Disney Live-Action Remakes: Not Losing What We Have, But Becoming More of Who We Are

Since Disney began making their live-action remakes, there have been some rather disgruntled folks among us. Funny how something that to me says, “best day ever” is such a thing of negativity to others.

…but everyone is allowed to have their own opinion. This is a free country after all, and that needs to be the top thing we remember when in the discussion.

Still, it is my opinion, that the people who claim that Disney is ruining their childhood need to lighten up. 

And here’s why.

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A friend of mine expressed her opinion on the same subject. It’s an awesome blog post, please check it out if you are also a fan of these live-action remakes. And if you are not, maybe it will show you the perspective of someone on the other side.

Like my friend says in her blog post, I also did not grow up with this magical Disney childhood that so many other 90s kids did. I was not raised on princesses, Robin Hood, or Mickey Mouse.

I actually grew up on PBS, cowboy movies, animal/nature documentaries, and Veggie Tales.

But, I did watch The Jungle Book. That was MY Disney movie. Maybe that’s why I love jungles so much. And animals. I’m actually far fonder of the wild Disney movies like The Jungle Book, The Lion King, and Tarzan. Don’t ask how many times I have seen Tarzan because I have lost count by now. I never tire of that movie and I would absolutely adore it if Disney would do a live-action, musical version of that film. It’s gorgeous.

As I said above, The Jungle Book was my Disney movie. My older brother and I used to dance around the house singing “The Bare Necessities”. Bagheera was my favorite. He is the unsung hero of that story, the panther who doesn’t get to be the “cool parent” but has kept Mowgli alive and loves him like his own child. It always seemed unfair to me as a kid that Bagheera was made to look like such a drag while Baloo got to play and get all the accolades. I’m pretty sure that’s where I fell in love with panthers and jaguars as well.

When I heard they were making a live-action The Jungle Book this was my reaction.

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Are you serious??? I GET TO RELIVE SUCH A PRECIOUS PART OF MY CHILDHOOD IN A WHOLE NEW WAY!!!

The Jungle Book

I took my baby sister to the movie for her 10th birthday.

We were utterly enthralled.

I expected it to be good, but I never expected to love it even more than the animated one! It was so rich, deep, and meaningful!

It took the story I had loved as a kid and made it human. 3-D. What was once a cardboard cutout was now a walking, breathing story!

I had never considered how tough it must have been for Mowgli to reconcile who and what he was when growing up with a family that was so different. I wonder if there are adopted children out there who were actually ministered to by watching this movie.

“Yes! Someone got it right! That’s how I have felt my whole life!”

Bagheera was so beautiful, his deep care and love for Mowgli were given a place of honor and respect. Baloo was perfectly obnoxious, just as he should be. Shere Khan was freakin’ terrifying! I did not see Akeeva’s death coming, but it scared me! I felt like we had crossed a line or something and I didn’t know who was going to buy it next!

The world was so rich. It was beautiful, layered, complex and yet straightforward. They created actual cultures for these animals that mingled with nature. King Louis was also terrifying. My mom instincts were kind of firing this entire movie as I watched this beautiful, brown-eyed boy (I’m a total succor for little boys with big brown eyes) battle for his life.

The music I had so loved in my childhood movie was woven in delicately to a story that had taken on so much more life. Mowgli as a character showed true growth, maturity, and bravery, and his growth changed the entire world around him.

It. Was. Glorious.

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It was my movie, but this was my movie 2.0.

*I actually love this one MORE than I love my animated one. I can be talked into watching this movie at the drop of a hat. You name it, and I’m there!

Which brings me to my point…

These live action remakes are not about stealing the joy and identity we had in our childhood, they are about taking it to the next level. We are NOT losing what we had, but rather becoming more of who we are!

When I was 5, I was me. I liked variety, art, playing pretend, and movies.

Guess what, at 22, I’m still me, I’m just a deeper me. I’ve got more layers, a larger story, more colors fill my past, more emotions, more experience. I love variety, art, playing pretend (in my imagination) and movies. I also love relationships, people, running my own business, the world, and history. I’m me, but me 2.0.

Don’t you see? These live-action films are not stealing something away, they are giving us a greater gift! We loved these movies in our childhoods because they ignited our imaginations, they gave us courage, life lessons, dreams, they taught us to wonder!

Oh, how the world needs more of those things! We need some of that magic, we need some of that courage, we need to remember how to wonder!

Maleficent showed us there are two sides to every story. It taught us about love in a new way.

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Cinderella showed me why Ella had such courage, and it showed me WHY Prince Charming was worthy of that title. I’m glad to know because I’m looking for my own Prince Charming, so that’s useful information. It also taught me about forgiveness. Whew, that’s deep!

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The Jungle Book is the struggle of a boy reconciling with an animals’ world. Where does he fit into it? How does he become a man without destroying what he loves? And so he actually becomes a man! 

Beauty and The Beast. Why is Belle so different? Does she ever feel different? What is the town’s problem with her? Why did some enchantress sic a curse on a kid? How are the servants so dadgum cheerful all the time when their impending doom is upon them? The truth is, yeah, Belle IS different and she really feels it. She’s lonely. She’s aching over a mother she never knew. The Beast was a grown man who was capable of making better decisions, so, that’s a relief. The truth is the servants have beautifully hopeful hearts, but there is grief, oh! Such deep, deep grief over what they have lost and what they stand to lose.

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Beauty and The Beast gave me the gift of grief, which made the discovery of joy that much more beautiful.

What a gift. What a gift. To be reminded of who we are, but also to be given more. We are older now, hopefully, wiser, and we have room for even bigger lessons to fit into our hearts.

I have yet to see Christopher Robin, but as a child who grew up on Winnie the Pooh I know I’m going to love it. The gift Pooh and his friends gave us was the gift of valuing the things and people that really matter. The little things, the simple, extraordinary, earth-moving things. And Pooh gave us the gift of wonder.

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Dumbo is going to be beautiful. It’s going to teach us to fight for what we love. To see value in people that others have cast aside.

Aladdin is going to thrill my soul. It’s going to show the struggle of a boy who has been nothing his whole life rising to the occasion to build a life for himself and for a woman he loves and cherishes. It’s going to show a young woman who is in a strategic place of influence but is also trapped by tradition and expectations, and she has to navigate the situation in a way that takes care of everyone she is responsible for.

I teared up when I saw The Lion King trailer. That story is timeless and applicable to everyone. Our place and purpose in this world matters. We cannot let evil drive us away from that.

Mulan is going to be a dramatic story about a woman fighting a life and death struggle for her nation, and doing it with a threat of death hanging over her own head. Talk about inspiring!

My friends, my dear friends. Unclench your hands, and open your hearts!

It’s fine if you want to love the animated ones more. This is a free country, you can like and dislike what you want. I may see one of these live-action films someday and think, “Nope, that wasn’t my cup of tea.” I am not making a law for myself that I MUST love each one of these stories more than the original.

But consider what is being presented to us. Consider the fact that Disney GAVE us these stories in the first place, they know how precious they are to their fans.

So enjoy your animated movies, enjoy the heck out of them! Share them with your kids, build precious memories! But don’t walk around feeling robbed and angry, embrace the time we are in now!

That is my opinion. Disney is giving us more than just the bare necessities, they are giving us a whole new world.

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Disney Live Action: Treasure Planet

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Spider-Man Far From Home: Peter Parker, Next Level

What a delightful surprise to have this Spider-Man trailer dropped in our lap this morning. If you haven’t seen it yet, take 3 minutes and enjoy yourself!

Currently, this is the Marvel movie I am most looking forward to. I know that sounds like crazy talk with Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame on the docket for this year, but I’m telling you, I love the fresh perspective that this sweet boy brings.

Spider-Man: Homecoming was a beautiful movie. There are many movies out there termed “coming of age”. What that really means is, “let’s show teenagers drinking, having sex, and making stupid decisions that could have long-lasting consequences but oh well that’s life so let’s enjoy it”.

Yep, that’s totally the kind of movie I want to take my 13-or-more-year-old child (because yes, teenagers are still learning how to transfer from childhood thinking to adult thinking) to. That’s totally the kind of behavior I want them to emulate.

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I for one am sick of it. The kind of trash we are giving to teens is ridiculous, non-beneficial, and teaches them nothing but how to make huge mistakes in a time when they are already struggling to find their way.

Enter, Peter Parker. Ah! Yes! This is what a coming-of-age movie SHOULD BE! Here we have a teenager who is a good kid. He works hard, he’s kind to people, he loves his aunt. And, oh yeah, he’s a superhero!

So, starting off, Peter Parker is already a shining example of someone I want young people to appreciate. He gives value to the right things, treats people with respect, and has a true heart to serve.

That would have been cool enough, but Marvel took it a level further. They showed us how even good intentions can be hazardous if used at the wrong time, and in the wrong context.

We felt Peter Parker’s growing pains. He wants to be a big hero. He has the heart, but he lacks the maturity and decision-making skills wrought by experience to be ready for the job he thinks he wants.

The disgusting movies I mentioned above are often justified by, “Oh, that’s life, everyone sows some wild oats and makes mistakes!” True, mistakes are often made. But they do not have to be the kind of mistakes that are glorified as “life experience” in those films. You know, the kind that can lead to ODs, STDS, car accidents, etc.

What I loved in Homecoming is that we get to see Peter making mistakes. True mistakes that so many of us with good intentions have made. It shows that just being a “good kid” and having “good intentions” are not enough. There is a level of wisdom and maturity required.

Peter employs his new wisdom at the end of the movie when he recognizes that he has a lot to learn, and he chooses to take the slower path to become a rising star because he’s learned the value of “faithful in little, faithful in much”. He knows just how much he doesn’t know, and he respects the process.

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As we all have seen, Peter is called to a big battle far sooner than he ever anticipated when he joins in against The Mad Titan himself in Infinity War. And our baby Avenger ROCKS IT! This kid is totally going places!

So, with all of that knowledge, I found myself just a bit confused by these slightly confrontational and challenging words uttered by Nick Fury to our friendly-neighborhood Spider-Man.

You’ve got gifts, Parker. But we have a job to do…are you going to step up and do it or not?

Uhhh, didn’t he just majorly step it up? What are we fussing about? Obviously, we have no idea what just happened in Endgame. Clearly Peter’s fate was reversed or erased somehow, but what happened in between?

And then I caught on, oh, these fightin’ words from Nick Fury are about 2 important pieces in Peter Parker’s arc.

1. PTSD

Like I said, we have no idea what just went down. Did Peter’s mentor/father figure Tony make it out of the battle? What did Peter have to do in order to come back to his life as we see it in this trailer? Who did he lose?

Peter looks at his suit hanging in his closet and you can see the reluctance in his eyes. Grief? Fear? A desire to forget?

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He may be Spider-Man, but whatever he just went through is making him just want to be Peter Parker for a while.

This is so natural. Often our gifts require us to do really hard, sometimes traumatic things. We were needed, vital to that moment and that situation to set things right, but it cost us. And we are carrying the scars to prove it. This face is holding some scars. And when this happens, often we want to pull back from that aspect of who we are because it hurts too badly.

I don’t blame him, even though I know he can’t stay this way. If you watch the International Trailer, you will see that May sent his suit along anyway. This is very telling about their relationship. People who love you remember who you are even if you have forgotten, they believe even when you can’t.

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2. Faithful in Little Leads to More, More Is Scary, But More Is Necessary For Growth

Despite the fact that Peter has gone toe to toe with Thanos, he did it with his mentor and the best warriors in the universe. He wasn’t alone. Even now he’s not truly alone, clearly we’ve got Fury lurking in the shadows, plus this mysterious and cool Black Spider-Man who appears briefly in the trailer. I get the feeling that Ned and MJ are going to be a very important part of supporting Peter as he takes this next step.

Peter has been faithful in little. He may think that he needs to keep being little for a while longer, but life is telling him something else. It’s time to level up, kid. Whether you feel ready or not.

What is right for us in one season is not always right for another. This is a new day, a new era, a new world. It’s time to extend the comfort zone, Parker. I know you’re scared, but you’re not alone, and you can do this.

We believe in you.

I cannot wait for this movie. Peter Parker is a great role model for children, teenagers, and adults alike. I am so excited that we get to “grow up” with this character!

Until next time, Marvel fans!

Here is the international trailer with a few more scenes and wider shots.

Avengers Endgame: Steve’s Past, Or His Future

If you haven’t seen the Avengers: Endgame trailer by now, then drop everything and take a moment to inhale this heroic humanity…

Aside from Scott Lang being the delightful goober that he is (I would have died of misery if I hadn’t had his comic relief during Ant-Man and the Wasp to ease the tension of this year’s movies)…

…the best part of this trailer to me is Steve and Nat.

I was originally very disappointed with Infinity War as I felt that everything was off.

For the large variety of unique and beloved characters the Russo Brothers had at their disposal, I felt like some characters were given all the spotlight while others (like Steve and Nat) were left backstage. Add to that the ridiculous melee that took place in Wakanda that was in complete opposition to that country’s entire infrastructure, I was unimpressed.

Some time has caused me to view a few aspects of the movie more gently.

No, there is no excuse for that ridiculous melee. Sorry, Mr. Russos’, there is no excuse. The most basic military strategy available is to NOT pile all of your warriors and resources in one big mass and yell “charge” at the enemy!

infinity war melee

I don’t care if you have a Force Field or people with powers. It was a gross misuse of your resources and insulted my intelligence. You made it even worse by placing the world’s greatest soldier, Captain America, and the King of the World’s most advanced technological and military nation, T’Challa, at the head as leaders.

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That was an insult. I don’t care if you thought it looked glorious, especially Thor’s stunning entrance, it was insanity and we all knew it. Here’s another article that shares some (not all) of my sentiments regarding this film.

But, there is nothing I can do about that now. The mess has been made. People are gone (PETER PARKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). I have read a few articles since then that have given me a bit more perspective.

I now know that showcasing characters like the Guardians, Tony Stark, Dr. Strange, and Bruce Banner was a conscious choice.

They are reactive characters and when something happens, they react immediately. Characters like Steve, Nat, Falcon, etc tend to dig in and deal with the problem at hand, saving their reactions and or breakdowns for after the fact.

Therefore, as was shown by the trailer above, and confirmed by an article I read, we will actually be getting more of The First Avenger and The World’s Greatest Spy, Steve and Nat, in Avengers: Endgame.

It’s been theorized and practically confirmed that time travel will be the solution to defeating the Mad Titan and getting half of the universe back. Actors have been spotted in their Battle of New York costumes from the original Avengers movie, which leads us to the conclusion that we are going to be blasting to the past to save the future.

Natasha: This is gonna work, Steve.

Steve: I know it is, cause I don’t know what I’m gonna do if it doesn’t.

These dramatic and beautiful lines come right on the heels of a quick scene where we are shown Steve looking at his old compass from the 1940s, the one containing a cutout picture of Peggy Carter, his first love.

Mixing this highly emotional moment with the idea of time travel obviously leads many fans to this question: after he saves the world (again) will Steve choose to return back to his original time and be with his first love for a lifetime? Will we actually get to have that dance?

My answer?

No.

And…yes.

the nomad

First, on a practical note, both Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter have been major power players, forces of good in world history. To misplace them, to change their destinies would be to rearrange the Marvel Universe as we know it.

Peggy Carter’s story was continued in the brilliant series Agent Carter that was ended far too soon. Oh, yeah, Dear Disney, if you are looking for another pet show that needs a renewal on your streaming service, LOOK NO FURTHER THAN THE QUEEN OF MARVEL HERSELF! It’s ridiculous that this show hasn’t been renewed already.

Peggy Carter

In the short 2 seasons that the show was allowed, we saw just what a huge impact Agent Margaret (Peggy) Carter was going to have on the world. She runs circles around literally everyone else. She’s faster, stronger, smarter, and has the best lipstick in the business.

Peggy would go on to fight Hydra as well as forces from other worlds her entire life. She created SHIELD. She was vital to keeping the world as stable and safe as it was by the time Steve awoke from his chilly beauty sleep. In Agents of Shield, Season 2 during Hydra’s big “coming out party” (contemporary to The Winter Soldier) it was revealed by high-level Hydra baddies that the one reason they hadn’t revealed themselves sooner is that they had to wait for Peggy Carter to retire.

They knew she’d kick their face in. So let that sink in, folks. Peggy Carter singlehandedly kept Hydra at bay for 70 bloomin’ years.

It is obvious that Steve Rogers will forever be a part of Peggy’s heart. Even as we watch her learn to let him go and move on with someone equally special and wonderful, we know that Steve lives on in her legacy.

The bond between Steve and Peggy is still deeply obvious in that beautiful and gut-wrenching scene in The Winter Soldier. Steve’s grief at Peggy’s funeral speaks of the still deep connection that is never going to end. We know how special these two were to each other, and how special they remain to us.

Sad Steve

I don’t need to tell you all how different the world would be if Steve stayed in the past. We’ve seen that play out before our eyes.

My point is this…it just doesn’t work to change the timeline. I am an avid Flash fan, believe me, peeps, I know what I am talking about.

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Point 2, Steve Rogers is not the same man he was in the 1940s.

The story of Steve Rogers is one of triumph and tragedy. The thought of being ripped away from your entire world and everyone you hold dear is horrifying, to some, a fate worse than death.

But of all things, we know that Steve Rogers is not a quitter.

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So he didn’t quit. He jumped back into the fight and kept going.

Steve has had a busy arc. He started out as the knight-with-shining-shield of his day, Captain America: The First Avenger. Next, he was a man out of time who tried really hard, Avengers. Steve integrated himself with the world following that event, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He made some friends and kept fighting the good fight. But something wasn’t sitting right. He was told it was his problem, he needed to get with the program. Good thing Captain America is actually terrible at following bad orders because he ended up being right.

After that Steve wasn’t going to apologize for what he believed to be right. He also showcases a rather frightening belief that fighting is kind of his destiny. Avengers: Age of Ultron. There is no world for him outside of this never-ending battle. No picket fence, no wife, no mini Steves running around. It’s a natural place for his character to go. He’s tired.

Next up, Captain America: Civil War. Steve chooses what he feels in his gut to be right, and he chooses the person who needs him most over being the status quo Captain America. He drops the shield and goes to discover who he is outside of Captain America.

Tony Stark to Peter Parker : If you’re nothing without the suit then you shouldn’t have it.

The above statement is a good one for any hero. Having seen Steve from his slim beginnings, clearly, we all knew that Steve Rogers is more than just a suit. But I think Steve needed to remind himself of that.

Avengers: Infinity War. We didn’t get much of Steve, but we saw was quite clear. He is not apologizing anymore. He’s going to take care of this world whether we like it or not. #hot And he’s still a really, really nice guy. He looks a bit tired, and yet, there is burning energy that wasn’t there before. Perhaps he hasn’t accepted the fact that his future is decided yet? It’s like he’s freshly alive, freshly awake…

Future.

Steve is not the same man he was in the 1940s. I believe he loved Peggy Carter with all of his being, but that is a past dream. It just a beautiful memory now. He still has the same noble heart, but he’s tread different soil. He’s got family here. He’s made a mark on the world, and he may actually want to stick around to appreciate it.

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I do think we may finally get our dance scene. It has been teased before and we have walked away disappointed. Despite the fact that Steve needs to move on, it would be appropriate to have one dance with his best girl. I believe Nat (whether she is just a friend, or more) would fully approve. Heck, she’d help him fix his tie and take photos for him on the dance floor!

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Life is not about trying to recreate every perfect and beautiful moment from the past. Our good memories are to be treasured, but life is about living in the here and now. It’s making the most of this moment that you are currently living.

If whatever “this” is actually works, and Steve makes it out (there are substantial rumors that he may not actually be leaving for good), Steve Rogers has a future here. 

Characters have to keep moving forward or they become stale. Steve is moving forward, and if he has a future in this world, it’s going to be here and now with either Sharon or Nat (please be Nat, PLEASE BE NAT).

Welcome home, Captain Rogers.

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Dear Chris Evans

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I skipped over this the other day because I was having a heavy week and I didn’t need to add to the emotion. But I have loved Steve Rogers aka Captain America too much to say nothing, and you are an integral part of that character. So here is my two-cents worth.

Steve Rogers is like a breath of fresh air in a city of smog. In a world crowded with selfish people, and Steve Rogers is selfless.

Steve fights wrong/evil ideologies and beliefs, which usually means fighting people, but Steve has a marked difference. He fights bloody wars and does so without hatred. There are millions of people today who have never actually had to shed blood to protect what they believe, and yet they still walk around full of hatred. They dehumanize those who do not agree with them. To them, mere disagreement is the same thing as actual evil and oppression.

I don’t want to kill anyone, I just don’t like bullies, I don’t care where they come from. (Steve Rogers, Captain America: The First Avenger)

There are actual people in this world who want to kill someone for the mere reason that the person disagrees with them. It’s sickening, it’s cruel, it’s evil. 

Steve is a beautiful example of what freedom actually means. Steve knows what he believes, and he won’t apologize for it.

Captain America Quote 1

He’ll even die for what he knows to be true.

But he will not hate.

There was a marked difference in Steve Roger’s approach to his opposition in Captain America: Civil War, vs the government and even Tony Stark’s approach. They came with anger, blame, and misused the facts.

Steve did his research, he did his thinking, and he decided his answer to them was no. But he never hated. He willingly bled for what he believed in, but he never hated.

That’s one price he’s never been willing to pay.

Dear America, we have a lot to learn from Captain America.

Captain America

Steve Rogers is kind. He gives second chances all the time, even if it means he has to put himself at risk.

Steve Rogers is a gentleman. He treats everyone regardless of age, position, or gender with respect. He treats women like ladies while regarding them as valuable friends and partners in this battle between good and evil. His friendship/relationship with Natasha Romanoff is one of my most favorite things in movie history. Steve builds up the men around him, rather than tearing them down in order to make himself feel more powerful. That is what a truly powerful man does.

Steve is humble. He doesn’t live his life to prove something, rather he proves something every day that he just lives his life. He gives courage for normally weaker people to say no because he said no first, and because he believes in them.

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Steve is the kind of leader that enables everyone else to go higher, faster, and be better than before. He’s the kind of leader that takes responsibility, but not unnecessary guilt. He protects his team even while he trusts them to fulfill the roles given to them.

Steve is the kind of best friend everyone wants. He never gives up on you even while he will also call you on the carpet about your crap. He’s the kind of friend who makes you better.

Steve is not perfect. He makes mistakes, he hurts people, he has good intentions that go awry. Sometimes he has a really bad day and he takes it out on others (essentially the first hour of Avengers.) That’s okay with me, though. Someone doesn’t have to be perfect for me to love them. Steve is a real person. He loves, he laughs, and he grieves. He does his best, he falls down and gets back up, and he tries to tackle the problem right in front of him. He has dreams, he has people he would walk through hell for, and he believes in things strongly. He’s a real person.

the nomad

I could go on and on about everything Steve Rogers is, but now I want to say what Steve Rogers is to me.

Steve Rogers aka Captain America is a hero of mine. For the past 6 years (yes, I got into the superhero game a few years late), he’s been a shining beacon of hope and delight for me. The past 6 years have been so, so hard. Hard, monotonous, ever-changing, exhausting years. But during all of that time, I have been watching Captain America.

I have worn the t-shirts. I sleep under a Captain America blanket at night. I have spent hours talking/writing about this character I adore. I have made new friends because of my love for Captain America.

Dear Chris Evans, the Steve Rogers/Captain America you have played has given me hope. He has encouraged me. I have memorized his/your face. The different moods, expressions, and feelings. I know what he would say in different situations.

I have a favorite Steve smile. It’s not a full blown, knock-your-socks-off-smile. It’s a small, quirk of a smile. It brings a sparkle to his eyes and I feel like I can see his soul. I love that smile. It’s one of my favorite smiles in the world actually. It makes me want to smile and cry all at the same time. And it gives me hope. It has given me delight. It has brought me sunshine on cloudy days.

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Dear Chris Evans, I know you are not Steve Rogers/Captain America. You are your own person. You have your own dreams, your own hurts, your own fears. You have moments where you laugh, and moments where you grieve. You have favorite places, foods, and stories. There are people that you love. There are things in this world that make you feel afraid and vulnerable. There are empty spaces in your heart that you want to know how to fill.

Chris, I don’t know you. But as a fellow human being, I know some pieces of you because I am the same. And I want to tell you something as another human being.

You matter. Even if you had never played my beloved superhero, you would have mattered just as much. You do not matter because you are handsome (very handsome). You do not matter because you are strong. You do not matter because you can be cute and witty. You do not matter because you are famous. You do not matter because you are rich…

…you matter because God loves you and you were made in His image. And that makes you worth more than priceless gems.

I don’t know if anyone has ever told you that. I hope they have. I hope that in your life you get to discover just how amazing God is, how much He loves you, and that He is the thing your soul is lacking. I hope you find out that Jesus died for you thousands of years before you were born. I hope you discover that even if you had been the only person on Planet Erath Jesus still would have died for you because you mean that much to Him.

I hope and pray you will come to know that.

I don’t know if you will ever read this post. It’d be super cool if you did. 😉 But I wanted to say thank you.

Thank you as a 16-year-old girl who found a hero she could root for. Thank you as a 17-year-old-girl who was lonely and depressed and tired, but always felt a little something when she thought about Captain America. Thank you as an 18-year-old-girl who was struggling to finish high school but still had something to look forward to. Thank you as a 19-20-year-old chick who gained some major street cred at the school where she worked because she watched the same movies her students did. Thank you as a 21-year-old who like Captain America, had experienced broken relationships and broken people, but still kept getting up every day.

Thank you as a 22-year-old-woman who is preparing to say “so long” to a favorite hero of hers, but not goodbye. Steve Rogers is an important part of the fabric of my story and he always will be.

Thanks again, and I’m with you to the end of the line.

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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

 

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

 

Timeless Series Finale: The Hearts that Change History

If you are a #clockblocker, have a #clockblocker friend, or live within a 500 mile radius of any #clockblockers, you have probably heard the news by now.

Timeless is getting a series finale, and the fans are getting closure.

laughing gif

This is a rare gift that most cancelled shows never get. Sure, they may get a few follow-up movies, which are often a bigger disappointment than if nothing had been done at all!

I do not fear that in the case of #Timeless If there is anything our show creators have proven, it is that they understand proper storytelling and know how to make the most of whatever time they are given! I have laughed, I have cried, I have had a roiling stomach full of anxiety in the 26 episodes we have had the joy of watching.

There is no way this series finale should have happened. No way. And yet, here we are.

never tell me the ods

The passion of Timeless fans has blown me away (and honestly, scared me at times ;)). You do not quit! Who hires a helicopter to fly over ComicCon? WHO DOES THAT?

Clockblockers, that’s who.

We have 2 more episodes to complete the beautiful saga of Lucy, Wyatt, Rufus, Jiya, Flynn, Denise, Conner, and *gags*, Emma!

This show has touched us deeply. The characters are real people, who are carrying wounded hearts and fears just like we are. They are going back into some of the best and the worst moments of history, and being given a chance to make a difference. As they have evolved as characters, they are changing not just the past, not just the present, but the future as well. And they are changing each other.

We can learn so much from these characters. These ordinary, flawed people who were called to a place to heroism not by choice, but by circumstance, and they chose to take on the responsibility. They didn’t do it perfectly. They made plenty of mistakes, they broke hearts, they hurt themselves and others. But there is one thing that they haven’t done, and that is given up.

Sure, they have considered giving up. That’s only human. But something or someone always drew them back into the fight. We have seen them grow into kinder, stronger, more capable people even as they are being broken in new ways and facing harder obstacles.

I believe this show has touched so many hearts because most of us want to make a difference. We see the compassion and ferocity of Lucy’s heart and we say I want to be like Lucy when I grow up. We see Wyatt’s protective spirit and feel drawn to defend those in need. We see Rufus show up to work, terrified every day, and still, he keeps showing up. And we say to ourselves, If Rufus can do it, I can too. 

We’ve seen Jiya embrace the terrifying and come out as a warrior. We have seen Denise take a ragtag group of hurting people and draw them under her wing of support and strength. We have seen Conner transform from a selfish slimeball to someone with a team/family mindset. We have seen a broken and hurting man, Flynn, rediscover the truth of who he is in his heart. Someone who loves and protects.

Ordinary people, doing the extraordinary.

These are the hearts that change history. It is my desire and hope that all who have watched this show will walk away changed. That they will face obstacles and keep going. That they will treat everyone with kindness, whether they agree with them or not. That they will protect those in need of protection. That they will have grace for their mistakes and determination to continue. That they will find people to connect with and face life together, just like our Time Team has.

I already believe these things, as a daughter of the King of Kings and an ambassador of His grace and light. These themes are life-changing, my friends. World-changing! So let these things take root in your heart and be encouraged.

These are the hearts that change history.

Here’s to you, #clockblockers!

war to end all wars

In celebration of this momentous occasion, I am offering a discount to all my Timeless fan store products, this discounted link is valid thru Sunday! Celebrate your favorite moments and characters with a fun tee or mug!

I have US and EU options! You all are amazing, see you when we all show up to #saverufus!

https://teespring.com/stores/timeless-fan-store?pr=TMLS

 

Copy of _discount thru Sunday#timeless