For the past four weeks, I’ve been participating in the Eurovisionathon readathon! Hosted by Helen, from the Youtube channel, Helen’s Book Haven, this event encourages participants to read books associated with Eurovision’s competing countries in a month-long time-frame. This was my first year taking part in the readathon and, like other readathons, I was curious to see how well I’d perform. In the months leading up to the event, I cultivated a TBR (to be read) list of diverse literary works, in an attempt to make my reading experience as enriching as possible. My goal was to read twenty-six books in a month, as there were twenty-six countries competing in Eurovision’s Grand Final. But was I able to obtain this goal or was this goal too lofty? Let’s find out in this break-down of my Eurovisionathon results!
In this year’s Eurovision, thirty-seven countries competed in the contest. There were six countries that automatically qualified for the Grand Final. These countries were the “Big Five” (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy) and Ukraine (the winner of the previous year’s song contest). Two Semi-Finals determined the rest of the countries partaking in the Grand Final alongside the six aforementioned countries, with fifteen countries competing in the first Semi-Final and sixteen countries competing in the second Semi-Final. Out of the six automatic qualifiers, I read five books, as I knew I would receive guaranteed points no matter how those countries performed.
From the first Semi-Final, I read six books. These books represented Portugal, Croatia, Israel, Moldova, Sweden, and Finland. All six countries advanced to the Grand Final.
From the second Semi-Final, I read four books. These books represented Romania, Iceland, Australia, and Slovenia. Only Australia and Slovenia advanced to the Grand Final.
Eurovisionathon ended on the day of Eurovision’s Grand Final. A country’s combined jury and televote score determined how many points a readathon participant received. The more books a participant read, the more points they were given. Thirteen out of the fifteen books I read represented countries that competed in the Grand Final. Three of these books represented countries that missed the top twenty; Germany, Portugal, and Slovenia. Three books I read represented Moldova, Spain, and France, countries that made the top twenty. Croatia is the only country whose book I read that placed in the top fifteen. The rest of the books I read represented countries who were given top ten placements, with Israel, Finland, and Sweden among Eurovision’s top three countries.
With all of that said, my total score was two thousand, seven hundred, and ninety-three points! For my first time participating in Eurovisionathon, I’d say I did a pretty good job! With 2024’s contest on the horizon, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year’s readathon. Thank you, Helen, for hosting this event. The next Eurovision Song Contest can’t come soon enough!
Ok, so you probably read the title of my editorial and thought, “Sally, don’t you know Das Sound Machine is not a real musical group”? Readers who are familiar with Eurovision will likely think, “Isn’t Germany planning on hosting a national contest”? As of November 9th, 2022, Germany’s national broadcasters, NDR/ARD, have announced their plans to host a national final “in early March”, according to Eurovoix News. The application process for potential representatives is currently open. There’s even the likelihood of the broadcasters seeking out artists and their respective record labels to participate in the selection. With Germany still looking for a Eurovision representative, I think it would be really cool if the cast members who portrayed Das Sound Machine in Pitch Perfect 2 represented Germany in Eurovision next year! It sounds like a pipe dream on paper. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I realized how my idea could realistically work. Before I explain how Das Sound Machine could compete in 2023’s Eurovision, I’d like to first explain why this plan should work.
Germany Desperately Needs a Showstopper
In 2023, there will be thirty-seven countries participating in Eurovision. Twenty-six of those countries will compete in the grand final, with Germany being one of them. Even though Germany automatically qualifies for the grand final, because they are one of the “Big Five” countries, they still need to stand out with a memorable entry. But if Germany is serious about their chances at Eurovision success, they need an entry that will stand out for the right reasons. In 2021, Germany placed second to last in the grand final, with a total of three points. This year, Germany received last place with only six points. As NDR/ARD searches for the perfect representative, they can use that desperation to not get a low score as motivation to submit the best entry possible. Germany was not the only country in 2021’s grand final to receive disappointing results. The United Kingdom didn’t receive any points, while Spain only got six points. The following year, Spain and the United Kingdom sent Chanel and Sam Ryder to Eurovision, who both placed in the top three.
There Has Never Been an A Capella Entry at Eurovision
Over Eurovision’s fifty plus year history, a variety of musical genres have been represented. But according to my research, no country has ever submitted an a capella entry. If Germany were to select Das Sound Machine to represent them next year, an original a capella number would not only bring something new to Eurovision’s table, it would give Germany a chance to try something different. According to an article from Wiwibloggs, this year’s national final, Unser Lied für Turin, was not met with favorable results. This is because of “the lack of variety within the songs but also for its production”. Before 2021, Italy had neversent an entry that was strictly rock. Sure, their entries may have contained elements of rock. ButMåneskin and their song, “Zitti e buoni”, was the first rock group Italy selected for Eurovision. This huge musical risk led to huge rewards, as Italy not only won Eurovision for the first time since 1990, but Måneskin has also found success after their song contest victory. The public’s response to Unser Lied für Turin and Italy’s recent Eurovision achievements should encourage Germany to think outside the box.
Das Sound Machine’s Performance Abilities
Das Sound Machine was given only two performances in Pitch Perfect 2: their Car Show number and their World Championship Finale number. Despite these limited performance opportunities, Das Sound Machine uses their talent to create what is, in my opinion, the best moments of the film! While reflecting on these two performances, there are three key elements that could help Das Sound Machine at Eurovision. The first is their energy! As I said earlier in this editorial, there will be twenty-six countries competing in the grand final. From what I’ve heard, the grand final’s run-time can reach up to four hours. Having performers who can consistently maintain a high energy level during their performance would keep viewers both in the stadium and at home invested in the show.
Das Sound Machine’s second key element is their mastery of the choreography! Because Eurovision is a live show, representatives need to give the audience something interesting to look at. Whether it’s dance routines, large scale props, or cool special effects, these ingredients could work in a representative’s favor. Based on Das Sound Machine’s aforementioned performances, each member displays control over their body, allowing every movement to stay parallel to the beats within the songs. This understanding between the physical and the musical showcase Das Sound Machine’s musicality. The third key element is the group’s creativity! During their World Championship Finale number, Das Sound Machine had very few props at their disposal. Instead of seeing it as a limitation, they used this as an opportunity to be creative! While performing Fall Out Boy’s “Light Em Up”, some Das Sound Machine members got into a strategic formation, coming together to create a ship. Other members of Das Sound Machine stood on either side of the formation, giving the appearance of water.
After seeing Pitch Perfect 2 for the first time, I remember thinking, “I wish Das Sound Machine was a real group”. Whenever I think about that movie, I always feel Das Sound Machine is the much stronger group than the Barden Bellas. If I get the opportunity to watch Pitch Perfect 2, I only watch the scenes featuring Das Sound Machine. It seems like I’m not the only one who feels this way. On the Youtube channel, King Samo, there are two videos featuring Das Sound Machine’s performances. In the comment sections of these videos, over a thousand commenters praised Das Sound Machine. Most of the comments were about how the group should have won the film’s World Championship. But there are other commenters who simply want to express their love for Das Sound Machine. Three commenters on the World Championship Finale video have made the following comments this year:
As a German person it’s insanely hilarious to me how every other country seams to think of us as this overly perfect nation when really, we’re not comparable with incredible groups like “Das Sound Machine“ at all. Just look at our contestants for the Eurovision Song Contest. We embarrass ourselves everytime. So can we please have them perform for us this year?
If DSM were a real group they would’ve won Eurovision and they would of deserved to win.
this would win the eurovision
As the comment section of the aforementioned videos show, there is built-in enthusiasm for Das Sound Machine. If Germany sent Das Sound Machine to Eurovision next year with a strong, original a capella number, that could translate well for grand final televoting.
How This Could Work
According to official Eurovision rules, the maximum number of group members is six. This means Das Sound Machine couldn’t have the number of members they did in Pitch Perfect 2. From an a capella perspective, though, a six-person group could still create a strong original number. According to Wikipedia, only two Pitch Perfect 2 cast members are listed as official members of Das Sound Machine: Flula Borg and Birgitte Hjort Sørensen. NDR/ARD would recruit four German a capella singers to accompany Flula and Birgitte. If Das Sound Machine were selected to represent Germany at next year’s Eurovision, expenses related to the contest would be co-funded by NDR/ARD and Universal Music Group, as Das Sound Machine was created specifically for Pitch Perfect 2. Universal Music Group is Universal Studio’s music label. On their website, there are eight German music labels associated with Universal Music Group. If possible, more than one of these labels could help fund any Eurovision expenses.
As of early to mid November, 2022, only three participating countries have chosen their representative. About half of the participating countries are planning on hosting a national contest. With the weeks leading up to Eurovision, it’s exciting to hear who will be selected to compete. This anticipation reminds me of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, as the golden tickets are waiting to be discovered. Unlike Ronald Dahl’s story, receiving a “golden ticket” to Eurovision is not as simple as tearing open the wrapper of a candy bar. Each participating country has their own process of choosing their representative. Even if they do choose to host a national contest, various factors go into making that event a reality. My idea of Das Sound Machine representing Germany at 2023’s Eurovision is just that: an idea. Even if Das Sound Machine were selected to participate in Unser Lied für Liverpool, there’s no guarantee they’ll be granted that “golden ticket”. But no matter who ends up representing Germany next year, I still believe Das Sound Machine should receive their “standing ovation”. So NDR/ARD, if you’re reading this, will you consider giving Das Sound Machine their Eurovision “golden ticket”?
Have fun at Eurovision!
Here are the link to the sources for this editorial:
When I published my review of Murder, She Wrote: The Queen’s Jewels for August’s Buzzwordathon, I announced I would be hosting a new blogathon this November. I also said more details were to follow. Well, the time has come to reveal more information about the event! As I mentioned in the aforementionedreview, the theme is ‘World Television Day’. Because this particular holiday takes place on November 21st, my blogathon will happenbetweenNovember 19th and November 22nd. Television is such a broad topic, so here is a list of ideas if you are interested in participating:
Television Shows (favorite or least favorite, specific episodes, talent involved, etc.)
TV Movies and Mini-Series
Films based on or inspired a show (Downton Abbey: A New Era, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, etc.)
Books based on or inspired a TV show (Murder,She Wrote, etc.)
Songs used in TV productions
Sports Events (Super Bowl, Olympics, etc.)
Televised Contests (pageants, Eurovision, etc.)
Historical Events (Challenger Disaster, etc.)
Podcasts or Youtube videos about TV shows
History of Television
Lost/Found Media related to TV (Sesame Street’s infamous Wicked Witch episode, etc.)
Public Service Announcements (PSA) or Public Information Films (PIF)
Commercials, Trailers, or TV Spots
Once you’ve selected an idea, take a moment to read the official rules:
Please be respectful toward other participants and the subject(s) you’re writing about (especially if you choose to write about historical events on television).
Please let me know in advance if you plan on publishing your post(s) earlier or later than the allotted time-frame (November 19th to 22nd).
Only new posts will be eligible for the event.
Because of how broad the subject of television is, I will not be allowing duplicate entries.
There is a three-entry limit for each participant.
All entries must be original work.
Subjects from any genre, year, or country are allowed.
If you’re interested in participating, please share your idea(s) in the comment section below.
Pick one of the four banners and spread the word about the World Television Day Blogathon!
World Television Day Participants
Sally from 18 Cinema Lane — The Flamingo Rising: Book vs. Movie, Top 10 or 15 Characters Who Didn’t Reach Their Full Potential
Rebecca from Taking Up Room — List of Top 10 Gilmore Girls episodes
Andrew from The Stop Button — Review of Jericho Mile (1979 made-for-tv movie)
oldbooksandmovies from Old Books and Movies — Ten Favorite Songs Preformed Live on TV During the Golden Age (1948-1959), Raymond Burr’s two appearances on the Jack Benny Show
I know my fourth blogathon, the ‘Travel Gone Wrong’ Blogathon, ended two weeks ago. However, I wanted to provide enough time for participants to submit later entries. But now that the event has come and gone, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who “boarded” this year’s blogathon! As usual, the ‘Travel Gone Wrong’ Blogathon was successful, with a variety of topics being discussed. I enjoyed reading every article sent in, as they provided a great collection of written work! The fun continues because I’ll be hosting my fifth blogathon! But that official announcement will come later this year. Stay tuned!
All aboard the blogathon train! Spring is a time when vacations are either in the planning stage or just beginning. This is one of the inspirations for my Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon! As was mentioned in the official announcement post, plans can either go hilariously or horrifyingly wrong. So, for this year’s event, entries are classified accordingly. All the participant’s posts will be found on this one communal post, in order to locate them easier. With that said, grab your suitcase and fasten your seatbelts! We’re off on a blogathon adventure!
Life is filled with storms. Some are “category 5” and affect multiple people. Others are so small, they pass by in the blink of an eye. Whether these storms are literal or figurative, what matters is how you react to them. Storms have come and gone in Hope Valley. When the children of the town were left without a school, the men of Hope Valley came together to build a school that could also double as a church. As the settlers moved into Hope Valley, Rosemary donated her bridesmaid dress material in order for injured settlers to have bandages. These are just two examples of the “storms” that have taken place on When Calls the Heart. The way these characters have reacted allowed their town to remain standing. Speaking of Hope Valley, let’s begin this re-cap of the show!
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there will be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: Journey into Light
Mr. Landis has, once again, returned to Hope Valley. This time, though, he has come to apologize to Elizabeth. Mr. Landis informs her he will find a way to figure out the credential situation. Meanwhile, Minnie stills does not like Mr. Landis. She does offer him a cranberry muffin as a peace offering. But Minnie feels there’s more that can be done. She comes up with a plan to invite Mr. Landis to dinner. Joseph is skeptical about the plan, but supports his wife. The night of the dinner is met with a rainstorm. Joseph, Angela, and Cooper wonder if Mr. Landis has left town. However, Mr. Landis arrives with a wet coat and a broken umbrella. During pre-dinner tea, Mr. Landis reveals that before he became the district’s superintendent, he was a music teacher. Upon hearing this information, Joseph and Minnie tell Mr. Landis of Angela’s musical talents. Angela and Mr. Landis begin to play the piano. This experience brings joy to Angela’s parents. Cooper was, at first, upset by this duet. Over time, he becomes proud of his sister’s recognition. The next day, Minnie tells Elizabeth the dinner went wonderfully. Elizabeth is just as surprised as the Canfields were by Mr. Landis’ musical abilities. Before he leaves Hope Valley, Mr. Landis shares with Elizabeth how he plans to return to music.
Fiona has returned from San Francisco. When she arrives, Henry finds her asleep in the carriage. Fiona attempts to tell Henry her news. But he suggests she go home and get some rest. Henry also has news to share with Fiona, that he’s staying with the petroleum plant. But the timing is never right. One day, Henry receives a letter about why Fiona went to San Francisco. While there, she found a group of investors to join the petroleum plant. Upset by this information, he visits Fiona at the barber shop. Henry shares how he feels with her, stating how he wanted to string these investors along in order to learn their motive. After hearing what Henry had to say, Fiona realizes she made a mistake. Also, in Hope Valley, Lucas and Mike were spotted talking with Wyman. This concerns both Nathan and Bill.
Ally has come home from her grandparents’ house. Though she had a good time, she missed Hope Valley. But Ally missed Robert the most, besides Nathan. The new ice cream parlor and Mei excite Ally. She’s also excited that Robert sometimes works at the ice cream parlor. What doesn’t excite Ally is Nathan’s moustache, which he shaves off after their heart-to-heart conversation. During this conversation, Nathan reveals the car crash that injured him and Newton. Understandably, Ally is upset that she wasn’t told this information sooner. She does forgive Nathan because he explains how he didn’t want to worry Ally on her trip. Their heart-to-heart conversation also provides a good opportunity for Ally to share her growing feelings for Robert. Nathan’s advice for Ally is to, for now, just remain friends with Robert. Later in the episode, Nathan and Lucas hold a race, with Lucas riding on his motorcycle and Nathan riding on Elizabeth’s horse, Sargent. This race was the result of a disagreement that started when Nathan learned Lucas bought Lee’s motorcycle. The event itself starts earlier than expected, with Mike accidently dropping the starting flag. During the race, Lucas runs out of gas. Nathan offers to help, but Lucas refuses, saying how he’ll walk the bike back to town. This mechanical difficulty allows Nathan to win the race. When Lucas returns to Hope Valley, Elizabeth is waiting for him at the gas station.
While things are going well at the Valley Voice, Rosemary worries she and Lee are growing apart. Lee has recruited Joseph’s help with a project. This has caused Rosemary to become suspicious. While moving some papers on Lee’s desk, Rosemary finds an unaddressed poem. She wonders if Lee wrote it for someone else. At Elizabeth’s house one evening, Rosemary shares her feelings and the poem she found. Elizabeth encourages Rosemary to be honest with Lee. The next day, Lee tells Rosemary how he wants to spend more time with her, as work has taken up so much of their time. This surprises Rosemary and debunks her concerns. Lee reveals the project he and Joseph were working on: a lawn chair set. These connected lawn chairs face in opposite directions. This is because Rosemary likes to look out at the garden and Lee likes to look at the hills. The lawn chairs also allow Rosemary and Lee to turn to each other. Lee then recites the poem Rosemary found on his desk, revealing how the poem was for her all along.
Some thoughts to consider:
It was such a pleasant surprise to find the Canfield family’s swing on the church/school grounds! Yet, the more I think about it, the more this decision makes sense. In season eight, Joseph built that swing for his family. After he became Hope Valley’s preacher, donating the swing to the church was likely his way of giving back to the community. The swing itself will be beneficial for church and school gatherings. I like how it didn’t get lost in the show’s shuffle of stories!
In the previous Sunset Over Hope Valley post, I said Elizabeth should face accountability for her actions. While I still think this is true, Elizabeth should also not receive credit for someone else’s efforts. Toward the end of this episode, Mr. Landis thanks Elizabeth for helping him rethink his priorities. But his musical passions were reignited because of his dinner with the Canfield family, which was Minnie’s idea. I know Mr. Landis was in Hope Valley because of Elizabeth’s mistakes. However, he ended up giving Elizabeth more credit than she deserved.
During the aforementioned heart-to-heart conversation between Ally and Nathan, Ally calls Nathan “dad”. Even though it was a simple comment said in passing, this is, actually, a big deal. For one, it maintains the consistency of this particular part of the show’s overarching story. It also shows how Ally has become comfortable enough to call Nathan “dad”. While everything seems well in Nathan and Ally’s world, it will be interesting to see who Ally calls “mom”.
What are your thoughts on this episode? Do you have any predictions for the next one? Let me know in the comment section!
As I start this blogathon announcement, I’d like to thank Gill, from Realweegiemidget Reviews, and Rebecca, from Taking Up Room. If they hadn’t chosen Red Corner for me to review for their Odd Or Even Blogathon, I wouldn’t have found an inspiration for this year’s event! While looking back on the 1997 movie, I thought about all the movies or television show episodes where a trip doesn’t go according to plan. Realizing how many I could think of off the top of my head, my blogathon theme was born! Like past events, The Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon invites participants to get creative by reviewing, analyzing, or discussing a movie, tv show episode, piece of music, stage play, book, artwork, or any other entertainment media relating to this year’s theme! If you’re interested in taking a (figurative) trip from April 29th to May 2nd, keep reading as I share my blogathon’s official rules!
The Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon’s Official Rules
Please be respectful toward other participants and the subject(s) you’re writing about.
Please let me know in advance if you plan on publishing your post(s) earlier or later than the allotted time-frame (April 29th to May 2nd).
Only new posts will be eligible for this year’s event.
Because this year’s theme is so broad, I am not allowing duplicate entries.
There is a three-entry limit for each participant.
All entries must be original work.
No travels are too big or small. Your entry can revolve around trips as extensive as week or month long excursions or as simple as a trip to the grocery store.
Domestic (within the United States), international, or galactic travel is eligible for your entry/entries.
Entries will be placed in one of two categories; hilariously wrong or horrifyingly wrong. Hilariously wrong means the results of a trip gone wrong are supposed to make you laugh. Some examples are the Walt Disney World episode of The Middle, A Very Merry Mix-Up, and Home Alone 1 and/or 2. Horrifyingly wrong means the results of a trip gone wrong are supposed to horrify you. Examples include Red Corner, the Touched by An Angel episode, ‘The Spirit of Liberty Moon’, and Taken.
If you’re interested in participating, please share your idea(s) in the comment section below.
Pick one of the four banners and let others know about The Travel Gone Wrong Blogathon, so they can join in on the fun!
Rebecca from Taking Up Room — Review of Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940)
Hamlette from Hamlette’s Soliloquy — Review of French Kiss (1995)
Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews — Review of Our Ladies (2019)
J-Dub from Dubsism — Review of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
Ruth from Silver Screenings — Review of Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962)
Classic Movie Muse from The Classic Movie Muse — Review of The Great Race (1965)
Crystal from In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood — Review of The Long, Long Trailer (1954)
Evaschon98 from Classics and Craziness — Review of Flightplan (2005)
J-Dub from Dubsism — Review of Airport (1970)
Debbie from Moon In Gemini — Review of Train to Busan (2016)
Eric from Diary of A Movie Maniac — Review of The Lost Weekend (1945)
When I think of the word “umpteenth” paired in the same sentence as film, I think of a movie that you love so much, you don’t mind watching it over and over again. A movie that deserves your undivided attention whenever it appears on television. A title that never fails to make you smile every time you hear it. For me, that film is none other than 1992’s The Bodyguard! If you were to ask me what my top ten favorite movies of all time are, The Bodyguard would be placed somewhere on that list. When I received my first Sunshine Blogger Award, I talked about how I loved this film’s soundtrack. So, for a blogathon that revolves around movies viewed for the “umpteenth” time, I found the perfect opportunity to write about The Bodyguard. But because it is turning thirty this year, simply reviewing this movie wasn’t going to do. Therefore, I decided to write an editorial explaining why I love the film so much! Without further ado, let me tell you why The Bodyguard still holds up thirty years later!
We can’t talk about The Bodyguard without also talking about Whitney Houston. From what I’ve heard over the years, Whitney had little to no acting experience prior to working on the 1992 film. But her portrayal of Rachel Marron does not reflect what she didn’t have. Instead, Whitney did a fantastic job presenting Rachel as a complex character! Miss Marron is a singer and actress who is constantly presenting herself as a lovable starlet who can do no wrong. Behind the scenes, she is a mother and sister who craves control over her life and career. Whitney’s emotions and expressions weave through the story and adapt to each situation. A great example is the scene before Rachel’s concert. While backstage at the Mayan Club, Rachel receives a disturbing note. When she addresses this to Frank and her friends, Bill and Sy, Rachel discovers the delivery of these notes has occurred more than once. In this scene, she goes from being excited about her concert to expressing genuine concern and fear over the note to being upset by not knowing the severity of the situation sooner. Whitney delivers each line and expression in a realistic way, highlighting how multi-layered Rachel is as an individual!
I’ve always thought Kevin Costner should have portrayed James Bond at least once in his career. Now I know it’s an unspoken rule that James Bond has to be portrayed by someone from England/Europe. But before you write off my opinion as being silly, just hear me out. In The Bodyguard, Kevin is cast as Frank Farmer, a former Secret Service agent. While watching this film for the “umpteenth” time, I can point out some similarities Frank shares with the legendary 007. For starters, Frank has a signature drink, which is orange juice. He also has the look, with Frank sporting a suit and bow-tie at the Academy Awards. Frank possesses the poise, skill, and experience to successfully do his job. He can even turn on the charm when he wants to, as Rachel successfully tears down his defense mechanism of keeping his distance from others. But the most important part of my argument is that Kevin has the talent! What works in Kevin’s favor is his ability to consistently carry a collected and serious composure. While this is expected for a character like Frank, Kevin is given moments where genuine emotions are expressed. When Frank and Rachel go on a date to a restaurant, they talk about a woman from Frank’s past. As Rachel makes a joking remark about how she thinks the relationship ended, Frank remains silent, giving Rachel the impression the subject is no laughing matter. A few seconds later, Frank begins chuckling, revealing how he pulled a trick on Rachel. This scene shows that even though Frank is strong and can hold his own is his profession, he is still a man of feelings and fears.
Whitney and Kevin give great acting performances individually. However, it’s their on-screen chemistry that helps make their interactions memorable! From the moment Rachel and Frank first meet, you can feel the sparklers sizzling. Their banter bounces off each other like an exciting game of ping-pong. At first glance, you wouldn’t think Rachel and Frank would get along. This is because their personalities are the opposite of one another. But when they share private, intimate moments, Rachel and Frank are kindred spirits, understanding each other in a way that can’t be easily explained. The strong on-chemistry is not limited to the interactions between Whitney and Kevin. The interactions they share with the other actors in the film feel believable as well. One good example are the times when Frank interacts with Rachel’s son, Fletcher, portrayed by DeVaughn Nixon. Because of Fletcher’s desire to learn more about his mother’s bodyguard, the audience receives wisdom from Frank, along with clarity about why he is who he is. Fletcher’s curiosity of Frank is innocent and full of wonder, which presents the perfect counterpart to the dangerous and harsh reality of Frank’s career. These conversations between sweet and adorable Fletcher and tough and no-nonsense Frank kind of remind me of the conversations of Sarah and Eric from The Crow. The moments with Frank and Fletcher also allow the audience to take a break from the action and suspense The Bodyguard contains.
While we’re talking about Whitney Houston, let’s discuss the soundtrack. In my first Sunshine Blogger Award post, I said Whitney’s songs are such a timeless addition to any playlist. In the case of The Bodyguard soundtrack, these songs perfectly showcase the vocal range Whitney is known for! Delivering half of the soundtrack’s songs, Whitney flawlessly masters three different genres. The tracks ‘Run to You’, ‘I Have Nothing’, and the classic ‘I Will Always Love You’ are presented as emotional ballads that amplify the scenes they’re featured in. Meanwhile, ‘I’m Every Woman’ and ‘Queen of the Night’ are sassy and energetic pop tunes that are somewhat reminiscent of the “get up and dance” feel of ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’. ‘Jesus Loves Me’ gives Whitney an opportunity to contribute to the world of gospel music by presenting a heartfelt, powerful melody. These six songs not only compliment Whitney’s singing abilities, but they also add to the album’s musical diversity.
The Bodyguard soundtrack boasts a total of twelve songs. Each track is a good representation of its respective genre. As I already mentioned, ‘I’m Every Woman’ and ‘Queen of the Night’ are sassy and energetic pop tunes. However, those are not the only pop songs featured on the album. Lisa Stansfield’s ‘Someday (I’m Coming Back)’ is a pop song that revolves around a finished relationship. Pop influences can also be heard in the rock song ‘What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding’, sung by Curtis Stigers. ‘It’s Gonna Be a Lovely Day’, performed by S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M., is a laid-back hip-hop track that is as straight forward as its title suggests. Another laid-back tune is ‘Even If My Heart Would Break’, an R&B song that features the vocals of Aaron Neville and the saxophone sounds of Kenny G. Alan Silvestri delivers on a theatrical score that carries a somber and serious tune. Finishing the soundtrack is Joe Cocker’s ‘Trust In Me’, which adds some country flavor to this strong album.
The Kitchen Scene
In almost any action movie, there is that one scene audience members talk about long after the movie ends. It usually involves a lot of action, showing characters in an exciting battle of good versus evil. But there is a scene in The Bodyguard that, I feel, is the best scene from any action film. In what I call “the kitchen scene”, Tony, one of Rachel’s bodyguards, is upset over a miscommunication caused by Frank. In a fit of rage, Tony decides to take his frustrations out on Kevin Costner’s character. But he quickly realizes he made a big mistake. Throughout this scene, Kevin’s fight choreography is fast and filled with adrenaline. But he executes the clean choreography with precision and focus while maintaining a cool, collected composure. Even though the kitchen is a smaller space, different parts of the kitchen are utilized. From Frank pinning Tony to the floor with a chair to Tony being thrown across the kitchen counter, the actors see the limited space given as a challenge instead of a hindrance. The best part of this scene is how there is no music or dialogue. This forces the audience to give their undivided attention to what is happening on-screen. While “the kitchen scene” is shorter in time length, it’s delivery is affective!
Blending Several Genres
The Bodyguard consists of four genres: action, mystery, drama, and romance. On paper, it seems like there would be an overwhelming amount of content in this one story. In reality, however, these genres end up complimenting and working with each other instead of competing or clashing with one another. The 1992 film revolves around Rachel’s dilemma, which involves her life being threatened by an unknown perpetrator. While this mystery takes place throughout the movie, the audience is given enough clues, suspects, and possible motives to keep them invested in the mystery solving process. Action is sprinkled into the story to raise the stakes and keep viewers on the edge of their seat. As I mentioned earlier, the moments with Frank and Fletcher allow the audience to take a break from the action and suspense The Bodyguard contains. The drama among the Marron family and the romantic moments between Rachel and Frank are also placed in the story to give the audience time to breathe after scenes focusing on the mystery and action. In these moments, the audience learns more about the characters, as well as their motivations for making certain choices. The cycle of these four genres moves like an ocean’s wave, in ebbs and flows.
Its Timeless Story
In the world of cinema, there are two types of film: those that are products of their time and those that stand the test of time. I can only speak for myself, but I feel The Bodyguard belongs in the latter category! Like I said in my previous point, this film consists of four genres. Instead of these genres coming together to create a convoluted narrative, the story ends up not being difficult to understand and follow. Even if you have seen The Bodyguard before, like I have, the script provides an intriguing plot, hilarious one-liners, and dialogue that is well-written, with these aspects of the film making your two hours of viewing worthwhile. Speaking of the plot, it is not defined by the time of its release. The assassination attempt against Ronald Reagan is mentioned on a few occasions. However, this is done to provide context to Frank’s part of the story. The romance between Rachel and Frank is based on the classic trope of opposites attracting. But the quality of the acting performances and on-screen chemistry make this concept work. While the film does contain heavier moments, they’re not too unbearable. This allows the movie to have a higher re-watchability rate.
While on a dinner and movie date, Rachel asks Frank how many times he has seen Yojimbo, a Japanese film from the early ‘60s. Frank responds by saying he has seen it a total of 62 times. While I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen The Bodyguard in my life, I found this quote to be such a coincidence, as I’m writing about the film for the Umpteenth Blogathon! Whether you choose to watch this movie for the first time or plan on re-visiting it, The Bodyguard is a movie that, in my opinion, still holds up. It is not only an exciting action flick paired with an intriguing mystery, but there are moments in this story that can make you think. While talking with Fletcher, Frank tells him that when someone is afraid, that means they care about something. Frank’s quote not only provides an interesting perspective on fear itself, but it also highlights the intent of my editorial. Why do we celebrate the birthday of a loved one? Why do we commemorate a holiday or important historical event? Why did I write about a film that was released thirty years ago? It’s because we care about those people, events, or films. Watching a movie for the “umpteenth” time is like spending time with a good friend. You may know every line by heart and how the story plays out, but the time well spent will always be cherished.
Have fun at the movies!
If you’d like to check out the other entries in the Umpteenth Blogathon, you can visit this link:
Like I said in my list of the worst movies I saw in 2021, this year is a little different. Since 2018, most of the movies on my best list have been those I have reviewed. But a few titles on those lists weren’t covered on my blog. 2021 is the first year where every film on my best list has been reviewed on 18 Cinema Lane! It should also be noted how each of these titles were either blogathon entries or Blog Follower Dedication Reviews. Therefore, I will include a link to each of these reviews on my list! As I said in my worst movies of 2021 list, I saw several films this year that I liked. This article is reflective of those feelings. But unlike my aforementioned list, there will be Honorable Mentions. So, with that said, let’s end 2021 on a high note with the top ten best movies I saw in 2021!
Cape Fear (1962), Bathing Beauty, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Til Death Do Us Part, Elizabeth Is Missing, and The Girl Who Spelled Freedom
10. Poisoned in Paradise: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ Martha’s Vineyard Mystery series is a newer story that began last year. Despite how young this series is, it has grown over the course of four movies! This chapter not only recognizes its strengths, but also improves on some of the previous movies’ mistakes. Giving equal focus to the main and side mysteries is one example. Speaking of the mysteries, the overarching story was intriguing and engaging. There were even new characters added to this film I wanted to know more about. In Poisoned in Paradise: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, Jeff’s story didn’t receive a lot of development. With this and everything else said, I hope this series continues in 2022!
In my three (soon to be four) years of movie blogging, I never thought I’d ever see any version of A Star Is Born. But now that I have seen the original from the ‘30s, I can honestly say it was better than I expected! The story’s honesty about the entertainment industry and maturity toward heavier subjects was such a surprise. What was also a surprise was the use of mixed-media throughout the film, as it was ahead of its time. Even though A Star Is Born was released toward the beginning of the Breen Code era, it highlights the quality storytelling that came from this period in time. With the constant changes in the entertainment landscape, as well as technology, I can kind of see why this story has been remade on more than one occasion.
In 2021, there is at least one movie from the ‘50s on my best and worst movies list. But since I already talked about I Dream of Jeanie and The Trap, it’s time for The King and I to shine! This was the first time I had seen this version of the story in its entirety. Despite that, I found the film to be quite enjoyable! It is a good looking and sounding film, with the costume design, musical numbers, and set design building an aesthetically pleasing picture. The most memorable part of the movie was Tuptim’s interpretation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin! As I said in my review, it served as a good example of how everyone can view a text differently. The scene itself was more interesting than I expected.
Because Hallmark creates so many Christmas movies, it can sometimes feel like they blend together. However, that is not the case for Holly and Ivy! What helps this title stand out is showing realistic characters dealing with realistic situations. This is quite different from those Hallmark pictures where the conflict either revolves around returning to a small town, saving a beloved establishment, or planning a major event. The emotional balance within this story added to my enjoyment of the picture. It never felt like the creative team was trying to emotionally manipulate me or force a reaction out of me. Looking back on the few Christmas films I reviewed this year, I can say with all honesty that Holly and Ivy was the best one!
In my opinion, Rigoletto is to Beauty and the Beast what Ever After: A Cinderella Story was for Cinderella. What I mean by this is Rigoletto does an effective job at executing a non-magical version of Beauty and the Beast! Even though there have been musical versions of this particular story, such as the 1991 animated production from Disney, the 1993 film chose music as one of the story’s themes. This was an interesting choice, as it showed the audience the talent and skill it takes to be a good singer. Another interesting choice was the story taking place during The Great Depression. As I said in my review, this creative decision helped the film achieve its own identity.
This is the first year an UP Network movie has appeared on any of my best lists! While Sincerely, Yours, Truly does contain a similar story to those found on Hallmark Channel, it makes up of that in genuineness and sincerity. The movie also presented interesting ideas, such as a grant proposal process and avoiding the “it’s not what you think” cliché. The on-screen chemistry and witty banter between the lead actor and actress definitely added to my enjoyment of this film! I don’t know what’s in store for UP Network in 2022. But I hope they continue to release quality productions like Sincerely, Yours, Truly!
4. Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host
This entry in the Perry Mason movie series is one of the most memorable titles! One of the reasons why was the titular talk show host. Featuring real life talk show hosts in this story was a good idea. Having them portray talk show hosts on the radio was an even better idea, especially since some of those hosts had their own television show. That creative decision gave them new material to work with. The engaging nature of the mystery, where the outcome unfolds as the story goes on, maintained a steady amount of intrigue. This served as another way Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host stood out in the mystery genre!
Over the years, I have enjoyed finding and watching Hallmark Hall of Fame movies from years, even decades past. Sometimes, there are hidden gems that can be discovered. 1998’s The Love Letter is one of those gems! Unlike Chasing Leprechauns, the creative team behind the Hallmark Hall of Fame title found a way to allow the realistic and whimsical aspects of the story to co-exist. In fact, the whimsical part of the movie is what made the project one of the most unique in Hallmark Hall of Fame history! The film does contain the elements you’d usually find in a production of this nature, such as historical accuracy. But that just adds to the strength of The Love Letter!
Isn’t it interesting how another Gene Kelly movie made it to my best list’s top three? Despite the weird coincidence, I did enjoy this version of The Three Musketeers! There was so much about this project I liked, from the strength of the ensemble cast to the stellar fight choreography. However, the best part of the film was how much detail went into it. This can be seen in the set design and costumes, where research and care are also reflected. While I still haven’t gotten around to reading the novel this movie is based on, The Three Musketeers was definitely an entertaining story!
When it comes to the world of cinema, nothing beats the classics! The timelessness of 1984’s The Karate Kid allows the film to have a strong rate of re-watchability. The film’s story also contained ideas and messages that caused me to think, which is not something I’d expect from a sports movie. As I write this list, Mr. Miyagi’s words immediately come to mind. Whether it’s the famous “Wax on, Wax off” quote or his wisdom about karate, these words not only help The Karate Kid remain a memorable picture, but also give the audience something to apply to their lives. Add some exciting karate sequences and you have a solid film that has stood the test of time!
Back in August, The Classic Movie Muse invited me to join the Bernard Herrmann Blogathon! I immediately became interested, but wasn’t sure which film I would choose. While I am familiar with the movies Bernard’s music can be heard in, I’m not that familiar with Bernard as a composer. But with the blogathon taking place on Halloween weekend, I wanted to watch a film that fit the occasion. Originally, I was going to review 1962’s Cape Fear, the movie I wrote about for the 2nd Annual Spooky Classic Movie Blogathon. But, long story short, that didn’t work out. So instead, I chose to review The Trap from 1959! Based on the synopsis, it sounded like an exciting story involving gangsters, the law, and a whole lot of conflict. But did I find the movie enjoyable? If you want to know that answer, you’ll just have to keep reading my review!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: I’m not familiar with Richard Widmark as an actor. However, I did like his performance in The Trap! The easy-going and suave persona Richard brought to his character, Ralph, reminded me of Frank Sinatra. His facial expressions and use of emotions were believable as well. When a tragic situation happens in his family, genuine fear was shown on Ralph’s face. Because he was in a dangerous circumstance in the story, Ralph became vulnerable both literally and emotionally. Another character that was vulnerable was Ralph’s brother, Tippy. At the beginning of the movie, Tippy’s alcohol dependency is apparent. With a relaxed body position, a pained look on his face, and a tired tone of voice, Earl Holliman effectively portrayed how this problem can take over someone’s personality. Starring alongside Earl and Richard was Tina Louise as Linda Anderson. This particular character was desperately trying to get by and hold on for dear life. But Linda never came across as desperate or frazzled. Instead, Tina brought a sense of charm and a likable personality to her role. Through the script and Tina’s performance, it highlights how Linda cared about how she presented herself.
The music: Despite being an uncredited composer on this project, I did like hearing Bernard Herrmann’s musical scores! Similar to Cape Fear, the music helped elevate a scene’s suspense. It also fit the emotion depicted in a specific scene. Anytime Ralph and Linda interacted with one another is a perfect example of this. A pleasant, dramatic tune could be heard in the background, the kind you’d hear in a romance movie. Because these characters have a history together, this type of music seemed fitting. It added memorability to those scenes as well.
What I didn’t like about the film:
Very little excitement: With a movie involving gangsters, the law, and conflict, you’d think it would be exciting. But unfortunately, this story was lacking in the excitement department. Sure, there was a gun fight and a car chase. But these moments were far and few between. The first half of the movie focused on the gangsters’ preparations, emphasizing telling over showing. A road trip that was mostly bland took over the film’s second half. While I continued to watch this movie in the hope some excitement would arrive, it sadly never came.
Emphasis on drama: On IMDB, The Trap is classified as a drama, as well as an action and crime movie. But the script placed more emphasis on the story’s drama. Most of this film focused on the strained relationships among the Anderson family. Even as Victor Massonetti (the leader of the movie’s gangster group) was attempting to escape the country, there was still time to feature Ralph having a conflict with one of his family members. While there’s nothing wrong with featuring drama in a story, it overshadowed the more exciting parts of The Trap. This certainly felt like the screenwriters had difficulty balancing these three genres.
The run-time: This movie has a run-time of an hour and twenty-four minutes. With the way the story focused on drama over action, I honestly think the run-time was too long. Some scenes were drawn out longer than necessary. For example, when Ralph was traveling in a car with Victor, those scenes felt like they were longer just for the sake of satisfying the run-time. The beginning of the movie also satisfied this run-time by maintaining a slower pace. With a shorter run-time, the story could have gotten straight to the point a lot sooner. It also would have prevented some scenes from feeling like they dragged on.
My overall impression:
On the movie poster for The Trap, it says “Rocking the screen with triphammer impact!”. The only impact this movie had on me was making me want to fall asleep on more than one occasion. Within the first half, the story was reminiscent of 1954’s Suddenly, a movie I thought was just ok. But when the second half rolled around, it felt like a boring road trip film. As I said in my review, there was a gun fight and car chase in The Trap. But these exciting moments had such a limited presence in the overall story. One of the flaws of this film was relying too much on the drama genre. When a movie features gangsters, you expect action and excitement. Tensions over which man Linda truly loved were certainly not as riveting as the screenwriters thought. The Trap was, for me, a disappointment. While I liked the acting and music, it wasn’t enough to present a recommendation.
Overall score: 5.1 out of 10
Have you seen The Trap? If so, what are your thoughts on the film? Please share how you feel in the comment section below!