Wednesday, August 15, 2012

on silent films (and why I adore them)

One of my favorite activities when I was a teenager was to go see movies. During the summer there were always at least three films I had lined up to see on opening night, usually at the midnight showing. The films my friends and I went to see were the ones that are typically labeled "blockbusters" because of how popular they are. Film franchises like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, and Chronicles of Narnia were what I always went to see. All the superhero franchises, too. I preferred to see these films on the big screen because they always had sweeping scores, many of them had spectacular explosions, and they were just overall good experiences.

I never went to see comedies, dramas, horror, or anything along those lines. I always felt that usually those movies weren't really worth my eight dollars and that if I wanted to watch them, I could rent them for a buck or two or even get them free from my library. Plus, and I find this especially true in the comedies, there aren't many redeeming aspects in movies that are made today that aren't of the "epic" variety. Too much sex, language, drugs, etc. I know it happens, but I certainly don't need gratuitous amounts of it put in front of my eyes. (This goes for violence as well, which is why I'm not always keen on R-rated films that have the rating for violence.)

So, on my movie shelf, there are mostly those epics listed above. But my other favorites are movies based on classic books. I have a few versions of Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, etc. No, they aren't always as faithful to the books as I would like, but that doesn't necessarily change how I feel about the film. Different art mediums, after all. For movies like Narnia, and Harry Potter, I take a lot of issue with the changes, and honestly, with good reason. You can read about that in this post (which, ironically, I wrote exactly a year ago).

But the point of this post was to talk about why I love silent films. First, I adore almost anything that is old. Second, black and white. Third, they were clean. I can't stress this enough. Yes, old Hollywood had its problems...but the films themselves weren't all about how much sex you can show onscreen and get away with, or how much language can be peppered throughout the dialogue.  And as for the dialogue...well, to be in a silent film, you really and truly had to know how to act. Most of today's actors and actresses in Hollywood have little to none in the way of talent. I don't care how you feel about it, it's the truth. In silent films, it was all about the gestures, the facial expressions, the way you carried yourself.

If you've never watched a silent film, I encourage you to give one a try. And if you're really not sure where to start, just watch The Artist, the film that was made last year. Now that was an excellent film. What a beautiful tribute to the beginning of filmmaking. I own the DVD, by the way, and if you live near me, I'll gladly let you come over and watch it with me. ^_~

There is so much more that I could say, but I will stop here. I will leave you with this thought: Think about a time when people's private lives were not the focal point of their careers; think about a time when the focus was truly on the movie making process, and new discoveries were being made everyday; think about a time when you could watch a film as a family and not have to worry overmuch about what your children might see or hear. In our over-sexed and amoral society, I prefer to look back at a time when people didn't flaunt their sin or their bad choices.

And sometimes, it's nice to have to place your whole focus on something. When watching a silent film, you truly have to watch it. You can't just listen or you won't get anything out of it. So, take some time and try watching a silent film (particularly from the early 1920s). You might find you like it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

musings no. 7 [in other news, my legs are killing me]

 I sat down at my computer and was about to write a "Motivational Monday" post when I realized something.
It's not Monday.

Well, I'm totally okay with that.
Mondays aren't usually the best day in the week for most people.
Yesterday I spent the morning baking and the afternoon reading and the evening watching Star Wars with my husband, so overall it was a pretty good Monday.
That certainly doesn't happen every week, though!

Last week, I wrote a post on taking walks.
I'm here now to tell you that I took my own post seriously!
I wrote that post last Thursday, and by that point I had walked roughly four miles, two on Monday afternoon with Nate, and two on Wednesday morning alone.
On Friday, though, I hiked/walked a total of almost nine miles.
Friday morning I hiked a 3.5 mile trail by myself, while listening to the soundtrack for Fellowship of the Ring; it was an awesome hike.
Friday afternoon, Nate and I hiked a 3.1 mile trail, at which point my legs were screaming at me, but I still felt pretty good overall.
Friday night, we went to the Cheese Capital Jazz Crawl in Plymouth and that was roughly two miles of walking in the four hours we hung out there.

Honestly, at that point, I was totally beat.
But it was good for me!
I'm not bragging or anything, though I suppose I could since this isn't something I do all the time.
My stamina isn't really that great, but after last week I think I'm well on my way to building up some more strength.

I'm taking it easy this week because my leg muscles are still a little sore, and I have a couple of lovely looking blisters on my feet.

Annnnd since I just spent an entire post talking about myself...I guess I'll just shut up now.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

taking walks

Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite thing to do is read.
I can curl up in bed or on the couch and read for hours.
This isn't a bad thing, and on a day like today when it is pouring outside (Thank you, God!!!), once I get the cleaning done, reading is exactly what I'll be doing.

But getting out of the house is so good for you and your body.
Taking a walk is one of my favorite forms of exercise.
It strengthens my legs and I work up a healthy sweat.
And with all the hiking trails available within 15-20 minutes of our house, I have absolutely no excuse to not get out and walk.
All the good things walking does for your body you probably already know.

But did you also know that walking is good for your mind and your soul?
My husband and I take walks/hikes together as often as we can.
And during that time, we talk.
We always have incredibly stimulating conversation, but when we are out walking, it's different because we are not distracted by other things at home and we are focused completely on each other.
And when I take walks alone, which happens more often than not, I put on my headphones and listen to music or an audio drama, and just appreciate the glory of God's world around me.
Sometimes I don't even turn any music on, I just listen to the sounds of nature.
In the springtime, you hear the spring peepers -- the baby frogs.
In the summertime, there are lots of sounds.
In the autumn, you hear the rustling of the colorful leaves as the wind blows through the treetops.
In the wintertime, usually you just hear the silence. (That might be my favorite.)

Think about God and His faithfulness when you take a walk.
Think about how you may better yourself in life, and then apply it when you get home.
Think about history, science, philosophy, literature, psychology -- ANYTHING that gets your mind going.
Take a camera along (or use your phone) and snap photos of things in the landscape that fascinate you.
Heck, snap a picture of the blue sky.

And you know what?
This is all good for you and it doesn't cost a thing. (Except for the gas if you drive to a park, but it's worth it, trust me.)

Walking is good for your body.
Walking is good for your mind.
Walking is good for your soul.

So get out and take a walk!