movie review: indiana jones and the last crusade

When Dr. Henry Jones Sr. suddenly goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, eminent archaeologist Indiana Jones must follow in his father’s footsteps and stop the Nazis.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was the first Indy movie I watched and, to be honest, I didn’t go into it with high expectations (modern action/adventure films really aren’t my thing).  My brother, Noah, saw all four movies when he was away visiting relatives, came back raving about them, and watched Raiders, Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade with my other brother, Ezra, all in short order.  I forget why I even agreed to sit down and watch The Last Crusade that one evening, but I think it might have been because I was bored and no movie interested me. (By the way, I didn’t like Harrison Ford the way I do now, so that had something to do with my reluctance, I’m sure.)  So, we watched it and I remember the exact moment where I was all like “Okay, THIS IS PRETTY EPIC”.  It was right where Indy and his dad escape from under the Nazis’ noses in that motorcycle and the theme starts playing and…yeah, it’s pretty epic. (And I know that’s over an hour into the movie, but it took me a while to warm up to it, okay?)

Since then, I’ve been a staunch Indiana Jones fan and The Last Crusade has remained my favorite of the four films.  Raiders is lots of fun but it didn’t have the depth of characterization that The Last Crusade brings to Indy (in my opinion) and Steven Spielberg himself said that he enjoyed having the opportunity to do a real character study in the third movie.  Temple of Doom is awful, with barely any redeeming qualities, but I actually really, REALLY like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. (Because, again with the character development and interpersonal relationships.)  Anyway, The Last Crusade is my favorite of the four and now I suppose I should actually write the review and go into detail about the whys and wherefores.

Firstly, Harrison Ford is AWESOME.  I could watch him all day (which is why I never feel like one Indy movie is enough – if I watch one, I feel like watching them all) and Indiana Jones himself is a pretty cool guy.  What I like about The Last Crusade is that you get to see all that coolness and his ‘tough guy’ persona fall away for once when he reunites with Henry Jones, Sr. (Though it doesn’t leave for long.)  Always makes me grin.  Indy’s relationship with his dad is both hilarious and poignant and I never tire of seeing it play out onscreen.  Sean Connery is great (and now I want to see all those Bond films my mom keeps talking about) and, oh, it’s just amazing to see him and Harrison Ford play off one another.  I love the subtle softening of their relationship and there are three moments that never fail to make me tear up (just a little, though, because it’s a straight-up action movie after all): the “I’ve lost him” scene, the scene where Henry Jones get shot (I NEVER SEE IT COMING), and the “Indiana…let it go” scene.  There’s a depth to their father-son relationship that goes beyond mere banter and friendly insults and I love, love, love that.

Seeing Sallah and Marcus again was lovely – they’re both such great characters.  As for Elsa, though I’m sure that Indy ended up thinking of her as just another woman who didn’t have the spark that Marian had, I still like her character (traitor though she may be) and I think that she and Indy had an…interesting rapport.  I like her much better than Willy, anyway.  Donavan was a creep and deserved everything he got (my siblings and I always snicker over the bit right after he drinks from the wrong cup ’cause the expression on his face seems to say “Ahhhh.  I can feel it working already” – well, yes, but not the way you might think).

And now for a short(ish) list of other stuff I adore about this movie:

  • The soundtrack is brilliant and beautiful, thanks, of course, to John Williams.  He always turns in great music.
  • River Pheonix does a great job of channeling Harrison Ford (though, personally, the prologue bores me a little).
  • “He’s got a two day head start on you, which is more than he needs. Brody’s got friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan, he speaks a dozen languages, knows every local custom, he’ll blend in, disappear, you’ll never see him again. With any luck, he’s got the grail already.” (HA.)
  • I could quote this movie word for word.  Pretty much.  The dialogue is snappy and smart and it never gets old.
  • Pretty much any scene with Indy and Henry Jones.
  • The Scottish lord scene.  BEST.
  • The three trials – the first time I watched The Last Crusade, I thought that was extremely cool.  I enjoy stuff like that.
  • Did I mention Indy and his dad yet?
  • That awkward moment when Adolf Hitler signs your dad’s Grail diary.
  • Professor Indy is super.  I really dig his glasses and suit (not that I don’t love the Indy outfit).
  • It’s funny, but not in a stupid, vulgar way.  Harrison Ford and Sean Connery are both at the top of their game.  All the supporting cast did a superb job.  There are those deep, emotional bits that I love and it’s a relatively clean movie.  Everything is perfection and it’s one of my top ten favorite films.
  • So, basically…everything?


*hugs movie*

Do you agree that The Last Crusade is the best Indiana Jones movie?  Or do you prefer one of the others?  (And let’s start some juicy debates about Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!)



combat! episode review/analysis: “the hostages”

The second annual Favorite TV Show Episode Blogathon is upon us, hosted by A Shroud of Thoughts, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Last year was a blast for me with my review of the Combat! episode, “Masquerade”, and even though the episode I’ve chosen for this year is more serious, I know this will still be lots of fun.  (Really, though, I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since the last blogathon.  So cool.)  I briefly tossed around other TV shows like Wanted: Dead or Alive (so many thought-provoking episodes) and The Rat Patrol (there was one or two particularly emotional episodes I felt like discussing) but, in the end, I returned to Combat!  Anyway, there’s always next year (and the year after that, and so on) to cover different shows.  Picking a Combat! episode also proved to be hard, but “The Hostages” won out over “Losers Cry Deal” and “The First Day” because I love it and it makes for a lot of good discussion.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a guest star to gush over in this episode (Mark Richman, you do NOT count) but seeing as Doc is my favorite character in the show and one of my favorite fictional characters ever, there’ll definitely still be some fangirling.  Anyway, on to the episode review!

So, the episode starts out with some random stock footage and clips of the squad that they dredged up from Season 1 (honestly, they re-use those clips so many times, I’m not even sure which episode they originated in).  I say ‘random’ because the supposedly exciting opening has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot.  After we get through that and the air clears, the real plot begins with a talkative GI named Barnarbo, telling Saunders, Caje, and Doc about some hot showers he found in a house in the newly liberated village (the reason he’s telling them all this is because they found some soap and he wants to have a share in it).  This episode starts out like a holiday episode, doesn’t it?  No fighting, everything’s relaxed and peaceful (though Saunders does make sure to check the barber shop thoroughly before he relaxes, as is typical of him). 

Caje, Doc, and Saunders shower while Barnarbo keeps an eye out for any trouble (though not very well) as he rambles about how handsome he is.  And then he gets knifed in the stomach.  Germans, obviously – it’s Mark Richman as Captain Aptmeyer, a dastardly villain, formidable foe, and the reason I can never trust Richman in anything else (Friendly Persuasion, for one).  And the captain’s aide, Ecktmann, played by Rat Patrol’s very own Hans Gudegast (later Eric Braeden).

Doc is ordered (by Aptmeyer) to go commandeer an ambulance – or a truck, but preferably an ambulance – while Saunders and Caje stay behind as hostages.  Saunders tells Doc to let Hanley know about everything that’s happened, but Doc tries the direct approach first by marching into the motor pool and asking for a truck.  But the mechanic who runs the place needs a signed requisition and, of course, Doc doesn’t have one so that fails. He then tries to see Hanley, but as it turns out, Hanley’s away for the day.  I’m never sure whether or not Doc would have told Hanley or not and I think it would’ve been an interesting twist if Hanley had been available (of course, the story would have gone an entirely different way).  I sense some fanfiction lurking beneath the surface…

I love the way the tension plays out through the entire episode, with close-ups of watches and quick shots back to the hostages and their captors and Conlan Carter’s excellent acting.  Even though I know exactly what’s going to happen, it’s still intense.

After trying to steal a truck, Doc decides to head back to the motor pool where he tells the mechanic that he used to tinker around with cars before the war and he’s aching to try again.  The mechanic turns out to be a great guy and he has some good lines (like “That song you got in your voice – where’re you from, boy?” which makes me grin).  I’m glad he went ahead and told Doc to take the ambulance on whatever ‘little chore’ Saunders wanted him to do, because that way, Doc didn’t have to just make off with the truck.  Anyway, Doc takes the ambulance out, only to run across yet another obstacle (and time is ticking away) – a sniper holed up in a church steeple. Seriously? It’s impossible for anyone to get through (and Doc almost gets killed for trying) so finally, he backs up and makes for the barber shop via a different route.  More time lost…

But it turns out okay (as much as anything like this can turn out okay).  He makes it back in time, but not before Aptmeyer knocks out Saunders and Caje, horribly man that he is. I wouldn’t say that Aptmeyer is the worst Combat! villain (Colonel Steiner, from “The Long Way Home”, takes first place) but he is a slimy creep.  And Mark Richman ended up playing another slimy infiltrator creep in the Season 4 episode, “Counterplay”, so I really don’t like him.

Even though Doc brought the ambulance back in time, the tension doesn’t end.  From Aptmeyer so obviously lying about what his plans for Saunders, Caje, and Doc are (Doc is so brave, facing up to Aptmeyer even with a gun pointed straight at him) to that guy who won’t stop talking about farm animals (also, Walt Davis cameo!), the nail-bitingness of this episode never lets up. 

Aptmeyer and Ecktmann don American uniforms and they all set for whatever mystery destination the Germans have in mind.  I have to admit that Aptmeyer is a pretty smart guy (kind of reminds me of Kanger in “Masquerade”) when that MP stops the ambulance and he has to come up with a bunch of answers to the guy’s questions on the spot. (Still don’t like him, though.) (And lucky guess for him with Saunders’ blood type.)

Doc tries a couple of different ways to get away from Aptmeyer but neither of them work, and the ambulance eventually crashes and starts burning (I never figured out why – I also never figured out how Ecktmann got killed).  This always, always makes me think of the episode “Survival” because Saunders and Caje are kind of trapped in the ambulance until Doc helps them out and there’s been fanfiction written about how getting burned in “Survival” made Saunders afraid of fire and…yeah.  I over explained that.  Anyway, when they all get out and the ambulance explodes, Doc bandages Caje’s broken leg (it looks extremely painful) and Aptmeyer then orders Saunders and Doc to come with him.  Leaving Caje to die.  (And here’s where I hate Aptmeyer the most.  YOU DON’T JUST LEAVE CAJE TO DIE.)

Okay.  So.  The minefield scene. *deep breath*  Sooooo intense. (May I point out, though, that however despicable Aptmeyer might be in forcing Doc and Saunders to walk through a minefield, Moseby Lovelace did the same thing in “The Squad” with those German soldiers.  I’ve never been quite sure of what to think of that.)  Since Doc and Saunders refuse to go through the minefield, Aptmeyer threatens to shoot Saunders, and is about to do just that when Doc jumps him.  They fight and all the pent-up tension and anger that has been steadily building in Doc through the episode explodes and he ends up killing Aptmeyer.

And THEN we get the scene that, in my opinion, got Conlan Carter his Emmy nomination (which he should have won, honestly).  Actually, it isn’t so much a scene as the range of emotions on Doc’s face – disbelief, realization, horror, and so much more – as he stares at Aptmeyer’s corpse.  It’s so powerful and heartbreaking (and I can’t handle the FEELS). In the hands of a less skillful actor, this part would have been lost to the audience, but Conlan Carter conveys everything with only his facial expressions.  I watched “The Hostages” right on the heels of “The Long Way Home” (I tend to episode skip when I’m discovering a new show) and it really cemented my love for Doc and my admiration for Conlan Carter’s acting abilities.

Saunders is rather awesome in this scene as he knows exactly what Doc needs to be brought back to a level of normalcy, but it’s not enough for me.  There’s so much going on in the last few minutes of this episode, so much turmoil, so many emotions, that I really need more.  A tag scene, at least. (That’s pretty much my only quibble with Combat! – the episodes never have tag scenes, unlike Rat Patrol or 12 O’clock High or other sixties TV shows.)  And what happens to Caje?  The scriptwriters may have forgotten him, but I certainly didn’t.  I did write some fanfiction set after this episode (though not directly after) to give Doc more closure; I don’t know how well I succeeded, but at least it’s something.  HOWEVER.  Don’t think that because I’m kind of bashing the way the ending was handled that I don’t love this episode anyway.  ‘Cause I do.  It’s amazing and deep and emotional and one of the very best stories Combat! offered to us, the viewers.  (It’s in my top five – maybe even top three – favorite C! episodes list, after all.) “The Hostages” is a splendid episode and that’s that.


super quick life update

Hi, guys. 

In case you haven’t guessed from the above Calvin & Hobbes cartoon, I’m sick right now (as are several other people in my family).  Besides having a bad cold and a headache, I also have an ear infection that gets worse every day.  Ugggh.  So, I’m dosing myself with all kinds of natural remedies (I’m also going to see the family doctor on Thursday) and taking medication and I’m hoping that I get better soon, but right now, I don’t see the end in sight.  And because of my headache and general feeling of awfulness, I don’t feel like doing anything besides sleeping and watching stuff that doesn’t involve much thought on my part (Monk and The Man From UNCLE have taken top place – I can’t even handle my beloved Combat! right now).

Anyway, I haven’t been on my computer for ages (well, I did go on Pinterest sometime earlier, but not much else) and I really don’t feel like doing anything online – even writing this blog post is a challenge – so if you’re expecting an email from me and it hasn’t come, that’s why.  And I apologize.  I also have several comments on various posts of mine that I need to reply to and some friends’ blog posts I need to comment on. *sigh*  I promise that as soon as I feel better, I’ll work on all of that, okay?

(And I’m freaking out because the Favorite TV Show Episode Blogathon is coming up and I haven’t written anything for it yet.  Help!)

Sooooo…that’s about it.  Just wanted to let all of you know, and if you wouldn’t mind praying for my family to get better ASAP that would be great.

Talk to you later!


some thoughts on schindler’s list

{Note: This is NOT a review with coherent thoughts on characters, storyline, music, themes, etc.  I’ve only seen this movie once and even if I saw it again, I’m not sure I could write a review.  Basically, this is just a bunch of thoughts that have been whizzing around in my head for the past few days that I wanted to clear away.  So don’t expect a detailed review.  ‘Cause this isn’t it.}

I think I can say that Schindler’s List is a movie that’s affected me a LOT – it’s been weeks since I saw it last and I can’t stop thinking about it and still find myself tearing up when I remember certain scenes (but we’ll get to that later).  Usually, I watch a good movie, think “That was a good/great movie”, pin some pictures from it, maybe talk about it on my blog, and that’s it, but Schindler’s List sort of sunk into my heart and soul and it refuses to leave.  I’ve always been intrigued and emotionally moved by stories of WWII/the Holocaust so I guess it isn’t surprising that Schindler’s List has such a hold on me.

So.  Random thoughts.

Everyone talks about the black-and-white aspect of Schindler’s List and the little girl in the red jacket and what she symbolizes, and I think that Spielberg filmed the movie mostly in b&w to save (and highlight) a sliver of an era that far too many people have forgotten about today.  And, of course, the little girl ends up really galvanizing Schindler into doing more than what he was already doing (and his motives changed, too – character development FOR THE WIN).  The film is brutal, even crippling in its heartbreak and horror, and the girl in red is a huge part of that.


That theme.  THAT THEME.  It sweeps you up and carries you along with aching sadness and beauty and hope and fear.  Just like the movie itself.


Schindler’s List is over three hours long, but I never felt like it was dragging because there’s so much history (and story) to be told and shown and it could never be fully explained in three hours, so they had to cram in as much as they could.  Not to say that it feels rushed or poorly written or anything like that, but even in the quiet moments, the film hurtles on and on toward the end – death for some, liberation for others.  We had to pause it for quite a while right in the middle to have supper and I was on tenterhooks (not having read any spoilers).  It’s indescribable, the way this movie drags you through all sorts of different emotions – sadness, heartbreak, despair, disgust, amazement, admiration, even hope – and doesn’t wholly devastate you by the end.  It is very, very hard to watch, but it’s an experience worth having once in your life.


Believe it or not, I didn’t cry at all during Schindler’s List – not once – until the words on the screen near the end, saying that Oskar Schindler was named one of the Righteous and everyone was laying those stones on his grave and then the full enormity and awfulness of what I’d seen in those last three hours hit me and I would’ve started crying if I hadn’t been surrounded by other family members and I hate crying in front of anyone, even people I know super well.  So, I didn’t really cry then, but several days later when some of us were watching Mockingjay Part 1, I broke my own rule of not-crying-in-front-of-other-people.  Because we were at the part when the team is in D12 and Gale’s talking about how he led some of the residents to safety but it was only a fraction of D12’s population, and suddenly the similarities between what he was saying and Schindler’s soliloquy hit me and I started bawling in front of everyone.  Which was rather embarrassing, but I guess I got it all out of my system then.


That scene still makes me cry just thinking about it, the one where Schindler voices his regrets about all the people he didn’t save. (Good thing this isn’t a vlog because I’m a mess right now.)  One thing I do really love about that scene, though (other than Liam Neeson’s incredible acting) is that everyone group hugs Schindler.  Hugs are the best thing ever and at that point, Schindler deserved all the hugs ever.  And since I’m basically like Fred in Big Hero 6 when he’s all like “If I could have only one superpower right now, it would be the ability to crawl through this camera, and give you a big hug” I’m soooo happy that, for once, a person that deserves a hug gets one. (I still want to hug everyone in that scene, though.)


So, that’s about it.  Do I recommend that you watch Schindler’s List?  It’s really intense and hard to watch but, yes, I think everyone should see it at least once.  It’s an important film.  (Though if you’re ten or something and reading this blog, PLEASE wait until you’re older.)

(Also, I need someone to share all these feels with, so if you’ve seen this and felt the same way about it, please let me know!)


a love letter to westerns

For several years, I had an unshakeable (or so I thought) and unexplainable aversion to westerns – books, movies, whatever.  It may have been because my younger brother, Noah, was obsessed with cowboys when he was six or seven and so I thought that westerns were more for little boys.  Kind of makes sense, but I still don’t remember ever coming up with a good, solid explanation for why I disliked tales of the Old West.  Until one fateful day in February 2015… *cue dramatic music*

…when I watched The Magnificent Seven.  Even though I couldn’t hear the dialogue very well because our TV didn’t have a good sound system, I drank in every word, every awesome character, every great scene, and every note of that splendid music. (It’s one of those movies that I wish I could go back and watch for the first time all over again.)  In the next couple of weeks, I believe I showed it to every family member who wasn’t there when I watched it the first time and, all told, I’ve watched it seven or eight times to date (and I’m sure that number will continue to grow).

From then on, I adored westerns and I watched as many of the classics as I could get my hands on.  I was still leery about western fiction, though, because from the few bits of Christian western fiction I’d read, I figured any book in the genre would be a pile of worn out clichés.  But THEN I read some of Louis L’Amour’s short stories…and read them…and read them…and read them.  After branching out into True Grit and Shane (and a couple of western TV shows), the western genre was one of my favorites and I started writing it, too.  So now I’m completely sucked in, with no chance of ever escaping (not that I’d want to), but just as I couldn’t figure out why I disliked westerns in the first place, I can’t really figure out why I love them now.

Okay, I can think of one reason: THE COOLNESS FACTOR.

Honestly, westerns are the coolest thing ever.  Cool clothes that practically shout “Awesome style!” (and that make pretty much anyone look good – if you don’t look good in a uniform, you’ll look good in cowboy garb as Lee Majors so handily illustrates) with the cowboy hats and chaps and buckskin fringe and leather and all that great stuff.  Oh, and don’t forget the rather gorgeous dresses and hats that the women wore.  And then there’s the horses and shoot-outs (seven words: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) and soaring soundtracks in the movies and southern drawls and it’s alllll so epic and cool.

And what about the stories of action and adventure, tender romances, drifters always looking for a place to call home but never finding one (SHANE *cries forever*), cattle drives, bank robberies, bounty hunters, and all that?  Westerns are always interesting, spellbinding, crammed full of excitement and drama, usually peppered with engaging characters.  I have yet to watch or read a badly done western – there’s just so much potential in the genre!

I guess what I’m trying to say in this scatter-brained excuse for a post is this: I love and adore westerns and I always will.  That’s all.


my 2016 to-read list

I know we’re already two months into 2016 (WHAT) but I’ve been going through a reading slump recently, so I figured some concrete goals wouldn’t hurt.  I’m not committing myself to read a certain number of books and the books on this list aren’t all the books I’ll be reading this year – I bring home random books from the library all the time – but at least it’s a starting point.  Comment if you see any favorites OR if you have books I think I should add.

(Titles with an asterisk are re-reads.)

  • The complete Anne of Green Gables series*, the Pat books, and Magic for Marigold by Lucy Maud Montgomery.
  • Celia Garth and Jubilee Trail by Gwen Bristow.
  • Guns of the Navarone, Force 10 From Navarone, and Fear is the Key by Alistair MacLean.
  • Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter, and Me by Lorilee Craker.
  • The Brontë Plot by Katherine Reay.
  • The American Family Portrait series* and the Songs in the Night series* by Jack Cavanaugh.
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
  • Lord of the Flies* by William Golding.
  • Gone With the Wind* by Margaret Mitchell.
  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein.
  • My Cousin Rachel and Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier.
  • Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card.
  • The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser.
  • A Tale of Two Cities* and Great Expectations* by Charles Dickens.
  • Unbroken* by Laura Hillenbrand.
  • Me Before You by JoJo Moyes.
  • Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • True Grit* by Charles Portis.
  • The Uglies series* by Scott Westerfield.