married couple realize that today is the last day on Earth. How would you spend your time if you had such an inclination?

“What would you do if you knew this was the last night in the world?”

One member just loved this story. She felt that if it was her last night on Earth she would spend it the exact same way.

Illustration X: The Exiles

fahrenheit451firemontagguy

On Earth, countless literature from Edgar Allen Poe to William Shakespeare to Charles Dickens have been banned on Earth. They remain alive on Mars as their last books are still undamaged there. But when humans decide to completely destroy every page, these characters and their creators decide to wage a war on them. Will they win?

“His last book gone. Someone on Earth just now burned it.’

‘God rest him. Nothing of him left now. For what are we but books, and when those are gone, nothing’s to be seen.”

I love this one. Books fighting back, trying to survive in a world that feels they aren’t needed, a great story.

Illustration XVII: Zero Hour

Miscommunication is always funny as a kid. Not so much later on in life.

Kids are playing that aliens are coming, an invasion in which they will rule and the grow ups will be gone. But what if it isn’t a game?

“Mom, I’ll be sure you won’t be hurt much, really!”

All agreed super creepy, but a very good read.

Illustration XVIII: The Rocket

From the film Stargate.

From the film Stargate.

Fiorello Bodoni has saved $3000 to send a family member into space, but only one can go. Which one?

“We will remember it for always, Papa. We will never forget.”

We all loved this story. Just the love this family has and how much they care about each other. A fantastic read!

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Masterpiece

For more books by Ray Bradbury, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For more on The Illustrated Man, go toEach Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

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Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

Day 19) S is for Short Stories: Choose a collection of Short Stories

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The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

I don’t remember when I first read this book, but I know it was after Fahrenheit 451Out of all his short story collections; this is my ultimate favorite. The stories range from funny, thoughtful, and downright creepy. It is an incredible collection and once you start, you just can’t stop.

bookshotdate

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

The Illustrated Man starts with an average joe taking a walking tour in the summer of Wisconsin. As he stops for the night he is come upon by an illustrated man.

This man used to work for the circus, but back in 1900 he broke his leg. Looking for a way to make money while he rested, he went to a tattoo artist who covered him from neck to belt. What he didn’t know was that this tattoo artist was a witch.

crucible_the_1996_685x385

Yes, she infused his illustrations with magic making them be alive and always moving telling their story.

keanu Whoa

However, there is one blank spot on his back. If you are a woman, you see your whole life from birth to old age. If you are a man, you see how you die.

OMG gasp

The illustrated man warns his companion not to look, but he doesn’t listen and has to see them…

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

Illustration I: The Veldt

The Lion King

This is what the DCOM Smart House is loosely based on.

The live in the future in a smart house that does everything for them. They even can change the pictures on the walls to be anything they want them to be. The children constantly want it to be a veldt with lions.

The parents try to discipline their children and get them to do more but all they want to do is sit around and have the machines do everything for them. The parents determine it is time to turn off the house and go back to how things are supposed to be. Will the parents be able to change their kids? Or will the kids make sure their parents can never boss them around again?

“The lions look real, don’t they?…I don’t suppose there’s any way—–‘

‘What?’

‘—that they could become real?”

Illustration II: Kaleidoscope

Space Mountain

The crew of a space ship has been torn apart, and this records their last thoughts as they hurl toward Earth.

“It was so very odd. Space, thousands of miles of space, and these voices vibrating in the center of it.”

Illustration III: The Other Foot

HateTwilightZone

Mars has been colonized only by African Americans. Now they hear that European Americans are traveling to Mars and decide to institute a Jim Crow law for them. Will they decide to make them pay for past wrongs, or will they all be able to start a new life in equality?

“This is the other shoe, Mayor, the other foot…”

Illustration IV: The Highway

supernatural impala

A husband and wife live by a highway in rural Mexico, where people stop all the time. Something seems to be more pressing than usual, but what?

“Oh, please hurry!’ one of the girls cried. She sounded very high and afraid.”

Illustration V: The Man

Bethphage-Jesus-enter-Jerusalem

A crew arrive on a planet ready to have glory and fame, but find the people uninterested as the person who came before them brought extreme happiness and bliss. One crewman believes him to be Jesus and wants to learn from the people. The Captain, however, is set on getting his glory and will stop this man any way he can.

“Leave these people alone. They’ve got something good and decent, and you come and foul up the nest and sneer at it. Well, I’ve talked to them too. I’ve gone through the city and seen their faces, and they’ve got something you’ll never have–a little simple faith, and they’ll move mountains with it. You, you’re boiled because someone stole your act, got here ahead and made you unimportant.”

Illustration VI: The Long Rain

rainbreakfastattiffaneyscat

We have colonized Venus, but it is a horrible place of endless rain. Sun domes were built to help us stay sane and in health, and this story follows a group of astronauts as they hope to make it to the dome, but will they?

“Drops fell and touched other drops and they became streams that trickled over his body, and while these moved down his flesh, the small growths of the forest took root in his clothing.”

Illustration VII: The Rocket Man

startrek

Astronauts are hard to come by and a hard life, so those that are astronauts are paid a lot, but gone for months. This story is the relationship of the mother and son as they deal with the father/husband’s absence.

“Doug…I want you to promise me something.’

‘What?’

‘Don’t ever be a Rocket Man.”

Illustration VII: The Fire Balloons

finishtherace

A group of priests go to Mars to start a church and help bring peace and morals to a crazed group of colonists. One priest makes it his mission to try and bring Christ to the Martians.

“We feel absurd here—even I; for it is something new, this business of converting the creatures of another world.”

Illustration IX: The Last Night of the World

TheEnd_Title_2

A married couple realize that today is the last day on Earth. How would you spend your time if you had such an inclination?

“What would you do if you knew this was the last night in the world?”

Illustration X: The Exiles

fahrenheit451firemontagguy

On Earth, countless literature from Edgar Allen Poe to William Shakespeare to Charles Dickens have been banned on Earth. They remain alive on Mars as their last books are still undamaged there. But when humans decide to completely destroy every page, these characters and their creators decide to wage a war on them. Will they win?

“His last book gone. Someone on Earth just now burned it.’

‘God rest him. Nothing of him left now. For what are we but books, and when those are gone, nothing’s to be seen.”

Illustration XI: No Particular Night or Morning

nightmare before christmas nothing turn out like it should

Two friends are traveling in a spaceship, as one determines that nothing exists that he cannot touch. Is he right and there is nothing in space but emptiness?

“So I began to find gaps between everything. I doubted I was married or had a child or ever had a job in my life…I couldn’t prove anything.”

Illustration XII: The Fox and the Forest

dangerous crossingphoneringsscared

In the future, the world is an ugly one full of war and life in a factory creating more weapons of war. The one bright spot is the ability to travel back in time. A couple, William and Susan Travis, decide to run for their lives by remaining in 1930s Mexico. But will their plan work, or will they be captured and sent back?

“Save me, hide me, help me! Color my hair, my eyes; clothe me in strange clothes. I need your help. I’m from the year 2155!”

Illustration XIII: The Visitor

wolfman dead bodies lots cart

Mars is a place where those with deadly diseases go and live out the remainders of their days. One day a young boy comes with the ability to create any image or bring back any memory. He plans to use it and rule over the others; but will they be willing to share or will they take him for what they want?

“Come on. Don’t you realize what’ll happen once they discover your talent? They’ll fight over you. They’ll kill each other–kill you–for the right to own you.”

Illustration XIV: The Concrete Mixer

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Mars goes to invade Earth, but instead finds the people welcoming them. One Martin, Ettil, never wanted to travel to Earth. He finds that although the Earthlings hope to exploit Martians, the Earth ways will also mark death for the Martians.

“Don’t you feel it?’ he whispered…Something’s going to happen to us. They have some plan. Something subtle and horrible. They’re going to do something to us-I know.”

Illustration XV: Marionettes, Inc.

bodysnatch3

A man is tired of his clingy wife and pays for a cyborg double to take his place so he can go off and have fun. But what if the puppet is no longer satisfied at being controlled and wants to control the strings?

“Your wife is rather nice,’ said Braling Two. ‘I’ve grown rather fond of her.”

Illustration XVI: The City

Metropolis city

A group of astronauts land on an uncharted planet and find an empty city. But they soon realize this city is not as empty as it looks, as it has been waiting to unleash what it was made for.

“I am no longer your captain,’ he said. ‘Nor am I a man.’

The men moved back.

‘I am the city,’ he said, and smiled.”

Illustration XVII: Zero Hour

Miscommunication is always funny as a kid. Not so much later on in life.

Kids are playing that aliens are coming, an invasion in which they will rule and the grow ups will be gone. But what if it isn’t a game?

“Mom, I’ll be sure you won’t be hurt much, really!”

Illustration XVIII: The Rocket

From the film Stargate.

From the film Stargate.

Fiorello Bodoni has saved $3000 to send a family member into space, but only one can go. Which one?

“We will remember it for always, Papa. We will never forget.”

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

In the end the last image is shown, our narrator’s death by the illustrated man. He runs for town, but will he make it?

Along came a spider morgan freeman running

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But the good kind of trauma.

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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 She Struck Him as a Fixer-Upper, a Block of Clay Ready for Pygmalion’s Chisel: The Overnight Socialite

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For more on Ray Bradbury, go to It’s A Fan World After All

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

For more bible verses, go to So You’re the Little Woman Who Wrote the Book that Made this Great War: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

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In The Exiles, they mention how no one believes in Santa Claus and he has become a shadow of the man he was, a skeleton in red. No more Christmas, no more.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

This reminds me of the song I Believe in Santa Claus. This was written by Maury Laws and Jules Bass and used for the Christmas Special, The Year Without a Santa Claus.

Yeah without a Santa Clause

I never believed in Santa Claus, but I like this song as it reminds you that no matter what happens you must hold on to the spirit of Christmas.

DEc

No matter what, always believe in its goodness and love.

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This song was performed by Mickey Rooney and Ron Marshall

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For more on The Year Without a Santa Claus, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

For more Christmas Carols, go to A Quest of Swords and Wizards: The Crown Conspiracy

Friday Night Fun

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Day 26) Your Favorite Disney Original Movie (DCOM)

Now when I was a kid we actually had great shows on TV; such as Boy Meets WorldEven Stevens, Sister Sister, Lizzie McGuire, etc. Not like today:

Disney

I mean Dog with a Blog? Really? Really Disney? JessieANT Farm, etc. all suck.

Best the best thing was the DCOMs. I loved the Friday nights when they would show these awesome films. So instead of picking just one film, as that is far too difficult, I’m going to list out my favs.

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16) The Paper Brigade (1997)

Paper Brigade

Gunther is new in town and trying to fit in. He wants to go to a concert, with the school hottie, and tries to find a way to make the cash. He gets a paper brigade and is rolling in the dough, (I remember thinking, do paperboys really make that much money?). Some bullies try to take him down and in true Braveheart fashion, he defends his turf.

Paper brigade

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15) Under Wraps (1997)

Under Wraps

This was a hilarious film about three kids discovering a mummy. I won’t say any more because I will be talking about this film more this October during Horrorfest III. Come back and check it out.

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14) Johnny Tsunami (1999)

-JohnnytsunamifilmJohnny a surfing Hawaiian boy who is forced to move from his surf and sunny beaches for ice-cold Vermont. There he finds himself sticking out in a town full of snowboarders or skiers. He clashes with the others, but also befriends one snowboarder. He and a skier have a fight over the school hottie, and race against each other to win rights.

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13) Brink (1998)

Disney_-_BrinkWhen I was growing up I had a huge crush on the movie surfer Erik von Detten, so I was totally into this film as it starred him. This film is about rollerblading, which every kid in the ’90s loved (whether or not they actually could roller blade). It actually is based on the book Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, one of my favs as a kid.

So Andy “Brink” Brink, is a great skater who does it for the love of the sport. When his family falls on hard financial times, he sells out and joins Team X-Bladz, changing as he gets money and fame. Eventually Brink realizes his mistakes and who his real friends are, leaving the X-Bladz.

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12) Susie Q (1996)

Susie_Q_poster

Story of a 1950s girl who is killed on her prom night in a car crash, only to have her spirit reawaken 40 years later to make sure that her parents don’t lose their house. Meanwhile, Zach is an everyday high school student who is dealing with the death of his dad and a move to a new town. His family moves into Susie’s house, where he finds her charm bracelet which enables him to see and communicate with her. The two team up with his little hacker sister and try to take on the evil guy who is trying to kick people out of their homes so he can set up a shopping mall. It is a hilarious film! I remember that I loved the story, and her dress, along with the fact that the pink ranger was in it.

pink ranger kimberly

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11) The Thirteenth Year (1999)

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I have to admit I went through a phase where I thought I too was going to turn into a mermaid, and what better to increase my interest/obsession than this film? So the story is about popular, top swimmer, Cody and how during his 13th birthday he starts turning into a mermaid or merman.

He was adopted as a baby and only now is transforming as 13 is when mermaids become adults (no wonder Ariel was like I’m an adult I’m in love). His friend Sean tries to hep him understand what’s going on, when they soon face the bigger threat of people discovering his abilities and trying to do experiments on him. Everything is eventually resolved with him deciding that he will take turns living with both parents (adopted and his mer-mother who finds him).

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10) Alley Cats Strike (2000)

Disney_-_Alley_Cats_Strike

This was a big fav as a kid. I absolutely loved this film and Kyle Schmid (I feel like I say that a looot). So Alex (Schmid), Elisa, Delia, and Ken are these kids who are into retro clothing and bowling, (not very in crowd). Everything changes for them when their school competes in a series of athletic events for the town trophy and finds themselves tied.  The tiebreaker is determined to be bowling. Todd, the most popular and athletic kid in school, joins the team to lead the group to victory. Only prob is, he sucks. The team struggles to fit him in, as they find him causing trouble within the group. 

Bowling Alley  Cats Strike

 

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9) Mom’s Got a Data With a Vampire (2000)

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Love this film so much. Some kids accidentally set their mom up on a date with a Vampire and have to save her from being killed! It is an awesome film and I will talk about more during Horrorfest III. Check back this October.

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8) Teen Beach Movie (2013)

Teen beach movie

Okay so this is a new DCOM, and I know it totally contradicts my earlier rant about Disney sucking today, but I just loved this film. When I was growing up, ’60s Beach movies were my absolute favorite. I loved Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. The songs, the campiness of it all. So when I saw Disney was going to do a parody film, I was super excited!

So this isn’t the first time this has been done. Sabrina the Teenage Witch did an episode where they go to Florida for Spring Break and have “Good, clean, fun.” In this film, Brady (Ross Lynch) and his girlfriend Mack are having loads of fun surfing, until Brady finds out that Mack is going away to finishing school. When the two ride a 40-foot wave, they find themselves in Brady’s favorite film, the 1960s Wet Side Story. Hilarity ensues as the two find themselves in the middle of a biker and surfer fight, singing, surfing, and having some “good, clean, fun.”

Cute guys, great music, and absolutely fabulous 1960s clothes.

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7) Smart House (1999)

Smart House

I loved this movie so much as a kid! I totally wanted this house, I thought it would be so cool to live there (you know before it went crazy). But this film holds an even greater place in my heart as it truly captures my childhood/pre-teen time of my life. The music, clothes, food, etc.

So in this film this engineer/computer scientist creates a program that runs a house to fulfill your every command. She holds a contest to get the house, in which Ben Cooper and his family win. Even though Mrs. Cooper died a while ago, Ben becomes angry when his father begins dating the house designer, Sara Barnes. He tweaks with the program so it is more motherly, creating a dangerous machine that tries to imprison them. This film is also surprisingly based on a literary work, “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury. I loved the idea of having a house like this, along with having a huge crush on Ryan Merriman. 

ryan

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6) Luck of the Irish (2001)

The_Luck_of_the_Irish

Disney plays this film every March 17th, and I am so glad as it is hilarious. Kyle is the golden child; captain of the basketball team, straight-A student, and Lady Luck always seems to be smiling down at him. However that all changes when Kyle’s lucky coin is stolen from him. He then discovers that his mother’s family are leprechauns and that coin held their family luck, also allowing them to walk about the Earth looking like normal humans. With his mom shrinking, and him becoming shorter and more leperchauny ever minute, he sets out to track down the thief and restore his family luck.

So I love this film, and I actually have another post all detailed on it. I had a huge crush on Ryan Merriman, leprechaun or human
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For more on Luck of the Irish, go to Pot o’ Gold

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5) Wish Upon a Star (1996)

Wish_Upon_a_Star

This story is about two sisters; the elder being pretty and popular, while the younger brainy, short, and insecure. The two wish to be the other as each thinks the other has an easy life.  But when their wish comes true and they switch bodies, they discover that there is more to each other than they originally thought. I just love the portrayal of their relationships and how they are able to work through their problems and bond in the end.

Wish Upon a Star

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4) Stepsister from Planet Weird (2000)

Stepsister_from_Planet_Weird

So in this film two gas formed aliens flee their country for Earth. There the father, Earth name Cosmo Cola, meets Earth woman Kathy Larson and the two fall in love deciding to get married. Kathy’s daughter doesn’t want this to happen as she finds Cosmo and his daughter Ariel to be freaks. Ariel doesn’t want her father to fall in love and marry Kathy as she still hopes to return home, and to her boyfriend Fanul. It is a hilarious film as the aliens try to adapt to Earth and end up having to save the planet.

I just love how cool Ariel seems to everyone, when she isn’t even trying. but just being herself (thank you Disney). I also copied the layered look from her, which did become a major thing. But I have to say the biggest takeaway for me was her line “I fear the wind.” Since they are gas forms, they hate the wind as it kills them. My sis and I would go around saying that every time it was windy, especially when it messed with our hair.

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3) Motorcrossed (2001)

Motocrosseed

This is a modern retelling of Twelfth Night and is one of my absolute favs. When Andrew is injured and can’t compete in the motorcross competition and the family is in trouble, Andrea cuts her hair and pretends to be  Andrew to save the day. Of course, problems arise as she can’t have anyone find out who she is, and starts to fall in love with her friend who thinks she’s a guy.

Andrea pre-haircut and post-haircut.

Andrea pre-haircut and post-haircut.

Plus I had a huge crush on Riley Smith. 🙂

Riley Smith

For more on Motocrossed, go to Disney Lesson

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2) Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)

Zenon Girl of the 21st C

I loved this movie so much as a kid. My love for it was so great that I sat through its excruciating painful sequels. So this film is about Zenon, girl of the 21st century who lives in a Space Station. She gets in trouble and is grounded (literally as she is sent to earth). While there she discovers an evil plot to destroy the space station, and has to do all she can to save her home. I loved the story, clothes, and expressions used in this film. It was an amazing piece. And after the film came out I used to say this all the time (and still do):

zenon

And who could forget this wonderful song?

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1) Phantom of the Megaplex

Phantom of the Megaplex

This has to be my favorite DCOM of all! I loved this film so much as a kid! There are so many amazing things involved in it! It’s a very well done modern version of the Phantom of the Opera. It also references so many other movies, that it just makes a cinephile like me squeal in delight! I also had the hugest crush on the lead, Taylor Handley.  I was like 8 or 9 and in love with him. I actually reviewed this film during Horrorfest, so I will keep the synopsis short as you should really check it out.

So the film is about Taylor Handley’s character, Pete Riley, who is assistant manager at the megaplex and is getting ready for a huge film premiere, Midnight Mayhem, at the theater. However, chaos rains down throughout the night as a phantom lurks and tries to cause destruction.

phantom

For more on Phantom of the Megaplex, go to When Horror Doesn’t Stay on the Screen
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For more on Disney, go to I Could Kiss You

For more of my favorite songs, go to The Boys Are Back in Town

For more on bowling, go to Heeeeee’s Back

For more on films in which car crashes play a significant role, go to He’s My Brother

For more on films in which someone disguises themself as a man, go to I’ll Make a Man Out of You

For more on Even Stevens, go to A Very Scary Story

For more films based on a book, go to Oh Oh De Lally

For more on Lizzie McGuirego to Night of the Day of the Dead

For more on mermaids, go to I’m Not Gonna Lose Her Again!

For more on mummies, go to Eternal Punishment for Whoever Opens this Casket

For more on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, go to A River of Candy Corn Runs Through It

 

Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

Hey everyone! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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So like I mentioned before, I wanted to do something to honor Saint Patrick’s Day but I didn’t really feel it was possible to do 17 posts about Irish-themed films as I wasn’t sure I could think of 17 films. Instead I decided to do something similar to the Chinese New Year Post and I am going to honor 17 awesome Irishmen and women from books and movies.

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17) Joseph Donnelly from Far and Away

Joseph Donnelly (Tom Cruise) is a poor Irishman, who after his father’s death could no longer pay the high rent. After his family farm is burned down, he goes off to take his revenge on the landlord Daniel Christie. That attempt fails, and by some strange coincidence he finds himself being a valet to Christie’s daughter Shannon on her voyage to America. What was thought as being a temporary arrangement becomes more permanent, as all of Shannon’s things are stolen and she finds herself becoming dependent on Joseph for survival. With the two masquerading as brother and sister they start working in the factories to earn enough money to buy land West. As the two continue to work in America they find out that their road West will not be an easy one.

Why Joseph is awesome:

Now I love Tom Cruise in everything he is in; as I find him to be a superb actor and very good-looking. So of course I loved him in this. Besides the fact that he is played by Tom Cruise,  Joseph is a great character. Joseph is an amazing guy because of his patience and compassion. He cares for the spoiled Shannon, which is no easy feat. If I was Joseph I would have left that mean and spiteful thing to fend for herself. However, he eagerly tries to make her happy and when they reach their lowest point and Joseph cannot provide for her, he returns her to her family; sacrificing his love and happiness to save her life.

Besides that, he is hilarious. His “I do not wish to fight you” lines always leave me rolling with laughter. Plus you gotta love a tough scrapper.

For more on Far and Away go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

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16) Fiona O’Shea from The Widow of Larkspur Inn by Lawana Blackwell

After the death of her husband, newly-widowed Julia Hollis finds herself being evicted from her home and losing everything. Her only option is to move herself and her three children, Philip, Adele, and Grace to the country side and turn the old Larkspur Inn into a lodging house. Aided by her butler and joined by her trusty maid and friend Fiona O’Shea, she sets out to try and secure a good life for herself and her family.

Why Fiona is awesome:

While Fiona isn’t the main character, she is one of the best ones in there. Fiona is a girl that has had many trials and tribulations, yet still has a caring, sweet demeanor and a heart of gold. At a young age her father traded her to another man for a goat. Even though Fiona was legally married, her role in the household consisted of her being more of a slave than a wife. Forced to cook, clean, and care for his children; Fiona only hangs on through her faith in Christ. After she loses her child, Fiona bravely takes off for England in hopes of a better life. There she serves under Julia, becoming more than a servant; a best friend. Giving up the security of a job, she follows Julia to Larkspur Inn, knowing that without her help there Julia would never survive.

At the hotel, she becomes head housekeeper and cares for everyone who comes through the doors; helping all to feel loved and welcomed. She even goes to see the Keegans, an Irish family that is shunned by almost the entire village for being Irish and Catholic.

Through her kindness and compassion she is able to help heal one of the lodgers, Mr. Ambrose Clay, an actor who suffers from depression. While the two love each other, Fiona remains true to her vows, and instead of risking any destruction to the progress made in Mr. Clay’s case; she leaves Larkspur Inn. Throughout the whole book Fiona’s compassion and selfishness makes you want to be just like her. In the end her husband dies and she and Mr. Clay are able to be reunited with each other and their old friends.

For more on The Widow of Larkspur Inn, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: The Widow of Larkspur Inn

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15) Kyle Johnson from Luck of the Irish

Disney used to play this film every March 17th, and I am so glad as it is hilarious. Kyle is the golden child; captain of the basketball team, straight-A student, and Lady Luck always seems to be smiling down at him. However, that all changes when Kyle’s lucky coin is stolen from him. He then discovers that his mother’s family are leprechauns and that the coin held their family luck, also allowing them to walk about the Earth looking like normal humans. With his mom shrinking, and him becoming shorter and more leprechauny every minute, he sets out to track down the thief and restore his family luck.

Why Kyle is awesome:

I must confess that when I first watched this movie back in 2001, I had the hugest crush on Ryan Merriman. Besides that, I always thought Kyle was cool because of how he grows as a person when things are no longer easy for him; we see a real strength of character and a heart of gold. When he finds the stolen coins, instead of taking them all, like his grandpa suggests, he just takes his, even though he could have been very lucky and wealthy. Then there are his mad dancing skills he exhibits in the competition against the evil Seamus McTiernen. But most of all, it is when he passes the basketball to his friend in the last game, instead of making the shot-he gives his friend the glory, something the old Kyle never would have thought of doing. Plus you have to admire his wittiness to sending Seamus  to Lake Erie, Ohio instead of Lake Eire, Ireland.

For more Luck of the Irish, go to Friday Night Fun

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14) Sean Thornton from The Quiet Man

The Quiet Man tells the story of Irish-American born boxer, Sean “Trooper Thorn” Thornton (John Wayne), returning to Ireland to regain his family land. What no one but Father Lonergan knows is that Thornton killed a man in the ring, and decided to give up boxing and fighting for good. While in Ireland, Thornton falls for the feisty, traditional Mary Kate Danagher (Maureen O’Hara). Thornton wants to date her, but has to go through all the traditional methods of courtship, something extremely foreign to him.

Why Sean Thornton is awesome:

Just going to get it out of the way, but the fact that he is played by John Wayne earned him a spot on this list. But seriously, Thornton is awesome because while he feels all the rules of courtship and hoops he has to jump through are silly, he still does them because he loves Mary Kate and knows that it is what she wants-he lays down his pride to make her happy. Later, when her brother is being spiteful and withholds her dowry, he goes out to purchase everything she wanted with his own money. What an amazing guy! Of course Maureen O’Hara plays a spitfire who cannot see the goodness of Thornton’s actions as clearly as us movie audience members.

For more on The Quiet Man, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

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13) Gerry from P.S. I Love You

After Holly’s husband Gerry dies of a brain tumor, she becomes so depressed that she doesn’t want to live anymore. To her surprise she begins receiving letters from Gerry, these letters encouraging her and eventually helping her heal and move on in her life.

Why Gerry is awesome:

Gerry is the ultimate husband. How amazing is it that he spent so much of his last moments constructing all these messages to send his wife to help her after he was gone. Such a selfless man to be considering her needs above his.

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12) Tom Branson from Downtown Abbey

Irish chauffer that wins the heart of the Earl’s youngest daughter Sybil. Hotheaded and very into politics and speaking his mind on the subject.

Why Tom Branson is awesome:

At first I disliked Branson. Sybil was my favorite character and I felt that he wasn’t good enough for her as he was an anarchist and trying to free Ireland from the English’s rule through violence. But after the two marry and Sybil dies in childbirth I began to like him better. He became more subdued and realized that his destructive thoughts might not really be the best thing. He helped Matthew with the reforms on estate, utilizing his farming skills and helping the home flourish. One of the best things he does though, is stay with the family so they have full access to baby Sybil. I mean it would have been so easy to be selfish and take the baby far away, but he knows that the rest of the family is hurting for their missing member and while Baby Sybil will never replace the hole her mother left, she can help repair it.

For more on Tom Branson and Downton Abbey, go to Fantastic Fantasies

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11) Micky Ward from The Fighter

The Fighter is based on the story of Micky Ward. It chronicles his desire to become a big-time boxer, the struggle with his brother’s drug addiction, the trials of having his mother manage him, attempts at staying connected to his daughter, his developing relationship with Charlene Fleming, and his journey to reach the top.

Why Micky Ward is awesome:

Ignoring the fact that he is played by Mark Wahlberg, Micky’s story is something that everyone can connect to. We all have the dream to make something of ourselves and here we have a man who kept trying and eventually did it. He had some hard times, he almost gave up, but in the end he kept on swingin’. The only travesty is that this film failed to win the oscar (I mean it was much better than The King’s Speech) along with the evil academy completely snubbing Wahlberg by nominating everyone but him. He totally should have received a nom, at least in my opinion. I highly recommend it as it is a great movie with one amazing soundtrack.

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10) Blarney Kilakilarney from A Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold

Blarney Kilakilarney is the leprechaun narrator of A Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold. In the film young cabin boy, Dinky Doyl, is shipwrecked on an uncharted, Irish, Leprechaun-filled, island. As it is Christmas, he searches the place for the perfect tree to cut down for his celebration. Unwittingly, when he chops that tree down he releases Old Mag the Hag, the evil banshee after the Kilakilarney clans’ gold. The wee folk with the help of Dinky must find a way to stop her.

Why Blarney Kilakilarney is awesome:

First of all, Blarney is adorable. Look at his wee little spectacles and adorable little face. Besides that, he is kind and caring. Even though Dinky manages to make plenty of screw-ups, Blarney is merciful and doesn’t parade his mistakes or criticize him.  He’s the type of person one is always eager to have as a friend.

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9) Reilly O’Reilly from The Luck of the Irish

Disney used to play this film every March 17th, and I am so glad as it is hilarious. Kyle is the golden child; captain of the basketball team, straight-A student, and Lady Luck always seems to be smiling down at him. However, that all changes when Kyle’s lucky coin is stolen from him. He then discovers that his mother’s family are leprechauns and that the coin held their family luck, also allowing them to walk about the Earth looking like normal humans. With his mom shrinking, and him becoming shorter and more leprechauny every minute, he sets out to track down the thief and restore his family luck.

Why Reilly O’Reilly is awesome:

Well besides being a 200 year old leprechaun, he traveled to America a poor immigrant and worked hard to establish a successful potato chip factory. Not to mention he can play the flute, has a trunkful of shoes to repair, and glorious white beard that Gandalf and Dumbledore would be jealous of, and loves to follow rainbows. True he had a disagreement with his daughter over her marriage, but that all gets resolved in the end. Besides, he helps Bonny be able to play basketball by securing her an internship at his factory and getting her father off her back.

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8) Father Charles “Chuck” O’Malley from Going My Way

Going My Way tells the story of the young Priest, Father O’Malley, clashing with the older priest, Father Fitzgibbon, in trying to help the church, Saint Dominic’s. At first Father Fitzgibbon hates the way Father O’Malley is running things, but in time sees that what Father O’Malley is doing, is actually helping the church be stronger.

Why Father O’Malley is awesome:

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, having this particular actor play the part just made the film. Bing Crosby is amazing as Father O’Malley, not just because of his singing voice but how he is able to put such excitement and energy into the character.  Father O’Malley not only cares for the children in his choir and the parishioners; but also for the older Father Fitzgibbon. He is there for everyone and always lends a helping hand.

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7) Banshee AKA Sean Cassidy from X-Men

Banshee is an Irish mutant that has a sonic scream that enables him to harm other’s auditory systems and create vibrations. These vibrations enable him to fly as they help propel him upward. He first joins the X-Men in 1975 when Xavier is recreating the team. Replacing Angel, the Beast, Iceman, and Marvel Girl  with Banshee, Sunfire, Wolverine,  Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Thunderbird. He later meets up with Dr. Moira MacTaggert and falls in love with her.

Why Banshee is awesome:

Being an X-men automatically makes you one of the cool crew. I mean if you haven’t read the comics then you can’t really understand how Banshee’s character is so likable. He’s just one of those characters you fall in love with. But stick to the original comics, the newer ones and alternate dimensions always screw up the things you love.

They managed to do a pretty good job of representing him in the new X-Men movie, X-Men: First Class. My only problem was that they made him too young.

For more on X-Men go to Push All the Buttons!

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6) Priest Vallon from Gangs of New York

While only in the first few minutes of the film, Priest Vallon sets up the rest of the plot. It is the year 1846 and the “Natives” (American born) are about to have a West Side Storyian type rumble with Dead Rabbits (Irish Catholic immigrants). The leader of the Natives is Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis who I absolutely adore) and the leader of the Dead Rabbits being Vallon (Liam Neeson who is also amazing). Battle ensues and Vallon is killed by The Butcher. Vallon’s son Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio) vows to avenge his father’s death.

Why Priest Vallon is awesome:

Hello, its LIAM NEESON! Dare I really say more? No, but really even though we only have a few minuets of him in the film, throughout it he is revealed to be an honorable man, kind, compassionate, and super tough. Even if Amsterdam and Bill didn’t sing his praises throughout the film, you would still get the same sense of what a great man he is from those few scenes of him.

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5) Mr. Connors from Behind the Waterfall

Behind the Waterfall is a Feature Family Film, a company that creates film fit for the whole family. The movie is about two siblings, Tommy and his older sister Becky, who are sent to stay with their aunt for the summer after the death of their father. While they are there they met Irishmen Mr. Conners, who Tommy is convinced is a leprechaun and can bring their father back. With Mr. Conners’ help, the two kids come to terms with their father’s death and are able to move on.

Why Mr. Conners is awesome:

For an older man who really enjoys his privacy, he puts up with a lot of Tommy’s silly notions. He becomes a father figure to him and helps him see that while he can’t bring his father back, he can always carry him in his heart. Plus when Tommy is convinced that he is a leprechaun, Mr. Conners kind of plays along. By the end of it, he has you wondering if he really is a leprechaun or just an elderly man.

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4) Matthew Murdock AKA Daredevil from Daredevil 

Matthew Murdock is a young Irishman growing up in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. After an encounter with radioactive substances (they fell off a moving truck) he loses his sight. From there on he is mentored on how to see the world through his other senses, gaining super sensitivity. After the death of his father he becomes a lawyer by day and superhero extraordinaire by night.

Why Matt Murdock AKA Daredevil is awesome:

Well it’s DAREDEVIL! How is he not cool? Grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and despite that neighborhood and blindness, he is able to become a lawyer and superhero. While he can’t see, his other senses have heightened making him  truly terrible foe. I mean how much cooler can you get?

He totally does the whole Clark Kent thing too, but in a much less annoying way. (Pretends to be helpless so no one suspects his other identity.) Only Marvel could come up with a character this amazing. (I love DC, but in comparison Marvel has some much better superheroes.)

I must admit that though I absolutely love Ben Affleck, the Daredevil film was not as good as it could have been. Ben was amazing as Matt, but some of the other characters were poorly portrayed. And I hate how they kill off his amazing villain. I hate it when they kill off these super-awesome villains in the first movie! I mean, hello, don’t you think it would be better to keep them alive so they can be in the sequels?

For more on Daredevil, go to Old Fandoms and New Fancies

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3) Stephen the Irishman from Braveheart

Braveheart tells the story of William Wallace‘s fight for freedom. After an English lord tries to rape his wife, and kills her; Wallace starts a rebellion against King Edward I of England (AKA Edward Longshanks). 

Why Stephen is awesome:

Stephen is an Irishman that Wallace comes across in the woods. While at first he seems a little addled he proves his mettle by killing an assassin trying to murder Wallace. He ends up one of Wallace’s right hand men and is one the best and hilarious characters in the movie. One of the best scenes is when he convinces the conscripted Irishmen to fight on behalf of Scotland instead of England. King Edward I sends out the Irishman, and is extremely surprised to find that instead of fighting they are cordially greeting the Scottish.

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2) Marty McFly from Back to the Future 

I love Marty! Marty is sooooooooo awesome! The only reason he isn’t number one is because how could I put anyone over Saint Patrick in a Saint Patrick’s Day honoring post? That makes no sense.

Anyways, so Back to the Future is about a guy, Marty McFly, who accidentally goes back in time in a time machine built by his friend, Dr. Emmet “Doc” Brown. When he gets there he accidentally changes the future by causing his parents to not meet. Now he has to get them back together or else he will cease to exist.

Why Marty is Awesome:

Well first of all, Marty is played by Michael J. Fox, I mean already his level of awesomeness is through the roof. Michael J. Fox is just gorgeous and has an amazing voice. But I digress…well Marty is the essence of cool. He plays guitar, has his own band, wears great clothes, etc. He also is loyal friend and great guy. Others may see Doc as crazy, but Marty looks past all the rumors and befriends the eccentric guy. He is also brave, willing to take down those stronger than him and do some crazy stunts in order to protect the people he loves.

Now he isn’t without his faults, but that just makes you love him more as he just seems so real. He hates being disrespected which does cause him to do some stupid stuff. He also can give up easily on things, or try to take the easy way out; but these are all things he is working on. By the end of the trilogy we see a lot of growth in him as he has learned how to be a better person.

As you may have guessed by now, I love this film. It is my absolute fav so Marty is high in my best fictional guys list.

For more on Back to the Future go to The Clock is Ticking!

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1) Sucat AKA Patrick from Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander

So of course Patrick has to be number one on the list, after all the day is named after him. I mean how could I not put him first?

So the story of Time Cat is that Gareth, the cat, takes his master Jason on nine adventures through time. They travel from the ancient Egypt all the way to Colonial America. Along the way they stop in Ireland 411 BC

Why Patrick is Awesome:

In the story Patrick was a slave brought to Ireland and is one of the few to stand up to the evil magician Lugad who is trying to control the king and retain a high position by utilizing the superstitions of the area to his best advantage. He’s smart, educated, brave, but also loyal. He saves Jason and Gareth from being killed and goes off to help everyone in Ireland.

“It’s a curious thing,’ he said, ‘but I have come to love this country even as a slave…I understand now what I must do…I shall go into the world…I shall learn and bring back what I learn. There shall be no more need for magicians then.”–Time Cat, pg 70.

The real Saint Patrick actually did those things, going throughout Ireland teaching the gospel and helping educate people. In many of his sermons he used the three-leaf clover as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, that’s why it became such a symbol on his day. March 17th was when he died, and that is why we honor him, although lately, it has become more of an excuse to get as drunk as you want.

For more Lloyd Alexander, go to I’m No Warrior, I’m an Assistant Pig-Keeper: The Black Cauldron (1985)

I hope you all have a great holiday, and don’t forget to wear green! I always do as there are many out there who like to pinch the non-wearers.

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