This is Why I Love Luke Skywalker!!

When most little girls (and all the older women) were falling in love with Han Solo, I was OBSESSED with Luke Skywalker.  I loved him, I chose to be him when playing “Star Wars” with my cousin Bess, and I was super excited to see him return in The Last Jedi.  And unlike the people who shouted their complaints about Luke’s mischaracterization in that film, I thought it was perfect and I loved him even more at the end of it all.  But I didn’t have the words to explain why.

Here are some words that someone else said in a video review of Return of the Jedi:  “Luke wins by being a stubborn idealistic twerp.  ‘Love will save the day, father!  Love…and friendship!'”

Actually, just watch the whole thing now.  It’s really well done.

Because YES, that is exactly the Luke that I fell in love with: a man defined by his compassion and faith.  It’s worth pointing out that Jill Bearup made that video in 2015 before either film in the newest trilogy had been released, which is why it’s so perfect that I find those words to be perfect descriptions of Luke’s emotional arc in The Last Jedi.

The Luke we meet is a grumpy hermit.  Why?  Because this extremely compassionate man experienced a moment of judgment because he lacked the faith that Ben Solo could resist the allure of the Dark Side.  So he almost killed his nephew, and the consequences of that almost-action were devastating.  Death, destruction, and the loss of his identity.

But in meeting Rey, in being reunited with R2 and Chewie, and in seeing his sister’s famous hologram that once summoned his noblest impulses so long ago, Luke regains his compassion and faith.  He chooses to stop Kylo Ren in a way that will not harm him in the faith that his friends will escape, survive, and win the fight without him.  Which is…exactly the same faith he showed in Return of the Jedi.

Luke has changed when we meet him in The Last Jedi, and like, yeah? But even though he is at his darkest when we reunite with him, he doesn’t stay there.  His emotional journey is one of recovering his truest self, of reclaiming his compassion and faith.  Oh Luke, you stubborn idealistic twerp.   I love you!!

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Ranking Toby Stephens’ Work

When I was a teenager and checking out every Josh Hartnett movie from Blockbuster, I thought my obsessive celebrity love would be something I would outgrow.  Yet here I am over a decade later, watching as many things with Toby Stephens in them as possible.  For (probably only my own) your enjoyment, a ranking of everything I’ve seen Toby Stephens in!

1. Black Sails

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This is the show that brought Stephens’ genius to my awareness (and through my inability to shut up – to many other people’s awareness as well).  As James McGraw turned Captain Flint, Stephens is electric.  He is the personification of “hurt people hurt people,” and throughout four seasons we see him wrestle with the trauma of his past while he steps all over people in pursuit of a better world.  He is my sweet murderous baby, and there is no contradiction.

Watch on Starz or Hulu

(If you want to read my episode reviews and essays, head on over to my separate Black Sails website.)

2. Mangal Pandey: The Rising

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One of the great joys of searching movies by actors is that you wind up finding treasures that would otherwise have eluded you.  Such is the case with Mangal Pandey, a Bollywood movie about the British empire/comany’s influence in India and the uprising against them.  Stephens is a Scottish officer who befriends Mangal and questions his allegiance when Mangal rebels.  It’s glorious, and I’m so glad my obsession led me to such a beautiful film.

Watch on YouTube

(make sure you use Closed Captioning for English subtitles)

3. And Then There Were None

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This is a deliciously moody adaptation of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery, and while it is FULL of excellent British actors, my eyes were only on Toby Stephens (okay, and Aiden Turner).  His increasingly anxious and paranoid Dr. Armstrong is a delight, and the scene in which the final four have a cocaine-fueled party?  MY FAVORITE.

4. Jane Eyre

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As an adult, I know that Mr. Rochester is all shades of sketch, but he plays right into my “sassy authoritative man who would die for you” fantasy, so Teenage Tricia is very gratified to see Stephens playing one of her longest lasting fictional crushes.

5.  Vexed

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God bless Twitter for letting me know that this comedy police procedural starring Toby Stephens is now available on Netflix.  Unlike everything else on this list, Vexed is Toby at his silliest.  It’s pure British comedy, which is sometimes painful and other time hilarious.  Toby’s character is a lazy asshole who is still somehow charming (perhaps I am blinded by his Toby-ness), and the crimes are very much secondary to the interpersonal conflict and humor between him and his amazing partner Kate.  Just how I like it.

Watch on Netflix

6. Die Another Day

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This movie is TERRIBLE, but Stephens is a wonderfully sneer-y villain that would have defeated Bond if I’d had my way.  I mean, I can’t stress how bad this movie is – horrible action sequences, 90s filming techniques, painful innuendos, everywhere sexism – but I also cannot stress how gratifying it was to see Stephens running around sword fighting in a white tank top with suspenders.


 

*TO BE UPDATED AS I CONTINUE TO WATCH TOBY STEPHENS’ FILMS*

Recommendations welcome!

LIVEBLOGGING: The Moon-Spinners

When I was a kid, we had the VHS version of The Moon-Spinners that I absolutely loved.  I watched it multiple times, and when it was released on DVD I got it for nostalgia’s sake.  But I haven’t watched it yet!  I brought it with me to Greece (because it’s set here), and I had two very important questions I needed answered:

  1.  Is the guy still as hot as I remember?
  2. Is the cheetah still as awesome?

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  • Yuck, I hate how movies used to put loads of credits before the film without even a cool James Bond montage of psychedelic symbolism. 
  • Crete is on my destination wish list, but not the public transit there…in the 60s, at least. 50s?  70s?  I have no sense of the recent past. 
  • Hayley Mills is British? Huh, I didn’t remember that.

Fran:  I say, I wonder if you’d be so kind as to put that (dead fish swinging in her face) somewhere else?
Man: *stares uncomprehendingly*
Nikki:  THE FISH. COULD YOU PUT IT SOMEWHERE?  IT’S A BIT STRONG. COULD YOU PUT IT SOMEWHERE ELSE?
Man: *continues to stare uncomprehendingly*
Fran: I don’t know why one always thinks foreigners will understand English if one shouts.

Film and Television
No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Moviestore Collection (1659596a) The Moon-spinners, Joan Greenwood, Hayley Mills Film and Television
  • I understand the Greek!! It’s like, the simplest words, but still!
  • Of course they enter town on donkeys while a fancy wedding is taking place. That has not been my experience…maybe I need to tour island villages until it happens. 
  • Telegram? Is this the 40s??? When did telegrams happen?
  • Musicologist? That sounds like a cool job, traveling around to find and record folk songs. 
  • You can tell they’re the female protagonists because instead of getting upset by some truly rude behavior, they put their hands to their foreheads and chuckle about it. 
  • “I bet the Englishman is super old and boring,” she says, not realizing he is a dreamboat. I HOPE HE’S AS MUCH OF A DREAMBOAT AS I REMEMBER. 
  • Those short shorts and THAT ACCENT as he vaguely threatens his stalker!  

Continue reading

Packing for a Year in Greece: Entertainment

Based on this blog, it should be obvious that I take entertainment very seriously.  Ingesting stories is how I grow and/or stay alive.  So when it comes to preparing to move to Greece, the majority of my planning has revolved around books and media.

The one problem?  I have to pack a year’s worth of possessions into two suitcases and a backpack.  While I would LIKE to take two suitcases full of books, even I know that is impractical.  So I’ve improvised.   Continue reading

Disney Challenge

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Rainy Thursdays has been doing a Disney Challenge, so I thought I would give it a go!  All at once though, because why not?


Your Favorite Character

This is impossible to answer with just one person, but I’ll say Tom Sawyer in Tom and Huck, as played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas at the height of my love for him.  He’s a troublemaker with a heart of gold, which….has always been my weakness.

Your Favorite Princess

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Belle!  It was so cool for child-Tricia to see a brunette girl who loved to read saving the day, turning down handsome jerks and learning to love the unlovable.  I saw the best version of myself in her.

Your Favorite Heroine

I really liked Rapunzel for her naivete and optimism.  She has had a literally sheltered life, but she uses her pain to create art and dream of a better future.  And I adore the scene when she first leaves the tower, alternating between ecstasy and fear.  Very accurate, very funny.

Your Favorite Prince

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Probably Aladdin.  He’s a smart-aleck, street-wise sweetheart.  He takes care of his friends, has a pet monkey, and takes Jasmine on a carpet ride through the clouds.  All the things I look for in a man.

Your Favorite Hero

I’ll go with a literal (Greek) hero:  Hercules!  Really I just want to include this movie in the list, because it’s so much fun, from the singing Muses to sassy Megara to sassier Hades.   Continue reading

StumbleUpon Sunday (18)

StumbleUpon is a great way to lose hours of your life.  Luckily, I braved the Internet vortex so you don’t have to.  This week I found these especially interesting websites:

  1. Fully-Customizable Tiny Homes Start at an Affordable $22,000
    Cut to:  Tricia, hyperventilating.  I WANT A TINY HOME SO BAD.  These are adorable.
  2. To the New Culture Cops, Everything is Appropriation
    As a tumblr user, I see the term “cultural appropriation” a lot.  I really liked this article’s balanced view of the subject.
    “At one time, such critiques were leveled against truly offensive art — work that trafficked in demeaning caricatures, such as blackface, 19th-century minstrel shows orethnological expositions, which literally put indigenous people on display, often in cages. But these accusations have become a common attack against any artist or artwork that incorporates ideas from another culture, no matter how thoughtfully or positively.”
  3. 14 Cool Psychology Tricks You Need to Try
    This is basically just manipulation tactics, but…..I still find them extremely interesting.  My favorite (that I hadn’t heard before) was the suggestion that you can end a repetitive mental song by intentionally remembering the end of the song, since closing the loop allows our brain to stop latching onto unfinished things.
  4. 14 Brilliant Re-Imagined Names For Everyday Objects We All Need
    Hahaha!  I like the “people shelf” and “t-rex deer.”
  5. 14 Stories that Prove Animals Have Souls
    I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying.
  6. You May Not Need These 19 Things, But You’ll Definitely Want Them Pretty Badly
    There has never been a more accurately named post.  Give me that divided frying pan immediately!!
  7. A Fast Food Purse
    Um, this is GENIUS.
  8. Here are 20 Animals That You RARELY Get to See as Babies
    The bison!  And reindeer!  And that little chameleon all curled up into itself!!
  9. Witnessing Beautiful Autumn’s Transformations
    Excellent documentation proving that autumn is the most beautiful season.
  10. 10 Fun Movie Facts
    “Because Bruce Lee was so fast, they actually had to run his films slower so you can see his moves.”

StumbleUpon Sunday (14)

StumbleUpon is a great way to lose hours of your life.  Luckily, I braved the Internet vortex so you don’t have to.  This week I found these especially interesting websites:

  1. 15 Animals That Aren’t Dogs, But Totally Want to be Man’s Best Friend
    This kind of content is exactly what the Internet is for.
  2. Man Walks All Day to Create Massive Snow Patterns
    I love when artists create something beautiful knowing that it will be transient and unseen.
  3. 13 Life-Changing Beauty Hacks Using Vaseline
    “Life-changing” might be strong, but these vaseline-inspired tips are definitely useful!
  4. Maps of War: Middle East
    WOW.  This 90-second video zips through history, showing all the empires and kingdoms who have taken over the Middle East, starting with Egypt and ending with national independence.  Never has this made so much sense.
  5. 18 Spectacular and Bizarre Airbnb Rentals
    Someone give me all the money!  I need to stay in every single one of these.
  6. This Man Found a SECRET Tunnel in His House
    An underground city 18 stories deep!?  With shops, tombs, livestock and individual quarters?  I want that at my house!
  7. 18 Irritatingly Bothersome Movie Plot Holes
    I’m going to try to forget these as quickly as possible, because they are so right.
  8. 17 Diagrams That Will Help You Draw (Almost) Anything
    Some are useful, some are funny.  Like the Internet.
  9. Six Before and After Pictures That Show Why You Should Adopt a Shelter Dog
    RIGHT IN THE HEART.
  10. 23 Super Creative Repurposed Items
    These are so cool!  I want the card catalogue mini bar and globe bowl.  And suitcase chair!