Monday, October 24, 2011

The Power of Acting

I just had to write a post about this. It seems so nerdy, but I was completely impressed that I wanted to write about it.

It's no surprise that I am a huge Harry Potter nerd. While I do much prefer the books to the movies, the movies still had much to offer in many aspects (the magic, Voldemort's rebirth scene, The Cave, among others). As the movies progressed, so did the quality of the acting, and the emotions the movies evoked became more genuine, as though things really were happening for real. Other movies had similar effects. For example, the King and Queen's Ball Scene in Enchanted, Sam carrying Frodo up the slopes of Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings, the beginning of the battle for Narnia in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (as well as Aslan's return in the same movie), Stranger Than You Dreamt It in Phantom of the Opera, Changed for Good in Wicked, the death of the Phoenix in X-Men: Last Stand, and on and on. Each of these scenes, for me, provided a strong, raw emotion that made it seem genuine.

There is one scene that has trumped all these other scenes as the most genuine, most inspiring, and best-acted. It has brought me to tears each time I see it. One reason is because it is the culmination of 8 movies and 7 well-written books. However, the power of the emotion comes from the acting (the type that does not seem too readily available today). If you have not read the Harry Potter books or seen the movies, you probably do not want to go on any further.

The character of Severus Snape is, in my opinion, one of the most complex characters I have encountered. His true loyalties are never fully confirmed until almost the last chapter of the last book. And then, once you do find out his true loyalties, the truth comes with an arsenal of reasons as to why his loyalties are what they are; and it all comes down to Love.

In my opinion, this "postponing the truth" is easier to do in writing than in visual demonstrations. The fact that only one person knows the truth makes it less likely that the truth gets out. J K Rowling was the only real person who knew the truth about Snape. In addition, she was able to describe the feelings and emotions that were all tied to this character, which then evoked in the readers their own personal emotions as well. In movies, however, it can be more difficult because the actor needs to portray that in everything they do (their body language, their facial features, sets, music, etc). In my experience, it has been rare to have the movie produce the same type of emotion that a book does. In this one instance, the movie out-did what the book was able to do.

The scene is The Prince's Tale, and the actor is Alan Rickman. In the other seven movies (as well as the last one), the only emotion we see from Snape is either indifference or hatred; there's never a smile, a kind word, or anything to make the character agreeable. He also makes it quite clear that Harry would have been better off had he never existed, in Snape's mind. However, in this scene, we find out why. We find out about the relationship between Severus Snape and Lily Evans/Potter and the love that existed between the two, particularly the love that Snape had for Lily. Not the lust the world calls love, but the true love that involves sacrifice and thinking of the other person more than of self. When I saw Snape walking through the Potter house at Godric's Hollow with a dreaded anticipation in his face, when I saw him walk into the room and his face showed a tortured look, a dreaded realization, and then, when I saw Snape holding Lily's body and rocking her back and forth while sobbing, coupled with Snape's anger about Harry having been "raised like a pig for slaughter" and his answer as to why he was angry, I was amazed to know that this was all acting! It was genuine and it was real and it was genius!

I have always enjoyed Alan Rickman's work, but this took it to a whole new level. I have a new-found respect for acting (as it should be, not as it is) and am amazed at those who do actually have that talent. There is a clip of the scene on YouTube  I'd highly recommend the whole movie (and the whole series), but the scene will do if that's all you want to see. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy 1 Year Anniversary!

Pretty soon, I will be celebrating my 1 year anniversary with my very own house! As you all remember from this post, I bought a house (that need some extra TLC, and quick!). In this post, I showed the improvements that needed to be made first (CPR, if you will). The "surgery preparation" has been going well and I just wanted to post some pictures of the progress:

This used to be my room, but I was finally able to turn it into my office (with a dresser). I couldn't take a picture of the other side because it needs some cleaning (the piles have been very busy reproducing...)

The kitchen hasn't really changed, but it is amazing and I love it! I am guessing a stove and dishwasher are about to be about 5 years. The garbage disposal also needs to be about 5 years.

Love this shot! I love the table, but did anybody else notice the difference between this picture and the other one on this post? The picture is much nicer (and more important, not sitting in pieces on my table!)

Here's half of my front room, my favorite room in the house! It turned out amazingly!

And the other half, again, just lovely!
And the bedroom...that mirror was one spectacular find!! I love it :)

I got this frame at the distribution center. It was another spectacular find :)

And yes, as you all may have guessed, I do really enjoy the colors yellow and gold (and brown does fit in nicely).
Well, like I said, my home has been improving very nicely. I am in the process of considering a remodel of the two bathrooms, but that may be placed on the back burner. We shall see.

To my lovely home, Happy Anniversary!!! Here's to a wonderful 79 years more :) And yes, I am doing my best to bring in more people...just be patient!

And I'm Back...But Who Knows for How Long

Woopsie! I guess it has been quite awhile since I've been on here. I don't even have the "hectic" excuse or anything like that...just pure laziness. Oh well, here's a nice little update.

Technically, it hasn't been pure laziness. Things have been quite interesting since the last post. Summer with a yard kind of kicked my trash. It was hard for me to stay on top of the lawn-mowing, weeding, watering, gardening (picking all my yummy tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, and corn). I'd like to think I stayed on top of everything, but my lawn always seemed to have some yellow spots and my flower beds seemed somewhat void of flowers. I did plant four rose bushes and some holihocks, but the roses just seemed to die and the holihocks just grew leaves (but they were green!!) I seemed to have a lot of bugs, though. I was told to keep the rose bushes planted at least until next spring (just in case they really aren't dead and decide to start growing next year).

I did have a decent veggie year. My peppers went pretty crazy and I have a good amount frozen in my freezer. I was very spoiled because this September, I was able to take a cucumber and a few tomatoes to work with me for munching (fresh, juicy, and free!) I am going to miss that this winter. We're going to have a tweek things a bit for next year because my tomatoes seemed to try and take over everything (I didn't get many beans).

My backyard lawn is more like a weed patch (as there is more weed than there is grass), but it is looking decent. I did begin adding some lilac bushes and Rose-of-Sharon bushes. They will slowly evolve into some amazing flower beds, but at this point, I just wanted to make sure the bushes survived. They'll also need to get a little bigger before I try and add anything else. My backyard will be my masterpiece. I have some nice plans forming in my mind that I am saving for. By the time I'm through with it, it will be beautiful!!!!

I ran a 10K this summer (which seemed to go by much quicker than a marathon). I was quite proud of myself because I placed 2nd in my age group. I will need to make some improvements (a 14 year-old beat me by a good 15 minutes). Nevertheless, that was my first award for a race and I am very excited about it.

It has been a buzzing summer full of family activities. I've watched many movies, had many dinners, and done all I can to enjoy my brother and his family (from Brazil). I know they're here for good, but there are times where it seems to good to be true. I feel like a little child that is so excited and needs to keep checking that what he is experiencing is real (although, I guess it's not just little children that do that, although little children always are more excited and full of happiness when they go through that).

Well, that's about my summer in a nutshell. Overall, it was quite fun! I'm not at all sick of the heat yet nor am I anywhere near ready for winter to come, but apparently, it will not be late. Oh well, ready or not, here we go!


"[Confucius] taught that the country which develops the finest music, the grandest poetry, and the noblest moral ideals--that is, the country with the most exalted culture--will always yield the greatest power in the world."

-Letters from the Jade Dragon Box by Gale Sears

"Who is such a reprobate as I! And yet it seems that even I am in Somebody's hand!'

-Mr. Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge

"...[T]he magnitude of [life] is not as to [one's] external displacements, but as to [one's] subjective experiences."

-Thomas Hardy in Tess of the d'Urbervilles

"...I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed--because 'Thou mayest.'"

-Lee in East of Eden