Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Bad Teeth

I was looking through some old pictures last night and I couldn't help but notice how my smile has changed with each passing year.  My parents passed on decent genes for the most part but my family kind of got the short end of the stick when it comes to teeth.  Let's take a look at my teeth progression, shall we?
 1)  As you can tell, I had interesting teeth from the start.
2)  I used to grind my teeth as a child, resulting in seriously sanded down cuspids.
3)  Then came the wonderful childhood rite of passage of losing all your baby teeth.
4)  When all of my teeth came back in, it was very apparent that I had a serious under-bite.
5)  The braces went on in 5th grade and remained there until 8th.  The goal was to correct my under-bite, straighten my teeth, close up the gaps, and create space for fake teeth (since I am missing my lateral incisors).
6)  Then came that period in middle school when I never smiled with my mouth open.
7)  My braces came off, I got a retainer with fake lateral incisors, and my teeth looked pretty normal.
8)  Every time I eat I take out my retainer to reveal major gaps between my front teeth and my cuspids.  This makes it easy to make "the rabbit" or "the beaver" face, whichever you prefer.

Conclusion:  Thank heavens for braces.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Top 10 Favorite Movies

If you know me at all you know I love movies.  One of my favorite pastimes growing up was going to the movie theater with my family and seeing the highly anticipated releases of the summer.  I love to use movie lines in every day conversation.  I know the composers who wrote the scores for each movie and I listen to movie soundtracks to decompress.  I am not at all an aficionado of the movie industry but I have seen a fair number of films in my time (except the ones that are rated R).  These are my Top 10:  

I've decided that I have basically been a history nerd since birth.  I first saw the movie Gettysburg when I was five years old.  Maybe that seems a little early to watch a movie about war but I loved it from the get-go.  Colonel Chamberlain's speech and his stand against the Confederate army on Little Round Top are so inspiring.  The portrayal of the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil made me proud of those who fought for the survival of the United States and instilled in me a desire to fight for the things I believe in.  (Besides all of that it has an excellent soundtrack which you should sample here.)

You've Got Mail
Some consider this movie to be outdated and boring.  Sure, it was made in the 90s when AOL was still a thing and internet chat rooms were just getting started.  But the use of "old-fashioned" modes of communication in courtship hasn't stopped stories like Jane Austen's Persuasion from becoming classics.  This movie has great lines and actors who can make sentences dripping with eloquence and sophistication sound like normal flowing conversation.  It follows the relationship of two competing business professionals who both happen to be falling in love with people they are talking to anonymously on the internet.  And as luck would have it, they are actually talking to each other.  Will their negative business relationship destroy any hope of these two eventually finding romance?  I guess you'll just have to watch and see :).  ("Don't you just love New York in the Fall?  It makes me want to buy school supplies.  I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.")

While You Were Sleeping
This is, hands down, one of the best chick flicks of all time, mainly because it's one both men and women can get behind.  It's not cheesy at all.  There aren't any overly sappy lines that make you want to shake your head in disgust. If you don't laugh during the family dinner scene then you, quite frankly, have no sense of humor at all.  It's a story of someone going through life thinking she wants one thing and then realizing that life has something even better in store.  It's a great reminder that life doesn't always turn out the way you plan but, most of the time, that's a good thing.

Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!
This movie, in all of its cheesy glory, is one of my favorite films of all time.  Why, you may ask?  Two words.  Topher Grace.  His character is fantastic in this movie.  He says things like, "I can't remember a time before you started telling that story." and "Guard your carnal treasure." He's cynical and sarcastic.  He's realistic and practical.  But he also loves with all of his heart and fights for what he wants even when he's faced with overwhelming odds.  Plus, who doesn't love a story of a childhood crush lasting into adulthood?

I have a soft spot for inspirational sports movies in general but Rudy holds a special place in my heart.  Rudy's lifelong dream was to play football at Notre Dame.  But he was small.  His grades were never very good.  Everyone told him he should give up on his dream, getting annoyed with him whenever he brought it up.  Even when all hope seemed to be lost, he didn't give up.  Rudy's story shows that chasing your dream takes hard work and can be miserable at times, but that courageously going through the struggle will pay off in the end.

Most of the players on the United States' 1980 Olympic hockey team were fresh out of college.  They still identified with their old college teams and even retained their old college rivalries.  Coach Brooks' goal was to bring these young men of such different backgrounds to play together as one unit.  Each day he would ask them to state their name, where they were from, and who they played for.  All of them responded saying they played for such and such college or university until, one day, what the coach was really asking clicked in their minds.  There is a scene in the movie where the coach is drilling them really hard and yelling at them to work harder. Just when all of the players are about to fall over from exhaustion, one of the players finally shouts, "Mike Eruzione.  Winthrop, Massachusetts."  Coach Brooks looks at him curiously and says, "Who do you play for?"  And Eruzione says, "I play for the United States of America!"  It became clear to the team that they were playing not just for themselves or their school but for their country.  This inspirational movie demonstrates that when we put aside our differences and work together toward a common goal, miracles can happen.

Yours, Mine, and Ours (1968)
They made a remake of this movie recently that was not half as good as the original.  I love movies that involve developing good familial relationships and this one is no exception.  It tells the story of how a widow finds love again with a widower and they decide to get married.  The only problem is that they have eighteen children to take care of between them.  The two families come together and try to become one family unit, leading to some hilariously tense and crowded situations.  But problems led to compromise and compromise eventually led to affection.  This hilarious yet heartwarming movie delves into what love really is and what it means to be a family.

October Sky
Like Rudy, October Sky tells the story of a boy who dared to chase a dream even when everyone else thought he was crazy for doing so.  Back during the days of the Cold War, the Russians used a rocket to launch Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, into Earth's orbit.  When Homer Hickam, a boy from a small coal-mining town in West Virginia, saw the satellite's light streak across the sky, he knew that going into space was what he wanted to do.  In a town where you either played football or worked in the coal mines, his ambition was unheard of.  Despite the scorn and negativity from his father and the rest of the town, Homer pressed forward, eventually showing them all what a young man with a dream and a will to succeed can accomplish.

Sense and Sensibility
Sense and Sensibility is not my favorite Jane Austen book (though it's fantastic, don't get me wrong) but this is my favorite movie adaptation of one of her works.  It captures the struggle of women in 19th century England to make a life for themselves without the attraction of wealth or goodly relatives.  It demonstrates the heartache and the despair of lost love but also the frivolity of the English nobility.  There are very few movies that can tackle both a deep subject matter and a touch of humor but Emma Thompson's screenplay is masterful in that regard.  I took one of those stupid quizzes once on Facebook that determines which Austen heroine I am most like.  I, apparently, am the most like Elinor Dashwood so, needless to say, her story holds a special place in my heart. ;)

Cinderella Man
The other movies I have listed are in no particular order but Cinderella Man is my all-time favorite movie.  It's historical, it's inspirational, it's romantic, it's got some action...what could be better?  I love stories about second chances, of people still fighting to get back up again after getting knocked down so many times.  (Did you like the boxing metaphor I just used?)  It's a movie that gives the viewer hope for the future, that even though times are tough, we can rise above them.  With enough guts, will-power, and a cause, we can make a comeback. 

Honorable Mentions:  Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version), Anne of Green Gables, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Tangled, Sleeping Beauty, North and South, Wives and Daughters, Sweet Home Alabama, Jane Eyre, 10 Things I Hate About You, State Fair, The Magic of Ordinary Days, The Mask of Zorro, My Best Friend's Wedding...the list goes on...