Say my name, over and over again

Two years ago, when Berlin Station first aired, I got a little kick out of the fact that one of the characters on it was named Esther (played by Mina Tander). And not just any character, but the woman would turn out to be a love-interest for Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage)!

Berlin Station S02E07 (13)

A year after Berlin Station I discovered Suits and got caught up in (binge-)watching that. In season 5 there was a guest character on the show who was also called Esther (played by Amy Acker), the sister of one of the main lawyers on the show (Louis Litt played by Rick Hoffman). She became a fling for the main guy Harvey Specter (played by Gabriel Macht).

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Ever since then I have been meaning to make an ‘Esther’ fan video in which Richard Armitage and Gabriel Macht say my name, over and over again. Now that I have finally finished watching the second season of Berlin Station, I finally decided the time had come. So, here it is, the video I finished making this weekend, featuring my name (said by more people than just Richard and Gabriel)…

When I was a kid, I really didn’t like my name. In time I made peace with it and now, over the years, I guess I have finally gotten used to it; I have warmed to it in such a way that I am now happy enough with it. This video is all silliness, and feels somewhat narcissistic, but it was nice hearing my name on the lips of actors I like and love and it’s been fun documenting it in this video!  🙂

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James Stewart rediscovered

For some reason, and I wasn’t sure how until I started digging through my memory of the past few weeks, I’ve started watching Jimmy Stewart movies (when not distracted by Richard Armitage at a film festival in Newcastle and all the subsequent reports and pictures streaming in). Now, I’ve always known James Stewart, have always really liked him, he’s one of the favourite actors of my younger brother but he never made it to the top of my “I love him/her so much!” actors list. I think that has now changed!

Digging through my memory, I think it was the fault of falling into an old 1943 movie about six or so weeks ago with Jean Arthur called The More the Merrier (if you want to see a very sexy love scene from the early 1940s that also makes you smile, check out this scene from that film!). I happened upon this scene on YouTube, then found the whole movie and watched it and really enjoyed it! Charles Coburn was truly excellent and funny in it (he won an Oscar for that role; luckily I didn’t find out till after I had seen and enjoyed the movie that Coburn had been a white supremacist!) but I was also very impressed with Jean Arthur! So, I jumped to the only other movie I knew with her, called Mr Smith Goes to Washington, with James Stewart (I now know she also did Shane, still need to re-watch that one). I had once seen Mr Smith many years ago but barely remembered it, so I watched it again and that is when James Stewart blew me away (don’t get me wrong, Jean Arthur is very good in this too!). So, after watching that, I have been binge-watching all of Stewart’s movies! Well, a whole lot of them, in any case.

What I think really hit me with James Stewart this time around is how extremely well he listens and reacts to others! I was pondering that over the past few weeks and then yesterday I was reading an obituary the NY Times had done on him where he is quoted as once having said, “I don’t act, I react”. I don’t quite agree with the “I don’t act” part. I see how the criticism can be that he is often himself in movies but I think he does something way cleverer than that: every character is quite different but somehow he takes every character and he finds a way to also inject them with his own humanity. What I do very much agree with is the “I react” part of that quote. Come to think of it, I think he was one of the best ‘reactors’ I have ever seen! He is an ‘everyman’ and very human in his expressions, that makes him so very relatable.

In his pre-war movies he starred in some dramas (like Mr Smith…), there was his first Western (Destry Rides Again) where he played a pacifist lawman (co-starring with Marlene Dietrich) but mostly the movies were lighter, romantic comedies, with The Shop Around the Corner being my absolute favourite one. That movie I have seen several times and re-watching it confirmed yet again what an adorable movie it is and what great chemistry James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan had (she helped kick-start his career and was also a close friend). In these early movies you can see that James Stewart had great comedic timing and a dry humour, which has served him well throughout his career. It looks like he is never purposely funny and yet he is funny. There is light-heartedness about him that I love, like in the scenes you see in this fan video I saw on YouTube…

To me, his most brilliant comedic performance, again where his character doesn’t mean to be funny but he really is, was a scene from The Philadelphia Story that he did with Cary Grant. The story goes that this scene wasn’t rehearsed, that they just played (and shot it) in one take. James Stewart is drunk and, in the middle of the night, visits Cary Grant’s house. Apparently the part where he starts hiccupping wasn’t scripted at all (neither was Cary Grant’s “Excuse me” response) and you can see that the men are struggling to keep it together, but keep it together they did. James Stewart won an Oscar for his role in this film, and I have a sneaking suspicion that, while he was excellent in the film, him winning the Oscar may have been because of this little scene. Here it is, the very funny “Oh, C.K. Dexter Haaaaaaaven” scene…

But he wasn’t only good at comedy, one of his stand-out dramatic performances was in the first movie he did after leaving the army (he had been a commanding fighter pilot in WWII), the very famous It’s a Wonderful Life. James Stewart’s time in the army did something to him, I think, in that it gave him some more gravitas, like in this heartbreaking scene from It’s a Wonderful Life which is so superbly acted (as is the whole film)… Really, this was a brilliant role for him and such a lovely lovely movie!

He also did the movie Harvey in 1950 after having played the role on Broadway and on the London stage. I’d always heard of the movie and had read about it and knew it was supposed to be legendary (Stewart was nominated for an Oscar for it) but I only actually watched it recently during this binge phase. I think that this role has now gone straight to the top of my fave James Stewart performances ever! If you haven’t seen it, go and watch it. James Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd, who has a 6 ft 8 invisible white rabbit (but not invisible to him) called Harvey as his best friend, is just absolutely charming and so heartwarming. I swear, it’s one of the most endearing characters I have ever seen and yes, unintentionally funny as well. Apparently it was one of his own favourite characters too. Here, have a look at one of my fave quotes of the film…

After the war James Stewart did a few very good Hitchcock movies (my fave of those is Rear Window with Grace Kelly) and he became famous yet again for his Westerns (he made many!). For almost all the Westerns he did, he rode a horse he had come to love, named Pie, and he wore the same cowboy hat in almost all those movies as well…

I’ve seen a few of those Westerns and there is a quality of tenderness in the man, despite some of the acts of violence the characters played by Stewart display. There’s a vulnerability there in Jimmy Stewart’s eyes that makes me actually enjoy watching these Westerns (not normally a genre I enjoy that much) and in some films where Indians play a role, they are even humanized instead of demonized, like in Broken Arrow (from 1950) where he helps negotiate a peace with Apaches. I think my fave Western of his is The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (where he doesn’t ride a horse or wear his hat) and co-stars with John Wayne (whom I really dislike and don’t like much in this movie either). However, I do love James Stewart’s character, who is a man who believes in the power of words over violence and yet finds himself in a situation where he needs to resort to violence.

James Stewart Man Who Shot Liberty ValanceAnother surprise to me was that I hadn’t remembered how good he was at being the romantic lead and how passionate his body language is. Again, his unparalleled reaction skills truly show! And being so tall helps him too. The way he looks at the women he loves on-screen, the way he reacts to them and then the way his tall frame totally envelopes them when he embraces them, holds them oh so tight and kisses them is just absolutely beautiful! In most movies I saw, I found he managed to manufacture great chemistry with his leading ladies. In fact, I just had to make a fan video about James Stewart being in love with his leading ladies!

The first scene I used in my fan video is from It’s a Wonderful Life with the beautiful Donna Reed opposite him. The tension and subtext just jump off the screen and punch you in the gut in this phone scene (that I cut somewhat but you can view in its entirety here, including what happens right before that phone part starts). The reacting, the breathing, the outburst of a man trying to fight his feelings but being overpowered by them – I can’t praise this scene enough! The role of George Bailey, to me, may have been his greatest romantic role ever… Anyway, here’s the video I made.

He did several of his early movies with Margaret Sullavan, someone else made a nice video for that…

After the war his on-screen wife for a few movies was June Allyson, whom he also had great chemistry with…

I also really liked him with Vera Miles in Liberty Valance and another movie called The FBI Story. The film itself is not that great, but Jimmy and Vera really do work very well together. Here, take a look at this scene of them together in that movie…

In reading up on him, I think I would rarely have agreed with him politically. He was famously best friends with Henry Fonda since the early 1930s and despite vehemently disagreeing with each other’s political views, they remained close friends until Fonda’s death in 1982.

Maybe we could learn something from these two men who had such opposing political views and yet were such friends (apparently their hobby was building model airplanes together!). Jimmy Stewart really seems to have been a humanitarian and I always respond well to that. I also love that he was so happily married to his wife Gloria for 45 years until she died in 1994. He became father to her sons of a previous marriage and they had twin girls together.

Apparently his final words before he died at age 89 in 1997 were, “I’m going to be with Gloria now.”

Just as everyone underestimates Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey, I think I may have underestimated James Stewart. I always liked him before, but now I can honestly say I love him.

Top fanvids on my YouTube…

I updated my fan video corner on this site yesterday evening, adding a page for the TV series Suits. I have made several videos for that show, the last one was in November, but I suspect that after series 7B airs (starting March 28th!), I will be making some more Suits videos. I didn’t have a Suits page yet but now that omission has been corrected.

I have a  YouTube channel, which is where I post most of my videos and I have posted videos there from the end of 2010 onwards. While I do post, I very rarely check any stats and I’m not very active there, community-wise. After I post a new video, I sometimes throw a quick peek at a few basic stats from the last few videos I posted but tend to quickly move on. I don’t aim to gather a huge following, I’m just sharing what I make and should others like it, then that’s the extra bonus.

Anyway, while updating my fan video corner here, I thought I’d check out my YouTube stats in a little more depth for a change. What I see is that I have garnered 957.875 views over the past 7,5 years! I don’t know if that’s really a lot in the grand scheme of things but it sounds like a lot to me! I am also surprised that I have 607 subscribers! They must come from varying fandoms as I have made videos for several different shows, but that number surprises me. I was also able to see what my most viewed videos were and the results also surprised me…


My number 1 most viewed video is a Suits video called ‘Crazy’ which I posted last November. I am gobsmacked that a video I posted only 4 months ago should already be at the top of the list! As I type this, the video has had 141.058 views and 296 likes (with 20 dislikes)…

I wonder what makes this Suits video so very popular! My first Suits fan video was made up of gifs, so not that great and I get why that one isn’t so popular. Another Suits video I made (“Bomb”) is blocked in USA and Canada (but also available on Vimeo), so I get why that doesn’t have that many views either. I do wonder why the one I made after ‘Crazy’ (called ‘Demons’) is stuck at 746 views, though, which is about 1000 views less than even that gif video. Is it really that much worse? Or was the popular one shared on some very popular Suits platform and is that why it is so extremely well viewed? In any case, this is interesting!


The number 2 most viewed video is one I did of a little Pierce Brosnan romcom called Laws of Attraction. Not the best of romcoms but I liked it and as there were very few fan videos of this movie out there, I decided to make one. It was posted in September 2012 (so took 5,5 years to garner the views it got) and has 132.506 views with 185 likes (and 18 dislikes). I guess it must be the big name (Pierce Brosnan), but it is the only video I also get spam notifications on. So, I’m thinking, maybe bots are responsible for some of those views?

I have a Pierce Brosnan videos page for the 4 vids I made starring him, should you care to see more. Two more Brosnan videos are in my top 10 most viewed list as well: at number 5 a Remington Steele ‘Kiss me’ video and at number 7 the ‘Love is all you need’ video.


My 3rd most viewed video is a bit of a dramatic Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries one. That one (posted in April 2016, so almost 2 years ago) has 115.914 views and the most likes of any other video on my channel: 666 likes (with only 10 dislikes)! So, number 3 in views but number 1 in most liked. 🙂

More Miss Fisher videos here. There are two more Miss Fisher videos in my top 10 most viewed list: at number 4 is ‘Jack’s Desk’ and at number 9 is ‘They can’t take that away from me’.


I also have A Place To Call Home videos, the most popular one of that show is the ‘At Last’ one I made at the end of season 4 a year ago, it’s the 6th most viewed video on my channel.

And ‘Time in a Bottle’ that I also made for that show is number 8 in the top ten.


I made a few Call the Midwife videos three years ago, some of them are also relatively popular. The most popular one for that show is ‘I Choose You’ (number 10 of my most viewed videos), which highlights the choice Sister Bernadette has to make…

More Call the Midwife videos here.


Outside of the top 10 videos, I also want to highlight a The Mentalist video. I always kind of assumed my old The Mentalist ‘That man’ video would remain my most popular video but that one is down to number 19 on the list now! Goes to show how long it’s been since I’ve actually really looked at stats. That video, one of my earliest fan videos (made in 2011!) and a little less polished looking, still remains one of my own faves. It is also still the most popular video of the The Mentalist ones I made…

More The Mentalist videos here.


And last but not least: I made the most videos for Silent Witness when the character of Dr. Harry Cunningham was still around. The show was never the same again after he left and after they killed off Dr. Leo Dalton a year later, I stopped watching altogether. My most viewed Silent Witness video (made in 2013, number 15 most viewed) got blocked on YouTube a year ago, so I have put it up on Vimeo. It dealt with the loss of Harry… Even after all these years (4, I think) I still hope that Dr. Nikki Alexander (she still does Silent Witness) will ride off into the sunset with Harry after all…

More Silent Witness videos here.


I should make a Richard Armitage fan video some time… but there are so many good ones already out there, I don’t feel like there’s much I can add. And I guess I should do this YouTube video analysis again some time in the future and see how things stand then. It’s been fun. 🙂

Music to my ears… partially…

So, there’s lots of audiowork from Richard right now…

First off, he narrated a very iffy romance called Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely. When Richard speaks about this project, it does sound interesting in theory…

… but in practice I remain sceptical. Also, it’s an audiobook, which I’m generally not into anyhow. Perry was kind enough to listen to it so that I don’t have to and share her thoughts. Thank you for that! And yeah, I’m convinced more than ever that this is not for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for a good romance but this doesn’t sound good to me at all… Sounds like more sex than plot & character, and while I don’t mind a graphic scene or two, I hate when there’s too much of it. It’s basically why I skipped through 80% of Fifty Shades of Grey and never bothered with the two sequels. I’m not sure I want to listen to some guy or girl masturbating on tape and, really, I mostly only like to hear dirty talk from my husband anyhow… So, yeah, I’m skipping this one, this project is not music to my ears.

The other project, the Wolverine one, IS music to my ears, as I already posted about here! It’s the first audio project of Richard’s that I am actually looking forward to! He’ll be on a panel at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin, Texas on March 11th, talking about Wolverine. Here’s also a press release about that. I’m looking forward to hearing more about what he says there, hope some fans can go and report back!

A third audio project that Richard narrated was released yesterday and is The Martian Invasion of Earth which I understand is a retelling of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. This could possibly be music to my ears, even though it is an audiobook! I don’t think I ever read the actual book and the movie with Tom Cruise was alright but not great. The adaptation I have always really loved of this book, however, is the rock musical Jeff Wayne made in 1978, narrated by none other than the late and great Richard Burton (that man had a great voice)!

Richard Burton

It’s the only audiobook of sorts that I’ve ever really enjoyed. What I love is the combination of Burton’s voice, the manner of narration and the great music that gives this an extra dramatic character.

So, I’m curious about the adaptation Richard A. has done and whether it can live up to the Jeff Wayne / Richard B. version. Richard A. is following into some big footsteps!

Martian Invasion Richard Armitage

The bits I have heard do sound promising, so I am going to try this despite it being an audiobook. Here’s hoping this will become music to my ears.

Yesterday news also came that Richard is filming again, this time a horror picture. “Noooo!”, was my first thought. Guess he changed his mind about not wanting to do horror. This is definitely no music to my ears. If there’s one genre I really can’t do, it’s horror. He’s filming something called The Lodge now.

Yeah, I can’t follow him there, I don’t think. I was only just about able to bear Hannibal, and admittedly, I think he did a great job there! However, it’s not something I can revisit and watching more horror is not something I can do… probably…

This horror movie and the sex book job sound like odd choices to me and it has me wondering whether he actually wanted to do these, or whether he was just obligated to do them, or whether he still feels like he can’t refuse stuff during down times even if they are iffy, or whether he finds them to be new challenges that somehow give him something, or whether he’s just a workaholic. I hope the answer is about new challenges and I hope he enjoys them…

Anyway, quickly shaking off this ice cold horror vibe that just ran down my spine from the horror movie choice, let me move on to another piece of audio. This time no Richard, but Hugh Jackman (yes, I know, him again). I was driving to work yesterday morning, listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack yet again and having such a blast with it, I decided to film the experience on my way home from work. This is what came of it… It’s my current fave song from that soundtrack, called ‘From Now On’.

And while I have Richard and Hugh in one post yet again, here are two more pictures of these two dashing gentlemen. I saw this picture of Hugh…

HJ

…. which somehow made me think of this picture of Richard, one of my faves ever of him…

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These are not music to my ears but a feast for my eyes to end this post on instead. 🙂

Madness, they call it madness!

“Madness, madness, they call it madness! Well if this is madness, then I know I’m filled with gladness!”

Yep, Mr Esther and I went to see Madness live last night, they performed in a quite intimate venue in Utrecht, which made it extra awesome! They are probably most known for their “Our House… in the middle of our street” song. I really like Madness, Mr Esther loves them, so we went and it was a great night out!

Every time I think of Madness, I am reminded of my wedding when at the party (we had a DJ) Madness was played and Mr Esther and his best friend went all, well, mad! They jumped around like crazy on the dancefloor so that everyone dancing had to make room for them. Last night, sure enough, Mr Esther was jumping up and down again! The man never, ever dances but Madness brings something out in him and he just can’t help himself. I absolutely love that!

I preferred to enjoy the concert instead of documenting it faithfully, so I only made videos of bits of songs here and there that I put together in this one video. Like Mr Esther, I couldn’t stand still either, so the camera is all over the place. The sound is not great either, there’s this recurring static noise that is sadly annoying,  but you get the idea. Songs featured in this video are ‘Wings of the Dove’, ‘House of Fun’ (at 1:46 minutes), ‘Baggy Trousers’ (at 2:47 with a brief glimpse of Mr Esther jumping at 2:57 minutes), ‘Our House’ (at 3:42 minutes, the only song I recorded completely) and ‘Night Boat to Cairo’ (at 6:40 minutes). Mr Esther fervently hoped they’d play Cairo’ and they did that as an awesome finale.

They played a lot of their hits like the ones mentioned above and also ‘Madness’, ‘One Step Beyond’ and ‘It Must Be Love’. That last one suddenly reminded me of one of the first fan videos (with screen caps only) that I had made for Silent Witness, using that song for my Harry & Nikki obsession at the time (I’m still not over them never actually getting together on the show).

The band really was great, the singer Suggs (Graham McPherson) sounds really good live, just like you’d hope for him to sound when you know his records, and it was an upbeat, happy evening all round! Suggs interacted nicely with the audience, even accepting a beer from one of them at one point. There was a little boy in the front row (maybe 6 or 7 years old) wearing big headphones and that boy was interacted with several times, which was cute! Suggs thought the venue looked like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise from his point of view, which was worth a few jokes. 🙂

The only down side I could think of was that the concert lasted only 90 minutes; I wouldn’t have minded another half hour or hour on top of that at least…