Netflix: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

A story doesn’t have to be complicated to be profound.

The best ingredients for a deep, rich story are these: real people, honesty, love, healing, and an understanding of the purpose and potential of stories in general.

Netflix’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society combines all of the above to create a warm and beautiful story full of truth and healing.

……….

Based on a book of the same title, the movie stars Lily James as Juliet Ashton, a lovely young British writer in post-WWII England. She’s beautiful, talented, sought after by a wealthy American, and enjoying the beginning fruits of a long future as a successful author.

And she’s lost.

juliet lost 2

It’s England, 1946. The war is over. People are breathing again. Repairing and painting their homes. Dancing. Starting businesses and families. The war is over…outwardly anyway.

But Juliet still feels the choking dust of the London Blitz. Of the millions dead or missing. Of the years of lack. Of her own trauma and loneliness that she has bottled up inside.

“Do you ever feel like we’ve emerged from a long black tunnel into a carnival?” Juliet Ashton

Juliet is reeling from the experiences of the past years, including losing her parents. She feels overwhelmed with the new joy as she is still holding too much sadness and torment to have room for anything else. She feels guilty for this feeling, which only adds to her sense of being displaced…until…

juliet ashton

Enter, Dawsey Adams, writing from the island of Guernsey, a tiny British island located in the English Channel between England and France. An island that experienced German occupation and all the horrors that accompanied it during the war.

dawsey

Dawsey Adams, a gentle farmer, writes Juliet with a very simple request. He asks her for a book. He came across an old book that previously belonged to her, the information he discovered when he found her name and former address in the front of the book. This letter begins a fascinating correspondence in which Dawsey tells Juliet about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club society begun by a few Guernsey residents in order to cover up a roast pig from the Germans.

Intrigued? So is Juliet. So intrigued in fact that after corresponding for a time, she makes the journey to Guernsey herself to meet this group of people and hear their full story.

……….

I am not a fan of many of the works Netflix has put out. While I applaud series like Lost in SpaceLost and Found, Dragons: Race to the Edge, Greenhouse Academy, there is still so much garbage that Netflix has created. Trashy comedies that mock beautiful people and things, action movies that could be intriguing except…86 f-bombs, really, Netflix? That’s enough to make a sailor blush!

13 Reasons Why has caused damage to the world. The Michelle Wolf special was a fiasco for everyone concerned. Anne With An E lacks understanding and proper respect for the purpose and classic story of Anne of Green Gables.

Netflix is not my hero by any stretch of the imagination. But I loved The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society. 

It’s masterful storytelling. You glide back and forth between the present and the past, discovering the true story of the Society as Juliet does. It’s a mystery unveiled only a piece at a time, but you are always dying to know more. As Juliet discovers this story and these people, she begins to unravel the deep well of grief and feeling in her own heart, and she begins to heal.

For years Juliet has been creating this well inside of herself. It’s dark and deep, so empty and full of echoes. And she can’t seem to reach it, can’t seem to fully comprehend it. She cannot grasp what she wants, or what she needs. She cannot enter into rest. She cannot find a place to call home. She cannot dream about her future, all she can do is react.

The members of the Society have grieved as well. They are still grieving, but you recognize a marked difference in their grief versus the grief of those around them, including Juliet. And I’ll tell you what this difference is.

They are not grieving alone, but rather they are sharing the hurt as it comes and celebrating and creating joy even in the midst of it.

There is a life to the members of the Society that draws Juliet in like the tide. She’s been alone for so long, but no longer. As soon as she begins to know these people, she begins to unravel everything inside of her. She begins to laugh, truly laugh. She can see the world. She has a fire burning inside of her. She cries, she cries so much. She hurts, she hurts so much. But at least she is feeling something. And so, the healing begins. Why? Because she is no longer hurting alone.

What brought all of these people together? A story. A made-up story to cover up an innocent get-together that is criminalized by a cruel world. And that made-up story turned into a deeper story. It intertwined several people’s lives as they began to share in a love for stories, and it gave them a place to belong. People to stand with. Shoulders to help bear their burdens. Hearts to laugh with. And a future to share. And they became a story so deep, so compelling, they drew in yet another soul (Juliet) out of the cold and gave her a place to begin the healing.

This story shows people as people like us. People who are hurting from pain and grief no human beings should ever have to bear. The things they have seen and had done to them are WRONG, and you feel the wrongness of it clearly, you cry out with the characters at all they have endured. It also shows the purpose and joy of stories, their power to heal and to connect. It shows how simply sharing your life with people can bring so much joy in the midst of suffering. It shows people giving each other grace despite their flaws. It shows people who see beyond the outer shell to the heart within. It shows what true love can build and the redemption it carries.

And this story gives us permission to grieve over the things that have hurt us. And it gives us permission to let that happen in as much time as we need. And it beckons us to find a people, a tribe to share our griefs and our joys with.

Real stories flow, they are not in separate boxes or segments. One part is deeply connected to another. Grief and joy can be but a word or sentence apart. Healing happens in the midst of the feeling. And sharing your story with others can make all the difference.

potato peel pie

That is what Juliet Ashton discovers. And as Juliet discovers it, so do we.

……….

My friends, I don’t understand everything in this world, but these are the few things I know for sure.

God is real, more real than I ever imagined. He is good, better than any of us have ever comprehended. Tragedy and grief are all around us in this fallen world, and it breaks my heart just as it breaks God’s. God is love, and love conquers all.

Joy and grief are not mutually exclusive. Healing takes time. We are in each other’s lives for a reason. And none of us was made to be alone, but rather to share life together.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society touched me like a warm summer breeze drifting off of the sea. And as I saw this movie, I got to heal a tiny bit because I felt understood.

Friend, your story matters. You matter. And I want you to share your story with the world. I want you to allow yourself to feel, the grief and the joy.

Perhaps in the midst of it you will even decide that you should have a roast pig and begin a book club.

literary society

 

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Infinity War Part 1: 4 Ways It Was Awesome

Regardless of it’s reception, no one can deny the major impact that Avengers: Infinity War had on superhero fans around the globe.

A wailing cry went up starting April 27th and I don’t think it’s stopped since. Watching so many people you love like family dissolve into dust is kind of awful (yes, I’m thinking about our sweet baby Peter Parker right now).

I saw the movie and didn’t have much of a reaction (except for my baby Peter Parker because that was just cruel). It was so intense, really chaotic, and kind of disjointed feeling to me. I also know that a whole lot of the people who are currently dead can’t stay dead because their Marvel contracts still have a long life on them. So I didn’t panic when they died, because I know that most of them are coming back.

And c’mon, no one in their right mind actually thought Marvel was going to just kill off our brand spankin’ new Spider-Man? Peter Parker is not only one of the most beloved superheroes of all time, but Tom Holland’s most recent rendition stole the world’s hearts immediately. He’s a fresh new character who we have the pleasure of watching evolve. It makes 0 sense to kill off an asset like that. I mean LOOK AT THIS ADORABLE FACE!!! I have full confidence that we will be enjoying Peter Parker for many years to come.

spiderman

It’s taken me a while to process Infinity War. It is an unfinished story, so I decided to not draw too many conclusions right away. I won’t completely know what I think of it until Avengers 4 comes out May 3, 2019.

I’ve drawn a few conclusions, however, and I wanted to share some positives as well as the negatives I have found. Today we will focus on the positives, the next post will contain the negatives.

I’d love to hear your take in the comments section, so when you’re done reading let me know what you thought of Infinity War now that the dust has settled (oohhh, too soon?) and you’ve had months to process. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

4 Ways Infinity War Was Awesome

 

1. THOR

I was NOT a fan of Thor: Ragnarok by any stretch of the imagination. To me, it felt that Taika Waititi pretty much worked his tail off to literally erase any traces of of the previous Thor material. Old friends and characters were killed off without ceremony. New and very serious threats (Hela) were introduced with no warning or time to feel fear.

And Thor was made a laughingstock so many times. The level of slapstick/downright stupid/crude humor was embarrassing to me. I felt 0 chemistry between Thor and Valkyrie as characters, be it platonic or a potential romance. The Hulk was confusing. I felt like Loki was mocked, etc.

Needless to say, Ragnarok was a deep disappointment to me. But, Thor in Infinity War?

Perfection! The Russo brothers managed to bring back the regal bearing and crazy-awesome might of the Mighty Avenger. Thor is a prince, a king! He’s a glorious warrior with a huge heart and a charming sense of humor.

Though I may not have been a fan of Ragnarok, I know many Marvel fans were. The Thor of Infinity War was a beautiful blend of the Thor from the previous films as well as the good changes to Thor from Ragnarok.

Let’s just say it, that self-generating lightning thing is the bomb…

Infinity War gave me the Thor I always wanted. When he touches down in Wakanda, giant new hammer blazing, I thought I was gonna explode. Yes! Welcome the King of Asgard, the Mighty Avenger!

infinity war thor

2. I Am Groot, I Am Steve Rogers, Rocket and Bucky

When you sit back and think about it, these Marvel movies are totally bizarre. How in the heck have a tree that says 3 words and a tiny raccoon made me cry so much?

Two guys who are biologically pushing 100 are physically only in their late 20s-early-30s?

A fully functional AI android who is deeply in love with a girl who can manipulate matter and minds because she was exposed to a magic space stone?

Yeah, this is WEIRD.

Occasionally we get to see our characters have an out-of-body moment where they become self-aware and go, “This makes no sense.” Like Hawkeye’s beautiful and brilliant speech in Avengers: Age of Ultron . 

city is flying hawkeye

But it’s been a few years since this all began. By now the characters have stopped asking why. The world is getting wackier by the minute and honestly, they’re tired. They are just so tired. Too tired to ask why anymore. They don’t ask, they just do now.

I felt that attitude was beautifully captured in two moments during the chaotic melee of Wakanda. Did that sound negative? Yes, it was meant to, but more on that in the negative post.

Steve and Thor have a cute little bro-to-bro exchange while fighting those disgusting creatures of Thanos. It’s old work buddies catching up. And then the talking, sentient tree we all know as Groot comes up. The old Steve Rogers would have said,

“You know I really miss the days when the weirdest thing science had created was me.” Captain America/Steve Rogers, Age of Ultron

But not the new Steve. He’s been around enough now. He’s too tired to ask why anymore, just rolling with the punches now.

Thor: “This is my friend, tree.”

Groot: “I am Groot.”

Steve: *doesn’t even blink* “I am Steve Rogers.”

work buddies in wakanda

By extension of this same thought, I didn’t think I could handle it when Bucky just plucked Rocket Raccoon up and they turned in an epic, bullet-spitting circle. There was no conversation leading up to this, no introduction, no,

“How is a raccoon wearing armor and shooting a gun that is at least his full body weight?”

Just a natural assessment,

“Small raccoon is causing big-time damage. Partner with small shooting raccoon.”

Audiences who know and love both characters see an even bigger picture as Bucky and Rocket actually have quite a bit in common. They would be good buddies.

But they don’t know any of that. They are just accepting life as it comes and making the most intelligent decisions they can at the moment.

Which makes it all the funnier.

rocket and buck

3. Anything Peter Parker, but especially how his well-rounded movie-watching career saved their bacon.

Again, this is why Peter Parker is gonna be around for years. This boy is GOLD!!!

madeup names

Peter already showed his ability to think on the fly in Civil War when he helped bring down Giant-Man using the AT-AT trick from the classic Hoth battle in The Empire Strikes Back. He may be making things up as he goes, but it’s working!

The fact that Tony, Peter, and Stephen Strange were able to rid themselves of Squidface-full-of-himself out there in space just by copying a classic thriller film is just the best thing ever.

And we can thank Peter Parker for it. Every moment that he is in this film is pure delight, with the exception of his slow and devastating decay as he gasps for air in his adopted-daddy Tony’s arms.

no idea tom holland

4. Enter, Captain Marvel

Sometimes the best way to announce something HUGE is to do it without even saying it. To hint at. To put in a quiet, subtle and chills-inducing moment that is surrounded by chaos. A moment that whispers, “…she’s coming…”

The end credits scene with Maria Hill and Nick Fury did just that.

captain marvel

I’ll give a few honorable mentions to some other parts I loved.

-Peter Quill and Gamora’s tender interaction in this movie was what I have been dreaming of since I fell in love with that wacky crew of Guardians back in 2014. It was deep, real love. Two people who know the good and the bad about each other, and they still choose love. I enjoyed their scenes so much.

-Gamora really stole the show if you ask me. Her past is so intricately intertwined in this movie, her scenes with the Guardians, and her scenes with Thanos were packed with powerful emotion.

-Bad Boy Steve. Mmmmmmhhhhmmm. His entrance in Scotland with his best friends/Secret Avengers at his side was kind of a glorious moment for me. That trio are my favorite Avengers, and I desperately want to know more about what they have been up to (more on this in the negative post).

-Dr. Strange heading out to order lunch. It was so crazy normal compared to literally everything else in this movie.

-Tony’s dream where he had to pee. If someone says this hasn’t happened to them at least once they are lying.

-Rhodey hanging up on Secretary Ross while his illegal buddies hang out in the background. I hope Ross dissolved and is accidentally never brought back.

-Loki getting to say the lineWE HAVE A HULK. It just felt right. I am honestly disappointed Loki is never coming back, I think hearing the rest of his story would have been neat.

-The fact that our original 6 Avengers are still standing. I know that every single character left alive was left alive for a very specific purpose. We’ve added so many new and wonderful characters to the mix over the past 6 years since The Avengers was released in 2012, but I have to say, I am deeply excited and curious to see why we were left our original 6. There is something meaningful and powerful there.

So, what were the good things you felt about Infinity War? What moments made you laugh, or just touched your nerd soul in the right spot? What character interactions did you enjoy the most? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Other posts you may like…

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Exactly What It Needed to Be

The Ultimate “ASSEMBLE” Collection

Wanda Maximoff’s Room: Backstory in Less than 3 Minutes

 

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Exactly What It Needed to Be

I’ve heard some talk floating around the internet that Marvel’s latest instalment, Ant-Man and the Wasp was “mediocre” following the massive movie event that was Infinity War.

antman and the wasp smaller image

My response to that?

you don't get it

Y’all don’t get it.

Ant-Man and the Wasp was NEVER meant to be Infinity War. The same way the Captain America movies and the Iron Man trilogies are vastly different, it’s like comparing a watermelon to a grape. If you want a watermelon, you watch Infinity War. Neither one is “better” than the other, they are two different stories. You are welcome to have a favorite, but don’t try to compare such different fruits.

 If you want to take on an entire watermelon, go watch Infinity War. If you want some refreshing grapes, go watch Ant-Man and the Wasp. 

Okay, now I’ll back up my argument with something a bit more substantial than fruit. Here are 3 reasons why Ant-Man and the Wasp was exactly what it was supposed to be. *Spoilers ahead*.

1. Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne are still fairly new heroes.

If you’re expecting Scott Lang, Hope Van Dyne, and Hank Pym to be gallivanting around with the other Avengers, guess again. That little trip Scott took to Germany to join #TeamCap was AWESOME, but it really was an anomaly, same for Peter Parker. Scott Lang is still a newbie hero, and while he may be older than our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, he’s still developing. And Hope Van Dyne make walk around with great confidence, but we have only had 2 movies to get to know her, she’s still a work in progress as far as the audience is concerned.

I know our Marvel universe has been building up to this climactic, dramatic place where Infinity War is raging, but as a character, Scott is still fairly early into his character arc, as is Hope. If you compare this second instalment to Iron-Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (the best Marvel movie to date), and Thor: The Dark World it’s not that far off. Ant-Man and the Wasp are still building up to the place the other heroes have already come to after years of fighting.

This makes sense as newer characters like Peter Parker, Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne ARE the future of Marvel! Once the dust settles on Avengers 4 most of our older heroes will have been killed or hopefully retired. We have to be left with somebody!

I loved the lighter tension of this movie. Infinity War was exhausting to watch. I didn’t mind the fact our villains weren’t bent upon world domination or mass genocide. I loved the fact that Ghost got a redemptive arc. Sometimes you want to see the “bad” person saved. If someone had gotten Thanos turned around centuries ago we wouldn’t be in this stupid mess now.

ghost.gif

Lighter, that leads me to my next point.

2. Ant-Man IS SUPPOSED to be lighthearted and funny!

Something I love about the Ant-Man movies is how down-to-earth and approachable they are! Scott is a cereal and Skittles kind of hero, and I love that. It sets him apart from Thor’s stateliness, Steve’s intense moral compass, Tony’s champagne and AI world. Any elegance or class Scott lacks Hope fills in beautifully as she creates this beautiful gravity to these stories.

I love Luis and co. I LOVEEEE CASSIE! I love the playful creativity and freedom of these movies. In what other Marvel movie would it be completely normal to take out a goon with a massive Hello Kitty pez dispenser.

pez dispenser

Where else do you get to see a giant ant play the drums? In what world can you carry all of your matchbox size vehicles in a lunchbox?

Btw, have you considered the fact that it was literally on someone’s to-do list AT WORK to “go purchase matchbox cars for Ant-Man and the Wasp“? How do I get that job?

I don’t know about you, but I needed every single laugh I got out of this movie. It wasn’t cheap humor. It wasn’t degrading humor. It wasn’t chock full of inappropriate humor. This was the hilariously crazy mixed in with the adorably normal and I loved it. I needed it. 

Laughter is good medicine. Ant-Man and the Wasp was good for my health.

3. The personal stakes were HUGE for these characters.

No, they weren’t trying to prevent a worldwide genocide, but that doesn’t mean this mission didn’t matter.

Can you imagine knowing the love of your life, the beloved mama you lost has been trapped in another realm for 30 years? And after grieving her tragic loss for years, you find out that maybe, just maybe you can ACTUALLY get her out??? That would be fire burning inside of you that you could not quench!

Can you imagine losing your parents violently, and then existing between two realms for your whole life? Being used for horrible things because you are “special”, but ALWAYS being in pain? Knowing you are going to blink out of existence in just a few weeks? Oh! The loneliness, the terror, the torment, the grief!

Can you imagine losing everything, your wife, your child, your freedom, regaining part of that and meeting a partner you want to spend forever with, and then losing it all again? And if you had a third chance? Wouldn’t you put everything you had into keeping that third chance?

This movie was huge when it came to personal stakes. Hank Pym was determined to get back the love his life, his true partner. Good thing, since the number of people who actually like him he can count on one hand. I can’t imagine the pain of being separated from a loved one that way, the agony he must have felt.

Hope wants her mama back. Her family fell apart when her mama disappeared. She lost both parents that night. All sense of security, joy, hope, laughter, gone! I know how it feels when your family is shattered so I can imagine how she feels. Not to mention, she had actually met this guy who is warm, funny, great with kids, and somehow complements her beautifully, and then she lost him too. She’s done losing people, she’s ready to get somebody back for a change!

Scott has worked his rear end off trying to re-establish his life so he can have a future that includes his daughter. I’m not a parent yet, but I know enough to know there are few motivators as strong as the motivators parents have. Plus, he found this amazing woman who he can have as both a superpartner, and a life partner. Yeah, he’s motivated.

This movie was hugely focused on partnership. Hope and Scott, they have a rhythm, a balance as partners. They need each other.

hope and scott

Janet and Hank, they belong together. They are better together.

This movie was about restoration. Restoration of partners. Of families. It was about healing a shattered little girl who had been in pain since her childhood. It was down-to-earth, it was funny, it was wacky and unexpected.

This is EXACTLY the movie I needed after the year I’ve had. EXACTLY the movie I needed after Infinity War. And the folks at Marvel knew that.

I hope you can laugh and enjoy yourself as much as I did. I hope you see the sweet heart and messages of restoration and healing in this movie. I hope you go home lighter.

4. Bonus…this movie is Giant-Man sized in terms of impact for Avengers 4.

The horror of that mid-credits, Infinity War tie-in scene settled in my belly like cold quicksand. The thought of being trapped in the Quantum Realm with literally no one on the outside to help Scott scared the living daylights out of me. Until I thought about it…

…and then I realized. What if Scott is actually the key?

I have a theory, one that I quickly found was shared by other Marvel fans. What if the Quantum Realm could somehow be connected to the Soul Stone where half of the world plus half of our heroes were sent after that dreadful finger-snap? If so, Scott could travel between worlds, perhaps even be the key to free those lost. And since Scott wasn’t one of those “taken”, he can still get out into the real world. Perhaps even bring vital information back to the remaining Avengers and Captain Marvel when she arrives. Every single hero we had left standing at the end of Infinity War serves a very specific purpose.

We haven’t even gotten to the potential possibilities presented by the “time vortex” Janet cautioned Scott against.

This is exciting stuff. Scott has proven himself capable in the Quantum Realm before, and as Marvel has taught us time and time again, nothing is ever insignificant. No hero is too “small”. And everyone has a vital part to play.

So, was Ant-Man and the Wasp mediocre?

Absolutely NOT! It was precisely what the Doctor ordered.

antman and the wasp gif

(Did Dr. Strange see Scott being a key player in the 1 scenario out of billions where they won? I guess we’ll find out next May).

If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy:

Civil War: Why the Sokovia Accords Are a Waste of Paper

Civil War: The First Annual Avenger’s Football Game

Civil War: Why Vision Needed to Fail

Wanda Maximoff’s Room: Backstory in Less than 3 Minutes

If you’re a big Ant-Man fan, check out these awesome L-A-N-G tees! I have an entire ASSEMBLE collection, but I definitely need to add in a few heroes such as Hope.

*Available for US and EU buyers!

US TEE

EU TEE

_Hi, I'm Scott._

Star Wars: Kelly Marie Tran and the Ladies of the Galaxy

 Some may wonder why we are so loud about the shameful treatment of Kelly Marie Tran (Rose in The Last Jedi), after all, Star Wars is just a fictional world and Rose was not the most popular character, the movie itself was highly controversial. Many people expressed negative views on the movie that had absolutely nothing to do with sexism, racism, or anything else inappropriate. I have no problem with these people. Negative opinions are not evil, the evil can come in with how they are expressed.

But it was revealed that Kelly Marie Tran was targeted by one specific hate group of men who have also targeted Daisy Ridley, and have announced that their next target is Kathleen Kennedy. They were delighted that they caused Tran to leave Instagram. These men are disgusting, lustful humans with evil hearts. The kind of men who like a woman to be scantily clad and submissive to whatever their sick minds can conjure.

Star Wars has created female characters that make my heart as a woman soar. The women of Star Wars are warriors, politicians, mothers, wives, pilots, inventors, mechanics, artist, and so much more. They do not always fight with physical weapons, often they fight with their words, their compassion, their influence, their hope. They mobilize those around them and make things happen because they are energy constantly in motion. They are beautiful, strong, intelligent, hopeful characters who bring so much color to the story of Star Wars.

I am a woman. I know what is in my heart. The strength that God put there, the beauty. I know I have the heart of a warrior, I feel the tenderness of God in my heart. I want to change lives, to bring hope, to bring life.

So when someone so viciously attacks a woman who played a character that actually represents these things I KNOW to be true about women, it hurts and angers me deeply. Not just on her behalf, but on behalf of thousands of years of women who have not been treated with respect, love, and given value. It hurts me on behalf of my little sisters, my mother, my friends, my future daughters.

Kelly Marie Tran, you are precious and beautiful, my dear. Created in the image of God and He delights in you. I pray that you may find Him and know the truth of who you are.

And, Gentleman, please don’t dismiss these posts as nonsense. I love men, I delight that they are in our world. Heck, fellas, we women GIVE BIRTH to men all the time after we have MARRIED men. Women have fought for their men since the beginning of time. But there are deep wounds felt by millions of women. There are ways they have been hurt, physically and emotionally. Misused, misunderstood, undervalued, squashed, and damaged by the men in their life.

That is not God’s heart. That warrior spirit you men have? He gave you that spirit to protect and help those around you thrive. If you love the women in your life enough to value ALL of who they are, to cheer them on, celebrate them, enjoy them, and share your life with them, you will have a life overflowing with happiness and love from women who feel treasured. The love and joy of a woman who is treated like a treasure will knock you off your feet.

I celebrate Star Wars because I feel like in many ways Star Wars celebrates who I am, and no one, no matter how acidic or evil, can take that away from me.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

I saw this movie opening day, an entire week ago, and I have been sitting here since,  terrified to write this article. Why? I just felt so, so many things. Good things. But I felt overwhelmed with the task of trying to put all of those things into coherent words and sentences.

Until I found the key to my thoughts. And amazingly, that key also happens to be the key to all of Star Wars and why it is so beloved.

Hope.

It’s as simple as a gentle, four letter word. H-O-P-E.

star wars hope

Hope is the summation of the entire Star Wars saga and every single story contained within the galaxy. Solo is about the heart of Star Wars…it’s about hope.

There is a lot of pain to be felt in Star Wars stories. The agony of loved ones lost, betrayal, wanton destruction, questions of value and purpose, merciless and cruel evil sweeping upon the innocent like a shadow of death.

The ache of Anakin holding his dying mother in the desert. 

anakins mother

The death of clone after clone after clone as they march into an unwinnable war, all while wondering if they are more than just forms created for endless violence.

The pain of Ahsoka leaving.

ahsoka leaves

The death of the Jedi by one of their own. Obi-Wan’s tearful scream, “You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you!”

you were my brother anakin

Padme’s death. 

Ezra Bridger losing his parents. Caleb Dumes’ sacrifice.

Ezra and Kanan

Our entire Rogue One team, gone. Alderaan. Countless Rebel pilots and soldiers. Ben Solo’s fall to the Darkness and subsequent death of many Resistance leaders and beloved friends. And so many destroyed lives in the middle.

rey crying

And yet…we stand in hope.

After every breath of darkness and pain, no matter how deep, we are always left with even a glimmer of light.

poe dameron hope

Perhaps it’s babies hidden away in the desert or the palaces of Alderaan.

It’s clones who took their stand and made their choice to live free and walk their own paths.

It’s long-lost warriors rising again from the dust of the Clone Wars. It’s Jedi returning, it’s warriors, pilots, soldiers, street rats, senators, princesses, moisture farmers, scavengers, Storm Troopers, and orphans standing up and fighting back. 

jyn's rallying hope

It’s a ragged kid from Correllia lifting his eyes above the squalor of his life and daring to dream of the stars.

Han Solo. 

corellia street boy

We know him in later years. He’s a scoundrel. He’s sarcastic, crusty even. A scruffy-looking nerf herder with enough bravado to destroy a planet and a heart big enough to envelop the galaxy.

How do you become Han Solo, the legendary smuggler who made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? (12 if you round down). How do you go from appearing like a selfish jerk to winning the heart of a Rebel princess, befriending a Jedi, and leading in a rebellion that destroys the Empire?

Han Solo

Solo: A Star Wars Story is the tale that tells us the how, and the why of our favorite smuggler.

What the makers of Solo did is they gave us a horrible set of circumstances. Then they gave us a cast of characters each faced with the same awful world. The truth of the story came out as we saw how each character faced that world and what came of their chosen paths.

Some chose to nurture and create more evil beneath the Empire’s shadow. Some characters would have appreciated change, but when it came down to the wire, they made choices out of self-preservation and fear. Other characters gave into hopelessness and despair that anything could ever change. Some characters drowned the pain of their world in alcohol, games, and fancy capes.

And then we have Han, a rebel.

sad han

Just a street boy working for thug overlords?

“The next person who hits me is going to get hit back.”

Stuck on the ground in the squalor?

“I’m gonna be a pilot.”

Foot soldier in the mud now?

“I got kicked out of the Imperial Academy for having a mind of my own.”

Thrown in a mud pit with a Wookiee? No problem, just befriend the Wookiee and get freedom for them both. Faced with a dangerous job stealing coaxium with a crew who doesn’t really want him, when do we start? Lost the coaxium and facing sure death from a crime lord?

“What about unrefined?”

Mauraders, homicidal crime lords, card games, giant space monsters, gravity wells, explosive materials, insurmountable odds…

never tell me the ods

 

Because he will always, always defy them!

Solo tells us a truth that we have suspected for a while now.

smiling han

Han has always been a Rebel.

Han may have grown up in poverty and violence, but he was rich. Rich in heart, and in hope during a time when hope was an even more precious commodity than coaxium. Han dreamed of the stars. He was ambitious, but not cruel. He spends the majority of this movie working to take care of someone he loves. He’s incredibly driven, driven by the unbending belief that there is more for his future, that he is NOT trapped by his circumstances, that he can fight for something better.

And he is willing to put his life on the line to ensure that others around him get that same chance. If only they had all followed his lead, they would have met with the same truth we were led to.

kssel run

Han, our hero, survives. Not only does he survive, he has a hope and a future. Oh, if he only knew just how amazing that future is going to be. Yes, it’s going to be filled with many heartaches, many setbacks, and losses. His life is full of tragedy. But it’s also full of love. Full of people he loves. Full of moments where he said no to evil and yes to making a difference, and what a difference he made. We see the beginning of that in Solo, we see where the hero’s roots are planted.

And he did it without selling his soul. Without giving into despair. Without trampling innocent lives under his feet. That’s what he proves in Solo. That is the truth of this movie, this character, this thing we are all crazy about called Star Wars. It’s hope.

solo flybooys

Han clearly grew more jaded in the ten years of life lived between Solo and A New Hope. I imagine kicking around the galaxy with the worst of its citizens with his bro Chewbacca probably caused his golden heart to crust over a bit, his perspective to skew, and the miles began to wear on his soul.

That is until he meets a crazy kid who actually believes he can make a difference. Until he meets a beautiful princess who is glowing with hope and purpose. Until he meets people willing to lay down their lives because they believed that there could be more for their future, that it could be better.

Original trio

Sound familiar?

He thinks he’s big. He’s bad. He’s a scoundrel. A legendary smuggler. He always shoots first. He’s rubbed shoulders, sweet-talked, and fought with the worst scum of the galaxy. He’s an outlaw, a terrible person.

goober han

But one who knew him from childhood, Qi’ra. She knew better. Beckett, a hardened mercenary who chose to view life with harsh cynicism knew better. Chewbacca, who has seen the cruellest of people, knew better. Enfys Nest knew better. Lando Calrissian, the double-crossing fabulous smuggler, knew better.

They all knew better because they looked at this cocky kid who walks with a swagger and a smile, and they saw hope. And they knew in their hearts.

“You’re the good guy.”

And we, the world that loves Han Solo as if he is our own blood-relation reply,

“We know.”

chewie and han

Disney Live Action: Treasure Planet

Clearly, Disney has had wild success with their live action films. I learned much in MaleficentI cried in Cinderella. I was beautifully transported back to my childhood with The Jungle Book (I watch it over and over and over again). And I had all of my practical questions answered in Beauty and the Beast in the most golden, beautiful way.

What we are finding with these magical live action movies is not that Disney is incapable of producing a new story, but rather;

Disney is using their live-action remakes to deepen and flesh out the stories and characters we are already in love with.

Why is Maleficent so angry? Surely there has to be more going on here than not getting invited to the baby shower? Is there more to a true love’s kiss than meets the eye?

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Why is Cinderella so hopeful? There has to be an answer for it, a moment, a person who motivated her to have that perspective on life despite her circumstances. Is Prince Charming just a pretty face, or is there more to him? Why does the evil stepmother hate Ella?

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Why does Shere Khan hate Mowgli? What is the mindset of a man-cub who has been raised by animals in the jungle his whole life? Does he HAVE to leave the jungle, after all, this is his home and his family?

jungle book

Why is it that Belle finds understanding for the Beast when at first glance they have so little in common? What is it like being raised by a charming but eccentric inventor in a village that looks down on him? Why is Gaston so full of himself? Just how does it feel to be a servant of the prince who has been cursed all this time for a crime you did not commit?

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Disney took these stories from our childhoods and made them 3D. Turns out, there is more behind Maleficent than getting dropped from the baby shower list. Cinderella has an incredibly strong motivation to be who she is. Prince Charming is a real human with a heart, mind, and dreams. Mowgli struggles with trying to find his place in the jungle as he is still a human. Belle doesn’t have a picture-perfect life, she has been ridiculed, mocked, and feels like an oddity. The servants at the Enchanted Castle are heartbroken as they remember days in the sun when music, love, and life thrived, oh how they long for those days to return!

This formula is working. I cannot wait for DumboThe Lion KingAladdin, Mulanand so many more movies to come! I cannot wait!

Along the lines of live-action movies, I have an animated movie suggestion to send Disney’s way for a live-action remake. If you agree with me, let’s try to get Disney’s attention.

That movie? Treasure Planet.

treasure planet gorgeous

No, Treasure Planet is not as well-known as some of the other Disney classics, but in my opinion, it’s an often overlooked gem of a story and a treasure in the storehouse that Disney would do well to bring out into the light.

treasure planet fireTreasure Planet is a “treasure island” story, told in a science fiction/steampunk/space fantasy world. It features a deeply engaging story about Jim Hawkins, a fatherless boy in search of adventure and meaning. He falls in with charming rogue John Silver, a pirate with a bigger heart than he cares to admit.

 

treasure planet

This story deals with fatherlessness (something a huge majority of our world is facing), responsibility, betrayal, bravery, maturity, honesty, mentorship, fatherhood, and choosing to become someone better on behalf of someone you love. It has deep, rich themes, made even richer by the colorful and exotic world that it’s placed in. Just LOOK at this world!

treasure planet world

treasure planet world 2

treasure planet ship

Can’t you just imagine how beautiful this movie would be live-action? In the hybrid-filmmaking that combines beautifully crafted, physical sets with rich, intricate CGI? Can’t you just see the solid wood of the airship, the rough ropes, the creak of the many metallic costume pieces and props, mixed with a glorious CGI sky full of clouds, stars, and planets? Then we add in colorful characters from all across the galaxy, ship captains, inn-keepers, scientists, treasure hunters, and pirates! And ground it all with our deeply engaging and heart-rending character, Jim Hawkins.

jim hawkins in the night

This idea is even more plausible to me now that we have discovered Tom Holland. Can you think of anyone more perfectly suited to play the raw, untrained-yet-eager-innocent and sympathetic Hawkins? Nope, it’s like Tom was born for the role.

tom holland

Beyond the role of Jim Hawkins being given to Tom Holland, I’m open to any other casting. But. This. Is. Perfection.

jim hawkins

This movie live-action would draw new fans from an audience who hadn’t even seen the 2002 animated movie. It would be that beautiful.

Do you agree with me? If so, share all over and let’s make some noise and let Disney know what the people want. They have a treasure in Treasure Planet, and I for one want to explore this rich story/world deeper.

#liveactiontreasureplanet 

 

Star Wars: Every Story in the Galaxy

Back in the 1970s a creative guy named George Lucas made a little movie called Star Wars.

No one expected it to be a big thing. Sir Alec Guinness (who played the original Obi-Wan Kenobi) acted in the film because he’d always wanted to be a “children’s movie”. 

At best, they thought they might make a sci-fi cult classic that would gather a small but fierce following who met in basements and had mini-conventions. That was all they expected.

This is what happened instead…

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The world exploded, and we have never been the same since.

Why is Star Wars so popular? I had a friend of mine ask me a question along these lines recently. She’s an adult with grown children, and not super into many movies. But she loves Star Wars. “What is different about Star Wars?” she asked.

I could list hundreds of reasons why Star Wars is all that and a bag of credits, but we don’t have time for all of that today. Instead, I’m going to list the biggest reason I think Star Wars has resonated so deeply with millions of people internationally for generations.

Star Wars tells us every classic, cliche story we’ve ever heard, but they do it in an unforgettable way.

Star Wars is one of the most cliche-ridden sagas ever. We started our journey with a young hero possessing a unique “ability”, the old sage mentor, a rogue with a big heart, a princess, and a cute animal (or droid) sidekicks.

Original trio

They joined forces with the underdog (the Rebellion) and go up against Goliath (Darth Vader and the Empire). The hero uses his unique abilities at just the right moment to destroy the story’s greatest threat against all odds.

It’s not the first time this story has been told. Star Wars borrows from many classic stories, established religions, and other known influences. And yet, the world exploded.

See, we “complain” about cliches, stereotypes, and classics. But there is a reason those things became so well known. It’s because they are real, and we experience them on a regular basis.

Star Wars tells us all of the old stories. An underdog story.

A New Hope 3

A redemption story.

Luke and His father

People bravely fighting against all odds for a better future.

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Questions about free will.

the clones

Darkness vs the light. Free will vs destiny.

ben and rey

The danger of allowing your emotions to be manipulated.

anakin becomes vader

Mentorship. Family. Friendship. Growing up with grace in times of hardship.

our rebels

Choosing to not give into victimhood, but instead to stand on your own feet.

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Making the hard choices. Becoming a part of something bigger than yourself.

Han Solo

Stormtrooper Finn

Learning what true leadership is.

poe in trouble

And on, and on, and on.

And these classic stories are told in the most exciting and colorful way. With spaceships, planets, aliens, blasters, lightsabers, dark and light, good and bad. They are told with heart, with humor, with a connected history, a force that binds all of these stories together. With characters that feel like old friends.

Star Wars tells our stories.

I love our galaxy. I love the characters, the history, the messages, the hope. The fact that by now generations of families have all gotten to enjoy the same world and story as it is continually told. I love it all.

Happy May the 4th, may the force be with you!

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