What the Hell Happened in Lady in the Water (2006)?

A couple of weeks ago I felt in the right kind of mood for an M. Night Shyamalan movie, and found myself watching The Happening (review here). Shyamalan gets a lot of hate, and in fairness I’ve mainly watched his better movies, but I’m rapidly finding myself wanting to watch everything he’s done for the hell of it. The Happening was an absolute disaster in more ways than one, but you guys, it was so much fun to watch and make fun of.

lady-in-the-water-review-2006When I reviewed it for the blog, some of you mentioned Lady in the Water, telling me it was even worse. You realise what you set in motion in that moment, right? I had to watch it!

It took me 2 days, and 3 sitting to actually get through it, it was actually that bad. There were times I wanted to call it quits, but I stuck with it for the sake of the blog. I can’t write a review I’m afraid, mainly because I’m still not sure what actually happened in front of my eyes, but for my own sake (and yours) I’m going to try and explain what happened. Spoilers ahead, but you’re not missing out on much!

The movie opens with a stick man explanation of the people who live in the water world, watching over us land folk, until we got greedy and forgot about them. Every now and again they send their water kids to our world, but most of them get eaten by wolves. Um, okay.

Then we see a stuttering Paul Giamatti, the only maintenance man in a huge apartment complex, talking with his pool cleaner about how dirty it is. It’s almost like there’s someone living there, eh, eh?

Bingo. Bryce Dallas Howard is the lady in the water. Giamatti tries to take her outside, but they get attacked by a grass wolf. Stay with me now, this isn’t even that weird yet.

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It’s called a Scrunt apparently, which sounds like the world’s worst Pokemon to me.

I don’t remember how, but we somehow learn her name is Story, and she is a Narf. I guess Narfs are the people from the water world, but what a terrible name.

It just so happens that one of the resident’s mothers knows all about the story of the Narfs, which is super lucky, but to convince this old lady to tell him the story, Giamatti has to convince her that he is actually a child (?!) and finds himself sat on her sofa with a milk mustache. No innuendo, I swear.

It turns out that Story is trying to find the ‘chosen one’ who’s a writer, leading Giamatti on a goose chase around the building. He meets a grumpy film critic, a group of rowdy lads, a crossword puzzle loving Jeffrey Wright and his son who reads cereal boxes, and a dude who only works out his right side of his body. Oh! And Mr M. Night Shyamalan himself, who’s writing a Cookbook that has nothing to do with cooking. Right.

I’m being way too detailed here, let’s speed things up a bit.

Old lady says that for Story to get home, they need a Guardian, a Healer, a Translator, a something else (I forgot) and a Guild.

The Translator turns out to be the puzzle fan’s kid, who stares at a cupboard of cereal to work out they need to perform a ceremony.

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I really wasn’t kidding about the cereal you guys…

The Healer is some other lady who sees butterflies everywhere by the pool.

The Guild is the group of lads, who decide the best way to get Story home is to throw a huge party for the grumpy film critic.

Cue party time, and suddenly about 200 people live in this weird complex.

There’s a band, and them playing is crucial to the ceremony apparently, but they aren’t paying attention, and getting someone to go and tap them on the shoulder is out of the question for some reason.

The grass wolf has managed to find his way into the complex at this point, and ends up eating the film critic after he does this weird speech. Does Shyamalan hate critics? I bet he did after releasing this movie. Maybe he saw it coming, and just didn’t care.

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Turns out this guy saves the day in the end. By staring at the grass wolf.

I just lost it at this point, seriously. A giant eagle flies overhead and takes Story away, and then the credits rolled.

WHAT. THE. HELL. YOU. GUYS.

Dare I ask, has M. Night Shyamalan made anything worse than this? I need to know, just in case I have a sudden lapse in judgement and find myself with nothing better to watch on a Sunday night.

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BAFTAs 2017: My Predictions & Wishes

This Sunday brings the only awards show I get to watch at a decent time, the BAFTAs! Hosted by the legendary Stephen Fry, I’ve watched the BAFTAs for a few years now, before I even got into blogging. It’s just a jolly good bit of fun! They’re usually not quite as predictable as other awards either which can be fun.

I’ll try to do some live tweeting on Sunday night whilst watching, but I’m preparing myself for the cringe-fest of acceptance speeches that go on for so long that music starts playing, getting progressively louder until they wrap up and get off stage.

In true movie blogger style, this post is dedicated to my predictions and wishes for the award winners, but this comes with a disclaimer. I am in no way an awards expert, these predictions are a mix of how the other award shows have gone, with a mix of how random the BAFTAs can be sometimes. Still, it’ll be fun to see how many I get right!

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BEST FILM
ARRIVAL Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, David Linde, Aaron Ryder
I, DANIEL BLAKE Rebecca O’Brien
LA LA LAND Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward,
Kevin J. Walsh
MOONLIGHT Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

Thoughts: I still haven’t seen I, Daniel Blake. I think it’s about benefits, and us Brits just love having our opinions on benefits. Apparently. I think La La Land will win though, and that’s my personal preference too!

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
AMERICAN HONEY Andrea Arnold, Lars Knudsen, Pouya Shahbazian, Jay Van Hoy
DENIAL Mick Jackson, Gary Foster, Russ Krasnoff, David Hare
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM David Yates, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling, Lionel Wigram
I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien, Paul Laverty
NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney, Mike Brett, Jo-Jo Ellison, Steve Jamison
UNDER THE SHADOW Babak Anvari, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh

Thoughts: Well, I haven’t managed to see any of these! With a repeat nomination however my bets are on I, Daniel Blake. Did we not make many great movies this year? I thought this category was much better last year, but I may be wrong.

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
The Girl With All the Gifts: MIKE CAREY (Writer), CAMILLE GATIN (Producer)
The Hard Stop: GEORGE AMPONSAH (Writer/Director/Producer), DIONNE WALKER (Writer/Producer)
Notes on Blindness: PETER MIDDLETON (Writer/Director/Producer), JAMES SPINNEY (Writer/Director/Producer), JO-JO ELLISON (Producer)
The Pass: JOHN DONNELLY (Writer), BEN A. WILLIAMS (Director)
Under the Shadow: BABAK ANVARI (Writer/Director), EMILY LEO, OLIVER ROSKILL, LUCAN TOH (Producers)

Thoughts: Crickey, I really focused too much on the Oscars this year. The Girl With All the Gifts is the only movie I’ve heard of in this list, so let’s go with that?

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
DHEEPAN Jacques Audiard, Pascal Caucheteux
JULIETA Pedro Almodóvar, Agustín Almodóvar
MUSTANG Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Charles Gillibert
SON OF SAUL László Nemes, Gábor Sipos
TONI ERDMANN Maren Ade, Janine Jackowski

Thoughts: Son of Saul picked up an Oscar last year I think, but Toni Erdmann is picking up all sorts of buzz right now, so this is a difficult choice. I’ll hedge my bets with Toni Erdmann I think.

DOCUMENTARY
13th Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick, Howard Barish
THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK- THE TOURING YEARS Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Scott Pascucci, Nigel Sinclair
THE EAGLE HUNTRESS Otto Bell, Stacey Reiss
NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney
WEINER Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

Thoughts: I’m not big on music, but surely The Beatles: Eight Days a Week is going to win this one?!

ANIMATED FILM
FINDING DORY Andrew Stanton
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Travis Knight
MOANA Ron Clements, John Musker
ZOOTROPOLIS Byron Howard, Rich Moore

Thoughts: ARGH. This is such a difficult category, which could honestly go to any of these nominees. In terms of technicality, I would love it to go to Kubo and the Two Strings, but I think Zootopia will win. I still refuse to call it Zootropolis. It’s a stupid name.

DIRECTOR
ARRIVAL Denis Villeneuve
I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach
LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford

Thoughts: I want Denis Villenueve to win, because gosh darn it I’ve loved every movie he’s directed, but I think Damien Chazelle will win. La La Land is going to be a big winner on Sunday, I can feel it.

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ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
HELL OR HIGH WATER Taylor Sheridan
I, DANIEL BLAKE Paul Laverty
LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan
MOONLIGHT Barry Jenkins

Thoughts: Seriously, is I, Daniel Blake really that good? I think La La Land will get thus, and I’d like it too, but I feel a slight risk that Manchester by the Sea might snatch it.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
ARRIVAL Eric Heisserer
HACKSAW RIDGE Andrew Knight, Robert Schenkkan
HIDDEN FIGURES Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
LION Luke Davies
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford

Thoughts: I’m happy for any of these to win. Legitimately happy! My heart wants to say Lion, my head wants to say Arrival. Then, another part of me is still marveling at how Hidden Figures was so entertaining for such a serious movie. I can’t call this one!

LEADING ACTOR
ANDREW GARFIELD Hacksaw Ridge
CASEY AFFLECK Manchester by the Sea
JAKE GYLLENHAAL Nocturnal Animals
RYAN GOSLING La La Land
VIGGO MORTENSEN Captain Fantastic

Thoughts: Hello Jake Gyllenhaal, how did you get here? I think it’s set that Casey Affleck will win this, but I’d like it to go to Andrew Garfield. I wouldn’t be made if Ryan Gosling won, though…

LEADING ACTRESS
AMY ADAMS Arrival
EMILY BLUNT The Girl on the Train
EMMA STONE La La Land
MERYL STREEP Florence Foster Jenkins
NATALIE PORTMAN Jackie

Thoughts: I still don’t know how Emily Blunt got here. No offense at all, but there are more deserving ladies this year. I think this will go to Emma Stone, but I want Amy Adams to get it as a big two-finger salute to the Academy!

SUPPORTING ACTOR
AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON Nocturnal Animals
DEV PATEL Lion
HUGH GRANT Florence Foster Jenkins
JEFF BRIDGES Hell or High Water
MAHERSHALA ALI Moonlight

Thoughts: I’m feeling like Mahershala Ali will win this, and I wouldn’t mind, but I would love Dev Patel to win. He should be in the Lead Actor category to be honest, but I understand now why he’s been placed here. Plus, us Brits love Dev, ever since his very first role in Skins!

ORIGINAL MUSIC
ARRIVAL Jóhann Jóhannsson
JACKIE Mica Levi
LA LA LAND Justin Hurwitz
LION Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Abel Korzeniowski

Thoughts: This is La La Land‘s award, surely?

CINEMATOGRAPHY
ARRIVAL Bradford Young
HELL OR HIGH WATER Giles Nuttgens
LA LA LAND Linus Sandgren
LION Greig Fraser
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Seamus McGarvey

Thoughts: Practically every scene in La La Land was a work of art, that’s my winner for sure!

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EDITING
ARRIVAL Joe Walker
HACKSAW RIDGE John Gilbert
LA LA LAND Tom Cross
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Jennifer Lame
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Joan Sobel

Thoughts: Now we’re entering the guess work area. I never know if more editing means best editing, but I loved how Hacksaw Ridge was produced. That said, I can’t go wrong with a La La Land guess.

PRODUCTION DESIGN
DOCTOR STRANGE Charles Wood, John Bush
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock
HAIL, CAESAR! Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
LA LA LAND David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Shane Valentino, Meg Everist

Thoughts: I think Fantastic Beasts might take this one home, just because it’s the BAFTAs! Something’s going to stop the La La Land train eventually.

COSTUME DESIGN
ALLIED Joanna Johnston
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Colleen Atwood
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS Consolata Boyle
JACKIE Madeline Fontaine
LA LA LAND Mary Zophres

Thoughts: La La Land is my winner for Emma Stone’s entire wardrobe and Ryan Gosling’s shoes, but Fantastic Beasts is a contender, too. It’s a shame that “bag lady” Jenny Beavan isn’t here this year!

MAKE UP & HAIR
DOCTOR STRANGE Jeremy Woodhead
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS J. Roy Helland, Daniel Phillips
HACKSAW RIDGE Shane Thomas
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Donald Mowat, Yolanda Toussieng
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Amanda Knight, Neal Scanlan, Lisa Tomblin

Thoughts: At least BAFTA had enough sense to not nominate Suicide Squad. This is anyone’s guess, really. I’d like to think Hacksaw Ridge has a chance, by my head says Florence Foster Jenkins has this in the bag.

SOUND
ARRIVAL Sylvain Bellemare, Claude La Haye, Bernard Gariépy Strobl
DEEPWATER HORIZON Dror Mohar, Mike Prestwood Smith, Wylie Stateman, Renee Tondelli, David Wyman
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Niv Adiri, Glenn Freemantle, Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Ian Tapp
HACKSAW RIDGE Peter Grace, Robert Mackenzie, Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright
LA LA LAND Mildred Iatrou Morgan, Ai-Ling Lee, Steve A. Morrow, Andy Nelson

Thoughts: I’m just not technically-minded enough for this category! I’ve been sat for quite a while now trying to put a guess together…how about Arrival?

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
ARRIVAL Louis Morin
DOCTOR STRANGE Richard Bluff, Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins
THE JUNGLE BOOK Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Andrew R. Jones, Adam Valdez
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Neil Corbould, Hal Hickel, Mohen Leo, John Knoll, Nigel Sumner

Thoughts: This is such a good category. I so badly want a Rogue One win, but some of the effects in Doctor Strange were mind-boggling, and who can forget how good The Jungle Book was, when little Neel Sethi was the only thing real?

EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)
ANYA TAYLOR-JOY
LAIA COSTA
LUCAS HEDGES
RUTH NEGGA
TOM HOLLAND

Thoughts: Yaaaaaas I can’t wait for John Boyega to present this! I love him so much. I voted for Ruth Negga for this.

Come on then guys, tell me just how wrong I’ve got all of this. Is anyone else going to be watching on Sunday?

Move over La La Land, I have 3 Award Nominations!

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Today is an exciting day, because I’ve been nominated for 2 different Blogger awards! This honestly means a lot to me, especially as Often Off Topic has only been running since December last year. A huge thanks to Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award, and to Keith at Keith Loves Movies and Ruth at FlixChatter for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Plus, what great timing whilst we’re right in the heart of Awards Season!

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I’ll start with the Mystery Blogger Award. Thanks again Drew! Here are the rules:
– Put the award logo/image on your blog
– List the rules.
– Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
– Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
– Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
– You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
– Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
– Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
– Share a link to your best post(s)

The questions that Drew asked were:
1- What is your favorite place you have visited? I’ve loved all of my very few visits to the USA, but my favourite place is New York. It’s where I got engaged, and I went back for my honeymoon. As someone extremely nervous in new surroundings, I love how easy the city is to navigate, and I could sit at Turtle Pond in Central Park all day.
2- What would you do if you had a time machine and didn’t have to worry about the ill effects of time travel? I’d find out how the latest Star Wars trilogy ends!
3- What was your favorite film released last year? Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It has everything a movie could ask for, humour, drama, action, everything!
4- Why did you start blogging? I find writing to be therapeutic, and I love watching and talking about movies, so one day it just clicked that I could combine the two.
5- If you could live in any fictional universe, which would you choose? Harry Potter for sure. I was a huge nerd in school and so writing huge essays for Professor Snape would be an absolute doddle.

Now, for three things about me. Honestly, I ramble about my personal life far too much on this blog anyway but here’s some fun facts:
1 – I’m a fussy eater. I don’t like my food touching other food on my plate. I hate tomatoes, but I love ketchup. I don’t like raisins unless they’re hidden in cake. I like cheesecake, but only if I don’t think about it, because reminding myself it’s made of cheese puts me off.
2- I’m always cold. It doesn’t matter where I am, or what temperature it is, I’ll eventually get cold. On the last day of our honeymoon in California in June, I walked around Disneyland in a jumper.
3 – I have 8 tattoos! A meeple (look it up) on my finger, ‘all was well’ from Harry Potter on my wrist, Lilo & Stitch on my thigh, the hand-mirror from Beauty & the Beast also on my thigh, an origami X-Wing on my calf, a collection of honeymoon memories on my arm, and my two cats Sherlock and Loki on each of my feet. Sherlock has a deerstalker hat and a pipe, and Loki is wearing the iconic helmet.

For my nominees, I’ve picked bloggers that are reasonably new to me, and say may be new to you too. Check them out if you aren’t following them already:
Moviejoltz
Literary Weapon
CineMuseFilms
Surrender to the Void
Vinnieh

My questions to you are:
1 – How long did it take you to come up with your blog’s name?
2 – What was the last movie you gave up on and didn’t finish?
3 – What’s your favourite Disney song?
4 – Who’s your biggest movie crush right now?
5 – Do you have any tattoos? If not, what would you get?

Don’t feel obliged to put a post together, if you want you could always leave your answers as a comment!

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Moving on to the Sunshine Blogger Award. Thanks again Keith and Ruth! Here are the rules:
Post the award on your blog
– Thank the person who nominated you
– Answer the 11 questions they set you
– Pick another 11 bloggers (and let them know they are nominated!)
– Give them 11 questions

Simple enough! Here are the questions Keith asked:
1 – What do you like to do in your spare time? Aside from watching movies and blogging, I’m a gamer too! I play far too much World of Warcraft.
2 – What would like to do if you had more time? I’d like to take up a craft. I’m not sure what, but I’d like to be able to make…things.
3 – If you can only watch one movie or TV show the rest of your life, what would it be and why? Parks and Recreation, without a doubt. It’s my go-to DVD when nothing else is on, and it’s the only thing I could honestly never get bored of.
4 – What is your favorite TV show right now? Brooklyn Nine-Nine, although it’s currently on a break. It’s one of those rare gems of a show that actually gets better each season.
5 – What was your favorite movie of 2016? Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It has everything a movie could ask for, humour, drama, action, everything!
6 – What was your least favorite movie of 2016? Get a Job. It was just pants. It was boring, it wasn’t funny, it was a mess.
7 – What is your most anticipated movie of 2017? Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. I need to know what happens next!
8 – What is your least anticipated movie of 2017? Wonder Woman. Maybe it’ll be the movie to save the DC Cinematic Universe, maybe it’ll be another ‘meh’ movie. Who knows!
9 – Any movie or TV guilty pleasures? I love rom coms, whether they’re actually good or terrible.
10 – What is your Best Picture winner at this year’s Oscars? La La Land! Lion and Hacksaw Ridge are very close runner ups though.
11 – Do you still watch trailers? I do! I deliberately get to the cinema early enough just to see them.

And here are the questions from Ruth:
1 – What’s your favorite movie quote that nobody else seems to notice? When a conversation around us turns tense, my brother and I often quote Liar, Liar. “Mrs. Cole…a goose!” We make hand gestures too, I don’t know why, but we’ve done it for years!
2 – If someone give you a $1 million dollar budget to do a film, what type of film or genre would you do? I’d love to make a thrilling mystery movie with a cracking twist, but I don’t have the brains for it. I bet I’d make a wonderfully cheesy romcom though!
3 – In relation to question 2. Which non A-lister would you cast? Argh, what qualifies someone as an A-lister? If he’s eligible, Adam Driver! I can totally cast myself in the other leading role, right?
4 – Weekend getaway: Paris, London or Rome? London is too close to home, I’m visiting Paris in May but I’ve never been to Rome, so that’s my pick.
5 – I was going to do a post on this but have no time to finish it. What’s the worst movie you saw in 2016? Get a Job. It had some potential, but it was just a mess. If a movie has been sat on a shelf for 4 years, there’s probably a good reason for it.
6- What’s one particular movie scene you recently saw that still sticks with you? In Hacksaw Ridge, when Doss is still up on the ridge repeating to himself ‘just one more’. I think that’ll stay with me a long time.
7 – Favorite cuisine? I am a simple lady with simple tastes. Just give me a good pizza!
8 – Chris Evans, Chris Pine or Chris Hemsworth? WHY WOULD YOU MAKE ME CHOOSE? Ugh. I love them all. Hemsworth!
9 – Name an actor/actress you’ve seen in more than 10 movies? Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds. A couple of years ago I tracked down their entire filmography. I regret nothing!
10 – See above. Name the movies. Quite literally everything they’ve been in up until 2015! #noragerts
11 – Name a film you wish had a sequel. This one is going to require more thinking. Perhaps I’ll make a post on it soon!

Here are my nominees. I’m sorry if you’ve been picked already!
Drew’s Movie Reviews
Two Dollar Cinema
The Punk Theory
Cinematic Corner
Rambling Film
Dell on Movies
Life of This City Girl
Mettel Ray
Cinema Parrot Disco
A Film a Day
Dan the Man’s Movie Reviews

Here are my questions to you:
1 – If you could add an Award category to the Oscars, what would you add?
2 – Who is The Last Jedi?
3 – Which Director should take over from Ben Affleck for The Batman?
4 – I need a break from Oscar movies. What should I watch this weekend?
5 – What’s your all time favourite book?
6 – If you were a talk show host, who would be your first guest?
7 – What’s your least favourite movie genre?
8 – What movie are you embarrassed to admit you’ve never seen?
9 – Is Wonder Woman going to save the DC Cinematic Universe?
10 – Which actor/actress do you love enough to see them in anything and everything?
11 – Which movie would you like to experience for the first time again?

Again, please don’t feel obliged to put a post together. If you like you could answer the questions in a comment!

My Disney Mix-Tape

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Today’s post is all thanks to Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews. Last week, in collaboration with Bex at Film Music Central, Drew posted something far greater than simply a list of his favourite Disney songs. He turned them into a full fledged mix-tape listing! You…you know what I mean by mix-tape, right? You’re not too young?

I’m just about old enough to remember sitting on my bedroom floor on a Sunday evening with my hifi stereo, timing the record and stop buttons perfectly to record my own mix-tapes from the radio’s Top 40 hits. The key to success was pressing stop in time so that you wouldn’t catch the DJ’s voice. You see, the art to the perfect mix-tape is not just choosing the right songs, but putting them in the right order so they flow!

You can see Drew and Bex’s choices on Drew’s blog here. Drew was kind enough to let me run with his idea and create my own mix-tape, and I’m sure he would be happy for others to do the same!

Admittedly, I started my mix-tape by scribbling down my favourite Disney songs to sing along to in the car, that’s my theme. Once I’d whittled these down, the hard part was choosing the order. It’s not perfect, but I think I did okay. Let’s press play!

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#1 Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride (Lilo & Stitch) – Staring off with something joyful! Plus it makes me think of the sun, sea and sand which is nice when driving around the rainy, grey UK.

#2 Where You Are (Moana) – Continuing the island theme! Plus, I will never get bored of shouting ‘Consider the COCONUT, Consider it’s TREEEEES’ whilst sat in traffic.

#3 You’ve Got a Friend In Me (Toy Story) – It’s always nice to travel with a friend, and even better if you can serenade them whilst in the car. Sorry, passengers of mine.

#4 In Summer (Frozen) – Speaking of friends, Olaf is just the best friend to have ever, right? Plus, us Brit’s have always dreamed of what a real summer looks like.

#5 I’ve Got a Dream (Tangled) – There’s a dream theme here, but I’ll admit. I just love this song so darn much. Plus, it’s guaranteed to make my husband join in singing with me.

#6 I’ll Make a Man Out of You (Mulan) – Taking a powerful turn here. I also like to sing this song to cars that drive well below the speed limit.

#7 You’re Welcome (Moana) – #sorrynotsorry for another Moana song. Speaking of singing to traffic, I break into a rendition of this when someone pulls out in front of me.

#8 Lava (Lava) – A calming break from all that road rage. Plus, this is the greatest song from any Disney short in my opinion.

#9 Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid) – Following on from the beautiful songs theme. I can’t play this with my Mum in the car though. She acts the entire song out!

#10 The Bare Necessities (The Jungle Book) – Let’s finish the way we started, with something cheery. Everyone loves The Bare Necessities!

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#1 It’s a Small World (Disney Theme Parks) – Screw the haters! I love the Small World ride! I love the Small World song! I bet it’s stuck in your head now too, isn’t it?

#2 A Whole New World (Aladdin) – Buuut if you’d prefer, we can have a Whole New World instead. This song got 100x better when Adam Driver sang it on Saturday Night Live.

#3 Hakuna Matata (The Lion King) – In case the road rage returns, it’s important to remember Hakuna Matata. It means no worries, for the rest of your days…

#4 Gaston (Beauty and the Beast) – Okay, I wasn’t sure where to slot this song in, but Gaston’s song is just brilliant, and I pray to the powers that be the new adaptation does it justice.

#5 We Know The Way (Moana) – I know what you’re thinking, another Moana song?! Put that satnav away, I know the way!

#6 Try Everything (Zootopia) If I don’t know the way? We’ll take a slight, scenic detour, and remind ourselves that it’s important to try everything. Even terrifying drives down country roads.

#7 On My Way (Brother Bear) Once I get back to a road with actually marking, and at least 2 lanes, we are well on our way!

#8 I See The Light (Tangled) I hope this isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel, because I can do a mean duet of this song all by myself.

#9 Life’s A Happy Song (The Muppets) This is the happiest song in the world, and the perfect outtro to my playlist. Fun fact? This is the song me and my husband walked back down the aisle to on our wedding day!

So there we have it, what do you think? I have actually made this into a Spotify list, so if you can bear to sit through It’s A Small World you can listen to it here!

Going off Topic (#1) Thank You, Oscars Thoughts & Looking Forward

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Welcome to the start of a series of posts where I diverge even further off topic than I normally do! On my old blog Flick Chicks I got into the habit of putting together a monthly round-up post of general goings on, but it was also a great chance to share some link love for the bloggers I spoke to regularly, and that’s kind of how this series came to be.

Firstly though, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who follows Often Off Topic, to everyone who leaves me a comment, and to everyone who reads my posts. This blog has just passed it’s 1 month birthday, and it’s been a wild ride! Some of you might have followed me here from Flick Chicks, a blog a ran with a close friend of mine for nearly 3 years! Whilst I’m forever optimistic that Flick Chicks will make it’s return, my efforts are here for now.

It’s been a nerve-wracking experience, starting over again. I was prepared for a beginning just like before, spending a good couple of months before anyone really noticed I was here, but so many of you have stuck with me, which has been incredible. It’s hard sometimes, checking in on my stats and seeing my latest post has 20 views rather than the 200 it would have pulled on my old blog, but it takes time to build that up again, and I’m 100% ready for that. I’m just overwhelmed to be honest that this little corner of the internet is as active as it is! So thank you, from the bottom of my heart 🙂

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Moving swiftly on…to the Oscars! Whilst I only really got into Awards Season in 2013, I’ve tried every year to make an effort to watch at least all of the Best Picture nominated movies. So far, I haven’t done it, there’s always been 1 movie that I just couldn’t bring myself to sit through. 2017 is my year though! Here’s how I’m doing:

Arrival: Reviewed on Flick Chicks here
Fences: Reviewed here
Hacksaw Ridge: Hoping to see this week!
Hell or High Water: Reviewed here
Hidden Figures: Watched on the weekend, review coming soon
La La Land: Reviewed here
Lion: Hoping to watch soon
Manchester by the Sea:Watched on the weekend, review coming soon
Moonlight: Reviewed here

That’s right, I have just 2 left to see! Who knows, I might even be able to tick off the Best Actress and Actor movies too.

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So, what else is going on? I’ve finished another book, The Fireman by Joe Hill. It was a looooong read, but worth it in the end. I think it just had some pacing issues. I should have a proper review of it posted sometime this week. I’ve now started Bloodline by Claudia Gray. It’s a Star Wars novel set in the years before The Force Awakens. I wasn’t expecting it to be so political (I should have known better) but it’s picking up a bit now.

In my personal life, my husband and I are going through the process of buying a home together! We’ve been renting our current home for 3 years now and are finally in a position to buy. It’s exciting of course, but stressful. I’m hoping the move won’t impact the blog too much, but we’ll be without internet for a few weeks, so I may have to type up my posts at home and use my work’s WiFi to get them posted!

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Finally, I wanted to share some of my favourite posts by other bloggers. Give them a read, and if you aren’t following them already, you should be!

I can always rely on Brittani at Rambling Film to cover the Awards Ceremonies I don’t get to watch. Here’s her post on the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Winners.

For weekly Ed Harris appreciation, look no further than Sati’s Rambling Friday series. I hope she reviews The Handmaiden soon, I can’t wait to watch it for myself.

Natasha at Life of This City Girl posts 10 things she loves about 10 Things I Hate About You, a 90’s classic I haven’t seen in YEARS.

As if any of us need an excuse to talk about Disney songs, Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews together with Bex at Film Music Central have put together their own Disney Mix Tapes. Drew has been kind enough to let me tag along, so look out for my mix tape this week!

M.Brown at Two Dollar Cinema appreciates a good car honking by Ryan Gosling just as much as I do in his review of La La Land.

The amazingly talented Ruth at FlixChatter has held her first script writing session!

My 2017 Blogging Resolutions

Happy New Years Eve everyone! I may be a little early for a resolutions post, but this time tomorrow I’ll be enjoying a roast dinner with my family and preparing for the debut of Sherlock Season 4, so I may as well start now! For many years I’ve made resolutions to be more healthy, exercise more, ‘new year, new me’ and so on, but let’s face it, by March I’ll have given up my gym membership and really, I should just eat better anyway!

That’s why this year I’m setting myself 3 fun, blogging related resolutions. Hey, you’re more likely to stick with them if they’re fun, right? So, here goes nothing…

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#1 Watch 150 movies, and at least 12 ‘classics’

According to my Letterboxd diary, I’ve watched 150 movies this year so far, so this should be fairly easy to do again. What won’t be as easy is watching some ‘classics’. I don’t have a proper definition of that yet, but at the moment I feel like classing it as anything I haven’t seen yet which is on either IMDB’s Top 250 or any other similar list. In the past I’ve tried to complete the Blindspot challenge, but I’ve chosen movies I don’t really have much interest in, so I’ve fallen off the wagon.

#2 Read 12 books

Okay, okay, you can stop laughing now! In my defence, I read a grand total of 3 books in 2016, so this is quite the challenge for me. I’ve always loved reading, but I’ve never really strayed from the Fantasy genre, and so I’d like to expand my interests a little. To do that, earlier this month I researched some of the most popular books from the past year over a wide variety of genres, and picked 12 of them.

My primary aim is to read one each month, but in an ideal world I’d transform back into the bookworm my teenage self was, and complete the list much sooner. Of course if I do, I can simply expand my list! For reference, these are the books I’ve chosen:

The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware
Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King
You’re Never Weird on the Internet, Felicia Day
Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty
Lily and the Octopus, Steven Rowley
All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders
It Ends With Us, Colleen Hoover
Dark Matter, Blake Crouch
Bloodline, Claudia Gray
The Fireman, Joe Hill
Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna Kendrick
Behind Closed Doors, B. A. Paris

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#3 Complete a Video Game

I realise I my have lost you by this point, but let me explain! I play a lot of video games, less than I used to, but it’s very rare that I actually complete one. It feels like when I can feel the end drawing near, I stop playing the game all together. Perhaps it’s why I love the MMORPG World of Warcraft so much, it’s literally impossible to complete! So, I don’t know which game it will be, but I’m going to make it to the end credits, and actually finish something for a change.

I am honestly so excited to complete these challenges in 2017 that it’s killing me to not start one of the 12 books already! But what about you? Do you have any resolutions this year? I’d love to know, or please point me in the right direction if you’ve got a blog post of resolutions yourself!

But for now, keep safe tonight and party hard, and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

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Christmas Catch Up & Rogue One Thoughts

Merry belated Christmas everyone! Thankfully I haven’t worked out a proper schedule for this blog yet, because I’m currently in that limbo period between Christmas Day and New Year’s day where I don’t know what day of the week it is, or even time of day. Not that it matters that much, because every meal of the day consists of turkey and chocolate right now. Whilst sitting in my current food coma though, I thought I would catch up on everyone’s posts and share some thoughts on Rogue One which I saw yesterday.

Christmas Day was wonderful, and I got to split the day with both sides of my family. Don’t you just think a home cooked Christmas dinner is the greatest part of the day? Maybe it’s because I’m older, but I could have wept tears of joy at the sight and smell of pigs in blankets, roast parsnips and sausage meat on the table. I just wish I could have eaten more!

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Of course, I also had some wonderful presents! My husband and I didn’t buy each other gifts this year because we’re in the process of buying our first home (help!) but I was blown away by the generosity of my friends and family. There was a big Star Wars theme going on which was great fun! 15-year-old me would be so proud and confused to learn that her future self 12 years later was still asking for the same presents, a new pair of Vans and the latest Pokemon game! That’s right, I’m currently playing Pokemon Moon and my husband got Pokemon Sun. My Vans weren’t any old Vans either, but the new Woody editions from the Toy Story collection! I should have tried to take a good photo of them straight away but I was too excited and haven’t really taken them off yet.

I also got the full Series 4 set of the Lego Star Wars Microfighters which were extremely fun to put together, and the Lego U-Wing from Rogue One which I haven’t even dared to take out the box yet, that’s going to take at least 3 hours to build!

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Boxing Day brought my family’s group trip to the IMAX, a group which seems to get smaller each year sadly, but us hard-core cinema goers packed into the car and said ‘no thanks’ to the sale shopping. It feels pointless stressing this to you guys, but I just love IMAX so much. The intro sequence gives me chills, and it’s the only way to watch a movie like Rogue One!

As for the movie itself, I feel like I need a second viewing before I can put together a proper review. It was so much different to what the other Star Wars movies have been like, but at the same time, it felt so right! I’m just pretty incoherent about it all still, really. At first I was disappointed that most of the clips in the trailer never made it into the final movie, but I get the feeling the powers that be changed their mind on how it would all end. I’m absolutely in love with that a*****e droid, K-2S0 though, he was my favourite part by far! Move over, BB-8.

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We’ll be with you, Jyn. Cassian said we had to.

I think I need only say ‘corridor scene’ and you’ll all know what I mean. Chills, man, chills. Also, ‘be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director’. Ugh! Chills again. Scary as hell. Also scary? The level to which CGI has come. It’s not quite advanced enough for it to be perfect, but still, kudos!

I’ll get a proper Rogue One post ready over the next week or so but for now, another island challenge awaits me in Pokemon Moon, and I’m also preparing a list of books I’m planning on tackling as part of a New Year’s resolution. What about you, what was your favourite Christmas gift this year?