Friday, March 29, 2013

Back in a Week!

No blogs over the next week, as I am off to Indiana to visit Jacob. I'll return Monday, April 8th. I said I'd return on the 1st, but THAT IS A LIE.

In the meantime, here's a silly 5-second video.

Have a good week, guys.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Movie Reviews by Jessie (Part 5)

All right, Jessie. What do you have to offer us this week?
A Prairie Home Companion - Do you know how many praire movies are out right now. i mean seriously. Honestly i think some people have no taste. i mean i bet there are many good praire movies but i am yet to find them.
I actually don't know how many prairie movies were out at that point. (She wrote this review December 15, 2006.) I'm also not sure you can count A Prairie Home Companion as a prairie movie. It just happens to have that word in the title. It's really about radio and musicians and quirky characters.
My Girl 2 - My girl was so sad and i do not think that i could bear to watch another sad movie like this one. although i think that this movie has definite happy potential.
Just look at the cover! People look happy! That's some definite happy potential right there.
The Little Mermaid II - OMG!!! i think i still have this movie but i mean seriosly i understand that some movies were meant to be made into a sequel but others are not. Although this movie was good, had a good plot, and had good .... i must say that The Little Mermaid was not meant to be turned into a sequel.
I'm a little concerned that not only does Little Mermaid have a sequel, it's actually been turned into a sequel. As in, The Little Mermaid is now a sequel... to itself?
Scooby-Doo 2 - to me i prefer the first one but this one had much better features. first of all i think that since the characters had already played in a movie they did much better in acting
Yup. That was the problem with the first one. The actors just hadn't been in a movie yet. None of them. And as soon as they were in a movie, they learned how acting works. Unless she actually means the characters, that Velma and Shaggy and Fred and Daphne themselves had to improve their acting.
World Trade Center - i still want to see this movie but i think that i will like it because it was sucha tragic event and i live for tragedies111
Girls Just Want to Have Fun - this movie was so good and also i loved Sarah Jessica Parker in this movie. is it not funny that you never really realize the GREAT movie s
I certainly have not recognized the GREAT movie Girls Just Want to Have Fun.
The Great Mouse Detective - such a ORIGINAL classic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She's pretty enthusiastic.
Peggy Sue Got Married - well i mean i have always liked older movies just because they are not as complicated as the movies now are.
This is mostly true if you're watching older movies like Peggy Sue Got Married and newer movies like Inception.
The American President - this was on t.v the other night and i thought that i would watch it but i fell asleep and i thought it was going to be good because......
i thought that i would review it but i fell asleep and i thought i was going to have some good opinions because......
You Only Live Twice - well i love the title because it sounds like some qoute
That's why Quantum of Solace didn't do so well. That doesn't sound like some quote at all.
Castle in the Sky - well know if it was inspired bu gullivers travels that is so a different story and i mean seriously.
OK, if anyone can decipher this one, you win.
Hamlet - wow what a classic and i even though i would not know i mean i think that it is. i mean people quote hamlet like macbeth and shakespeare and i mean when people do that it has to be a classic an di mean the really has to be a classic.
1) Jessie admits she has no idea what a classic is. But we've all known that for a long time.

2) Is she saying people quote Hamlet like they quote Macbeth and Shakespeare, or is she suggesting Macbeth and Shakespeare quote Hamlet frequently?
Earth Girls Are Easy - what exactly is that supposed to mean you aliens? not that i am mad or anything but i would really like to know!!!!!!!!
She's rated this movie as not seen and not interested. I looked at the movie synopsis to see if it said anything like "you aliens," but it didn't. Who exactly has she been insulted by?
Garfield as Himself - garfield is the only cat i like and i HATE cats. one time these two cats attacked me when i was like 6 and i was riding my bike. they came and started attacking my tires wheni parked my bike and it scared the hall-i-sin-ky out of me and although people say that they were just kidding and playing around i can never look at a cat the same again. you know why? because they never look at me the same. NOT ONCE> if you only knew how much that hurts. my deep facination for cats has officially been killed and i mean that in the best way possible.
A brief snapshot into Jessie's life.
The Little Vampire - so cute but his perfromance in Stuart Little is so much better and maybe it is just the age difference buti mean well if you actually have rated movies before you should know what i mean. RIGHT?
Why, yes. As someone who has rated movies before, I know exactly what you mean...
The Thing About My Folks - well it is about time i amgetting movies that i can actually relate to. i think thet this will TOTALLY and COMPLETELY be a LOL movie and i think that i would like it alot and that i will watch it again and again and laugh and laugh and YEA SO DO Not Judge me by my coments i am so what you think i am not... a little reverse phscology!!!!!
Well, we've been reverse psychologized, guys. Oh, wait. Reverse "phscologized." That word is hard to pronounce.
Mrs. Henderson Present - THIS LOOKS SO GOOD!!!!!! i mean it actually looks like one of those old widowing mocking egotistical stereotype movies but in a good way.
...I'm not sure I know of the "old widowing mocking egotistical" stereotype. Does that sound like a spam title to anyone else?

Guys, I only made it through like two pages of reviews. There were just so many incredibly bizarre ones in this batch. More for later, I guess!

Monday, March 25, 2013

An Introvert's Simple Pleasures

Too often in the introvert/extrovert conversation, it turns into "this is why being an introvert is especially difficult." I love being an introvert, now that I've accepted it as a part of my life. Here are a few of the things that I think of as being the things that bring me true joy because I am introverted.
  • Sitting outside somewhere secluded with my headphones and MP3 player, able to really get lost in the music
  • That moment when my house has been full of people, but then they all leave and my house is completely quiet
  • Seeing a movie when I am the only one in the theater
  • Eating dinner with a good friend in a mostly-empty restaurant
  • Getting into a passionate discussion about deep issues with a friend
  • Finding a corner of the library where nobody goes and sitting back there, reading and surrounded by bookshelves
  • Taking a walk by myself
  • Standing in the middle of a crowd in a big city and knowing not one of them wants to talk to me
  • Crying in the middle of a crowd in a big city and knowing it's safe because nobody is going to ask me if I'm okay
  • Finding somebody else who's as introverted as you are
  • Standing on the stage in an empty auditorium or theater
  • Going into a store where nobody asks me if I need anything
  • Also, late night grocery store runs when practically nobody's there
  • ALSO, self checkout
What are yours? What are the things that feed your introverted soul?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Scriptures

Sunday - Psalm 119:5-6
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
    keeping to the course you set;
Then I’d never have any regrets
    in comparing my life with your counsel.

Monday - Psalm 119:26a
When I told my story, you responded.

Wednesday - Psalm 119:61-62
The wicked hemmed me in—there was no way out—
    but not for a minute did I forget your plan for me.
I get up in the middle of the night to thank you;
    your decisions are so right, so true—I can’t wait till morning!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Top 100 Showtunes: 70-61

#70. "What You Don't Know About Women" from City of Angels. I go through phases where I can't stop listening to City of Angels, and this is one of the songs that always lures me back in. The lyrics are clever, the music is catchy, and it's so fun to sing super loud in the car. A fantastic jazzy number from a really underrated show.

#69. "Adelaide's Lament" from Guys and Dolls. One of the best comedic torch songs of all time. The song does an incredible job of creating Adelaide's character. It's funny and character-driven and is also fun to sing along with. It's just a delight to listen to.

#68. "Elaborate Lives" from Aida. This song didn't capture my attention at all when I first listened to Aida. However, as I kept listening, it started burrowing its way under my skin. I don't remember exactly when or how it happened, but eventually I discovered I absolutely loved it. Different lyrics in the song stand out to me each time I listen, and I love the big final chorus between the two characters.

#67. "Alone in the Universe" from Seussical. This song has spoken to me deeply at various points in my life. It's a song that acknowledges the sadness of being alone but is extremely optimistic about a time when that won't always be the case. It refuses to wallow but doesn't fake happiness either. The music is a beautiful blend of sad and soaring. Even now, at a time in my life when I feel very connected to other people, I can't help but be moved by this song.

#66. "Johnny Can't Decide" from tick...Tick...BOOM! This song is one of Jonathan Larson's best melodies, in my opinion. It's beautiful. I absolutely love the part where the three are all singing together. I think it does a great job of creating the right mood for the song. It's one of those songs that I just like but I sometimes have problems explaining why.

#65. "Bring Me Giants" from Cyrano de Bergerac. If ever someone was born to do a musical version of Cyrano, it was Frank Wildhorn. Unfortunately, he teamed up once again with the worst professional lyricist known to man: Leslie Bricusse. This meant that all Cyrano's eloquence was out the window and the songs were just disappointing. This one, however... this one works. The lyrics are not too horribly awful, and that melody works perfectly as Cyrano's character. Every so often I'll listen to this one over and over again on repeat because 3 minutes of it just isn't enough.

#64. "Close Every Door" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This show was one the very first shows that really got me into musicals (along with Cats, Phantom and Sunset Boulevard... I owe Andrew Lloyd Webber quite a debt of gratitude). I am still very moved by this song. In the final lines, Joseph says that no matter what happens to him, he knows he and his people will go on because God's promised it. This song actually closely mirrors my thought process in my own dark times, where I go back and forth between being very discouraged and defeated and try to remember the promises God has made to me.

#63. "Losing My Mind" from Follies. This song, when performed right, is absolutely incredible. Bernadette Peters does an amazing job with it in this clip I found. For me, it reminds me of my tendency to think and think and think about something and not be able to focus on anything else and worry that I might not be entirely functional when that happens. I think this is one of Sondheim's best ballads.

#62. "Turn It Off" from The Book of Mormon. And we're lightening things back up again here. This song is absolutely hilarious, and very poignantly illuminates two major problems among the Christian church. First, that you shouldn't ever be sad or disheartened. Secondly, that anything you're having difficulty with emotionally, you can just "turn it off, like a light switch." Because apparently that's possible and healthy. Also, how can you dislike a bunch of guys tap dancing in flashy purple vests?

#61. "All For the Best" from Godspell. OK, this is a very entertaining follow-up to "Turn It Off" because this kind of is genuinely about religious leaders telling you to cheer up. Or something. Anyway, this is from Godspell. One of my favorite aspects of the show is that so many of the songs are parodies of other song styles. Here, in the style of an old vaudeville song-and-dance routine, Jesus and Judas tell us why we shouldn't get too discouraged when things go wrong for us.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


As I sit here on Tuesday night, thinking, I do not want to write a blog for Wednesday morning. I don't have anything to say, I came to a decision. I've decided to just leave the blog page open on my screen and write down whatever I feel inclined to. So you will get a random smattering of tiny thoughts from me. Enjoy.

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The songs that are on my "Favorites of 2013" playlist so far:

1. There Are Worse Things I Could Do from Glee
2. Idea Man by Groovelily
3. Desert With Lights by Groovelily
4. Swimming Pools (Drank) by Kendrick Lamar (I admit that this song doesn't seem to fit with the rest. But I think it's fascinating.)
5. Aunt Betty by Jeff Blumenkrantz
6. I'm Still Standing by Elton John

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I had this conversation with Jacob the other day.

Jacob: Hitler's not fun. Unless you make him into clay.
Me: (gasp) We could make Hitler made out of clay made out of Hitler!
Jacob: No, that's how you bring him back from the dead.
Me: Oh. Well, we could make a bunch of mini Hitlers out of clay. So even if they came back to life, they couldn't do anything, because they'd be tiny.
Jacob: (singing) "Miiiiini Hitlers..." That sounds like a theme song.
Me: I think it's a dark comedy about a very sad lonely kid who builds a bunch of mini clay Hitlers to be his friends.

I have to admit, Hitler shows up in our conversations probably more than is strictly appropriate.

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One of these days I should type up some of the heated debates I have with my family. That makes it sound like I'm going to post a transcription of people arguing about whose turn it is to do the dishes, but it's much more interesting than that. My sister Rebekah and I in particular agree on very, very little, and we end up arguing about all sorts of things. Most recently: whether sequels are a good or bad idea overall, how much does Christianity have to emphasize the pain and agony of Jesus' death, what promises you can require of friends, and the idea of listening to music analyzing the pieces vs. experiencing it holistically. Often these debates take hours before we finally all go to bed, not ever really resolving it. But they sure do make for interesting conversations.

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One of these days I'm also going to do a series where I ask each of my married friends to share their stories. I've always been fascinated by real life love stories, and some of my friends' stories of how they met, got together, and got married, are wonderful. I just need to talk to some friends, gather up a couple stories and put them into blog format. (If any of you married friends reading this want to be among the first, leave me a comment or shoot me a Facebook message.)

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My online pals the Rinkies are big fans of Jessie and her movie reviews. Sam, the owner of the website, even created a bot that collected all the Jessie reviews and can post a random one into the chat room ever so often. I just found this chat log from after I posted my second Jessie review post in the chat room. It highlights once again how crazy that girl is.

Sam: Hey, with that American In Paris review, is that the right number of exclamation marks at the end? Because my version of that review, as scraped by my data-mining script, just has two. This may mean she went back in and edited the review later JUST to add lots more exclamation marks.
Me: That's definitely the right amount.
Me: I really hope that's what happened.
Me: She was rereading her reviews and thought, "I really REALLY mean this one."

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Christian Music I Grew Up With, Part 2

In my last blog on this subject, I covered the easy listening, "contemporary Christian" sound and the cheesy teen pop. Now on to the stuff that most of the people around my in my youth group actually listened to: the rock and the worship. Today is just the rock, because, turns out, I had a lot I wanted to say about these groups.

Rocking Out For Jesus

Really, all you need to know about the cool Christian groups in the early 2000s is that there were three main groups that EVERYBODY listened to. Everybody. I liked them all, but here they are in order from least favorite to favorite.

1. Newsboys. They were definitely pop rock rather than rock rock, but they were still significantly cooler than any of the other pop I listened to. And they were edgy, because they sang the Breakfast song, which mentioned hell by name, which you weren't supposed to do in Christian music.

The best, most interesting era of the band was when Steve Taylor was writing their lyrics. Sometimes they got a bit too "look what I can do with words!" but some of them were fantastic. Take Me To Your Leader and Shine get my vote for most entertaining lyrically. A couple of their more overtly rocky hits: the re-recording of God Is Not a Secret and Cup O' Tea; some of their poppier hits: Step Up to the Microphone and Entertaining Angels.

2. Audio Adrenaline. Their 1999 album "Underdog" is still, in my opinion, one of the best albums Christian music has ever, ever created. They sort of became the poster band for youth group missions trips. How could they not? They had songs about youth group van road trips, being willing to go wherever God sent you, and everyone needing God.

They also had a silly sense of humor, which led to songs like The Houseplant Song, about rock music being bad for you, and Big House, a goofy song about playing football in Heaven. Though it wasn't quite as silly, Get Down also became the classic youth trip option of "light-hearted songs to get the teens involved at the beginning of worship." (I went on one trip where we sang it every morning.)

They also ultimately wrote some really nice, mellow, serious pieces. I'm a fan particularly of Ocean Floor, Never Gonna Be As Big As Jesus, and Good Life.

3. dc Talk. Oh, where to begin with dc Talk?

The group consisted of Kevin Max Smith, Toby McKeehan, and Michael Tait. (They're in that order on the above album picture.) They started off as a rap group, putting out two albums that were just straight hip hop. Cheesy 1990s pop hip hop, but ya know, close enough. Toby was the rapper, and the other two sang the choruses. Their third album, "Free At Last," branched out a little bit, offering songs like Socially Acceptable and Say the Words that were primarily non-rap, along with songs like Luv is a Verb and Jesus Is Just Alright that sounded more like what they'd been doing already.

And then along came Jesus Freak in 1995.

They went full rock on that album, giving no warning that that was going to happen, but it turned out to be one of the best Christian albums ever, as well as giving us the actual song "Jesus Freak," which pretty much defined an entire generation of teens. The album dealt with topics like racism, hypocrisy and wanting to avoid it, and asking for forgiveness from people you've wronged. This album connected with Christian teens in a powerful way. I was only nine when it first came out, but its influence was still obvious by the time I reached high school.

dc Talk's final album, "Supernatural," was a pop rock album that wasn't quite as earth-shattering as their previous one, but it still had some great songs, like Consume Me, Into Jesus, and the title track.

The group went their own separate ways after that to pursue solo careers. Toby has had the most successful solo career, taking the name "tobyMac" and putting out lots of Christian hip hop, though he's been edging toward a poppier sound these days.

Kevin dropped his last name and goes by "Kevin Max," and he's had a ridiculously varied career, releasing:

Michael formed the band Tait and released two albums before going on hiatus (neither of which I really listened to).

And now... here's the fun part.

In 2009, Newsboys' lead singer, Peter Furler, left the band to focus on his family. They announced shortly afterward that Michael Tait would join the band as their new lead singer. The band has been moderately successful since Michael joined the band.

In 2006, Audio Adrenaline disbanded. Lead singer Mark Stuart stepped down due to vocal issues (they thought it was because of overuse, but Wikipedia informs me he actually has a disorder which causes his larynx to spasm. Huh). In 2012, six years after their hiatus, it was announced that Kevin Max would reform the band and take over as lead singer. Their first album together came out just last week (with Mark Stuart co-writing several songs), and I have not yet gotten a chance to listen to it, but I'm super excited.

Now we just have to find an awesome old Christian band for Toby to take over.

This blog is already ridiculously long, but I wanted to take a quick moment to give a shout out to the rock bands that I still liked (in varying degrees) but were not quite as essential in my Christian music upbringing. I'm looking at you, Relient K, Superchic[k], P.O.D., and Jars of Clay.

I've spoken a crapload. Now it's your turn to talk if you want. What were your favorite Christian rock groups? Do you feel the ones I've mentioned are overrated?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Scriptures

This week also not so great for time with God. Man, I started this in the hopes of getting better but it doesn't seem to be happening, does it? Well, if I have to keep embarrassedly posting one verse a week, I'll do it. One is better than none. Hopefully some day I'll work my way up :-)

Saturday - Psalm 116:12
What can I give back to God
    for the blessings he’s poured out on me?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Top 100 Showtunes: 80-71

And onto the next 10 favorite showtunes!

#80. "Baptize Me" from The Book of Mormon. This song never fails to completely crack me up. Not only is it really entertaining, catchy, and sweet, but I actually think it's making a pretty poignant point about how poorly many religious groups to deal with relationships and attraction. In this song, Mormon missionary Arnold Cunningham has fallen in love with beautiful Ugandan girl Nabulungi, who has now decided she wants to be baptized into the Mormon church. No good videos of this, unfortunately, so here's the cast recording version.

#79. "How Lucky You Are" from Seussical. This little song is far from being an important part of the show. Cut it out and you really don't lose anything. But it's one of my very favorites, for its cheerful attitude on the horribleness of life. (I so enjoy that kind of song.) I just really love the lyrics, "If worst comes to worst, as we all know it will, thank your lucky stars you've gotten this far."

#78. "I Wanna Be a Producer" from The Producers. There's just something about this song that makes me smile. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is. It's such a triumphant song, and I love big flashy choreographed dance sequences that come out of nowhere.

#77. "Do You Know What It's Like?" from Zanna, Don't! This song has such a beautiful, heartbreaking melody to it. The four people performing here do a beautiful job, and when they all sing together at the end, it makes me want to close my eyes and just listen to them. This song is so sad and so gorgeous and that's about all I have to say about it.

#76. "A New Life" from Jekyll and Hyde. This was one of the very first songs I ever heard from this show, and it captivated me. I love how simple the lyrics are, and how the melody just keeps climbing and climbing until it reaches the triumphant, determined ending. (The song is much sadder when you realize she is killed by Hyde shortly afterward.)

#75. "Don't Be Anything Less Than Everything You Can Be" from Snoopy!! Like #78, this is another song that just plain makes me happy. The lyrics are pretty cheesy, but it's super fun to sing along to (though I have to concentrate really hard to get the string of nouns right at the end). Usually I don't like cheesy "be the best you can be" songs, but for some reason this one works for me.

#74. "Notice Me, Horton" from Seussical. I admit, this probably made the list because of my bias toward songs about unrequited love. This was one of my favorites way back in the day and it still makes me smile. The lyrics are very heartfelt and sweet, and the melody is very pretty, and I love when the two sing together, but not to each other. It's just a really nice song.

#73. "Together Again" from Young Frankenstein. To be honest, I like the musical version of Young Frankenstein much better than the movie. These lyrics are fun, very clever, and the song is incredibly catchy and cheerful. I can't listen to this song and not smile.

#72. "Getting Married Today" from Company. I've said most of what I want to say about this incredible song in my Musical Spotlight piece for Company, so let me just repeat what I said in that:

This song gets my vote for being the most difficult song to sing in all of musical theaterdom, and though there are many videos of various celebrities performing it on YouTube (Madeline Kahn and Carol Burnett both are entertaining), very few of them keep to the original tempo... which is the one in this video. Kudos to Heather Laws. The character is Amy, who is supposed to get married today but is freaking out a little bit. Or, well, maybe more than a little bit. The song delivers its lyrics at an incredible pace, but if you can manage to process the lyrics as they're sung, they're very funny and very clever, in true Sondheim fashion.

#71. "The Brain" from Young Frankenstein. I didn't mean to put two Young Frankenstein songs so close to each other, but it's how it turned out. The lyrics for this song are more entertaining than the previous one, so it's a couple slots higher. Mel Brooks is an extremely entertaining lyricist, constantly playing with clever rhymes and interesting wordplay. Here's the cast recording version so you can hear each one of the words.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Movie Reviews by Jessie (Part 4)

Guys. I am on page 17 of Jessie's ratings-and-reviews section. I thought there were like, 20, 25 pages... but I just looked and there are 60. Now there may be pages coming up where she just rates movies and just reviews them... but it's also possible that we have material for many, many more blog entries.

I had been wishing I had an unlimited supply of Jessie's reviews. Looks like I might be closer than I thought.

On to this week's gems.
Two Brothers - well i mean it was such a classic and about how horrible hunters are.
No, no, you're mixing it up with the actual classic about how horrible hunters are.
Tin Cup - this is a golf movie and i even surprised myself because sports movies are not my thing and i really thought i was going to hate it. well i did not and i thought that you may want to know that it was very good. 
I did want to know that! How thoughtful of you to think of us. What would we have ever done without you?
Open Water - oh my geez!!!!! i love any shark movie and i have no idea why. i just love watching them bu ti know that if anything like this ever happened to me i would pray to god and kiss my butt goodbye. Anyway i really think that this was good and to me the best shark movie is the everlasting shark classic Jaws.
One of my favorite things about Jessie is when she starts on one topic and then suddenly she's talking about a completely different movie and you didn't know she was segueing at all.
The Even Stevens Movie - Ok but I mean I really think that they can do better than this. the acting was good but because of the theme of the movie i do not think that anyone really bought the "boo hoo i am stuck on an island and me and my family are being shunned" story. it is so played out.
Yeah. Um. I'm totally tired of that plotline too. Man. How many movies can I even think of with that story? ...Well, at least one. The Even Stevens Movie, apparently.
In Good Company - This movie was so not what I was expecting. the previews made it out to be really hilarious but i must say that when i put it on the telly and watched it with my family i really and absalutely thought that the directors had let me down. I mean really do not show a good movie in commercials just to build our hopes up and then tear them down when we find out that it really sucks. OH wait they do NOT CARE whether they tear us down once they build us up!!!! i mean sheesh have a heart.
It's almost like those people are trying to make MONEY off their product or something!
Arsenic and Old Lace - The guy is carrying a girl in lace over his shoulder. It doesn't get any more classic than that.
And there you have it, folks.
Around the World in 80 Days - Well this is a first for me i must say. I love traveling movies because I plan to travel alot but this one had a bunch of different countries to tour and I thought that they portrayed the different places quite well. I absalutely loved it and the actors performance was wonderfull. In this version there were some dull parts but i mean overall the whole movie worked out and turned out to be really great.
Wait, so what was the first for her? A movie with a bunch of different countries to tour? A movie that portrayed different places quite well? Just watching this movie at all? Whatever it was, she sure sounded shocked that she was finally doing it.
Frankie & Johnny - I heard that they was a show that they had but i have never confirmed the rumors so if you have any information please do share because it is things like this that tend to make me ponder.
I do not have any information, so Jessie is just going to have to keep pondering.
The Quest - LOOK at that actors name. i am shocked that anyone would give their child such a name that is long. I would like to look into that matter because i am sure that there is a quite intriguing story behind the fact that parents always give their kids names that they will be ridiculed for for the rest of their sad pathetic life.
I'm pretty sure the actor she is referring to here is Jean-Claude Van Damme. This is all she had to say about the movie.
The Poseidon Adventure - As soon as i had rented this movie ithought hat it was so good and such a classic. Ithink that this movie will be just as good, because the boat had tipped and i am sure there is more to the story.
Wait... what?

OK, let's dissect this.

I think that first "this movie" that she rented and magically knew it was good and a classic as soon as she rented it (she didn't even have to watch it first - so convenient!) is the remake of this, which was the 1970s version. That's the second "this movie."

When had the boat tipped?

Was there more to the story?
Twister - AUGH!!!! this movie so totaly blew me away. a little funny funny ha ha HUMOR from me but anyway i loved this movie so much. 
Some deliberate humor from Jessie from this time... although that shout at the beginning definitely didn't sound like a positive sound effect.
Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure - STCK TO THE ORIGINALS PEOPLE. i mean seriosly what puppy wants to be king of the junkyard. it is a retorical question so you so do not need to answer it.
But... but I did all this research on puppies and junkyard kings. Now that has to all go to waste.
Risky Business - looks like a total thriller. I LOVE total thrillers because they are so intriguing and tend to always pop up with Tom Cruise who I must say is a FABULOUS actor.
Regular thrillers don't pop up with Tom Cruise quite as much. Good thing we have those total thrillers to fulfill our pop-up Tom Cruise cravings.

(Now my mind is singing, "Tom Cruise has Tom Cruise cravings, just be glad it's him, not you.")
Yours, Mine and Ours - well i watched the new version and it totally rocked. I love DENNIS QUAID. he is such a good actor.
The louder she types his name, the better an actor he is.

I thought that was going to be an adequate snarky comment on that review, but then she continues:
Anyway back to this movie. I think that since the new one was Awesome , why wouldn't thsi one be just as good? Exactly if you can not give me proof with a plausible reason, then you have no arguement as to why my movie rating sucks.
Bringing Up Baby - Well it looks really good. i think that by the cover it will be an early Dirty Dancing. Also
That is... not accurate. Also
Father of the Bride Part II - Steve MArtin gets his credit because he is such a great actor and i mean he is so hilarios. i mean even though he is a little bit on the old side and those were simpler times back then he has adapted quite nicely to the new acting turn of the century but more like decade for us because of all the movies we have out now a days.
We can learn so much from Jessie. Steve Martin comes from simpler times, and a century can be like a decade if you have enough new movies.
Happy Feet - some of these actors/actresses are in other upcoming movies which just further show their success.
Well... good for people who manage to be in other movies. I only see movies when the actors in it are going to be in other movies soon.
Like Mike - OMG. not another orphan movie. i mean was'nt Annie enogh. i have nothing against Annie because i liked the movie quite a bit but i mean come on. can those big-time hollywood directors and writers not come up with anything better because i mean i really think that there are so many better ideas out there but they are never open to the possibilities.
As we have seen before in her review of Meet the Robinsons, Jessie is REALLY impatient with movies that she thinks are trying to be too much like Annie.
Keeping Up With the Steins - I wonder who Daryl Hannah is becaue his name often comes up on this site in quite a few movies.

Monday, March 11, 2013

An Introvert's Guide to Making Friends

I didn't really have friends in high school. It's taken me a little while to realize I even have friends now. I had someone tell me once that among our group she considered me one of the popular ones, because everyone liked me and what I did influenced people. That came as a complete shock to me, because I still think of myself sometimes as being the person everyone tolerates but nobody really likes. I still think there aren't any situations where I could be called popular (other than many that particular one), but at some point I went from having no friends to having a bunch of friends. They may be scattered all over the country, but there are many of them, and I'm very grateful for them.

Making friends for an introvert is not always an easy process. Heck, meeting people isn't always an easy process. Here are a few of the tips I've picked up along the way that worked for me, along with a few lovely pictures illustrating me doing these things. Because I hear using pictures in your blog is a good thing, and since I have zero camera skills, the only pictures I have are of me hanging out with friends anyway, so they make for good visual aids.

Anyway. On to the list.

1. Pursue something you love in a place where there are other people doing the same thing.

Probably 90% of my close friends are people I met while we were doing something we both loved, like participating in a young writer's group, watching movies, or doing theater. Meeting someone like this gives you an instant common bond, for one thing. For another, although sometimes it's hard to get introverts to talk, usually they just need the right subject. Once we start discussing something we really care about, it's getting us to shut up that's the problem. Even an introvert like me can get into great discussions with complete strangers when it's centered around something we both really love.

I'm not close friends with all these people -
goodness, that would be a lot of close friends -
but I like them all, and I enjoy whenever I get to spend time with them.
I hardly ever go into these situations looking to meet someone. It's usually more like, "I want to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Hey, this other person is too! We can probably talk about our novels together." But even if I never meet friends doing that (and often I don't), the process should still be rewarding. You don't want to feel you've wasted your time if no friendships develop. (Besides, taking up a class or activity you don't really care about in an attempt to meet people means you don't really have a common bond with anyone there, and that's not helpful to you if you struggle with finding common ground in the first place.)

2. Be prepared for some uncomfortable socialization at first.

Even if you've found an activity to enjoy and people to do it with, the step from that to friendship often involves awkward group interactions first. It doesn't have to always, but be ready for it. You can always pursue hobbies around other people and then leave them and go your own way, and if you do that consistently, don't be surprised when nobody reaches out to you.

The first show I did in college was with a group of people who had all started the theater program around the same time as me. I could have just done the show with them and then gone straight back to my dorm from rehearsal. We would have been on good terms but it would have only ever been acquaintance terms. Instead, I tried to take them up on offers to hang out. It became a regular thing that we would go to rehearsal and then go out to dinner afterwards. Many times in those early days I had nothing really to say to anybody, and I felt awkward, and I would much rather have been home by myself. Several times I did bow out. But I hung out with them enough to send the clear message, "Yes, I am interested in being friends with you. Yes, I would like to spend time with you."

It's very tempting for me to skip out on group get-togethers
where virtually the only purpose is to hang out with people...
but if I hadn't gone to them, I never would have gotten to know these people,
some of whom are my very favorites.
This step isn't always necessary. Sometimes you can jump straight into interaction you're comfortable with. But sometimes you just have to agree to go to the office party or join everyone for coffee after yoga because immediately saying, "We're in the same class. We probably like the same stuff. We should hang out all the time now!" creeps people out.

3. Seek out one-on-one time with people whose company you enjoy.

You've found a common interest, you've probably done some hang out time... now comes the part where introverts can really thrive as long as they're not shy about asking. If you've enjoyed a co-worker's political debate or think you have the same sense of humor as a classmate, invite them to hang out together one-on-one.

Sometimes people see asking for one-on-one as creepy, which is unfortunate. There are a couple ways to make it a little better, although some will still be creeped out no matter what.

First, you can center it around an activity you already know you both enjoy ("The mall is having a used book sale on Wednesday. I'm going - you should join me!"). This can be a little less off-putting to people than asking them to sit down and have a direct one-on-one conversation with you. I have definitely done this.

If you both happen to love the same Broadway stars,
you can go see them in a touring cast together. I've done that too.
Secondly, you can just be super duper honest. I have done this as well. It usually goes something like, "Hey, I think you're a really cool person and I've enjoyed the couple times we've talked. I'd love to talk to you some more. Would you like to grab lunch on Friday? I'm trying to get out and meet some new people but I get awkward in big groups (slightly self-deprecating laugh goes here)." People usually sympathize with the attempt to get out there, they're flattered that you selected them, and now the cards are out on the table. If they're uncomfortable with your introversion, they're probably not people you'd want as friends anyway.

Also, if you have a topic in mind, that makes it easier. One of my earliest memories of spending time with my fiancé is when we had a platonic dinner date to talk about worship, as he wanted to be a worship leader and I had some personal issues with worship. He struck me as a reasonable and sympathetic person (as he indeed turned out to be) and I wanted to know what he'd have to say. It was a great conversation that turned into a great friendship that turned into a great relationship.

Me and some my very favs hanging out together at another fav's wedding.
Group gatherings are not quite so scary when you're at least friendly
with most of the people there. It gets better. :-)
The process of making friends is still difficult for me. I still have to push myself to do actively social things. And obviously, you're not automatically friends with people once you hang out with people one-on-one. However, once I get past the initial hump of "how do I even MEET people?" I find that the rest is much easier to figure out.

How about you guys? What tips would you give introverts looking to meet people or build friendships? I covered just the tip of the iceberg here - share your own thoughts in the comments!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Scriptures

Well, this week was not good as far as consistent time with God went. Praying for next week to go better. 

Thursday - Psalm 117:6-8
I said to myself, “Relax and rest.
    God has showered you with blessings.
    Soul, you’ve been rescued from death;
    Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears;
    And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.”

Friday, March 8, 2013

Search Keyword Help Time!

(Your regularly schedule Top 100 Showtunes will return next Friday. I haven't quite finished writing the newest one up, so have this blog that IS finished! Well, mostly. But I can cover the rest some other time.)

The last couple weeks have yielded quite an interesting selection of search keywords used to find my blog. Time to answer some more of the Internet's burning questions.

how do you have a sunday nap on the couch on the sims?
A nap on the couch on Sunday isn't any different a nap on the couch on any other day. You wait until Sunday, click on the couch, and then click "nap." You don't get extra resting points for it being Sunday.

rejuvenating activities for introverts
Well, introverts are all obviously different people and can find different things rejuvenating, here are some of the things I find rejuvenating as an introvert:
  • Deep conversations
  • One-on-one time with a close friend
  • Being the only one in a movie theater showing
  • Libraries
  • Lying on my bed with my eyes closed, listening to music I love
  • Medium long road trips
Feel free to share your favorite introverted rejuvenation activities in the comments!

edward scissorhands characters
Edward Scissorhands, Kim, Peg and Jim are the main ones, according to IMDb. It's been a little while since I've seen it, but I do remember Kim is the daughter, Peg is the mom, and Jim is the evil boyfriend. And Edward Scissorhands is the guy with scissors for hands and crazy hair.

creepiest showtunes
I highly recommend my Halloween Showtunes Mix. A few I'd recommend that aren't on there: Unworthy of Your Love from Assassins (hecka creepy if you know what it's about) and the judge's version of Johanna from Sweeney Todd.

introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike
...people. We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.

A great quote from a great book: Laurie Helgoe's "Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength."

should a blogger mention she is unpublished?
If you mention it, the blogger gods come and take your blog away from you. I don't know how I've escape it for so long.

han solo was the mercenary with a heart of gold
He sure was! He was also my first crush. Incidentally, I'm pretty sure he was the only mercenary-with-a-heart-of-gold movie character I ever had a crush on. I quickly transitioned over to platonic-wisecracking-underdog-nerd-friend-who-is-so-much-better-than-the-boring-hero-why-can't-she-see-that?

ghost vs dinosaurs
Well, dinosaurs are extinct. Ghost the movie is not only still around, but also got turned into a musical. I'd say Ghost wins this battle.

for what reason does romeo say the friar scolded him about rosaline
Somebody's looking up their homework answers on the Internet. Here, let me help you out, kid. Act 2, scene 3, line 37 (with the friar's wise response on line 38).

introvert lying to myself
This is intriguing to me. I'm not sure if this person is lying to themselves about being an extrovert (as I did before I realized extroversion didn't equal godliness), lying to themselves about being an introvert (because of wanting to appear deep? I don't know), or just lying to themselves in general and wonders if they should deal with it differently because of their introversion (probably not, although your struggle to accept the truth may be more internally motivated).

most bizarre glee performance
SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM. I think I still have to go with the entire football team performing the Single Ladies dance in that very early episode, for the sole purpose of confusing the other team. It confused them, it confused me, and it confused everyone who watched that episode.

unknown movies with great music
It feels to me like the most obvious choice is little-known musicals, such as Company, Into the Woods, and Sunday in the Park With George. (So many of Sondheim's musicals have been filmed but so few of those movies have been seen by most people. Sad.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Christian Music I Grew Up With, Part 1

The other night I was reminiscing with my family about the songs I grew up with, specifically the Christian songs I remembered so fondly.

I was in middle school when I first discovered music of any kind, really. In my house at that time we were only allowed to listen to Christian music, so that was what I listened to. I don't remember my first CD, but it was one of these three, all of which I acquired at the same time:

And from there I went on to acquire everything I could get my hands on.

Let's look at some of the highlights, shall we?

Easy Listening Contemporary Christian

Even though in some youth group circles, these weren't considered cool to listen to - it was "mom music" - I had a great fondness for some of the mellower artists. For example, Point of Grace. The two most ubiquitous songs by them at that time were Keep the Candle Burning and Circle of Friends, but I personally liked their more upbeat songs better, such as That's the Way It Meant to Be and Steady On. Oh, I should mention that their first Christmas CD was incredible. It's still one of my very favorites. Their original Christmas song Light of the World is one I love listening to every Christmas.

Avalon was like Point of Grace except with two guys and two girls instead of four girls. (Incidentally, one of the members of Avalon was Jody McBrayer, whose voice I LOVED, and when he released a solo CD, I snapped it up instantly.) The Avalon song that wouldn't die is Testify to Love, which apparently was covered by Wynonna Judd? Huh. No idea. Avalon was also really good at giving us those big crazy belty female songs, sort of the Christian equivalent of I Will Always Love You or And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going. You sang these songs if you wanted to show off your voice. The two most notable were Can't Live a Day and I Don't Wanna Go.

Michael W. Smith had both been around for quite awhile, but when I first started listening to music, it was right when This Is Your Time was big. And I mean BIG. It was an inspirational song released in the wake of the Columbine shooting, encouraging people to live their lives fully because you never know when your time is going to be up, and it was all over the place. "Human videos" hadn't quite caught on in American churches yet, or this would have been the subject of all of them. (His Christmas CDs are also pretty incredible. Apparently adult contemporary Christian artists do the best Christmas albums.)

Steven Curtis Chapman was considered a little less "mommish" but not by much. His song Dive was the big song back then, and because Christian music apparently never gets old, I still hear it played on Christian radio today. I do like the song - it's catchy and fun - I just think it's funny that it's still going. (Other big SCC songs: Lord of the Dance, The Great Adventure, Speechless and the quintessential wedding song I Will Be Here.)

The Cheesiest Pop You Can Imagine

Oh, don't worry, it wasn't just cheesy because it was Christian. It was cheesy because it was the late 1990s and the early 2000s and we were trying to find a way to get people to listen to music about Jesus instead of Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys. Cue young female belters, boy bands, and girl dance groups.

The female pop singers I listened to: Jaci Velasquez, Stacie Orrico, Rachael Lampa. They all sounded pretty much the same and were all 16 or 17 when they got signed. Jaci and Rachael were power belters, while Stacie was dubbed "the Christian Britney Spears" - much breathier and weaker a voice. A few of their biggest songs: God So Loved and On My Knees (Jaci), Blessed and Savior Song (Rachael), and More to Life and Genuine (Stacie).

Rebecca St. James should probably be in there somewhere, but I didn't listen to her as much, aside from her True Love Waits song, Wait For Me. I did like that one.

Of the dance girl groups, the only one that really did well was ZOEgirl. I didn't like them as much as my friends did, but I bought all their CDs anyway. I'm not even sure I can separate all their songs out in my mind, but I do remember Dismissed and I Believe as being ones I liked. They are pretty fun to dance along to still.

The girl dance groups that nobody listened to but me: V*Enna (Where I Wanna Be was their one hit) and Shine MK (More Than Words Can Say is not my favorite, but it's the only one I can find on YouTube).

(A few other songs that kind of fit this category: River by Out of Eden, All I Can Do by Jump5, and, oh gosh, you can't forget Always and Forever by Raze.)

Annnnd the boy bands. There were actually a fair amount of Christian boy bands, even though no one remembers them now, and I listened to all of them. The main ones I listened to the most were Plus One (Written On My Heart and I Don't Care), True Vibe (Jump Jump Jump), Phat Chance (Sunshine Daylight), and Jake (Waiting and Let Me Know).

In part 2, I'll deal with the "cool" Christian music (some of which is actually still pretty cool). These can be separated into two genres: the rock dudes and the worship dudes.

Did you grow up listening to any of these artists? Which were your favorites?

Monday, March 4, 2013

My 28 Days of Romance Movie Challenge

Throughout the month of February, I decided I wanted to take on a movie challenge. Every day, I would use Flickchart to figure out my #1 unseen romance movie and watch it. Some of them were tragic romances, some were cheerful rom coms, one got unclassified as a romance after I pointed out to the Flickchart kings that there wasn't much romance actually in it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this challenge. I watched a lot of movies I wouldn't have watched otherwise, and some of them turned out to really be worth it. I will probably do this again next year.

So here are all the movies I watched for this challenge in February:

The Ones I Loved
Better Off Dead. It's been a long time since I laughed this consistently at a movie. A bizarre, surreal rom com. So good.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Not spectacular as a romance specifically, but it's just a really good movie. And that's saying a lot, because I really hate westerns.

The Ones I Liked
In a Lonely Place. A fantastic noir looking at the dark side of relationships. I want to give this one another watch in a couple years and see if I like it even more.
La Strada. Oh, this was sad. A heartbreaking tragedy with some excellent acting for both central characters.
Moonrise Kingdom. My fourth Wes Anderson flick, and probably my second favorite, after Tenenbaums. it's just a lot of fun.
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. A very moving story of redemption and rekindled love.
The Lady Vanishes. A nice light-hearted mystery and I did love the romance in this one. They make for a fun couple.
The Red Shoes. A pretty traditional love story, but filled with some gorgeous dancing.
Red. Fascinating little drama, though I've been told I should see the other two in the trilogy to really understand the ending.
Ninotchka. Sweet and ridiculous 1930s rom com. Not substantial, but it sure makes for a fun viewing experiences.
Ugetsu. While not quite as sad as La Strada, I reacted to it in a very similar way. This one has a very dark beauty to it.
La Jetée. One of the few experimental films I actually really enjoy, this is a great science fiction story told in a very unique way.
A Matter of Life and Death. Pretty charming, even if it does get extremely cheesy at times.

The Ones I Thought Were Okay
Badlands. Martin Sheen was the most interesting part about this Bonnie and Clyde-esque movie.
Laura. As much as I dislike detective-based noirs, this one had some fun twists I didn't see coming, and even though I didn't love it, I didn't hate it either.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High. There are a lot of stories going on here, and a few of the "main" ones are just not interesting at all. The ones that are interesting, though, are entertaining.
Chungking Express. I had great difficulty following the narrative, but what I followed I liked pretty well.
From Russia With Love. Probably my favorite Bond that I've seen so far, though that isn't saying much. And I couldn't for the life of me tell you what actually happened in this movie today, two weeks after I watched it. It had something to do with Russia.

The Ones I Didn't Like
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. Some good bits, but far, far too long and sprawling to hold my attention.
Children of Paradise. Thoroughly enjoyed the first half, then the second one came along and was boring, melodramatic, and made all my favorite characters thoroughly unlikable.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Too much raunch for not nearly enough laughs.
Days of Heaven. I just don't get Terrence Malick. I don't. I was so bored through this movie.
Giant. The last half hour is pretty good, but it takes so very, very long to get there...
From Here to Eternity. The only part I cared about was the subplot with Frank Sinatra. Everything else was thoroughly uninteresting.
Out of the Past. A detective-based femme fatale noir. It's not that surprising I didn't get into it.

The Ones I Hated
Jules and Jim. I could not have cared less about the fates of these people. If I spend the entire movie with three people watching them interact, I expect to care about them at some point...
Barry Lyndon. The 3-hour saga of the most unpleasant person ever, who goes around destroying lives everywhere.
Pierrot le Fou. An infuriating mix of narrative and experimental film. The two fight each other all the way through the flick instead of complementing.

If you want to read longer reviews of these movies, you can find most of them at my Letterboxd page.

What are your favorite romance movies?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Scriptures

Sunday - Psalm 106:44-46
Still, when God saw the trouble they were in
    and heard their cries for help,
He remembered his Covenant with them,
    and, immense with love, took them by the hand.
He poured out his mercy on them
    while their captors looked on, amazed.

Monday - all of Psalm 107
(I promise I don't usually post entire chapters. But the whole thing got to me.)
Oh, thank God—he’s so good!
    His love never runs out.
All of you set free by God, tell the world!
    Tell how he freed you from oppression,
Then rounded you up from all over the place,
    from the four winds, from the seven seas.

Some of you wandered for years in the desert,
    looking but not finding a good place to live,
Half-starved and parched with thirst,
    staggering and stumbling, on the brink of exhaustion.
Then, in your desperate condition, you called out to God.
    He got you out in the nick of time;
He put your feet on a wonderful road
    that took you straight to a good place to live.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves.
He poured great draughts of water down parched throats;
    the starved and hungry got plenty to eat.

Some of you were locked in a dark cell,
    cruelly confined behind bars,
Punished for defying God’s Word,
    for turning your back on the High God’s counsel—
A hard sentence, and your hearts so heavy,
    and not a soul in sight to help.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    he got you out in the nick of time.
He led you out of your dark, dark cell,
    broke open the jail and led you out.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves;
He shattered the heavy jailhouse doors,
    he snapped the prison bars like matchsticks!

Some of you were sick because you’d lived a bad life,
    your bodies feeling the effects of your sin;
You couldn’t stand the sight of food,
    so miserable you thought you’d be better off dead.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    he got you out in the nick of time.
He spoke the word that healed you,
    that pulled you back from the brink of death.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves;
Offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
    tell the world what he’s done—sing it out!

Some of you set sail in big ships;
    you put to sea to do business in faraway ports.
Out at sea you saw God in action,
    saw his breathtaking ways with the ocean:
With a word he called up the wind—
    an ocean storm, towering waves!
You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out;
    your hearts were stuck in your throats.
You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk,
    you didn’t know which end was up.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    he got you out in the nick of time.
He quieted the wind down to a whisper,
    put a muzzle on all the big waves.
And you were so glad when the storm died down,
    and he led you safely back to harbor.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves.
Lift high your praises when the people assemble,
    shout Hallelujah when the elders meet!

God turned rivers into wasteland,
    springs of water into sunbaked mud;
Luscious orchards became alkali flats
    because of the evil of the people who lived there.
Then he changed wasteland into fresh pools of water,
    arid earth into springs of water,
Brought in the hungry and settled them there;
    they moved in—what a great place to live!
They sowed the fields, they planted vineyards,
    they reaped a bountiful harvest.
He blessed them and they prospered greatly;
    their herds of cattle never decreased.
But abuse and evil and trouble declined
    as he heaped scorn on princes and sent them away.
He gave the poor a safe place to live,
    treated their clans like well-cared-for sheep.

Good people see this and are glad;
    bad people are speechless, stopped in their tracks.
If you are really wise, you’ll think this over—
    it’s time you appreciated God’s deep love.

Tuesday - Psalm 109:31
For he’s always at hand to take the side of the needy,
    to rescue a life from the unjust judge.

Friday - Psalm 112:10
There’s nothing to the dreams of the wicked. Nothing.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Top 100 Showtunes: 90-81

Last time we left off with #91, the silly but forever catchy "Terminal Illness" from 13. Moving on to the next ten!

#90. "So Much Better" from Legally Blonde. I can't watch this clip or listen to this song and not smile. At this point in the show, Elle has just learned that she's made it into an internship she really wanted, and she takes the opportunity to celebrate. The song is a triumphant anthem about finally achieving something and feeling like you've done something right.

#89. "Defying Gravity" from Wicked. This song may be insanely overperformed, but there's a reason. It's fantastically powerful. I was fortunate enough to see it in New York with Idina Menzel (though Kristin Chenoweth had left the show by then) and I still remember the incredible moment when she flew up into the air and belted out, "So if you dare to find me, look to the western skies." It's breathtaking. An incredible anthem to going against the status quo.

#88. "Sunset Boulevard" from Sunset Boulevard. I just hear those opening notes, and I'm hooked. This is Andrew Lloyd Webber's last great show, in my opinion, and a severely underrated one. It's based on Billy Wilder's classic noir film about a screenwriter who finds himself tangled up in a bizarre relationship with an aging film star determined to make a comeback. The whole cast recording is wonderful, but this title song is such a great tune and seems so fitting to the show that I admit I miss it whenever I watch the 1950 original (non-musical) movie.

#87. "How Can I Call This Home" from Parade. I always identified with this song as an introvert ("I live in fear they'll start a conversation"), and then I lived in South Carolina for seven months and I really identified with this song. :-) It's a great song about someone trapped in a place where they just don't fit and realizing that they'll never really feel at home there.

#86. "Ya Got Trouble" from The Music Man. I wrote about this pretty in-depth last August when I shared my favorite Music Man songs, so I won't go into much more detail. It's just a delight to watch how easily con man Harold Hill whips up his audience into a frenzy about the evil lying in wait in their community. As I said in August, "I love how quickly the words go by, certainly imitating the slick, fast-paced talk of an experienced con man, who knows that the more he keeps talking, the less time people have to process what he said and find the holes in it."

#85. "A Miracle Would Happen" from The Last Five Years*. When I first heard this song, I couldn't stop listening. I listened to the first half of it probably ten or eleven times in a row, fascinated by the weird speak-sing rhythm and the conversational lyrics. It was also one of the earliest introductions I had to one of my celebrity loves, the incredible Norbert Leo Butz. I've embedded the cast recording version because it is absolutely vital to hear the lyrics, but if you want to watch a live version starring the original actors, you can view that here.

#84. "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar. One of the other quintessential unrequited love showtunes. (There are three. The third one's coming later.) It is one of Lloyd Webber's greatest love songs, covering the confusion and frustration of unrequited love... especially when you keep chiding yourself for even feeling that way in the first place. The song's been performed everywhere, but here I have found a performance by the wonderful Lea Salonga.

#83. "It Sucks to Be Me" from Avenue Q. Another song that just makes me smile whenever I listen to it. Avenue Q is like a very adult version of Sesame Street, with both puppets and humans as characters, and the show is full of songs that sound cheerful and wholesome until you listen to the lyrics. This song isn't obscene, but it cheerfully details how horrible everybody's lives are and why it sucks to be them - not exactly a child-friendly theme. I am all about happy sounding songs about sad things... so obviously I think this song is fantastic.

#82. "Stranger to the Rain" from Children of Eden. Children of Eden became one of my favorite shows after seeing a stellar live performance of it a couple of summers ago, and this song is one of the most heartbreaking moments. This act of the play is a retelling of Noah's Ark, and this song is sung by Yonah, who is in love with Noah's son but will not be allowed on the ark because she is a descendant of Cain and is therefore cursed. The song is strong but also terribly sad, as no matter how many trials Yonah's been through before, she's not going to survive a worldwide flood. Stephen Schwartz's melody and lyrics are gorgeous, though, and it's one of the show's highlights.

#81. "Fragile as Love" from Long Story Short. This is one of my very, very, very favorite cast recordings for a show that has never actually been staged anywhere officially. (I still can't believe I found a video for this song.) It was written by Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda of Groovelily and it follows a couple through their relationship. It is full of beautiful and honest songs about love.

I haven't been sharing lyrics, but I just want to share my favorite section of lines from this song, because I think they're beautiful. It's one of my favorite descriptions of awkwardly stumbling through relationships, trying to figure out how to make it all work because there really aren't any helpful road maps.

What about marrying somebody else?
Just to figure it out, just to get into practice
Then clean the slate, try again, you and me
With my ducks in a row, I'd be much better at this

Who the hell knows what love actually is?
OK, I only know what I see in the movies
Sexy and quirky and dancing all dirty
I know that behavior would never behoove me

Montages in picnics in parks in the rain
And you can't hear a word they say over the music
And we have to bumble along in real time
No montages, no music, just plain me and you

I don't know how people promise forever
Till death do us part, yes I do, do or die
'Cause there's nothing in life that is ever for certain
So all I can say is I promise to try

Next week, showtunes #80-71... heading toward #1 slowly but surely!