Loyalty Lies (Part III)

Jane awoke to the sound of a rooster’s crow and began readying herself for work. She later found herself wandering the grounds of the Governor’s house, looking for the servant’s entrance, but she did not wander long.  Soon she heard a familiar, strong, benevolent voice that sent shivers down her spine.

“Well hello there ‘Little Janey’,” said Ben, the Butler, who was wandering around outside for some unknown reason.  The thought that Ben had been waiting for Jane crept into her mind, but it was one of those thoughts that could not be acknowledged.  Jane took it and locked it away in her inner most heart of hopes and dreams.

“Oh, please don’t call me that, it’s just Jane.”

“I had a hunch you weren’t fond of that name,” laughed Ben.  “Well, Miss Jane, you’re here to work, so you’d better get to it.  Mrs. Bradfort is in the kitchen with a list of chores a mile long.”

“Point me in the right direction and I’ll hop-to.”  Ben smiled and then showed Jane into the house.  It was a large house, but as the day went on Ben and the other staff helped her find her way.  Jane felt she was doing well and walking home that night she was pleased with the hard day’s work she had put in.

 

While things at the Governor’s house were going smoothly for Jane, the life of the Governor was not so smooth. Tempers were flaring in the colonies.  The colonists were very unhappy about the new tax implemented by the Tea Act.  Parliament imposed the Stamp Act and the Tea Act, all without giving the representatives from the colonies a voice in their government.  Boston had had some sort of uprising where the patriots dumped all the imported tea into the harbor.  Jane had read that they were under some sort of military watch.  Anyways, the people in the colonies were all taking a day this week to set aside and pray for the people of Boston who apparently weren’t getting any imports.   If things didn’t change soon Jane feared the patriots would act on their desire to raise an army to free themselves from English control.  Everyday Jane went to work and listened to the Governor’s and his friends rant about the accursed rebels.  Then she came home and heard her father speak of the oppressive English.  This tended to make life uneasy for Jane, who was still hiding her work from her father.

 

One-day Jane came home late from work. The Governor had some important guests staying at his house so Jane had extra work to do.  She was completely exhausted.

“Jane, where have you been?!” came the voice of Jane’s father as she opened the door.

“I had some extra deliveries today, didn’t Mama tell you?”

“No Jane, she didn’t tell me.  She didn’t tell me because she has been out all evening . . . making deliveries.  Now why don’t you tell me where you have been.”

“I was out, in the village.”

“That’s plan enough! What were you doing out there is what I’d like to know.  Leaving your mother here all day to work and care for your siblings.”

“I, I, I was working.”

“Working? Working where?”

“Pa, I got a job about a month ago.  I told Mama so she knew where I was, but we decided not to tell you.”

“Why on earth would you and your mother make a decision like that?”

“Because my job is as a maid in the Governor’s house.  It’s nothing to worry about Pa.  I cook for him, I clean for him, when he has guests I help care for them to.  He’s pays well and we need the money.  I’m sorry I lied, but Mama and I knew you wouldn’t approve and I just wanted to help.”

“Why wouldn’t I approve of a young women earning a living to help her family?’

“Well, because you hate the Governor, don’t you?”

“I’m not his biggest supporter that’s true, but you didn’t take the job out of loyalty to him, you took it out of loyalty to your family and that means something Jane.  Now tell me, why were you so late tonight?”

“The Governor has some guests at his house and I had to help out. “

“What kind of guests?”

“Well some of them are soldiers, some politicians, I don’t really know much about it.”

“Soldiers and politicians in the Governor’s house where my daughter works,” Jane’s father said more to himself than to Jane. “This could be useful.”

“What?” asked a confused and concerned Jane.

“Huh? Oh, nothing, nothing.  You know me always thinking out loud.  It’s nothing important.  Thank you for finally telling me about your job and for taking such good care of your family.”

“I’ll always take care of you Pa.”

“Good night Jane.”


To Be Continued (there will probably be two, maybe three more parts to this story)

Loyalty Lies (Part 2)

Jane sat at home with butterflies in her stomach as she listened to her father talk politics.  She was excited about her new job, but nervous to tell her parents.  She wasn’t sure how her father would react to the fact that she would be working in the Governor’s house, everyday.  He had developed a growing interest in the patriot cause since he had little else to keep his interest during recovery.  And as money was tight he had an ever growing resentment towards the taxes imposed by mother England.  Jane contemplated all this and hoped her father would not be angry about her new job.  She decided since nothing was concrete, she would just keep the news to herself while she worked for the next week.  Jane jumped at the sound of her father’s voice. “I’m sorry pa, I didn’t hear what you said,” said Jane.

“I was asking what you were doing tomorrow,” replied Pa.

“Oh, I have some errands to run.  I’ll be gone for most of the day.”  Jane had not thought about how she would account for her time during the week.  Maybe it would be best to tell her mother what she was doing.  If she was going to keep this a secret she was going to need back up.

Jane let her hands soak up the warmth of the water as she cleaned the dishes.  Her mother was washing clothes next to her.  In order to earn a little extra money Jane and her mother had taken on some extra laundry form the people in town.  It helped, but it was not enough and Jane and her mother both knew that.

“Mama,” said Jane

“Yes, dear?”

“I, uh, wanted to tell you something.”

“What’s that?”

“Well, I went looking for a job today.  I thought we could use the money.”  Jane’s mother paused from her work and looked at her daughter with soft eyes.

“That’s very responsible of you Jane,” Mama replied with pride.  “You’re right we could use a little extra income around here,” as she returned to her washing.

Jane and her mother washed quietly side by side for a while, both ignoring the obvious question.  “Mom,” Jane finally decided to break the silence, “how do we tell Pa that I’m working for the governor?”

“Well Jane, I think, we don’t.”

“What?”

“For right now we just don’t tell your father.  Your father, he’s a proud man, he’s a proud patriot.  He is already feeling weak right now, finding put that you are working for the governor and giving the money to us would only hurt him. So for now we’ll just keep it between us.  If he asks what you’re doing each day, we’ll just tell him that you’re are delivering laundry.”

“I’ve never really lied to Pa before, not like this, but if you think it’s best then I guess that’s what I’ll do.”

“I do Jane, I do think this is best, for now.”


To Be Continued . . .

Movie Tuesday: Salmon Fishing in Yemen

First Impressions: I am very sad to say I was disappointed in this film.  Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor are two of the best actors currently in the biz, so I was expected fabulous things.  As with most things in life I did not quite get what I expected.

Recommendation: I feel like this is a film for middle-aged men, with a little romance thrown in so their wives will watch it with them. The movie itself was done well enough, but the story really did not keep my interest.

Writing/Screenplay: The writing of this movie was particularly underwhelming.  It was very hard to follow what was going and figure out where the story was going.  The problem was the writers couldn’t make up their minds what they wanted this movie to be.  It was a political film, a mid-life crisis film, a coming of age film, a romance film, a religious film, it tried so hard to be everything that it ended up not really being anything.  This movie was based on a novel (which I have not read), but I would imagine all these stories and subplots could be fleshed out better in a novel than they were in this hour and forty-seven-minute movie.  I did however like the parallel of the life of the fish with the life Dr. Jones; that was clever and well done.
Score: 6.5

Acting: Again Emily Blunt (as Harriet) and Ewan McGregor (as Dr. Jones) are two fantastic actors and I was SO excited to watch them perform together. They both delivered and I loved their on-screen chemistry.  Amr also was very mysterious and wise in the role of Sheikh Muhammed.  However, Kristin Scott Thomas in the role of Patricia Maxwell was very . . . annoying.  It may just be because that character grated on my nerves that I did not like her performance, but I really don’t even understand why she was in the movie.  I found her character and performance to be irrelevant and annoying.
Score: 7.5

Cinematography: There was some visual interest in this film towards the end, but not a lot throughout.  There was a shot of Dr. Jones, “swimming against the current” and then later in the film there was the same shot done with the fish which really added to the parallel of Dr. Jones life with the salmon’s life.  Other than that the cinematography was pretty standard which is fine.
Score: 8

Soundtrack: This soundtrack was actually pretty cute.  It was dramatic when it needed to be, but at times there was some sort of Scottish folk music that was really funny.  The soundtrack was not particularly fabulous or ground-breaking, but it was done well and was one of my favorite parts of this movie.  A lot of time I think people overlook the power of a good soundtrack, but it seems like a lot of thought went into the soundtrack of this movie and that is important.
Score:8.5

Overall Score: 30.5/40

 Favorite Quotes: None 😦

 

Loyalty Lies (Part 1)

Jane took a deep, nervous breath.  She looked at the vast majesty around her.  The scent of beautiful flowers wafted up as she walked the path leading to the large white house with its painted shutters.  Jane remembered walking past the iron gate as a child, wondering what it would be like to be the only child of a governor, rather than the eldest of five wheelwright’s children. Governor’s children lived in luxury, wheelwright’s children begged for jobs as the governor’s maid.  Slowly Jane took hold of the warm brass knocker, bringing it down upon the door.  Her stomach churned violently within her, as she heard the crescendo of footsteps in the hall.  The door opened softly, and there he stood, Ben, the young, strong, handsome butler.  Jane tried not to meet his eyes as she spoke.

“I came to see Governor Trippingdale about a job,” said Jane quickly.

“Jane, how nice to see you, it’s been awhile.  Please, won’t you step inside, I’ll see if the Governor has a moment to speak with you,” replied the always friendly Ben.  Jane stepped into the doorway of the large house.  She thought about how much work it must require to keep up such a house, and became very hopeful.

“Little Janey, how nice of you to come by,” called a blustering voice from around the corner.  Jane looked.  From down the hallway came Governor Trippingdale.  He was a fat, happy sort of fellow, with a round face and sparkling eyes, always happy to see everybody.

“Hello Governor, it’s been a long time.  How have you and your family been?” Jane asked in her sweetest, friendliest manner, keeping her eyes to the floor to show respect.  She really had never known the Governor that well.  His wife had taught Sunday school for a year, and Jane was in her class a long time ago.  Other than that, Jane and her mother delivered clothes they laundered for the Trippingdale’s, but those visits were always brief and to the point.

“Oh, I look around me and see our thriving New York colony and am pleased.  How are things out in your neck of the woods?” replied the Governor.

“Well to be truthful, things are tight and I have found myself in need of a job.  You see, my father was in an accident about two days ago.  He broke his arm, and isn’t going to be able to do much work for a few weeks. I hoped you might be needing some help around here.  I’m good with all kinds of different things.  I can do house-keeping, gardening, or if you need some help with the children I can do that too.”

“Well Janey, I think your visit has come at a purely providential time.  You see, one of my maids had a family emergency and took a boat back to jolly old England about two weeks ago.  I’ve been hoping someone would come along to fill the position, and you might be just the girl. You’ll be sure to mind your business and do your job now, won’t you?”

“Oh, yes sir.”

“Well good, you start tomorrow.  You’ll get two shillings for a good days work.  If things go well we’ll hire you on indefinitely.  How does that sound?”

“Oh, that’s wonderful, thank you so much.  I’ll be here bright and early tomorrow morning.”


To Be continued . . .

Journeying to Distant Lands

Many people are born with a love of words burning deep inside their soul.  However, not everyone is born with that passion.  For some it is developed over time and for some sad souls it is never experienced at all.  Today I thought I would share with all of you my journey into the beautiful world of literary imagination that I now inhabit.

As a young child I loved being read to by my parents and older sister.  They would read me books like Butterfly Kisses and The Twelve Dancing Princesses.  In school on the other hand, I hated to read.  I refused to read anything more than Jog Frog Jog or Sue Likes Blue until I has halfway through 1st grade and my parents made me.  I hated to read, I was so far behind.  My first chapter book came in second grade it was The Box Car Children.  I then spent the next 4 year in land of mystery.  I read The Box car Children, Trixie Belden and Mandie.  I enjoyed mystery and intrigue, but at this point I had still not developed a true appreciation for the beauty of words and literature.  That was all about to change.

When I was in sixth grade Anne came into my life and changed my entire view of reading.  Who is this mystical Anne?  Well, she is Anne of Green Gables of course.   These books were recommended to me by my mother.  Of all the things my mother hastaught me over the years, things like walking, talking, and eating, telling me to read these books has been the most life changing.  Anne inspired me to love not only reading, but writing, imagining and creating.  After devouring all eight of these masterful books I went on to read things like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Little Women, and many others.  I now enjoy reading a variety of different books, but it is always the classic novels with a strong female lead that grip me.  I believe I have Anne to thank for my love of literature.  She changed the way I saw books, the way I saw my life, and the way I saw the world.  I used to want to be a nurse, Anne changed that for me, now I want to write.  I was able to relate to Anne; like her I had a vivid imagination and a love of words bigger than myself.  I never saw these qualities as a gift or as a way to make a living, but Anne showed me the truth.  I want to create characters as powerful as Anne and change people’s lives the way L.M. Montgomery changed mine.  This is my attempt t sum up my life through reading, but it is hard to try and sum up my reading life, because I am still in the middle of it. I am still learning to read in many ways, because with every book I read, I learn something new about literature and ways to interact with it.

Movie Tuesday: The Truman Show

Fun Facts: All the street names in Seahaven and all the names of characters in The Truman show are based on the names of famous Hollywood stars (ex: Meryl, Marlon, Lauren Garland, Barrymore Road).

When the film was released director Peter Weir wanted to install cameras in theaters and have projectionists stop the movie and cut to a shot of the audience as they watched the film.

Recommendation: So I have never been a huge fan of Jim Carrey and was a little leery going into this movie, but I actually LOVED it.  This is a movie that provokes thought, but at the same time is also very relatable and easy to understand.  It is a diverse movie that will appeal to a wide range of people with varying tastes.  Highly recommended.

Writing/Screenplay: This film tells one of the most unique and original stories I have ever encountered.  This is such a clever film, because it so relatable.  Marlon was right when he said, “who hasn’t sat on the john and had an imaginary interview on ‘Seahaven Tonight.’” Now this movie is generally believed to be a powerful commentary about the pervasive and invasive nature of mass media and I do think it is that.  However, I think the last scene is definitely a commentary on God.  I’ve watch that scene over several time and to be very honest with you, I can’t decode it.  There are some references to Psalm 139 and the character of Christof is supposed to God-like, but he’s also clearly the villain of the film.  However, what is really interesting is that amid Christof’s dialogue we cut to a shot of Lauren staring at the TV and then looking heavenward saying, “Please God, Please.”  Given this I can’t decide if we’re supposed to see God as Truman’s savior or his warden.  At any rate I think this is a movie with a story that makes you think and in my book that’s a good story.
Score: 10

Acting: The acting in this film was pretty good.  This was definitely the best performance I’ve ever seen Jim Carrey (as Truman) give, he was appropriately dramatic and comedic.  Natasha McElhone also did well in her small, but important role as Lauren.  The absolute standout, top-notch, best performance definitely came from Ed Harris as Christof.  His performance was excellent, compared to him all other performances were just decent.
Score: 8

Cinematography:  I loved all the choices made to help the audience feel like they were watching a television show.  There were several iris shots used throughout, especially when the audience is supposed to feel like they are watching Christof’s show.  I think this is even more interesting because Jim Carrey was cast partially because he reminded the director of Charlie Chaplin and iris shots are usually used to pay homage to silent films.  Just an interesting tidbit.  Anyhow, the cinematography was good, not necessarily a masterpiece, but it was good.
Score: 8

Soundtrack: The soundtrack in this movie was actually fantastic.  It completely controlled the tone of the film and the mood of the audience, just like a good soundtrack should.  The music did its job well.
Score: 9

Overall Score: 35/40

Favorite Quotes:
“Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!”
-Truman

“We accept the reality of the world with which we’re presented.”
-Christof

Garage Attendant: [the Truman Show has ceased transmission] “What else is on?”
Garage Attendant: “Yeah, let’s see what else is on.”
Garage Attendant: “Where’s the TV guide?”

 

Art’s God

Art speaks loud and clear,
begging you its voice to hear.
A picture says a thousand words.
A poem speaks undeterred.
All artists have tools and tales,
but messages from the heart don’t fail.

A painting may tell of gods above.
A poem may rhyme of gods below.
A picture may capture gods of love.
A melody may sing gods of sorrow.
A dance may point to gods of war.
A film may direct one god or more.

Each artist must think long, hard, and well
about the gods of which they tell.
As one who has chosen a God and an art
I’ll issue a warning to those at their start:
Be careful the story of gods you relay
Or you’ll answer to someone for those led astray.

Movie Tuesday: Footloose (1984)

My Thoughts: The original is lightyears better than the remake; 80’s movie are my favorite! Also, I relate to this movie to the point where it is almost unnerving.

Recommendation:  I think this movie is great.  It’s well-done, fun to watch, and it has a killer soundtrack.  I definitely recommend it!

Writing/Screenplay: I think a lot of people take this movie and see it as a group of teens sticking it to their parents and all moral authorities in their life, but that is not how I see this movie at all.  Part of the reason I think that the original is so much better than the remake is because it does a fantastic job of showing the destructive nature of two different moral extremes.  When Ariel dove too far to the left she developed a self-destructive (suicidal) nature and it ended with some punk guy who saw her as nothing more than his whore whaling on her.  On the other hand, when Ariel’s father (Rev. Shaw) dove too far to the right it ended with the burning of books and the town being so constricting that even his wife couldn’t breathe anymore.  In the end the two of them had to learn to communicate and meet somewhere in the middle.  That being said I do think that the writing was a little heavy handed in certain places.  They got a little sloppy when dealing with the destructiveness of conservatism in the end (particularly with the book burning scene).  I felt like the director was hitting me over the head when I watched that scene.  Now I do think that’s how I was supposed to feel, I think it was intended to really make the audience feel the frustration that Ariel and the other kids in town were feeling.  While I think that is good in theory, in execution it was not conducive to making the film a good film.  I was also a little sad because I don’t think there were a lot of great quote take-aways from this film (comment below with your favorite Footloose or just movie in general quote).  All in all, though I do think the idea behind this story is a really original one!
Score: 8

Acting: The acting in this movie was all around decent, but not exceptional in any way.  Kevin Bacon did well and I really enjoyed watching his cool/smooth (dare I even say righteous or totally tubular) performance. What can I say? I love the 80s; I truly feel I was born on the wrong decade!  Now I have to say I was thoroughly underwhelmed by Lori Singers performance.  I can’t put my finger on it, but it was just off in some way.  Everyone did well, but I’m not shocked that there weren’t any Oscar nominees.
Score: 6.5

Cinematography:  I was pleasantly surprised by the cinematography in this film.  I had pretty low expectations, but they were exceeded beyond what I would have thought.  Don’t get me wrong the cinematography was not by any means extraordinary, but there were a few choices here and there that pushed it above average.  I like the opening scene where everyone is in church listening to the sermon and Rev. Shaw is preaching about how Jesus doesn’t want us to be bored with our responsibilities.  As this all is being said the camera is panning over a very bored and disinterested congregation.  Shots like this throughout the film added a certain level of interest throughout the film that I wasn’t expecting.  Well done Herbert Ross, Ric Waite, and Paul Hirsch.
Score: 7.5

Soundtrack: And now we get to the radest part of any 80s movie, the rokin’ soundtrack.  Seriously this movie soundtrack was fantastic! It was nominated for two Oscars.  The one thing I will say is that for as awesome as this soundtrack is, Ren had horrible taste in music.  I mean who in their right mind picks Men at Work and The Police for their favorite bands.  Yes, they have some good songs and they don’t totally suck, but common they’re no Bon Jovi.  Just saying!  That said, the soundtrack was really great.  I had no idea that so many classic 80s jams originated with this movie.  The music was by far and away my favorite part of this movie.
Score: 9

Overall Score: 31/40

Favorite Quotes:

Mr. Gurntz: “He was trying to teach *that* book down at the school.”
Mrs. Allyson: “Slaughterhouse-Five, isn’t that an awful name?”
Ren: “Yeah it’s a great book… Slaughterhouse-Five, it’s a classic.”
Mr. Gurntz: “Do you read much?”
Mrs. Allyson: “Maybe in another town, it’s a classic.”
Ren: “In *any* town.”

Willard: “You won’t get any dancing here, it’s illegal.”
Ren: “Jump back!”


 

Movie Tuesday: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

My Thoughts: First of all, I would like a sequel to Beauty and the Beast that follows Chip as a he grows up.  Can you imagine the conversations: “So Chip, that’s an unusual nickname.  How did you get it?” “Well I grew up as a teacup in an enchanted castle . . .”  Second of all, I know Disney gets a lot of flak, but the truth is they are such a big company for a reason.  When they put the time, effort, and money in, they are master movie makers and Beauty and the Beast is a master film.

Recommendation: If you like movies that are done well with good acting, music, etc. and you like to be transported back into your childhood you should watch this movie.

Writing/Screenplay:  This is such a creative tale, which is why it has been told again and again for centuries.  I liked the added elements of mystery in this film. The character of Agatha added a fascinatingly new facet.  I also liked how they spent a lot more time cultivating a relationship between Belle and the Beast while still emphasizing Belle’s need for freedom and loyalty to her father.  They also added a lot of historical aspects with Belle’s mother, etc.  I wish they could have spent more time on the Beast’s past.  It was touched on briefly, but I wanted more!  I love the new depth that was added to this old classic!
Score: 10

Acting/Performance: The cast in the film was incredible!  Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Emma Watson, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, Dan Stevens, Emma Thompson . . . need I say more (because I could)?  Now I know, Emma Watson has been getting all the hype for her performance and she did a great job, but the standouts to me were Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, and Josh Gad.  Dan Stevens was wearing a giant green suit and walking on stilts for most of the movie and he was able to really dig into the many layers of the beasts’ character.  Also his song, Evermore, was my favorite; it gave me shivers!  Josh Gad and Luke Evans were just fantastic.  Gaston was cruel and manipulative.  Le-foue was the funny, innocent victim of Gaston’s manipulative nature.  The two of them had such a great chemistry.  They were funny and clever and they just absolutely shone!  All the actors and actresses gave wonderful performances (they are all incredibly experienced and talented) and it was just a pleasure to watch each and every one of them perform!  Now, there is one thing that annoyed me.  The movie is set in France and the only actor they made do a French accent was Ewan McGregor (as Lumiere).  Literally everyone else had a British accent and it was just a little strange to me, but I still love everything about this cast.
Score: 9.5

Cinematography: I don’t have a ton to say about the cinematography.  I think we were supposed to focus more on the special effects, etc. in this film.  The special affects were great, I really liked what they did with the beast.  I wonder if I might have been more impressed had I seen the movie in 3-D.   The one thing that I did really, really love was the theme of the rose that they emphasized throughout the film.  It was seen in the costumes, in the props, in the stairwells of the castle.  It was very cool to see that theme carried out in different places throughout the movie.
Score: 8

Soundtrack: The music in the movie was lovely.  Emma Watson, Josh Gad, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, they all have beautiful singing voices.  The new songs: Evermore and Days in the Sun were my favorites, I can’t stop listening to them.  However, in terms of being a musical this film was not on par with films like The Sound of Music or The Phantom of the Opera or some such musical.  It breaks my heart to say, because I am a huge fan of Ewan McGregor, but I was not overly impressed with his and Audra McDonalds singing.  They were good, but not great and I was a little disappointed.
Score: 8.5

Overall Score: 36/40
 
Favorite Quotes:

“People say a lot of things in anger.  It’s our choice whether or not to listen.”
~Mrs. Potts

Gaston: “Belle is the most beautiful girl in the village and that makes her the best.”
Le-foue: “But she’s so well-read and you’re so . . . athletically inclined.”
Gaston: “Yes, but ever since the war I’ve felt like I’ve been missing something and she’s the only girl that give me that sense of . . .”
Le-foue: “Je ne sais quoi?”
Gaston: “I don’t know what that means.’

“Those are called books you third-rate musketeers!”
~Cogsworth