For My Fellow Writers /// 01


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It begins! Welcome to the first post of my new blog series “For My Fellow Writers”, in which I share something that’s helped me in some funny way, in hopes it might help you out too! I hope you all enjoy! ❤

NaNoWriMo is coming up really soon, so I decided to share one of my favorite world building/inspiration resources on our very first entry for “FMFW” in honor of everyone building their worlds right now! I don’t remember where I found this site, I just know that I forget about it too often for loving it as much as I do. (A casual disclaimer, I’m not a big enough blogger for this to be sponsored, so I’m only recommending this because I LOVE IT. XD )

It has a funny simple name of “donjon” and it’s a straightforward generator; I believe it was made for tabletop role-playing games but it is the fantasy/sci-fi writers dream generator for world building and world/story inspiration! Go here for a moment and play around on this page to get a quick taste; be sure to click the drop down tab!

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To list just a few of its amazing, detailed generators, it can create globes and maps of variations and fantasy calendars, along with different types of star systems, adventures, magical items, dungeon levels, and monsters. It generates tons of names and titles for humans, aliens, monsters, inns, spaceships, and planets, too.

These generators are all surprisingly detailed, so you can be about as specific as you want for most things, which is fantastic! I always get super pumped whenever I pop over there to fool around for awhile. I’ve used it to generate random writing prompts; I also use it to shake things up in my head. It’s lots of fun!

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Hopefully some of you who might be writing fantasy or sci-fi this year might find something useful to your world building or writing! Be sure to let me know which generator you find that you didn’t know you needed! XD

(Of course, download things at your own risk, but I don’t remember having trouble with this the last time I used it. You can always take screencaps of the information as well to save as images.)

While I’m still undecided on my participation of NaNoWriMo 2015, I’m all gung-ho on cheering on the rest of you! So don’t be shy to come vent your frustrations or ask for a “you can do it” from me; I’ll have something positive and supportive to say to anyone who needs it whether you are participating or not!

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Also I thought it’d be fun to do another poll! The results of the last one were very helpful! Like last time, this is a multiple choice, so check whichever might fit you, and if you want to be more specific in the comments, feel free! If there’s a general time when the majority of you get your writing done, I might figure out a good time to publish these posts to benefit you all. That is, after all, the point of this series. XD

For me, I get more written on weekday nights for some reason. 🙂 Have a great day, my fellow writers! ❤

~Jamie

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A Happy Week


This last week was very nice in most respects!

Until I Wake Up coverThis week I really wanted to do something on Booktrack, so I wrote a two page short story as a writing exercise and then published it! I titled it “Until I Wake Up” which I think was very fitting. I tried writing something strange and haunting, from the perspective of a child, so I’m hoping I succeeded! It was a nice twenty-four hour project; I enjoyed spending time making a cover and creating an ambiance soundtrack.

Since this is my third short story I’ve published on Booktrack, I feel like I can start calling myself a self-published author. 😛 Here is another link to the story and the following is my synopsis: “A sensitive child serenely revisits the edge between sleep and non-existence, calmly beholding a familiar dark world stretched out before her.” I enjoyed this story quite a lot, I might return to it later!

At school, I took four practice tests for the GED to see how well I would come out; I got two “Likely To Pass” results, a “Too Close to Call,” and one “Not Likely To Pass” with my math, which I expected. LOL! I suck at math. However, I will hopefully go in to take the Language Arts test soon, as that is the one I tested the most strongly in. It was encouraging to see how close I am to getting three-fourths of the test accomplished!

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I’m still madly in love with Studio Ghibli right now. On Pinterest, I’ve decided to do a 42 Day Ghibli Challenge all for myself! I’ve found two different tags which I’ve slightly edited and combined to completely feed my Ghibli obsession. I’ve even made a separate board for it! I’m very excited to be doing this for myself at last! For any Ghibli fans out, you can check out my board here. (>>>Ghibli food is the best looking in animation! This makes me hungry! >>>)

On top of everything else, the weather dropped out of the triple digits this past week; but it was only noticeably cooler exactly on October 1st! It is now in the late sixties when I walk the dogs and I hardly break a sweat! It’s been absolutely lovely and has made the last half of this week very enjoyable! I can’t wait for it to get a little cooler in midday so I can start wearing my hoodies!

ced91bb732c9803c211e1b311c3994b7Outside of a flooding toilet (that was disgusting and very stressful,) my week has been exceptionally great! My DVD copy of Captain America: The Winter Soldier even came in the mail (the only other DVDs I think I’ll definitely have to own by the end of the year will be The Wind Rises and Guardians of the Galaxy!)

I’ve decided not to write my LotR post till after I’ve finished rewatching them; however I will be seeing Return of the King soon, so writing will commence pretty soon. 🙂 Rewatching the films have been worth it, though, as I’ve been forming more solid opinions on the characters. (I’ve seen the two Hobbit movies by now, too, so I will discuss them as well!) I’m looking forward to forming my thoughts on paper at last.

The rest of my weekend will be me reorganizing my DVD shelf, hanging laundry, watching Spice and Wolf S2, playing Star Wars Angry Birds, and prepping for school on Monday. Here’s to another wonderful week like this; I hope you all had a good week too. 🙂

~Jamie

My Summer with Studio Ghibli


studio-ghibliWhat sets this Japanese animation company apart from most other studios is their ability to perfectly capture the precious moments in life; like good food, affection between friends and family, and respect for neighbors and nature. If you are into movies or animation, then most of these films I saw this summer are must-sees, all drawn in the most enchanting animation style!

This summer, I got introduced to Studio Ghibli’s anime films; I ended up watching nearly all of them too fast because they were so good! Even the overrated ones displayed some of the most beautiful animation. I want to bring more attention to these movies, so I’ve compiled single paragraph thoughts on the ones I’ve seen below. they’re presented in the order I watched them and are spoiler-free! I’m also incredibly proud of this post as it took about a month to create, write and design! I don’t do this for everything, so consider this a demonstration of my strong feelings for these films (many of which I now own on DVD!)

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A strong shout out and thank you needs to be said to my best friend, James, for suggesting I give Studio Ghibli a try, and for recommending Whisper of the Heart so many times. 😉 Ghibli has definitely been a big highlight of my 2014 summer! The studio definitely changed how I look at anime and animation in general and greatly expanded my film world (and Top 100 Favorite Movies list!) Thank you so much, James!

Notes: The only Ghibli films I haven’t seen include Only Yesterday, Ocean Waves, and Tales from Earthsea. I have seen Nausicaa, but since it’s technically not Ghibli, I opted to leave it out. Just a personal choice on my part.

arrietty-disneyscreencaps.com-1368The Secret World of Arrietty || 2010 || G 

“Human beings are dangerous. If we’re seen, we have to leave. My parents said so.”

My first Studio Ghibli film. It appealed to a childhood love of mine for tiny people, so it turned out to be perfect starting point. Arrietty was whimsical, breathtakingly beautiful, and quite endearing. I found it very enjoyable, even though it wasn’t a rousing epic or a heart stopping adventure. It was a very sweet tale that elevated your boring objects like sugar cubes and sewing pins to a completely new perspective within the hands of a Borrower. Everything was just very delightful, from endearing heroine Arrietty (many of Ghibli’s films are filled with some of the most wonderful female leads!) and her unique little family, to the most gorgeous animation. A highlight for me was the original score that was a very gentle Celtic. It definitely lifted the story to special heights as it guided story’s emotion. Overall, this is personally special to me because it was my first Ghibli film, so I give it an extra half a star. 🙂

Final Comment: A Whimsical Wonder || 5/5  stars

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mimiWhisper of the Heart || 1995 || PG 

“Take me home, concrete roads!”

This was highly recommended to me, a beautifully told coming-of-age story. Set at the point when the libraries were preparing to computerized their systems, Shizuku’s interest in piqued by seeing a familiar name on all her checkout cards-she eventually meet the person and their stories become entwined. The atmosphere of Tokyo’s neighborhoods, antique shops, apartment complexes, and the people who pass by them, made for a very comforting backdrop for the story to unfold and one that I was fascinated to watch. The film handles young romance exceptionally well, never once feeling awkward or weird–a gigantic plus! I loved Shizuku as a female lead and would certainly love to revisit her life in a sequel if it could be handled well. At times, Whisper of the Heart can feel rather slow at the beginning but do not let your impatience get in the way of the perfect character handling and atmosphere. By the end of this movie, I was in puddle of tears from happiness and I’m still trying to figure out how they made such a small ending feel so monumental.

Final Comment: Sneak Attack On The Emotional Zone|| 5/5 stars

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216299-the-wind-rises-1The Wind Rises || 2013 || PG-13 

“Airplanes are beautiful, cursed dreams, waiting for the sky to swallow them up.”

This is one of Ghibli’s most beautiful films to date! I consider it almost a “sin” that Frozen took the Oscar this past year instead of The Wind Rises, especially when I saw how the Academy voted. A loose biopic, the film beautifully depicts the a life of Jiro Hirikoshi, who helped develop aircraft for the Japanese right before World War II and how his life’s passion was taken and used for harm. Airplanes have never been so interesting to me as they were throughout the running time of this film. The romance that developed during the second half  was so heartbreakingly beautiful that I ended up crying from the pure emotion. The animation in and of itself was basically flawless (especially character designs; for the most part, Ghibli creates some of the most pleasant and innocent looking characters I’ve ever seen that’s refreshing to the eyes!) A surprise was hearing John Karinski’s voice in this film (Jim Halpert of The Office, people!) and I actually liked Joseph Gordan Levitt’s acting too! The highlight of this film was simply the entire story and how it was presented. It was incredibly enjoyable and moving to behold in its entirety. Personally, I am still battling my temper that this film is so unknown compared to Disney’s very lacking ice and princess flick.

Final Comment: Oscar Worthy || 5/5 stars

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QualitŽ: deuxime gŽnŽration.   Titre: Le Royaume Des Chats.The Cat Returns || 2002 || G 

“Always believe in yourself. Do this and no matter where you are, you will have nothing to fear.”

As this film is loosely connected to Whisper of the Heart, which I loved terribly, I ended up watching this sooner than later. Sadly, it does not live up to what Whisper of the Heart delivered. The cat, The Baron, who originated in Whisper, was the best part; sadly, the rest of the film I didn’t enjoy half as much. It was a decent kids film, it simply tasted different from the previous three Ghibli films I’d seen. It wandered into more children’s stereotypical territory in a hit and miss type fashion. Overall, it was alright but I probably won’t watch again. (I should note that it is still better than some of America’s extremely cheesy and crude kids movies.)

Final Comment: Meh, Kids Will Like It || 3/5 stars

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Howl’s Moving Castle || 2004 || PG 

“Here’s another curse for you – may all your bacon burn!”

Very imaginative and fantastical, Howl’s Moving Castle is one of Studio Ghibli’s more popular films with a very large fan base, which at points has caused me to scratch my head to a degree. Frankly, I think it’s rather overrated but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an enjoyable watch. I did love the fantasy elements a lot; for example, the magical walking castle was really neat. The cast of characters was great; the fire demon Calcifer (English voice done by none other than Mike Wazowski’s voice, Billy Crystal!) was an imaginative fantasy creature and entertaining without being too silly. Christian Bale was great as the wizard Howl too! The film starts out quite strong, but gets too busy with different story threads during the last half, ultimately failing to resolve a major problem set up in the beginning. So, sadly I was left rather disappointed when the film ended. Still, it’s a good watch, especially for fantasy lovers.

Final Comment: Fantastical but Overrated || 4/5 stars

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neighbor-totoro-disneyscreencaps.com-3771My Neighbor Totoro || 1988 || G 

“There was a great big Totoro!”

Easily one of Ghibli’s most recognizable films, this is one of the best animated films I have ever seen in my life. Not only is it a timeless classic, but it’s depiction of family and sisterhood was pulled off better than in nearly any Disney film I’ve ever seen. This is by far the best and most realistic set of fictional sisters ever and that definitely made the film for me–they were so endearing! Little moments in the girls lives as they moved into a new house, settled into a new community, and glimpsed the forest spirits, was what made the film so monumental in heart and soul–it’s a quiet movie with massive heart. It’s also very entertaining, as little Mei is incredibly adorable and says and does some humorous things. The animation is a little old but it doesn’t hurt the film at all–in fact it has a charming, timeless quality to it that adds to the film’s quaint, sweet atmosphere of childhood. I’ve rewatched this film many times now with my seven-year-old brother and have teared up nearly every time by end. In short, this is a must-see.

Final Comment: Definition of Your Timeless Classic || 5/5 stars

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Ponyo || 2008 || G 

“That’s the most boring goldfish I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

I fell in love with this movie almost instantly and I would rank it highly among one of my top favorite Studio Ghibli films. The animation of the water blew me away, as it looked so fluid and soft! The world of and above the sea, and their meeting together, was captured in perfect detail, charm, and awe through the story of two little children. Title character Ponyo was enthusiastic and strong-willed without being obnoxious, while the little boy Sosuke was adorably mature, bright, and kindhearted for his age; with such lovable leads, it was very hard not to adore this film! I absolutely loved the flow of the story’s plot and the level of emotion it took me to. The cast of characters was relatively small but also incredibly enjoyable and memorable; Ponyo’s wizard father and Sosuke’s spunky mother were both especially fun characters. In many ways, words fail me to describe how beautiful this movie was. From thrilling adventure, heart-tugging moments of joy, breathtaking animation, and a beautiful score, this was simply a masterpiece. Talk about going above and beyond for a children’s movie!

Final Comment: Favorite Tale From The Sea || 5/5 stars

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Spirited AwaySpirited Away || 2001 || PG 

“I finally get a bouquet and it’s a goodbye present. That’s depressing.”

Boy, this movie is loved to insane heights but I didn’t click with it on the first watch. While I was sick, I gave it a second try. While I still hold to my opinion that it’s kinda overrated, I did enjoy it more the second time through. It is a great feat in the animation universe. Incredibly bizarre yet solid, we get to follow human Chihiro as she becomes stuck in the nighttime world of a bathhouse for spirits, separated from her parents. Yep, this film is your classic fantasy adventure! Although some of the characters are a little ugly to look at, mostly the animation is fascinatingly interesting and hard to look away from. Spirited Away also manages to communicate emotion that gives the adventure some gravity, which overall helped it while on my second watch. I did have a problem with a poorly presented back story of one character, but I cannot go into detail without spoiling things. Overall, it’s… an interesting movie; it will probably grow on me a little bit at a time with each rewatch.

Final Comment: Crazy but Worth The Time|| 4 /5 stars

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kikis-delivery-serviceKiki’s Delivery Service || 1989 || G 

“You’d think they’d never seen a girl and a cat on a broom before.”

Kiki’s Delivery Service perfectly captured what a family film should feel like, hitting a well-balanced mark that some animated films miss; it was not too silly yet also not too serious. It was deliciously delightful and quaint, thoroughly soaked in a nostalgia for a simpler time. Kiki was a fantastic character to get behind as her simple journey of becoming an independent young adult unfolded through adventures, mishaps, and lots of heart. Her talking cat Jiji was adorable and funny without being ridiculous or weighing down the film with too much silly dialog. In fact, the whole cast of supporting characters were great! Kiki herself was a big highlight; I really wanted my younger brother to watch this film as she displayed an optimistic, strong will to work hard for herself, without seeming perfect or unrealistic. The film continues to grow on me with each rewatch, of which I’m very happy!

Final Comment: Wonderful Family Film || 4.5/5 stars

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960__castle_in_the_sky_blu-ray_x04_Laputa: Castle in the Sky || 1986 || PG 

“Oh, no! There goes my crystal!”

Laputa: Castle in the Sky is Ghibli’s first film and it’s a great children’s fantasy adventure, packed with space pirates, a lost civilization, a magical necklace, puzzles needing solving and a roller coaster of adventures that almost never stop. However, in some ways, it felt a little young for me, so I didn’t enjoy it  quite as much as, say, Kiki (my brother would LOVE this film though, and I need to show it to him soon!) There was just a tad more silliness mixed in–not in a bad way; it just felt a little hit and miss to me personally. However, for Ghibli’s first official film, it’s pretty decent! Lead characters Sheeta and Pazu are easy to get behind and were fun to follow throughout the story. Mark Hamill’s voice acting as a certain character was a pleasure to hear, too! I’m probably ranking this a little too low but until I can give a proper rewatch, I’ll have to stick with how I feel right now.

Final Comment: Decent Kids Adventure || 3.5/5 stars

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Princess Mononoke || 1997 || PG-13 

“You cannot change fate. However, you can rise to meet it, if you so choose.”

The versatility Ghibli has to tell so many different types of stories is amazing–from children’s adventures to bizarre fantasy to heartfelt drama. Ghibli is a master at their craft of storytelling! This versatility is especially clear in this rather mature epic, Princess Mononoke. Although the environmental theme became so overpowering that it felt more a sermon than a plot theme, the film still delivered a solid fantasy epic. Led by the likable but doomed Ashitaka, we get to watch as he’s caught up in a battle over the forest, some fighting to keep it safe and others wanting what it can give them, with little regard of the spirits that live within it. An extremely fascinating part of this film was that there practically no ‘bad’ side. Nearly all the characters were cast in shades of grey, each having good and bad motivates that gave a very large, telling image of humanity. I hope to revisit this film in the future, to form a more solid opinion of it, and to enjoy the animation, of course.

Final Comment: Preachy yet Epicly Beautiful || 4.5/5 stars

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poppy-hill-disneyscreencaps.com-3998From Up on Poppy Hill || 2011 || PG 

“There’s no future for people who worship the future and forget the past.”

This made me think of Whisper of The Heart, in a small ways. Poppy Hill, for some reason, isn’t that popular, so I’m among the few who really enjoyed this movie. As a high school attempts to save their clubhouse, we get to peek into the private lives of a couple of students in particular and their budding relationship; all with the backdrop of Japan’s struggle to move forward after WWII without loosing touch with their heritage. Like most Ghibli films, it handles the sweet beginnings of romance wonderfully. As a period piece, the bits of drama throughout the film were enjoyable to watch, as was the look into the Japanese culture. My only complaint was that the end felt a bit abrupt–but only because I wanted see more! Like Whisper, I could have sat for hours watching the lives of these characters if the movie had kept going! So, overall, this was a very pleasant animation!

Final Comment: A Precious Throwback to What Was “Whisper” || 4.5/5 stars

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Porco-Rosso-porco-rosso-29177479-1200-713Porco Rosso || 1992 || PG 

“I’d rather be a pig than a fascist.”

Drenched in playful romanticism of yesteryear and accompanied by sea planes, air bandits, big Italian families, hidden coves, lost loves, and oh! a man cursed to have the face of a pig? Yes, you read that right; while that part felt random, somehow it still managed to work. Porco was an endearing yet serious character; I found myself drawn into his story and really enjoyed the stay, watching him handle pirates, his delicate sea plane, and eventually fight for honor. The plot, once it got going, was a fantastic ride and beautifully delivered. A special highlight was the smart and optimistic young engineer Fio and I consider her one of Ghibli’s most underrated characters. She was an absolute joy to watch, but I never see her mentioned by most fans.  Overall, except for a less than satisfactory last ten minutes, I was pleasantly surprised by this film and almost instantly in love!

Final Comment: Yes! The Pig Thing Does Work!|| 5/5 stars

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968full-my-neighbors-the-yamadas-screenshotMy Neighbors The Yamadas || 1999 || PG 

“The reason the Yamadas get along fine is because all three adults are nuts. If one of you were normal it would unbalance the rest.”

Very different from Ghilbi’s other films, this film was a comical commentary on your regular, middle class family. Although it’s almost two hours, it plays out like a bunch of shorts, and not your typical, single overarching plot. It was a sweet film, with some fun moments and some wonderful watercolor-like animation, perfectly capturing each family member’s perspective of life. Although I wouldn’t consider it a favorite of mine, I would consider it worth watching if you consider yourself a Studio Ghibli fan or an animation buff in general. It had a very unique feel to how it’s told and how it looks and even its own sense of humor. Being an animation geek myself, I did make the effort to watch this one.

Final Comment: Had Some Good Moments || 3.5/5 stars

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pompoko-4592Pom Poko || 1994 || PG 

“I have no face!”

Of all the Studio Ghibli films I’ve watched, this is the one I’ve liked least of all, and I think it’s almost universally unpopular. Following shape shifting raccoon-dogs fighting for their forest, those shape shifting moments were pretty much the only enjoyable parts for me. Sadly, I didn’t like the rest, as it was unbelievably strange and weird to say the least. You would not believe what part of the male anatomy they decided to animate in this film–I did not care for that part. 😯 The all-too familiar environmental message was quite in-your-face, which I always find intrusive of my mental personal space–if that make sense? Overall, the film felt very odd. It’s the only Ghibli film I actually completely dislike.

Final Comment: I Shoulda Skipped It || 2.5/5 stars

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la-tumba-de-las-luciernagasGrave of the Fireflies || 1988 || NR 

Once again, Ghibli’s ability to deliver a variety of stories is shown by this epicly devastating yet somehow beautiful piece of animation. Following two siblings and their will to survive after their city is bombed near the end of WWII, the price of war is depicted very clearly through their struggles, nothing sugar-coated to say the least. The two main characters are breathtakingly realistic, endearing, and well-balanced. Little Setsuko is a heart-stealer, unbelievably cute and sympathetic. Seita, the older brother, is also an easy hero to get behind as he attempts to shelter his sister from the effects of war. On an overall scale, everything is fantastic in this film, from voice acting, to animation, to story flow. However, I must note that the film got so depressing that I had to stop near the end before finishing it later. The fact that I never want to watch this film ever again lowers the score just a bit. I think everyone should see this at some point in their lifetime but it should not be expected to be an easy watch and rightfully so. Well done, Ghibli, well done.

Final Comment: The Definition of a Tear-Jerker || 4.5/5

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Shall we tally the scores? Out of sixteen movies, there are four that are marked under 3.5 and two the acceptable 4. With the remaining ten films all being above average/raising the bar of the animation genre, with four gaining near perfect 4.5, and six claiming 5 out of 5 stars, I say, where have you been all my life, Studio Ghibli?! Sure, they’re not perfect, just like every other film, but that’s not why they’re marked so high. What they are is genuine. Imaginative. Relate-able. Gorgeous. Touching. In the end, to me, they’re priceless and well worth the time to share.

This summer will definitely be one I’ll remember as the year I realized I could watch anime and love it. I now happily own (yes, I put my money where my mouth is) My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Porco Rosso, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Whisper of the Heart, The Secret World of Arriety, and even Howl’s Moving Castle on DVD. I hope to buy The Wind Rises, From Up On Poppy Hill, and maybe even Spirited Away in the near future! That’s how much I love them and need them accessible, right at my fingertips!

If even one of these films piqued your interest, I strongly recommend you find a way to watch it! Hopefully Studio Ghibli can bring happiness to your life as it did mine! If you’ve already seen some (or all!) of these films, what did you think of them? Did you like them as much as I did? I surely hope that you did!

~Jamie

Top 100 Favorite Films|90-81


Intro

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90. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkban | 2004 | PG

I liked this movie a lot once I got to the end of it. In many ways, it felt too predictable during the first half for me to really get invested in it. However, it had some fun moments and the end definitely made it worth the watch to me. I loved Buckbeak, the Hippogriff creature Harry rides at the beginning, that was really cool. I didn’t recognize Gary Oldman at all as Sirus! I also really liked seeing Harry learn what he is capable of near the end of the film, too.

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89. Murder by Death | 1976 | PG

First off, I’ve always wanted to see a film in which some of my favorite detectives were thrust together in one story. So you can imagine my delight in finding an actual film in which spoofy versions of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and Charlie Chan are all together in one film. Combined with the other detective types and a silly set of circumstances makes for one very amusing and ridiculous movie. Mystery/detective films being one of my favorite genres ever, it was hysterical to see the stereotypes of the genre being poked at and the spoofs of famous fictional detectives done perfectly. 😀

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88. Avatar | 2009 | PG-13

Yes, I actually liked Avatar once I got around to watching it. The world of Pandora was beautiful. It’s one of those worlds where I would love to go explore. The plot is on the weaker side as it really feels is like the story of Pocahontas. At least, in a general sense. However, I got more invested in the story than I thought I would and would like to see more of Pandora at some point in the future.

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87. Back to the Future | 1985 | PG

I knew nothing about this movie when I watched it; I don’t even remember what made me decide to even give it a try but I’m glad I did. I love time travel tales and this one was really neat! It was funny, it was clever and it felt like a classic. So of course I was happy to find out afterward that, hey, it actually was a classic! I’ve only seen it once and I really need to watch it again at some point.

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86. We Bought a Zoo | 2011 | PG

This was a very touching story. I really loved the characters and their story of growing together. If you didn’t know already, I’m a huge animal person and working/living with a zoo has a very strong appeal to me and it makes for a interesting plot. Scarlett Johansson was fantastic as always and the child actors were actually pretty good. I love the strong theme of family throughout a lot. And of course, I love the tigers. They are my favorite animals and I liked them a lot.

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85. Paranorman | 2012 | PG

I actually liked this movie quite a bit. Norman is a likable, sympathetic character who sees the ghosts of deceased people and is given the task of stopping a curse from overtaking his town. Stop-motion animation fascinates me because of all the hard work that must go into creating each sweeping movement and facial expression. This is one of the better stop-motion movies I’ve seen; the characters are goofy but fun, Norman is a dear, and the movie is perfectly creepy yet funny at the same time.

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84. Stardust | 2007 | PG-13

I really like this movie because the magical setting. It’s a lighthearted story, a little like The Princess Bride, but with dark elements woven throughout and it’s all done very well. Tristan made a great protagonist as he discovered the hero within himself and the rest of the characters were fun. I especially liked how everything all tied together at the very end; the film actually has a very satisfactory ending which I appreciate.

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83. Edward Scissorhands | 1990 | PG-13

Another touching story. Johnny Depp is fantastic because he can just morph into any character and just be them. He was perfect as Edward Scissorhands, who was a very sweet and innocent character. The one thing I almost can’t stand from this movie was the intense, overdone 90’s style throughout, which I really don’t like. But once I work around that, the movie is a very different and touching story.

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82. Beetlejuice |1988 | PG (I would actually rate this a PG-13)

BEETLEJUICE. BEETLEJUICE. BEETLEJU– wait, you’re not supposed to say more than three times. 😛 Okay, I like pretty much everything in this movie outside of Beetlejuice himself. Beetlejuice himself was a very creepy and disgusting character. But besides him, I love everything. The couple we follow throughout the film are so cute and sweet together, the plot is intriguing and interesting, and that soundtrack. The soundtrack alone is amazing. Absolutely amazing. Danny Elfman is one of my ultimate favorite composers and his score really helps make the movie.

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81. The Adventures of the Robin Hood | 1938 | PG

I love this movie so much. I love Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, I love Basil Rathbone as the Sheriff and I love Olivia De Haviland as Maid Marian. The tales of Robin Hood are some of the best and this is my favorite Robin Hood movie by far. The sets and costumes are gorgeous and acting is fantastic. Robin Hood and his merry men are so lovable. The romance is perfectly sweet. The villains are the type you love to hate, except that I’ve had a very long crush on Basil Rathbone so that makes it’s harder to hate on the Sheriff. If I was to be in movies, I would love to be in a movie just like this one!

~Jamie

 

My Debate Over Writing This Month


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For me, writing is another way for me to think. It’s like talking but only with your fingers. These blog posts that usually come out as a ramble are usually the result of me sitting down and writing out my thought process as I go. This is probably why I really enjoy and have profited from blogging. I can think through difficult subjects, reflect over my day, have a mental fangirl attack over The Avengers or Sherlock all while practicing my typing skills. And some of you are gracious enough to responded to my thoughts with your own. It’s quite nice.

But that’s only one type of writing, though.

There’s also writing.

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The type of writing where you must decide whether your character will loose his leg to a malicious one-eyed bear or have it blown off with a canon ball during the second act so that said poor character can go through the last of his development. The type of writing that flows like Arthur Conan Doyle in the shower but comes out like “little bo peep has lost her sheep” when you rush out warped in a damp towel to scribble it out. Where you are lying awake an extra hour at night because you can’t put aside that one plot problem out of your head and when you are dramatically acting out the speech that the main character’s best friend gives to rally the army to a freshly discovered soundtrack off of Youtube. When you feel like you could pull handfuls of hair out of your skull from frustration.

It’s the writing that you proudly brag about to almost anyone you meet: “I write fiction.”

This is currently what I’m struggling with; deciding if I will once again attempt Camp NaNo this July; to keep working on my fantasy book I started last year. I miserably failed in May after writing only 3,000 words after I overestimated how far I had come in regards to recovering from the brutal ordeal during the beginning of the year with my parents. I’m not sure if I want to attempt again right now.

At the same time, I have a lot of things working for me this time as well.

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A) Unlike the normal time in November where the word goal is a set 50,000 words, during Camp, you can adjust your word count! More or less; you can decide. So, I could adjust it down to 40,000 words if I want. Or 30,000.

B) Besides birthdays, July is just an extremely hot and sticky month that leaves my family hibernating in our house where it’s cool. I have a strong vibe saying that I will be wanting to spend a lot of time in my room anyway. I might as well have something productive to do in my room besides struggle over which tv show I want to watch (I already know I will be watching a lot of Doctor Who, if I can get past Doomsday, which I know is coming to shred my heart to ribbons…)

C) I’ve had time to do some healing. It’s been many weeks since having to leave our last church and while I’m not completely over the heartache or am happy about it, I’ve learned to not dwell on things that could have been. I’ve found that I will never know the future whether good or bad but it’s up to me whether I will be content with my circumstances or not. I’ve had a little time to push on past a lot of heartache and it doesn’t weigh so heavily on me as it did several months ago. Yay.

D) This book. This fantasy story in particular holds a lot of lessons that I personally have struggled to understand or come to grips with. I feel like if I could wrap this story up, I will feel like I’ve come full circle with some things; some ideals, some plot ideas, and even some people. And that would be a great feeling.

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Well, I wrote this post over the course of a few days, thinking over everything (just like the beginning of this post explains!) And I’ve come to the conclusion that I will make another attempt at finishing my book! Which has a new working title and short synopsis, by the way!

“The Twisted Book.”

I thought ‘twisted’ was more creative then ‘cursed’, personally. My sister was a big help by letting my come into her room and complain about needing a better title. She helped me come up with a new one and it’s really relevant to my story. So, we’re both very happy with ourselves (I’m glad I have a sister to talk to).

Synopsis: A selfish author’s unpublished novel is cursed to show him that his fate is not his own to make. Thirty years into the future, a insecure girl and her overconfident best friend stumble across the novel and are unhappily pulled into the pages to save the plot together.

I hope this attempt at with Camp won’t be so disasterous as last time. 🙂

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How about you? Do you like to think through simple writing or blogging? Are you doing Camp NaNo this month?

~Jamie