Die Hard 4.0

Hello everyone. Welcome back to another #moviemonday. 

Today I am talking about Die Hard 4.0. 

There are five movies in the Die Hard series, I think that the original is the best. I love the third movie too. Last night I watched the fourth movie in the series and because it is a stand alone story, I’m going to discuss it this evening. 

Let’s dive in! 

This movie was released in 2007 and it was directed by Len Wiseman. 

Plot. 

John McClane is back and this time he is battling technology. When he is sent to collect a hacker and bring him to Washington, John thinks it’ll be an easy job but when he arrives at Matt Farrell’s apartment, he ends up fighting off a mysterious group of men who are attempting to kill Matt. 

The two become an unlikely team as they have to figure out a way to save the day when there’s virtual terrorists on the loose. 

Characters. 

John McClane, everyone’s favourite unlikely hero is back. Once again he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time and despite his protests, he has to save the day because he’s “that guy”. John is fed up with this happening and so in this movie he is a slightly more unhinged unlikely hero and it is brilliant. He’s quick thinking and sarcastic as always and he doesn’t fail to deliver the action. 

Matt Farrell is our hacker. He is the movie’s main protagonist alongside John. 

Matt is in his twenties and he is a tech wizard, he writes code and throughout the movie he helps John figure out what is going on. He’s nervous and rambling and a bit of a loveable nerd but when the chips are down, Matt steps up to the plate. 

Thomas Gabriel is the movie’s antagonist. He is the man behind the chaos. He is the person who is causing all of the destruction that John and Matt must fix. He is calculated, cunning, and extremely tech savvy. He’s on a quest for revenge. 

John McClane’s daughter Lucy also makes an appearance in this movie and she is every bit her father’s daughter. She’s sarcastic and very intelligent. She’s feisty and when danger lurks, she’s able to hold her own. 

Lucy is also John’s weakness so there are some brilliant moments in this movie when John is fighting for his little girl. 

Themes. 

I would say that the power of technology is a major theme in this movie and while many people have said they dislike this movie, I think it is very good and I actually really like the premise. 

The movie explores what happens when everything that is run by technology gets shut down. Traffic lights are hacked and this causes major collisions. Power is shut off which causes blackouts. Utilities are shut down, alarms are set off, financial sectors crash, and chaos is rampant. It’s the perfect way to take out an entire system. The country is in darkness. 

Another theme is family. John and his daughter have a complex relationship. She is angry with him and she goes by her mother’s maiden name but at the end of the day, Lucy loves her father and she is terrified when she thinks he’s badly hurt. She wants him to make it and John is determined to make sure that nothing happens to her. An important lesson that people should learn is that you do not mess with the people who John McClane loves.

Heroism is another theme. John and Matt have quite a poignant conversation about why John does what he does. Why does he save the day? Why does he run towards danger and not away from it? John says he wishes someone else would save the day so he doesn’t have to, but no one else will do it so that’s why he does. That’s what makes him that guy. John is a hero because he does what he has to do. Matt learns this lesson and he learns that he too is more heroic than he gives himself credit for. 

Structure. 

The movie is just over two hours long but it’s action packed so it doesn’t feel too long. I enjoy how this movie’s threat is more technology based as John must figure out how to fight the bad guys while they’re hacking into his gps, his phone, his radio etc. The movie demonstrates how much of our lives are digitally recorded and it’s fun seeing John out of his depth but still incredibly willing to fight. 

The structure of the movies in the Die Hard collection is always very satisfying as there is always a moment when all the dots connect and we see the full picture. We see the motivations behind each character and we see John’s plan to fix things. This movie is no different. 

Final Thoughts. 

Overall I enjoyed watching this movie. There are some great lines, some brilliant action scenes and while it isn’t the best movie in the series, I think the concept was interesting and well executed. I would recommend giving it a watch. 

This has been Movie Monday. 

I hope you all have a lovely week. 

Kate xo. 

Hot Fuzz.

Hello everyone. Welcome to the first #moviemonday of 2022.

I am really looking forward to the year ahead because despite everything that is going on, I do have goals that I am steadily striving towards and there are things to look forward to. I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2022.

Let’s dive into today’s #moviemonday discussion.

Today I am talking about Hot Fuzz. The movie was released in 2007 and it was directed by Edgar Wright.

I watched Hot Fuzz for the first time last night and I really enjoyed it. It was completely different to what I was expecting. I laughed a lot, I was fully invested and I thought it would be a fun movie to kick off #moviemondays in 2022.

Plot.

This is a buddy cop movie and it follows PC Nicholas Angel, an uptight, lonely, stick in the mud police officer who gets sent from London to the rural town of Sandford. At first the movie seems like it will be the classic plot of outsider comes to the small town where everyone knows everyone and he must try to learn to fit in, and this is the case to an extent, but then the movie takes a turn and Nicholas learns that Sandford is not the sleepy village he thinks it is.

Characters.

The main protagonist is Nicholas Angel. Nicholas is by the book. He is the classic straight man in the buddy cop pairing. He is the serious one. He loves the rulebook. His life is the job, he cannot switch off and this inability to switch off causes him many issues in his personal life. He is lonely, relationships fail, he is not very endearing, and at first he is a really hard character to like because there is nothing wrong with being a person who likes rules, but Nicholas’s holier than thou attitude really rubs people the wrong way, but by the movie’s end Nicholas develops as a character and he became someone I really rooted for. No spoilers here, go watch the movie, but I do love the learning and growing that tends to happen in buddy cop movies.

The other half of the dynamic buddy cop duo is PC Danny Butterman. Danny loves action movies, and he lives for a thrill. He feels he is missing out on “real” policing in his quiet home of Sandford and so he is fascinated by an officer from London. Danny is the only person who really tries to befriend Nicholas and make him feel welcome, and although Nicholas does not appreciate his efforts at first, the two go on to be a brilliant team. Danny teaches Nicholas to lighten up and he helps him realise his life cannot be all about work all the time, and in turn, Nicholas teaches Danny how to stand up for himself. As always, the two characters are very different but they balance each other out. Danny is also my favourite character in this movie. I found him really fun and very endearing.

The really interesting thing about this movie is that I cannot discuss who the antagonist is because doing so would spoil the movie and there will be no spoilers here. The movie features an absolutely brilliant ensemble cast and the actors really captured that small town feel where everyone knows everyone and they have known each other for years. Each character is quirky and unique and throughout the movie I kept guessing who the antagonist would turn out to be.

The movie keeps you invested as there are many twists and turns so it makes for a really engaging watch.

Since I cannot really expand on the other characters too much without giving anything away, I am going to talk about style along with themes because I really enjoyed how this movie was directed and edited.

Themes & Style.

The script for Hot Fuzz was inspired by many different action movies and I think this becomes really obvious as the movie plays out. In a way I would say that this movie is almost like a nod to action movies, because as I said, Danny one of the main protagonists, loves action movies and so his love for action movies leads to a thirst for more action in his small town. Danny makes decisions as if he is in an action movie, he’s even got one liners at the ready because Danny sees himself as the hero in these action movies and there are some brilliant action sequences in this movie.

The style and tone of this movie is really interesting. It is a buddy cop comedy, but at times there is almost a horror movie feel to it, even though it is not a horror movie. This movie was chosen by a really close friend of mine as it is one of his favourites, as is Scream, and while we were watching I said that some elements did remind me a bit of Scream – I won’t spoil the movie but if you have already seen Hot Fuzz and Scream then you will understand what I mean. There are times when this movie feels like a serious crime investigation movie as the crimes in Sandford keep increasing and becoming more violent but no one aside from Nicholas seems overly concerned and then finally, in the last act of this movie, we move into what feels like a full-scale action movie which is really funny and really satisfying because we get to see Danny live out his heroic action movie dreams. Despite all of these shifts in tone, the movie feels very cohesive and at no point does it seem all over the place and this is because the movie does an incredible job of setting things up that have pay off later. There is not a single question left unanswered, there are no loose ends, everything that gets set up in the beginning makes sense at some point later on in the movie so even with the changes in tone, the movie never loses sense.

The movie’s main themes are friendship, the concept of justice, and the concept of individuality vs blending in with a crowd. Nicholas has a really strong sense of right and wrong and he acts when he sees the slightest indiscretion. He is almost arrogant about his sense of right and wrong, he never turns off, he misses personal events, he is never lighthearted, he does not take a joke, and throughout the movie he learns that he can still right wrongs, and he can still be a good police officer but it’s okay to have a laugh and to be friends with your colleagues etc. He struggles to fit in in Sandford and at times it seems like he is the only person who understands that something is wrong and so he decides to stand his ground and investigate even when everyone is scoffing at him. His desire to find the truth further alienates him from the people in his new home but he knows he is doing the right thing, and this is admirable because it is easy to do the right thing when you have support, it is not easy to do the right thing when everyone is mocking you for it. I think this is important because while it is important to have a work/life balance, which is something that Nicholas learns, it is also okay to stay true to your gut when you truly believe in something. You can still be an individual within a community, it is all about finding balance which is what Nicholas and Danny do.

Structure.

I would say that Hot Fuzz follows a three-act structure. There is the move to Sandford which is act one, and the move to this rural place is what kicks off the plot.

Act two, the main body of the plot is when the crimes or “accidents” begin to happen more regularly and Nicholas becomes more and more convinced that something is wrong.

We then have a twist, which kicks off the third act of the movie which is also when the movie enters full action movie territory and all of the dots begin to connect. The movie is just over two hours long, so it is long, but it is engaging throughout and it is one of those movies where small details, down to just one line that seems just for comedy at the time, becomes important at a later point and I really like movies like that, where seemingly unimportant things all come together perfectly.

Final Thoughts.

Hot Fuzz is brilliantly funny. It is clever. If you like action movies then you will really appreciate the love for action movies that this movie displays. There are a few gory moments that someone more squeamish (me) may need to look away for, but those moments did not hinder my enjoyment of the movie at all. I laughed so much and I was genuinely caught off guard by the plot twists. I would watch it again and I would highly recommend it.

This has been #moviemonday. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you seen Hot Fuzz? What is your favourite action movie? Let me know.

Kate xo.

The Santa Clause.

Hello everyone and welcome to another #moviemonday. I hope you all enjoyed Christmas Day. 

I know that Christmas is behind us now, but it is still the month of December and so I want to talk about one more Christmas classic. Today I am talking about The Santa Clause so let’s dive into #moviemonday. 

Before I dive in, I also want to say that last week I went to see Spider-Man: No Way Home and I really enjoyed the movie. I want to talk about it here on Katelovesliterature.com but I want to let some more time pass so I can discuss the movie’s themes without giving away any spoilers. There is one scene in particular that I felt was extremely poignant, but I can’t discuss it without revealing certain things so I am going to wait a while longer before discussing this movie. 

The Santa Clause was released in 1994, and the movie was directed by John Pasquin. 

Plot. 

The movie follows salesman Scott Calvin and his young son Charlie after they discover Santa Clause on their roof. Startled, Santa falls to the  ground which means that Scott and Charlie must deliver all of the presents. The pair find themselves back at the North Pole, where Scott learns about “the Santa clause” which states that if you put on the suit, you become Santa Clause. At first Scott tries to deny what is happening, but as his belly grows, and his hair turns white, and his beard grows no matter how much he shaves, he must face the fact that he is now Santa Clause, the real Santa, and he must convince his loved ones of this fact too. 

Characters. 

Scott Calvin is the movie’s main protagonist, along with his son Charlie. Scott is a salesman who no longer believes in Santa but he wants Charlie to keep believing in the magic. At first he is dismayed by his situation, he does not want to be Santa and he tries to run from it, but over time, he comes to learn that in fact, he might just be the perfect man for the job. 

Charlie is Scott’s young son and he is upset after another kid in school tells him that Santa is not real. He believes in the magic of Santa and he is completely in awe of the North Pole. Charlie is a really good kid and he deals with a lot in this movie. I will discuss this further in the themes section but when I was younger, I did not fully understand the heavier topics that this movie touched upon. 

Bernard is the no nonsense head elf, and he informs Scott all about his new role as Santa because putting on the suit means that Scott has accepted all of Santa’s responsibilities. He may seem like a stickler for rules but he’s got a good heart and he helps Charlie understand that while his father may be living at the North Pole, he will always be there for him. 

This movie does not necessarily have antagonists, although I would argue that for the majority of the movie, Laura and Neil come across as very unlikable. Laura is Charlie’s mother and Neil is his stepfather. Neil is a psychiatrist, and he and Laura stopped believing in Santa at a very young age and so they think it is time that Charlie learns he is not real. 

Laura and Neil believe that Scott is deliberately toying with them during his journey to becoming Santa (the hair, the beard, the weight gain), they worry about the impact this will have on Charlie as he and other children believe Scott is the real Santa, so they have his visitation suspended. 

I will talk about this more in themes, but after rewatching this movie as an adult, I can appreciate their arc more which is why I have decided that while they are not always likeable, they are not antagonists. 

Themes.

The core theme of this movie is the belief in Santa, which translates further into the idea of believing in magic in general. The other major theme of this movie is family, and family dynamics. As I said above, when I was younger, some of the heavier topics in this movie such as things like visitation, went completely over my head. 

I think that it is easy to dislike Laura and Neil, but in reality it was an unbelievable situation. Suddenly her ex-husband has gained loads of weight, his hair has turned completely white, he has a long beard, and her son is adamant that his father is Santa and he is going to live in the North Pole, and he becomes very upset when others tell him this is not true. Laura and Neil are not perfect, but they were trying to do what they thought was best for Charlie, and while I won’t give any more details away, a scene that I really appreciate is a scene where Neil apologizes to Charlie. This is a really important moment, and it is one that I think we should see more of. Adults need to understand that they are not above apologizing to children. An adult should be able to admit when they are wrong, and if they owe a child an apology then they absolutely should say sorry. I don’t like the idea that children should not be given the apology they deserve because it somehow makes the adult weaker, it does nothing but make the adult stronger as it demonstrates compassion, and it shows children that you are willing to lead by example. So I won’t give away what leads up to this moment because no spoilers here, but Neil saying sorry to Charlie is a key scene in my opinion. 

The only thing that I cannot justify is Laura and Neil’s belief that Charlie should find out Santa isn’t real, simply because they found out early. I don’t believe they specifically state his age, but the actor was eight when he played the role so I am going to place Charlie at around eight years old, which is far too young to ruin the magic of Santa. 

Childhood is such a short time. There are so many things we can never get back. The true wonder and magic of Christmas when you believe in Santa only lasts a few years because when you are a toddler, you don’t fully understand and then from around ten upwards, you start to question it. My Mam said she thinks you only have from about four to nine when your kids really, truly believe, and she says she misses that wonder so much. 

I have spoken a lot about the importance of wonder and the absurd, and I think this movie highlights how important that belief in magic is. It is special. It is something that you can’t get back. Laura and Neil were hurt which is what lead to their disbelief, and they don’t think about how important Santa is to Charlie, and how he is not hurting anyone or doing anything wrong by believing for a few more years. They are too ruled by logic, and the movie demonstrates that you have to let kids be kids because when they finally experience true wonder again (again, no spoilers, go watch the movie), they understand how wrong it would have been to take that away from Charlie too early. 

The movie also covers some heavier topics such as trying to get along with new partners (Scott and Neil), things such as visitation, and of course, Charlie saying goodbye to his father because he will now be living at the North Pole and he will be at home. 

It is a Christmas movie. It is fun, it is cheesy, it is magical, but there are some heavier topics that ground the movie and pull on the heartstrings. 

Structure.

The movie is an hour and a half long, and it operates within a full-circle structure in my opinion. It starts and ends at Christmas with Scott and Charlie delivering presents, so the movie begins and ends the same way, but all of the characters have evolved massively from beginning to end. 

I think that you can also see some aspects of the reluctant mentor trope in Scott’s character. I will explain this trope in more detail on an upcoming Theory Thursday, but he goes through a journey of believing it was all a dream, not wanting to become Santa, and then stepping up, and understanding that he is right for this job, he believes again, and he does all of this while also contending with custody battles. Scott Calvin is a great character and I don’t think anyone could have played him like Tim Allen. 

Final Thoughts. 

The Santa Clause is a Christmas classic. It’s so much fun, it’s magical. It’s a great story in my opinion, it is a really interesting plot that is filled with heart, and it has some heavier moments that ground the movie. It has moments that you appreciate more as an adult I think, and overall I love the appreciation for, and the highlighting of the importance of magic and wonder. They are not silly, they are not useless, wonder, and magic have their place, and we must not lose that sense of wonder entirely. 

This has been Movie Monday. I hope you enjoyed it. 

Kate xo. 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Hello everyone and welcome to another #moviemonday. I hope you are all enjoying the run up to Christmas. It’s hard to believe that next week Christmas will be behind us. I still have one more festive movie lined up for the month of December so be sure to stay tuned.

Today I am talking about National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation because I think it is a must watch at Christmas time. So let’s dive into #moviemonday.

This movie was released in 1989 and it was directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik.

Plot.

Clark Griswold plans to have the perfect old fashioned family Christmas with his entire family coming to stay with him for the holiday. Clark is also dreaming of putting in a pool with the Christmas bonus that he is expecting, he’s already paid the deposit. The movie follows the Griswold’s as hijinks ensue on their journey to Christmas Day, but despite everything going wrong, Clark is staying positive because he is absolutely determined to have the perfect Christmas.

Characters.

This movie is made up of a great ensemble cast. Clark Griswold is the main protagonist as he is the captain of this Christmas Day. Clark is a family man, he is perhaps the ultimate family man. He loves his wife and his children and he wants nothing more than to make them happy with a perfect Christmas Day. Clark has energy and positivity in abundance. He gives his all 100% of the time, and sometimes he is relentless about achieving his goals even if they seem unrealistic.

Ellen Griswold is Clark’s wife. She supports his dream but she knows that Christmas can be a stressful time and she knows that all family members under one roof is bound to be stressful at some point, but Clark won’t hear of it. Ellen keeps him grounded and she picks him up when he is down. She is the voice of reason in this relationship.

Clark and Ellen’s parents arrive and they bicker for the entire trip. Audrey and Rusty, Clark and Ellen’s children are sharing a room while their relatives stay, much to Audrey’s dismay. Ellen’s cousin Catherine and her husband Eddie arrive in a beat up RV with their children Rocky and Ruby Sue, and their dog Snots. Clark is not thrilled to see Eddie but he is still determined to make it work and have the perfect family Christmas, meanwhile Ruby Sue is concerned that Santa Clause won’t come again, as he did not come the previous year, revealing the money problems that Catherine and Eddie are facing.

Despite the bickering, this is a family who loves each other and when the going gets tough they all pull together.

Themes.

This is a Christmas movie about Clark Griswold and his family so obviously it is going to be a cheesy, somewhat over the top, family friendly Christmas movie. It is about family and love and everyone coming together for Christmas because it is a special time of year. This is a comedy but there are some deeper moments in this movie, and while it is not extremely obvious, the movie does cover important subjects such as how much pressure people can put on themselves at Christmas, how much people can rely on their Christmas bonuses and how money issues can have a very big impact on people, some people cannot even afford to give their children presents at Christmas time so while it is a special time of year, it can also be a time that adds stress and pressure to many so it is always important to be thankful for the things we do have and for the people in our lives. Clark learns that he does not need a million Christmas lights or the perfect turkey to have the most perfect Christmas, he just needs his family with him as they are the most important people in his life.

Structure.

This movie is 97 minutes long. I think that an hour and a half is a really nice running time, I have mentioned this before but it is not too long but it also feels like a decent movie length. We get a lot of story but it does not drag on too long. Some movies need more time, and there are movies that I love that are two hours long or maybe even slightly longer, but there are also movies that are longer than they need to be, but I think with this kind of cheesy, fun, festive movie an hour and a half is the ideal length.

I would say this movie follows the three-act structure. The first act sets up Clark’s unrealistic Christmas expectations as he prepares for family to arrive.

Act two is when the in-laws arrive and chaos begins to ensue but Clark pushes on, determined to make things work.

Act three is Christmas and all of the problems along the way don’t seem to matter anymore as the true meaning of Christmas is remembered once more.

Final Thoughts.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a fun movie. Every time I watch it I laugh the entire time. It’s festive, it’s fun, it’s got great heart to it, and it does touch on some serious moments without bringing the tone down. It will always be a must watch for me.

This has been Movie Monday. Do you like this movie? Let me know.

I hope you all have a great week.

Kate xo.

Christmas with the Kranks.

Hello everyone. Welcome back to another #moviemonday. I hope that you are all enjoying the month of December. I have been busy getting into the festive spirit. We’ve decorated our house, I have done my Christmas shopping. I am wrapping Christmas presents everyday. Christmas FM is playing in the car, I am watching Christmas movies all the time and I am loving this festive season.

So let’s dive into #moviemonday because it is time for one of my absolute favourite Christmas movies. Today I am talking about Christmas with the Kranks. Every year, after the house is decorated, we pour a glass of baileys and we sit down to watch Christmas with the Kranks, and this movie is one of those movies where I feel it is not Christmas unless I have watched it.

This movie was released in 2004. It was directed by Joe Roth. The movie is based on the book Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.

Plot.

It is the holiday season Luther and Nora Krank drop their only daughter Blair off at the airport as she is off to a Peace Corps assignment in Peru. When their only child is gone, Nora and Luther reflect over the fact that Christmas just won’t be the same without her. Nora is the Christmas Queen. She knits, she bakes, she wears a festive vest, her entire house is decorated, she throws an annual Christmas Eve party that everyone in town always looks forward to, so she is finding Blair’s absence particularly hard. Luther calculates how much they usually spend on Christmas and when he sees that they could save money by going on a cruise, the movie follows Luther as he ropes Nora into his plan of taking one year off to go on a cruise since Blair won’t be there. That’s right, the Kranks are skipping Christmas … or at least they are trying to, because when friends, colleagues, and neighbours find out, they can’t believe it. All is going well for Luther’s plan, until Blair calls and says she will be home for Christmas after all, and then it is up to the Kranks to pull off a Christmas miracle because they only have a few hours to put together their famous Christmas Eve party.

Characters.

This movie has a brilliant ensemble of characters, and there is not a set protagonist and antagonist, because at times, it is Luther who seems like the antagonist.

Luther Krank is practical. He is stubborn. He wants to get away and he cannot see the issue with skipping Christmas just for one year. The subject becomes a matter of principle for Luther because when his friends, coworkers, and neighbours protest, he becomes determined to show them that he can skip Christmas if he chooses to to do so. Luther becomes so obsessed with his plan, he begins to act selfishly and he loses sight of what the Christmas season is all about.

Nora Krank is my favourite character in this movie. She is kind, she is generous, she is very caring. Nora loves Christmas and throughout the movie she struggles to go along with Luther’s plan, and she dislikes his selfish behaviour. Nora embodies the true Christmas spirit as all she wants to do is have the perfect Christmas Eve party for Blair and her new fiancé because to Nora, Christmas is a time to be spent with loved ones. I love Nora and I think one of the best moments in this movie is when she puts her red vest back on and announces that there is no way that the Kranks are skipping Christmas.

Vic Frohmeyer is the self-appointed mayor of the neighbourhood, and when he finds out that the Kranks want to skip Christmas, he and the rest of the community are shocked. I think that Vic is a great character. He seems like he could be an antagonist, but actually he is just a family man, who loves his community, and when it turns out that Blair is coming home, it is Vic who rallies the neighbourhood into throwing the perfect party for Blair even though they are all fed up of Luther’s selfish attitude. He is a leader, and he is a very funny one.

Walt and Bev Shields live directly across the street from the Kranks. Walt and Luther bicker throughout the entire movie because they do not get along. Bev is fighting cancer and this year will most likely be her last Christmas.

There are a few other characters who are great, Vic’s son Spike, Blair’s fiancé Enrique, and Marty who no one knows but he somehow knows everyone – no spoilers here, watch the movie.

The entire cast is brilliant and funny and there is no better pairing to play Luther and Nora than Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. They are fantastic.

Themes.

This is a cheesy, funny, Christmas movie. The themes are love, family, community, and the true meaning of Christmas. I think that is perfectly fine to enjoy a cheesy, feel-good movie at Christmas time. This is a light-hearted movie but there are some lovely, heartfelt moments. In this movie, Luther becomes so obsessed with proving a point that he pushes everyone away and he forgets how lucky he is and what the true meaning of Christmas is about. Christmas is a time to be spent with those we love, it is about sharing and coming together, and celebrating one another. Luther is blessed to have a healthy family that he loves, and he is finally reminded of this when he sees Walt and Bev eating alone. Bev is dying, their son has not come home in years and just a few hours ago, Luther was complaining that Blair flew thousands of miles to surprise him. This moment really puts everything into perspective for Luther. I love this movie, and I love the message in it. Christmas can be a stressful time, for some it can be a very lonely time, and it is important to be grateful for the good things that we have, it is especially important to be grateful for the people that we have, whether they be family or friends that we have chosen as family. The movie also shows us how it is important to not get carried away with blinders on, because even if you are striving for something, it still is not okay to act selfishly or hurt others along the way. I would describe the tone of this movie as nostalgic and cosy. It is not too deep, and the heartfelt moments aren’t too heavy or trying too hard. It is simply a funny yet heartfelt Christmas movie with a very wholesome message.

Structure.

This movie is 98 minutes long. It is short and easy to follow and I would say that it follows a three-act structure. The beginning of the movie is the Kranks dealing with empty nest syndrome and Luther puts together his plan of taking a cruise. The middle of the movie, the second-act shows the fallout between Luther and his community as he digs his heels in and becomes obsessed with proving his point. The turning point of this movie that launches us into act-three is when Blair calls to say she is on her way home. This sends Luther’s plan crashing to the ground and the third-act of the movie is the frantic race to get the house ready for the party. It is really easy to follow, and it is really fun, and as I said earlier, it is a light-hearted movie to watch and I think that it really puts you into a festive mood.

Final Thoughts.

I will most likely watch Christmas with the Kranks again before Christmas this year. I will continue to watch it every year. If you have not seen it then I cannot recommend it enough. It’s fun, it’s heartfelt, it’s cosy, and it is a perfect movie to add to your list of Christmas movies.

This has been Movie Monday. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you seen Christmas with the Kranks?What movie puts you into a festive mood? Let me know.

Kate xo.

Die Hard – Yes, It’s A Christmas Movie.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #moviemonday. Today is an exciting Movie Monday because it is the first of my festive themed Movie Monday’s. Starting today, I will be discussing Christmas movies for the rest of the month because I love this time of year and there are so many great movies to choose from. 

If you saw my Instagram stories, then you will know that I went to see a movie over the weekend and I ran a poll to see if anyone could guess what it was. Thank you so much to anyone who sent in their guess, I really appreciate it. Some of you got it right and some of you guessed movies that I will be discussing later in the month. 

On Saturday I went to see Die Hard in the Light House cinema and it was a brilliant night. 

Today I am talking all about Die Hard so let’s dive into #moviemonday. 

Die Hard was directed by John McTiernan and the movie was released in 1988. 

Plot.

This movie follows NYPD police officer John McClane as he goes to L.A to visit his estranged wife at her office Christmas party. John is hoping to patch things up with Holly, who is doing brilliantly at her new job in her big office at Nakatomi Plaza. She even has started going by her maiden name. John doesn’t think the party can get any worse but then it does when everyone on the 30th floor gets held hostage by the impeccably calculated Hans Gruber and his men. John must singlehandedly fight each one of Hans’ men while trying to figure out what it is that they want, and while making sure that nothing happens to Holly or any of the other hostages. The LAPD can’t help him, the FBI can’t help him. It’s just John McClane up in that skyscraper and he has to trust his instincts and follow his gut if he wants to make it out alive. 

I will say that I love this movie. I would even go as far as saying that it is possibly my favourite movie. I have loved it since I was quite young because in my house it is a family favourite. I would watch this movie at any time of the year but it is a Christmas movie. It simply is not Christmas for me if I don’t watch Die Hard in December. Is it as festive as some other Christmas movies? Maybe not, but it is set at Christmas which makes it a Christmas movie. 

I also think that it is one of the best action movies there is. I studied film theory as part of my BA and I have written an essay all about Die Hard so that will tell you how much I love this movie. I think this movie set the tone for what action movies came to be. I think that this movie really set up the idea of one unlikely hero who has to defeat the bad guys all by themselves as many movies are described as being something like  “Die Hard on a train/boat/etc.”, and I think that highlights the success of this movie. Die Hard captured something really special with the character of John McClane and while many films try to replicate it, I don’t think it has ever been equaled. 

Characters. 

The movie’s protagonist is John McClane, and I have to spend some time talking about him because I think he is a brilliant character and I don’t think anyone could have played him other than Bruce Wilis. When this movie came out, John McClane was not the typical action movie hero. Action movie heroes looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger. John McClane is not made of  bulging muscles and he is not an ultra strong, hypermasculine hero. He is a normal NYPD officer. He is fit, but he does not look like a superhero. He is masculine, but in a very different way to someone like Schwarzenegger. John McClane is a wise-cracking, sarcastic, begrudging hero. He does not want to deal with this, this was not how he envisioned his night going. He gets thrust into this situation, and I think the factor that makes Die Hard so brilliant is that it is clear that John McClane has been thrown into this situation and now he must deal with it in order to survive. He is acting on instinct alone, he is trying to think on his feet, quite literally as he got caught without his shoes or socks on, he is at times visibly frustrated because he has to figure out his next move on the spot and his brilliance comes from being good under pressure. His quick wit and slick nature is what buys him time and keeps him safe. He gets called a cowboy by Hans and I think that this is very apt. I like that John McClane is human. He is flawed. He has made mistakes in his marriage, he is stubborn, he is not the best at following protocol, he is a real person and this makes him relatable, but at the end of the day, he does love his wife and he does love his children and he is a good man. 

Hans Gruber is the movie’s antagonist. He is played by the amazing Alan Rickman. Apologies to any Harry Potter fans who think of Snape when they hear the name Alan Rickman, to me, he will always be Hans Gruber. Hans is the character that I think of when I hear Rickman’s name. He is an incredible villain. He is the antithesis of John McClane. The two characters could not be any more different. Hans is articulate, he is immaculately dressed, he is calm and poised, he is calculated. His every move has been carefully planned out and if it was not for John McClane being in the building that night, I think it is very likely that his plan would have worked. He is the villain, and he is ruthless at times, but something that I like about Hans is that he is not violent for the sake of being violent, and he does not fumble easily. He is an extremely clever man and I love that he stays extremely calm for the majority of the movie. He does not need to shout to be scary. He is intimidating even when he is standing still, and he does have a sense of humour and I appreciate that even though he is the villain, he is a nuanced character. He is not one dimensional. 

The thing to remember about this movie is that while it is an action movie, it is also a heist movie because that is Hans’ long-term plan. He wants to steal the millions that are in the vault, but he knows that he would be caught so his entire plan is to make the entire operation look like a terrorist attack so that when the building blows, the police will think he is dead because you don’t look for someone if you think they are already dead. His plan indicates what a detailed, calculating person he is, and again it shows how different he is to John McClane because there is a smoke and mirrors aspect to Hans’ but with John McClane, what you see is what you get. 

Holly Genero (McClane) is John’s estranged wife. She is doing incredibly well for herself in L.A. She has got a brilliant job that she is very good at. She has got a lovely office. She is respected by her coworkers, even the arrogant male coworkers, and her boss respects her so much that he asks her to give a speech at the Christmas party. Holly’s job causes a strain in her and John’s marriage. He does not want to leave New York, and in his own words, he should have been more supportive. I love Holly. She is clever, she is independent, she is taking advantage of an opportunity that has come her way. I think that modern viewers may say that she does not play a huge role in this movie, and I think Holly is the kind of character that would be heavily altered if the movie was to ever get remade – this is a movie that I hope never gets remade because it is perfect as it is. It does not need to be touched, I don’t think any remake could ever do it justice, and I also think that Holly’s character was very empowering especially when you remember that this movie came out in 1988. Holly is not a helpless damsel. John is on her turf when he comes to her workplace. He is an outsider. He is out of place in her corporate world. She holds the power there. She stays calm in a hostage situation. She remains professional and composed throughout the entire ordeal, and she even negotiates with Hans. She is steely when she requests a sofa for her pregnant assistant and she is not begging Hans to allow the hostages to use the bathroom, she is telling him quite firmly that unless he likes things messy then he better start bringing them in groups. Holly holds her own and I love her for it. I think her best moment is when she punches the reporter who harassed her children in order to get his story. Holly may be John’s romantic interest, and yes he does save her at one point, but she is not helpless, she is not simply there to be saved, she is a strong, interesting character in her own right and I think that she should get more credit for how great she is. 

There is an ensemble of characters in this movie and they are all fantastic. Hans has his team of cronies and each of them have their own special skill. Al Powell is the sergeant on the outside who communicates with John through a radio. He is the one police officer who believes John and he is on his side throughout the movie. Argyle is John’s driver who picked him up at the airport and he is fantastic. I would argue that he is the comic relief in this action movie as throughout the entire hostage ordeal, Argyle is in the parking garage enjoying his drinks and dancing to music in his seat, completely oblivious to everything that is going on inside the skyscraper and while I won’t spoil anything, he too has a brilliant moment towards the end of the movie. I even love Harry Ellis, the oaf who works with Holly. He is full of himself and he thinks he is way more brilliant than he actually is. He is arrogant, but he somehow manages to be really funny. You cannot help but laugh at his antics. There is the Chief of Police and the FBI agents and the news team and all of them want their moment in the sun which is why they do not listen to John. It gets very frustrating but it does make the ending extremely satisfying. No spoilers though, if you want to know what I’m talking about then you have to watch the movie. 

Themes. 

Die Hard may be an action movie, but that does not mean that it does not have some really compelling themes. There is heart to this movie which only adds to why I love it. Family is a key theme. John is going to L.A in order to see what happens with Holly. We get the idea that he wants to patch things up but we don’t know how that will play out. Despite their differences, Holly and John clearly love each other. John  loves his children, as does Holly and one of the key plot points in this movie is that Hans does not know that Holly is John’s wife for a long time and this allows John to work things out because if Hans knew who Holly was from the start, he’d have hurt her to get John to give up. Holly is John’s weakness, and the fact that Hans finds this out towards the end of the movie is great because it heightens the stakes towards the movie’s climax. I think that planning vs instinct is a major theme in this movie. Hans is the personification of planning. He is immaculate and calculated and in all honesty, his plan probably should have worked and it likely would have if John did not happen to be there because as I said earlier, John was thrown into this and he is figuring out his next step as he goes along. He is the personification of pure instinct. Hans was not able to handle someone like John because he could not plan for someone like John McClane. John McClane is unpredictable and spontaneous, and he gives the calculated Hans a run for his money. I think that I would list society vs individualism as a theme, it is a minor one, but it is there. John is all by himself, he is the lone hero, and he has to set protocol aside which the LAPD officers do not like and Al is another individual because he is the only one on the ground who is rooting for John. He believes in him. He goes against his boss because he believes that the voice he is hearing over the radio is telling the truth and he stands with him. Greed is another theme. Hans Gruber wants millions, and he has constructed this entire plan in order to achieve that goal. It shows what some people are willing to do for money and image is obviously very important to Hans as he is well groomed and he is dressed in a suit and mentions owning many more so he is clearly a man who is driven by money and image. 

I have spoken about the hero’s journey a few times before but I think that John Mcclane is more of an anti-hero, or at least he is an unlikely hero. He is not the archetypal hero. He is not the underdog. He is jaded, he swears, he is not clean cut, and yet there is something charming about him. You cannot help but root for him. I would call him an iconic character. 

Stucture. 

Die Hard is a long movie and I think that it is a perfectly structured movie. It is a movie that is, in my opinion, an example of brilliant exposition. Everything in Die Hard happens for a reason. It is not absurd. Everything is set up. An example of this is the fact that John McClane is barefoot during the hostage situation. The movie opens with him on a flight, gripping the armrest tightly. This shows us that he does not like flying and the passenger beside him comments on this too. The man tells him the way to get over travel sickness is to take off your shoes and socks when you get to your hotel, walk around barefoot and “make fists with your toes”, so when John is in Holly’s office, this is exactly what he does. He takes off his shoes and socks and makes fists with his toes and is pleasantly surprised when it actually works. It is at this moment that the gunshots go off, and John scrambles to get his own gun. He does not have time to put his shoes and socks back on, and he knows this is not ideal or practical so when he does kill one of Hans’ men, he attempts to put the man’s boots on but they don’t fit which is why he has to remain barefoot. I think this is just one example of the brilliant storytelling that is done in Die Hard. There are lots of little moments like this that lead to things making sense later. The security guard tells John that there are floors under construction when he enters the building, which is how he knows to hide on one of those floors later so he can have time to think out his next move, he did not just magically find empty floors, there are always little snippets of details being given to us that end up being important later on, and I think it is brilliant because it means that everything comes full circle. I love the shots used in this movie. There are many tracking shots where the camera follows wires or cables and there are a lot of cutaway shots which heighten the action sequences. There is a great moment where John and Hans meet but John does not know who Hans is, he does not know that it is the man he has been dealing with because Hans uses a false accent, but this is set up really well because at the beginning of the movie, John hears Hans interrogating Mr. Nakatomi, and he sees Mr. Nakatomi get shot, but he never actually sees Hans because Hans is always out of John’s line of vision – I have to give my friend the credit for this observation because he pointed out to me that he loves how John couldn’t see Hans in that scene because it allows Hans to be able to come face to face with him later on, and John initially does not know it is him because he has never seen him before, and unlike his cronies, Hans is wearing a suit so he is able to pass as an escaped hostage for a little while. It is really well done and it is an example of how little details can make such a big difference in how how things play out. The movie is long and there are a lot of moving parts but it is so action packed and fast paced that it never feels like it is over two hours long. If you like action movies then you’ll love Die Hard, it is that simple because there are some brilliant action sequences and fight scenes that really make you want to cheer. There are so many moments that I love and I could discuss this movie forever because everytime I watch, I find something else that I love. Another point that I have to make is the irony that is used through music in this movie. There is something brilliantly ironic about Hans and his team taking over the building while “Ode to Joy” is playing – it is a brilliant juxtaposition. 

Final Thoughts. 

I said earlier that I would say that Die Hard is possibly my favourite movie, and that is a hard thing to decide with any sort of finality when you watch movies and study movies all the time like I do. I love so many different movies, and I have different categories of movies that I love. I have a favourite Disney movie, a favourite Christmas movie, a favourite Halloween movie, I have movies that make me feel nostalgic, I have movies that I love to watch when I’m feeling sad and need a pick me up, so it is really hard to pick one movie and say that it is my favourite because I have lots of favourites, but overall I think I have to say that Die Hard is my favourite movie. I love it. I never tire of watching it. I love the premise, the plot, the characters, the action, the heart, the film techniques used, I just love every second of this movie and I cannot recommend it enough. 

This has been Movie Monday. I really hope you enjoyed it because I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. Have you seen Die Hard? What do you think of this movie? Let me know. Here’s to the first of my festive movie discussions here on Katelovesliterature.com. I am so excited for all that is to come this month. Stay tuned. 

Kate xo.  

Hercules.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #moviemonday discussion which is being published on a Tuesday this week due to some technical difficulties that I dealt with yesterday. 

Starting next Monday I will be discussing Christmas movies here on Katelovesliterature.com as I love Christmas time and I want to embrace the festive season. 

Today I am talking about another Disney movie, I am talking about Hercules

Let’s dive into Movie Monday (on Tuesday). 

Hercules was released in 1997. The movie was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. 

Plot.

The movie is loosely based on the figure of Heracles, the son of Zeus in Greek mythology. 

The movie follows Hercules, the son of Zeus and Hera as he must find where he belongs in life. When he was born, all of the other gods were overjoyed but Hades, Zeus’s brother was plotting to overthrow Zeus, and in order to do that he had to get rid of Hercules because he is the only person who can interfere with his plans. 

Hades enlists the help of his cronies Pain and Panic. The two were supposed to kill Hercules but they do not manage to complete the job. Hercules is stripped of almost all of his immortality before he is adopted by a farmer and his wife. Hercules grows up to be an outcast because of his god-like super strength as without the proper training, his strength does more harm than good. 

Hercules is a kind, young man who wants to do good but sadly his outcast position in life makes this impossible. He feels that he doesn’t belong, and his sadness leads to his adoptive parents telling him the truth. This discovery prompts Hercules to go and find the truth about his parentage, as he hopes that by doing so he will find where he actually fits. So Hercules sets off on his hero’s journey and the movie follows him as he learns about himself, and what he is capable of, and we also watch him learn about love, and loyalty, and what being a hero truly means. 

Characters. 

The main protagonist in this movie is Hercules. I think that Hercules is the typical hero that we see in the hero’s journey trope. He is kind, he is earnest, he just wants to be accepted. He has super strength which with the right training can be used for amazing things, but without training he causes havoc without meaning to, proving that with great power comes great responsibility. 

He is naive, he is plucky, he really is the perfect candidate for the journey that he is about to embark upon because while he is a good man, he does need to learn that strength is more than just a physical thing, and while he is a good character, he is not a perfect one. He has room to grow and learn, and this is what makes him likeable. I find this version of his character very endearing and easy to root for. 

Meg is the love interest of Hercules. I would call her the female protagonist in this movie, and I like Meg because I think she functions as more than just a love interest. She is a complex character in her own right and I think that her story is just as compelling as Hercules’. 

Meg works for Hades, he owns her soul which means that she is effectively his slave. Before the movie’s events, Meg was in love with another man. Meg sold her soul to Hades, and in return he saved her love’s life. This love then betrayed Meg and left her, meaning that she is heartbroken and forever indebted to Hades. Meg is spunky and sarcastic. She has a quick, witty sense of humour and she is conflicted throughout the movie because Hades has promised her her freedom if she helps him harm Hercules, but as time passes and Meg falls more in love with him, she feels that she can no longer lie to him. I think that Meg is a true example of integrity because in the end, despite all of Hades’ threats, Meg always does what she knows is right. 

I have to include Phil the satyr in my protagonist discussion as in this hero’s journey, Phil plays the role of the mentor. Phil trains heroes, and he sees potential in Hercules. He knows he can be the best and so he agrees to train him. It is Phil who shows Hercules that his super strength can be used for good, it is Phil who shows Hercules that he does have potential, it is Phil who guides him, who gives him advice, who tells him when he is wrong. Phil is one of those really great teachers, the ones you look back on and remember fondly because they brought out the best in you. In the hero’s journey trope, the mentor role is very significant because the mentor hugely contributes to the emotional growth of the main protagonist, and that is what is most important. 

I’ve said it before when I talked about the quest narrative, because the hero’s journey is a trope that is very popular within the quest narrative, the thing to remember is that the most important thing about the hero’s journey is the hero’s personal growth. The lesson they learn along the way is the most important thing, because if the hero has not evolved or grown as a person, then the journey will have been for nothing. 

The movie’s antagonist is Hades. He wants to overthrow Olympus and he plans to free the Titans to do so, the only person who can stop him is Hercules which is why he wants to get rid of him. Hades, while he is the antagonist, is one of my favourite Disney characters. Hades is larger than life, he is dramatic, he is over the top. He is not the typical, sinister villain, he is sarcastic, he is quippy, he can be very funny, but all of this doesn’t change the fact that he takes pleasure in destroying people’s lives, he bargains with souls like it’s nothing and he takes pleasure in the fact that he owns Meg. He takes joy in using her to hurt Hercules, and he knows that finding out that Meg was working for him will break Hercules’ heart, and he knows that Meg’s spirit will be crushed when Hercules no longer trusts her, and he takes pleasure in all of the pain that he causes. Hades is a memorable villain. 

Themes. 

The key themes of this movie, in my opinion, are the themes of love, family, heroism, and finding yourself. This movie has a brilliant soundtrack and I think the song “I Can Go The Distance” sums up the movies themes really beautifully. Hercules feels like he doesn’t fit in anywhere, and I think that he personifies a lot of insecurities that many young people may face. The thing that makes him a hero (at least physically) is his strength, and when he is young and untrained, this strength is the very thing that makes him an outcast. I think that this is something that many people, especially younger people, can relate to because often the things we come to appreciate as adults are the things that can make us insecure when we’re in school. We all just want to fit in, and we all just want to feel loved and accepted, and Hercules is willing to do anything he can do in order to achieve that feeling, which is why he throws himself into training with Phil. 

I think that love is such a key theme of the movie. It is love that fuels the farmer and his wife to take in this baby and raise him as their own child. They are kind, loving parents, they know their son has unique strength and they don’t love him any less because of it. They simply want what is best for him, which is why they support his journey even though they are going to miss him terribly. 

Meg has been fuelled and betrayed by love. It was her love for her partner that made her decide to sell her soul in order to save him. She thought he’d be overjoyed. She thought he’d 

always be there for her, but her heart is broken when he waltzes off with another woman, leaving her enslaved to Hades. Her heart has hardened, she does not wish to be hurt again which is why when she begins to develop feelings for Hercules, she refuses to admit it – “I Won’t Say I’m In Love”.  As time passes, she realises that she cannot shut out her heart, and it his her love for Hercules that leads to her risking her life to help stop Hades. 

Hercules learns that there are many strengths besides just physical strength. He comes to learn that kindness, character, and integrity are just as important as physical strength, and it is not just how strong you are, but the size of your heart that matters. I believe that love can be a source of strength, because a love for someone can spur you on in hard times. It is his love for Meg that leads to him making a deal with Hades, and in the end, it is his love for her that teaches him what it means to be a true hero and ultimately, Hades is defeated by love, because love is what gives Hercules his inner and physical strength back. 

Hercules also grows as a person, he becomes a confident man throughout the journey of this movie and at the end he is a far cry from the scrawny outcast we met at the beginning of the movie, showing that self-growth is one of the most important things of all. I think one of the best things about getting older is that as we get older, and as we learn, we tend to become more confident and comfortable in our own skin and that is exactly what happens to Hercules. 

Structure. 

I love how this movie is structured. The plot is narrated brilliantly by the muses through song, and the movie does a lot of showing rather than telling which means that we can see exactly what is happening which makes the plot really easy to follow. The movie is just over an hour and half long which I think is the perfect length. I like that we can really see the development of Hercules as a character. We see him as a baby. We see him struggling, we see him training, we can see him getting swept up in the superficial adoration of the crowds, and then we see him as a mature man who loves his friends dearly and wants to keep them safe. He isn’t perfect, he makes mistakes, but he grows and that is what makes him so likeable. I also think that this movie has a very grounded structure, and that is due to Hades’ plan. He gets rid of Hercules because of his plan to overthrow Olympus. His plan is why he wants to ruin Hercules, it is why he forces Meg to help, and throughout the entire movie, we know the day is coming when Hades will release the Titans, that is the main event, and I feel like this constant plot point keeps the movie very grounded. 

Final Thoughts. 

Overall I think this is a really great movie. It’s got a compelling plot, layered, fun, memorable and easy to root for characters. The themes are very poignant and the soundtrack is brilliant. I really enjoyed watching this classic Disney movie before I move forward into festive movies for the next few weeks. 

This has been Movie Monday on a Tuesday. I hope you enjoyed it. 

Kate xo. 

Ruthless People.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another #moviemonday. It is the last week of November and I am really looking forward to next month because I am going to be getting into the Christmas spirit and concentrating on Christmas movies for the next few weeks. 

According to my Instagram poll, my followers prefer Christmas over Halloween so I am hoping that you will all enjoy the festive content that is coming up. If you don’t already follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you should consider it as it is where I keep everyone updated about what is coming up here on Katelovesliterature.com. It is also lots of fun, so think about checking it out. 

Today I am talking about Ruthless People

Let’s dive into Movie Monday. 

Ruthless People was released in 1986 and the movie was directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker. 

If you are a fan of Bette Midler then I think you have to watch this movie if you have not already seen it. She is a brilliant comedic actress. 

Plot. 

The plot of Ruthless People is really straightforward, and really funny. The movie has been described as a dark comedy, and while I do agree with that, I would also call it a comedy of errors. This is another one of those movies where I think that the audience will root for the characters who are technically the ‘bad guys’. 

The movie follows Ken and Sandy Kessler as they decide to get revenge on their boss for stealing their ideas and life savings by kidnapping his wife Barbara. They have no intention of hurting Barbara, they simply want to get ransom money from Sam Stone, but it turns out that Sam has no intention of paying the ransom because he was planning to kill his wife himself so that he could have her family’s fortune and live with his mistress Carol. Carol discovers that Sam was planning to kill his wife, so she attempts to blackmail him so that she can have a wealthy life with her boyfriend Earl. So the entire plot is one big farce and Barbara, played by the wonderfully funny Bette Midler, is at the heart of it. When she learns what her husband had planned, she becomes determined to get revenge herself so in a brilliantly funny turn of events, she ends up in cahoots with her kidnappers. If you want to see how it all plays out, go and watch the movie. 

Characters. 

Usually when I talk about movies, I discuss the protagonists and the antagonists but in Ruthless People, I think that everyone is as bad as each other, which makes for a wonderfully dark comedy. 

Barbara Stone is perhaps one of the most annoying people on the planet. Does this mean that she deserved to be kidnapped? Of course not, but Bette Midler understood the assignment. Barbara makes life hell for her amateur kidnappers who are clearly in way over their heads. The over the top plot points combined with all of the movie’s twists and turns makes for a really funny movie. 

Ken and Sandy are out of their depth and it shows. All they wanted was their life savings back. They did not expect that Sam would not pay the ransom. What was supposed to be a quick and easy plan rapidly speeds out of their control, and watching them flounder is delightful. Obviously it is wrong to kidnap someone, there is no question about that, but within the context of this absurd movie, you can see that Ken and Sandy are good people, and oddly enough I think that audiences will root for them, especially when Barbara joins forces with them. 

I even like Carol the mistress. She knows her role and she plays it well. When Carol discovers that Sam was actually planning on killing Barbara, she is horrified, but true to her role in this movie, she decides that she is going to blackmail him and I will be honest, I think audiences may root for her too. 

The movie’s only truly bad person is Sam Stone. He is the actual antagonist of the movie. He is the one who had the malicious intention to kill his wife, take her fortune, and run away with his mistress. When he came home one day to find her kidnapped, he was delighted that kidnappers had done the work for him. He is thankful, and throughout the entire movie he disobeys the ransom requests hoping that each time, the kidnappers will actually kill his wife. This should be horrifying, it is horrifying, but Danny DeVito plays his part so well that he manages to make Sam Stone’s exasperation about his wife still being alive very funny. 

There is a reason why this movie is described as a dark comedy. It is dark, it is absurd, it is full of twists and turns. It is over the top, and that is what makes it brilliant. 

Themes.

The movie’s main themes are revenge and greed. This is a revenge movie. The characters are driven by either revenge or greed. Sam Stone is driven by greed. He stole Sandy’s ideas, he stole Sandy and Ken’s life savings. He wants his wife’s family fortune, so much so that he is willing to kill her for it. His entire life’s focus is money. Sandy and Ken do what they do because they want to get revenge on Sam. Carol blackmails Sam because she wants money, so she too is driven by greed. When Barbara finds out about Sam’s intentions, she too becomes driven by revenge because she is determined to get back at him, so this is a movie that is full of people doing outrageous things because they want either money or revenge. 

This movie is described as a dark comedy, and that is exactly what it is, a dark comedy. I don’t want to analyse it to death because that is not the point. I could easily choose to discuss this movie in a much deeper way, and talk about how the use of satire and dark comedy could be suggested to be a tool to demonstrate how corrupting money and greed can be. This dark comedy shows the hideous lengths people will go to because of their desire for money and because of their thirst for revenge. I think this is a movie that highlights how important context is, because in a different movie, the idea that a husband would be delighted that his wife has been kidnapped could be presented as a horror or a thriller, because it is a dark concept. It is horrifying to think that Sam Stone was hoping that his wife would meet such a horrible end, and a plot like this could be an entirely different movie if it was presented differently, but it wasn’t. Ruthless People was presented as a very dark, outrageous comedy and that is what it is. It is absurd, but that is the point. 

Structure. 

Ruthless People is only 94 minutes long, so a lot happens in a short space of time. There are a lot of moving parts to this movie as it features an ensemble cast of characters and all of them are scheming. It moves very quickly, and there are a lot of twists and turns but I don’t think that it gets too confusing as I didn’t feel lost at any point. 

Final Thoughts. 

It was my Mam that suggested that I should watch Ruthless People because I had never seen it and she thought I would like it. I am so glad she suggested it because I really enjoyed it and I would highly recommend it. It is not too long. The cast is fantastic. The story is absurdly funny, and my advice to anyone who is thinking about watching this movie would be to simply lean into the absurd and embrace it. 

This has been Movie Monday. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you seen Ruthless People? What is your favourite Bette Midler movie? Let me know. 

I hope you all have a great week. 

Kate xo. 

Little Women.

Hello everyone and welcome back to #moviemonday. 

This week on my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), I mentioned that the last movie that I physically went to see in the cinema was Little Women, so I decided to watch it again and discuss it. 

So let’s dive into Movie Monday. 

Little Women was released in 2019 and the movie was directed by Greta Gerwig. 

The movie is the seventh adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women. 

Plot. 

The movie follows the lives of the March sisters, Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth, although one could argue that Jo is the movie’s main protagonist out of the four sisters. The story follows the girls from childhood to adulthood. The sisters must find their own way in the world, and as they grow up they experience love and heartache. I would say that the main plot in this movie is Jo’s ambition and journey to becoming a writer. This is why I would say that while the story is about all of the March sisters, I would still say that Jo is the main protagonist because the movie starts and ends with her, and I think it could be interpreted that Jo is the one who is telling this story. 

Characters. 

Jo March is passionate. She is stubborn. She is creative. She is strong willed. She has an active imagination, and she dreams of being a writer. At times she can seem unreasonable, or rash, but at the end of the day her heart is in the right place as she loves her family more than anything. She is very close with all of her sisters, and with her mother, even though they argue at times as all siblings do. Jo wants to be taken seriously as a writer, and she wants to make it clear that a woman can write, and that women can do more than just be romantic articles. I will discuss Jo’s character, and why I really like her in more detail in the themes section of this discussion. 

Meg March is the oldest of the sisters. She is kind, she is mature, she helps her mother take care of her younger sisters while their father is away. Meg is the opposite of Jo because Meg wants what some would describe as a more traditional life. She is called the most beautiful of the sisters, and she dreams of having nice things that poverty doesn’t allow her to have. As she grows up, she matures, and she realises that her happiness does not lie in money. She marries for love, and although she and her husband are poor, she is happy. She does sometimes struggle with wishing she had more, but I think this makes her a very real, human character. She is imperfect, but none of the March sisters are perfect, and I think that is what makes them so relatable. 

I will also talk about the difference between Jo and Meg in the themes section of this discussion too because I think that the story of Meg and Jo is one that carries a very important message. 

Amy March is in my opinion, the most complex character in the movie. Many people dislike Amy as she can be spoiled, and a tad obnoxious at times, but I happen to really like her, and I will go on to explain why. Amy is extremely artistic, she loves to draw, she loves the idea of travelling and learning, and she looks up to her older sisters and she just wants to be like them. In her younger days, Amy can be bratty, she can be envious, and she can act out when she is angry, but she grows up to be a beautiful, educated woman who is a talented artist. It is Amy, who in this adaptation specifically, understands the reality of being a woman in this time period and I think that Florence Pugh did a remarkable job playing this arguably difficult part. I think that Amy can be a difficult character to portray because if it isn’t done correctly, she can be unlikable, but I feel that Pugh really captured how her character was feeling, and so she was able to make Amy understandable and likeable, and even admirable as she matured. 

Beth March is the kindest of the sisters, she loves her family, she is always good natured, and she is extremely musical. I think that Beth and her story is what keeps the sisters so closely knit. They are aware of how precious life is, and it is Beth that teaches everyone about love and loss. 

Laurie is the March’s neighbour, and he is quite literally the “boy next door”. Laurie loves being at the March’s house and he becomes fast friends with all of the March sisters but specifically with Jo. Her loves her stubborn mind, and he encourages her dreams to become a writer. Laurie is charming and kind, and he is a true friend. He is warmly embraced by the March family. Some people argue that Laurie and Jo were perfect for one another, however I disagree and I will explain why later. 

There is a larger ensemble of characters in this story. Marmee March, the girls’ mother is the matriarch of the family. Marmee is warm, kind, and extremely understanding. She is a strong, steady presence and her girls are always able to lean on her. There is Aunt March, she is strict, she is somewhat cold, she is very demanding, but she wants what is best for the girls, and I would also argue that she, like Amy, understands the reality that she is living in. 

Themes. 

I think that the movie’s key themes are love, family, loss, and maturity. The March family are connected by the love they have for one another, and they go through many trials and tribulations together, including a tragic loss. This story shows the girls as they mature from childhood to adulthood, and as they mature, we see how they grow as people. This is a family who sticks together. They argue, like all families do, they hurt each other, but when it comes down to it, they rally together, they support each other, and they realise how lucky they are to have each other. 

I said earlier that I think Jo and Meg’s relationship is important and I am going to explain why. Jo and Meg are extremely different. Jo spends a long time being uninterested in romantic relationships. She wants to travel, she wants to write, she wants to be independent, and most importantly, she wants to be taken seriously as a female writer. She wants to make it clear that women “have hearts and minds”, and they can do more than simply get married. 

Meg finds love, and when she falls in love, she wishes to get married. She wants to settle down, she wants to have a family, and she makes it clear that although her dreams are different to Jo’s, it doesn’t mean they are less than or invalid. 

This is something that I really like about these two characters. It is important to note that this story is set in the 19th century, and at that time women were expected to thrive in the domestic sphere. They were supposed to grow up to be wives and mothers, and Jo could be described as a feminist character because she is stubbornly refusing to do that, she wants to do more, she is not demure, she is not gentle, she is not what a 19th century woman was “supposed to be”, and this is great. Jo is a great character. She is complex, she is dynamic, she has agency and it is wonderful to see, but something that I really like, is that this movie doesn’t belittle Meg’s dreams either. 

It is okay to want to be a wife and a mother. It is okay to be more traditionally feminine. Meg’s dreams are just as important as Jo’s even though they are different, and as Jo grows up she sees this. She sees that if Meg is happy than that is what is important, and she also learns that she can be strong willed and independent, and she can be a writer, but she can also let love into her life. 

I think this is very important, because it acknowledges that while yes woman are, and should be portrayed as more than simply being love interests to men, it is perfectly okay to choose to have love in your life, it is okay to want a relationship, and I like this modern take on this story. 

I think that when it comes to women making choices, all of their choices are valid. If a woman chooses to be career driven, that is wonderful. If a woman chooses to travel, that is wonderful. If a woman chooses to be a stay at home Mam, that is wonderful. I think that we should all be free to make our own choices, and there is a big difference between someone choosing to do something as opposed to being forced to do something by someone, or by society, simply because they are a woman. 

In the 19th century, women were expected by society to become wives and mothers, simply because they were women, and so it is great that Jo pushes that boundary and makes her own decisions, however Meg wants that life, and so her choosing to have that life is equally as impressive. It can be hard to present Jo’s narrative without belittling Meg’s, but this version of the story manages to do it very nicely. 

I also mentioned that I don’t think that Jo and Laurie should have ended up together, and I think that Laurie and Amy are a very nice couple, and I am going to explain why. I think Jo and Laurie are wonderful friends, and Jo mentioned that they wouldn’t ever work because they’d get sick of each other and I think that that is true. Amy pushes Laurie to be his best, and I think that the adult that Amy grows up to be is the perfect match for Laurie. Amy is a very difficult character to play because she can be unlikable. Amy is always living in Jo’s shadow, and I think that in many ways the two are similar. They are both stubborn, they are both headstrong, and they can both sulk if they don’t get their way. Amy is artistic, Amy wishes to travel, Amy has dreams, she is creative, and she grows up to be an educated, smart, intuitive young woman. 

Amy understands what it means to be a woman in her time. She understands that marriage is a contract. She says so in her amazing speech to Laurie that Pugh delivered so wonderfully. She knows that she grew up poor, and in order to do well in life, she must marry well and she is prepared to do so, but ultimately she ends up going with her heart and she marries Laurie. 

I think that my favourite scene with Amy is the scene where she draws Laurie, he tells her how he feels, and she gets up and walks away. She tells him he is being mean, she tells him she won’t allow him to choose her just because Jo turned him down, she will not be second best, not when she has loved him all of her life, and this is the moment that captures the complexity of Amy. She has always been second to Jo. Jo is a writer, Amy is a painter. Amy got to travel with Aunt March instead of Jo because Aunt March decided to bring Amy to punish Jo. If it wasn’t for this, she likely wouldn’t have been considered. Amy is upset when she can’t go to the ball, she says why should Jo get to go when Jo doesn’t even care about it, and it is a fair point. She strikes out when she is hurt, but so does Jo, and yet it is Amy who is placed at fault. The two sisters love each other deeply, but they are the ones who argue the most and I think it is because they are so similar. 

I think that this version did a great job of capturing what a nuanced character Amy actually is, and I think that she and Laurie are very well matched. 

Structure. 

I think that this adaption is very interesting because the story isn’t told in chronological order, instead it jumps back and forth which is really interesting because I think it changes the way we view the events. I also think that the movie is a little bit slow moving at some parts, but overall I really enjoyed it, and I especially liked the movie’s ending. There won’t be any spoilers here, but I would say to anyone that they should watch this movie if they want to know what I’m talking about. Another thing to note is that Jo is our narrator seeing as it is her who is reflecting over her life, and the events of the story, so we are seeing things through Jo’s recollection of them. 

Final Thoughts. 

I enjoyed this movie when I went to see it in the cinema. I cried in the cinema. I enjoyed watching it again, and I did cry again. It is a very touching tale, and I’ve always enjoyed the book. I think the cast was brilliant, and I think that the story managed to be somewhat modern while also staying true to the original text. I enjoyed the complexity of the themes and the characters felt very realistic and compelling. I would watch the movie again, and I’d highly recommend it.

This has been Movie Monday. Have you seen Little Women? 

Kate xo. 

Robin Hood.

Hello everyone and welcome back to #moviemonday. It has been one of those days, and so I decided that I just wanted to sit down with a blanket and watch a Disney movie. 

Today’s Movie Monday discussion is all about Walt Disney’s Robin Hood.

Let’s dive into #moviemonday. 

Robin Hood was released in 1973 and the movie was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman. 

Plot. 

There are countless versions of Robin Hood, but the general story is always centred around Robin Hood, the thief who has a heart of gold. He is an outlaw who steals from the rich to give to the poor, and this movie follows him as he fights against the ruthless taxation ordered by Prince John and carried out by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin Hood fights to help the poor people of Sherwood Forest, and he also tries to woo his true love, Maid Marion. 

Characters. 

Robin Hood is our protagonist. He is a witty, quick thinking thief who has a heart of gold. In my opinion, Robin Hood is somewhat similar to Will Turner because he is the underdog who is acting outside of the law but even though his actions are illegal, they are moral. We root for Robin Hood because we know he is doing the right thing even though he is stealing. 

The other protagonists in this movie are Maid Marion, Little John, and the other residents of Sherwood Forrest who are starving and struggling all because of Prince John’s greed. They are kind, honest people who don’t deserve the struggles that they face because of a heartless, greedy ruler. 

The movie’s antagonists are Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham. The Prince is greedy and immature. He uses his snake counsellor to hypnotise people so that he can get his way, and he orders the Sheriff to tax the people of Sherwood Forest relentlessly. The Sheriff always does as he is told and he never seems to think about the suffering he is causing. He is on a quest to arrest Robin Hood although he never manages to succeed. 

Themes. 

This is a Disney animated adaptation however the nuanced themes of the story are still present. Robin Hood has always been a commentary on greed and the divide between the rich and the poor. In Robin Hood, we can see how the rich Prince John has more money than he could ever need but he is fuelled by greed to take more, and more, and more. The people of Sherwood Forest don’t have anything more to give but it is still not enough for Prince John. The Sheriff of Nottingham follows every order he receives, and he does tax the poor and demand the money that he knows the people don’t have. He never seems to care about their struggles or the fact that they have nothing. He never seems to feel guilty about his actions either. He says he is just doing his job, which on one hand is true, but on the other hand, this can make one think about how even though the Sheriff is obeying the law, his actions are morally wrong. 

I have spoken before about how in some narratives, what is legally right and morally right don’t always coincide. Robin Hood is a very interesting character because he is acting in the best interests of the people. He is standing up to a tyrannical ruler. He is helping those who have nothing. He is only stealing from someone who has so much money that they won’t miss it and giving it to those who are starving and penniless. Technically, he is acting illegally and so his actions are somewhat “wrong”, but morally Robin Hood is doing what is right, and we root for him because he has more heart than the Sheriff of Nottingham, and we also root for him because most audience members will most likely agree with Robin Hood’s actions. 

I think that the themes depicted in Robin Hood will always be relevant because we will always be able to have discussions about class divides, and the rich and the poor, and how it is unfair that some people just take, and take, and take, while some people have nothing to give. 

I also think that this story will always be an interesting one because the idea of what is legal and what is moral not always being the same is very interesting to me. I like questions such as do the ends justify the means? Do good intentions justify certain actions? When analysing literature and characters within literature such as Robin Hood, these kinds of questions lead to really interesting discussions. 

Structure. 

This version of Robin Hood is not a long movie. It isn’t even an hour and half long, and because it is a Disney movie, I think that the structure is as always, rather straightforward. I think that this movie is visually very beautiful. There are times when it looks like a painting. I think that the songs are really catchy, and I think that while it’s a short movie, we are still given a really good story that’s easy to follow. 

Final Thoughts. 

My final thoughts are that I needed to watch a Disney movie today and I am very happy with my choice. I love the story of Robin Hood, I always have, and someday in the future I would like to discuss different, darker, more adult versions of the tale because as I said earlier, there are so many versions of Robin Hood and I would like to explore some more of them. 

If you need a time out to relax and watch something lighthearted that still has a good story to it, then give Robin Hood a chance because I think it is one of Disney’s classics. It is a really good choice that isn’t too long and has some great songs. 

This has been Movie Monday. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you seen any version of Robin Hood? What do you think of this story? Let me know. 

Kate xo.