Enunciation of Truth:

“Words offer the means of meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.” – V

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Best Picture: “Mrs. Miniver” of 1942

Because I watched this film back in late January/early February, the story has all but slipped my mind in detail. However, I will carry on in attaining my goal of watching all the Best Picture winners.

MRS. MINIVER

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Rating: 5/10

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“Mrs. Miniver” was a sweet film about societal standards and expectations in a time of war.

The fact that the film addresses familial and generational expectations really impressed me. I thought the reality of the characters was strong, and yet the deaths (acting) were very forced. The romance was incredibly obvious. And the looming spirit of oppression from tradition was littered throughout the film, making it a great antagonist. (I got slightly emotional, because of it, at one point.)

Overall, give this movie a chance, if you like surprise endings and stories along the lines of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Disney Flashback: “Dumbo”

It’s been over a month since I watched “Dumbo.” Life kind of got busy and crazy there for a while, but I still want to review it the best I can. So, here goes my attempt despite my horrible memory for film.

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Rating: 6/10

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My initial response was excitement, to be taken back into a strangely colorful and bizarre world. Secondarily, I was surprised to realize just how short the film was. There was a sense of nostalgia with the trains, animals, and everything else.

The stork was creepy as hell. The older elephants were off-putting. And I was kind of disturbed by the fact that his actual name is Jumbo, Jr. But a grown woman was cruel enough to call this new born elephant by a name that degraded him. I was very confused why the train was a living train, when nothing else in the film that was inanimate came alive. And I just genuinely disliked the clowns. (Oh, how could I forget that bubble elephant? Terrifying.)

Despite all the confusing elements in the film, I loved Timothy Q. Mouse and Dumbo’s friendship. What a great encouragement. But as an adult, I’m really disappointed in the blatant racism with the crows. It could have been worse, granted, but the whole point of them just seemed excessive.

Most relatable character: Dumbo. I think everyone would like to think this about themselves. We – each of us – are the underdogs. We come out of the womb. People have their expectations of us upon first sight. This continues throughout our lives, but we must overcome obstacles and struggles. We must learn to fly, to soar higher than what others can see in us.

A huge lesson to glean from this film: despite what someone else says about you or thinks about you, use your unique skills and talents to prove that you are valuable. And maybe become a Timothy Q. Mouse for someone else.

Time Capsule: “Juxtaposition”

“Clothing, in some ways, can make a person.”

Juxtaposition – two objects placed close together, revealing a stark contrast between the two objects. Black and white. Short and tall. They’re very clearly opposite when they’re put next to one another.

STORY TIME:

Yesterday I went out with a few friends, and – I don’t know if you’ve ever watched Parks and Recreation but – we had a Treat Yo Self day. We went shopping. I bought some new shoes, new pants, new shirts. We had dinner at Copeland’s, which is a pretty fancy place. I had a drink; we had some laughs; I ate some tasty chicken parmesan; and then we each had some cheesecake. It was a great day.

But I realized when buying my new clothes, in some way it always makes me feel like a different person. Weird that clothes can have that effect on people. And now that I’ve heard Jane Greenwood in person – the most amazing costumer ever – and we’ve been studying her in class, I see it ever more clearly.

TIME CAPSULE:

Back when I was a sophomore in college, I had the pleasure of living with my best friend of the time. He was a psychology major, and I was a theatre major. He loved to test social norms. I loved to play a part. One day, when we were meeting a mutual friend’s father, we decided to trade clothes for a one-day experiment. It was fun to learn the effects our outer change had had on others, as well as the feelings it created within us.

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FLASH FORWARD:

All that to say, clothing, in some ways, can make a person. What a cool concept. We had become our opposites for a day, simply by dressing differently.

Time Capsule: “We Are The Champions!”

“What good does it do to dwell on the dark memories?”

Ever look back on your life and wonder, How many people have I been?

No? Maybe it’s just me, because I’m watching so much Doctor Who lately…

At this point in my life, I’m feeling that I’m in my ninth incarnation – or something roundabout the ninth. What I mean – and I think I’ve written about this before – is that there’s something in me that’s crystallized, and then there’s something in me that’s constantly changing, evolving, devolving, relearning, and then adapting again – over and over again. Research backs this up, but it’s amazing how much of my own life I’ve forgotten.

It’s astounding how much we forget, as humans. (Surely, I’m not alone in my horrible memory.) And yet I know I’m not the same person I was only five years ago, let alone seven years ago.

STORY TIME:

Recently I came across this photo on my Facebook homepage, and it took me by surprise:

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This wall stands in my high school, and every member of the newspaper staff of which I had been a part during my time as a student there signed this mural before graduating. It was the EDGE, and they were my family during a rough patch in my life. Amazing that I forgot about this mural until it popped up on my newsfeed. The EDGE was a team; the EDGE was a place of acceptance – most importantly, a place of sincerity and encouragement. And I will cherish it forever.

TIME CAPSULE:

I left my house rather early (6:58 a.m.) this morning in order to make it to school on time, to go to Lipscomb University with the EDGE Staff. I made it to school at 7:15! No one was on the bus, and they were supposed to be. . . I made my way to Room 38, our headquarters! There I saw the best people I know on this earth, the closest friends I could have, and the best role model out of all of my years in high school. We went to the bus as planned. Things were pretty bland on the way up to Nashville, but I listened to Ingrid Michaelsen with Winton, took a personality color test, and heated up the windows with my hand. (Unusual, I know, but I’m unnaturally hot.)

Lipscomb University! Last year we sat in the very front of the auditorium, but this year we sat audience right. Things were going pretty slowly, but that was expected. The announcers hadn’t made it to what we actually cared about just yet – the awards. A speaker-woman from the FCC talked on and on about her career and the importance of our generation in journalism. Honestly, she had some good points. Too bad I can’t exactly name the specifics. . . Anywho, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one annoyed that the guy giving awards wouldn’t stick to one topic. He hopped from Newspaper, Broadcasting, and Literary Magazines to Yearbook. Torture, really. (Sort of like this post.)

In the individual awards, Winton and I won First Place for Merrick & Esteban!!! (That was a comic series we created revolving around a haberdasher bird and a party duck.) But guess what! The EDGE newspaper as a whole this year received Best Overall Newspaper! We’re an All-Tennessee newspaper! Ha! Not second place anymore! Woot! I’ll tell you, the whole waiting process was horrible for my heart, but when I heard “EDGE” come from the man’s mouth, I jumped in my seat and chill bumps sprouted all over my body.

When the ceremony ended, we went downstairs to change and talk and be our “wacky” selves like, apparently, journalists are.

Then, it happened. We lost Mrs. Lockhart. Of course our first idea is to do the Dougie and shout random things at passersby and swing. However, I’m assuming someone called the little blonde lady. (Her size won’t matter long in this story.) We made it back to the bus successfully! Then, it was time for lunch at El Rey! Amanda had a Birthday Sombrero placed upon her head, and I ate a Speedy Gonzales. The seniors ate at their own booth with Mrs. Lockhart. When we finished eating, it was time for the real fun:

We strolled our way over to the Lazertag building, and I acted like an idiot the whole walk over. But what’re you gonna do? I’m Milton, they say. For some reason that gives me rights unlike any other. Due to my recent obsession with Sweeney Todd, I used the codename “Sweeney” to slay all of my close friends. Haha!

In the first game there were an assortment of other fictional characters playing as well: Merlin, Watson, Dumbledore, Gandalf, and Sherlock. (Those aren’t the only ones.)

The second game wasn’t an individual effort. We played teams, and the six seniors plus Mrs. Lockhart made up the “Stormtroopers.” You know the sad part? The underclassman called themselves the “Underdogs,” and their team had at least eleven players on it. We beat them down 2618 to 1843! (That’s why Mrs. L’s size doesn’t matter. When it comes to Lazertag, she’s a beast.) In the end, though, I still love them all. We are the champions!

FLASH FORWARD:

No matter who I’ve been, who I am, or who I will be, the EDGE crew formed in me a sense of celebration and camaraderie. I’m happy to have typed this memory up. Sure, we can work hard, we can panic and get stressed, crumble and cry, but what good does it do to dwell on the dark memories, to fear the worst for the future? I say, celebrate, rejoice. Work hard, and then revel in the hard work with your companions, because without revelry, we’re burying ourselves deep in the misery of our labor.

Curtain Call: Living Dead

The Louisiana Tech Department of Theatre’s production of Living Dead in Denmark by Qui Nguyen closed Sunday afternoon, and, boy, was it a hell of a show.

Currently I’m sitting and reflecting upon the impact that this show had on me. It wasn’t about the story; it wasn’t about the lights, the music, or the stage combat. Nothing about the story truly taught me anything, but it entertained me to a certain degree.

Instead I learned a valuable lesson about my place in the Theatre. I learned the practicality of everything that I am and of everything that God has made me to be. First off, I was the First Assistant Stage Manager, with a great crew surrounding me, teaching me, encouraging me, and helping me stumble through the rehearsal process and the document developing process. Second, I got to work with some of the most genuine, uplifting, and committed artists, from the designers to the actors and so on. Most importantly, I got to change a little bit…

Again, I say that God has made everything in me with a purpose, from the innate core to the steps along the way that have brought me up to this point. He poured into me a little bit of the organization skills it takes to make documents when he brought me through journalism. He poured into me the appropriate response to anxiety, depression, and emotional trauma when he brought me through counseling classes in undergrad. He brought to me a genuine response to actors’ needs when he brought me through various theatrical experiences throughout the years. He gave me a chill personality in moments of stress (for normal people) when he brought me through a life with a large family. He gave me concise and immediate communication and work skills when he brought me through a ministry for men. All that to say, to be a stage manager you need these skills, and I could not have pulled these things out of nowhere. But I never dreamed there was a job where all these things could be compiled into one person.

All that to say, even though God had granted me these experiences and skills along the way, I still felt like a failure. Hours upon hours of work, late nights, lost time with friends, less time for homework, barely any time to eat or sleep – It was a strain on my entire being. And even though it was exhausting mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and so on, it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my entire life. And I will never regret the strain.

I walked into my boss’s office a few days ago; I closed the door, and she sat smiling behind her desk waiting for me to start, “First of all, I just want to say thank you for allowing me to stage manage for this show. Secondly,” I just looked at her, “I don’t know how you did it for so long!” It’s more than just a job; it’s a commitment to something so important and so involved. I poured my heart out to her about my experience, and she just said, “You know why it’s like this? Because you’re doing it from the heart.”

I could have all the skills in the world and everything that God gave me, but what made this show matter so much to me was the amount of heart I poured into it and the amount of hope poured into me by others. Working with the cast and crew meant the world to me, and I’m so grateful for every minute I got to be a part of Living Dead in Denmark, even though I was walking around like a zombie by the middle of production week. C’est la vie. At last I know I’m on a path toward a career that I’ll love.

Best Picture: “How Green Was My Valley” of 1941

HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY

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Rating: 4/10

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“How Green Was My Valley” was touching and really family-oriented. Overall, I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t necessarily life-changing.

The story follows a boy named Huw who becomes a young man throughout the film, and for the most part the chronology of the movie made logical sense. However, I found myself losing interest pretty quickly. And because I was losing interest every now and then, I may have missed a little bit of information here and there but not enough to effect my overall interpretation.

All the actors existed on the same plane. The accents were convincing enough, sometimes slipping into Scottish on the one side and then slipping into an Indian accent on the other side. But there was one actor who had a straight American accent most of the time, and that bothered me a little bit. He could have at least tried. . .

Once again, this was a film that was slightly too loud for its own good. But they got one thing right: the narration made me feel like it was story time.

I loved the heart behind the story arc, and I really felt for the kid and his family. If you like sweet, family dramas or if you like building a relationship with characters, then you should try this movie out at least once.