Fangirl Fav: Big Little Lies

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BLLBig Little Lies is so good that I finished watching it a few weeks ago, and I’m still thinking about it. I tend to enjoy HBO programming in general (Game of Thrones is my jam!), and when I saw the top billed cast for this (::heart eyes at Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, and Reese Witherspoon::), I knew I needed to give it a try. Holy hell, am I glad that I did!

The show is based on the book by Liane Moriarty. I didn’t know about the book before the show, but you better believe that I’ve since added it to my reading list. As an aspiring novelist and screenwriter, I enjoy comparing adaptations of the same story, so I’m really looking forward to reading the book.

So, because I’m feeling in a list-making mood…

Reasons Why I Love Big Little Lies (TV Series)

  • Nicole Kidman is fierce, beautiful, and believable as Celeste Wright. I’ve always thought of Kidman as a good actress, but in BLL, she is brilliant. I won’t get too spoilery here, but Kidman’s character is in an abusive relationship, and there are so many layers to the relationship and the characters involved that it’s mesmerizing.
  • The ocean should get a screen credit in this show. I’m not even joking. BLL is beautifully shot. It’s set in Monterey, CA, and the creators and producers absolutely took advantage of that in the best way possible. Most of the main characters live right on the ocean and spend many a scene contemplating life as they stare out at the crashing waves of divine awesomeness.
  • Alexander Skarsgard. He’s so tall. And lithe. And yummy. Objectification aside, I really enjoy his acting and was so pumped to see him team up with HBO again, as I was a big fan of True Blood. As Perry Wright, Skarsgard was opposite of Nicole Kidman in many of his scenes, and again with being mesmerized. In my opinion, the Wright plotline stole the show. What I love about Skarsgard as a talent, and what he really played up in BLL, is that he can go from terrifying and towering one moment to apologetic and petulant the next.
  • Awesome tunes like woah. BLL has a great soundtrack! The opening theme, “Cold Little Heart,” by Michael Kiwanuka is something of a religious experience. Although only a moment of the song is played during the opening credits, the actual song clocks it at just under 10 minutes long and is the best kind of ear candy. 
  • One of the aspects that I really loved and appreciated about Big Little Lies is that it gave viewers a satisfying ending. The last episode, and in particular the last few minutes of the finale, wrapped up everything so well. There was one big mystery throughout the series, and it was not only answered, but the discovery and resulting resolution united all of the characters in an unexpected way, which was awesome.

I didn’t have many expectations going into Big Little Lies. That’s not to say that I had low expectations, but I didn’t know much about it one way or the other. I was just curious to try it out because it’s an HBO show with some actors that I enjoy. Needless to say, my non-existent expectations were blown out of the water. I plan to re-watch BLL again over the summer, just because, and it’s now become my top recommendation to anyone and everyone who shows even the slightest interest in TV. Seriously, go forth and binge watch!

Fangirl Fav: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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BTVSThis past week marked the 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the tv series). Although I enjoyed a variety of pop culture as a wee one, anything from Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to X-Men and the Superman movies, I didn’t get a true taste of fangirl obsession until Buffy the Vampire Slayer walked into my life (well, not literally, because then I would be dead from awesome overload).

My BtVS obsession goes waaay back to the original movie starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry. I was in love with Luke Perry, thanks to Beverly Hills, 90210, which I watched with my mom. (Sidenote: although mom appreciated Luke Perry, her heart belonged to Jason Priestley.) I was only eight when the BtVS movie came out in 1992, but I was instantly hooked. Although I think, even back then, part of me knew this wasn’t cinema at its best lol. Still, Luke Perry was hot, Kristy Swanson was a girl who kicked major ass, and there were vampires! Lots and lots of vampires!

When the TV version of BtVS launched in 1997, I was 13 and the perfect age for an instant obsession. And I mean obsession. Some of the first posters I ever hung on my walls were of the BtVS cast, including my treasured poster of Buffy and Angel, my very first OTP. I wrote letters to the cast which prompted a response including a signed cast photo which earned many, many squeal/flail combos. I had action figures, trading cards, clothing, and basically any BtVS memorabilia I could get my grubby little hands on, most of which were proudly displayed in my bedroom.

Of course, as many people know, obsession comes with a price. My adoration for BtVS caused my very first fangirl meltdown, the extent of which still earns reminiscent chuckles from my family. Spoiler Alert: When Angel was killed at the end of season 2, I was literally in mourning all summer. I cried myself to sleep on more than one occasion, and when he was resurrected the next season, well, PURE HAPPINESS was suddenly my new jam. End Spoiler Alert. Don’t even get me started on when the show was resurrected for it’s second leg of life on a different network. I mean……I can’t.

In honor of the 20th anniversary, and my fond fangirl memories, I’d like to list some of my favorite things about Buffy the Vampire Slayer before wrapping this up while I still have a modicum of self-respect (I hope?).

Random Reasons Why I Love Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV Show)

  • I love the Buffy/Angel relationship as much as they loved each other.
  • Joss Whedon’s writing. His dialogue is amazing. Some of my favorite quotes ever came from BtVS.
  • I love the various friendships portrayed over the duration of the show: Buffy/Willow, Buffy/Xander, Buffy/Willow/Xander, etc.
  • The fight scenes! I’m such a nerd for action sequences.
  • Doppelgangers. Specifically Willow’s doppelganger, who was amazing and hilarious.
  • Anya. (Yes, she deserves her own bullet.)
  • The development of Cordelia over the progression of the show (and later the spinoff). She was the original mean girl and had some of the best lines of the show.
  • The Angel spinoff!
  • Obviously outdated now, but I loooved the styling of that show, fashion and hair wise.
  • I loved that Buffy could be a badass, a badass girl at that, and still be feminine and vulnerable.
  • Spike with a side of Drusilla. They were delightfully, twistedly awesome.

To this day, I still have random BtVS bingewatch fests. Whenever I come across current fandoms or popular series, I think of BtVS and hope that today’s fangirls and fanboys stumble across the 90’s gem that launched a global cult phenomenon. Sure, the show isn’t exactly timeless. The clothing, hair, slang, and way of life has changed, but the core of the show–the relationships, the love stories, the heartbreaks, the trials and tribulations of life–transcends decades and wardrobe. Most of it, maybe even all of it, is relatable. With vampires! Lots and lots of vampires!

Fangirl Fav: The Lord of the Rings

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img_2693I was sick over New Year’s and sadly missed my scheduled NYE plans, but instead of moping and feeling sorry for myself, I decided to start a 3-night rewatch of The Lord of the Rings movies. The extended editions, of course, because I do not mess around with my fangirl favs.

I fell in love with The Lord of the Rings (LotR) by accident. I’d heard of the books of course, but had always kind of rebelled against them because long, and my mean 8th grade Algebra teacher had dogs named Bilbo and Frodo. I could not possibly like something that he enjoyed. And yet, years later when FotR was released and my dad picked up the VHS (yes, you read that right) at Acme on a whim…well, the rest, as they say, is history.

LotR was probably my first completely-obsessed-with-fangirl fav movie (the TV show equivalent is Buffy the Vampire Slayer). I’ve had other books, movies, and TV shows that I’ve adored over the years, but LoTR hit around the time the internet started to get big, and I remember actually having countdowns until the trailers were released online. Not even the movie release date, first was the trailer release. And then I would watch it over and over again and make everyone I knew (who wouldn’t judge me too harshly) watch it too. Then came the movie releases. I saw both TTT and RotK in the theater three times each, and still, to this day, I mourn the fact that I never viewed FotR in theaters 😦

The movies, as anyone (and I hope that means everyone) who has seen them knows, are epic. In fact, I wish I could think of a more impressive and celebratory word than “epic” to describe them. They are insanely well cast (thank god for that whole Viggo Mortensen was a last minute replacement stroke of luck), visually stunning, obviously made with love and reverence, and everything good movies should be (albeit a little long – come on, I’m not delusional). They also brought about a new self-discovery: how much I love the shooting and production side of movies. The DVDs/blurays are filled with hours upon hours of interviews with director Peter Jackson, the producers, the cast, special effects geniuses, composer Howard Shore, and everyone else who was involved in the creation of the films. I spent so many hours watching that footage, being completely immersed and in awe of the love and work that went into the LotR trilogy.

Which is why it’s both funny and duh-inducing that I’m now an aspiring screenwriter. As if I really had a choice 😉

So falling sick recently was a blessing in disguise, as it reintroduced my once loved annual tradition of rewatching the LotR movies. In closing, I’ll just list, in chronological order, some of my favorite moments in the LotR trilogy (sidenote, my original list was 34082340 items long, so I’ve sadly cut it):

  • The formation of the Fellowship at the end of the Council of Elrond. Sigh. I just ::flails:: Such an epic moment!
  • Boromir redeeming himself at the end of the first movie. His parting line to Aragorn still gets me every single time: “I would have followed you, my brother, my captain, my king.”
  • The reveal of Gandalf the Sparkly White.
  • Gandalf, Eomer, and the Rohirrim arriving at the end of the battle to kick orc/urukhai ass!
  • Gandalf and Pippin arriving to Minas Tirith and riding Shadowfax up to the top of the city while Howard Shore’s epic “Minas Tirith” plays in the background.
  • Gandalf using his sparkly white staff of light and magic to ride out and save the soldiers fleeing the Nazgul. And Faramir! My Gondorian bae!
  • Theoden and the Rohirrim arriving at Pelennor Fields to join the battle. Makes me cry every time!
  • Aragorn going all badass king-to-be on the King of the Dead: “You will suffer me!”
  • Aragorn leading the army to the Black Gates. His speech. His head chopping. I can’t.
  • Everyone’s reaction to the fall of Sauron. Ugh. Perfection.
  • At the end of Aragorn’s coronation, when the hobbits bow to him, and he replies: “My friends, you bow to no one.” Then he and the ENTIRE country, plus some, bow to those furry-footed princes. Staaaahp.
  • And, finally, Gandalf’s goodbye to the hobbits, “I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”

P.S. I love The Lord of the Rings books as well. In fact, I did a 3-credit independent study on them my senior year of college, ‘cause nerd 😉