The good things in life

Let me start with the bad things in life. Specifically Boris Johnson as new prime minister of the UK and a Burqa-ban which has come into effect today in The Netherlands are upsetting me and so, for my own sanity, I keep my news intake to a minimum right now. Instead, I try to focus on the good things in life. For instance: my summer holiday started on Wednesday, the technique of using baking powder to clean my two pairs of  Birkenstock slippers sorta worked (I walk on them all day every day in the summer, I kid you not), today Mr Esther, my daughter and I will go on a day trip to a city near the German border, and tomorrow I am going to meet my ex-coworker’s two week old baby girl! When we exchanged chat messages earlier this week, she said she was very low on bibs for the baby, so I got her these (that 5th item is a shirt and not a bib)…

baby gifts

It’s always good to focus on babies over politics. 🙂

What also makes me happy is the new Picard trailer. I think I have watched it 10 times already. I love Jean-Luc Picard (and Patrick Stewart as well) and I so very much wish for leaders like him in the real world!

I can hardly wait for this in 2020!

Next up: as I love Roman Holiday so very much, I had to watch last weekend’s Hallmark movie Rome in Love, which was about an unknown actress getting ready to film a Roman Holiday remake and she herself falls in love with an American journalist in Rome. Kinda meta, I know. I watched the movie, it was OK, but had nowhere near the charm of Roman Holiday, which I just needed to watch again for the zillionth time. That movie is always the best pick-me-up movie! It got me back to zipping through some Audrey Hepburn movies again and boy was she good and gorgeous! The last movie she did was a small role as an angel in the Steven Spielberg movie Always. I re-watched her scenes in that and was struck by this image of her in the movie at one point…

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The humanity and kindness in her face in that sunset light is just breathtaking.

And there are more goodies to be focused on! On Guylty’s blog the other day she was asking about ‘other gods’ we like besides Richard. In the comments section I mentioned the other (male) gods present in folders on my computer…

I have several side attractions: Colin Firth, Gregory Peck, Hugh Jackman, but I also have some David Bowie, Keanu Reeves, Pierce Brosnan, Simon Baker, James Stewart, Lucas Bryant (yeah, not known), Richard Chamberlain and Viggo Mortensen folders. However those folders are tiny compared to my Richard Armitage folder. Just did a check, I think the largest folder after Richard is Colin Firth with some 400 items. Richard’s folder has 3000 items… 🙂

This triggered me to check out what my more recent actor-crush, Lucas Bryant, has been up to. He’s been pretty quiet of late, not many new roles to speak of, but I did find out that he’s been doing a few M.A.R.V.E.L. Agents of Shield episodes recently. I don’t watch that show but have watched (parts of) the 3 episodes he’s in last night and boy, did he look fine! The camera sure does like him in close-up.

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Last but not least, I watched the newest Suits episode this morning (season 9, episode 3) and in it there was a Louis Litt dream sequence which was so funny! Louis is a judge and a lawyer in that dream and the jury turns out to be made up out of 12 Harveys!

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Gabriel Macht, who plays Harvey on Suits, directed this episode and I wonder if this court scene was the funniest thing he has ever directed and how much fun did he have embodying those 12 Harveys? The eye-scratching middle finger and the one where he holds a cat like that (cats are Louis’s obsession, not Harvey’s!) are the highlights for me. All of Louis’s insecurities, especially with regards to Harvey, are on display here and that just cracks me up. Rick Hoffman as Louis remains a highlight of this show. Oh heck, here’s the whole scene…

I’m so glad there are also so many joys in this world. 🙂

What Lucas does next…

Second attempt at this post (I had just published the first attempt and then inadvertantly deleted it while I was trying to tweak something about it quickly on my phone – sorry for any alerts people may have received that didn’t work!).

So, people say that Richard Armitage has been quiet on social media but my newest crush Lucas Bryant has been even quieter: nothing on his Twitter since the beginning of last December! I am pretty much up to date with all of his work that I could lay my hands on and am naturally very curious to see what he is up to next. I have not immersed myself into the fandom yet (my level of obsession ist still manageable) but I have been checking out his Twitter and IMDB page for news regularly.

Last week I worked on a new fan video for the show he did called Haven, set to one of my current fave songs called Human

… and then I checked his Twitter again (nothing) and for the first time in weeks tried his IMDB again as well. This time there was a positive result! Apparently Lucas is filming a new movie right now called Walk to Vegas, directed by his Haven co-star Eric Balfour.

At first I was very pleasantly distracted by his new IMDB profile picture (I just love the longer hair and stubble look and he has such a friendly face!)…

Lucas Bryant

… and then a Twitter “#WalkToVegas” search resulted in some lovely images too! There’s a cheeky picture, I understand it was taken just before filming started (the guy on the right is Eric Balfour, actor, and director of this movie)…

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There was also a blue-lighted scene picture, with Lucas on the left…

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… and there were a few group pictures (click to enlarge) with Lucas on the right, Lucas second from left and Lucas in the middle…

Let me just enlarge Lucas in that black and white picture for you…

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Yes, that’s right, the earthquake you just felt was me fainting to the floor! That scruffy look and that gaze straight into camera are just so… I am already so very much looking forward to seeing scruffy Lucas in action in this movie! I so hope I will get to see this (unlike some Armitage movies that have trouble getting released)…

Jobs and fangirling…

Good news first: I finally found a job! Due to budget cuts my last job ended at the end of last summer. I have been doing little bits of freelance stuff for my former employer here and there since, but nothing close to what could constitute a real and steady job. I’ve sent many applications and have had quite a few job interviews and finally that has paid off! I had a second interview at an organization I really liked yesterday for a job that will be challenging but I think also fun. They were going to let me know on Thursday but an hour after I left the office I was called and already offered the job! Next week I go in for a 3rd interview to discuss actual salary, working hours, etc. but that shouldn’t be a problem… I still have a few freelance things lined up from my former employer so I hope to start in my actual new job by mid March. Eeek! 🙂

The good thing about being out of work for a while is that I have had more time than ever to fangirl. Hence the time I had to binge-watch 5 seasons of Syfy Channel’s Haven with my new crush Lucas Bryant. Hence the time to make video clips and, yes, today even finish an actual Haven fan video (with plenty of touching and kissing in it, because the only touch Nathan can feel is Audrey’s)…

Laid back life will be over soon… I’ll be back to working 30-32 hours (which I haven’t done in a long time, my former job was 24 hours a week), I’ll continue teaching Dutch 2 hours a week to my Polish and Italian students, I might be doing some more occasional freelance stuff for my former employer, not to mention carving out time for family! I have a fear my fangirling will start to suffer somewhat… Sad in a way (because I really love fangirling!), but I do admit to being happy that I will finally have a steady work-purpose again soon! Not to mention the fact that the extra income will be very welcome again… Yes, times they are a-changing…

The Lucas Bryant obsession

Yep, I am in full on obsession mode, trying to get my hands on anything and everything Lucas Bryant has done in the past… I fell for him recently and can’t get enough. I’ve been roaming the internet, finding interviews and pictures and other TV/movies he has done and I am liking what I am seeing. I even updated his Wikipedia page, adding a son in the ‘personal life’ section after I read in a recent interview that he had also become dad to a baby son in 2015 (he already has a daughter).

Especially everything he did before Haven is difficult to come by… But I did find a little gem from 2006 called Playing House (in the end only downloadable via iTunes USA, something that took a bit of researching on how to do that for me here in The Netherlands). The movie is about a young woman enjoying her life in New York and her latest fling when she unexpectedly becomes pregnant. She must re-evaluate what it actually is she wants out of life and what sort of man she does or doesn’t want to share her life with. A recognizable struggle, I think. Lucas plays the maybe not exactly ideal but sweet musician boyfriend who is the father of the baby. He is so young in this (in 2006 he would have been 28), a bit of a bouncy puppy really, but he is absolutely endearing… Here’s a fan video for that movie…

Lucas the actor can also sing and play guitar and is a bit of a goofball… (and I think he was the motor behind the lyrics of the song in this following video, because when the others sing their parts, you can see his lips moving subtly along to some of the words as well).

He also plays guitar in Playing House for his baby which is really sweet…

Literally the second after this lovely moment ends, baby mayhem ensues again. I thought the movie depicted extremely well what life can be like for parents with a newborn. I recognized a lot, showed some scenes to my husband and he sat nodding beside me. Overwhelming love and desperation and cluelessness all rolled into one rollercoaster ride…. Yeah, little gem of a film.

Lucas Bryant was a cute young actor and now is maturing very nicely in his end 30s. Here are some more Shoot the Messenger stills, an 8-epsiode TV series set in Toronto that he did after finishing Haven in 2015 and it aired in 2016 (I shortly already mentioned StM at the end of my one-day film festival post). He’s very good in this!

While I’m at it, a few more Haven shots in a slideshow…

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And one of the videos I found on YouTube was a charming one of him answering questions from fans wearing a hat and looking soooo cute in that too (click on images to enlarge, it’s worth it)!

OK, here’s that video too…

He’s also on Twitter but mostly only for promo purposes, he hasn’t been on for a while now. He is charming and amusing on there as well. There are no announcements for new projects for him yet that I am aware of. I hope something turns up soon because I want to see more of him!

Yeah, all of this babble may not interest anyone but I am smitten and when I am smitten like this I just need to let it all out on blog. It’s amazing how there is always room in your heart for more than you already have in there to love. I love love, it is such a wonderful thing!

One-day film festival: true stories!

Like last year, a friend of mine and I again went to a one-day film festival this year. It was held this past Sunday in several Pathé cinemas across the country, with each cinema running the same programme. The day started at 10.30 am, ended at 11 pm and we could hog our seats in the same theatre all day. We saw 5 movies in that time and there seemed to be a theme this time around (although it wasn’t advertised as such): true stories!

The first movie we saw was Jackie (see trailer).

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The movie is about the aftermath of the John F Kennedy assassination, told from the viewpoint of his widow Jackie Kennedy (played by Natalie Portman). She is interviewed shortly after the funeral by a journalist (Billy Crudup) and that interview is the thread throughout the whole story. The portrayal by Portman is fascinating, a woman filled with grief and mixed feelings, struggling to honour her dead husband properly, a woman who is insecure but at the same time she knows exactly what she wants and will take no crap. Billy Crudup really struck me as the interviewer. I vaguely knew his face and when I checked his credits later I realize I have seen several movies with him in it but I had never noticed him until now!

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Portman was very good as Jackie Kennedy and Crudup did things to my insides with his intent gaze. The recently deceased John Hurt played a small, lovely role and when he came on, tears sprung to my eyes! I hadn’t realised he was in this and I loved him (and his voice).

JACKIE (2016) John Hurt, Natalie Portman CR: Bruno Calvo

However, I was never actually blown away, for some reason (although I did develop a little crush on Crudup in the movie). Maybe this is something more ingrained into the US psyche than the European one and therefore feels a bit distant? I don’t really know what it was, but it was a good movie, even though it wasn’t great, in my humble view.

We had a lunch break and then went on to the second movie called Their Finest (see trailer).

gemma-arterton-sam-claflin-their-finestTheir Finest Hour and A Half Directed by Lone Sherfig

A young woman (Gemma Arterton) in WWII London thinks she is being hired as a secretary but is hired to write women’s dialogue for a British propaganda film. She teams up with two scriptwriters where she works especially closely with one of them (Sam Claflin). Bill Nighy plays the older has-been actor who gets a part in the propaganda film. This movie is not necessarily a true story but it certainly could have been! The movie is a bit of a romantic comedy, Bill Nighy has the most comic part and does it brilliantly but Gemma Arterton and Sam Claflin are great too. I know Sam Claflin and already like him (though melodramatic, I thought he was great in Me Before You) but my friend really discovered him on Sunday and has fallen a little bit in love. 🙂 The movie is feel good and light, champions women, but also has some darkness and yes, even tragedy, which even made me gasp at one point. Yep, I loved this movie!

After a 20 minute break, it was on to the next one. This time a German movie called Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben (see trailer, sorry couldn’t find one with English subtitles).

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This is based on the true story of a young man (Kostja Ullmann) who dreams of training and working in the best hotels. There is, however, a problem: he only has 5% vision, so is virtually blind! No hotel will take him with his handicap and so he decides to apply for a hotel traineeship at an exclusive hotel without telling anyone he can’t see. With the help of his family and the friends he makes at the Bayerischer Hof Hotel that hires him, he is able to do well! Until, at some point, everything threatens to unravel because of his bad eyesight… This was another light-hearted movie, with some sad elements as well, and all the more amazing because it is based on a true story. At the end the real man who inspired this movie is also briefly shown. Yes, we enjoyed this one!

After the German movie we had a one and a half hour break for dinner. We went to a nearby Sushi restaurant which was delicious. Service was quick and we made it back just in time for the 4th movie, Hidden Figures (see trailer).

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This was the movie I was most looking forward to! It’s the true story of three African-American women struggling to do work that challenges them at NASA in the early 1960s. The movie centres mostly around mathematician Katherine Goble (Taraji P. Henson) who struggles to show what she really is worth in a white man’s team of scientists. Janelle Monáe plays Mary Jackson who struggles to become an engineer at NASA and to do so must get her qualifications from an all-white college. Her speech at the court is one of the highlights of the movie. And then there is Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), smart mathematician and shrewd supervisor who fights for her women’s team and must stand up against white supervisor Vivian Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst). While I really liked Katherine’s geekiness and Mary’s spunk, I loved Dorothy’s humourous fierceness. And when at the end of the movie Vivian finally treats Dorothy with the respect she deserves, that was the one part of the movie that made tears spring to my eyes. This movie was pretty much exactly what the trailer promises and I loved it.

After another 20 minute break, we saw the last movie called Gold (see trailer).

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This was the movie I was least looking forward to because I really don’t like Matthew McConaughey very much. It’s a movie about a sleazy mineral prospector digging for gold in Indonesia and getting investors on board to help make the dream of finding gold come true. This movie is also based on a true story! McConaughey is sleazy, and not just because of the way he looks in this. I really do not understand how he could get such a good-hearted girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard). The story was well told but I just hated that seedy, greedy feeling throughout the movie. While McConaughey really acts very well (and dares to look awful!), I just could not warm up to this movie, just like I could never warm up to The Wolf of Wall Street for the same reason, which received all sorts of accolades a few years back. Still, because it was well acted and well-told it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

The movies last year had been more harrowing (especially Room which had literally made me sob), the movies this year were a little lighter and my friend and I had a really great time! We certainly want to do this again next year. 🙂

And just to shake off the McConaughey feeling I now have, here are some lovely pictures to look at of my latest crush, Lucas Bryant (click on images to enlarge). 🙂 These are all stills from his latest project Shoot the Messenger, where he plays an investigative journalist and which is really quite good! I hope a follow-up season will be made!