announcing the Good Cop, Bad Cop Blogathon!

A new blogathon!  I’m super excited!  Are you excited? (I hope so!)

Okay, so I was going to start out by talking about how there are so many police procedural dramas on TV and oodles of mystery books and tons of police-themed movies and I wanted to honor all that with this blogathon.  But no.  While all that is technically true, this blogathon began mainly as a way to finally motivate myself to write that epic post about why I love Jim Gordon (Dark Knight trilogy, mainly Batman Begins).  So, I was going to write that post and then I had the idea for this blogathon and I was really struck with the idea, and that’s what I’m going with.

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He’s too awesome!

Sooooo…details.

  • The blogathon will run from March 28th-31st.  You can publish your post (or posts) on the 28th, 29th, 30th, or 31st.
  • Duplicate topics will not be allowed, as there’s a slew of material to chose from.
  • ‘Good cop’ is defined as someone who’s a walking pillar of loyalty, great bravery, and awesomeness in their community. (So basically Jim Gordon.) (Fine.  I’ll be quiet about him…for now.).  ‘Bad cop’ is defined as someone who is either totally crooked, playing both sides, on the good side but pretending to be on the bad side, on the take, has a less than stellar personality but is still good at heart, etc.  You get it.
  • You can write about a character from a movie, book, TV show, graphic novel – basically any medium.
  • FBI, CIA, and all other special/secret agents are disqualified.  So are private investigators/detectives.  So is western law enforcement, because there could be a whole other blogathon just for them and I wanted to keep this one centered on city-based police. (Police detectives are fine.  As are police inspectors, commissioners – whatever rank you can think of.) (If you have any questions about a particular character’s eligibility for the blogathon, just leave ’em in the comments.)
  • If you need inspiration when it comes to choosing a character, there’s loads of lists on the internet that should help – Google is awesome for that. 🙂
  • And that’s about it.  Let me know in the comments what fictional cop you want to feature on your blog and I’ll add you to the roster.  Then check out the awesome buttons below, stick one on your blog, and let’s have some fun with this!

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Blogathon Participant Roster:

Hope to see you there!

Eva

(EDIT: I used a photo of US Marshall Gerard from ‘The Fugitive’ movie as one of the blogathon button images.  Like the FBI, CIA, etc., US Marshalls are actually not an approved category for this blogathon.  I apologize for any confusion/inconvenience this has caused and I hope you like the replacement button.)

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the inspirational pull of ‘meet the robinsons’

(This blog post is part of the Inspirational Heroes Blogathon.)

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The main gist of ‘Meet the Robinsons’ is this: twelve-year-old Lewis was abandoned as a baby and has since become an inventor.  Through a bunch of complicated circumstances, he ends up traveling to the future where he meets a weird, wacky, wonderful family – the Robinsons.  Adventures and life lessons ensue.

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Lewis is such a great hero, but he’s not perfect.  He gets angry and disregard’s Wilbur’s warnings about Bowler Hat Guy, but in the end, he does so much good.  Like being willing to adopt BHG?  Awesome.  And then when he does that thing to help Goob at the end?  SO AWESOME.  He’s such a good-hearted person and his choices, resolve, and dedication never fail to inspire.

One bit in ‘Meet the Robinsons’ that always sticks out to me is when Lewis tells Bowler Hat Guy/Goob that instead of focusing on the past and blaming Lewis for everything bad that ever happened to him, Goob should have looked to the future and, you know, kept moving forward.  It’s excellent advice for people in general and villains in particular. 😉  Anyway, Lewis definitely takes his own advice to heart when he finally makes peace with his birth mother (just not in the way you might expect).

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And when Lewis comes back from the future, he works so hard and finally gets adopted and it’s just…gah.  I love this movie so much!  There’s a reason I try to watch it every New Year’s Eve – it always brings such a sweeping sense of optimism and inspiration.

Rarely have I watched a movie that inspires me as much as ‘Meet the Robinsons’.  The main theme of the film is to ‘keep moving forward’, to never let failure block the path to success, to learn from your mistakes and utilize that knowledge.  As I’m a writer, those are especially valuable lessons, but they can be applied to every person and every profession at some time or another.

Watch ‘Meet the Robinsons’.  And be endlessly inspired.

Eva

a literary christmas challenge 2017

A Literary Christmas: 2017 Reading Challenge // inthebookcase.blogspot.com 

In The Bookcase is hosting a Literary Christmas Challenge this year and I’m pretty excited about it.  Over the years, I’ve made it a point to read appropriately Christmas-y books in December, but I like the more structured feel this challenge has already given me.  Plus, this is the first year that my family and I are celebrating Christmas for real, so I feel like things should be a little different.

Anyway, here’s the list of books I’ll be reading/reviewing in the month of December. (I have to finish The Candymakers right now, so that’s why I’m waiting even though the challenge started on November 18th.)

~A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (duh)

~The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

~Christmas in the Crosshairs by Gerry Bowler

~A War of Gifts: An Ender Story by Orson Scott Card

~Dear Enemy by Jack Cavanaugh (not strictly a Christmas book, but it takes place around Christmas time and two of the characters’ celebration of the holiday is beautiful)

I might end up reading other Christmas books, too, but those are the ‘official’ ones.  What books are you planning to read this holiday season?

Eva

some thoughts on ‘texas’ (1941)

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This post is part of the Texas Blogathon hosted by The Midnite Drive-In.

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Confederate soldiers Dan (William Holden) and Tod (Glenn Ford) look to Texas for opportunities when the war ends. Upon witnessing a stagecoach robbery, the close friends ambush the outlaws and confiscate the stolen funds. Tod wishes to return the money, but Dan wants to keep it. After a sheriff gives chase, each man runs off on his own. They are reunited after some time, but with Tod now an honest ranch hand and Dan an outlaw cattle rustler, the two do not know if their friendship can survive.

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I was originally going to write a bona fide review of ‘Texas’, but I have a lot of scattered thoughts and comments to make concerning it, so I thought I might as well do a list thingy instead.  (There will be spoilers.)  (And if you want a more conventional review of this movie, I recommend this post.)

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~I’m highly amused by the cheery music that plays as ‘…The paths to the market were bloody trails of Indian depredations, outlaw, rustlers…’ scrolls across the screen.

~William Holden and Glenn Ford are, like, baby-year-olds in this film.  And very adorable.  I’m sort of used to Young William Holden because I’ve seen ‘Arizona’ (was ‘Texas’ supposed to be a sort of companion piece to ‘Arizona’?).  Young Glenn Ford is very attractive and he and William Holden both have cute dimples.  Plus, their acting is great.

~William Holden tends to play jerky guys, at least in most of the films I’ve seen him in.  I don’t really care for Dan (Holden’s character).  I mean, he joins up with cattle rustlers and doesn’t seem much bothered by it.  And he steals Tod’s girl (though he might not have known that extent of Tod’s feelings at first).

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~The fight near the beginning is HILARIOUS.  My siblings and I laughed so hard during it when we first watched the movie.

~Edgar Buchanan makes for a chilling bad guy.  I’ve only ever seen him playing kindly/harmless old codgers, but he was something else again as Doc.  Lots of nastiness, and it’s surprising twist considering his usual screen roles.

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~I love how Tod stands up and says his piece after Windy Miller makes his offer of two dollars a head of cattle.  If I were Mike, I’d have fallen for him right then and there (Tod, not Miller).

~*snickers at how Dan wants to keep the money and Tod tries to talk him out of it because Glenn Ford’s character in ‘The Sacketts’ does the exact opposite and why am I snickering about this when the situation is actually kinda heartbreaking in ‘The Sacketts’?*

~Thanks to certain comments on Hamlette’s review of ‘Texas’ (see link above) I will forever get Tod and Dan’s names mixed up in my head.

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~Man.  The way that sheriff and the posse are so quick to lynch Tod puts ‘The Ox-Bow Incident’ to shame.

~Also, the ending of ‘Texas’ is a bit of a downer and not something I expected from a 40’s ‘B’ western.  But I guess it all comes down to the fact that Dan’s life was in a mess and there wasn’t enough time to bring resolution, reconciliation, and redemption to him, so they killed him off. *sigh*

~Overall, though, a fun, entertaining, and enjoyable western film, one that I’ll be sure to watch and re-watch over the years.

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Have you ever seen this film?  What did you think of it?

Eva

movie review: the proud rebel

This post is part of The Alan Ladd Blogathon taking place at Hamlette’s Soliloquy.  You can read the rest of the blogathon posts here.

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Confederate veteran John Chandler (Alan Ladd) returns from defeat in war to find his home razed, his wife dead and his young son, David (David Ladd), traumatized and rendered mute. Desperate to cure the boy, Chandler takes David to a small town in Illinois where he hopes to find a doctor. But, soon after the pair arrives, Chandler finds himself framed for assault — and forced to choose between serving hard time and working for struggling local farmer Linnett Moore (Olivia de Havilland).

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I remember watching ‘The Proud Rebel’ at my grandparents’ house and not taking much away from it except a couple of hazily remembered scenes (mainly one in the courtroom where Linnett talks to the judge and also some bits regarding the dog).  I mostly forgot about it except to sometimes wonder “What was that movie with the dog and the deaf boy?” (I mistakenly thought that David was deaf.)  Then I got rather interested in Alan Ladd and found an old DVD of ‘The Proud Rebel’ in our collection, so I popped it in to watch and when I hit the courtroom scene I was like “Ohhhhhh…I remember you!”.  Very cool feeling.

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Alan Ladd plays John Chandler and his real-life son, David Ladd, plays his in-the-movie son, David Chandler.  Alan Ladd puts in a fine performance as John Chandler, a man looking to move forward from his past as a Confederate soldier as well as trying to find help for his mute son.  I really love the relationship between John and David – the boy is mute, so he has to depend on his father to help him communicate with people.  Their interaction is made even more heartwarming by the fact that they’re father and son IRL.  John and David’s father-son relationship is a huge part of ‘The Proud Rebel’, since John wanting to find a workable treatment for David is what drives pretty much all the action.

Linnett, portrayed by Olivia de Havilland, is one of the best female characters I’ve ever seen in a western.  She’s run her ranch (or is it a farm?) singlehandedly ever since her father (and brother, I think) died.  She’s kind and compassionate, particularly towards David (he steals her heart much sooner than his father does), but she’s also strong and capable and gives John plenty of good advice throughout the film.  Linnett’s farm is threatened by the villain of the piece, Harry Burleigh, and he’s a pretty formidable villain, played quite well by Dean Jagger (who I know best as the great General Waverley in ‘White Christmas’ – still not used to him in a villainous role).

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I don’t care for dogs, but I still enjoyed every moment of ‘The Proud Rebel’, even the last twenty minutes or so which are centered almost entirely around David’s dog.  And no spoilers, but the ending is predictable without being any the less emotional for all that.

Overall, ‘The Proud Rebel’ is a good, solid film.  I’ve watched it twice, enjoyed it twice, and I wouldn’t be the least opposed to seeing it a third time.  The cinematography, story, and dialogue all flow together well and the plot is interesting.  Recommended to fans of westerns, dogs, Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland…just about anyone.

(My six-year-old brother liked it, so it’s good for children as well.)

(And you can watch it for free on Youtube.  Just so you know.)

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Eva

notorious VS. casablanca

This blog post is part of The 3rd Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon.  Check out the other entries here.

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Ingrid Bergman is one of my favorite actresses – her beauty, accent, talent, and height all combine to make her one of the most striking women on Hollywood’s silver screen.  I’ve only seen her in four or five films, but she’s impressed me in every single one.  Today, I wanted to compare two of her most famous films – Notorious and Casablanca.  Both movies were made around the same time, both star Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains, and…um, that’s good enough for me to write a comparison post (seriously, though, I’ve considered comparing The Lorax and The Giver just because of their similar themes – plus, Taylor Swift’s in both).

Anyway.  Enough rambling.

// The Story //

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I’m horrible at plot summaries.

Notorious: A German-American woman is recruited by the US government to spy on…other spies?  Not entirely sure what Alex is, actually.  Anyway, the woman, Alicia (Bergman), falls in love with her handler, Devlin (Cary Grant), but things become chaotic when Alicia marries one of the enemy.

Casablanca: Talk about a ‘tale as old as time’.  The story of Casablanca is known around the world.  Rick owns a cafe in Casablanca.  Everyone comes to it over the course of the story and the romances, intrigues, political plot points, etc., etc. make for an addictive cinematic experience.

// The Heroine //

HEROINE

Because they’re both played by Ingrid Bergman.

Notorious: Alicia Huberman (later Alicia Sebastian) is a wonderful heroine.  Though her father was a member of the Nazi party, she herself is a loyal American on the side of truth, liberty, and justice.  However, she ends up having to lie constantly to her husband, her liberty is curtailed when Alex finds out who she really is, and there’s no justice in the way Devlin treats her throughout the movie (until the very end).  Yet she rises above all this to emerge as one of the most memorable Hitchcock leading ladies of all his films.

Casablanca: Most people view Casablanca as a ‘Humphrey Bogart picture’ and I have to say that that’s true.  He’s the main character and the moral centre of the entire thing, but without Ilsa, there would be no story.  From the moment she walks into Rick’s cafe until the moment she leaves on the plane to Lisbon, she is constantly in Rick’s – and our – mind.  She is the catalyst of the entire story (well, the letters of transit play a big role, but they’re more a MacGuffin than anything) and a great character in her own right.

// The Hero //

HERO

Because they’re both awesome.

Notorious: As I’ve mentioned before, Devlin is one of the only Cary Grant characters I like.  And he’s a jerk for most of the film!  Like, a serious jerk.  I can never quite figure out if he loves Alicia at the beginning – at least, as much as she loves him – but by the time she marries Alex, you know he does.  And he’s so very heroic in rescuing Alicia at the end. ❤

Casablanca: Rick is one of the most famous heroes (or is he an anti-hero?) in the history of film.  He’s hard and bitter and cynical at first – but not without reason.  The bit in the cafe at night where he’s drinking and talking to himself/Sam along with the part where Ilsa leaves him at the train station…always give me a huge lump in my throat and an ache in my heart.  He does an incredibly awesome, brave thing at the end as well and that’s mostly what defines him as a great hero, even though he doesn’t get the girl.

// The Love Triangle //

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Because they’re required in every great story.

Notorious: Alicia, Devlin, and Alex.  The scenes with all three of them are so tense, no matter what’s going on.  Alex gets jealous easily because he’s so much older than Alicia and, come on, it’s obvious that she and Devlin are in love.  It really is.

Casablanca: Ilsa, Rick, and Laszlo.  May I just say that I really like Laszlo?  He grows on me with every viewing.  Anyway, this love triangle is unique because the story ends with the girl still with the same guy she was with at the beginning (that’s sounded so awkward, but you get the idea).

// The Villains //

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Because they’re crafty and clever and I dig villains.

Notorious: Besides Alex, there’s also his creepy mom and his creepy Nazi friends.  Alex is a sympathetic villain, almost, because you can kinda tell that he really does care for Alicia (until he discovers she’s a spy, that is).  But his mom is distrustful of her daughter-in-law right from the start.  And those Nazi friends are diabolical.

Casablanca: Does Captain Renault count as a villain?  Not really, I don’t think.  And Major Strasser is just…there.  Doesn’t do much, truth be told.

// Ending //

ENDING

Because both are perfect.

Notorious: Mannnnn.  I LOVE the ending to this film.  Devlin rescuing Alicia and finally admitting that he loves her and then “Alex, come inside.  We want to talk to you.” (not an exact quote, but still) *shivers*  So great.  Hitchcock really knows how to end a movie (except for The Birds – that was just weird).

Casablanca: Who doesn’t know the ending to Casablanca?  Even if you’ve never watched it, over half of the most iconic quotes are found in the last ten minutes or so.  “Hill of beans”, “usual suspects”, “looking at you, kid” (okay, that one was said earlier on), and “always have Paris”, “beautiful friendship”…so quotable.  And the ending is majorly tearjerking as well.

// Overall //

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Both Notorious and Casablanca are outstanding examples of film-making at its very best.  But Casablanca is my second favorite movie of all time, so it kind of wins by default, right?  Notorious is still one of my top favorites, though. (And Ingrid Bergman is a luminous presence in both films.)

Which of these two films do you like best?

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.