my favorite composers #2 – John Williams

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John Williams is Iconic.  He’s scored several of the most famous, highly acclaimed, top-the-favorites-list-every-time movies.  ‘Star Wars’ (all the major movies except ‘Rogue One’ and ‘Solo’, I believe?), ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Indiana Jones’ (all four movies and hopefully the fifth), ‘Jaws’, ‘Schindler’s List’…I could go on. (I’m always mildly surprised when I remember that he didn’t score ‘Back to the Future’ but I don’t know why.)

So. Favorite soundtracks/tracks.

Basically, I love anything Williams puts out.  I’ve been listening quite a bit to his soundtrack for ‘The Book Thief’ because the wistful melancholy of that music works well for the novel I’m writing.  And one soundtrack of his that’s not very well known but that I absolutely LOVE is ‘The Adventures of Tintin’.  My siblings and I enjoy the graphic novels and I think John Williams did a great job of capturing the tone of the stories and translating it into a fun, lively score.  Listen!

The iconic ‘Raiders March’ was what made me fall in love with Indy/the world of those films.  I remember that moment so clearly – my brother, Noah, had previously seen all the Indiana Jones films and borrowed ‘The Last Crusade’ from the library for us to watch together (why that one and not the first, I don’t know).  I thought it wouldn’t be My Thing (silly me) and was only barely interested until that scene where Indy and Henry burst out of those crates on the motorcycles and the music blared triumphantly and I was like “OKAY THIS IS EPIC IN THE EXTREME”.  So, yep, John Williams made me fall in love with Indiana Jones.

(The Piano Guys’ version because why not?)

Recently, I watched ‘Jurassic Park’ for the first time and the music made everything so much more amazing (and that’s saying something, because it’s golden even without the music).  I also really, really dig the main theme for Star Wars and the Force theme and what Williams did for ‘The Patriot’ and ‘War Horse’. 

I could link to sooooo many tracks here, but I won’t. (Except for this one.)  Just go play Spotify’s John Williams radio or a playlist on Youtube.  Lose yourself in the grandness.

Eva

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my favorite composers #1 – Michael Giacchino

(I tried to embed Youtube videos for the soundtracks I discuss, but it did something wonky to this post, so that was out.  Sorry for any inconvenience.)

For a while I thought about writing a blog post listing my top ten favorite movie soundtracks but I eventually gave up on that.  The thing is, there’s not too many soundtracks that I listen to all the way through so it would be hard to write about them and pinpoint favorite tracks and so on.  But there are loads of composers whose work I love and I thought spotlighting each one was a pretty good way of talking about my favorite soundtracks.

So, first up…Michael Giacchino!

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Now, I won’t say he’s my favorite composer of all time.  I just decided to start the series off by talking about him because I’ve been listening to quite a few of his scores lately.  He’s composed the music for some of my favorite movies: ‘The Incredibles’, ‘Sky High’, ‘Tomorrowland’, ‘Inside Out’, ‘Rogue One’, ‘Coco’, etc.  I think you can see from that list that he’s a made a pretty big name for himself working on Disney films. 🙂

I first began to notice Michael Giacchino’s work when I listened to one of the tracks from ‘Rogue One’ – “Your Father Would Be Proud”.  It’s such an achingly beautiful, emotional piece of scoring.  So I listened to more of the soundtrack for ‘Rogue One’ and, yep, it blew me away.

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Then there’s ‘The Incredibles’, an epic movie made even better by its epic soundtrack.  Apparently, Giacchino was inspired by the spy movies of the 60’s and I can definitely hear that influence, especially in the track “Lava in the Afternoon”.  Another one of my favorite pieces of music from Michael Giacchino is from a movie I haven’t even seen – ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ – and that track is, of course, “London Calling”.

Lastly, I really love the fun, yet sometimes bittersweet vibe of the soundtrack for ‘Coco’.  Not going to link to any specific piece here – they’re all really great and definitely worth a listen or two.

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Anyway, I’ll leave my gushing here for the day.  Who are some of your favorite composers?  Do you appreciate Michael Giacchino’s awesomeness? 😉

Eva

my top ten favorite disney songs

After spending the last few days immersing myself in the brilliant song-writing skills of Alan Menken (thanks to Tangled and Enchanted) I felt like sharing a few of my favorite Disney songs with all of you.  Of course, this list represents only a tiny fraction of all the Disney (and Pixar!) tunes I love – and don’t get me started on instrumental scores.  Basically, if it’s Disney (and especially if it’s Menken or the Sherman brothers) chances are I’m going to love it.

10. ‘Be Our Guest’ – Beauty and the Beast

This song truly makes me feel welcome, if that makes any sense, and it never fails to put a smile on my face.

9. ‘Reflection’ – Mulan

The first time I watched Mulan, I shook my head inwardly at ‘Reflection’ and categorized it as “just another Disney princess song”.  But Lea Salonga’s impassioned singing and the words themselves now tug at my heartstrings.  Just a little bit.

8. ‘Once Upon a Dream’ – Sleeping Beauty

A sweet moment in the film and one of Disney’s most iconic love songs.

7. ‘How Far I’ll Go’ – Moana

I haven’t seen Moana yet, but this song always gets to me.  The melody, Moana’s voice, the quiet (though building) desperation…Disney’s “I want” songs might be cliched, but they can also be wonderful.

6. ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ – Mulan

LISTEN to this song.  Isn’t it just about the most epic thing you’ve ever heard???

5. ‘A Whole New World’ – Aladdin

My mom said that this song was the ‘Let It Go’ of the 90’s and I can believe it.  And it is a beautiful Disney love song, one of their best.

4. ‘Something There’ – Beauty and the Beast

Weird opinion here: I like this song better than ‘Beauty and the Beast’.  It’s feelsy and, y’know, beautiful and such a good example of how a relationship can realistically develop (instead of insta-love).

3. ‘Feed the Birds’ – Mary Poppins

The only song on this list from a live-action Disney film.  This one always makes me cry, mostly from the incredibly emotional connections to Saving Mr. Banks.  And apparently it was Walt Disney’s favorite song. ❤

2. ‘I See the Light’ – Tangled

I just watched Tangled last night and just…YES.  It blew me away all over again.  In my opinion, Eugene and Rapunzel are Disney’s best couple and ‘I See the Light’ is the most romantic Disney song/moment ever.  I love everything about it so much.

1. ‘Go the Distance’ – Hercules

Though I don’t much care for the movie as a whole, this song is my favorite Disney song.  It’s inspiring and all-around awesome.

So, there’s my list.  What are some of your favorite Disney songs?

Eva

valentine’s day 2017: #relationshipgoals

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~”If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” – #relationshipgoals

~When some famous movie star takes you into an empty set and creates a beautiful (albeit fake) rose-trellised garden flooded with moonlight and star dust and then proceeds to sing you a song and you realize he’s more than just a shadow on film. – #relationshipgoals

~”I’m your density.” – #relationshipgoals

~How Jack looks at Rose and vice-versa. – #relationshipgoals

~”You were my new dream.” – #relationshipgoals

~Anne and Gilbert and how she cracks the slate over his head at first but then when he’s dying she shows him her book and then they get married and go through so many ups and downs and then WWI breaks into their family but they’re still strong for each other and love each other. – #relationshipgoals

~”I let her go.” – #relationshipgoals

~TheMarried Life Montage’ from UP. – #relationshipgoals

~”Stay with me?”  “Always.” – #relationshipgoals

~When your husband’s slowly killing you with a combination of poisoned tea and sheer terror and then the guy you really love shows up, ready to rescue you, and then actually does while under enormous pressure and plenty of danger and you’re just hanging onto him, trusting him to get you safely away. – #relationshipgoals

Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious:

~”Baby, all your facial parts are in the right place.” – #relationshipgoals

~Robin Hood + Maid Marian, any version/adaption of the story EVER – #relationshipgoals

~”Fraulein…I want you to stay.” – #relationshipgoals

~Steve and Peggy and how even before Steve got all tall and buff, Peggy liked him because of the thing with the grenade and he’s smart and funny and pretty awesome to boot, and how Steve was sort of scared of her at first (not really, but pretty much) and then their friendship/professional relationship deepened into something beautiful and then he died and she got married and it’s just too much, guys, but it’s still #relationshipgoals.

~”Will you love me just as much when I’m normal?”  “I’ll be insane about you.” – #relationshipgoals

~Larry Daley and Amelia Earhart’s rather unique relationship in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian – #relationshipgoals

~”You’re as beautiful as the day I lost you.” – #relationshipgoals

~Also, y’know, my mom has stuck so close to my dad’s side during his battle with cancer and my grandparents have been married for almost fifty years, so I have the greatest #relationshipgoals examples right in front of me every single day.  And that’s a blessing I’m hugely grateful for. ❤

Legit photo of my parents.

Eva

“i’m singin’ and dancin’ in the rain…”

AKA all my favorite old Hollywood movie musicals.  And there are a ton.

// Mary Poppins – 1964 //

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A singing nanny, a cross father, and plenty of magical (and sometimes animated) adventures.  This one makes me cry simply because of Saving Mr. Banks (though even before that, ‘Let’s Go Fly A Kite’ always did leave me a little teary).  There’s plenty of smart humor in this one, so adults and older teens can enjoy it, too.  ‘Feed the Birds’ is simply wonderful.  Favorite part of the film?  The finale.

// State Fair – 1945 //

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Dana Andrews is splendid in this film, but everyone else turns in a great performance, too.  The songs give me all the happy feelings, as does the way the whole thing turns out perfectly in the end. (When Elisabeth and I watched this for the first time, we were getting a little worried when there was only about two minutes left and Margie and Wayne were still mopey.  Thankfully, it all turned out fine.)  Favorite part of the film?  All the songs.

// Singin’ in the Rain – 1952 //

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For the longest time, this was my favorite movie.  And it still is one of my favorites.  I love the friendship between Don and Kathy and Cosmo – it’s so fun to watch! (Especially during ‘Good Morning’.)  The costumes are the BEST and Jean Hagen totally deserved her Oscar nomination.  Fun fact: my siblings and I used to sing the songs to this so often that Mom literally banned it for about a year.  Favorite part of the film?  Debbie Reynolds.

// The Happiest Millionaire – 1967 //

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*siiiiigh* This movie is my happy place.  The songs, the story, the characters, the actors…all of it.  Cordy’s relationship with her dad is so sweet and the romance is adorable and the Sherman brothers almost outdid their song-writing turn in Mary Poppins with this movie.  Plus, it’s so very funny.  Favorite part of the film?  The ball, I think.  Or the whole opening when John is getting used to the Biddles’ way of doing things.

// Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – 1954 //

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The first time I watched this film, I hated it for some inexplicable reason. (I was quite young.)  Then I watched it just last year and I loved and adored it.  It’s so perfect!  Millie is one of the best heroines in the history of cinema, in my opinion, and the Pontipee brothers are…unique.  And lovable, too.  Favorite part of the film?  The barn-raising scene, of course.

// The Sound of Music -1965 //

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Christopher Plummer kinda makes this movie what it is.  I mean, Julie Andrews is QUEEN and all that, but there’s just something about Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp that puts The Sound of Music on my list of favorite musicals.  I also enjoy all the children (you really need to read Forever Liesel by Charmian Carr) and Eleanor Parker as the Baroness.  Favorite part of the film?  Maria’s wedding. ❤

// White Christmas – 1954 //

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Favorite Christmas movie and one of my very favorite movies in general.  Most of the songs make me feel like my heart is filled with sparkles and little glittery hearts and diamonds.  Love it.  Also, the characters are great, especially Judy and Betty, and Dean Jaggers as General Waverly makes me cry and it’s just…gahhhh.  So amazing.  Favorite part of the film?  Either ‘Count Your Blessings’ or the bit where they surprise the General.  I can’t decide.  Oh, and all the costumes.

How many of these movie musicals have you seen?  What are some of your favorites?

Eva

a very merry tag

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‘Tis the season

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Rules

  • Link back to the person who tagged you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Add/exchange questions for the next people, if you like.
  • Tag as many people as you like!

 

The Questions

*** Does it snow where you live around Christmas?  How much? Any special snowy Christmas stories? ***

Of course it snows here.  This is Canada, where (according to pretty much everyone who isn’t a Canadian) it snows and hails and sleets all year ’round. *glowers at movies/TV shows/internet stupidity that makes it appear so*  In all seriousness, it does snow a fair bit where we live, though so far this winter has been a dismal disappointment – we get lovely, luscious snow one day and then the very next, it all melts away, leaving muddy, splotchy grass.  Not very uplifting.  But the month is young!  When my family lived in the country, my siblings and I would make giant snow forts/tunnels and play on/in them for hours.  Very fun.

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*** Do you get a real tree or a fake tree? ***

We haven’t ever had a tree.  But if we did, I’d want it to be real.

*** What is your favorite Christmas movie? ***

White Christmas, forever and ever.  There’s lots of other that I enjoy as well, but White Christmas will always be my favorite.  Most of the other Christmas movies I love aren’t what you would call traditional Christmas films. (Stalag 17, for one.)  I also find the Christmas episodes of classic (and modern) TV shows to be a lovely, heartwarming treat.  Along with this.

*** Where in the world would you like to spend Christmas the most? ***

At home.  Boring, I know.  Still, as Jane Austen says “There is nothing like staying at home. for real comfort”.

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*** What fictional/literary character would you most like to spend Christmas with? ***

When I first pondered this question, no one came to mind, but then possibilities began flooding in so fast that I haven’t sorted them out yet.  So I’ll just throw them all at you because I love each and every one: the Curtis brothers (The Outsiders), Mr. Knightley + Emma (Emma), the Finch family (To Kill a Mockingbird), the Pontipees (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), and Spike + family (Flashpoint). *siiiiigh*  I’d be more than happy to spend Christmas with any of these families (and they’re all families because I think a one-on-one Christmas celebration with a fictional character would be awkward).

*** What is your favorite Christmas song? ***

HOW CAN YOU ASK SUCH A QUESTION?  I adore ‘Oh Come, All Ye Faithful’, ‘Hark, the Herald Angels Sing’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’, ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Jingle Bells’…oh, so many.  How can I chose?  I guess I’d pick ‘Oh Come, All Ye Faithful’ because it means a lot to me (not that the others don’t, but that one especially).

*** What is your favorite Christmas book/story (besides, ya know, the story)? ***

How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. *bawls* It never gets old, it never fails to hit that sweet spot for me somewhere in the middle of humor, feels, and a very, very timely message for our generation.  LOVE.

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*** Which do you prefer: multi-colored lights or white lights? ***

Multi-colored!  They’re so cheerful and bright. ❤

*** What time period/decade would you most like to spend Christmas in? ***

Um…I like the way Christmas is now, but I guess the 40s.  Just because the 40s is pretty much the best in every way (except for, y’know, World War II and all) and all those Christmas carols would be playing the department stores and there’d be loads of gorgeous window displays and everything would be merry and bright and full of good cheer. (Not that it isn’t these days.  And I’m more talking about post-WWII 40s, by the way.)  That would be amazing.

*** Which period drama has the best Christmas scene/episode? ***

Another (almost) impossible question.  I love the Christmas scenes in Little Women (1994 version), White Christmas (of course), Eloise at Christmastime, It’s a Wonderful Life, Emma (2009 version)…there are so many, many perfect moments.  But I think I’d have to go with a Christmas scene that I’ve discussed before on this blog – the one from Stalag 17, when the gang gives Joey a new piccolo and everyone’s singing ‘Oh Come, All Ye Faithful’.  Because I really think that that scene sums up a whole lot of what Christmas is about (besides Jesus being born, of course – I’m talking more about the general spirit of peace and generosity and good-will).  Never fails to make me cry.

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I had so much fun with this tag – feel free to borrow it + don’t forget to listen to tons of good Christmas music this holiday season!

Eva