The Second Mother

Originally titled: Que Horas Ela Volta? (When is she coming home?)

This is a Brazilian movie that my family and I watched recently. Only mom could actually understand the Portuguese so we had to subtitle it for my sister and I but it wasn’t too bad to read and watch at the same time.

Overall, it was a funny and sad and amazing movie! It showed the culture there and how different it was compared to the Canadian norm!

Here’s the synopsis:
Val spends 13 years working as nanny to Fabinho in Sao Paulo. She is financially stable but has to live with the guilt of having left her daughter Jessica, in Pernambuco, in the north of Brazil, raised by relatives. As college entrance exams roll around, Jessica wants to come to Sao Paulo to take her college entrance exams too. When Jessica arrives, cohabitation is not easy. Everyone will be affected by the personality and candor of the girl and Val finds herself right in the middle of it.

Val, the main character, is just full of love for everyone around her but it takes her daughter coming to visit and messing with the careful equilibrium that has been maintained for Val to realize that the family she is employed with treat her very much like a maid and servant without actually taking the time to care about her as a human.

This daughter, however, is not perfect either. Jessica came with the misconceptions that her mother was rich or more well to do than a maid because of how Val acted whenever she visited Jessica. So she acted like she deserved everything and wouldn’t just let things slide which sometimes went to far as she had just arrived and should definitely have been more polite to begin with.

Something interesting I noticed was that this movie did not fall for the ordinary plot twists one might expect. I can think of at least 3 moments where I was cringing and waiting for a big thing to happen because it just seemed to be set up for it but they did not happen and I was pleasantly surprised! I liked that it didn’t need these big things to happen in order for you to still be drawn into the story. The characters and their interactions were enough and there didn’t have to be any misunderstandings or epic falls to keep you intrigued.

The plot was lovely and had a great conclusion that I’m not going to go into detail about as to not spoil it for you but it really told a beautiful story that centered around family and getting second chances.

Something totally unique to my experience watching this was actually seeing habits my own Brazilian mother had in Val! It was amazing to be able to have an experience that I could think of that played out like what was happening on screen! There was the fixating on one sentence I had said while she was angry and the little exclamations she said sometimes, it was just really neat.

So if you feel like taking a chance on this foreign film, chances are you’ll be glad you did!

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Quidditch

Wizards and broomsticks and snitches oh my!

I don’t know if you’ve heard of this book series called Harry Potter? I think they made a movie or two where he was the main character also. Well, on the off chance that you have, you will probably then have heard of quidditch. It’s the biggest sport in the wizarding world so who would have thought I would be able to spend the last year physically playing it?

Quidditch has become a real sport in recent years, mostly starting up through universities thanks to enthusiastic and determined people. Getting a team together for a fictional sport off the ground can’t be easy! (And by off the ground I don’t mean on flying brooms, unfortunately physics is not on our side here.)

Canada gets more and more teams joining its ranks every year and many of the US teams are quite formidable. There’s been a world cup tournament that has happened for the past few years and I actually have friends that played on team Canada. Amazing to think about.

For people who are just trying to wrap their heads around a way for muggles to be able to play the sport (and yes, it is a sport) without any magic, let me break it down for you.

The first thing to note is that yes, we kept in the broom part but no, we have not yet figured out how to use them to fly. There are official quidditch brooms but most people just use a length of plastic pipe that is has to be held between their legs at all times while playing. Having one hand occupied most of the time does make the game a little harder!

You’ve got chasers which are the ones that score. Each team has 3 chasers and a keeper who does exactly what a chaser does except they’ve got a few extra privileges. They deal with the quaffle and the hoops. It’s basically handball where they can run with the ball and pass to each other in order to put the quaffle/slightly deflated volleyball through one of the three hoops. It’s pretty much the same as in Harry Potter except that it’s not way up high in the sky and we have full contact tackling.

Next are the beaters which are super important to muggle quidditch strategy. They use the 3 bludgers which look suspiciously like slightly deflated dodgeballs to hit whomever they want from the opposing team in order to make them get off their broom and run back to their own hoops before remounting. Where it differs from the movies is that the bludgers do not have a mind of their own to be redirected by beater bats but it’s still not fun coming against a beater that could make you basically run a suicide during a game. A quidditch team must always have 2 beaters on the field at a time.

Finally, the piece of equipment most people tend to ask about first: the snitch. In Harry Potter, the snitch is a tiny golden ball with wings that flits around very quickly and must be caught by the seeker in order for the game to be finished. Our real live snitch is a human being, usually dressed in gold or yellow, that has a sock with a tennis ball at the toes velcroed to a pair of shorts. There are manufactured snitch shorts that looks way more official than what I just described and it’s actually really difficult for a seeker to actually reach this sock located right above the snitch’s bum. The snitch does not have to use a broom and can mess with the seekers however they want, throwing them to the ground or pulling their broom out from under them, it’s all fair play.

There used to be off-pitch seeking, in which the snitch would be hiding somewhere away from where the game was  actually happening and the seekers had time to go and look for it just like in Harry Potter but as the sport developed, that was deemed impractical and all the seeking is done right in the middle of game play.

It makes for a difficult time for the spectator to choose what to watch with the scoring and the face-beating and the yellow-clothed person running around.

Hopefully that makes quidditch make sense to those of you who hadn’t heard about it being played in real life and hopefully you agree that this full-contact, co-ed sport deserves being called a sport despite its eccentricities.

I have included a video below to showcase the sport in action:

Oh, and what’s my position? I’m a chaser and I just love it. If I could seek, I would but I might just be too small for the job.

Reasons to Smile #7

Genuine smiles

Being able to quote a movie while watching it

Eating ice

Starting a new notebook

Beating a personal best in something fitness related

Knowing exactly where you left something (and it actually being there)

When the wind doesn’t blow your hair in your face

Being as comfortable in your friend’s house as your own

Seeing a deer in the wild

Shredding paper

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Road Trip Essentials

The most summer thing to do.

It may be quite late into the summer but it’s not too late to get in one last hurrah and plan a road trip for the fun of it! I’ll be going on one this coming weekend and thought it would be a great idea to outline all the essentials to keep this bon voyage from becoming a chorus of heavenly “are we there yet???”

roadtrip - destination

The first thing you’re going to want to decide on is where you’re going. The road trip could just be driving aimlessly but then there’s no real purpose. Some ideas are:

  • A place where a lot of your family lives
  • A city where a friend you haven’t seen in a while lives
  • Somewhere you’ve never been before and know no one and are just going for the adventure
  • A place from your childhood

Anywhere you’ve been itching to go in order to see the sights or catch up on life stories is doable as long as there are roads between it and you.

roadtrip - transportation

I may be blowing my cover as Captain Obvious here but it needs to be said. Not only does there need to be a human that can drive a car in the party of people going, there also needs to be a car that
a) will survive a trip of your desired length and
b) can comfortably seat everyone.
It will be no fun sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck for a couple hours and neither will a blast be had if you have to be in the middle seat scrunched between two other people. Think of these things beforehand and you’ll be thanking yourself by the end.

roadtrip - company

In the previous paragraphs, I’ve been directing this post towards one person – you. But it doesn’t have to be like that at all. Even though solitude is nice sometimes, to just drive without anyone around you either in the car or on the roads, the friends are what make a road trip memorable. Make sure you get along with anyone in the car because if there’s something between you guys, it’ll most likely be amplified in the tiny space of a moving vehicle. Best friends are great candidates because willingly spending this much time with them isn’t a chore, unlike family road trips sometimes end up being.

You’ll have plenty of time to talk, invent silly car games and just be around each other so if you don’t know your travel-mates’ life stories at the beginning of this journey, you just might by the end.

roadtrip - music

This deserves capital letters because most people have strong opinions on the music they want to listen to. And since there’ll be a lot of time to fill during any road trip, the songs are going to need to happen! It’s best to know what common ground everyone coming along has in terms of music taste, including everyone’s vetos. Of course, everyone should be willing to be flexible in order for everyone to be happy and I really don’t think you can go wrong with Disney!

Some people like creating playlists that have the theme of summer or vacation or road trips to set the mood so if anyone in the car has a knack for that, get them to go right ahead and you’ll feel 10x more legit.

roadtrip - snacks

Humans need to eat in order to live. [citation needed] Whatever your food situation may be, be it quick runs to the Timmies* every time you stop from gas, an entire picnic meal/dinner or easy access snack items, it’s important to have some on hand so that everyone stays comfortable and happy. Water is also an important thing to pack, although in this scenario you have to think of when you’ll be able to let it out.

*non-Canadians can calm their confusion, I’m just talking about Tim Horton’s, our equivalent of your coffee and donut shops.

roadtrip - entertainment

We’ve talked about music which is a large portion of car ride entertainment but there’s plenty of other things to do. As I child, I was the queen of making up something to keep my sister and I occupied in the back seat. I’m not sure how many I got from other places and how many I got from my brain but I will share them all willingly here.

The Alphabet Game – Very straightforward, you’re competing against or working together with everyone in the car in order to find all the letters of the alphabet in order on anything you see outside of the car. (stores, licence plates, road signs, etc) One of my rules is that you may only take one letter from a common location before you move on

The Rainbow Car Game – Same deal, look outside your window and find a car that is each colour of the rainbow in order (red, orange, yellow, green blue, purple). Orange and yellow and quite rare and you may find yourself stuck on those for a while

Car Count – This is a straight up competition. You each pick a colour of car and count every time you see one of that colour. Whoever gets the most wins! Heads up, silver and red are quite common.

Animal Name Game – this game definitely was invented by me. It involves looking for animals outside and then giving them a name. That is all. Good for going through the countryside and seeing cow after horse after llama. I’ve given a flock of birds names, they get quite silly at this point.

Bingo/Scavenger Hunt – If someone wants to put in the necessary effort of thinking up things you could potentially see on a road trip, they should definitely do so because that could be a lot of fun!

roadtrip - plan

Overall, you just really need to plan this kind of thing out. I know in the movies and books, they just jump in the car with their sunglasses and romantic tension and off they go but really it’s important to have a very good idea of certain things like

  • what route you’ll take
  • where you’ll stop and how often
  • where you’re going to sleep
  • who brings what
  • how long it’ll take

Everyone should also be aware of the plan so that it’s not up to one person to stress all about it. If you’ve got locations in mind in advance, there’s much less of a chance of something going wrong and therefore a higher chance of everyone having a great time!

A Few Final Things…

You should keep in mind the distance as well because sometimes a road trip can be too long and cars can start feeling like a sardine can – smell and all. The longer the trip, the higher the cost with food and gas and places to sleep so although it feels very freeing to just go, it won’t do to use up all your funds on this expedition.

And that is all of my knowledge about road trips, please put it to good use and tell me about any road trips you’ll go on in the future or have gone on and loved. It’s good to enjoy the summer while you can because school is just around the corner (small gasp)

Home: The Movie

Based on my absolute favourite book: The True Meaning of Smekday

This is going to be a review of the adaptation of one of my favourite books of all time. I still haven’t made an actual review of it to link to you guys but one day it will arrive. Although I sincerely think the contents of it would be something along the lines of: “read these 17 quotes, aren’t they hilarious, oh here’s some context refer to the glossary for all the words that don’t make sense now look at this picture hahaha remember when oh yeah you might not have read it why are you reading this when you could read that dude go do it now trust this internet stranger”

Truly feeling like a hipster when I first read the book when it came out 8 years ago (le gasp I’m old) and finally the movie adaptation was released in 2015 with most people who see it never knowing that there was a book first and the book was better.

Yep, I went ahead and said it. The book was truly magnificent with a blend of random and deep and the movie chose a few of the lessons learned in the book, made the painfully obvious and then dumbed everything else down to kid level. Which I respect I guess, movies are a different form of entertainment than books and when you put that much effort into animating this world, it’s got to be something the masses and target audience will enjoy.

If I had seen the movie never knowing about the book’s existence, I still would have loved it though, the book is not the only thing that’s making me give Home an overall great review. I mean, I could spend the whole time griping about how they missed their chance of including teleportation, asphyxiation and just-add-water-sheep-lookalikes but I think I’ll pass.

CHARACTERS

Right away, Oh was a little over the top but it makes the plot by setting him aside as an outcast and making his transformation in the end more obvious. I bet the kids adored him and his silly antics even though I was more entertained with how they kept the stilted speech of the Boov similar to the style of the book than his ridiculous antics.

Side note: I was lie-on-the-floor devastated when I found out that they had changed his name from J.Lo to Oh because that takes away from the insane charm of the book. However, I was dance-with-strangers-on-the-street happy that they managed to cast the actual J.Lo as Tip’s mother.

Captain Smek was a character that I did not care for in the least. He was even more comic relief than Oh was and it was pretty much just annoying. The gelatinous and colourful body properties of the Boov were unnecessary in my opinion but I guess got a kick out of it. I need to keep reminding myself that this movie is in fact not aimed towards 20 year old girls.

Rihanna was perfect as Tip and Tip was the character that best translated from page to screen. They kept the fact that she was scared and needed her mother and was willing to do whatever it took to get there. She was strong and vulnerable and basically amazing.

The final main character was Kyle the traffic Boov and while he may seem like just some random guy that they added I basically died when I heard that he was actually going to be important.  In the book, J.Lo pretends that he knows a traffic Boov and calls her Kyle and it’s just a random not-really-that-important interaction so I love how big a role he ended up getting.

PLOT

The plot was so basic compared to that of the book but it had enough twists and funny moments to keep me entertained.

One of my actual favourite scenes was one they took straight from the book, direct quotes and everything‼ It happened in the mopo (although I forget if it was an actual mopo in the movie) slash convenience store where Oh and Tip first meet. All of that coming into the out and mimom and shoot forth lasers from my eyeballs and exploding heads being impolite was from the book and it made me so happy! If you are near me when that happens, I not only quote the entire thing along with them but I also fill in the rest with every fact from the book that you really didn’t want to know and are busy just wishing I would be quiet.

But who wouldn’t want to know that Gratuity found something called Tub! That came with its own spoon?????

In the novel, Slushious takes them across the United States but I found traveling across the pacific and around the world made the adventure even more exciting! There was just enough panic with the invitation bringing their enemies down upon them to keep you on the edge of your seat and all the Boov technology was really well done!

Some more subtle nods to the book I had forgotten about until now are the orange peels that Captain Smek was wearing as that ended up being all the rage to the Boov in Florida as well as Oh eating the urinal cakes in the bathroom.

Finally, the ending was really well done. The friendship and family tie-ins were very strong and real and pulled at all the right emotions. At this point we had strayed so far from the book plot that I could simply appreciate that finale for all it was.

FINAL THOUGHTS

At the end of the day, Home is an amazing movie with an amazing soundtrack featuring the first black animated protagonist which is pretty nifty and great. It’s cute enough for both kids and adults to enjoy and will hopefully expose people to the book it originated from so that they can experience true happiness.

Other things they missed out on in the movie:

  • Bubble writing
  • 7 magnificent genders
  • An alien hiding in plain sight in Roswell
  • Two separate organizations called BOOB
  • And of course, 4 pages full of the word ‘meow’
not pictured: me dying from this scene being in the actual movie

Mockingjay

mockingjay pt 1I’ve had The Hanging Tree stuck in my head for the past 2 days.

If that last sentence didn’t clue you in to what this post is going to be about, I’d like to take this opportunity to point you towards the title, how did you miss that?

The first part of the final movie in The Hunger Games trilogy came out last Friday and my book-to-movie adaptation buddy and I were all over it. We were so ready to hold our pee for 2+ hours to see makeup-less Effie, Natalie Dormer with the coolest haircut ever and a whackload of politics.

If I’m going to be honest, I don’t actually remember much of the plot of the book, it was the whole remember it as you go along deal, but I do know that I liked this book the least of the trilogies mainly because I don’t like bad things happening to characters I like and it was so political.

But I have to say that my overall impression of this movie highly exceeded my expectations!

I was so drawn into the plot that even though I knew enough that nothing was an actual surprise I didn’t notice the time go by. It was only when my friend started guessing at me where they would split it off that I realized it had been that long. Like legitimately I would’ve sat there for 5 hours to watch everything come to a conclusion. (Although my bladder might get some say in whether I took a break or not.) (Why am I talking about peeing so much like calm down you’re 19 years old, Karen)

Speaking of the split off point, (is there like a movie term for this? Halfway mark? Division between part 1 and part 2? Mockingjay bisection?) they did a very great job in giving the movie some kind of conclusion while obviously telling you there’s more and keeping you wondering about what happens to the characters.

Something great about the movie was that they actually explored the bad things President Snow was doing and didn’t try to tone down the people’s struggles. Like it wasn’t just about Katniss and her life and like the 3 people she cares about but instead we see the rebellions in other districts along with Finnick’s story about life after becoming a victor. Glad they kept that in.

Good acting by Josh Hutcherson also must have sucked for him cause he really didn’t get to interact with anyone while filming this half!

Also the like 3 funny parts were funny.

My commentary is kind of petering down and each paragraph is losing more and  more quality so I’m going to end this now. Overall I really enjoyed this movie like I stated earlier it was just excellent compared to the book and I’m slightly bummed that I have to wait an entire year for part two like I will sit through 5 hours for a movie you don’t know how much I need to see this all in one go, movie producers…

Reasons To Smile #5

catching something without looking

lemonade

when the picture of of your birthday month in a calendar is the best one

sharing a look with your friend

putting your bag down after carrying it for a while

eating food from your very own garden

movie or book release days

compliments

learning about another culture

getting a hole-in-one while mini-putting

Dr. Seuss quotes

 

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X-Men: Discovery

x-men-days-of-future-past-poster
aka I’m going to be doing a lot of movie watching and hardcore internet research over the next few days.

This started thanks to me and a bunch of friends (actually like 2 friends and then the rest were acquaintances but still very nice people) going to see the new x-men movie with all the verb tenses in the title. Also known as Days of Future Past. I was the noob that didn’t know much except some of the superheros’ (or do I call them mutants???) names BUT at least I didn’t walk out during the credits before they played the secret Marvel scene that always happens. I’m not that in the dark about things.

Y’all know how I feel about superhero movies but I have to say that I really enjoyed this one! One of my weaknesses is wanting to know ALL the super powers invented so the sheer amount of them in this film was perfect for me to sit and take in. Also there was Destruction Of Public Property but not as much as there could’ve been so props for that.

The whole time travel thing was cool and there were some genuinely hilarious parts to it! It’s kind of dumb to have your first x-men movie be like the 7th or whatever but don’t worry I’m wikipedia-ing all the people I don’t know and setting aside time to watch all the movies.

Ooh, favourite character was hands quicksilverdown Quicksilver because one he’s played by Evan Peters whom I love and two he was just so chill with his power like whatever no big deal I’m just going to zoom around and not only change the paths of these bullets but also give this guy a wedgie because why the heck not.

Lucy

I just found out that this was a thing.

I’m not the biggest on super hero movies for some reason (actually I know the reason and I may explain it to you later on) but this one really intrigued me! It could be the fact that her powers don’t seem that conventional, from what I can see from this trailer, or, as tumblr kindly pointed out and went nuts over, the fact that this is a super hero movie with a female lead. The sad thing is that this is unheard of and pretty groundbreaking. It shouldn’t be but equality’s gotta start somewhere.

The only thing that made me cringe and want to call the creators of this movie and just rant at them for a couple of hours is that they used the made-up fact that we only use 10% of our brain’s capacity. Like no, we use 100% of it and a quick internet search could’ve told you exactly that. Really embarrassing for them. And I’m not sure if the basis of the movie is that Lucy (Scarlet Johansson) is using more than 10% of her brain and that’s why she’s so super extra cool or if they just played it up more in the trailer than it actually shows up in the film. We’ll see.

Either way, I’m definitely going to be watching this when it comes out and I hope it gets a little more popular since it’s coming out this year and I’m not sure many people have heard of it!