Saturday, March 11, 2017

Top Buffy Moments

Hello, all!

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of one of my favorite tv shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This show came out when I was 9 years old and completely blew my mind. It was truly a game changer for me. I was (and still am) one of those people who actually didn't mind how campy and so-bad-it's-good the movie was, but the tv show really brought a different side out of Buffy and I loved it.

Where the movie was a bit lighthearted and super cheesy (I mean, remember how the vamps died? Or how Buffy tracked them with her cramps?), the tv show ripped out your heart while simultaneously making a witty remark. Everything about the show is great, to the actors to the story lines, everything was just so well thought out.

Now, to honor the show that has been my companion for so long, I figured I'd pick a few of my favorite moments throughout the series. Let me just say- this was the hardest list I've ever tried to make. There's so much about this show that I loved, so I just tried to narrow it down to the very first few moments that popped into my head.

So, in no particular order, here we go!

Class Protector Speech: Everyone knows Sunnydale isn't the most ideal place to live, let alone go to school, so it's surprising they even have enough students for a prom, but it's totally worth it when it comes to the speech Jonathan gives on behalf of the student body honoring Buffy. During his speech, Jonathan tells Buffy that they all know that something is off about their town, but that Buffy is always around to make sure people survive (in fact, their graduating class has the lowest mortality rate in years) and presents her with a bejeweled umbrella. This moment always sticks out to me because throughout the series, we see Buffy second guess just how much of an impact she has, and sometimes doesn't believe anyone even notices, but this little act which was totally unexpected just goes to show how much she is appreciated and just how grateful people are for her.

Buffy vs Angelus: So, we all know Angel and Buffy were kinda cursed from the start- he's a vampire, she's a vampire slayer, buuuuuut he did have a soul so maybe it'd be ok? Say it with me, folks, NAAAAH. Angel's soul comes with some fine print that states if he ever experiences a moment of pure happiness, he would revert back to Angelus, his blood thirsty-torture happy alter ego. And guess what happens? He and Buffy sleep together, he's super happy, and sayonara soul. The episodes with Angelus are some of the most intense. He really shows no inkling of the man Buffy fell in love with and proves it by torturing her and the ones closest to her (I will never ever get over the death of Jenny.) The moment I always think of is in "Becoming, Part 2" when he has Buffy cornered and taunting her about how she's alone, no friends, no hope, and she ends up kicking his ass. This also leads me to the next moment...

Buffy kills Angel: Ugh, my heart. So as Buffy and Angelus are fighting, Willow is performing the spell to re-ensoul Angel, which just so happens to work right at the moment where Buffy has to kill the man she loves. I still can't hear, "Close your eyes" without getting goosebumps.

Anya's Speech in The Body: This entire episode is still hard for me to watch. The emotions each character goes through over the death of Buffy's mom is too much, it's so raw and real. Even though SMG's performance is beautiful in every way, it's Anya's speech that kills me most. Anya is newly mortal, just recently giving up her vengeance demon life in order to be with Xander, so this is really her first brush with how fragile life really is and her asking these simple, almost childish questions because she just doesn't understand is truly heartbreaking.

Hush/The Gentlemen: This is one of my favorite episodes of Buffy ever. It's really a testament to Joss Whedon's storytelling since there's only about 14 minutes of dialog in the entire episode. Also, the Gentlemen are some of the creepiest monsters on this, or any show, and they still creep me out so much.

(One of) Buffy's Deaths: It's no surprise being the Slayer, the Chosen One, has its downsides. One of which is, ya kinda die often. Buffy died a few times during the show, but this one always sticks out for the speech she gives right before sacrificing her life in order to save her sister Dawns. Dawn was a mystical being known as 'The Key' and her blood held magical properties to open portals between worlds. A goddess/hell demon named Glory tried to kill Dawn in order to gain this power, and Buffy quickly realizes that the portal wouldn't close until all of Dawn's blood was spent. She also realized that her and Dawn share the same blood--Summers blood. So, she sacrifices herself so that way Dawn can live, telling her to "Be brave. Live. For me." This moment showed just how much Buffy loves and would do anything for her family. Also, all the reactions of the Scooby Gang, and especially Spike, as they look upon Buffy's dead body is just gut wrenching.

Once More With Feeling: This is another one of my favorite episodes. Each musical number has everything you could want- you have rock ballads like "Rest in Peace", campy duets like "I'll Never Tell" and group numbers like "Walk Through the Fire." This was one of the episodes which aired after the Scooby Gang brought Buffy back from the dead, and hands down the best part of this episode comes from Buffy's confession during "Something to Sing About" that her friends ripped her out of Heaven. Just twist the stake in a little more, Joss.

Awakening Potential Slayers: During the last season, Buffy and the gang were up against the ultimate Big Bad, the First Evil. While maybe not being the most physically threatening of all the monsters the Scoobies were up against, the First was no joke. It destroyed the Watcher's Council, unleashed an army of ancient vampires and hunted down any potential Slayers. This is where it tripped up. When Buffy finds this out, she along with Willow, choose to awaken all the Slayers-in-waiting in the world. Every girl who held the potential to be a Slayer, was a Slayer. It was with the help of these Slayers that Buffy and the gang were able to defeat the First. This also played out more in the comics which followed the end of the tv series, which you should definitely check out if you're a fan.

There are so many other moments I could go on and on about. Like, Buffy telling the Master he has "fruit punch mouth", to when Buffy and Faith switched bodies, to Tara's death and Dark Willow, to Spike's whole transformation from just another vamp to sacrificing his life to help Buffy win against the First, each season had it's own memorable iconic moments. BtVS is one of those shows that will never go out of style. It has a little something for everyone and has a way of bringing people together. I even have friends who I haven't really spoken with in years, but we'll always send each other Buffy related things. Buffy really helped teach me about girl power and how to stand up for what you believe in, to not take any crap from anyone, and to not let anyone make you feel weak for being a girl and for that I am forever grateful.

What are some of your favorite BtVS moments? Lemme know!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Let's Talk: Darth Maul 01

Hello, all!

It's a lovely day out, and what better to talk about on a lovely day than comics. I have to admit, I've been pretty behind on my comics lately, but one that I've really been looking forward to is the new Darth Maul comic series from Marvel.

The series, which just came out on February 1st, takes place before the events in The Phantom Menace and explores how Darth Maul came to be. Maul, who is studying under the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, is not allowed to engage any Jedi, so he instead spends his time taking out crime lords. While tracking down one such crime lord, he crosses paths with a Jedi padawan named Eldra Kaitis, and Maul decides to try his hand against her, despite Sidious' commands. The series is set to follow along with Maul as he's tempted more and more by the Dark side and even how he was almost swayed from it.

Storyline aside, the artwork and layout of the series so far is also really great. I believe the series is only set to be about 5 issues, so that means it'll no doubt be chock full of action and a deeper look into the Zabrak warrior. Marvel have been doing some bomb Star Wars comic series, so I knew that this one was going to be no different. And who doesn't love Darth Maul? Sith or not, he's badass, and I for one am so excited to see how this series unfolds.

Has anyone checked the series out? Lemme know!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Top 5: Famous Love Letter Quotes

Hello, all!

I bought a book a few years ago from the bargain section at Barnes & Noble that was entirely comprised of love letters written by famous people, called The World's Greatest Love Letters. I read it all in one sitting because I was completely sucked into it. I've always loved history, and I'm also pretty nosy, so this was right up my alley. It's a nice mix of old and new, ranging from letters written by Mary, Queen of Scots to Edgar Allan Poe to John Keats. It's also broken down into sections, everything from Playful Love to Long-Distance Love, to Bad Love and Unrequited Love. The book has something for everyone who is a sap at heart.

It also had me searching out other love letters from famous people, so here are just a few of my favorite excerpts to sweeten up your Valentine's cards:

1. John Keats to Fanny Brawne: "For myself, I know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair. I almost wish we were butterflies and lived but three summer days-- three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain."

2. Johnny Cash to June Carter-Cash: "The fire and excitement may be gone now that we don't go out there and sing them anymore, but the ring of fire still burns around you and I, keeping our love hotter than a pepper sprout."

3. Vladimir Nabokov to Vera: "I need you, my fairy tale. Because you are the only person I can talk with about the shade of a cloud, about the song of a thought-- and about how, when I went out to work today and looked a tall sunflower in the face, it smiled at me with all its seeds."

4. James Joyce to Nora Barnacle Joyce: "My darling, I suppose that compared with your splendid generous love for me my love for you looks very poor and thread-bare. But it is the best I can give you, my own dear sweetheart. Take it, my love, save me and shelter me."

5. Juliette Drouet to Victor Hugo: "I love you because I love you. Because it would be impossible for me not to love you. I love you without question, without calculation, without reason good or bad, faithfully, with all my heart and soul, and every facility. Believe it, for it is true. If you cannot believe, I being at your side, I will make a drastic effort to force you to do so."

Friday, January 20, 2017

5 Fandom Friday: Movies I'm Excited for This Year

Hello, all!

I haven't done a 5FF in a while, and with so many great movies coming out this year, I just couldn't pass this one up.

Let's get right into it!

1. Logan - March 3rd: I love Hugh Jackman. I love Wolverine. I love Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. All the trailers and behind the scenes pictures I've seen of Logan have looked amazing so far. It's got that old time-y Western take on the Old Man Logan comics, and it's going to introduce Weapon X, Laura Kinney, who also happens to kill it in the All New Wolverine comic run. There's also a decrepit looking Professor X and plenty of skulls for Logan's claws to settle in. All in all, it looks like the perfect ending to Jackman's fantastic run as Wolverine. (I'm still keeping my fingers crossed he'll show up in a Deadpool movie, though.)

2. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers - March 24th: This is definitely not the Power Rangers I grew up with and I am here for it. This one takes the campy-ness of the 90s version and flips it on its head. It looks dark and gritty, and Elizabeth Banks' Rita Repulsa looks insane. One thing is for sure, this is a looooong way from Ivan Ooze and the Angel Grove I'm used to.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 - May 5th: There's only 2 words for why I cannot wait for this movie: BABY. GROOT.

4. Wonder Woman - June 2nd: It's not secret that Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was the saving grace for Batman v Superman, and I'm so excited to finally get to see one of my favorite characters in her own film. I grew up with Wonder Woman, like many girls, I looked up to her and I'm super pumped to think how many little girls will now look up to her and realize not everything has to be a boys club. Not to mention, the trailer looks pretty ace so far, and I love that Etta Candy is gonna be in it cause she was always one of my favorites from the comics.

5. Star Wars, Episode VIII - December 15th: Like this is a surprise to anyone. The fact that there's going to be a new Star Wars movie pretty much every year makes me the happiest person ever. This one, however, is going to be so bittersweet since it'll be the last time we get to see Carrie Fisher's iconic Princess/General Leia in action. I'm really interested to see where the story goes from here and how everything's going to play out. I neeeeed to finally find out if any of my hunches about Rey's parentage or who Snoke really is, is actually right or not. Oh, and I also read an article that on the island with Luke are "puffin-like creatures" and I just can't wait to see what a puffin would look like in the Star Wars universe, cause I bet it'll be amazing.

What are some movies you're looking forward to? Lemme know!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Let's Talk: BBC Stardust Radio Drama

Hello, all and happy 2017!

Neil Gaiman's Stardust is one movie that I can watch over and over again and not get sick of. The movie perfectly brings to life the journey of a lovelorn boy named Tristan from a little English town called Wall, tasked with crossing the border into the magical land of Stormhold to retrieve a fallen star in order to prove his love for the fair Victoria. When he finally reaches the crash site, he's shocked to find out that it wasn't a meteorite that fell, but an actual woman named Yvaine. While Tristan is trying to get a not so enthused Yvaine back to Wall, they also have to dodge a witch who's pursuing Yvaine with the intent of cutting out and eating her heart so she can be young and beautiful again, and a group of ruthless princes seeking the gem she wears that would make them king.

Along the way, Tristan and Yvaine grow to care for and depend on one another, and Tristan, who has always felt a bit out of place in stuffy old Wall, feels right at home in this land of magic and amongst the stars.

Over the holidays, BBC Radio produced a radio drama of Stardust featuring Matthew Beard as Tristan and Sophie Rundle as Yvaine. They had previously done a bang up job bringing another Gaiman story, Neverwhere, to life back in 2013 and no surprise that this one was just as wonderful. It's such a nice throw back to when families used to crowd around their radio sets, listening to the latest tales of the day. It's a whole different aspect of imagination, hearing the story just flow over you in such a way.

The two part special is now available for streaming on the BBC Radio site (here), but unfortunately, it does expire at the end of the month (Part 1 on Jan. 23 and Part 2 on Jan. 24), so if you're a fan of the novel or the movie or just a fan of Neil Gaiman, definitely check it out!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Top 5: Christmas Songs

Hello, all and happy holidays!

This Top 5 is dedicated to something I thoroughly enjoy: Christmas music. I'm one of those people who crank holiday music once it's Thanksgiving. I can't help it, I genuinely love it.

So let's get to it. I left off the most obvious one (cause really who doesn't love "All I Want for Christmas Is You"?) and I hope this list gets you in the spirit for all holiday festivities this weekend!

1. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" - Brenda Lee: I can't hear this song without picturing Kevin McAllister using strings to make it look like a Michael Jordan cut out was moving about his living room to fool the Wet Bandits. Also, it's just a fun song to dance to.

2. "My Only Wish (This Year)" - Britney Spears: Aside from Mariah Carey, this may actually be my favorite Christmas song. It doesn't even need to be Christmas time for me to listen to this. It's just that good.

3. "Last Christmas" - Wham!: What. A. Classic. Like Forrest Gump said, "That's all I have to say about that."

4. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" - Michael Buble: It's not Christmas time without Michael Buble. His voice is as smooth as hot chocolate and makes ya feel just as warm inside.

5. "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" - Bruce Springsteen: You have to play this song on Christmas, I think it's a law or something. Plus, who doesn't love The Boss?

This list was actually way harder than I thought to narrow down, like I said, I just really love Christmas music. What's your favorite? Lemme know!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Let's Talk: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Hello, all!

Like many others, I spent my Black Friday not elbowing my way through crowds to get "the best deals" but rather in the comforts of my own home, eating tons of snacks and binge watching all of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on Netflix. And, lemme tell you, I've got a lot to say about the four part revival. A lot. Oh, and obviously, this is gonna be filled with some spoilers, so if you haven't watched it yet you're probably gonna wanna skip this post.

I was an avid Gilmore Girls fan when the show first came out, but somewhere around the college years I started to fade out. So once I found out about Netflix's revival, I decided to re-watch all the seasons, and I was amazed at how much my opinions on certain characters *ahem, Rory* changed. When I first started watching, I thought that Rory was such a great character; I thought she was smart and witty, and then when I actually sat and watched every season back to back, I realized she is super selfish and bratty. (FYI, my views on her attitude did not change throughout the new episodes either. We'll get to that.)

I feel like I'm going to start spewing all my feelings like a Lorelai-hopped up on coffee-fueled rant, so I'll try and stay focused. Right off the bat, I love how Stars Hollow is still the exact same kooky, endearing small town it's always been and all the people are just as weird and lovely as ever. Speaking of, I was super impressed with how well Lauren Graham just effortlessly slide back into character thus proving to me that she is Lorelai Gilmore. On the flip side, I feel like Alexis Bledel seemed kinda shakey as Rory. Side note: holy skinny Miss Patty! I didn't even realize it was her at first. I also didn't realize I needed a second film by Kirk, but oh how wrong I was because it was just brilliant.

"Winter" also starts to drive home how much Rory irks me. She apparently has had a boyfriend for 2 years and she can't even remember him. Granted, no one really remembers him, but still. Poor Paul, you like tea, so you never really had a shot anyways. Oh, and no one likes getting woken up in the middle of the night to tap dancing, Rory. That ain't cute, but what is cute is how super proud Luke is of her getting an article published in The New Yorker, so much so that he put it on the back of his diner menus. Another side note: the way that everyone kept raving about her New Yorker piece, I felt like it would be a little longer than the back of a diner menu.

Now, I thought I had prepared myself for not seeing Edward Hermann as Richard Gilmore, but cue the funeral flashback and I was really not prepared in the slightest. My heart broke along with Emily, Lorelai and Rory as they said goodbye to the head of their family. Then my heart shattered into a million pieces when Emily and Lorelai got into hands down the worst fight in the history of the show after.

I love the thought of Lorelai and Luke looking into surrogacy and finding out Paris is one of the tops in that field was just the icing on the cake. She is still as terrifying and intimidating as I remember, and it's so appropriate that she makes a class cry when her and Rory go back to speak at Chilton.

Let's get back to Rory for a minute, shall we? First, how in the world can she afford all these international flights to London when she doesn't have a job? Second, I'm just throwin' this out there, but maybe she's not as great at her job cause she falls asleep while interviewing someone and then sleeps with another, then goes to a job interview with no sort of ideas to bring to the table and not a whole lot of enthusiasm either (doesn't matter if they were the one to pursue you, you still have to put forth an effort, girl!) Now onto the real problem here; homegirl is having an affair with Logan. LOGAN. Logan who is engaged to be married. I thought he was terrible when they were dating the first time around and I still hate him just as much now. I was a bit glad when Rory finally gets it together and says goodbye to him for real, even though it took the entire 4 episodes.

Ya know who she should've been with the whole time? Jess. He may not have been the best when they first met/dated, but he is the only one of her boyfriends who really was her equal. He was well-read, he challenged her, and by the end I feel like he was the only one who really knew her and had her best interests at heart (he did make her realize she made a huge mistake by dropping out of Yale.) He even convinces her to write a book about her and her mom. (Also, how cute was Lorelai blowing him a kiss in "Fall"? They seem to be on better terms now and I think it's adorable.) I feel like out of the three boyfriends, he was the one she was always meant to end up with and the fact that she didn't makes me really upset.

Another thing I didn't get was the Stars Hollow musical. I felt like it was so unnecessary and a waste of time. Just like the two second Francie cameo. I get the need to put in someone from Rory and Paris' time at Chilton, but why not Madeline and Louise? At times, I really felt like they tried to cram so many characters in that it felt a bit like overkill. Like the five second Dean cameo. I get it, they wanted all her past boyfriends in it, but really, go back to Scranton. With that being said I did love the Mr. Kim cameo though, it was so nice to finally see him! I'm also still choked up from Sookie coming back to the Dragonfly Inn and the "Still best friends?"

Ok, I can go on and on about each episode, but I'll try and wrap this up since it's already a novel. I do love how they wrapped up Emily's story line; from going to therapy with Lorelai, to her breaking out of the D.A.R world (how fantastic was her whole "BULLSHIT" outburst?!) to finally finding some peace in Nantucket with her volunteering at a whaling museum. After all that she had been through, she deserved to be as content as a widow can be. I'm beyond happy that Lorelai and Luke finally got married, even though I would have loved to see their actual wedding despite how cute their impromptu one was, and that her and Emily got some closure together after her touching story about her favorite memory of her father. Now we get to Rory. Oh, Rory, Rory, Rory. I feel like she just drifted through the entire series, without really doing much of anything. I'm also very torn on the last 4 words. I had heard about how creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, had the last 4 words of the show in her head since the beginning and I was sorta left underwhelmed. Basically, Rory tells Lorelai she's pregnant and the whole show pretty much comes full circle.

I feel like even though each episode was 90 minutes, I need more. I need to know who's baby it is (even though, I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be Logan's.) I need Rory to end up with Jess, since he's still so obviously in love with her. I just need more Stars Hollow.

Have you guys watched yet? Lemme know what you thought!