my top twelve favorite non-Disney/Pixar animated movies

Usually when I talk about animated movies on this blog, I focus on those made by Disney’s and Pixar’s animation studios.  There’s definitely a reason for that – both Disney and Pixar have produced some of the greatest animated films ever made – but other companies have also come out with some excellent ones, several of which I love.  Some of them are not as well know as they should be, so I want to share them with you.

(In no particular order.)

// The Little Prince (2015) //

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I hardly understood a thing about the book and that goes for this film as well.  The themes are understated and subtle, so much so that I’m sure they went over the heads of little kids everywhere.  A hauntingly beautiful film with an almost dreamlike quality to it at times and a beautiful score (the ‘Trapped Stars’ scene makes me cry simply because of how moving the soundtrack is). And Jeff Bridges turns in an exemplary voice performance as the Aviator.

//  How to Train Your Dragon (2010) //

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My brother, Noah, insists that the second movie is better than this one, but I can’t decide.  HTTYD1 started it all and Hiccup and Toothless’ friendship is more at the forefront here and the ‘Forbidden Friendship’ scene and the bit where Hiccup takes Astrid dragon riding…those scenes cannot be beat in terms of beauty and emotion.  There’s nothing in the second film to equal them.

// How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) //

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I read somewhere that the composer for HTTYD2 said he wanted to show that the musical themes from the first film had matured in the five years that had passed (well, four years in The Real World) and I think that idea goes beyond the soundtrack.  The characters have matured, of course, and HTTYD2 is a more serious, sometimes darker film in general (compared to the first one).  I dig it.

// Anastasia (1997) //

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The only issue I have with ‘Anastasia’ is the film’s villain, Rasputin.  He’s creepy, demonic, and just plain annoying, as there’s plenty of drama and tension in the movie without his occasional presence.  But other than his unfortunate inclusion, ‘Anastasia’ brims with life and love, not unlike the film’s heroine, and the songs are splendid (to say the least).  I haven’t yet given the Broadway soundtrack a try, but that’s on my to-do list.  The film is lush and beautiful and utterly charming.

// The Adventures of Tintin (2011) //

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This is a very obscure animated film, right up there with ‘The Little Prince’ in terms of how many people know about it, and I think that’s a shame.  The animation is stunning, the voice acting is good, the humor is great (honestly, I love quoting the best lines), and John Williams’ score is so much fun. ❤

// The Prince of Egypt (1998) //

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While some people might say that this movie took too many liberties with the book of Exodus, I’d have to disagree and say that it merely took creative license in fleshing out a lot of events that were either never mentioned or quickly brushed over in the biblical account.  Again, the songs are gold.  I especially find ‘The Plagues’ both effective and emotional.  Moses is given good characterization, as is pretty much everyone else.  And ‘Prince of Egypt’s portrayal of God (in the burning bush scene) is the most respectful and powerful I’ve seen in any movie, ever.

// The Croods (2013) //

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This is one of the very, very few movies that makes my brother, Noah, cry (or at least tear up).  It’s on par with Pixar when it comes to emotionalness, in my opinio, because just thinking about it can give me a lump in my throat (similar to ‘Saving Mr. Banks’).  Not that ‘The Croods’ is particularly sad or anything – it’s actually very funny for the most part and the characters are great and the animation is gorgeous (that scene in the treetops, though!  Eep trying to catch the last bit of sunlight!  Grug riding the sun!).  But there’s those two scenes (SPOILERS AHEAD), first where Grug sends them all off into the ‘mysterious beyond’ and then when he draws on the cave wall, and it gives me ALL. THE. FEELS.

// The LEGO Movie (2014) //

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I have seen this movie a billion times, but I still love it.  I think it’s genius, the way they take all the cliches and instead of turning them around, they actually embrace them for real and make them almost new again.  Plus, you can’t beat the voice cast.

// The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) //

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‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ touched my heart, surprisingly, and set me on the path that would end with BatBale and Chris Nolan awesomeness, so I have a lot to thank it for.  Sure, it’s not as deep as ‘The LEGO Movie’ (and everyone says “‘The LEGO Movie’ was deep?”…yes, yes, it was) but it has a certain flavor to it and actually made me like Robin (*looks up at LEGO minifigure of Robin I have on my super-special shelf of favorites*), which is a Superman-worthy feat in and of itself.  So, yes.  I love it.  I just hope ‘The LEGO Ninjago Movie’ will be as good.

// Megamind (2010) //

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Heroes are great, but villains truly do get all the good lines.  My favorite thing about ‘Megamind’ (besides, of course, the quotablity of it) is the storyline.  There are good, admirable characters throughout, but the plot holds my attention more than the people (for once).  It’s rather brilliant, the story. (More spoilers…)  How Megamind is a total villain at first and then he gradually turns into the hero as Hal/Titan becomes more and more evil and twisted.  It’s cool and the character changes are very believable.

// Epic (2013) //

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To tell the truth, I don’t love this one as much as I used to (because I’ve seen it way too many times and it doesn’t hold up under a dozen viewings) but I couldn’t leave it out.  It’s a very eco-friendly film, but the characters are so good that I don’t much mind.  MK, Nod, Ronin, Queen Tara, Mandrake…great characters all. (And Colin Farrell’s Irish accent is, y’know, *heart eyes*.)

 // Kung Fu Panda (2008) //

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Perhaps ‘Kung Fu Panda’ wouldn’t have made the list a year ago.  I still don’t like Po.  But after watching all three films (and being pleasantly surprised with the quality of the third one) the KFP franchise is one of my favorites.  Not terribly high on the list, but there anyway.  Shifu is a big part of that; I think of him as the emotional core of the first film (not so much the other two, but he’s still awesome in both) and his story is the one that interests me the most.  Not Po, but him and Tai Lung.  Also, even if you hate the movie, the music is still WOW. (Always a big thing with me no matter what film I’m watching.)

Anyway…

Do you spot any favorites on this list?  What are some of your favorite non-Disney/Pixar animated movies?

Eva

ask me anything #3 – answers!

As always, you guys asked me bunches of awesome questions, and I can’t wait to answer them.  So I won’t. (Wait, that is.)

maddylovesherclassicfilms asked…

If you were on an island and could only watch one Audrey Hepburn film, what would it be and why?

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I have watched embarrassingly few Audrey Hepburn movies, but I would say, without a doubt, ‘Charade’ (1963).  Audrey Hepburn sparkles, the music is great, the plot is twisty and exciting, and James Coburn plays one of the baddies, so…yes.  Basically the perfect movie.

evergreenmorningglory asked…

Favorite food?

PIZZA.  Which I am having for supper tonight.

Best memory?

While I have many great memories, one of my favorites is when my aunt and uncle and cousins came for a surprise visit over the New Year (in 2016/17).  It was an amazing time full of fun and family and laughter and movies and lots of special moments. ❤

If you could be famous in a genre of books, which would it be?

Westerns.  They are a mostly forgotten genre these days and I’d love to bring their popularity back.

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While you’re waiting for my books to (hopefully) hit the market, check this one out! (Just prepare to have your heart broken and your soul crushed…like a grape.)

Favorite character from the book you’re currently reading and why?

I am currently reading three books: Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery, The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein, and High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin.  My favorite character in RoI is probably Walter, though I have a soft spot for so many of the characters and Rilla makes me smile.  In TPF, it would be Julie, of course.  As for HatH, I would say that the heroine’s friend, Maddy, is my favorite character so far, though she hasn’t been in much of the book.  She’s everything a best friend should be.

Miss Meg March asked…

Skydiving or bungee-jumping?

I’ve never done either.  Probably bungee-jumping, though.  I think that would be fun, in a terrifying sort of way.

What is something that would really push you out of your comfort zone, but you’d be willing to do?

Learn how to drive a car.  Or eat escargot, which is the French way of saying snails.

On that line, what are some things on your bucket list?

I don’t have a bucket list.  I just let life hit me as it comes along, though I do have a few goals, of course.  Things like finishing my novel, The Bounty Hunter; learning how to drive; owning a cat; being married someday; watching Cars 3 (when is that coming out on DVD???); etc, etc, etc.  But mostly I let the Lord lead…and I’m more than content with that.

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Have you ever had any pets?

Yes.  I’ve owned a rabbit named Fluffy (I’m so original).  Collectively, however, my family has owned three cats, one dog, two goats, several chickens, and some frogs.  We only have one cat right now, though.

What is your favourite thing to do when it snows? (I’m presuming you get snow where you live, since you live in Canada. I’ve never seen snow in all my life. *sniffles*)

Stay inside and drink hot chocolate?  Seriously, I hibernate during winter, but the snow IS gorgeous.

What is your favourite number?

Two, five, and ninety-five.

If you could learn any new language, what would it be?

French or Hebrew.

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What was the last musical you discovered?

It’s been so long since I discovered a new musical that I forget which one was the last.  Beauty and the Beast could count, I suppose, so I’ll go with that.

jessica prescott asked…

Favorite modern actor?

You know, I just realized this morning that my current favorite anything isn’t always my very favorite and that holds true with actors just as much as books or movies.  So, if I go back a little to before my crushes on Christian Bale, Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Tom Cruise, and Matt Damon, there’s Harrison Ford.  He’s been my favorite modern actor ever since he burst out of that packing crate on the motorcycle in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (perhaps even since I thought Han Solo was cool) and my favorite modern actor he will remain, maybe even favorite actor period. (But Tom Cruise is a close second.)

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This photo cracks me up.

Favorite modern actress?

Cate Blanchett is great.  I also like ScarJo and Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson.

What color do you tend to like BEST for a book cover? (Or color combination?)

You know, I’ve never really thought about it, but probably blue.  Definitely blue.

What’s your current favorite piece of clothing? What does it look like, and why are you so fond of it?

I am not the kind of girl who obsesses over clothes (as my sister can tell you) but I do love my delightfully swishy, pleated black skirt.  Très chic.  My purple Captain America t-shirt is awesome as well.

What Bible verse means the most to you, personally?

There are several Bible verses that have special meaning for me, but the one that comes to mind the most is Psalm 27:14Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.  It’s excellent advice for any Christian going through difficult times and such a comfort to know that God is in control and He’s handling things.

What do you most like to drink when you wake up in the morning? Tea, coffee, juice, etc.

Coffee, coffee, coffee.  I don’t like tea and we never have juice in the house anyway.  But coffee is my obsession (hence the title of this blog).

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What are some names you’d like to give your kids someday?

*grins*

*cracks knuckles*

*opens notebook*

I’m so glad you asked.  For boys, there’s Aaron Daniel, Atticus Lee, and Uriah Luke.  For girls, there’s Katherine Elizabeth, Rachel Rose, and Emma Joy.  I’m sure I’ll think of more in the months to come.

healed1337 asked…

What is the worst movie that you can’t help but enjoy anyway?

The Air Bud franchise!!! (Not Air Buddies, though, ’cause those movies are just wrong.)  But the Air Bud movies, particularly the first and second one are gold and my literal childhood and I love ’em so much. (Plus, Kevin Zegers got cuter with every movie.)

Also, ‘Shining Through’ (1992), which everyone hates but I actually enjoy.

Hamlette asked…

Last book you read?

Kiowa Trail by Louis L’Amour.  The first part is almost exactly like a short story of his I read once, but after I got past the slight weirdness of that it was good and interesting and a solid read.

Book you’re reading right now?

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery, The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein, and High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin.

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Book you want to read next?

This is more a ‘have to read next’, but I’ll be reading A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White next, as I have to review it for the book review program I’m part of.  It’s WWI, though, so I’m intrigued.

Book you keep putting off reading?

There’s a book I bought called Unlikely Soldiers by Jonathon F. Vance that I started reading, but have put off ever since because the writing style irked me.  It’s an interesting story, though (nonfiction), so I’m sure I’ll pick it up again sometime soonish.

Last movie you saw?

That would be ‘Shining Through’ (1992), starring Michael Douglas, Melanie Griffiths, and Liam Neeson.  The critics panned it, but I like it and my dad loves it (I watched it yesterday just so I could watch it with him) and it’s not that bad, people.  It feels almost like a precursor to ‘Titanic’ with the music and historical element and love story.  Plus the ‘old woman telling story’ framing device.

Movie you want to see next?

DUNKIRK.  So much.  So, so, SO much.  There’s a vast number of reasons for that: WWII history that I’ve never explored before for some reason, Christopher Nolan (seriously my favorite modern director), Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy (two Batman villains, which amused me greatly), Hans Zimmer’s score that makes me feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach because it’s unbearably tense and it never lets up, all the stills and production photos I’ve seen and the interviews I’ve read/watched…man, it sounds unbelievably amazing.

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Movie you keep putting off seeing?

Um…my sibs and I got halfway through ‘A Royal Night Out’ and it’s very good, but for some reason I don’t feel like finishing it.  So there’s that.

A food you thought you’d hate, but liked?

I’m really open-minded when it comes to trying new foods, so I don’t have an answer for this one.

A food you thought you’d like, but didn’t?

Or this one.  Sorry!  I’m usually pretty good at knowing what foods I’ll like and which ones I won’t.

If you could get a free round-trip ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Virginia. *winks*  Or Israel.

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Favorite flavor of toothpaste?

Peppermint.  Boring choice, I know, but it’s good all the same.

Naomi asked…

What is the last book of the Bible you read and did you learn anything in particular?

The last book of the Bible that I read in its entirety, in one sitting, was Colossians.  It’s an amazing book (duh) and the main thing that I took away from it this time, something that I still think about from (I read it a few days ago) is how everything we do, no matter how important or petty can be done for the glory of God.  We can literally do everything in His name and because of that, we can (and need to) do our best with everything that’s given to us. (See Colossians 3:23-24.)

Do you like hugs or are you more a nonphysical signs of affection kind of person?

Depends on the person.  But most of the time I like hugs.  And I love it when characters hug it out in movies and TV shows (especially BBC ones, like Robin Hood and Sherlock, since those are so emotionally shattering) because it’s such a simple gesture, but it’s so comforting and kindly, too.

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Would you recommend the Titanic movie? (Minus the bad scenes obv)

YES, YES, YES.  A thousand times yes.  It’s swoony and gorgeous and epic in every sense.

Favourite thing to cook/bake?

Chocolate chip cookies.  I’m going to brag here and say that I make The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies™ in the world, ’cause it’s true.  And don’t just ask me!  My siblings, parents, grandparents, anyone who’s tasted my cookies…they’ll all say the same thing. 😉

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Eva

the alfred hitchcock blogathon 2017 – wrap-up!

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You know, even though I was busy with Life Stuff throughout this blogathon, I still had lots of fun.  All the posts written were great (for a list of them, go here), very entertaining, and it was a good time of camaraderie among fellow Hitchcock aficionados.  So, as I said last year, unless something unforeseen comes up, another Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon will be held in August of 2018.  Already looking forward to it!

And thank you for your participation, everyone. 🙂

Eva

P.S. There’s still time to submit your entry to the blogathon if you haven’t already.  Just leave a link in the comments and I’ll make sure it gets put on the roster.

my favorite hitchcock heroes, heroines, and villains

This post is part of my Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon 2017.  Check out the other posts in this blogathon here.

Alfred Hitchcock was a master filmmaker – that’s something no one can deny.  His skills as a director merged with great scripts, great actors, and great music to make some of the best films ever.  While there are lots and lots of things I could chose to talk about today, I decided to list a few of my favorite Hitchcock characters.  All of my favorite books and movies have one thing in common – awesome characters – and Hitchcock’s movies are no exception.

Let’s get started!

Favorite Hitchcock Heroes

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-Gilbert Redman (The Lady Vanishes): There are many, many good things about The Lady Vanishes (I can still hum that special tune), but Gilbert is one of the best.  He’s handsome and funny and helpful and brave – everything a good hero should be.

-T.R. Devlin (Notorious): Cary Grant is one of my least favorite actors, but Notorious is one of only two movies where I do more than tolerate him; I actually kinda love him. (The other film is Room for One More.)  Sure, he’s a jerkface for most of the movie, but I think it might be partly because he finds himself falling in love with Alicia, and he thinks nothing good can come of it.  And when he rescues her… *heart-eyes*

-Mitch Brenner (The Birds): Hitchcock favored his villains over his heroes, so it was actually a bit hard for me to come up with a third hero.  I finally settled on Mitch because he’s very capable and level-headed during so much of the terror and *cough* Rod Taylor’s pretty handsome.

Favorite Hitchcock Heroines

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-Iris Henderson (The Lady Vanishes): Hurrah for strong female characters!  Iris is an awesome heroine in her search for Miss Froy and in her general demeanor and strength of character.  One of my favorite female protagonists in classic film.

-Alicia Huberman (Notorious): Alicia is such a brave woman and I admire her, despite her checkered past.  I mean, she even goes so far as to marry Alex Sebastian to gather more information about his evil plots.  Ingrid Bergman is a luminous presence onscreen, and I’ll be talking more about her performance as Alicia later on this month for the Ingrid Bergman blogathon.

-Lisa Fremont (Rear Window): First, Grace Kelly.  Secondly, Edith Head’s gorgeous costumes.  And thirdly (and most importantly), Lisa is the BOSS.  She goes out and does a lot of the fieldwork for Jeff, even going so far as to enter the bad guy’s apartment in the search for the truth.  She’s a wonderful character.

Favorite Hitchcock Villains (here be spoilers)

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-Dr. Murchison (Spellbound): I know Leo G. Carroll best as the kindly Mr. Waverly from The Man From UNCLE TV show, so it’s always a half surprise for me to see him playing such a villainous character.  But Carroll pulls it off and Dr. Murchison is one of the most sinister villains (I think) in the Hitchcock canon.

-Phillip Vandamm (North by Northwest): It’s James Mason, people.  You can’t beat that.  Again, I’m more familiar with his role as a good guy in Journey to the Centre of the Earth, but he makes for a suave, polished, utterly dangerous villain in North by Northwest.  He’s one of my favorite things about the film.

-Bruno Antony (Strangers on a Train): Bruno is a fascinating villain and I think, in some ways, he’s the the prototype for ca-raaaaazy villains like Jim Moriarty or the Joker, even.  He’s just…wow.  Really insane and intense and sort of weird.  Still, he’s a fun baddie to watch.

Who are some of your favorite characters from Hitchcock’s films?

Eva

ask me anything! {third time, I think?}

So, basically, life is super crazy right now – sometimes depressing, sometimes wonderful – and I’m pretty busy.  Plus, I don’t feel any real motivation to write more blog posts right now (though I have been legit writing quite a bit).  So I thought, whatever, I’ll ask y’all to ask me questions and then I’ll answer them because I’m always able to answer questions.  That’s easy.

Throw ’em at me! 🙂  I’ll answer them after the Hitchcock Blogathon.

Eva