Vampire Diaries Season Six Finale Recap – Goodbye Elena, Hello Steroline

I have a hard time letting go. Of people. Of moments of time. Of things I love. Even TV shows, as silly as they may sound. When they’re over — for the season or for good — I am usually stuck in those last moments for a little while, thinking, processing. And just when I think to myself “Ok D, time to move on, you’re being silly,” I think no. That’s what they are about. Shows, and books, and movies, and music, they are meant to make us feel. To think. To watch and question and discuss the lives of others because in doing so, we may better understand ourselves, our own lives, and the world around us. Yeah, TV does that, at least for me.

Say what you will but TV has turned out some of the most powerful performances I’ve seen on a screen, TV or silver.  The end scene from last year’s season finale of The Originals. The series finale of Being Human, when Aidan gets his door. The closing sequence of Lost’s grand exit. Those were some of the most thought provoking, heart wrenching moments for me.  And that’s just a few that I like. There are countless others, but those are a few that no matter when I watch get me every. single. time.

So, what’s the most recent finale to grab my heart? Last week’s finale of The Vampire Diaries, “I’m thinking Of You All the While.” Saying Goodbye to Elena …I will admit, it got to me. And not just because we were saying goodbye to Nina Dobrev, but because we were saying goodbye to that chapter of the series (and some will say the series ultimate demise because which show can go on with the exit of its main character) and moving on to a new one.  It will no doubt be a new show without its main character, and after the traumatic events at Jo and Alaric’s wedding, I’m curious how the show can go anywhere but into darkness. I have always loved the Salvatore brothers and do think their story is at the heart of the show, so it’s anyone’s bet really.

I’m into this show. And no, not in that “I am almost 40 and think I am a teen” kind of way. I am into it because it’s a really, really good show. Julie Plec is an amazing writer and has done a great good job over the past six years turning this little show that could, into a dramatic, exciting, heart warming, sad, comedic, and emotional program that makes the lives of vampires and witches and werewolves something you can’t help but watch. You want the characters to find their slice of happiness. You wanted Elena to be human again. You wanted Damon to save Bonnie, even though it meant saying goodbye to his soul mate for the next 60+ years. You wanted Stefan to proclaim his love for Caroline, and for Tyler to trigger his werewolf curse and move on. And Kai – the villain we loved to hate – we wanted him to die, but knew it meant that with it, meant having no way of freeing Elena from his spell unless it meant the death of her best friend. And the goodbye scenes between Elena and her friends… So. Many. Feels.  Each a throwback to some of the shows first moments.

Damon and Elena’s last scene together, that dance…what can I say. I had a lump in my throat. It was everything we wanted for these two since their first dance back in season one. It was the moment of tenderness between two who fought hard to be together and when it mattered most, wanted just one more dance to be together before having to say goodbye for what would feel like forever. But we know it wasn’t  forever. Just a few decades. Or until Bonnie dies. And since Ms. Dobrev has left the show, that’s most likely when the series comes to a close since Kai snuck in that sneaky little clause that if anyone tried to break it, both would die.  (But on a side note for a moment: if anyone did want to try to break it, I know of two powerful witches over on The Originals who despite being relegated to ash will most likely reappear again sometime, as always, and hey, they could try their magic on Klaus’ spell. They are the mother of witches and vampires after all). But back to the dance…It was beautifully shot and the music, Ross Copperman’s Hunger – so perfect. Not to mention, a sneak peek at the next epic love that will pull us in, Stefan and Caroline. Wow, how far has this show come in six years for that to happen.

I know there are many who will stop watching – without Dobrev there’s no triangle, no Katherine Pierce, no love for Damon to center his every action around. But I am. I want to know where Julie Plec will take us. With the introduction of Heretics (vampire/witch hybrids) we know she is capable of taking us somewhere  we never thought possible – I mean really, she figured out the perfect way to allow Nina Dobrev her exit and not by killing the character. And then there’s TVD’s spin-off The Originals. That show is incredible.. And with the focus being on the Salvatore brothers — their  at the heart of the show for me, since the beginning — it’s anyone’s bet really. I think we’re in for quite a ride.

Until next fall, you can find me listening to the season six soundtrack and watching that exquisite dance over and over, thinking of it “All the While.”

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Being Human has heart – Series Finale Recap

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It’s only been a few days since I finished the fourth and final season of SyFy’s Being Human. I didn’t catch it when it first returned earlier this year so like I’ve done with countless shows before, I recorded the rest of the season, patiently waited for a marathon to catch the first couple I missed, and then binge watched once I had every episode.

That was last week.

It’s a  new week, and I’m still a melancholy mess.

It’s like GoT’s “Red Wedding” all over. Except happier.

To say I’m having a hard time letting go is a bit of an understatement. The last season was just that good and I can’t believe it’s over. Maybe if I had watched over the course of thirteen weeks, it would be easier to say goodbye to the little SyFy hit that captured my heart. But no, I power watched. I lived season 4 in only a few hours and I didn’t have each week to process what was happening. So sigh…I have to do it here, before my heart runs astray and I’m stuck in La La Land for another week.

What can I say about this last season other than it was absolutely incredible – full of solid writing, standup acting from the series’ stars Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath, Sam Huntington, and Kristen Hager, and chalk full of surprises, clever twists, and stunningly beautiful story wrap ups for its characters. It was so much more than I thought it was capable of. They really pulled out all the stops and the last season with many scenes that took my breath in powerful, unexpected ways. Unlike many series finales over the years, I’m not left wondering what could have been had the show continued for another season or two because it went out on top with sublimely perfect moments for the show’s couples Josh and Nora, and Aidan and Sally. And from what I understand, this is exactly what the cast wanted for this last season, ever since it was announced early last year that this season would be its last.

When Being Human began its run in 2011, its unique storyline resonated with audiences. Based on the British show of the same name airing on the BBC 2008– 13, the show explored the friendship among three supernatural roommates – Josh (a werewolf), Aidan (a vampire) and Sally (a ghost), and later Nora (Josh’s finance then wife, also a werewolf), as the four tried to explore the notion of hanging onto their humanity in a supernatural world. It was by far a clever twist on the plethora of supernatural shows hitting around the same time, and after its freshman season, the show proved that yeah, it was an interesting concept worthy of a watch.

I missed a few episodes in the first two seasons, but watched religiously in seasons 3 and 4 as the show delved deeper into exploring the simple question – what is it to be human – as we learned more about Aidan’s past life, the family he lost; Josh and Nora’s try at a normal relationship and then, marriage; and Sally’s return from the other side, only to be cast back again with the ability to travel through time and live at different moments in time, including the one where she was human again – giving her the chance to be with Aidan in every way possible.

Gah! Aidan and Sally. What can you say about them? I love them separately – Meaghan Rath delivering most of the season’s best lines – and I love them together. I loved every episode of season 4 truly, but Episode 8 “Rewind, Rewind” was one of my absolutely favorites. The way it was shot. The storyline. And the scenes between Aidan and Sally were so damn good! Not to mention, there were some really lovely moments between the two couples.

Here, let me just pause and give kudos to the group that scored the last season. The playlist is absolutely incredible; many of the season’s best scenes anchored by incredible music like this gem from Stumbleine, “Beat My Heart Skips (ft. Coma)” featured at the end of Episode 10 when Nora tells Aidan that Sally is in love with him. Or, the scene where Aidan gets his door (one of the most significant moments of the entire series in my opinion) at the end of the penultimate episode featuring “I’m Not Falling Asleep,” by Andy Shauf. And the lovely, lovely end scene backed by Royal Wood’s sublime “You Can’t Go Back.”

What else is there to say about Being Human, the little SyFy show that could, but this: werewolves Josh and Nora were infuriating at times, vampire Aidan self destructive and emo beyond believe at others, and ghost Sally, whose attempts to help always, always backfired! Each had their flaws. Each was forced to live with their supernatural-ness, even though it was not of their own design. Yet despite all of this, I was never annoyed. I never waned. It was a perfect little show and it spoke to my heart in a funny, aching way. The simple silly premise, this SyFy show about four supernaturals, with its modest budget and eclectic actors, turned out to be a wonderful surprise that regardless of story rooted in fiction, reminded us every week at the end of the day, we might not be immortal. We may might not change when the moon is full. We might not become best friends with a ghost. But we live and love and lose, just as Josh, Nora, Aidan and Sally, and that as simple as it sounds, is what it means to be human.

So, let’s end this on a high note. From my episode 9, “Too Far, Fast Forward” – “We Are the Wild Ones,” by Nina.

Sayonara TrueBlood

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Last month’s series finale of HBO’s TrueBlood ended the way it should – Bill six feet under, Eric and Pam immortal partners in crime, and Sookie, well… knocked up and barefoot in Louisiana. It may have differed from the books but for a series that has seen its share of highs and lows, the season and its final episode did the series — which when it first arrived six years ago, rocked us into the supernatural in a sexy, graphic, comedic and crazy way — justice. Series creator Alan Ball and the show’s writers should be proud. Heck, all of us watchers that religiously tuned in the first two solid seasons, weathered the dreadful third and fourth, and hung on through seasons five and six praying it would return to its original magic, should be proud.

All in all, I am pleased with the way the season began and concluded. It was nice to spend time with each character and for our vamp friends, learn more about their life before Bon Temps and in some cases, before immortality. Getting to know Bill better was interesting: who he was in the Old South, a man of honor and charm, helped us to understand his desire for the “Final Death.” Also, while it seemed strange at first, the last episode helped to clarify why exactly it was he needed Sookie be the one to take him there. Giving her the chance to finally be free of Bill Compton and the danger he posed was a nod to his former honorable self. At same time, I did think it was a bit unfair of him to ask that of her. Staking your first and some argue, true love? He had to understand why that would be hard for her.  Nonetheless, thank goodness we got to that point and Bill did have his Final Death because he…was getting annoying. From mysterious, to self righteous, to smarmy…I have never been a fan of the character of Bill Compton and I for one — despite their last moments in the grave together aiming for poignant and touching —  couldn’t help but clap when he died, followed by “Finally. He’s dead. Good riddance, next.” To this point however, let me just say that THAT would have been a perfect ending: Sookie walking out of the cemetery, covered in blood. That last minute or two wrap up (not really an epilogue, but for all intensive purposes, an epilogue), showing what life looks like in the future, was weird and cheesy.

Now Pam and Eric on the other hand – I love them. Let me rephrase that…I LOVE THEM! From the beginning I have been an Eric fan. And no not just because he’s hot, because well, yeah, he is. But because he was interesting, and less annoying than emo Bill; an aggressive, but controlled demeanor with a penchant for sex, driven by a deeply hidden loss that you couldn’t quite put your finger on but knew was there. A balance of extremes portrayed perfectly by the delicious Alexander Skarsgård. Eric’s final scene (before that awkward epilogue) was classic Northman, showing his comedic side – head banging in the Yakuza’s car, with the gang stacked up dead in the backseat. The backseat of their car as he drives it listening to their music! I laughed hard when I saw that, and continue to laugh when I see it now.

I’ve also been a huge fan of Eric’s progeny Pam – her quick, dry wit, and formidable fashion, made her my favorite female character on the show. Her connection to Eric was at times comedic, other times raw; their respect and trust for one another forged over a hundred years. Her barbs were classic, and her rough exterior shaken only when it came to his safety was played with the perfect blend of strength by the gorgeous Kristin Bauer van Straten.

When it came to Eric and Pam I finally got my wish: the chance to see what they were like before Bon Temps, who they had been over the years to each other and others outside their bond, and for curiosity sake, were they ever together together? Through the last season we had small glimpses of the Viking Eric Northman and his Victorian era madam, Pamela Swynford De Beaufort. But it was in the last episode we finally we got a glimpse of just how strong their companionship was. Just what the two had been through together. And the connection shared. A deep bond that not only a vampire has for their progeny, but that which is shared between best friends and sometimes lovers. I KNOW! I was just as surprised to hear of this — albeit a small reference in a string of dialogue with Japan’s Yakuza band — but it was a good surprise, so thank you show writers for satisfying my curiosity. In the last episode it was clear to me their bond was that of trust and admiration and love, yes, a love,  that  no matter what game is played – like Pam claiming the idea for Fantgasia as her own – is returned with not the question of “Do you still love me?” but returned simply with, “Always.”

When you’re immortal, always is a long time.  

Jessica and Hoyt getting back together wasn’t a total surprise. Given Hoyt’s lifelong friendship with Jason I was hoping they would repair that relationship, which they did. So I was glad to see they brought he and Jess back together. It was nice to see a happily ever after there. Proof that even if you’re a bloodsucking vampire, happy endings are possible.

Jason was well, Jason Stackhouse, so he got the girl – not the one we thought show writers were leading us to the entire season – but one that turned him from eternal bachelor into family man. Full circle Stackhouse.

And Sarah Newlin…what else is there to say about the lovely Anna Camp other than she was left standing, albeit it in chains as Pam’s blood whore, her future bleak. A fitting ending some would say.

Last but not least La La…the fabulous Lafayette,  I was glad to see remained standing. He’d been through enough these past six years and deserved some happiness. I was relived to see he rode off into the future, glitter eyeshadow and all, with his lover man in tow.

The rest of the cast was solid throughout the last season, their ending performances sweet, reminding us why we were so excited about the show when it landed back in 2008.  I will miss the show, but glad it came to an end. Better to go out on top than dwindling.

 

 

 

 

Movie review: Divergent is delicious

I didn’t read Victoria Roth’s Divergent trilogy. I have this thing about reading popular books. I don’t like to read them until the hype dies down. Also, my time is so limited these days that any spare time I have I try to work on my own writing. It’s unfortunate because reading is my guilty pleasure. There’s nothing more I love than curling up with a good book. But when I read, I feel guilty because that time is time I could be using to finish my own work. I’ve made a deal with myself: in between writing I take a few months to read everything I stacked up on my nightstand (see what I did there?) – decompress from my own mind if you will, and then start on my work after I’ve had a chance to truly step away from the world I’ve created and been working in and start fresh again.

So… in a few months I will get to it, in addition to about twenty other books I am foaming at the mouth to read. However, like Hunger Games (I know, I heard your audible gasp, didn’t get to read that either) I will read after seeing the films and while part of me worries the film will influence the images and characters of the book, I know my mind and know that I am pretty good at letting it make up its own mind and not be driven by whatever images the film drove.

I saw Divergent last night and liked it. I thought it was a pretty high quality film, like Hunger Games, and not at all like Summit’s Twilight films. (Those vampire weaves, come on!) Also, I really love Shailene Woodley — I think she’s a pretty talented young actress — and I like Theo James. He’s different from some of those actors out there right now. Of course he was also in Underworld Awakening, one of my favorite movie franchises ever, so well, I am a little biased. Kate Winslet’s performance was a bit underwhelming. She is capable of so much more, so part of me wonders if she was in the film because  her daughter asked her to be, like Glenn Close did when she took the role of Cruella Deville for Disney’s 101 Dalmatians? Is her daughter that old? I don’t know. It’s a theory so don’t hold me to it and frankly, I don’t have the time to look up whether or not she has a daughter (can’t remember at the moment) and if so, her age.  It was nice to see Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn. AND…a strange twist (or maybe purposeful), Shailene’s co-star from The Spectacular Now (which was underwhelming, I will admit) Miles Teller, as well as her co-star from The Fault in our Stars, Ansel Elgort. Is it really just a small world, or does Shailene have incredible pull with her film’s casting directors in getting her friends jobs?

I thought the movie also did a great job bringing to life Roth’s dystopian Chicago. Dystopian novels bother me a bit because of their settings, but I like to see how director’s bring them to life on the screen and make them a bit raw and sexy (is it ok to say that?) and not creepy and morose. And well yeah, I will admit, love Tris and Four. I am a sucker for YA/fan fiction couples. But doesn’t everyone? Isn’t that why these books are so popular?

Perhaps my favorite part of the film was 1) the painless tattoo Shailene’s character Tris gets. No wonder everyone in Dauntless is tatted up. If it was a sticker like approach now, I’d be in that chair, stat! And 2) the presence of more than one Ellie Goulding song in the film. Two of my favorite Ellie songs are featured in Divergent: one, “My Blood”, featured in the film, and two, “Beating Heart,” which is featured on the credits. I am obsessed with the latter, but don’t be fooled. Was totally obsessed by the former when it first came out, too. I love Ellie’s music. Totally, and completely. Nothing she does bothers me. I could listen to her all day. Which is why it was a pleasant surprise to also hear her cover of Active Child’s “Hanging On.” Including all three below because her voice is stunning.

“Beating Heart”

“My Blood”

“Hanging On”

 

Divergent was delicious and I am anxious to see the second film. Who knows, maybe I will read the trilogy before the second film comes out. I should be finished with my second novel by that time (shit, I hope so!) and have some trips planned in the coming months. Maybe my mind could use a nice deep dive into Roth’s dystopian’s world.

Maleficent is Magnificent!

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Maleficent is in one word, perfection.

In more words, it is everything about a fairy tale origin story I want. Unlike that tragic Snow White and the Huntsman featuring she who can’t act to save her life, Kristen Stewart.

Much has been said over the years about Maleficent, the antagonist in Disney’s adaptation of the classic fairy tale, “Sleeping Beauty.” Her voice, her walk, her crow, her dragon…she is the evil character we love to hate because in a word, she is fabulous. That’s why when rumors started swirling a few years back that Jolie was set to bring the deliciously wicked character to the big screen I, like others, got excited. If anyone could bring to life the character epitomized by the late actress Eleanor Audley, it would be Jolie.

And bring her to life she did.

Jolie’s performance was exactly as you would think; her voice eerie, not as commanding as Aduley’s, but unique in its own right, befitting of her Maleficent. Jolie’s Maleficent is strong and regal and wicked and endearing and just perfect! Her statuesque presence, dazzling eyes (emphasized by special effects of course, but no less gorgeous), power and grace, not to mention moments of frailty – yes frailty –  has you actually rooting for her. Rooting for her…the evil fairy!  And if you’re wondering if that is a typo …it’s not. You read it right. Maleficent, in this story, is a fairy. Without giving away too much, that was a new twist on the tale. And overall, I absolutely loved what the writer’s did with Maleficent’s origin story. Without giving away any spoilers, love is the key to both the damnation and salvation of both Maleficent and Princess Aurora – but in a surprising twist from what we’ve been told all these years.

Let’s face it, I am a sucker for love stories. And when love is the background behind the twisting evil of some of movie’s most villainous foes – think Wicked Witch of the East, Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter – it brings me to my knees. Who wasn’t touched by the story of Elphaba? Whose heart wasn’t shattered when Anakin thought his wife and unborn children were lost? Who didn’t mourn for the family of Hannibal Lecter? (Before you think me weird, if you’ve not seen Hannibal Rising rent it, now. It will give you a whole new level of …understanding, dare I say, for the epitome of evil characters, Hannibal.) You understand  these characters better, and the heart of their plight. You may not agree with their approach to dealing with their grief, but you get it and a part of you supports their quest for vindication. (Except for the whole eating people thing in Lecter…that is still horrifying.) This is what I loved about Maleficent. All these years, finally, we understand her wickedness and guess what, if you’re like me, you understand and emphasize with it.

I wasn’t too impressed with Elle Fanning’s performance, but then again, I’ve never been a fan of Princess Aurora. Of all the princesses, she always bugged me. Not sure why. Her father, King Stefan, has an interesting background in this adaptation, and is at the heart of Maleficent’s curse. He is actually pretty annoying in the movie, bordering on dirty dirt bag material.

These two things aside, Jolie’s costumes were gorgeous, the look and feel of the film kept it very close to the beloved Disney classic, and the ending credits even featured one of my favorite voices, Lana Del Ray, covering the classic “Once Upon a Dream,” featured in the 1959 animated film.  I love this song. I sang it to my son every night at bedtime when he was a baby, and he still smiles when he hears it to this day.

I will be buying the film when it comes to DVD, as we have with every version of the Disney classic that has come to VHS and DVD. What can I say, it’s a bit of a favorite. And now the origin story is, too.

Lana Del Ray – “Once Upon a Dream”

‘The Originals’ Season Finale Recap: Life, Love, Loyalty and Hope

A few weeks ago I said I was quitting my blog.

I tried.

It lasted a few weeks.

I’m back.

I don’t like quitting.

So, if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you can thank CW’s show The Originals because they’re the inspiration for my return. How you say? Well, if you watch the show then you know it was incredible – so much so there was no other outlet I could think of to share just how much I loved it than here, and with you, my lovely readers.

So, Nightstand woke up. It was a short nap.

Now, let’s dive in. The Originals….

Anyone who knows me, knows I love stories of the supernatural. I love the supernatural because it’s not real. And we all need an escape from life sometimes. A break from the tough moments. The moments that break you. The moments that test your strength. The moments that remind you how frail humanity can be.

But those moments also teach you. They teach you about yourself. Your strength. Your ability to persevere, no matter how hard the battle. That humanity is incredibly strong and beautiful. And for that reason, I love the supernatural because often the stories centered in the supernatural world are just that: they’re about strength of character, of love, of life. About family. About the ties that bind us and keep us connected, no matter how crazy the world can be. Stories that are, incredibly human.

So yes, life is tough. But it’s also inescapably humbling, and breathtaking, and completely unexpected and beautiful with the most delightful joy in unexpected places.

I enjoy both aspects. I’m a dichotomy. But then again I never promised to be anything else than what I am. And that is someone that laughs, that cries, that loves. I fall, I get up, I move on. I am if nothing, incredibly human.

That’s why last night’s season one finale of The Originals got to me. It reached into my heart and squeezed tight. There was so much life in that one hour — even though witches were squaring off against vampires and werewolves, and plotting the sacrifice of a newborn hybrid, while turning the city of New Orleans into a supernatural war zone —  that at one point I had to pause everything I had seen so far, and catch my breath for the remainder of it.

You may think I’m crazy but any fan of the show knows, last night’s finale was OFF THE HOOK CRAZY GOOD. It answered so many questions, brought so many relationships and story lines full circle. It connected what I thought were loose ends that were due to kinks being worked out in its freshman season and tied everything together perfectly, showing us that every story line, every episode had tracked to this one hour, setting in motion story lines that would unravel next season and well into future ones. For this finale I have to say to producer Julie Plec… Well done, well mother lovin’ done (and that pun on the “mother” was intentional.) You promised it would be mind blowing and well, consider my mind completely blown. There were so many moments that were palpable I actually found myself holding my breath. That scene with Hayley and Hope…. I can’t. even. take it. It hit me like a ton of bricks in a really, really profound way, sending chills up my spine.

In an hour we got to see a monster who has terrorized just about everyone he has ever known, be brought to his knees by his newborn daughter.  We saw a family bond that had been broken, with little hope of repair, mend with new commitment and loyalty.  We learned  the ties that bind us, have the power to bring us back…sometimes even from the dead.

We were also introduced to new characters, the return of some original ones (catch the pun there?), and a feeling of hope, thanks to the arrival of one sweet baby girl of the same name. The episode was sheer poetry and by far, the best episode of the season not to mention, perhaps the best show of all seasons of the Vampire Diaries (its sister show) and The Originals combined.

Now sadly, we must wait to see how everything unfurls next season and I will be left wondering all summer… will Elijah and Hayley finally get together? Will Esther and her son (presumably Finn) make their way out of the bodies they stole and be put out of their misery so sweet baby Hope can return? Will Rebekah return for good (Claire Holt is divine), or will she head to somewhere close say, Mystic Falls, so we can see her lovely face more often? That scene by the way – with Rebekah and Klaus – was sheer magic. Their bond has always been complicated, but the fact he trusts her, above all others to keep his daugher safe, speaks volumes about the soul that lies in the heart of Klaus, reminding you that despite everything they have done, has always, and will always be, for their family.

 

So much to ponder. Let the countdown to next fall begin.

Until then, check out The Originals soundtrack. There’s been some great artists featured this year. Here’s two of my favorites from the finale .

“Open Hands” by Ingrid Michaelson

“Shallows” by Daughter

Praise for the score master, John Barry – from Peggy Sue Got Married to Indecent Proposal, his music still gets me

Classical music has been a part of my life for a long, long time. The first piece I fell in love with was “A Theme From A Summer Place” by Percy Faith Orchestra. My mom had the 45. She skated to it as a teen and would listen to it when cleaning the house when I was little. I loved the sound, it seemed to tell a story through whimsical strings and cheerful flutes.

Next for me was the film score.

I love film scores. As much as I love  soundtracks. And there have been many to land a place in my heart over the years. Among some of my most favorite, those by the masterful John Barry. John Williams and Hans Zimmer are incredible, but something about Barry’s music connects with me. It reaches into my soul and wraps around my heart.

What are some of my favorites you ask? Well…

“Peggy Sue Got Married” – I literally can not listen to this piece without tearing up. I just can’t. I loved this movie so much. It would be years before Nicholas Cage got all weird on us, but I will always love him for being Charlie in this incredible movie by his uncle Francis Ford Coppola about a woman who passes out at her high 25 year high school reunion, only to wake up in her senior year and either make the same choice twice, which included marrying her high school sweetheart to whom she is in the middle of divorcing, or set out on a new fate.  The hairs on my arms stand up at the 1:39 mark and whenever I hear this I see Peggy Sue (played by Kathleen Turner) entering her childhood bedroom, surrounded by innocence and a connection to a life she seems to have lost over the past 25 years. The emotion that fills her as her sister Nancy enters the room (played by Coppola’s daughter Sophia, long before she would give us The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette) is palpable and a lump forms in my throat every. single. time.


“Out of Africa”  – one of the first real love stories  I remember seeing. My mom was obsessed with it. Robert Redford is in it, so well yeah, even I can understand her appeal to the film. But it wasn’t until years later that I sat down to watch it with a more mature look on life, that I really understood the story. It is absolutely beautiful and the incredible Meryl Streep does an amazing job as the Danish baroness/plantation owner that has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter played by Robert Redford. It is an incredibly moving film, set against the breathtaking beauty of Kenya. Barry’s score captures the love kindled between the two, and the magnificent beauty of Africa. Listen and you tell me if you get goosebumps at the 1:10 mark.

“Dances with Wolves” – I have always had a deep fascination with the Native American people.  When my sister and I were little, we’d ride in local parades as cowboys and Indians. Once we rode together, she was the cowgirl of the Wild West and me the young Indian girl. She rode her Paint horse and I our Palomino. Yes, the horse is called a Paint. Look it up.  I wore moccasins and yes I even wore a feather in my hair. I will spare you the picture, but it was really fun and such a great memory. In high school our mascot was a Redskin. I was in sports. I was an avid supporter of our school pride. We beat the tribal drum during homecoming week 24/7, taking rotations through the day and night. I never felt a sense of shame for the gorgeous embroidery of the Native American Chief on the back of my letter-man’s jacket or when we painted our faces in “war paint” when supporting the  team on Friday nights. Of course I understand now those activities are more insulting than prideful, but at the heart of it all was a curiosity of a people who as years go by, seem to be more and more forgotten.  It would be years later that my fascination turned into real pride when I married someone whose father was Native American, born on Cherokee Nation. My son carries Cherokee blood and it has become a passion of mine to find out as much as I can about his ancestors so that he can teach his children and they theirs, so the Native American people are never forgotten.

There are few movies about Native Americans that I can stomach but one that I really did love was “Dances With Wolves.” I had a huge crush on Kevin Costner at the time so it didn’t hurt that he was in it. But, I must have listened to that score a thousand times over the years. It is so beautiful and moving and I can’t help but see the Great Plains and scores of buffalo roaming its hills when I hear it.

“Indecent Proposal” – you know the movie. Diana (played by Demi Moore) is paid a million dollars to spend the night with billionaire John Gage (played by Robert Redford).  Diana and her husband David (played by Woody Harrelson) need the money to save their half finished dream home from being foreclosed on by the bank and so they think, big deal, it’s one night. But well, everything unravels and turns to shit and its a crazy concept that was at the heart of one of my most favorite movies of that decade and even today, when I hear this piece from the score, I can see David losing his mind, trying to get to Diana in time to tell her the deal is off….just in time to see her depart with Gage.

Have I ever told you I loved you?

No.

I do.

Still?

Always.

Sigh…..

 

And now well, these days I also love opera. And that took years to appreciate. But that’s a post for another day. For now, enjoy this trip down memory lane, compliments of movies from the 80s and 90s.