Sunday, December 31, 2017

Movie Review // The Hunt for Red October (1990) with Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin

The Hunt for Red October is emblematic of a lot of the new movies I’ve been introduced to and come to love this year, and is now securely in my top 10 favorites.

I don’t want to give away too many plot details, but set during the Cold War, it’s the first of the three original Jack Ryan films.

The solemnity, power, and majesty of the opening sequence is breathtaking.

The plot revolves around Marko Ramius, a high-ranking Soviet submarine captain who decides to defect along with most of his officers, but keeping the rest of his crew in the dark -- and all while bringing along with them their entire, state-of-the-art, newly designed nuclear sub.

The entirety of the Soviet fleet in the region is scrambling and soon hard on their heels while the Americans are (at first) puzzling out the strange anomaly bearing down on them, then under orders of their own to hunt her down.

One man, Jack Ryan (ex-Marine now an author for the CIA), is the only one completely convinced Ramius intends to change sides. In a race against the clock and the Red Navy, he ends up arguing his case in Washington and ultimately taking a rough chopper ride – dropping quite literally into the frigid waters of the North Sea to get aboard the gutsy American sub the Dallas, which has been trailing Ramius.

Speaking of which, the whole transferring-from-helicopter-to-submarine section is one of my top favorite parts: so crazy and plucky and risky and determined… and laced throughout with great, subtle humor.

Back to Ramius. He has experienced huge recent tragedy in his own life, but he doesn’t get bogged down in grief and depression. Yet you don’t get the sense he’s bottling everything up and lashing out either. Instead, he’s moving forward, giving himself to action.

Distinguished and masterful, with the weightiness of authority, he’s a leader of men, yet exhibiting at times glints of gentleness and humor.

The sheer audacity and wit involved in pulling off such a scheme is amazing -- especially keeping his whole crew in the dark yet fighting fiercely throughout for their current and future safety.

*SPOILERS* The whole ending scene with Vasily is SO SAD. I cried the first time I saw it. And I think the second time too. *END SPOILERS*

The crew of the Dallas is just simply plucky and daring and serious and fun. Like cowboys loose under the ocean. (In a similar way to how my husband describes Captain Kirk in Star Trek, most of which I’ve also come to love this year. ;)) Good camaraderie is always one of my favorite story elements. Spirited ribbing and joking under pressure while running against life and death stakes, it’s the stuff of which epic adventures are made.

And the no-nonsense Captain Bart Mancusa is a great example of leadership in his own right.

*SPOILERS* Another favorite sequence is the teamwork and back-and-forth exchange of command in the final scenes. Really like that part.

(And I couldn’t find a terribly good screencap, for this, but I also love the diplomatic statecraft scenes in Washington, with their hilarious dry humor on an ambassadorial level.)

As far as content, there’s one scene with Jack taking a shower and shaving that shows his shoulders, and there’s some language throughout, but it’s… traditional (not modern swear words, if that makes sense). And it’s an action film, but there’s not too much blood and you can see it coming.

Last but CERTAINLY not least, it has a thrilling musical score. The depth and tempo and power of Russian music never fails to give me tingles.

It may sound cliché, but each time I’ve seen The Hunt for Red October, I find myself thinking about what I’m doing on a daily level, knowing it counts, and wanting to make sure to live in such a way that it makes a difference. Even on the most regular, ordinary day ever.

Well crafted and well written, it’s moving and inspiring and most definitely makes you want to stand up and cheer at the end.

Posted for Hamlette and Quiggy’s Inspirational Heroes Blogathon, which you can read more about (plus links to all the other entries) here.

Tell me! Have you seen The Hunt for Red October? What do you think? 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas ~ The Year of Our Lord 2017

Hello everyone and happy 2nd Day of Christmas!

I feel like it's a different sort of Christmas here this year. Different than expected anyhow. Usually I focus intensely during Advent -- on Christ's coming, on God's heart for His people, on the darkness of the world and the piercing glory of God's tangible, solid, absolute goodness -- but this year I've been a bit distracted, mentally and emotionally. (Also, I've been realizing each year will just be different.. and that's perfectly okay.)

Today, I got Baby loaded in the car and out of the house and into town for a dentist appointment... only to find a sign on the door saying "Will Be Back Tomorrow" (serious Winnie-the-Pooh moment). Pulling out my phone I found, sure enough, that the appointment's for tomorrow. (I guess the upside is that we were definitely early/on time -- talk about Mommy brain. ;P)

So! I have a house that needs to be tidied and loads of laundry to do at home, but (since we drove one car today) Baby and I are now at Daddy's shop, and I'm focusing on the particular blessings around me: sitting still and enjoying the sparkly lights on the office tree, and the incredible warm snuggly baby sleeping hard on top of me, and thankful for comfortable new winter shoes and exciting packages(!) and door delivered pizza (nothing gourmet, but very welcome warm food for the hungry) and for 10 more days of Christmas to look forward to.

When starting this post I looked up the word 'reality' and synonyms include 'absoluteness', 'brass tacks', 'certainty', 'concreteness', 'solidity', 'truth', and this little fascinating fact: in the 1550's, before the spelling differentiation, it was the same spelling for the legal term of 'fixed property', which leads to a rather amazing analogy.

No matter how scatterbrained I am, or how much I do or don't feel emotionally in sync with events at a given time, I am His fixed possession. My husband is His... This wonderful baby girl He's given into our keeping is His...

Christ, the Great Second Person of the Trinity, chose to become a weak, helpless baby: a real baby who cried for His mother's milk, who needed His linen changed, and His small heavy head held securely till His neck strengthened and He learned how to hold it on His own. A real baby who would learn to smile and coo at His mother's face. He became a baby that He might grow to a real man, a warrior -- lauded at times and at the last despised -- who would give Himself over to Death itself, fighting the Great Dragon in a bloody battle for the souls of His people and taking the captives free.

"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

And that's what I'm going to be working on meditating on this year. :)

Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Baby!!! (And a few other important notes...)

via Pinterest

I have no idea how long it's been since I was last here (no wait, let me see... it was Natalie's birthday, so that makes it almost a full four months!), but I wanted to pop on quickly and let you all know our beautiful baby girl arrived safely! I have yet to decide how many details I'll be sharing on the blog, but she's healthy and happy and every ounce of her is pure sweetness. <3 <3 <3 We're so thankful for God's goodness!

via Pinterest

Now I'm curled on the couch with Baby on top of me and my laptop balanced on my knee. A blissful existence really. ;) I have all sorts of exciting goals before Christmas, but one of them is to finish up the Adventure of Reading Challenge, including the wrap-up posts, etc., so you can be watching out for that (very hopefully).

via Pinterest

Speaking of Christmas, I'm getting rather crazy excited this year. I can't wait for the lights and fresh tree needles and decorating my house and hot mulled cider and mailing all my parcels... the list goes on. I thought of a good Christmas blog post this morning too, so I'm hoping that develops as beautifully as the initial flash of inspiration.

via Pinterest

Finally, I can't remember where I first ran across this, but finding it on my computer this afternoon gave me the final nudge to draft this post (and also made me realize again how much I need to read Orthodoxy):

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
---G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

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I hope you're all having a lovely Wednesday! What do you think of the Chesterton quote?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

On A Most Important Birthday Occasion

Soooo..... today was the birthday of a Certain Wonderful Young Lady we all know.

A Story Lover. She's diligent and sweet and funny and loyal and thoughtful and encouraging. She loves her Savior with her whole being. And I am so very blessed and honored to have her as my sweet and faithful friend!

Happy birthday Natalie!!! :)

May our good God continue to bless you most richly in this next year, and I look forward to many more years of friendship and adventures (including emails and blog posts and Instagram messages and maybe even seeing each other again! ;)).

"I shot an arrow into the air,
 It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The happiest of happy birthdays to you dear friend!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Beauty & The Beast Week Tag Answers

And here are my answers to Meredith's lovely B&B tag:

1. When did you first experience Beauty and the Beast? ~ I really don't know... It's one of those childhood memories that you feel like you've always known, but it would have been either orally or as a picture book. I didn't see the animated film all the way through till a couple years ago.

2. In what forms (book, movie, retelling) have you experienced Beauty and the Beast? ~ Book form and the 1991 film (which is my favorite animated Disney film to date).

3. Who is your favorite character in Beauty and the Beast? ~ Probably Belle.

4. What is your favorite song from the cartoon Beauty and the Beast? ~ (Can I say the Battle on the Tower and the Transformation tracks? I've listened to them over and over and over.) As for an actual song... Um.... I guess I'd say the Mob Song. The orchestration and tension are soo incredible. (And it goes right into my two favorite tracks above. ;))

5. If you were turned into a piece of furniture what you want it to be? ~ Oh my. For some reason a table is the first thing that comes to mind. (And think of all the incredible, luxurious tablecloths that you could wear like... well, you could think of it like a dress or a shawl.)

6. What would your dream cast for Beauty and the Beast be? (This can be as elaborate or simple as you desire.) ~ Profuse apologies, but I'm kinda drawing a complete blank on this one at the moment. :/

7. If your school were performing BatB which character would you want to play? ~ Well, I identify most closely with Belle, but I'm not really a singing-on-center-stage sort of person. Maybe a townsperson? Ooh! Or maybe Mrs. Potts. Yes, I think Mrs. Potts.

8. Like Belle, do you enjoy reading books multiple times? ~ YESSSSSSS.

9. If you were to write a retelling, what would you change? ~ I actually dream of doing this someday, but I haven't decided if I'd keep it super traditional or mix it up. Or maybe I'll write two. I do have a good idea for a different spin on the end, but I'm not sure how I'd exactly work it. (Though now I'm getting inspired and ideas are starting to spin. ;))

10. Are roses your favorite flowers? ~ I have to say sweet peas are my tip top favorite flower, but if we're talking English cottage roses... then I think they're most definitely #2 -- right before peonies, and cactus dahlia.

Thank you for the fun tag Meredith!

And everyone, be sure to hop over to her blog here to join in the party and see the other entries!

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