2012 Summer Movie Crushes

The summer movie season is coming to a close.

A list like this was inevitable.

You’re welcome.

Chris Hemsworth as The Huntsman, “Snow White and the Huntsman”

Boom shaka laka, y’all.

Hemsworth as Thor is definitely the more obvious choice, but I much preferred his portrayal of a gritty, less-than-perfect protector of Snow White. I don’t even have anything else to say here, other than the man can swing an axe.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, “The Dark Knight Rises”

No, you make MY dreams come true.

I have eternal, undying love for JGL, so this is kind of a no-brainer. But JGL as a cop? A caring good guy? Who gets things DONE? I’m in. I am in, and he didn’t even have to sing or dance or make wing-flapping arm motions. I’m ready for another Christopher Nolan film featuring JGL, for sure.

Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, “The Bourne Legacy”

Don’t bother him! He is doing manly things!!!

Oh my gosh, you guys. This is a MAN. A man scaling houses, wrestling wolves, rescuing damsels, riding motorcycles down handrails, and shooting ALL THE THINGS. I wouldn’t call myself a huge Jeremy Renner fan or anything, and I wasn’t particularly excited about “Legacy.” But once I was in the theater seeing Renner kick massive amounts of tail, I was sold. When my jaw wasn’t on the floor, my arms were literally extended into the air in triumphant HECK YEAH fists. And by the end of the movie, our entire row of females was basically fainting all over the place over Jeremy Renner and his supremely capable man hands. Good gracious.

Tom Hiddleston as Loki, “The Avengers”


I know, okay? I KNOW. I’ve been getting grief all summer for my crush on Hiddleston’s deliciously evil Loki, so I KNOW. But gosh: that evil, knowing smile he gave to Bruce Banner. His comedic time. That line delivery. How do you NOT love that?

Okay but also:

Like a boss.

and most importantly:


Like I said: You’re welcome.


Good Music: The OC

Aside from classical music and the occasional Carly Rae Jepsen or boy band hit, I tend to listen almost exclusively to music that I’ve discovered through movies, musicals, or TV shows. Pop culture tends to be my music curator, and a song just becomes that much more meaningful to me once I can associate it with a beloved show or movie. And a particularly influential show for me has been The OC.

Whatever your personal feelings are about The OC, it really can’t be denied that the music was solid. They released six popular mixes of songs featured on the show, and several notable bands (Modest Mouse, Death Cab, The Killers) actually made appearances in episodes. And ‘Barnes & Noble said that there was “probably no other show on television today where music is as important as it is on FOX’s hit drama The O.C.“‘ (Wikipedia)

All that to say, here are some awesome songs that I discovered and now love thanks to The OC:

Something Pretty, Patrick Park

Hello Sunshine, Super Furry Animals

Song for No One, Ian Broudie

Popular Mechanics for Lovers, Beulah

Good Day, Tally Hall

Life is a song, Patrick Park

And of course…

California, Phantom Planet

Right back where we started from…

My Hometown: Tyler, Texas

I’ve lived in Tyler for six years now, and am so blessed and grateful to call it home.

The first thing most people think of when they hear about Tyler is roses. And everything you’ve heard is true: Tyler is the Rose Capital of the World! Our rose gardens are really lovely, and the Rose Festival that happens every October is quite the spectacle. There is a Rose Queen, a Rose Parade, the Queen’s Tea, and the Queen’s Coronation, among other things. But if you miss that weekend, you can still visit the Rose Festival MUSEUM (true story) or the Rose Gardens for free anytime.

You can buy roses on the street corners of Tyler year-round!

A lesser-known event, though no less gorgeous, is the spring Azalea Trails. In the historic brick streets near downtown, you can tour through private gardens and treat yourself to views of cascading flowers that pour from the bushes like waterfalls. It’s one of my favorite times of the year!

Also not to be missed is the Caldwell Zoo, which is one of the best small zoos in America. I’ve been going to this zoo with my grandparents since I was a little girl, and it never loses its charm.

My grandparents have season passes to the zoo!

The East Texas State Fair is a cheesy, country, tiny little spectacle of a fair that comes to Tyler every September. AND I LOVE IT. I love to drag my friends out there with me to eat cotton candy and fried food, walk through the livestock pavilions (“Oh I’m not here with these fellas! I’ve got a pig in competition over at the livestock pavilion and I! Am gonna win that blue ribbon!“), and laugh about the arts and crafts that have won blue ribbons for unknown reasons. And if I am really lucky, I can usually convince someone to ride the Ferris wheel with me. My favorite. (I’m literally smiling right now just thinking about it.)

The last stop on our mini-tour is a relatively new addition to Tyler. The Liberty Hall Theater is a restored building on the downtown square. I have been waiting for this theater to be reopened almost since I first moved to Tyler, and they finally completed the restoration last fall. Since then this movie-loving girl has LOVED getting to see such favorites as “The Sound of Music,” “Casablanca,” “A League of Their Own,” and “Psycho” on the big screen. From a balcony.
Sigh. The best.

All that to say: come visit me in Tyler! We’ll have a good time.

Favorite TV Theme Songs

Perfect Strangers

This song makes me want to stand on something tall and throw my arms out in victory. On the wings of my dreams.

Veronica Mars

Season 3 was only superior to the first two seasons in one way: the new theme song. This version of “We Used To Be Friends” by the Dandy Warhols was edited, slowed down, and made to fit the feel of the show more than the original, super peppy high school version. (And let’s face it: Veronica was anything but PEPPY.)


Lyrics a bit too on the nose? Perhaps. But man alive does this opener get you ready for a glorious hour of invisible people in locker rooms and creepy Adam Brody appearances.

Friday Night Lights

Sparkling and meaningful and wonderful. An original composition for the show, this song just captures it all.

Step By Step

Definitely not the best show on TGIF, but their theme song remains awesomely singalongable. You know you love it too.

(Although: “As long as these dreams fit under one umbrella”? WHAT?)

The OC

I’m just not aware that it gets much better than this.

Honorable Mention: Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Boy Meets World, Growing Pains, Scrubs, Fresh Prince, and the entire 1990’s Disney Afternoon line-up

Most Frequented Film: Newsies

When I heard that we’d be devoting this week’s posts to the topic of what film we’ve seen the most, I nearly fainted from excitement. A movie-related question? That lets me ramble on about a movie I love? Yes, yes, a thousand times YES! Let me talk about that thing!

And so it is that I find myself writing about one of my favorite musicals of all time. Disney’s “Newsies” tells the story of the real-life newsboy strike of 1899, when Joseph Pulitzer and other newspaper giants raised the price of the papers for the boys who sold them. Singing and dancing ensued. Kidding, of course. But that’s how it happened in the movie!

I can remember the first time I saw it. My best friend Meredith’s mom took the two of us to see it when it first came out in theaters in 1992. I don’t remember much from that viewing, other than the auditorium was PACKED and Meredith and I had a ball. From the opening narration (“In 1899, the streets of New York echoed with the voices of newsies…”) to the ending credits when kid in the freeze frame fell back down to the street below, we were completely enthralled. After that, every sleepover we had was devoted to running around attempting to reenact the choreography and belting out what we thought the lyrics were, not to mention picking out our favorite newsie (I had seasons of favoring Kid Blink and Spot, but for the most part I’ve always been a Jack Kelly girl).

I practically wore out my VHS tape with repeated viewings. Anytime I found someone who knew and loved “Newsies,” it was like finding a kindred spirit. The DVD was a huge comfort to me when I went away to college, and I was delighted to have a roommate who attempted to learn some of the choreography with me. (Impossible. I maintain that IT IS IMPOSSIBLE.) I own a Newsies sweatshirt, have dressed up as a newsie on more than one occasion, and one time I actually took a picture of a man just because he had once worked with the film’s director Kenny Ortega. DON’T JUDGE ME!

Since moving to East Texas, “Newsies” has managed to not only be a movie that I watch constantly, either alone or with friends, but it has popped in other random ways, such as that one time I joined a group that performed a version of the song “Seize the Day” onstage at a staff orientation event. (True story).

No matter what kind of day I’m having, it’s a comfort to know that certain movies will always be there, and they will always be the same. When I pop in “Newsies,” it’s nice to know that Jack Kelly will always be the smooth and swashbuckling leader of our boys. The songs will remain absolutely sing-along-able and the dances amazingly out of reach. It will always be more natural for me to sing “Carryin’ the banner tumpin tall” rather than the correct “Carryin’ the banner tough and tall.” I’ll always feel like Christian Bale is MINE because I SAW HIM FIRST. And I’ll always grin hugely when Jack Kelly lifts Les onto his shoulders to yell out to the crowd, “WE BEAT EM!” (…Spoiler alert?)

I’m glad a movie like “Newsies” is one I can say I’ve seen the most times. The story is solid, the music absolutely fantastic, and those boys will not fail to win you over with their charm, their determination, and their backflips.

It’s a fine life.

Lone Reed

“People are always saying that change is a good thing. But all they’re really saying is that something you didn’t want to happen at all… has happened.”

Nora Ephron passed away yesterday.

I can’t seem to get far beyond that sentence. No, I didn’t know her. I don’t know all about her life; I don’t own all of her movies.

But I think she was smart. And special. And the world could use more witty, intelligent, innovative women like her.

Upon finding out this sad news last night, my friends and I were quoting “You’ve Got Mail” (written and directed by Ephron) so incessantly that we had no choice but to stop and just put the movie on already. This just led to more quoting, a significant amount of marveling at the charm of Tom Hanks, and collapsing over one another at Joe Fox’s “fighting over which video to rent” monologue.

After the film ended, I posted said monologue to my Facebook profile, with no other context or explanation. Soon enough 24 people (all females) had liked the status, and added their thoughts and feelings about “You’ve Got Mail.”

The point is nothing more than we love this little film. This little film that somehow is so special. So re-watchable. So different from so many other banal or vacuous romantic comedies. This one is very different. This one is fun and lovely and perfect and delightful and witty and joyful and wonderful.

So thank you to Nora, for giving us a perfectly respectful romantic comedy to love and adore. Thank you for this film and so many others. Your voice will be missed!

“It will all shake out. Meanwhile, I am putting up more twinkle lights.”