Sweat And Pray and Sweat!

In my final literary review, I want to review a short story I recently had the pleasure of reading. “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston has quickly become one of my favorite stories thus far in my repertoire or short stories read. Hurston’s use of original dialect within the dialogue, her vivid descriptions, and her unique telling of the relationship between the main characters, Sykes and Delia, make this story unique and full of a life.

Following the story of two people stuck in toxic matrimony, the interactions of Delia and her husband Sykes are depicted through the use of language and actions. With Sykes being verbally, mentally, and physically abusive towards Delia, he threw his hatred on her and never let up. Delia, stuck in the mindset of constantly loving your partner, she stayed with Sykes despite his cruel words and intentions. This story follows the last leg of their marriage. Sykes, tired of Delia and cheating with her plainly, abuses Delia and tortures her with her greatest fear, snakes. Disrupting her hard work as a washerwoman, Sykes brings a live snake into their house and uses it as leverage over Delia. With hopes that the snake would kill Delia, a turn of fate happened. Sykes ended up on the wrong side of his plan and ended up getting killed by the snake as Delia was peacefully sitting under a chinaberry tree as he died. 

With symbolism being heavily instilled in the story, Hurston uses this symbolism to put a deeper meaning behind the entire story. What does it take for a woman who has given her all to stop? What does it take to turn love into hate?

I’ll take a pause here to say that these questions came up once I ended the story and analyzed its meaning. I do think there are more questions that can arise from this tale, but I thought these were most important.

In the midst of my analysis, I realized that the story was about gaining what you deserve. In terms of Delia, she gained her deserved peace. She gained peace from her abusive husband and the cruel words he threw at her. For 10-plus years, he changed her life for the worse and caused permanent damage to her mental state. As for Sykes, he gained his deserved punishment for the things he caused Delia. 

You will always get what you deserve. 

Through this story, Hurston expressed this message and emphasized on the reward of hard-earned work and sometimes sweat. This is why I like this story. 

As the reader, you always root for the ones being put down. You always root for the underdog. Hurston giving Delia the peace she deserved ended the story completely. It gave the story a beginning, middle, and end. 

I highly enjoyed the use of old, southern dialect. Hurston gave these characters life, down to the way they talk. The realism of the language and dialogue made the story feel real. It made it feel like it actually happened, which I appreciated very much.

Overall, I am in love with this story. I am in love with the depth of the message it tells. The characters captured me with their personalities and I admire the way Hurston wrote them out. 

I often look at writing styles in comparison to my own, but I couldn’t find it in Hurston’s. I found a sense of longing for the authenticity within her writing. I long for the realism within her writing. As much as I have fallen in love with this story, I think I’ve fallen in love with Hurston as well. During her life, she wasn’t celebrated, but I will be sure that she is.

 

Here is the link to the story!

Microsoft Word – sweat.doc (weebly.com)

Senior Year Coming to an End

As my senior year in high school comes to an end, I look back to where it all began– kindergarten. When I look back to those years, it seems so long ago but I can remember them so vividly. All of Kindergarten to first grade were care free times for me in school and I notice how with every year I went to a new grade, school became more and more difficult. I have at least one memory from every year and when I think about each year I’ve endured in school, it’s almost like watching myself grow up. At times I am saddened that I will never get those years back, but as I look at where I am today, I’m perfectly happy staying here. 

Although not every year was the most pleasant and there were schools I hated more than others, I am thankful for each one and the role they have played in my life to becoming to who I am today. I used to count the days until I could start another year that would be closer to my senior year, but now that I’m here, I try to ignore the days I have left. I don’t want to think about the end of my days here at MSA with my friends who have become a family and my school that has become a home. It is easy for me to say without hesitation that my last two years of school at MSA have been the best years of school in my life… and possibly the best two years of my life. 

This school has challenged me more than I thought was possible and has made me realize my potential as not just a writer, but as a person. Because of my disabilities, I have never really believed in myself the way I have at this school, and my disabilities become insignificant to who I am and how I perform academically. I really cannot express with words the amount of gratitude I feel because of my experience here. I have learned so much about myself, about so many topics, and about others which I am most thankful for. I have made so many friends and have been educated on so many problems they face in their life and it has made me so much more aware of the world I live in. 

I recently changed my bio on this website to my favorite quote: “You cannot do all the good the world needs, but the world needs all the good you can do.” Realizing how much evil resides in our society, I find it all too difficult to find purpose of living. However, with evil, there is also so much good. There is good among our world and within ourselves and it depletes any evil when you live with the intention of focusing on the beautiful aspects of life. But to go deeper, I have found that I want my purpose to be trying to make up for all of the horrible things that surround me by spreading as much good as I can do. We are merely humans, but humans are capable of so much If we come together and work for a common goal. 

I notice that it is very easy for me to go on these tangents of purpose when it typically isn’t my intention to speak upon this subject, but I can’t talk about my experience in life without including hope, because that is where my mindset is now, thanks to two years of learning and obtaining knowledge at this school. 

I would like to close by saying thank you for any blogs you may have read written by me. I appreciate your consideration to my words greatly and hope to have your support as I continue throughout my life and see where this next chapter takes me:) 

-Katie Spiers

“Sleepless in Seattle” VS. “You’ve Got Mail”

Here’s a comparison of movies that no one asked for!

So for Media, we’re doing reports on different directors and their directing styles. I am doing my report on Nora Ephron, the director and writer for the films “You’ve Got Mail” and “Sleepless In Seattle”. The reason I want to compare these two films is because they’re starring the same actors, they have similar settings, they’re the same genre, and I watched them both on the same day.

Obviously, there are a lot of similarities between the two, but my thoughts on them are veeeeery different. 

MILD SPOILERS AHEAD


You’ve Got Mail

Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan

So “You’ve Got Mail” follows the story of two competing booksellers as they fall in love. Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), the owner of a corporate chain bookstore, and Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan), the owner of a small, children’s oriented bookshop. The two met in a chatroom online and know nothing about each other, but have become good friends over email nonetheless. When the two meet in person, as Joe’s corporate store encroaches on Kathleen’s small shop, they are not very fond of one another at all.

Over the course of the film, Joe realizes that Kathleen is the person online that he’s been talking with online… only after he’s realized that he’s in love with her.  I don’t want to say anymore because this is an amazing movie and you should go watch it right now (it’s on Hulu!).

I just watched this movie for the first time on the 23rd and I already love it. I am not much of a romcom person, but this one ticks all my boxes. If you enjoy a good Enemies To Lovers story, then this one is a good one for you!

The only thing I dislike about this movie is the fact that (MAJOR SPOILERS UNTIL THE END OF THIS PARAGRAPH) Joe’s superstore eventually puts Kathleen’s shop out of business, as well as puts her and all of her employees out of a job. This happens AFTER Joe figures out that Kathleen is the person he’s been talking to online and after he admits to himself that he loves her. He then proceeds to befriend her as hisself and apologize to her. Only after a period of time has past and the two become friends in real life does Joe reveal himself to Kathleen has her internet penpal. She is shocked and confused at first, but ultimately goes with it and the two live happily ever after. I don’t really know how to feel about this ending. If it were me, I think I would be upset with Joe for not telling me that he was my internet penpal sooner… also I don’t think I would forgive him for putting me out of a job. But whatever I guess. I mean, I can respect that Joe tried to make it up to her by becoming her friend first before confessing to her… I guess it was kinda sweet. 

Anyway, overall, I really enjoyed this movie! Like I said, if you’re in the market for an Enemies to Lovers romcom, then “You’ve Got Mail” is for you!

I give it 4 stars out fo 5!


sleepless in seattle

Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan

I’m just going to come right out and say it. I don’t get the hype around this movie. Especially after watching it directly after “You’ve Got Mail”, it just doesn’t do it for me.

The film follows Annie Reed (Meg Ryan), a reporter in Baltimore, as she tracks down and falls in love with a man that she’s only heard the voice of. The man, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks), was focused onto a radio talkshow after the death of his wife because his son thought that it was time for him to find love again. Annie hears Sam’s appearance on this show and decides t do a story about him. Even though they have never spoken or seen one another, Annie feels a connection between them and writes to Sam, asking him to meet her at the top of the Empire State building on Valentines Day.

OH YEAH, I forgot to mention that while she does this, she is engaged to another man. (BIG SPOILERS AHEAD, UNTIL THE END OF THE PARAGRAPH) She literally leaves a dinner date with her fiancé to go to the Empire State building to meet Sam. The only reason Sam is at the Empire State building is because it was his son that got the letter from Annie to meet there and he ran away from home (their home in Seattle!) to do so. So Sam isn’t even there to meet Annie when he gets there, but they meet anyway and fall in love and live happily ever after. Woo.

This movie follows the “love at first sight” trope perfectly… and I hate it. The two leads are only on screen together for less than 10% of the movie, and they only truly meet in the last 5 minutes of the film. Annie goes through unsettling lengths to track down Sam once she hears him on the radio, including hiring a detective to stalk him. And she does all this while engaged to another man.

I really do like Sam. He’s just a grieving father looking for love. But I really can’t stand “love at first sight”. A lot of reviews online say that you can feel the character’s love for one another throughout the movie, even though they never meet and aren’t on screen together, but I just don’t get it. The ending just doesn’t feel earned or as romantic as it’s trying to be.

I give the movie a 2.5 out of 5 stars. Just watch “You’ve Got Mail”.


On paper, these two movies can seem very similar. “Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in a romcom and takes place in New York” could describe either of these movies. But the two are very different from one another. I thought for sure that I would get them confused after watching them back to back, but I have so far managed to keep them separate.

Obviously my personally favorite out fo the two is “You’ve Got Mail”. It’s not a perfect movie,  and comes with it’s own set of issues, but I much prefer it to “Sleepless In Seattle”. It’s on Hulu if you’re interested in watching it.

If you’ve made it this far, I hope you enjoyed reading all this! Also if you like either of these movies, go watch “Julie & Julia” on Netflix! It’s another Nora Ephron film and I’ve already written a blog about how good it is. 

Who knows, as I continue my Director’s Report, I may written another blog on a Nora Ephron film. Guess we’ll find out.

Not Even A Day to Exhale.

“Hey Besties, Derek Chauvin is going to jail!” A passing classmate said to me and a group of friends. In that moment a bright smile appeared across my face. It has almost been a year since the entire world witnessed the brutal murder of George Floyd.  On the night of May 25, 2020, the world became awake to what America truly is. I remember the way my tears soaked the pages of my journal as I tried to write away the trauma. I wished to feel as sense of release when I finished, however, that feeling was not there because it was not justice. When I heard about the verdict, it felt as if everything was worth it. As if this trial was the proof that change is not only coming but it is here. Me and millions of black people who has George Floyd in our hearts can finally exhale. 

 

Exhalation, unfortunately, did not last long. Not even a day later, Ma’Khia Bryant was fatally shot and killed by Columbus, Ohio police. 

 We were a given a moment to feel like we had won, until they took another one of us. We did not have even a day to exhale this madness.

The tired fight still continues…

I am sorry. 

George Floyd and his daughter.
Ma’Khia Bryant posing for a selfie.

an unorthodox healing

This past weekend, I attended prom at my old school.

Before MSA, I had attended this school from Pre-K3 to 10th grade. Because of this, I had been hesitant to come to MSA. My old school had been all I’d ever known, so the idea of switching schools FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER was very scary to me. 

This weekend, when I revisited this school and the people there, for the first time in almost two years, I was hit with a kind of unsurprising revelation.

I have changed.

Of course, I am aware that I have changed within the past two years here at MSA. I made a blog at the beginning of this year recounting how I thought quarantine and COVID as a whole had affected me as a person, so obviously I am more than aware that I have changed!

But I don’t think I was aware of exactly how much.

When I was at their prom and talking to them and being there… I didn’t know how to act. I still have good friends there, so I wasn’t alone. The music and food was good, so I was having an okay time hanging out there… but it still put me in a weird place. The energy there had always been draining to me. The student there rarely got disciplined well, so bullies ran rampant throughout the dance. I felt like everyone there kept giving me side glances for wearing a mask, even though they weren’t a requirement. As I spent more and more time there, I couldn’t figure out how I had ever spent 10+ years in school there, when just the prom was almost unbearable just by itself.

I’m not going to too terribly bash my old school or anyone there, because I still have friends there that are enjoying there time there, and I’m happy for them! But it just never really worked for me personally. The school didn’t offer any sort of artist classes or activities for creative minds. And to be someplace all day everyday for years that doesn’t aline with your personal needs and interests is juts very draining. The energy there is just so off-putting for me and I don’t exactly have the fondest memories there, so I ended up leaving their prom worrying why I thought it would be a good idea to be there in the first place.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I really couldn’t visualize myself there anymore. I couldn’t put myself back in the place that I had been in for some many years. I felt like a stranger there, I felt like a stranger to myself. I am no longer in touch with the person I was two years ago. Maybe I am not completely different, but I have become completely realized in a way that I previously never thought possible.

MSA has played a pivotal role in me coming to fully realize myself. It has provided me with a space to grow and see exactly what I am capable of. I don’t miss my old school and I refuse to live in the past, but I will never hate the person I was. She did the best that she could in her situation and she ultimately got me to where I am today. I am just her, but improved.

I guess what I am trying to say is that this weekend was a weirdly healing experience for me. I was back in a place where I had not very happy for a long amount of time and it made me realize just how happy and more sure of myself I am now. It is the first example in my life experience where my quality of life has gone up significantly because of a big chance I decided to take. Next year, I will be going to college in New Orleans, so this makes me hopefully that this new, big change I am making will bring me even more happiness. Maybe one day I will look back on my time at MSA and think that even though I was happy then, I am even better off now.

I have no idea if this blog makes any sense, but I just felt the need to write all my feelings out 😛

RANKING AVATAR, ANIMAL CROSSING, AND MORE!

I am feeling a little burnt out this week, so just for fun, I decided to rank some random things that I enjoy!

Of course all of these tier lists are simply my opinion! However, if you disagree with any of my rankings, feel free to leave a comment so that I can tell you how you’re wrong 😀

RANKING ANIMAL CROSSING NPCS:

So for Christmas, I got a Nintendo Switch and have been avidly playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons ever since. I have not played the game for an entire year yet, which means that I haven’t gotten the chance to experience some characters yet. But I think I have enough of an idea of the characters I do know in order to fairly rank them.

At the bottom, we have the “RAAAGE” category. It can only be explained as the characters that make me really upset, sometimes for valid reasons and sometimes for no reason at all. I feel the need to explain that I dislike the turnip seller character because she NEVER shows up to my island, and I dislike Timmy and Tommy simply because they follow me around their store whenever I’m in there and I hate it. The next category is “WHO????”, which are just the characters I have no personally encountered in the game. Next is “they’re there ig”, which is for the characters I have little to no feelings towards whatsoever. The “friend” category includes all of the characters that I deeply enjoy seeing in my game everyday. And last but not least is the “beautiful bb” category, which is my top three favorite ACNH characters. It includes Pascal, the otter that gives you mermaid themed recipes in exchange for scallops, Flick, a bug enthusiast who buys all of my bugs and gives me lots of money, and Sable, the shy Able sister that deserves all of the love in the world.

RANKING PIXAR MOVIES:

This ranking is pretty self-explanatory. Of course, this ranking is just my opinion, but it is just pretty much fact that Ratatouille and The Incredibles are the best Pixar movies… and everything in the D and E tiers are just okay. I don’t think anyone will really disagree with this ranking, but I do have some other (more complicated) feelings about Pixar movies that I may explore later, in another blog.

RANKING *EVERY* AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER AND LEGEND OF KORRA CHARACTER:

This tier list included every single character from the series ATLA and LOK. And when I say EVERY, I mean every single character that was ever named or spoke a line was listed. So obviously this list does in include everyone, because  that would have been a very long list.

Of course at the bottom we have Mako. Above him are the “ANNOYING” and “VILLIANS” categories. I don’t particularly dislike any of these characters, they’re just the characters I dislike more compared to all the other characters. Next is “cute animal sidekick”, because they deserve a place on this list as much as any other characters. The “they only had like two lines but loved them??” category includes every character I barely remember the name of but remembered loving for the entirety of their two minutes of screen time each. “DADS” include all of the Dads, and the Dads-adjacent. The “perfect side characters” do not have to be explained. These six characters, aside from Cabbage Man, should get more love because they clearly deserve it. “WOMEN” is also self-explanatory. “PERFECT” includes the four most perfect characters in the entire Avatar universe.

And last but not least, “COULD DESTROY THE WORLD AND I WOULD THANK THEM”. These eight characters are more than capable of destroying the entire world and if they ever did, I would personally thank them. Enough said.


Alright, that’s all. Thanks for reading!

Marriage Story: Uncomfortably Real

I didn’t mean for it to be, but I think that this blog is the finale of a series.

In October I wrote about one of my favorite movies (technically a limited series) of all time, “Over The Garden Wall”. I had begun writing this piece as a blog post but decided to write it as a RISE article instead. It was the first time I had actually done the research and put a lot of effort into writing about a movie and I was surprised that I really enjoyed it! Here’s the link to that RISE article: Over The Garden Wall: A Spooky Must Watch

This past month, I’ve begun writing about my other favorite movies. This has included my last two blogs about the films “Julie & Julia” and “Little Miss Sunshine”. In my opinion, these three pieces are probably my favorite articles/blogs that I’ve ever done!

Now, there is only one left.

“Marriage Story” is the only one of my favorite movies that I have yet to write about. I watched it for the first time on December 16th, 2019, just a month after it was first released on Netflix. I was told that it was sad and that I had to watch it.

Out of my four favorite films, this one stands out the most. Like, it itself isn’t particularly odd, but the reason as to why it’s my favorite is different compared to the others. 

With the other three films, I love everything about them. I love their worlds, characters, and distinct aesthetics. I love how they make me feel when I watch them. They check all my boxes!

And I’m not saying that “Marriage Story” doesn’t, those just aren’t the same reasons why I like it.

But before I get into why I like it, let me tell you a little bit about it!

*NO SPOILERS*

More like divorce story

Just in case you didn’t know, the main characters are getting a divorce.

Charlie, a New York theatre stage director, and Nicole, a talented actress from California, are struggling through a divorce. The movie follows them throughout this process, with one of the main conflicts being who will get custody of their son.

At times, the movie is not easy to watch. It is most definitely not a “date night” movie… or a good movie for anyone in a new relationship for that matter. It shows the uncomfortably intimate and vulnerable sides of both of the main characters. And it never takes sides. Neither Charlie nor Nicole are the better choice for custody, neither are completely right or wrong in their reasonings for their divorce.

This is very offputting to some people who may just watch movies simply as a form of entertainment (which is completely valid). An example is my mom, who has said that she won’t watch this movie because it “seems too real”… and it probably is. It will undoubtedly make you question your own relationship if you’re in one. And if you aren’t currently in a romantic relationship, then it may make you reexamine what you actually want out of a partner.

Yes It is very Sad, but I love it

I said early that I didn’t enjoy “Marriage Story” for the same reasons that I enjoyed my other favorite movies.

This is because “Marriage Story” is so uncomfortably realistic. Every time I watch it, I just sit there in awe over the fact that someone was able to tell this story so well. 

Noah Baumbach based “Marriage Story” on his own experience and you can tell! There are some things that are so specific to this experience that couldn’t have possibly come from someone who hadn’t lived it.

I also love that he presents the characters as equals. Neither is completely wrong or right in their divorce and neither is made the villain/hero, they’re just two people who care about each other trying to work through a major life change. When research specifically the editing of this film, I came across an interview where the editor, Jennifer Lame, said that she and Baumbach cut many parts of the film that they liked simply to give Nicole and Charlie equal screentime. And that is just amazing to me.

This is the type of art I want to create. I am so insanely jealous of Noah Baumbach and his ability to capture this story the way that he did. Just the way he took his own life experiences and made them into this… that fact is just infinitely inspiring to me. I desperately want to be able to do this with my own art. This is what I want to create. I want it to be real and raw and beautiful and everything this movie is. And that’s probably why I’m a little obsessed with it.

And of course, it is very pretty

I feel like this is a mandatory part of these blogs now, but please enjoy these aesthetically pleasing stills from the film!

I didn’t know where else to fit this in, but please go watch Adam Driver sing! This is a scene of the movie that takes place need the end, but it contains no spoilers for the plot, so it’s okay to watch! It makes me cry every time.

In Conclusion, you should watch it

I think I mentioned this early in the blog, but the film is available to stream on Netflix. If you’re ever feeling up to watch a relationship fall apart (which probably is not often), then you should definitely check it out!

As for this being the last installment in my four-part-favorite-movie pieces, I do not think that this will be the last time I write about movies. I have already written about “happiest season” on both this blog and RISE, which was a movie that I HIGHLY disliked, so maybe I write more about movies I don’t like as much. Or maybe I’ll write about tv shows? Who knows!

If reading any part of these blogs has brought you any kind of enjoyment, then that’s awesome! And if no one has read them at all, then I’m at least happy that I got some enjoyment out of writing them. That’s all that really matters.

The Hardship of a Loss

Everyone has experienced loss at one point in their life. Some people, if you’re really unlucky, have experienced more than once. Or the time you did experience it, it was someone so close to you that you never needed to go through it again. Whatever your situation of losing someone was, it is one of the hardest– if not, the hardest– things you will go through in life. Having someone stripped from the world before you is many words with unfair being one of the most accurate. There is nothing about a death that is fair. Maybe to the one who left because they get to live in a better place, but it leaves you with the cold feeling of constantly yearning for something you won’t get back– at least not in this life. I’ve heard that God tends to take the best ones because he needs more angels in heaven, but I can’t seem to agree because if anything, we need all the angles we can get on earth. 

Death is not easy by any means, but it is so vital to our existence as humans living life. It is one of the most important things to experience in life– but this goes for all pain. Pain opens new doors through reevaluation and thought processes you never knew you could have, but at the end of the journey, it brings you somewhere new, so you can be someone new. Finding a new part of yourself and discovering change can be the most beautiful thing. 

The aftermath of death is all you live in when you experience a loss. The world becomes only a world without that person or thing you lost and everywhere you look, there are holes in the picture created by their absence. Every time you see their parents or family, you have to quickly look away because their grief is so great, you can feel their pain just by seeing their eyes that will never rest peacefully again. You see the quick smile come to their face when they speak about their lost child or brother, and how it disappears once those memories can’t block out the tragedy after a quick second. Communities come together to mourn, and let me ask you: have you ever seen a community mourn? Hundreds of people crying and reminiscing over a lost life that they claim was more worthy than them to live. Everyone blames themselves. So much guilt, and for what? So much sorrow over what could have been done and what would’ve changed if only someone knew– but no one knew. No one knows when the dark blanket of death is about to cover yet another body. All you know is the time you have with them and how it wasn’t enough. And all you have now is the world you don’t want– the world without them. But you find things that remind you of them. Small things that make you happy, and you hold on to those things. You find a new meaning of life as you know how quickly it can be taken away and you live the best you can in hopes of making a difference. You tell people you love them more often in knowledge that you may not get to tell them tomorrow, but most importantly, you appreciate today a little more. You strive to find the good things in life so that when it does get taken away, you can leave with a lot.

Little Miss Sunshine: It Will Make You Feel Every Emotion

I was told that I would love this movie.

In April of 2020, I receive it as a birthday gift on DVD. It was around the time that the idea of a prolonged quarantine was just setting in. I put the DVD into my computer and watched it for the first time on April 14th, 2020. And I do not think I can put into words how much I adore this movie! Like the title of this blog says, it made me feel EVERY EMOTION. So this week, I would love to tell you about one of my all-time favorite movies “Little Miss Sunshine”.

**content warning: mentions of drug use and attempted suicide**

NO SPOILERS

The Plot

The Hoover family — consisting of a father, a mother, a daughter, a son, the mother’s brother, and the father’s father– pile into a bright yellow van and head to California to watch the daughter compete in the Little Miss Sunshine Contest. 

It is by far the best road trip movie I have ever seen. While on the way to California, the family faces many issues, such as their bus breaking down and other things I can’t tell you because of spoilers. I think the movie does a great job of balancing its time between all six main characters, giving each of them their own issues to deal with and time to work through them.

The Characters

I really do believe that each character has the potential to be someone’s favorite character. They’re each so different and are given their own set of problems to work through throughout the film. I can almost guarantee you that you’ll find at least one of them relatable, if not all of them.

Sheryl Hoover: The Mother

Sheryl (played by Toni Collette) is an overworked mother who just wants the best for her family. With her husband being focused on his job, she is left to take care of their two children, her brother, and her father-in-law.

Richard Hoover: The Father

Richard (played by Greg Kinnear) is trying desperately to build a career as a motivational speaker and life coach. This goal often comes before this family’s needs.

Frank Ginsberg: The Uncle

Frank (played by Steve Carrell), after an attempt at suicide, has been sent to stay with his sister and her family.

Edwin Hoover: The Grandfather

After getting evicted from a retirement home for snorting heroin, Edwin has been sent to live with his son’s family.

Dwayne Hoover: The Son

Dwayne is Sheryl’s son from a previous marriage. He has taken a vow of silence until he can accomplish his dream of becoming a fighter pilot.

Olive Hoover: The Daughter

Olive aspires to be a beauty queen and earns a spot to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant.

Family and Love

I don’t know about you, but I love a good story about love.

I can’t say too much without spoiling the whole movie, but almost every character starts the movie feeling alone. Richard is struggling with his career, Sheryl is struggling to keep her family together, Frank has lost his job and was rejected by the man he loved, and Dwayne feels like no one understands him (Olive is pretty much just there to give the family a common goal and to be cute. The grandpa is just funny and snorts coke).

By the end of the film, the sense of unity between the family is incredibly heartwarming. You know that this experience has brought them closer together and that they know they have each other’s backs.

And this all comes through in the movie’s amazing climax! It is honestly the funniest and best thing I have ever seen, and I know that’s saying a lot! But it’s true! And I can’t tell you any more without spoiling it, but just know that it will be one of the most satisfying movie endings that you will ever witness.

All the feelings

I just spent the last section talking about how satisfying the film’s ending is, but happiness is far from the only emotion you will feel watching this.

At several points in the movie, I cried. The performances are amazing and the characters are so well written that you can’t help but fall in love with them. So when anything bad happens to them (which is often), you can’t help but feel for them. You just want them to reach their goal and it is such a fun, emotional ride there.

This is definitely one of those stories where the journey matters more than the destination.

it’s so pretty

Once again, I will be providing you with several stills for the movie to enjoy. This film in particular has a very muted, yellowish palette, which I enjoy a lot.

In conclusion, you should watch it

I hope that some part of this blog made you want to give this film a chance. It is available to stream on Starz and to rent/buy on YouTube and Amazon! I understand that the sometimes dark humor of this film may not be everyone’s thing, but I am certain that everyone who watches it will get something out of it!

Hey… It’s Me

Hi, 

So I know I haven’t posted in while, but I made it a goal to post a life update blog this week, so here I am 🙂 

Life has been a roller coaster since I last posted… in January. 

As I write this, I am sitting in a crowded hallway as we wait, uncomfortably, to be told to return to class, and I can’t help but cherish this moment, every ounce of it: the dirty hardwood floors, the sirens, the concerned faces. This might be the very last time I sit in confinement with the people I’ve blissfully shared the past two years with. 

As I embark upon this next chapter of life, I am filled with so much gratitude and warmth for these people around me. I have nothing but fond memories with these people, and I think it’s a blessing to have gotten this experience. 

Today, I committed to Loyola University New Orleans, and I am so excited. Everything that’s happened in the last year has allowed me to grow so much, and I have learned so many lessons about life, but this is only the beginning. 

Below is my vision board for the year that I made earlier in the year:

Image

I normally would’ve posted this earlier, but with my blog hiatus, I never go around to it. I look back it often to hold myself accountable and to also remind myself to stay humble, be brave, keep going, and to take care of myself. 

I hope you all are doing the same. 

XOXO, 

maleigh 🙂