Why La La Land is My New Favourite Film of All Time

*puts on La La Land soundtrack for the gazillionth time*

So, here’s the deal. I love La La Land. A lot. And I want to write a post on why I love it so much, but I also feel as if everything has already been said about it. So I think I’m just going to go on a rant and see what I end up with (edit: oh, it’s become a rant, all right).

The first time I saw La La Land was with my friend Esmé during one of the previews at our local cinema. I’d been excited for the film for months after seeing the trailer – Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling together again in a beautiful-looking film about music and working for your dreams and falling in love… What’s not to like?

I came out of the cinema feeling euphoric and larger than life. I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt like that after seeing a film. There was something so utterly magical about it, and that feeling only increased after seeing it a second time. And a third. I think it was after the second viewing that I said to my friends: “I’m pretty sure this is my new all time favourite film.” In the meantime I’ve gone from “pretty sure” to “absolutely sure”. In fact, I haven’t been this obsessed with something for a long time.

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Film: Pride (2014)

pride_ver3So… Another post about a film. This one isn’t related to books, or to baking, but I wanted to write a post about it nevertheless, because Pride is one of the best and most important films I’ve seen in years.

It’s 1984, and the miner strikes are in full swing in the UK. A group of gay rights activists decides to start a campaign to support the miners out of solidarity, from one oppressed minority group to another. They call themselves Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, and try to raise money for the miners and their families. It proves to be difficult to find a community willing to take money from a group of gay people, however. Eventually they find a village in Wales where people are somewhat eager to accept their help. The group travels to the village (in an awesome minivan, I might add) and there they start to bond with the miners and their families after they help them out. It’s a slow process and not without its difficulties, but it’s really beautiful to watch how the groups grow closer despite their initial prejudices (mainly from the miners’ side).

I don’t really want to say too much more about the plot. You’ll just have to go and watch it yourself!

And really, you should. This film is based on a true story and that makes it even more extraordinary and even more amazing to watch. To realise that this magical pact and friendship was actually formed leaves you with a wonderful feeling.

There are both incredibly hilarious and heartwarming moments and extremely frustrating and sad ones, and those together make this film so important and so good. It shows how far we’ve come when it comes to gay rights and acceptance, although I realise that the Netherlands is quite a bit more advanced in its developments than some other countries, and here too we’re still not fully there yet.

I watched this in the cinema with three of my best friends, and at one point we all sat crying our eyes out. That’s the effect this film has on you; one moment you’re laughing out loud, and the next the tears are rolling down your cheeks. Especially at the end. Oh boy, the end…

When we left the cinema I felt like I had so many things to say about this film, but now all I really want to say is: go see it. Seriously.

Film: Julie and Julia (2009)

Julie_and_juliaJulie & Julia is a film based on two books: My Life in France by the famous Julia Child, and Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell, both true stories. It’s not a very recent film (it came out in 2009), but I recently rewatched it and decided to write a blogpost about it.

The film depicts the life of Julia (Meryl Streep) in the 1950s, after she’s moved to France with her husband Paul (Stanley Tucci), and there discovers her passion for cooking. It also shows us Julie’s (Amy Adams) life in 2002. She works for a corporation that wants to rebuild the World Trade Center, and has to answer calls from (families of) victims of 9/11 attacks. To distract herself from this job, she decides to cook every single one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking within one year, and to blog about the experience every day. She soon becomes rather obsessed with both her project and Julia and her life, and feels as if there exists some sort of connection between the two of them.

There is something about this film that gets me every time I watch it. Part of it is the wonderfulness that is Meryl Streep, of course. The way she plays Julia Child is just so beautiful! She portrays this carelessness and a determination to always believe in the good in people, and she simply radiates happiness, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Meryl Streep has this way of becoming a character which is just amazing. The character of Julie was a lot more infuriating to watch at times. She gets so completely immersed in her project that she sometimes tends to forget the things (and people) around her, which can be frustrating to watch.

However, Julie is the mean reason why I love this film so much. I always feel so inspired after watching it! The first time I watched Julie & Julia was years before I started writing this blog, but I always felt this itch to start a project similar to the one Julie embarked on. Something to do with blogging and cooking. I never did, but the feeling I got from watching this film was always a positive one, it provided me with a spark to do something, and that motivated me. When I watched it again a few weeks ago, I got an even better feeling, because this time I could actually say I started my own little project: I started blogging, and I’ve been doing so for almost a year now!

If you love food, want to feel inspired or just want to watch a wonderful feel good film, try Julie & Julia. You won’t regret it! (I hope).

Top Ten Favourite TV Shows

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Wow, this is the second time in a row that I’m a day late with my Top Ten Tuesday post. I could bore you with all kinds of (valid) excuses, but let’s just get on with the show! When I saw this week’s topic is favourite TV shows I got all giddy and excited: I love watching TV shows and talking about them. Plus, I watch way too many of them, so making this list would be a breeze.

Well… It sort of was, but I kept thinking I was forgetting a show I really love and should definitely make the list. So, it took a little while after all. And I probably forgot something because I watch way more shows than just these ten, to be honest.

Anyway, here’s my top ten, in no particular order!

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Film Review: The Fault in Our Stars

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I’ve talked about John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (way too) many times since I started this blog in October, so you can probably imagine how much I was looking forward to the film. While the early posters said it was coming out on June 6 in the Netherlands, just like in the United States, I found out a few monhts ago it won’t come out until July 10. Disappointment galore. Waiting another month is long, people!

Then, about two weeks ago, I found out via the Dutch TFiOS Facebook page that they were going to host a few screenings of the film on the 26th and 27th of June throughout the country. Including one in my town! I immediately bought two tickets and last week me and my friend went to see this long anticipated film. I was excited, but, honestly, quite anxious as well. Film adaptations usually tend to be disappointing, but I did have high hopes for TFiOS because of everything I’d read about it and everything John Green said.

It was amazing.

While there were a few tiny bits and bobs (mainly phrasings) I didn’t particularly like, overall this film hugely exceeded my expectations.

Firstly, let’s take a minute to talk about the casting. Shailene Woodley is the perfect Hazel. I can’t imagine anyone else playing her and everything she did just fit. John Green has said a few times that Shailene is his Hazel, and I can now finally completely see why. You know how sometimes you think an actor kind of fits their role, but you’re a bit bummed you’ll now never again be able to picture the character the “right” way when you’re reading the book? Definitely not the case for TFiOS. Shailene is Hazel, and I’m more than fine with that.

And then there’s Ansel Elgort… For me, he is the perfect Augustus, mainly because of this little smirk he always seems to wear on his face. I fell in love with Gus when I read the book, and the same thing happened when I was watching the film (though not exactly in a fangirl-y way). Again; it just fits. I can see why Ansel takes a bit more getting used to for others, though, but I think that mainly has to do with the character itself.

While the excellent, excellent, casting undoubtedly has something to do with it, the way the makers of the film stayed true to the book is almost unbelievable. It had the same feel the book did, which is quite rare to find in a film adaptation, I think. They took a lot of lines literally from the book, which was very nice overall, but in some places felt a little bit awkward as well.

The only thing I thought really didn’t work in the film as opposed to the book was the cigarette metaphor. You know, the putting the killing thing in your mouth but not giving it the power to actually kill you? I thought that was really poetic and cool in the book, but to see it happen on screen somehow didn’t seem right.

That didn’t in any way lessen my enthusiasm though. This is by far the best film adaptation I’ve seen (of a book I’ve actually read, that is). I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting this on dvd as soon as it comes out, although I have no idea if I’ll actually watch it that often. You see, this film is absolutely beautiful and very funny, but it’s also just as heartbreaking and gut-wrenching as the book. We left the theatre quite disoriented, with tears smudged all over our faces and a huge need for some alcohol.