Happy Star Wars Day!


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I’m popping in quick because I can never miss blogging on this day! May the Fourth Be With You! 😉

Star Wars has meant the world to me, from helping me meet my very best friend to learning to be bold on my own, to celebrating the excellent combination that is sci-fi and fantastic story and character development (specifically referring to episodes 4-6.) Chewbacca is still my favorite character and I continue to own all the Darth Vader merchandise in my family. XD While I wasn’t crazy about the new film, I’ll still always love and value what the original trilogy gave me! ❀

So, Happy Star Wars Day to all my geeky friends! ❀

~Jamie

 

Christmas Day on Christmas Eve


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So, my traditional Christmas Morning happened today, on Christmas Eve. Since my mom got my little brother for the day from my dad, we did it a day early! So I technically get two Christmases! We opened presents and stockings, did our usual orange rolls for breakfast, and watched Christmas movies together. I wore my new red “I SHOT MY EYE OUT” A Christmas Story t-shirt. It was all very nice. Right now, Mom and I are rewatching Return of the Jedi together.

Tomorrow is real Christmas Day, but I might sleep in a little. I’ve opened all my presents already after all. XD Mom and I hope to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens at some point tomorrow, but it will be a very quiet Christmas Day, otherwise. As far as I can tell. XD

I got rainbow toe socks for Christmas and they’re glorious. Hysterically, both my mom and my dad got me the Harkins Theater 2016 cup; it really is true that children of divorced parents get everything twice! ROFL. XD My mom is super fun because she got me a lottery ticket and I actually won ten dollars. XD My little brother gave me gummy bears; he knows me so well. One of my favorite gifts was my new tablet which I got earlier in the month, from my best friend James; always wanted one of those! I still need to open my sister’s gifts though. She’s thankfully home from Basic Training; it’s nice having her home. <3!

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I’ve kept myself from feeling guilty for not blogging at all the past few weeks, lol. I’ve needed the time for myself lately. But I have a lot of things I want to write about to share with you all and document, when I can find the words and the way. About passing my GED tests in September, about the biggest things I gained in my first community college class, about movies and music and friendship and adventure. I just need to find the words. XD But I hope to be back soon!

I hope you all are having a Merry Christmas! What’s your favorite Christmas Day tradition? I especially like the gift exchange around the tree each year! I bought my mom quite a few gifts this year and it was really really fun watching her open them! ❀

~Jamie

Social Media and The “Freedom” of Expression


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For those who might follow me on Twitter, you will have gone through some self-realization with me on the day after my birthday. Taking a break from personal blogging resulted in several things, and this was one of them. Keeping my thoughts to myself for a while somehow made it possible for me to–well, more than just identify a problem, but I had a clear-enough head to do something about it. I have my original train of thought from Twitter below for you to read:

It’s a constant struggle, it seems, to continually express myself openly. It is something I struggle with a lot. Social media lets eyes into your mind when they otherwise wouldn’t be. Let’s be honest: The people on social media who make each site what it is can create expectations that are intimidating, and can make it hard to share yourself honestly. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media because they can create platforms to do so many different things…but there’s a negative side them all, too.

Facebook is fully of well-meaning parents, peers, and elders who can be quick to speak their minds without being sensitive. Twitter puts up expectations that one must be funny and sarcastic all the time. Tumblr will literally get offended by anything you might say, no matter what its about. Instagram sells the misconception of “they must have perfect lives, look at their perfect pictures, my life sucks compared to them.” There’s just no filter for “I just feel like a mess right now.”

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And blogging can have heated articles full of unresearched opinions, while the opposite side of the spectrum is full of writers who are too scared to share certain fandoms or thoughts; simply for the response they might get from readers and family–“What are you doing? You watch that? You need to write a disclaimer before every tv show you watch to make sure no one stumbles.” It makes it really hard to share some things about yourself.

It’s for reasons like this that one doesn’t just casually state, along-side their other fandoms, “I love Game of Thrones.” No seriously, that’s me actually admitting that I love Game of Thrones for the first time on this blog. 99% of you didn’t know that about me because its something I’ve kept private for the reasons I just listed in the paragraph above.

Vulnerability IS SCARY. But I meant what I said in that last tweet about being me everywhere un-apologetically. That’s why I’m sitting here writing this.

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Of course, what you share on social media is ultimately up to you. Privacy is always a very good thing to keep in mind; I generally share more than most because I know that speaking plainly about topics resting on my heart not only helps me but others too. And I like to feel connected to people who feel the same vulnerability. I actually wish there was more of this on the Internet but I understand why most people are private.

But its silly when things like fandom Pinterest boards and silly little thoughts for Twitter become filtered for no reason. And it took me two months of blogging “radio” silence to realize that’s what I’ve been doing to myself.

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Being myself has and probably always will be a battle for me as I learn to let go of expectations. Besides, I’ve had people freak out over my likes and dislikes for years–In 2011 my sister and I were verbally attacked for an extended period of time by church peers because we were watching Star Wars without dissecting it to pieces. STAR. WARS. So, I’m learning to wear tough skin when it comes to the fandom things. XD

To cut this short: this whole social media thing was a fantastic “ah-ha” moment that I had almost two months ago and I’ve been looking forward to sharing it with you guys! I felt like in a day I grew up a little bit more. I live for these types of moments in my life, these types of revelations of my hesitation.

I feel kinda dumb after having them; like, “wow, I shouldn’t let this bother me. I can make however many stupid Pinterest boards I want. Why do I do this to myself.” This might honestly sound like a pretty silly, trivial issue to some of you, to struggle with social media, which is ok. But I know a lot of other people might struggle with this too, and I want those people to know they’re not alone.

I love social media. It’s an awesome thing.  But it’s especially awesome when I can feel free to use it for me. Thanks again for listening, guys. ❀

~Jamie

Favorite Bromances


Bromance.

It’s a pop culture term that summarizes two guys (usually fictional characters) who have a deep/brotherly relationship (and/or often pertaining to actual romance, which I leave out when I use the word.) I don’t use this term that much but sometimes it’s feels appropriate when I’m trying to talk about a great friendship between two male best friends.

Personally, I love seeing deep, platonic relationships between guys in my movies and TV shows–usually those connections reach out from the screen to me and are near-unbreakable, which is why the movies and shows become near-unbreakable too!

These below are my personal favorite fictional best friends. They’re listed in an attempted alphabetical order to avoid the heartache of ranking favorites. XD

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Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee | The Lord of The Rings Trilogy

I’ve worked on this post for a long time but I could never complete it for some reason. Now, after seeing The Lord of the Rings, I know why. It’s because this list was incomplete without Frodo and Sam, one of the best bromances ever. 🙂 These two were easily my very favorite part about The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Sam such a bad*ss best friend–he always had Frodo’s back, even when the ring began effecting Frodo’ judgement for the worse. And Frodo, when he was thinking straight, really appreciated Sam’s loyalty and brotherhood.  And of course, the moments on Mordor: #THEFEELS

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Han Solo and Chewbacca | The Star Wars Trilogy

I think they’re usually viewed as “character with sidekick” sort of relationship but just because Chewbacca isn’t a main character in the Star Wars movies doesn’t mean that he and Han Solo aren’t bros for life. Besides Wookies are very intelligent and all, so their connection is completely legitimate.

The movies don’t even need to make a big sub-plot demonstrating their strong friendship because it looks so natural and real on the screen. They’re a classic addition to idea of brotherhood and kick-butt partners.

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Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings | A&E’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot

Ever since I first watch the show over five years ago, I’ve absolutely loved this detective duo. They’re such a great addition to the bromance group since, in many ways, they’re a rather mismatched pair. Poirot is very particular, sharp, and proper, while Hastings is a relaxed chap who walks the line of being a little clueless.

But they work because they care for each other’s companionship! I’ve loved these guys since day one over five years ago, so the fact they’ve managed to stay within this list speaks to their true and memorably fun friendship.

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Jake the Dog and Finn the Human | Adventure Time

Adventure Time is one of my more recent favorite shows because of its quirky stories, characters, and stylistically simple, magical world. The two main characters are unquestioningly one of the best broships you’ll ever find on TV. They were even raised to together as brothers. Finn and Jake go on adventures, take quests, woo princesses, play video games, and contemplate simple life lessons of friendship.

It’s sounds similar to many kid shows, but Finn and Jake’s friendship feels so special and authentic in a simple way. They’re partly why Adventure Time’s been embraced by young adults like myself. ❀

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James P. Sullivan and Mike Wazowski | Monsters Inc/University

I shouldn’t even have to talk very much about these guys: you should know Sulley and Mike are the best of classic besties ever. Their song to each other in the credits literally goes “I wouldn’t have nothin’ if I didn’t have you.” Pixar perfectly captures the epitome of best friends with a big fuzzy monster and a one-eyed being shaped like a beach ball. They’re one of my most favorite duos in film and they absolutely had to get placed here. 😀

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Jenko and Schmidt | 21 /22 Jump Street

I have a soft spot for these high school rivals-turned-cop partners. While these films are quite adult, they are among my favorite comedies: This is thanks to the fantastic chemistry between characters Jenko and Schmidt. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are exceptional together in these films, and the characters combined with wonderful comedic timing carry the movies from meh to great.

I absolutely love Jenko and Schmidt together as best buddies and cop partners, so they very easily get to make my list of best bromances.

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Kuroko and Kagami | Kuroko’s Basketball

These two were the first anime duo to pop in my head when I was creating this post. Even though I’ve only see the first season so far, these guys still easily make my best of the best list. Kagami’s passionate about basketball but struggles to control his strengths while Kuroko can barely do anything on the court outside of his amazing passing ability. The two discover that they perfectly compliment each other in-game, even if they can butt heads off the court, and their unlikely friendship is formed.

The partnership turned friendship in this anime had me hooked. The two have these epic fist bump moments where I want to fall out of my chair for love of them. Kuroko’s lack of presence annoys Kagami at first, but they eventually find, heart to heart, that they can only be better at what they love if they work together. ❀

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Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute | The Office

A little more one-sided than you might think, the duo of well-meaning but idiotic Michael Scott and the cold-with-secret-soft-side Dwight Schrute is a priceless pair for both comedy and friendship. During the first few seasons, Michael just barely puts up with Dwight’s intense devotion as “Assistant Regional Manager,” while Dwight is completely devoted to Michael’s every wish and whim.

However, as the seasons pass, Dwight’s devotion is slowly repaid by Michael with real friendship and brotherhood, which is why they’re make it on this list. Also they’re hysterical together.

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Mitchel and Cameron Pritchet| Modern Family

Mitch and Cam are the only official couple to be included here (because what’s the point of this post if I don’t mention these guys?!) While Modern Family has an amazing cast of characters, the standouts to me are the uptight yet steady redheaded Mitch who’s balanced by the bubbly jack-of-all-trades Cam: These guys are one of my favorite duos ever.

Mitch and Cam are wonderfully developed characters, both encompassing and simultaneously shattering the idea of”the gay couple” on several levels. I absolutely respect and admire the show’s writers for so thoughtfully creating such vivid, realistic, hysterical people–I will never get tired of watching these guys react to life together.

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Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon | The Walking Dead

Although not a main theme to The Walking Dead’s plot like in Adventure Time, the brotherhood between a former Sheriff’s Deputy, Rick, and a rough-around-the-edges red neck, Daryl, is one of the best parts of the show! Especially since these two guys are my favorite characters!

Daryl’s real brother Merle was abusive and bad-tempered, so when Daryl is no longer around his bad influences and begins to mature, he finds a better older brother-like friendship in the group’s leader, Rick Grimes. It’s not at all a quick friendship to say the least, but that’s why it feels so authentic. And without the zombie apocalypse it would never have been formed!

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Sherlock Holmes and John Watson

Easily one of my favorite duos of all time (if not my ultimate favorite,) the classic literary duo are represented here with my two personal favorite pairs (technically the only two sets that I genuinely love) with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman from Sherlock and Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce’s 1940’s classics. Of course I adore Holmes and Watson in the books, especially since those are from Watson’s perspective.

Much like Poirot and Hastings, they sometimes seem a bit mismatched (especially in Sherlock) but they have one of the truest friendships in all fiction, as far as I’m concerned. Not because they have a perfect friendship without flaws, but because through the flaws they still can stick together.

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Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s Many Character Duos | in The Cornetto Trilogy

I’m encompassing three sets of bromances here, all portrayed by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The characters they play have very different types of friendships which are all priceless. Shaun and Ed from Shaun of the Dead are the hysterical duo where the one character is more worried about his future while the other acts a burden. The fantastic friendship in Hot Fuzz is between the uptight Sergeant Angel and the soft-hearted sidekick Danny: they create a a wonderful cop duo (and the purest bromance of these three.) And in the last one, Pegg and Frost portray a broken friendship which is poorly reunited.

This British trilogy of stand-alone films features these brothers and it’s FANTASTIC due to excellent writing, character development and amazing comedy chemistry between Pegg and Frost. ❀

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Stewie Griffin and Brian Griffin | Family Guy

Although Brian’s creation was as sidekick for family patriarch Peter Griffin, the absolute best episodes of Family Guy are when he’s teamed up with the one-year-old, English-accented, evil genius Stewie Griffin, in the “Road To” adventures. They’re another badly mismatched pair who start off hating each other but eventually become great buds.

Even non-“Road To” episodes with the two characters interacting are hysterical and completely awesome as zing each other and time travel. I adore them too much to leave them off this list!


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The original list of guys to include here was twice this big but I kept only my favorite of favorites for length, which means Woody and Buzz, Arthur and Merlin, Tamaki and Kyoya of “Ouran,” and Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes are only honorable mentions. But that’s life, I suppose. (And to tell the truth, I enjoyed Steve and Bucky more when it was only The First Avenger; all the fangirls got annoying during Winter Soldier and nearly ruined them for me. 😩 )

So: How many bromances have you seen from my list and would you agree with me? What are some of your favorite pairs of best guy friends? Any pairs you would include that I didn’t (I can think of some popular pairs that are very absent from my list)?

~Jamie

Top 100 Favorite Movies|10-1


The levels and elements of personal enjoyment, surprise, personal attachment/nostalgia, stand up to rewatches, and personal connection were fundamental in selecting these ten films. I include some personal connection in these reviews so they may look a little longer to read. 😛 Finally, a big thank you to my best friend James for inspiring me to attempt this list in the first place.croods-poster-emma-stone

10. The Croods | 2013 | PG

To everyone who assumes that once I’ve made up my mind that I will hate a movie and thinks “of course she didn’t like it then!”: let me present to you The Croods. I blame most of my first hate on the absolutely horrible advertising the film recieved–the films itself has so much more heart and deeper content than just slap-stick humor and modern family jokes. I liked it enough to rewatch it several times. Ultimately, what connects this movie to me so strongly is the story of Eep and her family leaving the cave and “never being afraid.” Almost literally my parents kept my sister and I in a bubble where “everything new was bad” and that everything in the world would result in our deaths. With my mom now trying to give Kayla and I freedom as young adults, I really feel like I’m finally leaving the cave and truly getting to live instead of “not dying.” 

Although this movie is pretty temporary here at the bottom of my top ten, I am positive that I will always love this film for it’s message and special-ness to my personal story. (Also the movie features a lot of great elements like meta modern family humor, a teenage guy who isn’t a oily or slick but is actually decent nice person, beautiful animation, Emma Stone, and a creative prehistoric world!)

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9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 | 2011 | PG-13

Considering my history of being opposed to Harry Potter, for one of it’s movies to hold position 9 is pretty darn good if you ask me. This movie is exactly how you want to end a big franchise. It is the strongest Harry Potter film, extremely powerful with emotion, action, and satisfying conclusion. Even though I knew of several deaths, I was very surprised by how much I was moved by them and the ending was so beautiful that I cried during that too. The great battle of Hogwarts is one of the best adventures I’ve seen on screen as well.

On a personal level, getting to the position where I felt free enough to watch Harry Potter without feeling like a bad Christian was big all on its own, so to get a great ending to a beautiful saga is like double the blessing. Although I’m not completely free of fear of what people might think of me, on the other side there is still something very freeing to be able to own my love for Harry and not let what other people think hinder me personally. It’s for these reasons Deathly Hallows Part 2 made it to my top 9 movies!Ben-Hur-1959-movie-poster

8. Ben-Hur | 1959 | G

My most favorite classic epic, Ben-Hur has been one of my favorite stories since my early teens. The themes of revenge and forgivness have never been caputered on such a scope of epicness to me before or since. This is my favorite story tied into Biblical events as we see how Christ’s touch on Judah Ben-Hur’s life eventually effects him in the end. The build to the magnificent and raw chariot race is one of my favorite moments in cinema history. I have always loved Stephen Boyd as Massala and Charlton Heston truly owns Judah Ben-Hur in a way that completely makes the movie. The soundtrack is one of my personal favorites, the cinematography is amazing, and the story and characters are timeless. Truly one of the best epics ever created.beauty_and_the_beast_ver1

7. Beauty and the Beast | 1991 | G

Easily my most favorite fairy tale of all times, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has been a favorite of mine since I was small. The magic of it’s heart, music, animation and characters has yet to die from my soul. Just like The Prince of Egypt, the songs are not only emotionally moving but they also move the plot forward or really give you a great glimpse into a character’s dimension that will help build the story at the end. I consider this the ultimate princess Disney feature and easily one of Disney’s best, most unbeatable works of art. The animation is flawless and the atmosphere never fails to fill me with intrigue and bated breath. To me, this is the ultimate love story and the impact it still has on me today when I think of heroines, love, selflessness, magic and animation itself is truly special to me.hot_fuzz_ver4_xlg

6. Hot Fuzz | 2007 | R

Easily my favorite comedy of all time (sorry, 21 Jump Street, but the Brits take it.) Hysterically clever, the film delivers laughs that are strongly balanced by fantastic characters, a strong mystery and lots of metaphorical moments that completely respect but laugh at the action genre on a whole. Simon Pegg perfectly captures Nicholas Angel’s rigid love for justice while Nick Frost plays the perfect sidekick Danny Butterman who isn’t too silly and perfectly compliments Angel’s personality—these two characters and actors are one of the most ultimate duos in cinema and TV history. Yes, I just said that. However, the one thing I love best about this movie besides the humor, action spoofy-ness and characters, is it’s Miss Marple/English Village flavored mystery. It hearkens back to my first love–a good old fashioned who-dun-it! Rolled together it creates truly one of the best comedies/action/mystery flicks of all time.Star Wars - A New Hope (1977) Style A by Tom Jung

5. Star Wars: A New Hope | 1977 | PG

I know everyone loves Empire Strikes Back; I love it too. But whenever I think of my love for Star Wars, I always think of A New Hope. There’s just a special place in my heart for the very first Star Wars film and that’s how it beat Empire. This movie is just about the definition of the word ‘classic’. The soundtrack is amazing, the effects still hold up well today and the story’s plot flow is perfection. I love the introduction we receive to Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker , Han Solo, Chewbaca and of course the droids. Everything plays a role in the film with a solid opening and a conclusive ending which I prefer to the big cliff-hanger, even if that had a great impact on cinema history with Empire. There is so much to love in A New Hope but I really shouldn’t need to go on much longer here :P. There are few movies that can even come to rival the greatness of Star Wars and the impact it’s had on pop culture and intimate lives–myself included! All hail the great sci-fi film of the ages!posters12/11/08

4. Rocky | 1976 | PG

I love a great underdog story and this easily my favorite of them all. However, to me Rocky is more than just an excellent boxing story with a fantastic delivery of one man’s personal struggles in and out of the ring. To me, Rocky presents a strong representation of true manhood. Coming from a spiritual background where outward perfection was strived for more than a humble spirit in many of the men around me, watching Rocky was like a breath of fresh air and a strong reminder to me of what real men are made up of. Strength of body and mind are nothing in a man if they are not clothed in a gentle spirit. Rocky is one of my personal heroes because he is a very gentle man, shown by how he approaches people, goes out of his way to help others in his own way, and steadily attempts to win Adrian’s heart. For these reasons (and the simple fact that this is simply a stunning film) Rocky will always mean the world to me.tlk-new-poster

3. The Lion King | 1994 | G

The only reason The Lion King managed to beat Beauty and the Beast was because of my emotional connection, which even I find strange since I didn’t grow up seeing it a million times or anything. Recently playing the movie in the background of my day, I choked up about six times and got chills at least five and I wasn’t even paying that much attention. These are not even your classic moments like Mufasa’s passing; this is moments like Rafiki speaking to Simba and the log bridge scene during Hakuna Matata. I can’t explain my connection to this film, I only know it’s there. The songs and soundtrack, voice talent, and animation strongly combined with the grown up themes of throne-stealing, murder, and fear, creates one of, if not maybe Disney’s best animated film of all time.0103074_big

2. Thelma and Louise | 1991 | R

One of the best female-oriented films I’ve ever seen; this spoke to me and my own personal situation which is how it became my second favorite movie. I’ve always knew of the names Thelma and Louise; they’ like Lucy and Ethel or Lewis and Clark. 😛 But when I finally got around to watching the movie, I was so happy and surprised to discover it was a masterpiece must-see. Themed with timeless invaluable friendship and taking control of one’s own life and choices, Thelma and Louise both empowered and uplifted me as a woman and human being. Humorous and delightful while also being dark and somber, the film delivers a well balanced plot and character journey which I strongly related to because I myself am just beginning to make my own life discions. For more amazing reasons why this movie is fantastic, head over to my latest guest post on J and J Productions when you’re done here!5k8lv1eXe7vbeJ57eXLIKxFamAQ

1. Clue | 1985 | PG

Out of all the genres that could compete to win my number one film, my love for the who-dun-it mystery genre won out, and it actually won very easily. From the beginning of this list, I never had a hard time deciding that Clue would reign at the top. In fact, during the construction of this post, I rewatched Clue with my sister and about twenty minutes in, she turned to me and said, “This feels like it should be your number one movie, Jamie.” I definitely knew then that this movie was truly my cinema soul-mate.

It’s everything I want from a murder mystery; quotable dialogue, a fantastic period setting of the 1950’s, lovable slapstick humor that isn’t too over the top, continuous plot twists, a sly self-awareness of it’s genre, and truly quirky characters (all of them gems but my favorites including Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Green, and Tim Curry as Wadsworth the Butler.) The multiple endings hearkens back to the game board where you can get a different murderer each round; however there is an official ending that wraps up the film perfectly. I’ve rewatched this film countless times and continue to catch little things, expressions, or moments that add to the atmosphere or plot!

Interestingly, I’ve only played the board game a few times and my attachment to the film does not come from the game itself. Growing up, 80 percent of the books I read were mysteries, so it should be no mystery (HA!) that my personal attachment to the genre should transfer to films. Overall, Clue is simply a fantastically enjoyable mystery film. While one will either get it or not get it, either way I highly recommend it, because, after all, it is my number one favorite film of all time.

~Jamie