Kimberly C's blog

Have Fun Storming the Castle!

princess bride mapIn general, I’m not much of a nonfiction reader. I tend to be a plot-driven reader, and plot just isn’t what drives a nonfiction book. But over the past year and a half, I have broadened my horizons, listening to several celebrity memoirs and essay collections during my commute to and from work. The first three of these (Tina Fey’s Bossypants; Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? (and Other Concerns); and Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please) were all in theme: life lessons from smart, funny women working in comedic television and movies. I’m not that well-versed in sitcoms and sketch comedy, but I enjoyed listening to these women reflect on their lives, the lessons they have learned through their work in television and comedy, and the people who helped them along the way.

This past week, I have been listening to yet another nonfiction audiobook, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride. Written by Cary Elwes, who played Westley, the dashing hero in The Princess Bride, this book is full of behind-the-scenes stories and fond reminiscences. The Princess Bride has long been one of my favorite movies, so listening to Cary Elwes (with guest appearances by various other members of the cast) recount stories about the experience of making it has made for an enjoyable commute.

Here are some of my favorite stories shared by Elwes:

Touchdown!

yard linesWe’re now partway through the NFL preseason and football fever is well and truly in the air. If I’m being honest, I’m a pretty terrible example of a football fan. My football knowledge is pretty basic, watching games live gives me anxiety (Will my team win? Why are we losing at the half?! That was a terrible call!), and I am really only invested in one or two teams at a time (the Houston Texans and, in college football, my beloved Texas Aggies). Despite all that, each year I find myself more and more caught up by the football fervor that sweeps over the country.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a super fan to enjoy a football movie. I say fortunately because, as you’ve no doubt noticed, there are an awful lot of football movies coming out of Hollywood. It would be a shame to miss them when most feature actors popular with both critics and audiences (i.e., Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side and Mark Wahlberg in Invincible), and many are based on inspiring true stories. Some football movies add humor to the game, while others, like We are Marshall inspire viewers to rise above and persevere.

Whether you’re playing football, fantasy football or armchair football this season, check out one of these movies for a little bit of inspiration!

The Western

west texas stormLast weekend, I went on a road trip to West Texas to visit family. If you have ever made that trip yourself, you know that driving across Texas is always a crazy experience. First, it takes a really long time to get anywhere by car because Texas is just that big. Not even the 80 mph speed limits make that much of a dent. Second, the scenery outside the car window is always changing as you travel across the state. From cityscapes and flatlands to the green trees of hill country and the brown expanse of West Texas, it is hard to believe it all belongs in one state.

67th Primetime Emmy Nominations

emmyLast week, the nominations for the Primetime Emmys were announced. Honoring excellence in primetime television, the Emmys are highly anticipated by those in the field and those of us who simply love television. As a self-professed lover of all things TV, the Emmys align perfectly with my interests.

Like most years at the Emmys, there are many familiar titles and faces nominated in the comedy and drama categories. Because of the multi-season nature of most television shows, this makes sense. This sort of repetitive nomination pattern is less likely to happen at, for example, the Oscars, where new movies are released in theaters each year, starring different actors and actresses, and written, directed and produced by different people. In television, a show might be nominated every year it runs, like Modern Family, or it might receive a nomination its first season, only to be replaced in future years by the next big show.

This year, however, there are a number of new names amongst the nominations. The Lead Actress in a Drama category is a prime example of this, with three new faces including Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson, both strong, talented actresses who made the switch from movies to television, and Tatiana Maslany, who is finally nominated for her third season of incredible work on Orphan Black. This year also sees an increase in television produced by streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon. It will be interesting to see how this new format of television continues to impact the field in years to come.

With such an eclectic group of nominees, I, for one, am curious how the votes might fall this year. Will the Emmys go to the familiar faces in television, or will the new shows and faces be recognized for their addition to Primetime television?

Below, I have listed the nominees in the drama and comedy categories for Outstanding Series, Lead Actor and Actress, and Supporting Actor and Actress. Who would you like to see win an Emmy this year?

You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

sharkHappy Shark Week! In 1988, the very first Shark Week, an annual event that offers movies and documentaries that promote shark awareness, premiered on the Discovery Channel. Now in its 28th year, Shark Week is more popular than ever.

Of course, this fascination with sharks didn’t start with Shark Week. Thirteen years previously in 1975, Jaws was released to massive critical and fan acclaim. With masterful direction by Steven Spielberg, a script co-written by Peter Benchley (who wrote the novel the film was based on) and Carl Gottlieb, an ominous main theme by John Williams, and memorable performances by stellar actors and an often-faulty mechanical shark, Jaws has become not only a cult classic, but one of the greatest movies of the twentieth century.

Since that time, sharks have repeatedly served as the inspiration for movies – often in a slightly campy, yet terrifying capacity. In fact, many a sci fi creature feature has starred an outrageously unrealistic shark terrorizing beachgoers. But that’s not to say that sharks can’t be friendly. In Pixar’s Finding Nemo, for example, the sharks are learning that “fish are friends, not food!” No matter the role, sharks remain a familiar feature in movies.

If you’re in the mood for a shark movie or two, but missed some of this year’s Shark Week programming, the library has you covered! Check out the list below and request a shark movie today!

Undercover

secretsEarlier this week, I finished watching the first season of Graceland, a current television show about a group of undercover federal agents living and working out of a government-seized beach house in California. The show is addictive, suspenseful and smart, with secrets and lies in every storyline. By the end of the season, my opinions about each character had changed so many times that I wasn’t quite sure who to trust. 

The world of undercover cops and federal agents has long been a source of inspiration for filmmakers. Audiences are fascinated by the idea of cultivating an undercover identity and infiltrating the criminal underworld. There is danger at every turn, secrets to guard and to uncover, and even the smallest misstep can lead to the very real possibility of exposure. Movies about undercover work not only give us a sneak peek into the criminal world, but into the psychology of what it might be like to live a lie. In nearly every undercover movie, there is a point where viewers worry the character might have crossed over the line and is in danger of becoming the very person they are trying to catch. It is this delicate balance between good and evil that invites filmmakers and audiences to explore the world of undercover cops time and again.

Of course, not every movie about undercover cops is dark and suspenseful. Some of them, like Miss Congeniality and 21 Jump Street, take a funnier, more light-hearted approach to undercover work. These movies may not delve as deeply into the psychology of undercover, but they certainly have their place.

If you’re in the mood for an undercover movie this weekend, browse the HCPL catalog and request one today!

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

San AndreasIn my years enthusiastically discussing movies with everyone I meet, I have noticed that even when people have wildly different tastes in films, they always (and this is a blatant generalization) agree on one thing: The Rock. Everyone loves The Rock. He is effortlessly cool and charismatic, imposing in stature, but an overall nice guy with a strong work ethic and a healthy appreciation for his fans.

Despite his immense popularity as an actor, Dwayne Johnson (better known as The Rock) didn’t start out in movies. In college, he played football for the University of Miami and had dreams of eventually going pro. But after a series of injuries left him benched, he turned to professional wrestling, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. The first third-generation professional wrestler for the WWF, Johnson quickly made a name for himself in the ring. 

Kick off Your Sunday Shoes

dancing sculptureA high school dance is a rite of passage for many teenagers. Whether it is Spring Fling, the Homecoming Dance, a Winter Formal or Senior Prom, most people probably have a story or two from their own high school dance. These dances seem so important to the high school experience that they appear as turning points in many movies. In movies that feature a dance, relationships are made and broken on the dance floor, impassioned speeches are delivered, and the mean girls always learn their lesson.

Unfortunately, none of my high school dances involved spontaneous choreographed dancing, elaborately decorated ballrooms, or happily ever after like they do in the movies. But they also didn’t include buckets of blood, tears or murder, so I suppose I can handle the memories of uncoordinated dancing.

Below, I have put together a list of movies that feature a school dance. Although most of the movies don’t revolve around the dance, it does play a crucial part in the plot and the developing relationships of the characters. Which movie dance do you wish you could attend?

Avengers Assemble!

avengersThis weekend The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the highly anticipated next installment in Marvel’s blockbuster superhero movies, hits theaters. Unlike many superhero movies that focus on the origin story of one particular hero, The Avengers brings together a massive cast of actors and actresses. Some of the actors, like Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Downey Jr, are well-known veterans of film, while others, like Elizabeth Olsen, are relative newcomers not only to the Marvel universe, but to Hollywood.

But one thing all of these actors and actresses have in common is talent and charisma. Below, I have compiled a list of some of the moves and TV shows this group has done outside their work as Marvel superheroes. If you can’t make it to the movies this weekend to see The Avengers: Age of Ultron, or you just want to see what your favorite superhero does in his or her downtime, check out some of these other titles!

Paul Bettany (Jarvis/Vision) A Beautiful Mind; A Knight’s Tale; Inkheart; Master & Commander: The Far Side of The World

Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/War Machine)Crash; Flight; Hotel Rwanda; House of Lies; Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve & Thirteen; Traffic

Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man)Chef; Home for the Holidays; The Judge; Sherlock Holmes; Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America)Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; The Losers; Snowpiercer; Sunshine; TMNT; What’s Your Number?

Vroom, Vroom...

deloreanTwo weeks ago Furious 7, the highly anticipated addition to The Fast & The Furious movie franchise, released in theaters to huge box office numbers. Much of this box office success is, of course, generated by fans of the series. But a far more solemn reason behind Furious 7’s success is that it was the last movie filmed by Paul Walker before he passed away in a tragic accident last year. The success of this movie stands as a testament not only to the draw of action movies in general, but to Walker’s enduring legacy as a respected and beloved actor.

Movies revolving around cars had long been a staple in Hollywood before The Fast & The Furious premiered in 2001. That franchise is, perhaps, unique in its success, but it is not unique in its portrayal of the culture of cars and the people who drive them. However, a movie doesn’t necessarily have to be about cars for it to feature a recognizable vehicle. In fact, some movie cars are so iconic, like the DeLorean in Back to the Future, that, even though they are not the central plot of the film, they almost become an extra character in the movie.

Below, I have listed a few movies that prominently feature cars. Some of these are firmly entrenched in car culture, while others simply feature an iconic car. Which is your favorite?

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