Nostalgia in Melody

Good Morning! I hope you’ve been having a pleasant weekend, thus far, wherever you might be reading from. Over the past several days, I contemplated whether or not I should write a post regarding a movie I recently discovered and saw and after having listened to numerous songs from the soundtrack, I figured I’d be foolish not to share about it.

With that being said, several evenings ago, I was mindlessly perusing through the movie section on Netflix when a title captured my attention: Begin Again. It is a movie from 2014, starring Keira Knightley, one of my favorite actresses, Mark Ruffalo (also a favorite actor of mine), in addition to one of my favorite musicians, Adam Levine. After seeing the title, I recalled when it first arrived in theaters three years ago. I’d been interested in seeing it, given the cast, as well as the music in the film, but never got around to it. I’d forgotten about it once it arrived on DVD, but when I saw it appear on Netflix, I decided to take the leap and see what it was all about. If I remember correctly, I don’t believe the reviews of the film were all that positive, though from what I’ve often found, a lot of reviews often don’t end up matching my opinion and perspectives. We all have different tastes and experiences which color our perspectives and ultimately our thoughts on films.

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The film started off rather slow, if I’m being completely frank. It was about a half hour into it, when I had to make the decision of whether or not to let it run for slightly longer, or switch it off. I opted to continue and looking back, I’m so very grateful I persisted and gave it a chance. To this very moment, I am STILL thinking about and listening to the music from the film. In particular, one song entitled, “Lost Stars,” truly stood out to me, not only for the melody, but for the words, the words that are as meaningful as they are true, filled with poetic beauty and similes. What’s even more appealing and interesting about it is that both Adam Levine and Keira Knightley recorded their own versions of it – both of which are beautiful in their own right and it’s refreshing to have the opportunity and ability to hear it sung by both a male and female voice, given their differences in tone. The passion in the song is one that is incomparable to many songs I’ve heard today.

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Hearing “Lost Stars” in the movie led me back to a time in my teens, a time when I often sat holed up in my room, with my first-ever laptop in my bed, or sitting on the floor with the CD player listening to many of the same songs over and over again. Hearing those songs comforted me, inspired me and often touched sentiments in me I couldn’t place into words back then. Often times as an adult, I forget how powerful music can be, not only for its melody, but for it’s words. It’s easy for me to become easily distracted by the stresses and worries within my life, not realizing the ability of music to calm and soothe me, if I allow it to. Whether it is singing along, or simply listening, music has a way of leading me back to a place where I can truly believe anything is possible through effort, desire and drive.

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - July 3, 2012

If you get a chance, listen to “Lost Stars” by Adam Levine and/or Keira Knightley from Begin Again, the movie. Or, take an 1hr 45 minutes (roughly) to take in the film, itself. Perhaps it will inspire you as much as it did for me.

Music Quotes

With this Ring: Hallmark-Inspired Evenings!

Good morning! I hope your week is off to a great start, thus far. Unfortunately, I’m still feeling a bit under the weather. A couple days ago, I thought my cold/allergies were subsiding, but it seems I’ve caught a second wind of it. I’m hoping soon it will again subside and this time, permanently. Moving onto a topic that definitely boosts my spirits significantly is this weekend! Yes, I know it’s only Tuesday, but in my mind, Tuesday is one day closer than yesterday, to Saturday night! Given June is often a month synonymous for weddings, the Hallmark Channel has taken note of this and planned accordingly!

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If you’re unsure what I’m referring to, starting this Saturday night (6/20) at 9pm (U.S. Eastern Time), the Hallmark Channel kicks off it’s June Weddings Television Event! Both this weekend (Saturday – 6/20 AND Sunday 6/21), plus the following Saturday evening, viewers will be treated to brand-new wedding-related movies! In my mind, it is the perfect opportunity to kick back with a mug of coffee (or wine, or some other beverage of your choice) and perhaps a yummy snack and settle in for two hours of yes, I’ll admit, it can be slightly cheesy, but in a good way, love and lighthearted situations. In my opinion, it’s an effective and easy way to escape the stresses of daily life.

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Hallmark Channel’s June Weddings Movie Premiere Line-Up:

  • A Perfect Match (Saturday, 6/20 at 9pm, eastern time): Starring Danica McKellar (of The Wonder Years and most recently, Dancing with the Stars!) and Paul Greene. As described via (hallmarkchannel.com): When an engaged couple can’t agree on anything, the mother of the groom (Linda Gray) hires a wedding planner (Danica McKellar) and an event planner (Paul Greene) to help put together the wedding of their dreams.  The two planners are as different as night and day, but as they too learn to compromise, they discover opposites do indeed attract and can combine to produce incredible results!

A Perfect Match movie

  • Love, Again (Sunday 6/21 at 9pm eastern Time): Starring Teri Polo (of The Meet the Parents movie franchise and most recently, ABC Family’s TV show, The Fosters) and Paul Johansson. As described via (hallmarkchannel.com): A couple is on the brink of a divorce when they must work together on planning their daughter’s wedding. While they don’t want to disrupt their daughter’s happiness by announcing their divorce, they must learn to work together to keep the wedding going, and soon discover their marriage just might be worth saving.

Love Again movie

  • A Country Wedding (Saturday, 6/27 at 9pm, eastern time): Starring Jesse Metcalfe (of the former soap opera, Passions, Desperate Housewives, etc) and Autumn Reeser (of The O.C., The Whispers, as well as other Hallmark Channel movies). As described via (hallmarkchannel.com): A country western star returns to his hometown to sell his childhood home prior to his wedding. Upon his arrival, he meets the girl he proposed to when he was 8-years-old and she helps plan the wedding in his fiancé’s absence. Faced with old feelings that come flooding back, he will discover what really matters in life.

A Country Wedding movie

Well, there you have it – the June Weddings movie line-up on Hallmark Channel! Looks like it will be an entertaining trio. Be sure to let me know if you happen to watch it and your thoughts on it!

Wedding Quote

A KALEIDOSCOPE of Film: A Reflection on 12 Treasured Movies!

Happy National Ice Cream Day! Also, I hope you’re enjoying your weekend and are having a pleasant Sunday! If you’re an ice cream or frozen yogurt fan like me, I hope you’ll have the opportunity to indulge and celebrate its holiday, today. Who knew it even had it’s own holiday?! It seems as though July is one big celebration centered around our favorite, cold/icy treat, given this month, is actually National Ice Cream Month! Anyhow, today’s musing was inspired on the latter end of last night, as I indulged in a favorite movie, I just so happened to see was on TV. I intended to record the new Hallmark Channel TV series, “Cedar Cove,” when it aired at 8, however, I noticed about a half hour into it, sadly, the recording never began, forcing me to record its encore presentation, an hour and a half later. No worries though, I quickly noticed “Sweet Home Alabama,” was being televised, so I tuned in, and as I did, a wave of nostalgia crept over me. More on that later, though, let’s get to the morning eats!

Breakfast (Sunday, July 21, 2013):

1 container Axelrod Fat-Free Banana Creme Yogurt (YUM, YUM and YUM! Yes, this required three+ yum’s to fully capture the way I feel about this new yogurt I discovered! What a change from yesterday, when I felt disappointed in the Superfruits yogurt. This particular Banana-flavored yogurt, truly captured the banana flavor, had the ideal consistency (not too thick, not too thin, striking the appropriate balance I seek), and thoroughly combined with my cereals of choice. I’ve actually never had this brand before despite seeing it on store shelves and if you’re looking for a yogurt outside of the typical Greek yogurts, which is on the lighter side, with a cheaper price tag, then this yogurt definitely fits the bill! I highly recommend trying it, if you haven’t already; trust me, your tastebuds will surely thank you!

1 cup Wegmans-brand Chocolate Cheerios (Such a tasty cereal, which truly does hold an intense chocolate flavor. It really does taste like an indulgent morning treat and complements whatever it happens to be mixed with, if anything. Again, I will picture the name brand Chocolate Cheerios, as a result of my lack of an actual photo of the cereal. In my mind, they are probably nearly identical).

1 cup Barbara’s Bakery Original Puffins (I’ll be the first to admit it, I am truly a Puffins girl! Not only do I feel the actual animal Puffins is adorable, but the cereal is one, tasty, crunchy treat! I like that I can still taste a hint of sweetness, yet there are only 5g of sugar! That’s right, a mere 5g, yet the flavor is still identifiable, yet subtle).

1 Banana (Always a fun story when I get to the acclaimed, morning banana! So for today’s banana, it was slightly larger than what I typically select, so I ate about 3/4 of it, and saved the rest, placing it back in the refrigerator for later use, though after thinking about it, I might pop it in the freezer for a tasty, quick treat at a later time.)

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Back to today’s musing: as I mentioned, last night, unsure what to watch as a result of my debacle with the recording of “Cedar Cove,” I selected “Sweet Home Alabama” after noticing it was already in the midst of airing. Of course, I must tell you, I actually already own this movie on DVD, however, this is one of several movies, which despite my owning it, I HAVE to watch if I happen to see it is airing on TV. This follows suit, also with beloved television shows, such as “Full House,” and “Saved by the Bell.” Perhaps you might feel the same? There is just something about watching it when it is airing live on TV, almost as though it is a special, unexpected treat, I can indulge in!

While watching “Sweet Home Alabama,” it got me thinking about other “feel good” movies I tend to watch on rotation, or watch whenever I feel the need to reminisce or are looking for something uplifting. These are movies I began to love as both a preteen and teenager, first seeing them in the theaters and then watching them nearly each time my friends and I would host sleepovers at each others’ houses! Not only are they movies whose stars I came to see as trusted confidantes, but as I realized last night, many of the lines I can recite, having taken care in listening to the words they shared. Here’s a sampling of some of my favorites:

Sweet Home Alabama – Since I watched it again last night, I figured, why not kick off my list of favorites with it? I recall the first time I saw this movie, in the theater with my sister, Hope. It was a movie with one of our favorite actresses – Reese Witherspoon. We grew up as a fan of hers after watching one of her first films, “Man in the Moon.” Sweet Home Alabama is a movie filled with love, second chances, and a chance to delight in southern culture!

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Only You – A lot of people I’ve spoken to in the past are slightly unfamiliar with this film. I actually first saw this as a child and not so much as a preteen. It stars Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr and is truly an uplifting film. Tomei’s character in the film reminds me a bit of myself, as she is dramatic and a big dreamer, taking her best friend on a whirlwind trip to Italy, believing her “true love,” is there, after discovering his name on a Ouija Board as a teenager. Keep in mind, however, that upon their traveling to Italy, she is engaged to be married only several days later, to someone else! It’s an exciting and thrilling adventure of a movie!

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Never Been Kissed – This is one film, starring Drew Barrymore, whose lines I can without question, recite. It was almost an unwritten rule at the sleepovers my friends and I had, that we would watch this movie. In this movie, Drew Barrymore is raw and captivating, and truly is believable as a reporter, who goes undercover as a teenager, back to high school, exposing her former emotions and experiences from being bullied. Of course, there is a love story, behind it, as well!

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You’ve Got Mail – A film starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, it is cutesy, to say the least! Looking back, I believe I was on the younger side when I first saw this one, as well, but it is one that has the ability to make me feel better. The stars of the movie have such on-screen chemistry and the ability to captivate. The city of New York is the star of the film and takes audiences through the seasons as the two characters fall in love through the computer screen. From the beginning, the questions lingers, if they will discover who one another truly are.

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Save The Last Dance – Ahh, I have truly fond memories of first watching this movie in the theater. After closely watching star, Julia Stiles dance throughout the movie, it inspired me to begin dance classes (though short lived, it was all in good fun). The ending of the movie, Stiles’ character’s Julliard School dance audition, is one of the best choreographed dances I’ve truly ever seen. While watching, I could not pull my eyes away, believing her heart and soul poured into these moves. Also, a love story coincides with her dancing, one that sparked controversy in the movie, but proved to overcome all it was subjected to.

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Now & Then – This is a movie I first watched with my sister, Hope. It is one we both loved, growing up, as it starred many former child stars (i.e. Gaby Hoffmann, Christina Ricci, Thora Birch etc). It reminds me of my former group of best friends from middle/high school. They are a small, close knit group, sharing secrets and their deepest sentiments with another, embarking on exciting/thrilling journeys, while indulging in first experiences with boys. It is a true life depiction of what life is like for an average teenager.

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Chasing Liberty – In my opinion, this might be a lesser-known film, but still one I’ve loved since the first time I saw it in theaters. Starring Mandy Moore and Matthew Goode, Moore is the President’s daughter, who while on a trip across the globe with her parents, embarks on a journey, where she meets a photographer, and ends up discovering what she and life is all about. Of course, this is generally a cliche of a movie, but it’s still one that is fun to indulge in.

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Serendipity – What a beautiful movie and a beautiful word! Seeing this film, I believe it was the first time I truly ever came in contact with the word, “Serendipity.” It’s not really a commonly used word, though it is a unique one. The lead characters, played by Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack, end up having a chance meeting, and a journey ensues. The film centers on a real-life NYC restaurant, Serendipity 3, famous for their absolutely delectable “Frozen Hot Chocolate!” Before you wonder, YES, I have been there and YES, I have had a frozen hot chocolate! It is a generous serving, topped with fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings! The first time I visited with my sister, Hope, we waited for several hours to be seated, but it was worth it. We got to see where the movie was filmed, and enjoy a unique treat!

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Kate & Leopold – In my opinion, this is a fun, unique movie, where Hugh Jackman plays an Englishman, Leopold, from the 1800’s who suddenly travels to modern day NYC, where he meets a character, Kate, played by Meg Ryan. I’m sure you can probably guess what happens between Kate & Leopold, but it is a movie that is a joy to watch, as Leopold attempts to transition and learn all about the differences between living in the 1800’s vs. modern day.

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Where the Heart Is – Starring Natalie Portman, a favorite actress of mine, she is a young pregnant woman, who is suddenly deserted at a Walmart, in an unfamiliar state, by her boyfriend, who is sorely after fame and money. She ends up giving birth in the Walmart and changes her life, inspiring a town and proving one can overcome all they aspire to, when their heart is in the right place. The acting in this movie is incredible, not only by Portman, but also Ashley Judd, and Stockard Channing.

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Anywhere But Here – Also starring Natalie Portman, she is a teenager, uprooted by her mother, played by Susan Sarandon, from the only life she’s ever known, forced to readjust and acclimate, teaching her mother how to survive on her own. It is a touching story showcasing the love and sometimes painful feelings in the relationship of mother and daughter.

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Miss Congeniality – Last, but certainly not least, this film featuring Sandra Bullock is of course, one of my favorites. It’s both humorous and inspiring to watch Sandra Bullock transform from an FBI agent, into a beauty pageant contestant, whose heart is in the right place, determined to ensure the safety of the contestants and the greater public. Throughout her pursuit of safety, she ends up indulging in a romance of her own, rediscovering her passion and femininity. 

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So, there you have it! For me, these movies have a unique way of uplifting my mood, bringing me back to pleasant times, and inspiring me to believe in myself. No matter where I might be or what I may be doing, when I watch these films, I am instantly transported to a place of happiness with a sense of security.

QUESTION: Which movies are you particularly fond of? Do you tend to watch movies when on TV, even if you already own them?