My Favorites from 2016

I did this last year and I really wanna do it for last year too, even though it’s already mid-Feb. XD What were your favorites this year? These are mine!

Favorite Movie

My favorite movie from the whole year was Captain America: Civil War. It’s probably been the biggest payoff movie to a film franchise that I’ve followed or watched in my life. All those superheroes all coming together like that, for one of biggest most enjoyable fight scenes ever…plus all the emotional punches and clashes…it was perfect. As a Marvel fan who’s invested money and time to follow this series, I felt very much rewarded!

Runners Up: Deadpool, Passengers, Finding Dory, Arrival, Doctor Strange, Zootopia.

Favorite Music

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Susumu Hirasawa, Sia, Lindsey Stirling, Odesza just scratch the surface of all the music that became my new favorite this year; I introduced myself to Madonna too, and select pop songs throughout the year.

In the playlist below, I compiled 30 songs that I keenly remember listening to this past year,or that remind me of something that was going on when I discovered it. There’s a strong memory imprinted on each of them. You can read about them on the playlist on YouTube if you’d like. Feel free to scroll through it and help yourself to maybe some new music (there’s soundtracks and all sorts of songs sprinkled in there!)

Favorite Anime

I began watching JoJo way back at the beginning of the year. I watched three full seasons by April to watch the new season weekly with James (it was one of his favorite stories and I said as a Christmas present I would catch up and watch with him.) Wow, was it worth it. I watched this show weekly from April alllllll the way to December and it was flipping awesome. Brilliant genre twists, creativity out of this world, with truly lovable, quirky characters who sneaked into my heart: it was anime of the year for me and James for sure!

Runners Up: Mob Psycho 100, KonoSuba, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, The Diasterous Life of Saiki K., Flip Flappers, Sweetness and Lightning, Orange, ReLife.

FAVORITES FROM MY SOCIAL MEDIA:

TWITTER:

INSTAGRAM

Tink's surgery went well. Praying the tumor doesn't return. 💞🐾

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Dramatic black lighting made this photo actually awesome. XD #nofilter

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Last night's finale!

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Cozy cozy.

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Fastest blanket I've ever crocheted. 😊👍🏻💞

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These are some of my favorite Instagram posts; they capture some big moments, as well as some small ones that I’d nearly forgotten!

PINTEREST

I love my “Me” Pinterest board; I’ve been art, quotes, and images that I feel truly capture an esences of who I am. It’s been wonderful for self-exploration and identifying with my core personality and how I process or think of things! ❤

I made this to collect all the reasons why distance doesn’t matter when it comes to love. ❤

This is of a story I want to write one day; scraps of the plot are scrapping together, and I have magazine clippings from ages ago that have the same vibe for the same story. I decided to make a board for it. ❤

Final Thoughts

This year I did so much! I’ll be recapping some of the things I accomplished in an upcoming post soon in that regard. But looking back over this post, I already really appreciate all the little memories social media saved for me. Plus, I discovered some of the best music ever this past year, and CIVIL WAR WAS JUST AMAZING. xD So, what were your favorite things this year?

~Jamie

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Top 100 Favorite Movies|20-11

Well, we’ve hit my top twenty (plus a bonus in this post-because of rearranging.) Although I’ve loved that I’ve been able to do this blog series, I’m also excited to be near the end! No lie; it has been very challenging to come up with 100 mini reviews within the past two months. Still, I’ve been thrilled just to have achieved this task of ranking some of my favorite movies, even if they rearrange themselves every so often. Seriously, it’s a huge accomplishment for me personally! Okay, enough talking, let’s go!

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20. How to Train Your Dragon | 2010 | PG

This actually feels a little low for How To Train Your Dragon because this movie is genuinely awesome–like, pretty much everything about it is awesome. I tend to be a little protective of the film-it always made me mad to hear church friends call Hiccup a modern day wimp, even before I watched the movie. Hiccup is one of my favorite animated characters Dreamworks has ever made because he’s a hard worker even though his size prohibited him from being like everyone else. He’s an underdog, he’s compassionate, smart, has a fun sense of humor and brave enough to change his entire culture by learning to not be afraid of new knowledge. Besides Hiccup and Toothless (who can dislike Toothless) being some of my favorite characters, the film has an amazing soundtrack, fantastic visuals, lots of fu and suspense along with the interesting setting of the Vikings. How To Train Your Dragon is very easily one of the best animated films I’ve seen and it’s very easy for it to be in my top twenty!

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19. The Help | 2011 | PG-13

Earlier I said “The Devil Wears Prada” was my highest ranked chick-flick and I would continue to hold to that statement because The Help, although a film that would appeal more to women, has content more deep than one would normally find in a “chick-flick”. Once again, Emma Stone is perfection, this time as Skeeter, an aspiring writer looking to talk about something deeper; with the invaluable help of Minny and Aibileen, she goes attempts to do just that. I love this movie for how many issues it touches without being overwhelming–standing up for something you believe in, even when it’s very very scary; being bold enough to write something revolutionary; learning that people are not always what they seem; learning what real beauty is: all with depth, humor, and heart. The story is moving and encouraging and sad and quite funny! A chick flick this is not.

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(Bonus) 19. Men in Black | 1997 | PG-13

Some last minute rearranging led to have Men In Black bumped around a tad bit; it is technically now the new number 19. 😛 Anyway. Men in Black! When I put the film into my laptop, I didn’t know much about it at all except that it was very popular, but that can mean so many things when it comes to certain movies, right?! So, I went in with no expectations and was shocked to fall in love with it as the film got going. In fact, I’m mad that I didn’t get to see it sooner than I did. I’ve always liked Tommy Lee Jones but this movie made me really love Will Smith. The combination of the two actors is a match made in heaven. Besides the enjoyable science-fiction/super-secret agent elements, it was also just darn funny and exciting! Definitely stood up to the hype and was incredibly fun! So, bumped up high because of surprise elements and brilliant script, MIB is definately one of my very favorites.

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18. Despicable Me | 2010 | PG

Despicable Me; it looks like one of those cheesy kid movies, and in some ways it is. It’s also heart warming and plain freaking hilarious . The minions are pretty much the pinnacle of success when it comes to comedy and animation. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the minions. Steve Carrel is perfect as Gru; the accent and everything is what makes the character so great. The three girls are very lovable and they balance each other’s personalities out well. Their interaction with Gru is great. One of my favorite parts about this movie is Gru’s transition from his bad guy persona to willing father to three girls who need a dad and what he’s willing change  for them. Considering I’ve seen my own dad choose things over me, these moments in the film are very touching to me, especially near the end. So, packing a punch to funny bone and heartstrings, Despicable Me is one of the best non-Disney movies in my book!

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17.  Iron Man | 2008 | PG-13

(I swear foreign posters are always the coolest–I had to use at least one! :P) The beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, Iron Man is still one of the best superhero movies I’ve ever seen. What a strong start! Tony Stark’s origin as a playboy genius turned terrorist fighter is rendered beautifully in this film. Tony Stark is one of my very favorite heroes because his journey towards heroism is gradual but real. I still consider Tony Stark one of my top ten favorite fictional heroes ever. Iron Man also introduced one of my favorite female characters from comic book origin, Pepper Potts. Pepper and her relationship with Tony is set perfectly in the first film and developed well throughout the Iron Man movies. I’m always grateful that the relationship was not rushed within this particular film as it kept it realistic and more lovable. Besides the AMAZING soundtrack, humor and heart, Iron Man is a fantastic superhero movie that begins one of my favorite franchises perfectly.

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16. Iron Man 3 | 2013 | PG-13

In which Tony Stark continues to get even more awesome! This was the perfect place to pick up right after The Avengers and it was also just a great continuation of Tony Stark’s story. The Tony in Iron Man 3 is way more sensitive and mature than the Tony in the first Iron Man. This is what continually reminds me that Tony is one of my favorite heroes. He’s still himself while becoming more responsible and dependable, like a real hero. Besides the movie just being all around entertaining, hysterical, and engaging, I really appreciated how much raw soul we got from the characters. There nothing like a “former” bad*ss superhero now dealing with panic attacks and making more effort than ever to make his girl feel secure in their relationship–seemingly small scale things that are actually very relatable, relevant and important! As Tony becomes more and more real, the more amazing he becomes. And Pepper Potts; she was just AWESOME in this movie. Also the climatic ending of this movie is one of my ultimate favorites.

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15. Wreck-It Ralph | 2012 | PG

I’M GOING TO SAY THIS FOR THE ONE THOUSANDTH TIME. THIS IS UNDERRATED GENIUS. From the minute I saw the first trailer, I knew I would love this movie. And boy is it good. I love the video game world that was constructed–the whole world just reeks with brilliant creativity! The plot delivery is great and main characters are so lovable! However, my favorite aspect of the movie is it’s message. I saw Wreck-It Ralph during a point in my life when I really didn’t know what was “me” and what was ‘what other people wanted me to be” and it was very confusing. I was at a place where I was becoming tired of trying to please everyone, of trying to keep from stepping on toes in my Christian circles and was slightly conflicted on what my dad wanted me do/be and what I felt was right. Wreck-It Ralph was a beautiful, funny yet perfectly timed reminder that the best thing to be in life is yourself.

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14. Thor: The Dark World | 2013 | PG-13

Oh my gosh this movie was so fun. Haha, that could be the tag line: Thor The Dark World: so much fun. While I was a little worried about how they would handle post-New York Loki, Marvel was amazing and handled him and Thor beautifully. What I loved best about Thor The Dark World was how well they continued the main characters’ stories while delivering a fantastic theater experience. It. was. so. fun! Thor and Loki’s brother dynamic was explored more and that was one of my favorite parts. I do not understand the hate for Jane, I loved her in this movie and waiting for the reunion between her and Thor was also high on my list of priorities for the movie to cover. I was pleased with the result! Despite Darcy being a little over the top, I can’t come up with any complaints that I have about the movie. It was everything I wanted from the Thor sequel and easily one of the most enjoyable times for at the theater!

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13. Die Hard | 1988 | R

The action genre at it’s best. I repeat, it’s best. I’m serious, I consider this the unrivaled king of action films because it’s basically as close as you can get to perfection. Especially in this genre where 90% of recent action movies can’t seem to handle a good plot, special effects, decent humor and believable characters all at once (resulting in the characters becoming limp, thus the inevitable flop into the mud.) Die Hard delivers the opposite of that in spades. Basically, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, you need to do whatever you have to do to see it. So, besides it being perfection, why else is it so high on my list? One name: John McClane. Your every day cop pushed beyond the limits. He’s such a great character, who not only is a perfect bad*ss action hero but also goes through some fantastic character development! One of the most touching parts to me is when he realizes what he should have done differently in his struggling marriage and takes it to heart. I wish I could have seen this in real life from my own dad, but the next best is from the good heroes in the movies. That’s what I’ll always say. Yippee-ki-yay!

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12. Captain America: the Winter Soldier | 2014 | PG-13

Of all The Avenger sequels, I was most worried about this one for the sake of my favorite Avenger. I didn’t want Steve Rogers’ conservative beliefs to be changed, watered down, or compromised to “make all audiences happy.” I didn’t want Sharon Carter to be introduced right away as a love interest and loose the specialness that Steve and Peggy had had. I didn’t want Natasha’s character to be handled wrong or taken in a weird direction. Thankfully, Marvel delivered and my faith in them is now stronger than ever before. 😀 I personally was relieved that my favorite superhero wasn’t tampered with but was delighted that he and his beliefs were respected throughout the film. So, not only was it amazing sequel to The First Avenger/The Avengers, it delivered it’s own story keeping true to the heart of what Captain America actually represents. Five stars from me!

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11. The Avengers | 2012 | PG-13

The Avengers bounced up and down my list constantly, from between my top forty and top ten. It was hard finding even a temporary point for this film. It’s not like I rewatch The Avengers all the time or anything like several of the movies in my top ten. However, it has finally settled here at number eleven, and so many of you have already seen it that I shouldn’t need to go into too much explanation as to the specialness of this movie. Because even though it didn’t make my top ten, The Avengers and it’s many movies have had a beautiful impact on my life. This movie is what I consider “comic book spirit adaption” perfection. Marvel gave us something very special. It gave me something special. Superheroes in New York. Who knew it could be so funny, touching, and exciting! That’s what movies are all about.

~Jamie

The Winter Soldier (short n’ spoiler free)

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(I’m keeping this short since the movie just came out.) I saw Captain America The Winter Soldier Friday evening with my sister and we both really loved it! During a scene, Kayla randomly leaned over to me and whispered, “This the best movie ever!” That pretty much summed up my feelings too.

It was awesome seeing Steve Rogers front and center again. It was his movie The First Avenger that brought The Avengers into my sights in the first place. I fell in love with his heart, character and nobility. I take a moment now to say thank you to Marvel for the amount of energy and thoughtfulness that has been put into translating this character onto the screen without making him seem preachy or over in-your-face-patriotic or trying to make him more liberal. They’ve done right by him and that makes me extremely happy.

What makes this movie so great is that Steve shares this movie with SHIELD. Natasha Romanoff was amazing in this movie; she and Steve make such a great team. I really liked seeing more of her and I’m glad she got to share the spotlight. We also got to see a lot more of Nick Fury during the first half; it was very exciting seeing him in action rather than just directing people around. 😀 As to the rest of the movie, there was tons of fantastic action, intimate emotional moments, excellent introduction to The Falcon and some good twists throughout the plot!

Other than a few technical things that bothered me (two action scenes were little hard to follow because of the cinematography) I have practically no complaints about the movie! I highly highly recommend getting to a theater as soon as earthly possible to see this if you haven’t yet!

~Jamie

Top 100 Favorite Movies: Intro

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EDIT: Here are the links to each post below!

100-91 || 90-81 || 80-71 || 70-61 || 60-51 || 50-41 || 40-31 || 30-21 || 20-11 || 10-1||

James likes to ruin my film life as often as possible (ruin meaning make-even-more-awesome.)  Thank you, James, I count you as a true best friend. 😀

Anyway, he recently shared this link to Flickcharts, where I became addicted to ranking movies against each other for about 72 hours. I came out with a rough list of my top 100 movies! I would never have been able to make this list without it. The idea behind the blog series also comes from James and his top 100 movies. He is, amongst other things, revising that list and I’m really looking forward to seeing it in completion. You should all say thank you to him for letting me borrow his idea. 😀

So far not all my posts are completed; but have no fear, but I shall be working on them faithfully!

There are some things to cover before I start posting my 10 planned posts, though.

No, I couldn’t wait to see Lord of the Rings before doing this; it would have taken too long. Sorry guys. 😛

My list is strictly personal. This is not a “Top 100 Movies Ever Made” list. These are my personal favorites, pitted against each other. A question I asked a lot was, “How often can I rewatch this film and not get tired of it?” For example, some of my ultimate favorite films, like Star Wars, rank lower than some of you might expect: I love Star Wars, but it is not one that I re-watch over and over and over again.

And: this list changes all the time. Every time I re-watch one of these movies, they’re my new favorite, so the numbers a little rough. 🙂 My top ten are also little sketchy as it became too hard to pick my very top ten so I went with my heart and instinct on those. 😀

Anyway, I’m looking forward to posting this series and I hope they are enjoyable.

~Jamie

These Are My Heroes

These are my top nine cinematic personal heroes; the key word being personal. Personal heroes. 🙂 The numbers are also subject to change; heroes One and Two will probably almost always stay there but the rest will probably get bumped around a lot because I always like someone more right after I watch them in their movie or tv show. 😛 So, the numbers are in a figuratively-speaking way.

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9. Tony Stark from The Iron Man Trilogy and The Avengers. Of course he’s in the top nine, are you kidding me! I love Tony and I have to really bite my tongue when I see people hate on him because he’s ‘superficial’ or ‘flashy’. They’re either a) trying hard not to see that he actually does grow throughout four movies or b) they’ve not watched those movies and therefore have not even given him a shot (and no, you can’t just watch The Avengers–you need to see all his movies to make a fair judgement to his character.) Tony Stark has some great character development; yes, he’s extremely superficial to start out. But that’s okay because you can’t grow unless you have problems to deal with. By Iron Man 3 he shows so much deep growth in his core character, like what’s most important to him, that it’s pretty much impossible argue that he’s not made some huge improvements on how he lives in, say, Iron Man 2. Tony Stark is one of my heroes because he manages to work past some of his flaws and learns to put others ahead of himself, which is the true mark of a hero. And he’s Iron Man. How can you not like him.

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8. Obi-Wan Kenobi from The Star Wars Saga. Obi-Wan was my favorite part of Star Wars prequels. What I liked about him was that he was honorable, patient, willing to learn, willing to teach; you could see how he turned out to be such a wise, good man later on. Anakin should have been more like Obi-Wan in AOTC in my opinion; I would have sympathized way way more in his fall if he had been. So, to me, Obi Wan is a great example of a noble hero.

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7. Han Solo from The Star Wars Trilogy. Who’s not going to have Han Solo amongst their heroes? Do I even need to go into detail with him? He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s funny and he’s grows through the three movies into quite an honorable character. He learns to think outside of himself and do things for others! What more do I need to say?

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6. The Doctor from BBC’s Doctor Who Reboot. This is the only alien to make it on this list. 😉 I have only seen the Ninth and Tenth versions of The Doctor but I love them both. Besides saving the world a million times (seriously, it’s, like, what he does for a living,) he’s also just a great being with heroic attributes. He sees value in everything, he’s supportive, he understands freedom, and he doesn’t run away when enemies or problems arise; he tackles them instead. He believes in people when they don’t believe in themselves and is an excellent motivator. And he gives great hugs. 🙂

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5. Luke Skywalker from The Star Wars Trilogy. Luke is that classic character to rise from nothing and achieves greatness. He’s my hero because he had the courage to fight tyranny, aid those in need, and learn from others and then learn from his mistakes. He faced horrible truth without becoming bitter about it (that is very hard thing to do, people, I personally know.) He’s also a great friend, putting himself at risk to help his friends when they’re in trouble. He’s the classic Star Wars hero and no, he is not whiny. I’m sorry, but I need to say this: he whined one line to my memory and whining once doesn’t make you a ‘whiner’. Why don’t you come and tell you’ve never whined once in your life: if you haven’t out loud then you have in your head. People get over yourselves and start appreciating the greatness in this character. (Okay, I’ll stop spouting now. :P)

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4. Rocky Balboa from The Rocky Saga. In some ways, I feel like not a lot of people take Rocky seriously. But I really can’t repeat enough times how much Rocky showed me what a real man’s man is–sorry, I want to go into some details here so you know where I’m coming from; sit tight for me, okay?

I come from a certain church background of six years where certain guys judged other guys, both real and fictional,  if they were quiet or not beefy (real example I know was used: Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon): and immediately stereotyped them as those who have ‘let society turn them into wimps’, who needed to stop playing video games,, who needed to ‘man-up’. Without regard to the fact that God make’s men in all sorts of different body types and personalities. Not all men are naturally loud or naturally physically strong–and that’s completely okay! And the attitude I felt coming from certain men who promoted this idea left a bad taste in my mouth. Being tough and judgmental of other people does not make you a man. It just makes you into a shrimp.

So I was so happy and hopeful when I discovered Rocky. Because here was a guy who was tough, strong, able to take a punch and give one too, but was naturally quiet. He was a gentle guy when off the boxing mat. He was kind, protective of others, a gentlemen to the ladies, and even repentant when he learned he had been wrong about something. Rocky is my hero because he’s what a real man should be like on the inside. And I wish I could have seen this idea come from someone other than a fictional character. But hey, I’ll take it from where I find it.

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3. Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. He’s my rough redneck who turned out to have a heart of gold. He became my hero by watching his character build through struggles and separation from a poisonous influence in his life (aka his older brother); and y’all should know by now that I’m a real sucker for characters with great development. Daryl is my hero because he’s now a noble protector who’s passionate about saving and keeping lives safe, is now respectful of people, and understands that a true family is made of those who build you up and not those who tear you down. He’s a role model to me because he represents that you can survive a bad past, leave behind the shell of who you once were and move on in life with hope. This is something I really need to see as I’ve come out of poisonous relationships myself, so I connect with him to different degrees.

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2. Steve Rogers from Captain America and The Avengers. YOU ALL KNEW HE WAS COMING, DIDN’T YOU! Steve’s my hero for his heart. He has a pure heart. He stands up for others and he has a strong sense of humility that makes him so endearing. That was one of the things that really made him such a huge favorite of mine, was the humility. Like with what I was talking about with Rocky, I’ve gotten tired hearing lot of Christian guys talk pridefully–about anything! And Steve is a breath of fresh air when it comes to not patting himself on the back or becoming full of himself. He has a sense of honor and nobility that is extremely rare in this age. It’s good to see a character like him shining smack in the middle of Hollywood!

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1. Sherlock Holmes (from the original stories, Basil Rathbone’s films and BBC’s Sherlock). Sherlock Holmes is piece of complicated fictional material, in a sense. He’s a flawed character with tendencies to be more like a machine than a human. However, Sherlock Holmes has been one of my biggest heroes for most of my teen life. What are some thing I like about this guy?First, if we’re talking about the original version of Sherlock from the stories, I also love how kind he is towards women. While he has no desire for romance (STOP GIVING HIM ROMANTIC PARTNERS IN THE MOVIES RIGHT NOW IT’S SO NOT IN HIS CHARACTER HOLLYWOOD SOMETIMES YOU DRIVE ME INSANE) his original character was very, very kind and gracious to the fairer sex, and I appreciate that about him a lot. I also like that he is flawed. Near perfect heroes are awesome (CAPTAIN AMERICA) but I like a flawed character too; Sherlock fails on a lot of levels, he’s inconsiderate, he’s does drugs, I mean his really screwed up and I don’t excuse those bad traits. But in a sense they make him a well-rounded character and that’s a good thing. The thing I like most about him, though, is that he lends his gifts to helping others; he doesn’t have too, but he does. And that’s all it takes to be a hero, in my book.

That’s why we can be heroes too; no matter how ordinary or flawed or under-confident we might feel about ourselves compared to the people on the big screen, we can be heroes just like them. The only time it is hard to be a hero is when you are too busy being caught up in yourself.

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I have lots of cinematic heroes; here are some that made it to the honorable mentions. They include Phil Coulson, Thor, Merlin, Nolan Ross, Rick Grimes, Batman, John Watson, Nick Burkhardt and Spider-Man (I’m fairly confident that after I watch a bit more Supernatural, Dean and Sam will easily soar into honorable mentions and one of them might jump into the top nine!)

The only other ‘list/tag’ post I have planned is the Non-Disney animation one but I have a few more movies to watch before I’ll be ready to start doing that one, so we’ll see if I come up with anything else in-between. 🙂

~Jamie