arrow VS. the flash

“My name is Oliver Queen.  For five years I was stranded on an island…”

“My name is Barry Allen and I am the fastest man alive…”

Over the past several months my family and I have watched four seasons of The Flash and almost four seasons of Arrow.  While both shows definitely do their own thing, they’re also connected in more ways than one and I figured it was time to write a comparison post!

// Premise //

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Arrow: Oliver Queen, billionaire playboy, has a secret mission: to right the wrongs done (sometimes in the Queen name) to his beloved Star(ling) City.  His ability to fight injustice comes from five years spent (mostly) on a hellish island that was basically a vigilante training boot camp.

The Flash: Barry Allan, CSI for the local police department, has a secret mission: to protect his beloved Central City by using his super-speed to fight crime, metahumans, and Big Bads.

// The Heroes //

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Arrow: It took me a long time to warm up to Oliver.  He seemed cold and brutal and way too brooding (like Batman, but worse?).  However, since he took a ‘no killing’ vow and began to let the people close to him get, well, closer…he’s grown on me.  He recognizes that he’s done some terrible things but he tries so hard to make it right and I’ve got a soft spot for heroes like that.

The Flash: Barry Allen is one of my top five favorite superheroes.  He can be a little too mopey, a little too “this is all my fault”, but his heart is so big, his motives so pure, his kindness and generosity and just…*siiiiigh*.  But at the same time, Barry isn’t a Gary Stu.  He has faults (much as Joe would hate to admit it), he makes mistakes, but he always owns up and apologizes and, yeah, I love him.

// The Teams //

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Arrow: Team Arrow is HUGE.  You’ve got Oliver, Felicity, Laurel, Sarah, Thea, Diggle, Roy…and I’m pretty sure I’ve missed someone.  There’s so many moving parts and the cool thing is that none of them have superpowers.  All they’ve got is their Mad Skillz.  My favorite in the team is definitely Diggle, closely followed by Oliver and Thea.  I really love the suicide squad episodes where Dig goes off and does his own thing.  So cool.

The Flash: And Team Flash, which started out very small, has added a lot of members over the years.  Barry, Iris, H.R., Cisco, Caitlin, Harry, Julian, Ralph, Joe.  Cisco is the best, as is Caitlin.  And H.R. and Harry…let’s just say, I love them all! 😉  Julian is awesome, though I have to admit that he doesn’t serve much purpose in the story once he joins Team Flash (other than being Caitlin’s love interest).  Oh, well.

// The Villains //

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Arrow: My favorite villain is definitely Slade Wilson.  Season 2 of Arrow has been my favorite so far, mainly because Slade was such an epic villain and his connection to Oliver made S2 the most personal one so far (IMO).  Malcolm Merlyn is also a favorite – he’s so twisted, but there’s a glimmer of honour somewhere in there.  And speaking of honour…DEADSHOT.  (I hardly count him as a villain, though.)  R’as al Ghul was forgettable – I infinitely prefer Liam Neeson’s take on the character, y’know?

The Flash: This show has had some pretty unforgettable villains.  Eobard Thawne was the first and the best.  My mom and little siblings are re-watching/watching the first season right now and I’m blown away by how Tom Cavanaugh can convey trustworthiness, sliminess, and mysteriousness so well, all mixed up.  Zoom and Savitar were worthy opponents for Barry.  I liked DeVoe up to a point and then I was over him.  Still, the villains on The Flash are great overall.

// Ships //

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Arrow: I hate Felicity.  Hate her.  Words can’t express how much I loathe her.  So, obviously, I don’t ship her with Oliver, but then, I don’t really ship Oliver with anyone.  Slade and Shado, Diggle and Lyla, and Deadshot and his wife are my favorite ships from the show.

The Flash: Annnnd I don’t ship Barry and Iris either!  But Caitlin and Ronnie, Caitlin and Julian, and Ralph and that country singer…those are the couples I love.

// Music //

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Arrow: Dark, dramatic, and intense.  Blake Neely captures – and creates – the show’s atmosphere.

The Flash: Another Blake Neely score (I believe he’s responsible for all four Arrowverse shows in that department).  His character themes for Barry, Reverse-Flash, and Captain Cold are all excellent and I also enjoy the touches of quirkiness and humour that make their way into the score.

// Coolness Factor //

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Arrow: The League of Shadows is pretty cool.  And Thea is literally the coolest, with her suit and the way she stands up to Malcolm.  She’s easily the least annoying female on the show and I find myself rooting for her even more than Oliver sometimes.  Slade Wilson is cool as well, in his own way.  Overall, the show has a gritty, sometimes epic vibe that I dig.

The Flash: Captain Cold.  I rest my case.

// Feels Factor //

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Arrow: So, the last episode I watched of this show was the one dealing with the fall-out from Laurel’s death and, um, many tears were shed.  Many, many tears.  It was kind of surprising, because Laurel isn’t my favorite character by a long shot (though she did improve over the show’s run) but I guess I was more attached to her than I thought.  And seeing everyone else broken up about her death…GAH.  Oh, and add to that all the references to Tommy who is the best forever and ever and whyyyyy did the writers kill him off? (That thing in ‘Crisis on Earth-X’ when his doppelganger shows up?  TOO MANY FEELS.)

The Flash: So much sadness.  Nora Allen’s murder (and Barry deciding NOT TO SAVE HER), H.R.’s death, Caitlin’s tragic romances, Plastique…there’s some major feelsiness going down in every season of The Flash.  I might start crying as much as Barry if the writers don’t lighten up soon.

// Overall //

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I have a friend who said that it took her until the third or fourth season to really enjoy Arrow.  I have to agree.  Season 1 bored me, Season 2 was the best (and held my attention the best), I skipped most of Season 3, and Season 4 has too much weirdness for me to fully commit.  But I do enjoy it.  So many of the characters have my heart and the action scenes can be pretty entertaining.

But The Flash is my favorite, hands-down.  The characters are more relatable and lovable than those in Arrow, the episodes are rarely boring, the seasons are more tight-knit (probably because there’s not many flashbacks), and overall I just like it more.

Both shows, however, are amazing and I’d recommend them to fans of epic superheroes (though not without a few caveats as to violence and adult content – mostly in Arrow).

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Have you seen either – or both – of these shows?  Do you agree with my consensus?  Let me know in the comments!

Eva

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similarities between ‘fawkes’ and ‘glimpses of truth’

It’s no secret that I love Nadine Brandes’ newest release, Fawkes.  While I was reading it, I noticed a few similarities between Fawkes and one of my favorite Christian novels – Glimpses of Truth.  Now this is NOT to say that I think Nadine plagiarized Jack Cavanaugh or anything like that.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for her and I would never suggest that; I just thought the similarities were interesting.

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-Both books feature a main character named Thomas.  Both characters have serious problems with their vision – Thomas Fawkes’ left eye has turned to stone, Thomas Torr has black spots in his eyes that are steadily growing larger and impeding his vision.  IMO, this is the coolest similarity between the two books.  And the most obvious.

-Both Thomases have issues with their fathers. (Thomas Torr’s dad raped his mom and then tried to kill him.  Thomas Fawkes’ dad…well, just read the book.)  Both Thomases were raised by a man who is not their father (but who was basically a father to them) – Norwood and Howell.

-Both Thomases are in love with an awesome girl who is also being courted by a nobleman’s son.  Though that’s where this particular comparison ends because Henry is pretty horrid and Kendall is the SWEETEST BEST MOST BRAVE CINNAMON ROLL EVER.

-Both Thomases go back and forth in their convictions and beliefs, though Thomas Torr is much more certain of what he believes in than Thomas Fawkes.  Still, both wrestle with doubts relating to what side they’ll take in a religious power struggle. (I know that Fawkes is more of an allegory than a history, but you know what I mean.)

-And both books end with the Thomases and their lady loves watching their father/father figure be executed.  Both books leave me a blubbering mess because beloved characters die and other beloved characters have to see it happen and it’s horrible.  Nadine Brandes and Jack Cavanaugh are too good at messing with my emotions, tbh.

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So.  Have you read either of these books?  Do you see the similarities?  Or do you think I’m totally off my rocker? *grins*

Eva

my little brothers’ take on ‘pixar VS pixar’

So, I saw this idea on a blog (I forget which one) where you take all of Pixar’s movies (or, at least, all the ones you’ve seen) and randomly select two at a time and pit them against each other to see which is your favorite.  I did that (I’ve seen every Pixar movie except ‘Brave’ and ‘The Incredibles 2′) and it’s sitting in my drafts right now; I’ll publish it at some point.  But today I wanted to share my little brothers’ choices with you.  Along with ‘Brave’ and ‘The Incredibles 2’, they’ve also not seen ‘Toy Story’ or ‘Coco’, so it still worked out to have an even number of films.

Ethan is seven and Jonah is five and I sat them down separately (because I didn’t want them copying each other’s answers) and asked them these very important questions.  Their answers are pretty much verbatim, just with a bit of tweaking here and there.  I hope you love their honesty and adorableness as much as I do. ❤

‘Cars 3’ VS ‘Cars 2’

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E: ‘Cars 3’ because Lightning McQueen is nicer in it than in ‘Cars 2’ and because of the girl [Cruz] and how she wins in the dirt race.

J: ‘Cars 2’ because I really like Finn McMissile and I like Mater in it.

‘Ratatouille’ VS ‘Cars’

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E: ‘Ratatouille’ because it’s about chefs and I like making [scrambled] eggs and also because it has that funny grandma in it and how Remy makes that guy cook really well.

J: ‘Ratatouille’ because I like Remy in it and Emile and I like how Remy imagines Gusteau.

‘UP’ VS ‘Toy Story 2’

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E: ‘Toy Story 2’ because Woody cares about Jessie and doesn’t want to go back to Andy’s house and I like it because it’s very interesting.

J: ‘Toy Story 2’ because I like the horse in it that Woody rides on and I really like Woody and Buzz Lightyear, how he karate chops people.

‘Toy Story 3’ VS ‘WALL-E’

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E: ‘WALL-E’ because EVE is cool in it because she has a gun and the pudgy guy is nice to WALL-E and EVE and WALL-E did all of the work in the old town basically by himself and he never shut down.

J: ‘WALL-E’ because I like WALL-E how he’s a robot and how he picks up the garbage and also I like how EVE makes WALL-E back up and I like those cleaning things that clean up WALL-E.

‘Inside Out’ VS ‘Monsters University’

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E: ‘Inside Out’ because it’s very interesting and plus Bing-Bong helps Joy and Sadness.  But I don’t get why Joy is called Joy because she’s actually kind of a jerk.  And Fear is funny.

J: ‘Inside Out’ because I like Fear in it because his head gets on fire and because Anger did that and I like their computer – and their new one.

‘Finding Nemo’ VS ‘A Bug’s Life’

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E: ‘A Bug’s Life’ because they gather up all the food and then Flik gets new bugs and the Ladybug’s funny.  And also because the grasshopper dies.

J: ‘Finding Nemo’ because I like that big shark in it and because his dad tried to warn Dory.

‘Monsters, Inc’ VS ‘The Good Dinosaur’

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E: ‘Monsters, Inc’ because I like it how Sully cares about the little girl and he’s nice to the little girl and even if she gets captured he tries to get her.  And I like it because of Mike and Sully because they’re both funny, especially Mike.

J: ‘The Good Dinosaur’ because at the ending the little boy meets his mom and dad and all his family and also because I like Buck in it.

‘Finding Dory’ VS ‘The Incredibles’

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E: ‘The Incredibles’ because it’s a superhero movie and I like superheroes and plus Dash is kind of like me so I like Dash.  And what Mr. Incredible fights is really cool.  And I like it because of Mirage and because she helps them even though she’s kind of bad.

J: ‘The Incredibles’ because I like the dad of the Incredibles how they made him muscular and I like the big robot in it.

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Did you agree with my little brothers’ choices?  Let me know in the comments!

Eva

captain america: the first avenger VS wonder woman

Though I haven’t watched many superhero movies, I’ve been fortunate to see many of the good ones, and both Captain America: The First Avenger and Wonder Woman are in that category.  I’ve been a fan of Marvel for over three years now and only recently got into the DC-verse, but I like both pretty much equally.  Though these two films – The First Avenger and Wonder Woman – come from different studios, there are enough similarities between them to have sparked many blog posts, articles, and debates.  (Personally, I don’t think DC ripped off Marvel.)  And as you know my love for comparison posts, well, this one was inevitable.

(Spoilers throughout.)

// Story //

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CA:TFA – Steve Rogers, a short, weak guy with a heart of gold becomes Captain America, a tall, strong guy with a heart of gold and takes down loads of Nazis and HYDRA agents during WWII while still remaining, not a perfect soldier, but a good man.  Lots of feels and awesomeness.

Wonder Woman – Diana, princess of Themyscira, leaves her island home with pilot Steve Trevor to defeat Ares, god of war, and stop WWI.  Along the way, she learns a lot about herself, humans, and the struggle between good and evil.  Lots of feels and awesomeness.

// Hero/Heroine //

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CA:TFA – Steve Rogers is quite possibly the best fictional hero ever.  Period.  He’s basically the epitome of goodness.  He’s brave and strong and loyal to his country, his friends, and the world.  And the grenade scene?  I totally teared up the first time I saw that bit.  Powerful stuff.

Wonder Woman – Diana is everything goals. (So is Gal Gadot, but that’s a whole other discussion.)  She is the epitome of love, with her kind, caring, and compassionate outlook on life.  Seeing WWI through her eyes gives you a fresh realization of how horrific and devastating it was.  But even after all the awful things that happen around and to her, Diana does not give up her hope and joy or her resolve to help save humanity. ❤

// Villains //

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD FOR WONDER WOMAN.

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CA:TFA – The Red Skull bores me, frankly.  Zola is another thing altogether – I hate him, mainly for all the horrid things he does to Bucky.  Sure, he seems all compliant and boot licking, but I believe he always thought himself superior to the Red Skull.  At least, that’s the impression I got from The Winter Soldier.  But, overall, the villains in TFA aren’t much.  Though Richard Armitage’s HYDRA agent was rather good.

Wonder Woman – Dr. Poison is an interesting sort of villain.  Her experiments are… *shudders*.  That general dude, though…bleh.  He’s really forgettable.  But the best villain of the film is most definitely Ares.  The first time I watched Wonder Woman, I knew the big twist about Sir Patrick being Ares, and I wasn’t at all impressed with either of them.  David Thewlis is not one of my favorite actors.  But upon rewatching the movie, I found I couldn’t take my eyes off him.  He is an absolutely chilling villain, the way he’s infiltrated into the highest levels of British government and how he recognizes Diana right away and all that.  A great, great villain.

// Other Characters //

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CA:TFA – First, of course, there’s Peggy.  One of the best female fictional characters ever; she even got her own spin-off series, though it was regrettably short-lived.  I like Peggy lots.  Howard Stark is another one of my favorites – Tony, you had a great dad. 😉  And Bucky!  Sebastian Stan did a perfect job of capturing Bucky, first his fun, carefree side, and then – as the war progresses and especially after he escapes from Zola – his darker, more conflicted side.  It’s both great and wrenching.

Wonder Woman – STEVE TREVOR.  Just…Steve Trevor.  Love him.  Diana’s mom and aunt are good characters as well, and Steve’s secretary, and Charlie and all the rest.  But I definitely like the secondary characters in The First Avenger better.  Except for Steve. (Trevor, not Rogers.)

// Love Story //

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CA:TFA – *bawls* I like the fact that it was Steve himself and not just his incredible good looks/muscles that first attracted Peggy to him.  Like the thing about waiting for the right partner.  Or the flag pole.  Or the grenade.  It makes a good basis for a good relationship.  A good relationship that ends tragically, making “I had a date” now hiiiiigh up on the list of most heartbreaking movie quotes ever.  I WILL NEVER GET OVER THOSE TWO.

Wonder Woman – *bawls* I don’t think there’s much denying that Steve was attracted to Diana on a physical level at first, but I also think that they were just friends for at least the first hour or so of the film.  Maybe even more.  He was able to see just how amazing she was as a person, and she was slowly able to get over her distrust of people in general and men in particular.  AND THEN IT ALL ENDED.  I will never get over those two, either.

// Music //

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CA:TFA – I have this soundtrack memorized because I’ve watched the movie so much.  ‘Farewell to Bucky’ always makes me tear up because it’s rather emotional, especially when you know what happens later in the films.  And the main theme is rousing and patriotic and instantly recognizable.

Wonder Woman‘Is She With You?’  That’s all.

// Ending //

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CA:TFA – Will I ever get over the final scenes in this movie?  I don’t think so.  Everything from Steve and Peggy’s heartbreaking last (or so they think) conversation to Howard’s determination to keep searching to the war’s end (WHICH STEVE NEVER GOT TO SEE) to “I had a date”, it’s one big feelsy moment after another.  And I love it.

Wonder Woman – Uh…basically the same thing.  Diana’s epic, epic battle with Ares (who is her brother – #mindblown) and Steve’s sacrifice and the way that Chief and Charlie and Sameer all sort of huddle together in what they believe to be their last stand and Steve’s photo on the wall (I always think of the bit in TFA when the Howling Commandos are all like “To the captain”) and Diana’s inspiring final words.  Amazing.

// Overall //

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Captain America: The First Avenger is insanely close to my heart, but I think Wonder Woman is the better movie.  Almost all the characters in both are very huggable and relatable and awesome.  I’m torn!  I really can’t decide.  Though I would more readily watch Wonder Woman right now, just because I’ve seen The First Avenger a million times.  You can take from that what you will.

Have you seen either of these movies?  What do you think of them?

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 //

TRIANGLE

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 //

VILLAINS

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 //

OVERALL

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

monk VS. psych

Comparison posts = awesome fun (for me at least; if y’all are getting tired of them, let me know please).  This time, I’ll be contrasting two of my all-time favorite TV shows: Monk and Psych.  I’ll try to not to have any spoilers throughout, except in the ‘Villains’ and ‘Finale’ category (duh).

This post is probably going to be crazy long, but….you’ll thank me later.

// Premise //

Monk: An former police detective who has major OCD works as a private investigator in San Fransisco while trying to find out who murdered his wife, Trudy.

Psych: A fake psychic and his best friend solve crimes and goof off (not necessarily in that order).

// Characters //

Monk: Well, for starters, you’ve got the man himself.  Adrian Monk is brilliant, but can often be infuriatingly annoying (he throws away all that food! he tries to fix that curtain when everyone’s stuck in the jury room! and tons of other stuff that I can’t think of right now!) but when the chips are down, he always comes through.  With all of his problems, tics, and quirks, it’s only natural that he should have an assistant – first Sharona, then Natalie.  Of the two, Natalie is my favorite, with her down-to-earth approach and genuine affection for ‘Mr. Monk’.

As for the other characters, they’re a mixed bag of great (Captain Stottlemeyer, Randy, and Dr. Bell), weird (Harold Krenshaw and Jack Monk, Jr.), blah (Dr. Kroger), and sweet (Kevin, Ambrose, and Trudy).

Psych: Shawn is a five-year-old at heart (and in mind as well).  That’s about the best description of him I’ve got.  Occasionally, you catch glimpses of his more mature, serious side (usually a feels-inducing moment, by the way) but it’s mainly nonsense throughout the whole show.  And Gus is only slightly better.  Shawn’s dad, Henry, keeps the two of them grounded in reality at times, but, honestly, it’s a rather futile endeavor.

At the police station, you’ve got the Chief (I like her), Lassiter (close to being my favorite character, even though he can be just plain weird at times), Juliet (<3), Woody (blech), and Buzz (*grins*).  Shawn’s mom also makes a few appearances; I love how she calls him ‘Goose’.

// Villains //

Monk: The only major villain (aka, one that appears in more than one episode) in this show is Dale the Whale and he’s gross and I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about him.  So I won’t.  Patrick Kloster, Steve Wagner, Theresa Scott, Ethan Rickover, and The Great Torini are also notable baddies.

Psych: Okayyyyy.  There’s some pretty great villains in Psych (great as in ‘really worthy opponents’).  Yin, Yang, and Pierre Despereaux (aka Royston Cornwallis Staley) stand out the most.  Yin/Yang are simply freaky.  Despereaux (played by a still-adorable-even-though-he’s-middle-aged-or-something Cary Elwes) is debonair and dashing and I love how he kinda sorta turns out to be good in the end, though you’re never quiiiite sure about that.

// Episodes //

Monk: The two-parter, ‘Mr Monk Is On The Run’ is EXCELLENT.  All the Christmas episodes are great (especially the secret Santa one) (and with the exception of the one with Monk’s dad).  I love the thread of Trudy-ness running through the whole series.  ‘Mr Monk’s Other Brother’ makes me grin and ‘Mr Monk’s 100th Case’ is seriously the best for someone new to the show – it explains everything.

Psych: Psych.  The Musical.  PSYCH THE MUSICAL.  Are you hearing this???  There’s a musical!  How insanely cool is that?!  (Also, they’re coming out with a Christmas reunion movie this year, people.)  My favorite part of the series, in all probability, is the Yin/Yang trilogy which is super dramatic and serious compared to the rest of the show. (My favorite of those three episodes is the second one, ’cause the feels are huge and it’s Hitchcock-themed so what’s not to love?).  Also, all the parody/tribute episodes are swell. (Like ‘100 Clues’ and ‘Dual Spires’ and ‘Heeeeere’s Lassie’.)

// Theme Song //

Monk: The first season had a jaunty little instrumental theme that played during the opening credits, but season two (and onward) had the Randy Newman song “It’s a Jungle Out There” for its theme.  It’s a funny song that accurately describes Monk’s near-constant state of mind, but I usually skip it.  It was changed up only once, for ‘Mr. Monk and the Rapper’.

Psych: LOVE this theme.  The energy is great and the clips make me grin (especially the Season 6 opener, which I’ve HTML-ed in above).  Psych gave its theme song a new twist several times, depending on what the episode was about.  You can get a full list of the changes here, my personal favorites being the Christmas one and the a capella one.

// Guest Stars //

Monk: Stanley Tucci, Sarah Silverman, Howie Mandel, Enrico Colantoni, Sean Astin, Jennifer Lawrence (in a very small, maybe even un-credited, role), Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Bernie Kopell…it’s a pretty great list, right? (And I didn’t even get everyone!)  Probably my favorite guest appearance was Bernie Kopell, ’cause he’s in Get Smart and it’s just so cool, that connection between two of my favorite TV shows (and from totally different decades, at that).  I believe Stanley Tucci got an Emmy for his role in ‘Mr. Monk and the Actor’ – he’s my second favorite guest star.  However, I don’t think Monk’s Hall of Guest Star Fame can really compare with…

Psych: John Cena, Anthony Michael Hall, C. Thomas Howell, Val Kilmer, Christopher Llyod, Ralph Macchio, Lou Diamond Phillips, John Rhys-Davies, Kevin Sorbo, George Takei, William Shatner, Lesley Ann Warren, Cary Elwes, Curt Smith…and, again, that’s not even half of the great guest stars Psych managed to pull in over the years.  Favorite guest star?  William Shatner, who’s not just a great actor, but a great character in the show as well (playing Juliet’s estranged dad).  But Ralph Macchio is, of course, right up there, too.

// Finale //

Monk: Ohhhhh, man.  You’d better have ten boxes of tissues for this two-part end to the series because it’s intense and feelsy and an incredibly amazing/satisfying end to such a good show.  To give you an idea of how powerful it is, I’ve got to tell you that I watched the finale quite early in my obsession with Monk and even though I didn’t know the characters all that well, I was definitely moved.  I still tear up every time.  It’s the show at its absolute best.

Psych: A good finale.  It does the job of ending the show in a bittersweet-ish way.  But it’s not phenomenal in the way that some TV show finales are phenomenal (Flashpoint comes to mind).  The best bits are Shawn proposing to Juliet and the little reference to Monk at the end.  LOVED that bit.  And Dobson’s identity finally gets revealed, and it’s pretty epic considering all the references the show made to Val Kilmer throughout its eight year run.

// Overall //

As much as Monk will always have a really special place in my heart, the winner of this contest is Psych.  The characters are wacky, but I love ’em.  The episodes are endlessly inventive.  The humor never gets old.  Still, several episodes of Monk will never fail to grab me, and the emotions are real.  In the end, I’d say that both shows are excellent and highly recommended.

PINEAPPLE!

Eva

the adventures of robin hood (1938) VS. robin hood (1973) VS. bbc robin hood

Olivia from Meanwhile, in Rivendell… is hosting a Robin Hood week and, naturally, I had to join in the fun.  I’m an ardent fan of Robin Hood – the character, the books, the movies, and the TV shows (yes, there is more than one).  It was a bit difficult to decide on what I should write about, as my options were almost limitless, but since movie (and TV show in this case) comparison posts are so much fun, I thought I’d do another one.

-Story-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: I think many people view this re-telling of the Robin Hood story as the definitive version, and it’s quite easy to see why.  Many of the plot points from the original legends are brought to the screen in glowing Technicolor – from Robin and Littlejohn’s battle over the bridge to the archery tournament to the return of King Richard.  While the film can be episodic at times, it flows together well.  Two thumbs up!

Robin Hood: This adaption is more a series of entertaining, swashbuckling vignettes than a cohesive whole – and I’m fine with that.  It’s good, solid, entertaining fun.  Not until Prince John calls in all the taxes and Friar Tuck is put in jail does any real plot come together (besides the thread of Robin + Marian throughout).  Still, like I said, it’s good fun and a great interpretation of the Robin Hood legend.

BBC Robin Hood: How do I go about describing the story?  It’s a three-season TV show, so there’s lots of plots and subplots and romances and drama and all that good stuff.  I will say, however, that in terms of accuracy to the original Robin Hood stories, BBC’s adaption falls short.  Very, very short.  Don’t get me wrong; the episodes are still awesome.  They just don’t stick close to all those thrilling tales of old.

-Robin Hood-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: Errol Flynn seems born to play the role of Robin Hood and he makes the part his own with his customary swagger, feats of derring do, and more than a few glimpses of Robin’s romantic nature (in his scenes with Maid Marian, of course).  Flynn’s delivery of Robin Hood’s speeches stirs the heart and he never misses a beat in the entirety of his performance. (Those sword fights…)

Robin Hood: In many ways, this Robin Hood (appropriately enough, a fox) differs little from Errol Flynn’s portrayal (nothing wrong with that). After all, Robin is supposed to be the brave, bold, daring leader with a dash of cheekiness and plenty of heart.  This Robin has all of that, and more, and there’s something about either Brian Bedford’s voice acting or the animator’s skills (or my own mushy, gushy feels – or all three) that makes me love this Robin Hood the most of any portrayal I’ve seen.  I mean, seriously, when he says “Keep your chin up.  Someday there’ll be happiness in Nottingham again.  You’ll see.” I get this close to crying.  Every. Single. Time.

BBC Robin Hood: For whatever reason, a lot of the show’s fans don’t much care for Robin himself.  I guess I can kind of get that, ’cause he can be a jerk and all, but Gisborne is a murderer and everyone loves him, so… Anyway, Jonas Armstrong’s Robin Hood is much darker than either Errol Flynn’s or Brian Bedford’s.  He’s also a deeper character, more nuanced, more interesting, which only makes sense – it is a TV show, after all, with much time to develop its characters.  I don’t wholeheartedly like this Robin Hood, but I sympathize with him and I can respect him.

-Characters-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: You’ve got most of the classics here: Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Sir Guy, Maid Marian, Littlejohn, Will Scarlett, Friar Tuck, Much, King Richard…these are staple Robin Hood characters, and each is portrayed about as perfectly as you can get ’em.  Love it.

Robin Hood: There aren’t as many classic characters in this one – and all of them are talking animals (there’s nothing wrong with that, but I feel like it should be pointed out). Skippy & Co. take up a relatively large chunk of the movie, and the only member of Robin’s band that makes it into animation is Littlejohn. (Mayyyybe Friar Tuck.)  There is Allan a Dale, though, which is nice.  And Maid Marian and Prince John and the Sheriff.  And King Richard.  You could say Sir Hiss is a counterpart of Sir Guy, but I don’t see much resemblance.  Overall, in terms of accuracy-to-the-originals, it’s not as good as The Adventures of Robin Hood, but not quite as bad as…

BBC Robin Hood: Okay, sure, a lot of the characters have the same name as their legendary templates, but that’s about where any similarities end.  Marian is a feisty action girl.  Friar Tuck is a warrior priest.  Allan is a trickster.  Much is Robin’s former manservant.  Will Scarlett is a carpenter.  The Sheriff, Sir Guy, and Prince John are appropriately villainous, but BBC gave them each a life of their own.  King Richard is a jerkface (well, at least that’s accurate) and there’s lots of new characters, too.  Like Edward and Djaq and Kate and Isabella.  I do adore most of the characters, though.

-Music-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: Erich Wolfgang Korngold captured the essence of the story of Robin Hood with his incredible score.  It’s bold and daring and instantly recognizable.  Plus #nostalgia for me, especially the bits of scoring when Robin and his men attack the treasure/taxes procession and also when Robin and Littlejohn fight on the bridge.  It’s an awesome score.

Robin Hood: This being an animated Disney film, there are songs.  My favorite is ‘Love’ (I’m still going to do a BBC Robin Hood fan-vid to it someday) – it beautifully encapsulates Robin and Marian’s relationship.  And all the other ones are great, too.

BBC Robin Hood: Okay, so there’s the main theme (this being a TV show) that just is Robin Hood to me.  Plus a great soundtrack throughout the show, plus two songs that are first sung aloud and then used for the duration of the series in their instrumental forms and it tugs on the heartstrings, y’all.  First the song that Alice sings to little Littlejohn, and then the one that Eve sings to Much.  Music is my thing and I love how the show reuses its musical themes to great – and often emotional – effect.

-Love Story-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: The traditional Robin + Marian romance.  Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland were paired in a bunch of movies, most of which I haven’t seen, but I doubt anything could match the chemistry they have in this film.  At first, Marian doesn’t care much for Robin (an understatement) but after seeing his true motivation, she quickly falls for him (after all, it’s an under-two-hours-long movie).  A sweet, gentle love story.

Robin Hood: Another lovely romance.  Robin and Marian get a love song, fight side by side at the archery tournament, and get married.  No tragedy, no heartbreak (well, except when Robin’s about to get executed – my heart!), and plenty of shippable moments.  The only complaint I have is that Marian disappears after ‘Phony King of England’ and doesn’t return until the last scene.  Apparently, there was an alternate ending in which Marian found the wounded Robin and hid him/nursed him back to health, which would’ve been EPIC, but anyway…

BBC Robin Hood: *bawls* Sure, they’re annoying in the first season, but adorable in the second.  AND THEN SHE UP AND DIES.  It’s so unfair.  Still, I wholeheartedly ship BBC Robin and Marian.  They’re wonderful together. (And I love all the other ships, too, like Will + Djaq, Much + Eve, and Guy + Meg.)

-Ending-

The Adventures of Robin Hood: King Richard comes back and squelches Prince John, Sir Guy, and the Sheriff of Nottingham.  Everyone else gets pardoned and lives happily ever after.

Robin Hood: King Richard comes back and squelches Prince John, Sir Hiss, and the Sheriff of Nottingham (+ Trigger + Nutsy).  Everyone else gets pardoned, Robin and Marian marry, and “that’s the way it really happened”. (I refuse to believe differently.)

BBC Robin Hood: King Richard gets captured and imprisoned (I HATE HISTORY), almost everyone dies, and nobody lives happily ever after.  Ugggggh.

-Overall-

It’s a tough choice because each of these versions of Robin Hood is so different.  One is a 1938 Technicolor show-stopper, one is a little-known Disney flick, and one is a uniquely modern BBC production.  It’s difficult to chose!  I think that The Adventures of Robin Hood is closest to the spirit of the original legends.  Disney’s animated adaption is the most fun (definitely) and has the added attraction (for me, at least) of being hugely nostalgic.  And BBC’s Robin Hood is, in turn, enormously awesome and frustrating.

However, I’m going with Robin Hood (1973) as my favorite of the three.  Because I love, love, love it (even more than BBC Robin Hood).

NEVER FORGET THE OUTLAWS.

Eva