Tag Archives: film

Getting Sappy About Star Wars

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So, 40 years ago this film came out.  It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I wasn’t actually there to witness the premier of the film, but I can say with absolute certainty that these films have had a tremendous impact on my life.

I still remember the first time I watched it.  My parents bought the original trilogy (or the Star Wars trilogy, as it was then known) on VHS from Sam’s Club.  I even remember picking up the box, still wrapped in plastic, and turning it over in my hands.

“What’s this?” I asked, wary of the black case and block lettering, obviously not my usual 7-year-old fare of Disney and The Land Before Time.

“It’s Star Wars,” my dad said, a twinkle in his eye. “We’re going to watch it tonight.”

I sat back in my seat with a doubtful “Okay…”

It was the last time I was ever reluctant to watch it.

That night, for two hours, I was glued to the screen, my tiny heart thrilling at the adventures of Luke Skywalker and friends.  Luke, a misunderstood kid who dreamt of something greater (i.e. me), watched the twin suns of Tatooine set as he gazed off into the distance.  My heart ached with him as we both yearned for something greater than our humdrum lives.  Yes, even at 7 (or perhaps because I was 7) I felt the limits of my existence, the smallness of my life, and a burning desire to be more, do more, live more.

I responded to this movie in a way I’d never responded to a story before.  It made me want to be in the story.  And then it made me want to tell my own stories.  Sometimes they were science fiction stories.  Sometimes the main character had magical powers, or was swept up in one of a thousand others adventures.  It’s no coincidence that I wrote my first story shortly after watching A New Hope.  In the past 20 years, not a day has gone by that I haven’t written.

And now I’m getting ready to finish a Master’s degree in screenwriting (!!!) in LONDON, of all places.  I’ve been on my own journey, taking me from my homeworld of Tatooine (Maine, admittedly slightly less arid) to Degobah (Florida, obviously) with a slight detour in Hoth (Alaska).  Although my adventure hasn’t included blowing up any Death Stars or picking up X-wings with my mind, it’s taken me far beyond the reaches my 7-year-old self could have wished for.  I think Luke Skywalker would be proud.  I’m proud.  And I’m thankful to have Star Wars in my life.

 

Our story so far…

I can only assume you’ve found this post/blog if, like me, you’re preparing to go to postgraduate school in London and are worriedly whiling away the days waiting for yet another person to get back to you.  Or maybe you’re considering doing so, in which case… hold on to your butts.

I’ve been slowly compiling a timeline of my journey through the entire process.  I’m going to post it for other people to reference, keeping in mind that it isn’t over ’till the fat lady sings and she’s not even on stage yet.

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early November 2014: submit application

24 November: receive offer for phone interview

24-26 November:  study for interview, (over-)prepare notes

26 November: phone interview w/programme director, told decision could take a couple of weeks

27 November (Thanksgiving Day US): receive acceptance e-mail

1 January 2015: fill in FAFSA – there isn’t really any use officially submitting this until you’ve done your taxes, I submit anyway

24 February: apply for SASS scholarship

17 March: put correct tax information in FAFSA, submit

31 March: start contacting potential homestays (homestay.com), start looking on school board for accommodation

1 April: hear back from most homestays within a day; only 1 says not available

7 April: book homestay for 21 August-21 September through homestay.com

8 April: submit enquiry to HSBC for overseas account

9 April: HSBC cannot open an overseas account for me unless I already have an account open with them

22 April: receive award letter, sign, send back to school loan administrator

23 April: complete entrance counselling and promissory notes for unsubsidized loan and Grad PLUS loan, send to school loan administrator

19 May: Buy my plane ticket!

Things that haven’t happened but are supposed to, with projected date

June/July: approval for loans from Department of Education

June: receive CAS, apply for visa

A Fine Romance

Recently, a coworker and I got on the subject of how long it took the Disney princess took to “fall in love” with their princes.  Because it has been INCREDIBLY slow at the library (seriously, please check out a book, I don’t even care if you live in Florida) I decided to make a list of the actual amount of time between the couples meeting and the princess falling in love.

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Not an Anna in sight

Snow White: sees him at the well – so almost instantly (does she actually fall in love with him at this point?  He certainly falls in love with her.  She just seems to be a little creeped out by his sudden appearance, which opens up all kinds of new questions into her willing consent in the relationship.)

Cinderella: dances with him – 3 hours (I’m being generous here)

Aurora: he sees her when she’s a baby, they meet in the woods – it takes her about the length of the song, so a whole 3 minutes

Jasmine: meets Aladdin but falls in love with him as Prince Ali – benefit of the doubt, 3 days

Belle: spends unspecified amount of time with Beast – at least a week (which is pretty good considering she hated him initially)

Ariel: sees Eric on the ship and rescues him – 30 minutes (okay, he also represents her idolization of the human world, but you shouldn’t need a man to push you to pursue your dreams)

Pocahontas: they hang out, she accuses him of cultural insensitivity, he repents (sorta) – 1 day

Mulan: they get to know each other for a while (but he thinks she’s a boy) – 1 month (could be more – how long does it take to get strong enough to pull yourself up a wooden pole?  Wait – is that some kind of gender metaphor?)

Tiana: they look for Mama Odie – 3 days

Rapunzel: he takes her to see the lights – 3 days

Anna: they look for her sister – 3 days

It’s interesting that a lot of the recent Disney princess movies seem to follow a very similar formula – some sort of journey in which the prince tags along and they fall in love along the way – usually after initial distaste for one another, whereas a lot of the earlier movies employ different methods of establishing the relationship.

Go ahead, tell me I have too much time on my hands.

Into the Woods

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When my brother got two tickets to see an advanced screening of Into the Woods and offered the second to me, I was shocked. I mean, I talk about it nonstop and squeal every time the commercial plays on TV, but who knew teenage boys could be so perceptive?

I should start off by saying I have never seen the original musical performed on stage, unless you count a college theater class on a TV the size of a postage stamp and sounded like all of the actors were underwater – and only the second half.  I picked up the cast recording a few months before it was announced that a movie was being made and fell in love immediately. (I should also warn you I’m not a professional critic but I fear that will become apparent by the end of this post.)

The casting is perfect in an “I couldn’t quite believe it until I saw it” kind of way.  They were able to preserve most of the songs, although my favorite, “No One is Alone”, got chopped up a little weirdly.  The “Agony” sequence was magical and perfect and everything I had hoped for.  Chris Pine should have been in a 90’s boy band.  And Emily Blunt can sing!  I also have to give a shout out to my girl, Anna Kendrick, for simultaneously being from Maine and kicking musical ass.

This is one of the few films I’ve seen this year that I genuinely loved and I’ll probably be buying it as soon as it comes out on DVD.  If you get a chance to see Into the Woods, take it.  If you don’t, make it!

Into the Woods comes out in the US on Christmas Day.

I’m off to St. Augustine today.  Hopefully I’ll get some lovely pictures to share!

Eileen