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‘Begin Again’

Thursday, August 21, 2014 @ 12:08 PM
Author: Lincee

Begin Again

I recently received a text from my friend Blake asking if I had seen the movie Begin Again. He told me that if I had not seen the movie, I needed to stop whatever I was doing, get in my car, drive to the theater, buy a ticket and prepare to be transformed.

Blake: I don’t want to build it up too much, but you’ll thank me.

I immediately checked out the trailer.

They had me at Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine.

Another text from Blake revealed that he had purchased the soundtrack the minute he left the theater. This was extremely valuable information since Blake is a walking deejay.

You see, Blake and I are like pen pals, but way cooler. We send mix tapes (read: burned CDs) back and forth from Dallas to Houston. In manilla envelopes. With stamps and everything. We’ve been doing this for years. You can learn a lot from a person by their thematic representation of a playlist, and I would trust Blake with my iTunes account any day of the week.

To sum up, Keira Knightly, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine star in a musical drama from the writer and director of Once. If that’s not enough, Blake endorsed both the movie and the soundtrack.

I was sitting alone in the theater in less than 48 hours.

As you probably gathered from the trailer, Gretta (Knightly) and Dave (Levine) are writing partners who move to New York City – the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. Dave gets a record deal and Gretta is discarded. She has resorted to singing in tiny bars in the East Village. Fortunately, washed up ex-record producer Dan (Ruffalo) discovers her around bourbon number three and offers to record her songs, her way, with New York City as their live studio. Gretta transitions from skeptical, to hesitant, into full-blown trust throughout the movie. And so does Dan.

The idea of recording a live album at various landmarks in New York City is exactly as cool and crazy as it sounds. Knightly, Ruffalo and Levine pour their emotions into each scene and I was swept up into the moment right along with them. The film has countless themes, but I believe the story is about how we must deal with choices we made in the past. We must build on the circumstances that have been handed to us, good or bad, and create something beautiful, new and exciting. And I love that Begin Again uses music to get us there.

How many of you can think of a song that immediately sparks a memory? I have dozens of them. This movie takes us through an array of human emotions and gives us a sneak peek into the healing that can come from a simple melody or a powerful guitar riff. It uses music to celebrate, mourn, escape and restore. To quote Blake, “It’s a story of recovery, freedom and forgiveness and about the life-changing ability of music.”

Clearly we both give Begin Again two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Music gives us the ability to write our own soundtrack to life. May yours be full of calming classical moments, dashes of down home gospel, flashes of hard hitting rock-n-roll, bits of soulful blues and of course, New Kids on the Block greatest hits.

Thank you Sassenach. Truly.

Sunday, August 10, 2014 @ 04:08 PM
Author: Lincee

Screen shot 2014-08-10 at 1.05.25 PM

A couple of years ago, I asked the collective IHGB community to share some of their favorite books. The response was exciting! Knowing that I was a sucker for a good love story, several participants suggested I read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I was immediately hooked by the epic love story of lead characters Jamie and Claire.

I remember calling my sister, imploring her to stop whatever she was doing at that moment so she could start reading Outlander immediately. She told me she had already read the book and I had to fight feelings of irritation that she didn’t think to share this news with her beloved sister, champion of all things involving epic romances.

My sister: “I didn’t think it was appropriate since you were in junior high when I read it.”

YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THIS BOOK HAS BEEN IN THE WORLD ALL THIS TIME AND I NEVER KNEW IT?

Then I took a silver lining approach. Most of you have been waiting forever for Diana Gabaldon to find someone who could bring her intriguing world and characters to life. It only took 20 years, but she finally found a writer and director to shepherd her baby along.

And I believe they did a phenomenal job. Ronald Moore took Gabaldon’s words and created a seamless script. Bear McCreary’s score is exquisite. And after only one episode, I have no doubt that Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan are going to effortlessly bring Claire and Jamie to life.

Some of you are already rolling your eyes, assuming that Jamie Fraser is going to be another Noah Calhoun in my life. To that inference, I will respond with a simple, “Yes. Yes he will.” Sure Sam Heughan is ridiculously good looking in a unbelievable sort of way and I actually debated last night if bloody Jamie was equally as hot as non-bloody Jamie, but that’s not my point.

Claire endears herself to Jamie within minutes of meeting him. She heals his wounds, she doesn’t cower before him, she tells him when he’s being a jack wagon and figuratively lifts him up without even trying. Jamie is fascinated.

In the actual world where I live, I don’t have a “Jamie” in my life. I like the idea that a man may one day find me captivating. I’ll do something he translates as extraordinary. I will think this is odd because the moment felt rather ordinary to me. There will be intrigue, trust, respect and he will make a vow to himself that I will be his priority from that day on.

Those who rolled your eyes are rolling them again, blessing my heart and my head which resides in the clouds. And that’s okay. I understand your concern for my rose-colored outlook on married life.

I’m not ready to say I’m okay if I never get married. That’s actually a rather ginormous falsehood and terribly inaccurate. I don’t think I’m alone when I confess that I sometimes fear that some other girl shoved Jamie’s dislocated shoulder back in its socket and he became transfixed with her instead of me because I stopped to tie my shoelace. But then I remind myself that there is no Plan B — there’s only Plan A.

If and when a Scottish man in a kilt looks me in the eye and thanks me for being me, I’ll be ready to go wherever the horse leads.

Unless it’s the 1740s. I’ll need a little bit more time to prepare myself for that.

Real men wear kilts

Thursday, August 7, 2014 @ 08:08 PM
Author: Lincee

Outlander

NBC’s ‘Undateable’ picked up for a second season

Friday, August 1, 2014 @ 01:08 PM
Author: Lincee

Undateable

Who says these guys are undateable?

I’m so excited that my beloved Justin, his leather-loving mentor and band of bumbling adorkable friends will be gracing us with their presence in the fall. This news definitely calls for a slow motion celebration.