Turn It Up Tuesday, Listen to This “Simple Song”

Alright, I know everything I’ve been posting lately probably seems oddly interconnected (like my posts for Wish I Was Here, which Zach Braff made and used The Shins music in, and he also made Garden State, which features the line: “You’ve gottahear this song, it’ll change your life, I swear.” (That one’s in reference to “New Slang.”) Anyway, recently I was reminded of the beauty in “Simple Song” by the Shins. And it really is just that…a simple song. The Shins are one of my chill out bands. I can throw on their music and just tune out. It’s nice to have songs like that to turn to at times. If you’re not familiar with this one, I suggest you check out the official video below. And I’ll leave you with my favorite line:

“Love’s such a delicate thing that we do, with nothing to prove, which I never knew…”

 

Watch This: “Boyhood”

Yesterday afternoon I went to see Boyhood with two of my cousins. It’s Richard Linklater’s latest film. Like Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight he’s teamed up with Ethan Hawke (who plays Mason’s father) once again. The coolest concept of this film to me, (which I saw on the Today Show when I was at my parent’s a few weeks ago) is that it was filmed over twelve years. Basically you see all of these people age, on screen. Kids go through their funky phases and different hair cuts. The audiences watches first days of school, moving to new towns, leaving friends, making new friends, watching parents date, the swapping from one house to another with split parents, the experiences of blended families, new careers.Relationships grow and shift and people make good decisions and bad decisions, and mature throughout time. It’s like the circle of life all played out in front of you.

It was really cool to see newcomers in the film too, but then again if you think about it – they’ve been in the business quite some time, it just took a while to be able to see their work. Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane) was only seven years old when they started this project. I was reading the trivia section on IMDB and fun fact: Lorelei Linklater’s daughter plays Mason’s sister, Samantha! It’s almost three hours long, but I definitely didn’t feel like I’d been in the theatre for that long. In other movies like that, I’ve been known to grow restless, or antsy but this one just didn’t have that effect. (And I didn’t even have to miss anything to run to the restroom, which is always a plus.) It’s also kind of like exploring a time capsule of music throughout that time. While the song selections were subtly, they were obviously chosen with careful intention. The film takes place all throughout Texas, namely Houston and Austin (which just struck my wanderlust even stronger to make a trip to Austin.)

I think it’s an interesting depiction of children that have grown up over the past decade or so, as well. However you want to take it, there’s a shift from kids playing outdoors (even if they’re a bit mischievous in their activities of choice,) and then heavy reliance on video games for entertainment, but then there’s also a creative shift, a definite appreciation for nature. I hate to give away too much about films, even though I want to gush over them and convince you to watch them. But it was cool to see how this family evolved over time, changed roles in society, grew closer together, communicated; the snowball effects of their decisions. This isn’t a film I’d necessarily watch several times, but I definitely recommend it for the viewing experience, if anything just because it’s such a genuine depiction of life. It’s a concept like nothing else I’ve seen before. And how exciting that this project was successfully completed! I for one am so glad this came to theaters in Tallahassee, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that even though it was put in one of the smallest viewing rooms, it was packed! (I love when lots of people are interested in exciting films like this.) If you have the opportunity to catch this film, I’d definitely recommend it, and I’d love to hear about your thoughts afterwards!

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the trailer. Now go check it out:

Turn the Page Tuesday, Read This: “We Were Liars”

E. Lockhart is one of my favorite authors. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is one of my favorite novels. Her characters are typically independent, witty, strong, smart, inspiring young women and their perspective on life and adventures is such a breath of fresh air. Being that I follow about a zillion YA authors on Twitter who were all buzzing about it, I was in the camp of complete anticipation to get my hands on a copy of her latest, We Were LiarsI was following the Tumblr (check it out for awesome quotes, photos, playlists and more) with all it’s bits and teasers, so I knew there was a certain mystique surrounding the story, and I didn’t want the suspense to be ruined before I could read it. I pre-ordered the book, and brought it with me to the beach one weekend, and I read it in a few beach sittings. It’s not my favorite Lockhart novel, but there’s still something…special about it. The curiosity sparked by the mystery was enough fuel for me to keep reading. Plus, the gorgeous description of the Sinclair cousins, and friends? Those beautiful words were enough to suck me in immediately. (Example: He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever.) It’s funny because the characters are so articulately and artistically described in these acute details, but at the same time you don’t necessarily feel like you know their depth. At first this frustrated me as a reader, but later I came to think that it may have been more of a story-telling technique, intentional in its design. I don’t want to spoil the aura of surprise with this one, but I’ll say it’s a story with much more than meets the eye. Perhaps you pick it up and think it will be about a snotty rich family’s summers in the Vinyard, or first love, or teenage rebellion and careless days spent in the cloak of invincibility. Maybe it’s all of those things, but it’s more…there’s the flip side of love in loss, and there’s the struggle of navigating uncertainty in friendship and relationships, there’s the drama of coming to terms with the fact that our family members are humans with their own flaws and mistakes, and it’s about the moments that shape and define who we are and what we will become. Summer may be coming to an end, but there’s always time to pick up this book and jump right back in. Be prepared to get attached to these characters, and maybe for a little bit of shock and surprise. At one point, I felt like I’d been punched in the chest by surprise, and while that caught me off guard, I also wanted to applause the success of plot twists. Definitely a READ THIS! recommendation.

(via We Were Liars Tumblr)

Music Monday, Listen to This: “Raven’s Song”

I know I’ve been gushing about Wish I Was Here lately, and I mentioned how much I loved the soundtrack. I thought I should share one of my favorite songs from the film. Aaron Embry’s “Raven’s Song.” It’s short, and it’s simple but oh there’s so much strength in those couple of minutes. The beauty just exudes from this song, and it’s melody is sweet but powerful. The song is featured on Embry’s album, Tiny Prayers. It’s a rainy Monday here at the beach in Florida and I find a song like this to be perfectly fitting for a slow day. If I could find an official video I’d share that here, but for now I leave you with this hopefully it’s the perfect pick me up your day is looking for:

And the verdict is…WATCH THIS: “Wish I Was Here”

So, I did finally get to see Wish I Was Here this week, and it was everything I hoped it’d be. Braff did it again with his ability to capture the simple moments of life, but also what I like to think of as those, “feeling infinite” moments. If you’ve seen Garden State, to me I categorize that as a pretty intensely emotional film. I have probably shed some tears each time I watched it. WIWH seemed to find a new balance. There is still an intensity, emotional moments, and depth that will tug on your heart but I didn’t even cry once while watching it. When my friend asked me what the movie was about, all I could think to say was…”life.” As cliche as that sounds, I’m still pretty sure it’s fitting. The music was just as incredible as I hoped, and I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on Spotify. If you’re curious I’d still say the themes center around death, and purpose, parenthood, relationships – how we grow up and figure out who we are and what we want out of life. There’s a particular scene I have in mind, between Kate Hudson and Mandy Patinkin at the hospital that just really stole my attention. She has a certain glow when she’s on screen, and she can just steal a scene but the conversation between the two characters was so genuine and so…true to life. Also, little Joey King captured my heart as always. (Ever since I knew she was cast as Ramona Quimby, I just lover her.) Wish I Was Here was funny, refreshing, and beautifully made, (plus the slew of familiar faces popping up throughout the film didn’t hurt either.) If I didn’t convince you last week, here’s my continued encouragement that this one is a definite, “watch this” recommendation.

Listen to This: “The Mother We Share”

I have been on such a Chvrches kick this summer. Like, ridiculously so. (Spotify has a great “Chvrches” radio station, by the way.) In case you’re wondering I’ll go ahead and preface this with the fact that I did not see them at Bonnaroo (too many choices, not enough time!) but I’m sure they’re just as amazing live. Anyway, this is just going to be a little short and simple post to let you know if you’re looking for a little bit dancy, pretty voice, perfect tunes to listen to you should check out their album “The Bones of What You Believe.”  Here’s a little starter song for you, “The Mother We Share” (though, I’ll admit it was hard to pick because they’re all so catchy and good.)

Have you been to a Chvrches concert? What did you think?! I know they’re on tour in Orlando soon and my little concert-loving heart is so, so tempted.

 

Watch This: Short Term 12

What I should say is, watch this right now! Short Term 12 is a touching, emotional, intense film that tells the story of Short Term 12. A facility where at-risk kids that have been removed from their previous living situations come to stay for at least a year. A community of sorts. The staff mainly comprised of Grace (Brie Larson), Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), Nate (Rami Malek) and Jessica (Stephanie Beatriz) are the ones who are there with the kids day in and out. They know their stories, they know what makes them tick, what might set them off. Even with all their coping mechanisms and strategies, and talk through your feelings advice, they have struggles of their own. Grace and Mason’s relationship is strained by Grace’s inability to open up about her past. Nate is the newbie and boy does he have some adjusting to do with the surprises that greet him each day at Short Term 12 (outbursts of rage, fighting, spitting…) The kids themselves steal the show. They’re absolutely heart-wrenchingly endearing. I just want to hug them all. Markus (Keith Stanfield) is soon to turn 18 and the reality of leaving Short Term 12 is hitting him. Sammie (Alex Calloway) has a lot of emotional barriers to overcome, but he’s trying. Jayden’s (Kaitlyn Dever) history of abuse has brought her to some self-destructive behaviors (and a surprising connection with Grace,)…but as intense as all of this is, the story is uplifting. It’s inspiring. It’s beautiful to be reminded of the power and strength in care and love in this world. People just want to be appreciated and loved and that can change everything.

Short Term 12 was originally a short film, but thank goodness Destin Daniel Cretton made it a full length. This is a beautiful story to be shared. I’ll admit I was originally drawn to the film because of my love for John Gallagher Jr’s work on Newsroom. But oh my! While I’ve been itching to see this one for a while, (and was over joyed when it was added to Netflix,) I had been working up the strength to watch it because I knew it’d make me emotional. I am so glad I finally did. My heart hurts, but in a good way. Not convinced yet? Check out the trailer:

My money’s on Watch This: Wish I Was Here

This isn’t a read this, listen to this, watch this post persay but I just have to say…how darn excited I am to hopefully soon see Zach Braff’s new film written with his brother Adam, Wish I Was Here. It features some of my favorite actors: Kate Hudson, Joey King, and Mandy Patinkin. The soundtrack seems incredible, though I’m trying not to spoil it all, by only listening to a few songs first. But with that being said, Bon Iver recorded a new song for the film! That’s awesome enough in itself. Plus, would it be a Braff film without some music from The Shins sneaking its way in? To my surprise, Tallahassee has the film here now and I just need to carve some time out from my schedule to get my butt to the theatre. Garden State is one of my favorite films of all time, so I’ve been anxiously awaiting this one. I’ll be sure to let y’all know what i think when I can get to see it! Have you seen this film yet?! Do you think it’s over-rated or are you super excited? If you haven’t seen any clips or anything yet, check out the trailer here:

Turn the Page Tuesday, Read This: “Where’d You Go Bernadette”

I know I’m behind the times on this one, but oh my goodness! When I saw that Where’d You Go Bernadette was finally available at my local library I had to check it out, and bring it with me to my parents for some time off at the beach over the 4th of July weekend. What a perfect beach read, but also what a perfect ANYWHERE read! I laughed, I teared up, I throughly enjoyed the witty, dry humor of Maria Semple. The writing style reminded me of a Wes Anderson film, and I was in love with the alternating perspectives revealed in e-mails, memos, and various other forms of correspondence.

I’m awful at describing something I love without getting carried away, and trying to hide the surprises, but essentially the story involves teenage Bee, her architect mom, her dad who works for Microsoft, a slew of crazy private school mothers and an extremely entertaining collection of other characters living in Seattle. Instead of giving away exciting plot points, I’d rather just convey my affection for this book by explaining that I wasn’t even halfway through when I declared it must be added to my favorites list. It’s that good. I hadn’t felt like I’d stumbled upon a creative piece of work so refreshing in quite some time. Some authors have a strange condescending sort of air to their writing, while Semple never seemed to discredit her audience.

If you’ve noticed this book on display in a variety of places, or heard the buzz, or your friends have recommended it – there’s a reason for it. It’s one of the best titles I’ve read this year. If you haven’t read it yet, do yourself a favor and get on that as soon as possible!

Listen to This: “Cecilia and the Satellite”

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, then you’ve probably noticed that one of my favorite artists is Andrew McMahon. I’ve been a fan since I was about thirteen, so at this point it feels like I’ve grown up with him (which I guess I did.)  Now that he’s decided to tour as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, there are new songs popping up on YouTube and such, but this week he himself released a new song “Cecilia and the Satellite.” Cecilia of course, being the name of his baby girl. (AHH. So sweet, it makes me melt.) I didn’t hear this song for the first time until Tuesday, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to it since. It’s just so beautiful and sincere, and sweet. Also, he said to keep an eye out for new tour dates announced…I’m excited! Hopefully that means he’ll have some headlining shows coming up. Right now, he’s touring with Matt Nathanson and Gavin DeGraw. If you’ve never seen him, and you’re even slightly considering it – GO! You won’t regret it. Andrew McMahon is one of the most incredible performers I’ve ever watched, he just lays it all out there on the stage and it’s an experience for sure.

I know, it’s been awhile since I’ve made an appearance on this blog but this one is beyond worth sharing. If you haven’t heard it yet, check it out now!