Menu Bar

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moving Sucks

Okay, so I'm trying to be positive about my parents moving to a new house, new neighborhood, new ward, etc. It's hard for me. Really hard. When I first found out I about the move I was sad for a few days but then I got excited about the new house. I tried to think of it as a cabin or some sort of vacation getaway. That thought only lasted so long. As soon as December hit and Christmas was in the air, I began to get sad about it again. I'm liable to burst into tears at the mention of home, and my roommates are probably sick of how much I talk about moving. But it's a big deal to me. Very big. In my mom's email to my missionary brother Josh this week she was talking about how it was his first Christmas away from home this year and how challenging that would be for him. I realized that it's my first Christmas away from home too. This new house isn't my home. I know people always say that the house doesn't matter - it's the people. The people make the home. I know that's true, but the house DOES matter to me. I've been having a really hard time this week as I thought about what Christmas is going to be like this year. New Josh...Christmas Eve by myself in a strange place...I don't mean to sound pessimistic or bratty, but I really am sad about all of it. I'll be fine as soon as I get used to the new house, and I am excited for the fun stuff it offers. I am very happy about how happy my parents are about it too. But every time I think about going home I realize that I don't have any friends in my new neighborhood except my cousins (which is awesome). I have to drive 20-40 minutes to hang out with anyone other than my family. I love my family, so that's not a tragedy, but still it stinks. There's no movie theater by our house. There's no Iceberg or cute neighborhoods or hills to sled down. There's no Best Buy or Spaghetti Factory or Temple 10 minutes away.

I know I'm just complaining and complaining when I don't even have a right to, so now I'm going to try to think of the positive side of the got 7 new posters to hang in my new bedroom. I get my own loft that I can throw parachute men off of. I get to live next to my aunt and uncle and cousins (when they're there). My parents live there. I like them lots and lots. I'm sure I will love the new house. It's just going to take me a while to get to that point. They're not just houses. They are important pieces of our lives, and if we just dismiss them like they're just objects than we miss out on so many of the fabulous feelings and memories that come with them. Of course, we get all the pain that comes with the change as well. I miss my house. I will always miss it. But I'd miss my family infinitely more. So I guess I'll go wherever they are, right? That's what matters.

PS I'm sick of finals...that's why I'm blogging right now...resisting studying as much as possible ha ha.... :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Farewell Monk

I just watched the last episode of Monk....I'll be honest and say that I almost started crying towards the end. I love that show. It reminds me of so many good times with my family, especially my brother Josh. This last summer, before he left on his mission, I would be curled up in the love sac downstairs and Josh would come put in his favorite episodes of Monk for me. I'll always remember that. It's why when people say that things like movies or TV or music or even video games are just pointless entertainment I get defensive. Many of my familial relationships have been strengthened by things like watching Monk together. It gives us more common experience, something to discuss and take pleasure in together as a family. And if it's good entertainment, it is enlightening as well and can even reveal eternal truths.

As for the last episode of Monk itself, I think it ended very well. I won't give away anything that happened, just in case someone reads this who hasn't seen it yet. But I will say that all the loose ends were nicely tied up, and I found it very satisfying. It wasn't Monk's hardest or most surprising mystery, but it was his most meaningful. And I love looking at Monk in season one and then looking at him now. His character arc was fabulously crafted. That's what I like so much about the show. Monk is a wonderful character, surrounded by a cast of more wonderful characters. And that's what makes a good show a great show - the characters. Maybe the last episode wasn't some viewers' styles, but it perfectly fit me. Thanks Mr. Monk. It was a wonderful ride. :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Love Frogs

I saw The Princess and the Frog last night, and I absolutely loved it! The animation was GORGEOUS. It practically glowed. It was like magic just watching the film, story aside. And I loved that it was in the style of classic, 2-D Disney animation. I miss those immensely. My eyes were delighted. The characters were tons of fun - especially Prince Naveen, Dr. Facilier (he's the bad guy - is it okay to delight in the evilness of a bad guy?), and Ray. Ray's piece of the story was surprising and touching! I loved Tiana as well. Definitely a fun new addition to the Disney Princess canon. The movie worked very well, and my roommates and I found ourselves laughing pretty much the entire time. It was way funnier than I anticipated. The overall story was mostly predictable, but was told in a fresh way that didn't make it seem to tired or predictable. The only thing I didn't love about the movie was the music. It just wasn't as fabulous as I wanted it to be. I'm not dying to go out and buy the CD like I was with Enchanted or any of the other Disney movies. Don't get me wrong, the music was fun. Just not on par with other Disney movies I think. I would definitely recommend this movie, though some of the scary voodoo images might be a little too much for little kids. But it's such pretty animation that I was more delighted than frightened, and since I have the mindset of a four-year-old, maybe little kids would be just fine. I love princesses, I love Disney when they do what they're best at, and I love frogs! :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Just One Drop...

Warning - SPOILERS! If you have yet to see this episode I strongly suggest you see it first. If you don't plan on watching it at all, then please continue reading.

"The Waters of Mars" is a Doctor Who special precluding the final two-part special to air later this year (Christmas for the first part, the other part's release is unknown). This special actually hasn't aired in the US yet. It will on Dec. 19 on BBC America. I watched it on Youtube, a sight I dearly love :). So here's what I thought.

Wow. Such a creepy and haunting episode. I loved it! The monsters were terribly frightening. The line "water always wins" remains in my mind the way "don't blink" did after watching the episode "Blink." A good monster is one that is not only physically scary but also ideologically scary - the idea that a virus can consume you with just one drop of water is awesomely terrible. But perhaps more frightening was the monster of sorts the Doctor became at the end of the episode. Finally driven mad by all the people he's lost, he decides to save people who should have died and flirts with possibly changing the entire course of the human race. He breaks his rules and interferes with what could be a fixed event in time. He has more power than any person should have - being able to determine who lives and who dies, who is important and who isn't. As he states at the end, he has gone too far. We see a darker side of the Doctor, the side that is always lurking inside him that he refuses to acknowledge or maybe has worked so hard to overcome. Sometimes, in earlier episodes, the Doctor is referred to as 'the darkness' or that he has the darkness inside him. I think we saw a bit of that this time around. I think the Doctor is also afraid of the power he holds. He knows it's too much for one person. It really was an awesome portrayal of an inner battle - the battle of ethics he always faces. Should he get involved, and if he does, does he make it worse by saving them or letting them die? Who can he save? What determines the importance of a human life?

That was one thing that made me really love Adelaide. She understood that the most important thing is a human life, any human life. The Doctor used to know that, but he seemed to forget. Adelaide was a powerful heroine as she brought the Doctor back to his senses near the end, showing that he can't do everything and shouldn't do everything. He is, in fact, not as all powerful as he thinks he is. He should not be allowed to get away with so much power unless he can control it and stick to his rules. Adelaide understands the importance of the rules.

I can't wait to see the next episodes and find out what the next Doctor is like. Will he be darker in spirit than Ten? Will he still be mourning the loss of all those he loves? Or will he be back to his usual, full-of-life self? I think he will always be mourning those he loves, but I hope that he returns to being the happy person he was before. I think that's why I love Rose so much - she seemed to heal him after the Time War. She helped him find mercy when much of what he felt was vengeance. I think his next companion will have to be that healing force in his life, this time healing him after the war within himself.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Dark Knight as Myth

            Through analyzing The Dark Knight as a myth we are able to glean information about our society’s unconscious. The mythical “hero’s journey” allows us to see how Batman is able to delve into our unconscious and show us that we need the presence of evil in order to understand and appreciate the presence of good. A “white knight” isn’t enough – our society needs a “dark knight” as well.
            The mythical form of the “hero’s journey” or “monomyth” as defined by Joseph Campbell includes several stages through which the archetypal hero must traverse. The Dark Knight features many of the elements of the hero’s journey, and Batman is able to successfully navigate through it. He goes through many of the specific stages, showing that this form is not only present in what our society considers traditional myth, but that films such as The Dark Knight are mythical as well. Of special importance in the analysis of the film is the hero’s boon, the ability that only he can bestow upon on humanity. In Batman’s case his boon is his willingness to be the image of darkness and evil. He is able to delve into the underworld and sacrifices himself in order to do so. He allows the image of a true hero to remain while he takes responsibility for the evil. The boon represents something our society needs, introducing the moral order of The Dark Knight – society does not believe in the existence of pure good, or good without opposition. There must also be evil there to contrast and fight against it. Batman is a hero because he is willing to be that image of evil. Society also is attracted to characters like Batman because he is revealed as a modern type of savior that is willing to sacrifice himself to rid the world of evil.
In this analysis, the idea of film as myth, as presented by Parker Tyler will be used. He believes films are not art, but myth or “imaginative truth” (Tyler 2). That which is symbolized by myth is a permanent human experiential legacy. Films have taken the place of traditional, ancient ideas of myth and magic because man no longer believes in those things. We have dismissed them by explaining them with science or as ancient ideas no longer relevant. Within films are actors and actresses that take on the roles of gods and goddesses, fulfilling the ancient need for such figures (Tyler 2). When we go to a film in the theatre, we are receiving psychoanalysis of our societal dreams. Films reflect the deep desires and needs inherent in our unconscious.
            Tyler brings this psychoanalytic approach into his study on myth, which will be the primary tool for analysis of The Dark Knight. The focus is on archetypes – a Jungian tool of psychoanalysis using the theory of repeating themes, characters, and myths that are found in every civilization and are embedded in the collective unconscious of the human race, often appearing in dreams. Everyone unconsciously recognizes the “hero” character predominant in myth, and the hero is an important archetype to analyze in The Dark Knight. The hero, or perhaps more important to this analysis, the “hero’s journey” or “monomyth,” is defined by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces(23). in the following way: “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder. Fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won. The hero comes back from the mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man”
There are several stages to the hero’s journey, only some of which will be explored here. It begins with the “call to adventure” in which the hero is approached by a mysterious figure or event that causes them to enter a new world that can often mirror his unconscious (Campbell 46). This is followed by the “road of trials” which is a series of tests and ordeals with some sort of supernatural aid (Campbell 81). The hero then encounters the “goddess” which can be “whatever has seemed to promise joy” (Campbell 92). The woman, due to a realization from the hero, can then become “the symbol no longer of victory but of defeat” (Campbell101) and function as a temptress. Through all of this, the hero obtains the “ultimate boon” which is the power of the Gods, a power the hero must bestow upon the people he left at the beginning of the journey (Campbell 155). This journey is a structure of many myths, film not excluded. Also, Tyler mentions that myths such as the hero’s journey are often socially angled (5).

            The Dark Knight (Bale) is the story of Bruce Wayne and his continuing quest to rid Gotham City of evil. Bruce fights evil as the vigilante Batman, but the new District Attorney Harvey Dent fights evil in the public’s eye, the public hero of Gotham. Dent also happens to be dating Bruce’s lifelong love, Rachel Dawes. As Dent and Batman find success the Joker emerges, and he has no rules. He will kill anybody and induce chaos anywhere for his own amusement. In fact, he announces that he will kill people each day that Batman does not reveal who he is. Bruce decides to reveal himself with Rachel’s promise that when Batman is gone they can be together. Before Bruce is able to stop him, Dent reveals himself as Batman in order to draw the Joker out of hiding. Batman is able to capture the Joker and interrogate him, learning that the Joker has been able to kidnap both Dent and Rachel. He has placed them at two separate locations, rigged to explode in minutes. Batman takes off to save Rachel while the police go after Dent. However, when Batman arrives at the location he finds the Joker has pulled a switch on him – he finds Dent instead of Rachel. He helps Dent escape as the building explodes, causing severe burns on half of Dent’s face. The police were too late to save Rachel, and the Joker was able to escape from prison.
            Dent is now embittered toward the entire world. He refuses to allow himself to heal and is convinced by the Joker to exact revenge on those who were responsible for Rachel’s death. The Joker threatens that anyone left in the city that night will be under his control, though the bridges and underground roads are unavailable. Some people are evacuated onto ferries - one ferry is filled with criminals from the prison so the Joker cannot free them, the other with civilians. The Joker has placed explosives on each ferry. He also has given each ferry the trigger to the other ferry’s explosives, stating that if one ferry doesn’t blow up the other, both will explode at midnight. Through sonar GPS-type gadgetry Batman is able to track down the Joker and capture him as the people on the ferries decide none of them can be the villain, even at the risk of their own lives. They decide that they cannot kill the other people, they are willing to believe in good, and the Joker’s plan is thwarted. The Joker reveals that he has set the revenge-seeking Dent on Gotham and Batman now must stop him. He finds Dent at the place where Rachel died, holding Police Commissioner Gordon’s family hostage. After a struggle with Dent, both fall off the building and down a few stories, resulting in Dent’s death. Batman tells Commissioner Gordon to give him the blame and let Batman be responsible for Dent’s behavior so that the people of Gotham will not lose the hope they had in Dent’s goodness. Dent becomes a martyr and Batman takes on the image of the villain.
            In analyzing The Dark Knight the viewer is given the comparison of two possible heroes – Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne. Both receive a call to adventure in the form of the threat of the Joker, a diabolical terrorist. They venture forth from the common world, Dent as the District Attorney and Bruce as Batman. They are not normal people – one is an elected official, the other an extremely wealthy, ninja-trained vigilante. The mysterious world they enter is the world of the Joker – a freakish, underground crime world with no rules. The Joker will do anything to bring down Gotham, just to prove that he can. He personifies pure evil. He finds joy in the terrible, physically signified by his makeup or, as one thug calls it, “war paint.” Dent leaves behind personal safety to tackle the Joker. In doing so, he also sacrifices the safety of those he loves, especially Rachel. Bruce, on the other hand, takes measures to not endanger anyone but himself. He leaves behind his life as a normal person. He poses as a rich, carefree, selfish Bruce Wayne in order steer people away from thinking he is Batman. His true identity is entirely a secret, to the point where no one actually knows who the real man is, perhaps not even Bruce himself. He gives up Rachel in order to fight crime as Batman, and must watch her begin a life with Dent. They both leave their normal lives behind and enter a mysterious underworld as they accept their call to adventure.
The underworld they enter mirrors the unconscious evil side of themselves, as well as the evil side of society in general. At first Dent is most resistant to the evil, Gotham’s “white knight.” As Bruce states, Dent is “the face of Gotham’s bright future,” the hero Gotham needs. He is the best of those fighting crime. The Joker sees Bruce as something similar to himself, a “freak” that is very much aware of his evil unconscious. This is symbolized by Batman’s choice of costume as he fights crime. He is dressed up as a bat, a creature that in an earlier film Batman Begins we learn has terrified him since he was a child. He is aware of the terror lurking in his unconscious and uses that to terrify the criminals. It is this underworld that the heroes must traverse and rail against. It has the power to break them.

In this underworld, Dent and Batman go through their “road of trials.” Batman’s supernatural aid comes in the form of his high-tech tools he uses as well as the presence of Alfred his butler and lifelong friend. Alfred takes on another archetypal figure – the mentor, or wise old man. This archetypal character is often seen as one who teaches the hero using supernatural gifts. Alfred possesses years of experience which Bruce does not have. He has an outlook on life that he helps Bruce see. He understands what the purpose of Batman is and the Joker’s motivation. He relays a story to Bruce about a thief he encountered in Burma and compares him to the Joker, saying that “some men just want to watch the world burn.” It is this understanding that lets Batman combat the Joker’s acts. Dent’s supernatural aid seems significantly less, perhaps coming in the form of Batman himself or in his double-headed coin. Dent seems to be almost above the need for supernatural aid, standing primarily on his own with an awareness of his evil unconscious. He “makes his own luck” using the coin that always lands on heads. He knows the outcome and has control of his situation. At one point, Dent mentions to Commissioner Gordon the name that people called him earlier in his career – “Two-face.” He is entirely aware of the dark side of himself and has seemingly overcome it, now considered by Gordon and others to be Gotham’s “white knight.”
Next in the hero’s journey comes the encounter with the Goddess, which in this instance is Rachel for both Dent and Bruce. She represents the promise of joy for both men, their chances at normal lives and happiness. She acknowledges that Bruce has made her his “one chance at a normal life.” She is also the only promise of lasting joy in Dent’s life. The two men’s responses to the woman as temptress following their encounters with her determine the heroism of each. Dent goes insane after Rachel’s death and loses all heroism. He refuses to let go of her, for she represents life. He turns into a villain, succumbing to the evil unconscious he spent so long traversing through and seemingly rising above. His coin now has one tarnished side, mirroring his physical and psychological condition, and he gives in to that dark side, using it as a weapon of decision as to who lives and who dies. Dent does not survive his road of trials, and thereby does not obtain the ultimate boon which he could bestow upon the people, ridding their society of crime.

Bruce, on the other hand, realizes the importance of his overall task and that though Rachel promised him happiness he cannot give up everything he and Dent have fought for. He successfully navigates the road of trials, sees and resists his evil unconscious, and obtains the ultimate boon as he takes responsibility for the vengeful actions of Dent. His boon is the ability to be the villain. He can be the darkness without giving in to the darkness. He can be the one that takes the blame, the image the people fear, and he can bestow that gift upon the people of the normal world.
The myth, in a dream-like way, when analyzed represents our social atmosphere at the time of its creation. It shows what our society is concerned about, what we need as a people. How then, does The Dark Knight represent the unconscious need of its viewers? A hero is needed. We are given two options: a white knight and a dark knight. The outcome of the film does not leave us with one, but with both. The white knight is left appearing as the image of good. Dent is given a hero’s funeral even though he ended as a villain. His villainy would destroy the hope of the people, because he is the image of the hero we need.
We are also left with Batman. Batman is the image of darkness and in the end is left with the responsibility of the evil. It’s not enough to have simply Dent as a hero – we need an evil presence as well, perhaps in order to see the good, this evil must be present. Analyzing Batman’s boon in this instance is especially revealing of the moral order of the film. The boon is a gift that our society needs in order to better itself. Batman’s boon is his ability to be the appearance of evil. Therefore, we can conclude that what our society needs in order to become better is the appearance of evil. We need someone to be the image of evil so we can understand the good. If good is present, how can we know unless it has something to fight against? It is the same idea humanity has encountered throughout time – how can you know sweetness when you’ve never tasted bitter? The white knight cannot appear good unless he is placed next to someone who is evil, someone he can defeat or fight against. It is this relationship between good and evil that drives the film. The Joker only exists because Batman and Dent exist. The Joker says to Batman, “you complete me.” It is the actions of Dent and Batman that create a market of sorts for the Joker. The better they are, the worse he is. Good and evil have a symbiotic relationship.
Campbell mentions that after encountering the fabulous forces a decisive victory is won before the boon can be bestowed by the hero. The decisive victory in The Dark Knight is perhaps not good over evil, but the pervasive nature of evil. Evil does not win, but it does not lose either. It is still present in the world, and Batman must take responsibility for it. In the film, Batman looks at Dent who lies dead after the fall from the building and turns his head so that the unburnt, untarnished side doesn’t show. He says, “The Joker cannot win.” The Joker doesn’t lose – Dent became the villain the Joker wanted him to become. But Batman will not let him win either. That evil is not eradicated in the film tells us something about our society – we know evil is never gone. The decisive victory of a hero is not decisive in that evil will be forever gone. That is impossible. The victory is that goodness will never stop opposing evil in whatever way it can. The epic struggle of good versus evil is not singular. It does not happen once. It happens every day, everywhere, which is why it is a recurring, archetypal struggle in our dreams, thoughts, and films – all mythical in nature.
Batman realizes he can be image of the evil – that evil is inevitable. Quoting Dent, he says, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” He recognizes the need for an evil presence in order to have the presence of good and takes responsibility for that. Constantly throughout the film Dent and Batman are compared – not only in action but in other ways. Dent is unmasked, while Batman never reveals his face. Batman works in the darkness of night, while Dent works primarily in the light of day. Batman always wears black, and even has dark hair. Dent is blonde. He is rarely pictured in darkness until the end when he has turned over to evil himself, while Batman is always emerging from the shadows. Dent is often focused on as something attractive. Gordon remarks that “Our boy looks good on the tube.” Dent’s appearance is very important. His good looks are hopeful. He is a “ray of light” in Gotham – a handsome, noble, crime fighter. Even though Bruce Wayne is also good looking, society sees him as a selfish kind of conceited good looking man, one whose image is not hopeful but indulgent, discouraging, and embarrassing. Batman’s image inspires fear in not only the criminals but the citizens as well. He goes outside of the law, hides in the shadows, and never wants to be seen. Just the visual images of these two men is enough to single one out as an image of good, and one as an image of evil, without even noting their actions. Batman uses his image as a strength. He realizes, as Alfred his butler states, that “even if everyone hates him for it, that’s the sacrifice he’s making. He’s not being a hero. He’s being something more.”

Perhaps this myth tells us that our society no longer believes in happy endings, in a world of pure good. We feel the constant threat of terrorism and evil in our own lives, and in order to believe in goodness we must also have the evil there to fight against, to scorn. We know that there is an evil underground in our world – we are aware of that more every day as we read the newspapers and watch the news. However, we are unwilling to see the true source of evil, or recognize the evil in ourselves. The only kind of true hero we can believe in is the one that is willing to confront that evil head on and perhaps even become a part of it for the good of society. Gotham is an every-city, a fictitious place that could be a double for practically any large city. The events that take place there are applicable to everyone. And, like Gotham, our society is in a state where it needs a hero like Dent, not one like Batman, though we deserve Batman – a purely good hero. By showing us the potential a real hero has and what a real hero should look like, the film shows us what we should be striving towards. It gives us hope that though we are still in the thick of terrorism and rampant violence, one day it will all be over. There is hope, and Batman’s sacrifice brings us one step closer.
All of these traits define The Dark Knight as a myth. It’s use of the hero archetype, which can also be found in other superhero films featuring heroes such as Iron Man, Spiderman, Superman, and others, give it the mythical feel. Myths reveal something about our society at the time they are made. In this case, they feature characters that save the people from the evil of the world. Viewers love these films because they inspire us, they give us a savior. The human race has embedded in its unconscious a need for a savior, a person who can come in and rid our world of our sins. Batman rids Gotham of crime by sacrificing himself and essentially atoning for the society’s sins. It is an imagined form of the truth that we do need a Savior, that we have one who did sacrifice himself for our sins. Myths are easier or imaginative ways for humans to explain the need they have. We feel as if there is no way we can possibly pull ourselves out of the mess we’re in. Someone else must help us.
Parker Tyler’s theory of film as myth uses what he calls a “psychoanalyticmythological” approach, meaning that film takes on the role of myth in working as a form of psychoanalysis for the society that creates it. Myths are often constructed of what Carl Jung referred to as archetypes, one specifically defined by Joseph Campbell as the “hero’s journey.” Through analysis, it has been shown how The Dark Knight exhibits the stages of the hero’s journey through the character of Batman. His successful completion of the journey allows him to bestow a boon on society – the boon of his appearance as evil. He takes responsibility for the crimes of Harvey Dent and becomes the image of the villain. This concludes that our society has a psychological need for both good and evil. We only feel safe when we can see them both. One without the other has no significance, or seems unreal to us. It does not make the impact that the comparison of good and evil does. The Dark Knight presents Batman man as a sort of savior that leaves society with hope.


Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Joseph Campbell Foundation, 2008.

The Dark Knight. Dir. Christopher Nolan. Perf. Christian Bale. 2008.

Tyler, Parker. "Preface." Tyler, Parker. Magic and Myth of the Movies. 1947.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Things I Love

Okay, so today one of my teachers gave a little farewell speech in which he encouraged us all to find out what we love, have opinions, and not be afraid of having them. Even if we are made fun of or challenged or hated because of them, we should be ourselves and not be ashamed of anything we love. And we need to pursue those passions. So I thought I would list things that I love that normally I might try to justify to people about.

I love the first Twilight book, and I honestly liked the movie more than the book. I like New Moon, not as much as the first, but I do like it, and I will eventually see the movie, though I'm not terribly excited about it. I can see myself reading Twilight and New Moon again for fun, but I have no desire to read the last two books again (yes, I did read them).

I love Star Trek. All incarnations of it. My dream job is to work on the Enterprise. I wish society functioned the way Star Trek does - no money, no poverty, doing what you want because you want to - not to make money, and ethical struggles instead of constant combating violence.

I love science fiction. Not all science fiction, but a lot of it. I love weird creatures and space and spaceships and aliens and distant planets and everything.

I love Doctor Who, and I'm not ashamed to admit it (if you've read earlier posts you already know this). Amongst Doctor Who fans there is a general opinion that there's too much Rose in the series. In the past, I've given in and agreed with some of these arguments, but you know what? I don't agree. I absolutely love Rose. I'm not tired of her coming back into the series, and I don't think that the way season 4 ended was too good to her. I absolutely loved it. And I wouldn't change it. And I can't wait to see what kind of part she plays in the last David Tennant special. She was a wonderful character that I really identified with. And I loved her and the Doctor together.

I love anime, especially Hayao Miyazaki films. In the past I recieved weird looks when I told people I liked anime, so I stopped telling people, but no more - I really do love it, in all its strangeness.

I like a good chick flick - let me emphasize the word 'good.' I went through a period of anti-chick flickism because of their often brainless plots. But I admit they have their therapeutic purposes. And when they're really well done, really well made, I love them even more. I don't see anything wrong with indulging in happy romantic fantasies (unless you take them too seriously and expect your own life to be that way, which I think is why my romantic life is such an awkward thing. I don't know how to have a real relationship because of chick flicks). If your real life relationship with someone is strong enough and right enough, I believe the magic that we see in the movies really can happen. For a while I denied it, but I fully embrace the cheesy, lovey-doveyness now. And I would love it to happen to me.

I play video games. And not just Smash Brothers or Dance Dance or one of the more socially acceptable ones - I play the RPGs, the so-called "nerdy" ones. I love the Final Fantasy games I've played. I know what Materia is - I even know that the numbers are mixed up between American and Japanese releases. I love the Zelda games I've played. I love Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, and Pokemon. I bought a Nintendo DS at age 20, and I'm not going to be ashamed of it. I think video games are awesome - interactive adventures with awesome story lines and characters and graphics. Where else can you collect pocket monsters but in a video game? Nowhere! It's awesome! 

The truth is, I can see the good in a lot of things. I think the film student mindset really did start to limit that ability. You get this idea in your head that because you're a film student you have to become a film snob, but as my teacher said today, you can appreciate the good in everything. No one intentionally sets out to make a bad film (usually...). You have to appreciate their intentions and their effort. It's more than simply good or bad - there are shades of good and bad in each film that we can find and appreciate. That's why film is so wonderful. Anyone can identify with a part of any film, regardless of what film it is. I think this applies very well to the rest of life too. Often times I feel so much pressure to seem "normal" that I forget what I really like and who I really am. What is normal anyway? And why should I spend so much time worrying about it when it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things? They key is to be happy with one's self, and embrace who you are. Don't shy away - you could end up regretting every minute you do.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Holy War

I am kinda sick of the whole Holy War thing. All the facebook statuses and comments and stupid remarks from players and fans alike. Utah fans will hold what Max Hall said against BYU for years, just like BYU fans probably would if a Utah player makes stupid comments as well. Yes, I admit they were stupid comments. But I didn't elect Max Hall to be the quarterback, and neither did the Lord. He should have been responsible about his words. But, I have had many experiences where I have thought the same about Utah fans. It's just too much. A healthy rivalry is fun. I have no qualms about getting riled up and having a good competition. In fact, it's one of my favorite things. I love rivalries, and I am a very competitive person by nature. But there is a limit - there needs to be a balance. Too often silly things like football games are taken far too far. People begin judging each other based on something trivial, and bad blood begins circulates ever stronger. It's like a virus, and all it spreads is unhappiness. I just wish we could all be adults about the stupid Holy War. After all, what does being good at football prove anyway? What does winning a game say about what kind of people we are? It says nothing, and I'm sick of being insulted by Utah fans because our quarterback offended them. We should all take a page out of Elder Bednar's book and choose not to take offense - this includes both BYU and Utah fans. We spend so much time worrying about the rivalry that we forget to have fun with it. That's what it's there for. It doesn't prove anything. In heaven I'm not going to get brownie points because I went to BYU, and the Utes aren't going to be better off because they went to their school of choice. In the end it's supposed to be fun and friendly. Not a war, and certainly not one that determines holiness. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's a question I often ask myself - why can't we all just get along? that's off my chest I can sleep. :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I would like to retract something from my previous post. The more I think about it, the more Transformers was terrible. Awesome plot...too much crassness...lame. Should have been better. No wonder it didn't last very long in the theaters. Just thought that should be known...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I ain't a teenager no more

On June 15, 2009 Jennifer Anne Hardy was declared no longer a teenager! I officially entered the mystical world of young adulthood, but I find that I don't feel older...if anything, I feel younger somehow, like I don't quite fit my age anymore. Then again, that quiz on facebook did tell me that my true age was 6. That feels more right to me. At work the other day someone asked how old I was and I had to think a minute before saying 20. It's just another year, but I guess it's kinda a big deal.

For my birthday I was able to travel to LA to visit my brother and sister in-law, and on my actual birthday I got in to Disneyland for FREE! What are the odds that sort of thing would work out perfectly? I tell you what, wow. In addition to the wonders of Disneyland (where I got to ride all my very favorite rides, even Space Mountain twice thanks to my fabulous family, see Fantasmic, and eat a Mickey pretzel) that weekend we also went to the beach and played in Vegas for a bit. Scott took me out for my first sushi experience when we got home and I'm afraid I've been craving it ever since. The only things missing from my birthday were Mike, Alexis, and Maddux. It's just not right without them, and even though I had a fabulous time, I wish they could've been there. They were there in spirit for sure.

A normal day in the life of Jenny right now consists of KSL internship, then work, then home. Hopefully I squeeze a trip to the gym in there somewhere - Mom and I have decided to go daily, which means we'll probably wind up only going 3 or 4 times a week, at least at first. We'll get better, I'm sure. And a day in my life is not complete without Doctor Who in some fashion or another. I must confess, I am quite addicted. I managed to watch a couple of episodes today as well as numerous fan videos on youtube which I find extremely amusing. Most of them are just slideshows or quickly assembled clips to sappy songs, but there are a rare few that I actually love and are very well done. Some people have way too much time on their hands. Heaven knows that if I had more time I'd for sure be one of the many many nerds posting fanvids all over the place. It's quite a lot of fun for me, getting lost in a show like this. I love getting lost.

I saw Transformers 2 last night...I must say, I did not like it nearly enough as the first. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome - Optimus Prime rules. But it needed more down time, more character development. The action never stopped, which I know is what this movie was gunning for, but I felt there was just too much. It was extreme sensory overload. There's nothing wrong with that - it's just not my cup of tea I suppose. I loved how the first one had a small cast of transformers - I loved each of the Autobots and hated the Decepticons. I know lots of people wanted more robots - I feel this movie had just too many. All this said, it was a very entertaining, though unnecessarily dirty and with poor language, and definitely achieved its purpose of being an action packed exciting adventure.

I discovered after watching Transformers that I have been spoiled by Doctor Who. The beautiful thing about Doctor Who is that it's family friendly, has a strong moral center that I admire greatly, has fabulous writing and story, is full of action, gives the characters room to grow, and gives the actors fabulous roles and situations to bring to life. I know Doctor Who isn't perfect, and I know it's extremely odd, but it is fabulous in so many ways. If I could make films or shows like that, I would be more than content. All the dirty and dumbed-down stories thrown in to so many movies today are often unnecessary. Stuff like that isn't needed to be successful and is most certainly not needed to be meaningful. Regardless, I'll be the first to admit that a movie that's a little shallow on the plot side and just made for good, old-fashioned escapist entertainment is sometimes needed in life. And that's what Transformers and the like are for.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


So...I've found two new TV shows this summer that I absolutely love. The first is Road to Avonlea, which is basically a spin-off of Anne of Green Gables. It's a bit sappy at times, and not every episode is fabulously written, but it has a magic to it that I loved about Anne of Green Gables. The characters are interesting and lovable. It makes me want to more to Prince Edward Island. Really badly.

But then, thanks to Lucky Mather, I met the Doctor. Doctor who, you may ask? And I would say, exactly.

Doctor Who is my new favorite TV show. I have only seen series 2-4, which star David Tennant as the Doctor. He is fabulous! So talented. The Doctor travels through time and space and does what a doctor is supposed to do - helps people. It is such a fun show, and though there are flaws, I feel it is an entertaining, heartfelt series and the good stuff FAR outweighs the bad. It's produced by BBC and has a great team of writers that I wish I could work with. The Doctor travels in his ship, the TARDIS, usually with a companion. When I first saw Rose I was kinda 'meh' about her, then I grew to love her as a character. She and the Doctor's love story was so sweet. And then she was pulled away from him - saddest episode ever! Then came Martha, who I didn't like because I was mourning the loss of Rose. Then Martha was awesome, but she left. Not quite as sad as Rose leaving, but still. Then Donna came on full time, and I really didn't like her. But by the end of her season, she had the most powerful storyline and character, and now I'm sad she's gone too.

And I don't care what people say about the quality of the show - the writing, the ending of the fourth series, whatever - my personal opinion of these things is that I'd have them no other way. Even the one episode I didn't like, I still wouldn't entirely change. The thing I love most about the characters is not just their quirks and personalities but how they change throughout the series. The Doctor takes normal people, like Rose and Martha and Donna, and helps them become extraordinary and live up to their potential. Oh, how I wish I could travel with the Doctor! The entire cast and crew was and is great. Dedicated and passionate about their work. The only thing I'm sad about is that David Tennant has only a few specials left before the Doctor becomes someone else. Still, it was a fun run, and he was so crazy, so wild, so fun. And so lonely. He has friends - tons of friends, and many companions, but he has to watch them all leave, over and over again. He is never alone, but he always is. My favorite episodes so far are:

The Impossible Planet
The Satan Pit
Army of Ghosts
Human Nature
The Family of Blood
Blink (my very favorite)
Silence in the Library
Forest of the Dead
The Stolen Earth
Journey's End

I know...I have lots of favorites... :)

This show brings out the geek in me, and I am proud of my geekiness. In fact, I have my own sonic screwdriver, just like the Doctor's, on the way. I love getting lost in a story, in a show, in a world that I can never live in but am allowed to through these characters. In fact, this is why I want to tell stories. Stories make life better.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I saw Terminator Salvation on Friday with some of the Hardys, and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. I had read reviews that cast it in an unfriendly light, but I feel it deserved better ratings than what it was given. I thought the acting was great - Christian Bale is always great and Anton Yelchin has quickly become one of my new favorites since Star Trek. I thought the special effects were awesome, which is a major part of any Terminator movie. I have only seen the first two Terminators (edited versions) and I loved both of them. I found this new one a fun take on a familiar story line. However, it did have its flaws. There was not enough heart in it, though you can tell they tried. I never felt that Marcus Wright was truly torn between his human and machine parts. His conflict needed to be more predominant for us to really feel for him. The story feels a little recycled and predictable, but mixed up just enough to make it entertaining. I found it much more enjoyable than I expected.

Today I saw Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. I really liked it, though it was not better than the first one. I loved the first one and this was a fun continuation, but if they do another I think they should make it a bit more innovative story wise - it was plenty innovative on the special effects side. I loved Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart and Hank Azaria as Kahmunrah. They were by far the best parts. Adams continues to please me with her ability to nail a part, and I have always been a fan of the very funny, very talented Azaria. They were fine additions to the already great cast. I felt this installment was a bit more juvenile than the first, more for kids, but still very fun and entertaining. They did very well hitting the proper beats in the film - they obviously knew which parts were most meaningful thematically and made them keenly felt. My favorite visual effect was probably the black and white characters placed in a color world. The lighting and contrast was perfect and I was in awe the entire time. But Amy Adams by far trumps as my favorite part of the movie.

My newest discovery is Stephen Sondheim's musical comedy Company, about a man who is the only single person among his group of friends and examines their marriages to decide whether or not he should pursue ending his bachelorhood as well. The music is fabulous, as it always is coming from Sondheim, and story is understated yet powerful. I grabbed the DVD of this play off of the library shelf, thinking it might be an interesting diversion. Indeed it was, and I highly recommend it. Raul Esparza stars in it and does a wonderful job. The supporting cast is similarly wonderful and talented. My favorite songs are Company, Being Alive, Barcelona, and Marry Me A Little.

Friday, May 22, 2009

This Week in the Life of Jenny

This week I drove to and from Provo more than I think I did all Winter semester. I just finished my first complete week of work at BYU Independent Study on their video crew. This is the first job where I haven't been bored most of the time. I get to help shoot videos for Independent Study courses then edit them using Final Cut Pro. I hope to learn how to use Photoshop and Adobe After Effects while I work there too. You can do some amazing things with the right tools and know-how. The time moves quickly when I work, and I really like editing and going on shoots. It's very good experience as well.

This was also the third week of my internship with the KSL production department. I get to go on shoots with them as well, which I really enjoy. I have met some really neat and talented people while I've been there. They work with Avid editing machines there, and I'm learning how to use those too. I helped write and choose footage and sound for three spots for This Is The Place Heritage Park which will air throughout the summer. I've learned a great deal during my time there. I like the atmosphere a lot, and all the people that work there are great. They're very encouraging and helpful.

My sleeping habits have been terrible lately, but I don't entirely mind until I have to drive home from Provo. That gets a little sketchy. I have to play my music real loud and sing at the top of my lungs to stay awake. I'm sure I'm a sight to behold. I stay up late playing with Josh mostly - watching movies and X-Files and such. We enjoy ourselves. It's getting harder for me to face the reality that he is leaving on his mission. One of my best friends Lucky Mather is leaving very soon as well, and every time I think about it I get close to tears. Josh is my very best friend and I am starting to miss him already, and he doesn't leave until July 22nd. Just have to make the best of the time we have left, I suppose. He and Lucky are both going to be fabulous missionaries. I'm very excited for both of them at the same time that I am sad they're leaving.

Things I have been enjoying lately:

Dr. Pepper on a parched throat
Remington Steele, curled up in my room
Star Trek
X-Files with Josh
Inkdeath and Enna Burning in the bathtub
Long drives to great music, singing loudly
Galaxy Quest special features
Late nights with great friends
Sleeping in (rare, but fabulous)
Warm weather
Curling up on the love sac
Writing stories for fun
Summer movie season

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Photography Experimentation

Here are just a bunch of pictures I've taken while goofing off with my dad's fancy camera. I like to play around with them on photoshop-type programs and make them look cool. I have recently begun to develop photography as a hobby. I like capturing natural personality and emotion and I like playing around with color and exposure a little bit. I've been told that if I want to make movies I need to experiment a lot with a camera - so here we go! As you'll notice, most of the pictures are of my brother Josh. I'm not totally sure why. I guess I'm just around him a lot...

Hear ye, Hear ye!

This is Jenny Hardy's first blog experience ever, so you should be excited! Um...what to say...

Right now I am watching Remington Steele, an awesome TV show from the '80s starring Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan. I'm pretty sure this series is the reason Pierce became James Bond. Both leads are fabulous - very charming together and seperately. It's an intriguing overall story - the most intriguing parts are the relationships between the characters, though the mysteries themselves are very well done, I feel, especially for a TV show of this nature. I highly recommend this show to anyone who likes action, mystery, comedy, and romance. Plus, Stephanie is a powerful, independent, gorgeous, feminine woman and Pierce's hair is absolutely fabulous. I have a thing for thick black hair. And British people. :) And he's extremely charming. Remington Steele is a fabulous show.

The last movie I saw in theaters was STAR TREK, and I loved it! And I'm also very glad it was a big success, except with a small minority like Roger Ebert who gave it 2.5 out of 4 stars when I feel it deserved at least 3.5 stars. Normally I have trusted his ratings, but since he gave the third Mummy movie high accolades I haven't taken him entirely seriously.

I have been a Star Trek fan for a long time. My favorite characters from the original crew are Spock, Bones, and Kirk, though I have a special place in my heart for all of the crew members. From the Next Generation crew I like Data and Picard the best, though I love them all as well. The Star Trek TV series have always seemed much better to me than the movies, though quite a few of the movies have been very good, my personal favorites being Wrath of Khan, Voyage Home, Generations, First Contact, and the newest installment.

In the new Star Trek movie, I thought the cast was chosen excellently. My favorites were still Spock, Bones, and Kirk, thought, like always, I loved them all. ("Dammit man, I'm a doctor, not a physicist!" CLASSIC!) I love that they totally revamped the series, so now they can do absolutely whatever they want. The film was beautiful to watch - loved the lens flares - and also had fabulous special effects. It was funny, smart, and though the time-travel theme seems to be wearing thin in Star Trek situations, this one didn't seem redundant to me. It used the familiar theme to its advantage. I'm excited to see Spock and Kirk's friendship develop and I wish now, more than ever, that I could be an officer on the bridge of the U.S.S Enterprise. Live long and prosper!