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.


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



héctor rivera: my favorite character in Pixar’s Coco

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This poster bugs me because Héctor wouldn’t be able to walk on the Marigold Bridge right here.

I was late to the party for this year’s Reel Infatuation Blogathon (unlike last year) but I thought I’d write the post I had in mind anyway.  I actually went back and forth a little, deciding who I’d write about (because while my list of fictional crushes is looooong there are only a few who I’m really obsessed with).  In the end, I decided to go with a fictional character I’ve known about for less than two weeks: Héctor from Pixar’s latest film, ‘Coco’.


Who’d have thought I’d crush on Héctor?  I mean, he’s dead. (Though who am I kidding?  Pretty much all my favorite fictional characters are dead.)  He’s literally a skeleton.  He can be more than a little weird.  But here we are. (*wink*)

So, Lightning McQueen is still my favorite Pixar character.  Definitely.  But Héctor is close behind.  For a lot of different reasons.  Like how he actually was muy guapo.  And his singing voice.  (Gael García Bernal said that he wasn’t a professional singer and the director or whatever had to really coach him through the songs, but you could’ve fooled me!  He does a perfect job.)  And how he leads Miguel in the choreography for ‘Un Poco Loco’.  And just…SO MANY THINGS.  I could list tons of moments from the film that make me like Héctor a little more each time I see them.  Okay, fine, I’ll just list a few more: when he apologizes to Miguel after the talent show but Miguel doesn’t hear him, everything in the sinkhole, ALL of his interactions with Imelda (especially when he accompanies her on ‘La Llorana’ and “I’m the love of your life?”), and when he sings for Cheech.

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The main thing that I find fascinating about Héctor is how my perception of him changed so much over the course of the movie.

Because when you first see Héctor, he’s trying gain entrance to the Land of the Living by employing a Frida Kahlo disguise.  It doesn’t work and when Héctor tries to dash across the Marigold Bridge that doesn’t work either.  At this point, I thought Héctor would be a one-shot character, someone who was there to make add humour to the scene (and illustrate what happened when your photo isn’t on the ofrenda) and I didn’t expect to see him again.

Then I thought that Héctor was a con artist (which he kind of is at the beginning?).  I mean, he lied about getting front row tickets to Ernesto’s Sunrise Spectacular (though, to be honest, getting front row tickets wouldn’t have helped Miguel – he needed to be backstage).  He didn’t lie to Miguel about anything else, though!  Everything about Ernesto not being a great musician and all that was dead right (lol).  Oh, and I totally called that Héctor would turn out to be a musician himself because it was just obvious, am I right?

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Héctor is SUCH a good friend.  Singing Cheech’s favorite song and coaching Miguel before and during his ‘Un Poco Loco’ performance, etc.  He’s also a great father (I’m getting emotional just thinking about him and Coco and all that).  And another thing I like about Héctor is that he doesn’t care about fame and fortune anymore (#characterdevelopmentforthewin), he just wants to see his daughter again.  I mean, he tells Ernesto that he doesn’t care anymore if Ernesto is the one who the world remembers, just as long as Ernesto lets Miguel take Héctor’s photo back.  What a change from the young, foolish, pretty selfish guy who left his wife and little girl to do his own thing.


He and Imelda are one of my favorite Pixar couples – they have issues to work through, but they do work through them and Héctor loves Imelda no matter what, no matter if she ever loves him again or not.  In the end, when they’re dancing together to Miguel’s guitar playing…many tears are shed, let me tell you.

So, overall, Héctor is an amazing character and I love ‘Coco’ – it’s one of the best Pixar films ever made, in my opinion.  Definitely better than ‘Finding Dory’, so it gives me hope that Pixar’s glory days will make a comeback. 😉

Who’s your favorite character in ‘Coco’?  And what’s your favorite song?  And will you ever recover from the feels this movie gave you?


ranking every superhero movie I’ve seen

From worst to best.

18. ‘Spider-Man 2’ (2004) – As I write this, I hardly remember anything about this film.  And I watched it only a couple days ago!  It was dull and (obviously) forgettable and I was annoyed through most of it because Tobey Maguire was so old.

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17. ‘Superman’ (1978) – Came for Glenn Ford, stayed because…I don’t even know?  Sure, lots of people love this movie for the classic that it is, but it didn’t hold my interest and I found it pretty cheesy.

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16. ‘Spider-Man 3’ (2007) – I might have ranked this higher, because the story was actually interesting and I was quite invested in the characters, if Harry hadn’t died.  The writers had a GREAT thing going with the Spider-Man/Green Goblin team-up at the end and they wrecked it.

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15. ‘Thor’ (2011) – The only reason this film is higher on the list than the previous films is because of Loki.  No, I’m not one of those crazy Loki fangirls.  But he was the only good thing about the movie.  Well-written, authentic, and beautifully portrayed by Tom Hiddleston.  I fought to keep myself awake through any scene he wasn’t in, though.

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14. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (2012) – I know a lot of people hate on The Origin Story these days, but I actually have a fondness for them.  That being said, this movie didn’t grip me like I thought it would.  There were some good moments, but the villain was ridiculous and I never fully bought Peter’s transformation into Spider-Man (his suit is wayyy too good-looking to be homemade).

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13. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (2012) – Not having seen ‘The Dark Knight’, it was a little jarring to go from ‘Batman Begins’ right into TDKR.  Still, I enjoyed the film.  Bane wasn’t one of my favorite villains, but the threat he posed to Gotham felt real and there were actual stakes involved and Catwoman was cool.  Actually, the whole cast did an awesome job.

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12. ‘Megamind’ (2010) – One of my favorite animated movies!  Though I can’t stand Will Ferrell IRL, he does such a good voice-acting job (first with Megamind, then with Lord Business).  I can’t get enough of the villain-to-hero, hero-to-villain transformations in this film.

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11. ‘Ant-Man’ (2015) – Okay, so I really dug this movie the first time I watched.  Hilarious hero, super cool action sequences, a great heroine, FALCON!, etc, etc.  But the second time I found my mind wandering.  It’s still a good movie, though, and one of Marvel’s best (in my opinion).  It’s actually been a while since I saw it last…time for a re-watch?

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10. ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ (2010) – How can I not love this movie?  It was my introduction to Captain America, to Marvel, and to superheroes (and superhero films in general).  As soon as Steve jumped on that dummy grenade, my heart was well and truly lost.  I cried when Bucky died and when Steve died…and was so very happy to find out that neither death was permanent.  “I had a date” remains one of the best last movie lines ever.

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9. ‘The Incredibles’ (2004) – This movie is technically perfect.  Every story beat lands perfectly, the humour and wit still make me laugh, the music complements what’s on-screen while never overpowering, and the characters hold a special place in my heart.  Especially Bob and Dash and Mirage.

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8. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ (2014) – I don’t know why I enjoy this movie so much.  Most of it is one long action scene after another and Electro is a stupid villain.  But the relationships in this film are, I suppose, what draw me to it the most.  Peter and Aunt May, Peter and Gwen, Peter and Harry.  It’s really cool and heartwarming and I wish that Harry hadn’t turned bad and Gwen hadn’t died.

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6. ‘Big Hero 6’ (2014) – Okay, I swear it was a total accident that #6 on my list was ‘Big Hero 6’.  Anyway, I really dig this movie.  It’s got real, deep, juicy emotions – not always something you’d associate with an animated film.  Hiro is my hero.  Baymax and the other members of BH6 are dear to my heart.  And don’t even get me started on Tadashi.  Plus, it’s an animated Marvel movie!  How cool is that?

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5. ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (2016) – There’s no doubt that this movie is one of Marvel’s best.  It’s a huge, famous-character-studded spectacle (though now dimmed, no doubt, by ‘Avengers: Infinity War’).  And I do love it.  But as someone on Facebook said, it’s more like ‘Avengers 2.1’ than a third Captain America movie, and for that reason I don’t like it as much as ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’.  Good bits include: Black Panther, Spidey, Zemo, every scene with Bucky, paprika.

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4. ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ (2017) – When I watched this movie for the first time, my heart grew three sizes larger (just like a certain Grinch).  Okay, maybe not.  But ROBIN IS MY PRECIOUS CHILD FOREVER AND EVER.  And I grew to care about Bruce Wayne/Batman even before seeing Christian Bale in the role…because of this movie.  ‘LEGO Batman’ makes me laugh and cry in equal parts, which is quite a feat and very awesome.

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3. ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ (2014) – Perfectly crafted and still so intense even after multiple viewings.  Especially the Nick Fury car chase.  Steve and Bucky’s relationship is at the forefront in TWS and I LOVE that.  Their friendship is everything goals.

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2. ‘Wonder Woman’ (2017) – There’s so much to like about this movie.  Gal Gadot is a stunning actress, both in looks and charisma, and she’s a joy to watch.  Chris Pine is his usual charming self (though he isn’t all jokester – there’s plenty of serious moments that give his character depth; the “we’re all to blame!” scene comes to mind).  The cinematography is gorgeous.  But most importantly, the characters and themes are powerfully, perfectly drawn.

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1. ‘Batman Begins’ (2005) – ASDOFJIWEOIRJOADSKFKASEOI.  Sorry.  I just…words literally cannot express how much I adore this film.  Not only is it my favorite superhero movie, it’s also in my top ten favorite movies of all time.  I’ve seen it so many times and each time, I wish there was another hour or two.  Or three.  The story is crafted with such care, going back and forth in Bruce’s life.  Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard outdid themselves with the score (that one cue in ‘Macrotus’ is superb).  Christian Bale made me understand Bruce Wayne AND Batman as I never had before.  This movie is a huge part of why I’m more a DC fan than a Marvel fan these days.

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I hope to add many more superhero films to this list, but those are what I’ve got so far. 🙂  Do you agree with my rankings?  Or do you, as is more probable, disagree with them?  Let me know in the comments!


‘the greatest showman’ book tag

Basically like the last tag I did.  Rules are: answer the questions and tag whoever you want.  Using my graphic is optional, but recommended. 🙂

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~’The Greatest Show’: Name a book that’s as entertaining as a circus

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.  Probably my favorite of the Lunar Chronicles.  Intense and interesting.

~’A Million Dreams’: Name a book that’s set in a fantastical world

I haven’t read much fantasy, so I’ll have to go with Gregor the Overlander (+ entire series).  I mean, the Underland isn’t toooo much different from the world up here.  Except for all the giant animals.  And the pale skin and violet eyes on the humans.  It’s a little strange and a little scary and a little magical (though not literally – there’s no actual magic in the series).

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~’Come Alive’: Name a book that makes you outrageously happy

I don’t know about ‘outrageously’.  But The Blue Castle (by L.M. Montgomery) is a wonderful book.  It doesn’t start happily, but it definitely ends that way and it always cheers me up.

~’The Other Side’: Name a book that changed your mind about something

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery.  I used to think that all the books after Anne of Green Gables were boring.  Ha!  Now the entire series is one of my very favorites, and Rilla of Ingleside is one of the best of the lot in my opinion.

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~’Never Enough’: Name a book that you’ve re-read more than once

Soooo many.  I’m going to go with While Mortals Sleep by Jack Cavanaugh because I’ve re-read the entire Songs in the Night series at least three times.  Probably more.  And you want to know why?  Because it’s GOLD.  Historical fiction gold.  I love it so, so much.

~’This Is Me’: Name a book with a character that reminds you of yourself

That’s tough!  Maybe Liesel, from The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak)?  We both read and write and love books and Max and Hans and Rosa and Rudy.

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~’Rewrite the Stars’: Name a book with a forbidden romance

Heartless by Marissa Meyer.  Cath is supposed to marry the King but then Jest comes into her life, with his eyes the colour of the lemons that grew in her bedroom and, well, he sweeps her off her feet by being simply…Jest.  Their romance was doomed right from the start, what with Cath destined to become the Queen of Hearts and all, but it didn’t keep me from rooting for them and loving their relationship.

~’Tightrope’: Name a book with an adventurous main character

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy.  Duh. 😉

~’From Now On’: Name a book with a wonderful family (related or otherwise)

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.  I know, I know.  I’m frightfully unimaginative.  I use this book as the answer to everything. (Which it kind of is.)  You’ve got the Curtises as a family, but then you’ve also got the larger family of the gang.  Darry, Sodapop, Ponyboy, Johnny, Dally, Steve, Two-Bit.  Together, they form one of the awesomest, most tight-knit families in all of literature.

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I tag:

And here are the questions again (for your copy-and-paste convenience):

~’The Greatest Show’: Name a book that’s as entertaining as a circus

~’A Million Dreams’: Name a book that’s set in a fantastical world

~’Come Alive’: Name a book that makes you outrageously happy

~’The Other Side’: Name a book that changed your mind about something

~’Never Enough’: Name a book that you’ve re-read more than once

~’This Is Me’: Name a book with a character that reminds you of yourself

~’Rewrite the Stars’: Name a book with a forbidden romance

~’Tightrope’: Name a book with an adventurous main character

~’From Now On’: Name a book with a wonderful family (related or otherwise)


phillip & phineas: perfect foils

So trade that typical for something colorful
And if it’s crazy, live a little crazy
You can play it sensible, a king of conventional
Or you can risk it all and see

I’ve seen ‘The Greatest Showman’ three and a half times and if you know me, you know that that’s about when Deep Thoughts start trickling into my brain.  Mostly about the characters.  I love so many of the people in ‘Showman’ – Phineas, Charity, Phillip, Anne, Tom, Phineas’s daughters, and so on.  Well, today I was thinking about “The Other Side” (duh, ’cause it’s my favorite song/scene in the whole movie) and how Phineas and Phillip complement and contrast each other so well.  Consider:

~Phineas followed his dreams (magicalness, making people happy, a better life for him and Charity) to success and to the circus (pretty much one and the same for him).  Phillip gave up his dreams (his inheritance, society’s approval, a great career in playwriting) to the circus…but not necessarily to success (though in the end when Phineas passes the baton/hat on to him, success is in view).

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~Phineas’ character journey and Phillip’s are pretty much the complete opposite – Phineas came from low origins and gradually became more popular and famous.  While Phillip, on the other hand, was born into wealth and ease (and became famous through his plays) and was eventually ostracized from the world he always knew. (Though he didn’t care because Anne made everything worth it.)

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~As Phineas conformed more and more to society’s standards (taking Jenny Lind on tour instead of sticking with the circus and the important people in his life), he almost lost Charity.  Meanwhile, Phillip moved farther and farther away from what was deemed ‘proper’ and grew closer to Anne as a result.  Both love stories end happily, but Phineas and Phillip’s journeys are different (though both have the same message: love the people you love and the censure of the world won’t matter).

Phillip and Anne * THE GRATEST SHOWMAN

These are just a few examples.  The differences and similarities between Phineas and Phillip are brilliantly displayed in “The Other Side” – I’ll never get tired of that scene.  And in the end, how Phineas gives his hat (his father’s hat!) to Phillip and leaves him in charge…it’s emotional.  Despite their differences, these two men became a team that proved unstoppable.

I also think it’s totally cool how first Phineas wants Phillip to join him and he has to talk him into it and everything and then, in the end, Phillip has to persuade Phineas into taking his money and going on with the circus.  The switch is so neat!

I’ll take you to the other side

Don’t you wanna get away to a whole new part you’re gonna play
‘Cause I got what you need, so come with me and take the ride
To the other side.


william holden as major kendall in ‘the horse soldiers’ (1959)

This blog post is part of the Third Golden Boy Blogathon: A William Holden Centenary Celebration.

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‘The Horse Soldiers’ (1959) is a John Wayne film, but from the very first time I watched it, my attention was focused on another actor: William Holden as the compassionate, brave, and wonderful Major Henry Kendall.  It’s the one Holden role where I love and appreciate him wholeheartedly, and while I wasn’t quick enough to put ‘The Horse Soldiers’ down for last year’s blogathon, I was this year (obviously).

So.  To set the stage.  ‘The Horse Soldiers’ is a movie about some sort of suicide mission that John Wayne’s character, Colonel Marlowe, has to undertake along with a bunch of his men.  I’m not sure of all the details, but suffice to say that it’s Dangerous and Serious.  While Marlowe and his brother officers discuss the ins and outs of said mission, a quiet, unassuming man walks into camp and asks to be directed to the officers’ meeting.

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Just a few moments after joining the officers, Kendall already has a problem (a big problem) because Colonel Marlowe clearly has it in for him.  It’s nothing personal, really.  You see, Kendall is a surgeon.  And Marlowe hates surgeons, hates the entire medical profession, for reasons that aren’t explained until much later but you can kind of guess it’s something to do with his family because…what else?  Anyway, yeah, Kendall’s in a big situation because Marlowe outranks him and, y’know, he’s played by John Wayne who can be truly terrifying in a bad mood.  Kendall, however, doesn’t back down (he’s to accompany Marlowe & Company on their trek) and basically gives as good as he gets.  (In a later scene, when Marlowe states gruffly that any wounded will be left to the clemency of the enemy, Kendall inquiries “Including yourself?” with a little smile on his face.)

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Ever since Doc2 became my favorite character on Combat!, amazing doctors, surgeons, and nurses have cropped up throughout fiction and I’ve liked/loved each and every one.  John Watson, Julia Hoffman, Tiberius Lucius Justinianus…the list goes on and on and Kendall is definitely high on it.  There’s something about how doctors put the needs of others before their own and are so courageous and awesome and skilled. (I understand not all doctors/nurses/other medical personnel are so perfect.  But still.)

Anyway, to return to the story, the troop (is it a troop or some other military body?) sets out to a rousing chorus of ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again’ which makes me snicker.  Because, you know, that whole scene in ‘Stalag 17’.  It cracks me up. (Not the bit in ‘Stalag 17’, which is actually chill-worthy and NOT in a good way.  Just…the connection.  And I just over-explained that wayyy too much.)  ANYWAY.  They march along (or ride along, because they’re horse soldiers) and when they stop for rest, a soldier comes up to Kendall and informs him that there’s a woman giving birth in a nearby cabin and the family would like a doctor’s help.  Of course Kendall goes to help them and ends up delivering a healthy baby, just before Marlowe orders Kendall to never help civilians again during his tenure as an army surgeon and places him under officer’s arrest.

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“You’re an officer in the Union army, under oath,” Marlowe says.  “I took an older oath before that one,” Kendall answers. (Awesome dialogue is awesome.  And awesome characters are even better!)

Stuff happens and the troop ends up at the home of Miss Hannah Hunter, a Southern belle who loathes Yankees but does an admirable acting job, what with inviting Marlowe and his officers (including Kendall) to dine with her.  Everyone’s rather besotted with her, expect Marlowe and Kendall, but it’s Kendall who’s actually suspicious of Hannah – Marlowe is just grumpy overall.  Those suspicions turn out to be on point and the troop ends up having to take Hannah and her maid along with them.

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This post is getting long, so I’ll just list a few more things that make Kendall that much more awesome.

~He doesn’t fall in love with Hannah, so there isn’t a stupid love triangle.  And he does end up respecting her a lot as she changes and matures.  Which is awesome.  They work well together, as doctor and nurse.

~Kendall has a friend in the Confederate army who’s really cool and he still acknowledges/talks to his friend even though Marlowe looks askance at fraternizing with the enemy.

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~He works so hard to keep the troop healthy and together and it’s horrible when that one soldier has to have an amputation because he didn’t listen to what Kendall told him. (Even worse when the same soldier dies soon after.)

~Kendall puts up with a LOT from Marlowe before he finally snaps.  And it’s rather frightening in an epic way when he does break. (Marlowe was a total jerk in the scene when it happens, by the way.)

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~And, finally, the thing that made me truly love Kendall the very first time I watched ‘The Horse Soldiers’: he stays behind with the wounded men when Marlowe and what remains of the troop escape to freedom.  Kendall could have gotten away and left the wounded to the Confederate army, but he stayed behind to do all he could for the men in his care.  “Medicine’s where you find it,” he says to Marlowe.  “Even in Andersonville.”

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William Holden portrayed Major Kendall with a warmth, seriousness, and steadiness that I don’t another actor could have pulled off in such a perfect way (Glenn Ford may have managed it, but maybe not).  It’s the one of the only truly likable roles I’ve seen Holden play and one that I’m sure will remain my favorite of all his films.