The Questions You Ask On Watching The Emperor’s New Groove as an Adult

Last night, my roommate (henceforth to be known as JCS and part of the Egotist’s Club) and I watched The Emperor’s New Groove together. We compiled a few MANY questions that we’d like the answers to, and we’re sharing them

– Why has Kuzco never fired Yzma before now?
– Where did Kuzco’s guards learn to Riverdance?
– Was Pacha democratically elected to be leader of his village? Or did he get his job from a random lady passing out swords in a lake?
– Why doesn’t Pacha’s wife have pregnant-lady boobs?
– Does saying “We’re just going to sit up all night saying how much we love each other” convince children to go to bed in real life?
– Where did all the purple animals come from?
– How did no one kill Kuzco before now?  He’s so annoying.

– What were Kuzco’s parents like?
– Where did Kuzco get that mouthwash from?
– Why do all these people have mullets?  This movie is not set in the 1980s, these people are not Canadian, this movie is not about hockey.  What’s with the mullets?
– Why is Pacha wearing a skirt?
– If Yzma’s signature color is purple, why did she wear a pink dress to Kuzco’s fake funeral?
– How old IS Yzma?
– Demon alpaca?

JCS: Why is this one conversation like an awkward morning-after discussion?  Like, walk-of-shame awkward?
JCS: How does Pacha know anything about blood-sugar levels?

Why are there Jews in the Incan empire?
Are there really sombreros in the Incan empire?

JCS: I don’t understand why he left the blanket.

Why does Kronk have a tent that only covers his knees?
Why are his pajamas more modest than his uniform?
Why does his teddy bear not have pajamas?
Is Yzma half-mosquito?
Is Yzma a ninja?
First of all, how did the children move so fast, and second of all, why do they need to Zamboni their floors in the middle of the jungle?
Why is there a mariachi band?
Why do the alligators barf?
Why doesn’t Kronk just kill her?
What does she have against spinach puffs?

JCS:  Why are all her potions and poisons pink?

How’s the octopus supposed to do anything?  Like, octopi are not supposed to be able to function on dry land.

How does this guy keep getting thrown out of windows?

Why does Kuzco wear dinner plates as earrings?
Where did they get the spinach for spinach puffs?
Why do these men not have hair on their chests?
Is it really that important to know squirrel?

The Ten Best Things that Netflix has Brought into My Life

If you know me well, you know that I love movies. I’m fond of TV at times, but I don’t tend to watch much current TV. I watch Castle. I watch Downton Abbey when it’s in season. And I watch The Mindy Project. I used to watch 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother when they were on. But by and large…yeah, I’m more of a movie girl.

However, I’m a big fan of Netflix because it provides me with background noise while I’m grading or doing schoolwork or knitting. I’ve had a Netflix account on and off since the spring of 2010, and it’s brought many good movies into my life. So I thought I’d compile a list of what I like and recommend to others.

  1. Old movies: I was interested in old movies long before I ever heard of Netflix. I love Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, and Netflix lets me see more of their movies than I can borrow from the library at any given time. The selection isn’t always consistent, but there are always a few new selections for my amusement and edification.

9. Psych: I’m not a huge fan of the later seasons, but I love this show. As a college student without cable, Netflix was the only way that I could watch Shawn Spencer torment Ghee Buttersnaps or whatever he had chosen to call Gus that week. And Pierre Despereaux is only an added bonus. Basically, it’s a hilarious buddy cop comedy, and I love it.

  1. Possession: The first time that I saw this movie, I was entranced. From the story line to the costumes to the acting…it was all amazing. I went on to read the book, and I loved it as well. It’s a brilliant, compelling story, and it was deeply moving to me both on the page and on the screen.

  1. Parks and Recreation: Everyone said that I’d love it, but I never got into it while it was on the air. A few weeks after it went off the air, I started watching it. And oh my lord do I ever love it! It’s quirky and ridiculous and charmingly flawed. Also, I like bacon. Please give me all of the bacon.

  1. The Grand Seduction: I’ve learned from my relationship with Netflix that I like quirky movies about people who feel real and who do things that have logical motivations that I can relate to. This movie about a small fishing village in Newfoundland that is struggling to adapt to the 21st century struck a chord with me. The characters felt real, and while their lives weren’t easy, I liked them and felt they were the sort of people I’d like to know.

  1. House of Cards: It’s not as good as The West Wing, but it fills a whole that TWW left in my life. I do love me some fictional political intrigue. I can’t watch it before bed because it gets me too amped up emotionally, and I can’t sleep. But while I don’t always like the characters, I want to know what’s going to happen to them and how it’s going to happen.
  1. Doctor Who: I’m a self-professed nerd, and I wouldn’t be half as happy as I am without Doctor Who. It’s smart (usually) and funny and all-around good fun. (If you’re wondering, David Tennant is my doctor.)

  1. Not Another Happy Ending: This movie was made for me. It’s smart and funny and entertaining. It’s a little dark, and it’s better if you don’t overthink it. It tells the story of an author and her complicated relationship with her publisher. It also sorts through the complexities of her (moderately dysfunctional) relationship with her father. Overall, it can be frustrating at times, but the end is so worth the watch.

  1. The West Wing: I started watching this show in September and finished it in January. It’s intelligent. It’s entertaining. It’s witty. It’s the best thing that I’ve ever seen. I love the dialogue and the character development. Overall, the show makes me wish for better things for my country. I wish that our country were led by the politicians on this show and not our current leaders-either side of the aisle. (Also, picking a video clip to accompany this was one of the hardest things that I’ve done today. I chose two and an image with one of my favorite quotes because y’all need to love and appreciate them.)

  1. The Decoy Bride: This might be my favorite movie. I relate to Katie so much. I jokingly call my church the Isle of Hegg because the two are not that dissimilar. The movie speaks to me. I wish I could go “man-vegan.” And I swear I am a “whole lot hotter than I look.” Now I just need my own personal David Tennant…

What movies or TV shows has Netflix introduced you to? What movies do I need to see?

Gilbert Blythe

True Confessions: I spent far too much of my young life wanting to be a redhead. Because I (like many girls, I think) wanted to be this girl…

I first encountered Anne Shirley and all of Avonlea when I was nine. And I fell head over heels in love with that whimsical, overly dramatic redhead and the whole eccentric town. I often tell people the first guy I ever fell for was Christian Bale when he played Laurie in Little Women, and that’s true. But my first real literary crush was this gentleman.

Gilbert Blythe, ladies and gents, Gilbert Blythe…I was that nerdy girl who wanted to marry Gilbert Blythe. He was smart, he was handsome, he was sweet, and he was good. He was unbelievably good, and I loved that. He rescued Anne from her ridiculous Lady of Shalott escapade. And he told Charlie Sloane (in front of Josie Pye!) that being smart was better than being good-looking. He also told Charlie that Anne was the smartest girl in the class. Gilbert was a good man.

(I also named a car after him once. It was a good car, a noble car.)

And for me, Jonathan Crombie perfectly captured my literary crush on the screen. He was impish and handsome and sweet and…he was Gil.

Jonathan Crombie died this past Wednesday. And I’m gutted. I never met the man. All I know of him is that he was in three movies that I loved, and apparently he loved those movies and being associated with them. But it’s so sad to me. He was young. And he’s gone…so suddenly. I feel like he’s taken a part of my childhood with him.

And at 26, I’m not okay with that. I’ve accepted that I’m an adult. But this somehow hurts in a way that I hadn’t expected. I know that he wasn’t Gilbert, but it somehow feels like Gilbert has died. I know that Gilbert is a fictional character and all, but I still feel this bizarre sense of loss.

Now, I suppose I’ll have to reread those books. And maybe I’ll rewatch those movies. And I’ll remember that while Jonathan is gone, Gilbert will always be with us in those books. Jonathan may have (beautifully) given him life on screen, but Gilbert can always be found in the pages of those beautiful books.

So rest in peace, Jonathan. Thank you for sharing your gift with us and for giving Gilbert life. You will never be forgotten.

Why “The Prince of Egypt” is an Easter Movie

From Christian Film Database

I love the movie,The Prince of Egypt. It came out when I was about ten, and I fell in love with the move. It was a story that I knew well, the story of Moses, the Passover, and God delivering his chosen people from slavery in Egypt. It was a story of God’s love for humanity and his desperate desire to draw his people to himself. But something about that movie resonated first with my ten-year-old self and then on into adulthood in a dramatic way.

Several years ago, I tried to convince a friend of mine that it is an Easter movie, and he disagreed with me. I don’t really remember his premise, but thinking it over, I think that I’m right.

On the surface, it is the story of God using Moses to lead the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land of Canaan. Well, okay, the movie only takes them just past the Red Sea, but the ultimate goal for them was the Promised Land. And it is clear from the movie that they will get there. It is the story of the first Passover. (Exodus 1-14)

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, and from there Christians move through Holy Week towards Holy/Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and ultimately Easter Sunday, Pascha. In those days, we celebrate Christ’s Passover. Just as God led his chosen people, the Israelites, out of physical slavery and into a physical Promised Land in the Exodus, so too in his Passion, Christ led his people out of a slavery to sin and death and into a the Promised Land of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus’ death and Resurrection took place at the time of the Jewish Passover, and that is no coincidence. He wanted to make it clear who and what he was. As the Paschal Canon of St. John Damascene says, “It is the day of Resurrection, * O People, let us be enlightened by it. * The Passover is the Lord’s Passover, * since Christ our God, has brought us from death to life * and from earth to heaven. * We therefore sing the hymn of victory.”

Christ is the Passover that comes once and for all. The lambs who were sacrificed and the first-born sons who died were for the liberation of those particular slaves, for that particular group of people’s freedom. They were but a foreshadowing of what was to come. They prefigured the Firstborn Son who would come into the world and become the Lamb of God, the Lamb who was “slain, and purchased for God with [his] blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” (Rev. 5:9)

That is the story prefigured by The Prince of Egypt. The story that began in the Garden of Eden, continued with Noah, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and with Jacob’s sons continues with Moses and the enslaved Israelites. It is the story of a God who tells Moses that “I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry…for I know their sorrow.” (Exodus 3:7). That is the same God who will send his only Son into the world because he continues to see the affliction of his people and heard their cries. And in the appointed time, he sends Jesus to live as a man, to suffer and die, and to rise from the dead to save his people from their slavery to sin and death.

To me, that means that The Prince of Egypt is absolutely an Easter movie. It tells a story of God’s relentless desire for his people, his tireless love for a people who continually turn their backs on him. He is a God who hears his people crying out for him. He loves them, and while his plans may not always make sense to us humans, he will never fail us.

And that is also the story of Easter, the story of a God who so loved the world that he sent his only Son into the world to give life and freedom to all people.

I May Never Get Married

I may never get married. That might seem like an odd thing to say, but it’s more than possible that I’ll never get married. I’m something of an odd duck. Dudes aren’t lining up to date me. And while I believe that I’m called to marriage, that call isn’t a guarantee that I’ll ever get married. That idea doesn’t make me jump up and down with happiness, but it is something that I’m trying to accept in my life. And I’m trying to live my life in my current circumstances and to make the most of my life as it is. I want my life to be valuable and useful. I don’t want to sit around waiting for a husband to come to me, but instead I want to grow and become someone interesting and worth knowing.

With that in mind, I decided to write “The Idiot’s Guide to Surviving Singledom.” I have devised five fairly simple steps for this.

Step One: Buy and read really good books. Don’t waste your time with bad books or mediocre books. Read the really good ones. Read the books that make you think and help you to become a better person. For example, I have become a devotee of my beloved Evelyn Waugh because he both entertains and inspires me.

Step Two: Get a Netflix account. Watch movies/TV shows you like. Watch ones that challenge you or intrigue you. I’ve seen so many movies that I never would have seen if I didn’t have a Netflix account, and I think I’m better off for it. (Remind me to write a post about my ten favorite things I’ve only found because of Netflix.)

Step Three: Find some uber-awesome girlfriends and read books/watch movies/drink fancy and delicious beverages with them while discussing these books and movies. Have a single ladies’ book club. I’m not saying that you should exclude your married friends, but make sure that you’re supporting and encouraging your fellow single ladies. Talk about your hopes and dreams. Talk about work.

Talk about what you’re reading. (I have a good friend who asks me what I’m reading every time we hang out one-on-one. Someone remind me to recommend Evelyn Waugh to her.)

Talk about the movies that you’ve seen. I recently watched this great movie about this writer (who was played by the girl who played Amy on Doctor Who) who can only write when she’s unhappy so her publisher (who is French and a pretty hairy dude and kind of looks like Henry Cavill and he’s handsome and he’s really hairy) tries to make her unhappy so she can write more. And I loved it. So I’m telling everyone I can about it. Here’s the IMDB page for it. And it’s on Netflix. You’re welcome.

Talk about your fears. My greatest fear in life is that I’m going to be alone in a nursing home someday with no one to take care of me. And there is NOTHING I can do about this. But I’m afraid of it. I’ve talked to people about it. I don’t know what I’m going to do about it, but at least I’m acknowledging my fears.

Just talk. Laugh. Cry. Share recipes. Scream. Build friendships. Build relationships. You’ll need your girl friends if you get married. You’ll need them if you don’t. Build and maintain relationships.

Step Four: Listen to GOOD music. Don’t waste your time listening to crappy music. Listen to music that inspires you and helps you to become more you. I don’t know what that means for you, but I know what it means for me. And sometimes, I think my music taste is developing more in this single season of my life than it would if I were in a relationship. I define good music as music that inspires you, motivates you, supports you, and speaks to you.

Step Five: Learn to cook really well. This isn’t to make you a better wife. This is just because it’s a useful skill. You’ve got to eat right? Life is too short to waste on bad food. Experiment. Try new foods and new recipes. In the past year or so, I’ve learned that I love making (and eating) lentil soup. I have so much fun playing with quinoa and split peas. Orecchiette tastes better when you cook it in chicken broth than when you cook it in water. I think that a little garlic and some olive oil make everything better. Eat adventurously.
Above all, just live your life. Don’t sit around and wait for life to come to you. Pursue and engage life. Find what matters to you. Do things that scare you. Take adventures. Become someone interesting.

Five Things that Make Me Happy

It is currently zero degrees Fahrenheit outside. And I’m vaguely crabby about this. So lest people think that I’m a perpetual grump, I’ve compiled a list of five things that are making me happy on this first Friday of Lent.

1. This video. There has never been a time when this hasn’t made me happy.

2. Last night, the Tigers’ coaching staff serenaded Justin Verlander at dinner, and he posted a recording on his Instagram account.

3. This recipe. I adore it. I mean, okay, I tamper with it, but I love it.

4. I might be doing this today.


5. I have a mug of tea sitting next to me.

Movie Review: The Imitation Game

Those who know me well know that I am more than a bit of an Anglophile. I’m also a bit of a Benedict Cumberbatch fan. (I say “a bit” because I don’t feel about BTCC the same way that I do about Tom Hiddleston…which is to say that I have a standing agreement with my mother that if the opportunity ever presents itself she’ll throw me under TWH’s feet.) Anyway, given this information, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that as soon as I saw the trailer for The Imitation Game I knew that I had to see the movie.

Saturday evening, I finally got that chance. I went with a few friends-fellow Anglophiles and BTCC fans. I went in with high expectations, and mercifully, I was not disappointed.

The movie tells the story of Alan Turing, a mathematician who worked for the British government during World War II. Turing was involved in the project to break the Nazi Enigma code. He was also one of fathers of the modern computer.

Turing was an immensely complex human being. He was a genius although I’m not entirely sure that he would agree with my assessment of his brilliance or that he would appreciate my calling him thusly. And that may tell you a bit about his personality. While very intelligent, Turing struggled with social skills; the film says that he didn’t have many friends as a child, and he tells his one childhood friend that his mother calls him an “odd duck.” Based on the film’s presentation of Turing, I’d have to agree with that assessment. And while I find Turing endearing, I suspect that in real life I would struggle to like him at times. He is a person whose genius I could respect and admire, but I could see why others might find him difficult.

That said, the movie was impressive. The cast (Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Mark Strong, Allen Leech, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, and Rory Kinnear) was strong; I knew just from the cast list that this movie had serious potential. And the cast didn’t fail.

Mark Strong put in an impressive performance as Stewart Menzies, head of MI-6. Unlike my usual experience of Strong, here he was NOT the bad guy. (I know; I was surprised too.) Instead, he was compelling, a strong (pun intended) character determined to win the war at whatever costs necessary.

Keira Knightley did about as well as I expected. I’m not a fan of Keira, but I thought that she did well with what she had. She provided an adequate performance, and as Joan Clarke, she made a valiant effort to try to humanize the socially awkward Turing.

I could keep going, but I won’t bore you. Matthew Goode was definitely more than a pretty face-although I’ve no objections to Goode’s face. Kinnear was a sort of stand-in for the audience as Turing attempts to explain what he did during the War a few years later. Leech was charming and endearing. And Dance provided me with frustration but also with an understanding of how others viewed Turing. The child actors (Alex Lawther and Jack Bannon) who played the young Turing and his friend showed talent and maturity that offers hope for the future. Simply put, the supporting cast was excellent. They added depth to the story and helped draw the audience into the story.

But of course you’re probably wondering how I felt about Benedict. Well, he’s brilliant. The usually smooth spoken Cumberbatch stammered and stumbled over his words. He was awkward and uncomfortable and yet arrogant, and he was believable. I’ve seen Cumberbatch as Sherlock, as William Pitt the Younger, as Paul Marshall…looking at his IMDB credits, I realize that I’ve seen over half of the movies/TV shows that he’s been in. I’ve seen him play so many different characters, and he’s always different. He doesn’t play the same character over and over again, and that (to me) is the genius of Benedict Cumberbatch. He brought Turing to life on the screen, and he made me love the character. As I said earlier, I suspect that if I knew Turing in real life he probably would have frustrated me at times, but BTTC showed us the person inside, the real person.

That doesn’t mean that I understand or agree with everything that Turing did. He made some decisions later in his all-too short life that I’m not sure I would have made. Not being him, I can’t understand or change him, but there were definitely moments where I thought “I would have done X instead of Y” or “If I were Turing, I’d have done…” But one of the great and remarkable things about life that is that we are ultimately all individuals and we all make our own choices. (Also, I live in a radically different world than his, and so I don’t experience the world in the same way that he did.)

Overall, I loved the movie. It was heartbreaking, but I needed that in a way. I needed to have my horizons broadened. I need to see a movie that taught me something not only about history but also about humanity.

It was brilliant, and I highly recommend it.