Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How to Start Blogging (From Someone Who Blogs Poorly According to Experts)

From the blog suggestions collection:

How would you suggest someone go about starting their own blog?

Well, here's the thing. I break a couple of the expert bloggers' blogging rules. While this probably means I won't be making money from my blogs any time soon, it does mean that most of the time, I enjoy blogging and would categorize it as a hobby far more than I'd categorize it as work. So I'm going to speak from my own personal experience and offer my tips.

1) Figure out what you'd like to blog about.
BLOG from Flickr via Wylio
© 2014 Christian Schnettelker, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Here's where I deviate most from the Rules of Blogging. Most people say you should narrow down your topic and focus on one thing that can draw a niche audience. I've tried that a couple times, but I typically get so bored and run out of things to say about just one thing and want to write about other things too. Granted, it's a little harder to draw in an audience when you just have such a sprawling collection of topics, but for me, having fewer limits on what I can write about makes it way more fun to blog.

Whether you want to blog about one specific thing or a huge spread of topics, it can be a good idea to decide this first, as you may want to think about naming your blog something related to it.

2) Set up a blog.

As you can see, I use Blogger as my blogging service and host, and I have for quite some time. It's probably one of the easiest blogging to get started with. The rest of my family and several of my friends use Wordpress. There are several others, but those are the ones I see most often on other blogs. If you're looking for something with a decent amount of customizability in terms of design, stay away from Blogger. But I don't really do a lot of fancy design stuff. I'm fine just writing and not tinkering with the way the site looks. (Another pro blogger no-no.) Do a little research to find the one that will work best for you.

3) Write things!

I do suggest having a regular schedule, whether that's once a week, every day, twice a month, whatever. This makes it easier for you to keep writing things, and it makes it easier for your readers to follow along and know when you update. But if it starts feeling too much like a chore -- and if you're not doing this with the intention of making money with it -- it's totally OK to take some time off.

BLOG IDEAS from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 Owen W Brown, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio
As far as what to write, write whatever you want. This is your blog. Do what you wanna do. That's how I do it, anyway.

I also suggest writing things ahead of time as much as you can and schedule them to be published at a certain date and time. That way you won't find yourself desperately trying to pull together a blog at the last minute. I mean, what? I never do that. I'm definitely not trying to just finish this blog already so I can go to sleep which I should've done half an hour ago.

4. Share it.

You can link up your blog to your other social media accounts through services like (which I use). That way, it'll automatically post to your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or whatever whenever you make a new post. It's a good way to keep people updated and let your friends know you blog. I have a lot of friends who blog but don't mention it much on Facebook, and while I would love to read their blogs, I often don't even know they have one until like three years after they've started it. So don't be afraid to plug your blog a little!

And, um, that's about it. Once you get going you can figure out what you like to write, what your readers like to read, and how people are finding your blog through Google. But to get started, this is all you really need. At least in my humble very-not-professional opinion.

Any other tips you guys would suggest? And if you have a blog of your own, feel free to post a link! I'll try to follow any of the ones I don't already. :-)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Top 5, Bottom 5: Family Drama

Flickchart informed me a few weeks ago that I'd just seen my 100th family drama -- note that in this case, it's drama about families, not family-friendly dramas -- and I thought it was about time I did one of these.

Top 5:
1. American Beauty (1999, #36 on my chart). I didn't get this movie the first time I saw it, but then I watched it again a couple years ago and fell in love. The first half is darkly biting and the last half is fascinating and poignant.
2. Billy Elliot (2000, #72). Gotta love a movie about a kid wanting to be a dancer. This is just a really gorgeous flick.
3. Proof (2005, #76). A really excellent play gets a really excellent movie adaptation. I rewatched it a couple years ago after seeing the play and still loved it.
4. Ordinary People (1980, #77). This is one I do have to rewatch, as it's been years since I've seen it. When I first saw it, though, I loved it.
5. Rain Man (1988, #113). One of those movies that just sucks me into the story no matter when I sit down to watch it.

Bottom 5:
5. Bee Season (2005, #2203). This movie is weird, but not good weird -- mostly just "why am I watching this?" weird.
4. The Other Sister (1999, #2144). I watched this in college and was thoroughly unimpressed. I even got to write a paper on why I hated this movie so much.
3. Horse Sense (1999, #2126). One of those cheesy TV movies by... Disney channel, maybe? Anyway, it's basically one of those movies about how rural areas teach people character, which is just not an appealing idea to me at all.
2. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002, #2124). I barely remember this, but I remember being bored.
1. The Jazz Singer (1927, #2123). The film history of this movie isn't enough to make it interesting to me.

Top 5 Unseen:
1. Tokyo Story (1953, #128 on the global charts). I've been meaning to see this one for awhile -- though, frankly, it's more because I should have seen it than because it sounds very interesting to me.
2. Fanny and Alexander (1982, #190). I like Bergman on and off, so I know I'm supposed to see this, but have never been able to quite muster up the urge to do so.
3. Five Easy Pieces (1970, #375). My mind still somehow mixes this up with Full Metal Jacket. Even when I've seen Full Metal Jacket.
4. Cries and Whispers (1972, #388). Another Bergman, but one I know very, very little about.
5. East of Eden (1955, #450). The one James Dean film I haven't seen. I suspect I'd like it more than his other two.

What are your favorites and least favorites? Which of my top 5 unseen should I see first?

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Quest for Forgiveness: Chapter 6, Part 1

Last time, Ethan's trial went decidedly not well. He left prison mentally broken and settled down in a town in Wyoming. But that's enough of how awful his life is, apparently. Back to Brijanna!

The flashback continues from Brijanna's perspective after she was taken away from Ethan. Things go badly for her:
During the trial Janna was taken to a foster home in Phoenix, and her life returned to the way it was before she met Ethan Anderson.
Which I would assume meant she was in an orphanage where she was not allowed to have ropes. It's moderately close: she's bounced from foster family to foster family, including one that abuses her for real but she keeps quiet because she's worried nobody will believe her after the charges she made earlier that she knows were false.

This would be a good point in the story to explain why Brijanna made the false accusations in the first place, but nope. Understanding our character's back story is less important than just telling us life got tough after she lied. And life gets TOUGH.

Apparently every single foster home forbids her from doing just about everything, like playing the guitar, writing songs, or doing extracurricular activities, and they pawn her belongings. Not surprisingly, she chooses to run away right before her fifteenth birthday. She gets a job in a Phoenix diner and lives with anyone who will shelter her. One day, she finds her guitar in a pawn shop, so she buys it and hitchhikes to L.A. to be a famous singer.

She gets another restaurant job and sleeps with anyone who claims they will offer her a record deal, though that never happens, so by the time she's sixteen she's jaded and has decided she's never going to love anyone again.

She leaves L.A. and goes to Nashville instead, changing her name to Brianna. She'll be called Brianna for the rest of the story, so I'm going to return to calling her that as well. She gets a waitressing job but is still homeless. On top of that:
Guilt consumed Brianna day and night . The gnawing fact that she knowingly hurt the one person in her life that cared most about her began to take a toll. Ethan Anderson was never far away in her thoughts.
Well, this is the first I've heard about it in two pages (and two years of Brianna's life). Apparently the guilt wasn't that bad until she was homeless.

Also, again, Rothdiener, now would be a good time to tell us why she did that in the first place...

One day, at work, Brianna starts playing the piano and sings a song she wrote herself. As is the problem with so many Mary Sues who are proclaimed to be The Best at things, hyping it up leads to a lot of disappointment when you actually have to show how awesome it is. Brianna's song is... less than amazing. I mean, it's decent for being written by a 16-year-old, but it's not spectacular. Consider a few tunes written by actual teenagers ("The Man With the Child In His Eyes" by Kate Bush, "Royals" by Lorde, and "Fake Tales of San Francisco" by Arctic Monkeys, to name a few of the more acclaimed ones) and you'll realize the bar is set a little higher than "put some rhyming thoughts together."

Frankly, though, Brianna can't even do that. Her song has has no discernible pattern, with random rhymes and bits that are either verses for a different tune or really really long bridges. These lyrics awe everyone and are later described as "sad, but captivating." Sad I'll give you. Brianna clearly wasn't having a good time while she was writing it. Captivating... the jury's still out on that one.

It's also extremely melodramatic and cliched. It sounds like a worse version of Taylor Swift's early music, and I have yet to hear any adults be complete blown away by the poignancy of Taylor's first album, as everyone seems to be here for Brianna's song in the diner.

In fact, gang, I think we might just have to take up the rest of this blog entry going through her song bit by bit, because the more I look at it to figure out what to comment on, the less I can make sense of it.

So here we go.
I used to sit and watch the sunrise,
Never by myself 
I used to run along the sandy beaches, 
Enjoying the sun 
I used to love without regretting, 
But those days are done
All right, we do have a rhyme here, so kudos to Brianna for that. (We will lose it in Possible Verse #2.) However, that is an awful first line. Watching the sunrise by yourself isn't a terribly melancholy image. In fact, I can think of more movies and books describing a solo sunrise viewing than a group sunrise viewing, and it's nearly always a peaceful image.

The song is quite literal (especially on Possible Verse #2), so I can only assume that that means she really never watched sunrises by herself. Maybe that's why it's especially lonely for her. Because she grew up thinking you just always watch the sunrise in pairs.

(These lyrics, btw, bear a bit of a resemblance to the opening lines of I Dreamed a Dream... except that song is easily 10,000 times better than this one.)
Now I sit and cry all alone, 
Now I walk the streets of this city 
Now I question if love was ever real, 
Before there was rain 
Yes, before there was rain
There is a nice lyrical parallel here between sit/run in the verse and sit/walk here. It's all a little dramatic and over-the-top (though I suppose it does literally describe her life), but it's OK. Note, however, that there's no apparent rhyme here. Because there suddenly will be in Chorus #2. If we thought Chorus #2 was the overall rhyme pattern, this chorus would look like it was trying to rhyme "alone" and "city." But, hey, maybe I'm jumping to conclusions. Maybe those rhyme in a Phoenix accent. Maybe they pronounce "alone" like "aloitty."

Now we expect a second verse, somewhat like the first one in format...
I look to the time of no more heartache, 
I look forward to that time coming 
I remember the time of happiness and love, 
The time I felt a part of life 
A time made just for us 
Now I see that time has ended
I feel no need to remember, 
I feel as if I’m all alone
...What? What is this?

No, seriously, what is this?

At first I thought maybe this was a bridge and she just got bored after writing the first verse/chorus, but there are even more lyrics after this before we head back to anything remotely resembling what we've seen so far. What this song looks like is: "Verse, Chorus, 14 lines from my diary that I haven't bothered to work into the song, Verse, Chorus."

There's no rhyming whatsoever here, aside from internally rhyming "time" with itself six lines in a row. And while I think you can totally do interesting things with repetition like that, you have to do interesting things with it. You can't just insert the word into random places in each line. That just sounds like you took a break after each line, completely forgot what you'd written thus far and thought when you came back, "Oh, hey, I should write something abut time."

And also, what the heck do these words mean?

We have:

  1. Looking forward to a happier time
  2. Looking back to a happier time
  3. There is no time
  4. I don't need to remember things because I'm alone
This is so random. There's no logical progression in these thoughts at all. The first and the second are connected, but there's no reason she'd be jumping from one to the next. The first couple lines sound like they're seguing onto the next section of the song, maybe a hopeful or a desperate "maybe someday will get better" theme... but then that's just completely abandoned in favor of "I DREAMED A DREAM IN TIMES GONE BYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY."

Can I write a super amazing song by just putting the same random word into eight lines that have nothing to do with each other? Because I guess that's all it takes. I think I shall choose the word "eggplant."
Are you there? 
I’m calling to you 
But I just hear silence 
Nothing coming from anywhere 
There is no hope 
Only sorrow
Yup, not sure what to do with this section either. I'd say it's a bridge but the last section might be a bridge since it in no way resembles the rest of the song, so maybe she just has two bridges because putting them together into a third verse was just a ludicrous idea.


That would be the most awesome answer EVER. Verse, chorus, rap with no noticeable rhythm or rhyme, verse, chorus. You could maybe even smooth over that awful "time" section by making it a rap. Maybe.

Also, I think this verse is talking about God? Although, since we never heard Brianna's side of the story about the abuse, we also have zero idea what she thinks of God. In the trial they said she wanted to be Muslim again, but we have no particular reason to think that's true. We don't even know if she still believes in God at all. So who knows what this part is about, really?
What can break me from this pit of despair? 
I used to hold him in the moonlight 
Look deep into his eyes 
See the depths of wonder 
It was a dream I surmise
And here, in Verse #3 (or maybe Verse #2, hadonno), we're suddenly back to rhyming, which is too bad, because if she'd just completely given up on rhyming we maybe wouldn't have lines as awful as "It was a dream I surmise." Seriously, if you don't have to rhyme with "eyes," there's no reason to include that.

This verse is as scattered as the rest of the song. While I've presented the lyrics to you exactly as they are broken up in the book, it's pretty clear that that lyric belongs with the bridge duo beforehand. The rest of the verse is a logical thought -- a simple memory of, uh, apparently holding Ethan in the moonlight and seeing depths of wonder in his eyes, which is a weirdly romantic image given that we as the audience know that Ethan did not develop a creepy romantic relationship with his adopted daughter.

Anyway, the rest of the verse is kind of cohesive. But starting the verse off with "SO MUCH DESPAIR" makes the sudden subject change really jarring. It's like she got distracted mid-sentence: "Ohhhhhh, how will I ever not be despair agai-- Oh, HEY, remember that time I held him in the moonlight?"
Why did you leave me? 
Where did you go? 
Did I ever mean anything to you? 
Or was it all for show? 
Are you there... are you there? 
Before there was rain 
Before there was rain 
Yes, before there was rain
Oh, and there's that sudden rhyme scheme that wasn't in the original chorus. It's fine if songs and poems don't want to rhyme, but rhyme-no rhyme-no-rhyme-no rhyme-rhyme-rhyme is a WEIRD way to do it.

It's also rather difficult to fit into the original chorus' rhythm. You have to smoosh two lines together to make it fit, either "Did I ever mean anything to you or what it all for show" or "Or was it all for show are you there are you there." Either way, it's awkward.

Also, we're back to talking to... maybe God again. Or maybe Ethan. But that'd be stupid, because Ethan left her because she falsely accused him of abuse, and he went to jail, and there's no reason to think his love was all for show. Either way, this song is all over the place. If you read it as a breakup song from a dumpee, it kind of works, especially the romantic imagery -- but the book makes a big deal talking about how Brianna writes from her own experiences, so I have no idea who this is about. Secret boyfriend Rothdiener forgot to tell us about?

So that's Brianna's song. Now let me be clear. This is not an AWFUL song. For being written by someone between the ages of 14 and 16, it's fine. It's clearly coming from her heart. But it is not something that should instantly amaze everyone who hears it. It sounds like it was written by a teenager who doesn't have a deeper understanding of storytelling, metaphor, and lyrical sound.

Note that these sections in the book are broken up by random gushing descriptions of people reacting:

"[The customers] stopped talking [and] listened..."
"Brianna continued her poignant tune..."
"Brianna stunned the patrons with her vocal ability..."
"...awed by the young girl's talent..."
"...mesmerized by Brianna's stage presence..."
"...she continued to enchant the small audience..."

Some of this refers to the voice, melody, and presentation, which, granted, we can't see. But Rothdiener's been gushing all book long about how amazing a lyricist she is, and, um... turns out we can't see that either.

Incidentally, if anyone musically inclined wants to make up a tune for this and record it and try to make it work... I would love to see someone try to straighten this out. Just remember, the melody has to be breathtaking haunting, poignant, and beautiful, according to the book. And it needs to be sung by someone with a voice that is amazing, stunning, awe-inspiring, amazing (again), beautiful, full, the most incredible, and that sends chills down people's arms. Easy peasy.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tune In Thursday: "Boy From New York City" by Manhattan Transfer

This week's Tune In choices both landed on the jazzy side of things. This is a fun, upbeat pop jazz song that I really enjoy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blog Request: NaNoWriMo

Last week I asked you guys what you wanted me to write about, and I got quite a few very cool ideas -- I will definitely be tackling them whenever I have nothing in particular I want to write about.

I wanted to address this one first, seeing as how we've just passed the halfway point of November:

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If yes, what's it about? If no, what are the top few ideas you want to write about someday?

I absolutely am doing NaNoWriMo this year, although it's been a bit of an odd journey. I started off writing a Christian coming-of-age story, sort of the anti-God's Not Dead. The central idea was of a very sheltered girl heading off to a secular college, ready to do battle for God in an anti-Christian environment. But when she gets there, she finds that things don't seem to be lining up the way she thought they would. Most people don't seem to be that hostile about her faith, they just don't care and the few times she tries to stand up for God by challenging a teacher on evolution or God's existence, it doesn't go at all as she expects. She wonders if she's not being bold enough, but ultimately she figures out she's not even a little bit prepared for what the real world is like, and she has to find a way to re-shape her faith a little bit without abandoning it.

So I was all excited about this idea, had a lot of cool things I wanted to explore, but about four days in, I remembered why I don't ever write dramatic YA growing-up stories. They're so boring to write.

So then this happened, in the middle of my MC getting advice from her mom on the phone:
I knew she was right. But I was bored of this story. 
Let's take a detour. 
When I got back to my dorm room, it was empty. In fact, I realized, I hadn't seen another person on the way back from class. That's weird, I thought. On Monday the campus was buzzing all day. 
I pulled the curtains back and peeked out my window. Nope, nobody there. I stared at the walkway for almost a full five minutes, but nobody walked past. The ugly gray cloudy sky seemed somehow darker and more oppressive. 
I tried to tell myself I was crazy. Maybe there was a big event going on and everybody was attending that. Maybe it was a sports thing. I hadn't paid any attention to the sports things. Shannon was a sports nut, so that would explain why she wasn't here either. 
I peeked my head out into the hallway and then wandered through the halls, taking a moment to peek in doors that were open. Nobody. 
When I got to the end of the hall, I found Rachael's office, closed but with the blinds open, and with a clear sign on the door: "In from 10-6." 
It was 11:30 right now. 
Maybe she was off at lunch, I told myself, though I tried the door and it was unlocked. Rachael wouldn't leave her door unlocked when she went to lunch, would she? She had given us a huge lecture the other night about how important it was to lock our own doors when we weren't there, just as a matter of safety, because that way if anyone got into the building sneaking in behind someone else, they couldn't go into any rooms that didn't let them in. 
So why would she leave her door unlocked in the middle of the day and not be here? 
Maybe she just ran down the hall to make a copy or check on someone. 
So I sank down to the floor next to the door and patiently waited. 
And that is how my quiet coming-of-age Christian story turned into a survival horror Left Behind-style story, though the one in charge of all these disappearances is definitely not God. I'm not sure what's going on here (and I doubt I'm ever going to explain it in the story), but a huge chunk of the population is gone, and periodically more just disappear. My character is convinced it is God, although she's not sure how or why, since this isn't how she's ever heard the rapture preached. She may accidentally start a cult eventually. Still debating on that one.

Also, Jacob requested that I include him in the story as a murderer. I named a character after him and he turned out to be just the worst person (last chapter, he got punched in the face and everyone cheered) so I don't think people are going to be surprised when he's a murderer.

I'm currently about 5000 words behind, but I'm slowly catching up, so I'm optimistic that I'm going to make it this year.

I don't have any other stories currently mulling around inside my brain, but there are a few written/half-written past NaNo projects I'd love to play around with some more. I'll have to talk about those some other time.

How about you guys? Are you NaNoing? If so, what are you writing about, and how is it going?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tune In Tuesday: "Purpose" by Michael Winther

From the awesome Avenue Q Swings concert, featuring jazzy renditions of Avenue Q songs. This is one of the more family friendly ones.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whatever Is... Honorable

Whoo, finally getting this one written! Sorry for the huge gap in between this one and the last one -- I kept forgetting to put it all together.

Today's word is "honorable," but as I said in my last Whatever Is blog, there are a lot of differing interpretations for this one:
Looking up the original Greek word, I found this: semnós (an adjective derived from sébomai, "to revere, be in awe") – properly, what is august (dignified, has "gravitas"); weighty, deeply respected because viewed as majestic (having "gravity"); grave. 
This gets translated as all kinds of things. A quick glance at Bible Gateway translations gives me answers like honorable, honest, worthy of reverence, seemly, holy, noble, worthy of respect, respected, chaste, and grave. The most common by far, however, are "honorable" and "noble."
While I definitely chose a few that deliver messages about honor and nobility, I was also really struck by the definitions that were on the side of "grave" or "deeply respected because of... having gravity." It made me think of a few movies that are really hard to watch but deliver some important messages or tell important stories -- movies that treat grave issues gravely without sentimentalizing or trivializing them. So I wanted to look at that side of it as well, since I thought that was a fascinating interpretation of the word.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988). This was actually one of the first ones that came to mind when I chose the interpretation I wanted to focus on. This has been called by many people "the saddest movie in the world," and I can absolutely agree with that. It is heartbreaking. The story centers on a boy and his younger sister living in Japan during World War II, as they find themselves orphaned, homeless, and eventually dying. It's one of the most intense stories I've ever seen about how war can seriously impact innocent citizens, not just soldiers. There have been a lot of stories about the horrors of war, but this movie was one of the ones that really hit it home for me.

Requiem for a Dream (2000). This was another no-brainer for me. I've heard people say that this movie did more to dissuade them from trying drugs than anything else, and that it should be shown in high schools. While I can't imagine a high school ever being willing to screen this, I do think it's the most powerful movie I've ever seen about substance addiction.

One cut of the movie is even rated NC-17 (though I've only seen the R-rated version), but the images earning it that rating are in no way prurient or enticing. They're terrifying. If there ever was a movie that should not be edited, it's this one. Watching this movie and the depths to which these characters' addictions take them makes plain the ugliness of their addiction. It's not romantic or exciting. It's destructive beyond all belief, and this movie is a movie that is not afraid to treat the subject the way it deserves.

Casablanca (1942). After a couple of hard-hitters there, here are a few movies that focus more on the more common meaning of "honorable" and "noble". (There are spoilers ahead, although I think most people know how this one ends by now.)

In this movie, Humphrey Bogart's character, Rick, has determined that, in his own words, "I stick my neck out for nobody." As the plot unfolds, he has an opportunity to run away with the wife of a resistance leader fighting for freedom during World War II. When the time comes for him to make his decision, he instead chooses not to take that opportunity, giving this beautiful speech:
Last night we said a great many things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I've done a lot of it since then, and it all adds up to one thing: you're getting on that plane with Victor where you belong. . . . You have any idea what you'd have to look forward to if you stayed here? Nine chances out of ten, we'd both wind up in a concentration camp. . . . Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You're part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life. . . . Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that.
Rick makes the decision to reenter the fight for the right, even at the expense of his own romantic happiness. He's become bitter and cynical over the years, and we as the audience fully expect him to have the happily-ever-after ending he's been hoping for, but deep down he knows this is not the right time or place for that, and he ultimately chooses to do the right thing, the honorable thing, instead of being self-serving, as he has been for so long.

Frozen (2013). Gosh, there is just moment after moment in this film about honor -- self-sacrifice all over the place, especially in two almost-deaths, though once is more dramatic than the other. Olaf nearly dies saving Anna's life by lighting a fire to keep her warm, and Anna nearly dies dying saving Elsa's life at the end, as well as a lot of other smaller ones. And along the way, honor yields good things: lives are saved, lives are transformed, and in the end everything is restored. I've described this movie as "the anti-Little Mermaid," because for Ariel personal happiness trumps wisdom, honor, kindness, and patience, but in Frozen the exact opposite message is sent. Even Elsa had to learn this lesson -- in "Let It Go," she delights in the fact that her need to do the proper thing (not even necessarily the right thing) is no longer suffocating her, but eventually she learns that shutting everybody out for her own good is not good for her or for others.

That's my list! I also asked on my blog and on my Facebook page for people to suggest movies that exemplified the word "honorable" or "noble" and got some great choices -- here's what they suggested!

Ikiru. To find purpose to helping others without expectation of recognition. -- Lauren

Cyrano de Bergerac. That movie always makes me tear up. He stuck to his ideals past personal pain and hardships. He would go hungry and be love sick and even loved someone so much that he would try to give them the person they wanted even if it wasn't him. --Christian

Lars and the Real Girl, and Waitress. Both films deal with honorable behavior...people making noble sacrifices and doing the right thing, for the sake of someone else, even when it's hard, even when it seems impossible, even when it makes themselves unhappy, but they go ahead and do it anyways because it's what's right even when they really really don't want to. Even when doing the wrong thing seems so easy....and that it would make them personally happy. They are actions that in my opinion are more honorable then going on some epic quest or fighting in some epic battle. In many ways they are actions that are a lot harder then that, because it takes a much true sense of honor and nobility. They're films about people who do the right thing, and that's truly honorable.

In retrospect I would also include Spanglish with the two I mentioned and for the same reasons. I think Flor is deeply honorable. --Naomi

I'm gonna go brawn here and throw down Gladiator and 300, man or group of men fighting for their honor. Spartans don't back down and throw away who they are to an evil empire, even if it meant death. --Timothy

Babette's Feast. The witness of genuine sacrificial love vs. self-martyrdom. Though the movie is rather "gray," the theme shimmers with life for me! --Michelle

Maybe this is silly, but Mulan. And it highlights different kinds of honor and that sometimes the most honorable thing may be the least expected. --Sarah

What are your picks? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Next Month

Next month's theme is "whatever is right." Looking that up online found this explanation of the original word:
díkaios (an adjective, derived from dike, "right, judicial approval") – properly, "approved by God"; righteous; "just in the eyes of God". "Righteous" relates to conformity to God's standard (justice).
Other translations say "just," "righteous," and "fair." I'm thinking it shouldn't be hard to come up with some movies that exemplify that idea! I was late in posting this month's post, but let's give ourselves another four weeks and plan to post the next installment on December 22, right before Christmas. I suppose if you want to come up with some Christmas-themed movies about justice, you can go right ahead. Submit ideas in the comments, email me, post on my Facebook page, or contact me any other way!