The RA challenge, part 2

Continuing the Richard Armitage challenge from here that Guylty has set; questions 9 to 16…


#9 Funniest moment you have seen RA in

There are many, small, funny moments and I especially love it when Richard giggles or he is in stitches. In the acting department, I loved seeing him on The Vicar of Dibley. His role was pretty straight compared to the other characters there and not really ‘deep’ but the show makes me laugh so very hard, I was just thrilled he was a part of that. I absolutely adored the proposal scene! Alas, I can’t find a clip of that scene online, but I could just watch it forever!

Harry Geraldine kiss

I also laughed so very hard at this little Strike Back scene:

There are many priceless (behind-the-scenes) moments and interviews but the first thing that springs to mind of real-life Richard are the two Cinemax interviews where Martin Freeman interviews Richard and vice versa.

#10 Saddest moment you have seen RA in

Thorin’s death in the last Hobbit movie. I know Richard has died often enough in other things, but this one really tugged at me. Powerful, heartbreaking scene that made me cry and still gets to me when I watch it again…

#11 Something you wish hadn’t happened in context with RA

I don’t really have many things I wish he hadn’t done. I may not agree with all he does but usually I can let the more bothersome things slide. Live and let live and all that. Having said that, I do get annoyed with his tweeting and deleting. I know it’s his Twitter and his right and all, but it’s annoying and confusing when it happens so much and I really don’t like it.

The other thing that comes to mind is that second Anglophile Channel interview he did. I enjoyed the first one (plenty of adorable giggles in it!) but that second one, the interviewer made me cringe so very much, I just wished he hadn’t done it… Not linking to it here, I just can’t watch it…

#12 Something you wish would happen

I don’t have the need to see Richard do any specific kind of role, he has challenged me with some roles he has chosen and I like that! Of course, I wouldn’t mind another romantic hero but no, my wishes are not for certain roles. What I do wish for fervently is that Sleepwalker, Urban and the Shed Crew, Brain on Fire and Pilgrimage would become widely available to audiences everywhere so that I too can see them! For Pilgrimage I have hopes of a wider release and Brain on Fire is supposed to go to Netflix, but where is it already? Basically I hate when my fave actor makes things that I can’t see. I also wish Love, Love, Love had been filmed and I wish for him to return to the London stage! Oh, and he’s always welcome to come spend a weekend at my house! 🙂

#13 A song that reminds you of RA

I have 3 songs that immediately spring to mind! The first one is Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back due to a fan video I saw way back when in my early fan days that became very popular! I didn’t know this song before I saw that video and I immediately found it very fitting; the video made me laugh. I always loved the first one most, maybe because it’s the first one I saw, but HeathDances later made two more Sexy Back videos, which are also good.

Also, songs used for other fan videos (see my #3 answer in my previous RA challenge post) always make me think of Richard as well.

The second song I want to mention is the Misty Mountains song that Richard himself sang in the first Hobbit movie. Still gives me goosebumps when Richard starts singing… I had it as my phone ringtone for a while but even at its loudest I wouldn’t always hear it properly when the phone was in my bag, so I recently changed the ringtone again. Nevertheless, I love hearing Richard sing this!

And the third song is Muse’s Starlight. Richard referenced my fave band Muse in his birthday tweet last year and I was incredibly stoked when he did. Now, when I listen to Starlight (or to Butterflies and Hurricanes which he referenced a few months later in an interview), I have the added bonus that it now also reminds me of Richard!

#14 Favourite Villain

Surprisingly Francis Dolarhyde!! I do not to horror well at all, avoid it all cost if I can. So, when Richard got this horror-part, I wasn’t sure I could deal with it. I was always going to watch it but I was determined to feel no sympathy whatsoever for such an evil serial killer. And then Richard pulled off the impossible – he made me feel sympathy for Francis! Very well done, Richard!

#15 A character everybody else loves that you hate

I don’t know about everybody but Guy of Gisborne is quite popular and I just don’t… *ducks behind counch – don’t shoot me*…

Guy Richard

I mean, Richard did good, I really do think that, and I don’t hate Guy, but he just doesn’t do that much for me… Maybe it was the guy-liner that was too distracting?

#16 A character everbody else hates that you love

I’m racking my brain here. Richard has played some hateful characters and I can’t say I love any of them. Maybe the answer to this is Francis Dolarhyde? He’s a difficult one to watch and I know there are fans out there who have never been able to even attempt watching him, which I can totally understand. While I can not love Francis Dolarhyde by any stretch of the imagination, he is the one that surprised me and unexpectedly made me feel sympathy (as I already mentioned above). So, I guess that would be my answer to this.

That’s it! More next week, hopefully!

Richard Armitage, my distraction…

Trying to distract myself today, but I guess I will end up watching Donald Trump’s inauguration after all – like watching a train wreck you just can’t turn away from… In the meantime, I am distracting myself with Richard Armitage. Servetus is trying to distract herself and us with Richard Armitage funny moments on her blog, so in that vein, I’d really like to share these from a few years ago. I just love giggly Richard Armitage in these (and Martin Freeman is a joy to watch as well!)…

Also, this past week the news emerged that Richard would be playing a role in the new Ocean’s 8 movie. Yay, something new that we might actually get to see! The Dutch print news also briefly reported this casting and one of the most popular entertainment news channels posted this on their enterainment news website… The text is very standard and short but look at the image they chose to go with that!


I mean, really? Couldn’t they do better than posting a picture of Elijah Wood and Lee Pace? If it had to be from that event and with Lee Pace, they could have chosen this one…


Or they could have just typed in “Richard Armitage acteur” in Google image search and would have had some nice and correct choices…


Or if, as a news site, you can’t just pluck any old picture off the internet, they could have done a simple ‘Richard Armitage’ search on the Dutch Getty Images site to get acurate images…


Anyway, I guess it’s clear how well known Richard is in The Netherlands: not well known at all! When I tell people I like Richard Armitage, everyone always says, ‘who?’ And if they haven’t even seen The Hobbit it’s even more difficult to explain… At least a popular gossip rag here did get the image right…


I’m fine with not the whole world knowing him and I’m glad that at least I do! And it’s good too that this magazine, that mostly publishes rubbish, got it right this time.

OK, have I distracted myself enough? T minus how many minutes now till the end of the world? I’ll just keep on smiling and distracting myself… I have job applications to write but can’t concentrate on that right now… I could tidy the house… nah… ooh, wait, I think I will go shopping for new glasses now! I need a a new pair but have been putting off going to the store… Yes, that’s a useful way to spend my time! 🙂

30 Day Movie Challenge – Day 3

Day 3 – A movie that makes you feel happy

So many movies make me feel happy! Watching feel-good movies is my drug of choice when I’m feeling down and my preferred feel-good genre is a good, fun romantic story.

Of course I’ve already mentioned Roman Holiday on day one of this challenge and some other favourite romantic comedies are When Harry Met Sally, While You Were Sleeping, You’ve Got Mail, Pillow Talk (that’s an old one with Doris Day and Rock Hudson), Ninotchka (another even older movie with with Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas), Bridget Jones’s Diary or Notting Hill. A recent favourite that I first saw not too long ago is Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and I also love the recent British romcom Man Up (that I have also already once blogged about here). Two other romantic movies that make me feel all warm and happy are musicals: Enchanted with over-the-top romantic Amy Adams makes me laugh and I love the English-Bollywood retelling of Pride and Prejudice called Bride and Prejudice. The joy of the music and the fun that just shines through everything in that movie just lifts my heart but maybe I also love it because of Naveen Andrews who always reminds me of my younger brother. Oh my goodness, as I type I can think of more and more but I’ll just have to leave it at that!

Anyway, there is one feel-good romantic comedy that I think makes me happiest of all and that is Love Actually! It has so many stars in it, I can’t even list them all here. Lady  Butterfly also mentioned it as her go-to feel-good movie in her movie challenge and I’ve got to say, I totally agree!

I love each and every storyline in it! Some are funny, some are heartbreaking and all stories are so beautifully crafted and beautifully acted and in some way or other cleverly inter-connected too! I’m trying to think of one performance that is my favourite and I find it hard to pick… Of course, I’ve got to make a special mention of Colin Firth here, as he is such a favourite of mine and I love him in the role of Jamie, and a special mention as well for Emma Thompson, another favourite of mine, who was heartbreaking in her part (the scene of her crying in her bedroom gets me every time). However, everyone else (Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman, Laura Linney etc. etc. etc.) is so excellent as well!.


When I need a pick-me-up I go to this movie and pick and choose scenes to watch and it’s rarely the same ones. Every time I pick different storylines to follow and every time they deliver. I smile, laugh out loud, feel heartbroken, wipe away a tear and when it’s over, I feel good! I also love watching the very beginning and the very end of the movie in the Heathrow arrivals hall with all these people, total strangers to me in all shapes and forms, hugging each other. Love truly is all around, despite recent events in the news that would almost have you believe the opposite. And where there is love, there is always hope!

So, I can highly recommend this movie to anyone who hasn’t seen it already and if you have seen it, you can relive some of the great scenes here:

(30 Day Movie Challenge – the full list of questions)

The last goodbye

I still have to wait for my The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies extended edition BluRay to come out. I have an empty spot saved for it in my movies cupboard, beside the other two The Hobbit BluRays and the The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Many years ago I was not into fantasy or science fiction at all but I had fallen in love with a man, my husband now, who did like those things. Through him I came to love Jean-Luc Picard and Star Trek and through him I was introduced to The Lord of the Rings.

My husband enjoys a good film but is not a real film fan. So, when we go to the cinema together, I am usually the one to pick the films. Over the years the man has come to enjoy a good romantic comedy or two and has even gotten to like Jane Austen of sorts. From the beginning of our relationship, some 23 years now (oh my, I sound old!), he has more than indulged me. So when 14 years ago he said he wanted to see the first The Lord of the Rings film in the cinema, I magnanimously agreed. Sure, I could make the sacrifce for him for once, I thought. I wasn’t really expecting much but he had proven good taste before with Star Trek: The Next Generation, so who knows, maybe this wouldn’t be too bad?

And then I saw The Fellowship of the Ring… and I was blown away! It looked gorgeous, the whole world, the story, the characters were fascinating! Of course, I fell in love with Strider/Aragorn, so that helped too (and I came to really, really like Viggo Mortensen).

Aragorn - Fellowhsip

Wait a whole year to find out what happens next? I don’t think so! When the film ended I badgered my husband to tell me the rest of the story but the good man wouldn’t. So, I immediately read the book which was a page turner and again to my surprise, I was hooked. I feverishly anticpated the next two Rings films and loved every minute of them and especially the extended editions when they came out! Kudos to my husband for not being smug about it and saying “I told you so”!

Quite some years later, imagine my thrill when I hear my favourite actor is going to play Thorin Oakenshield in the new Peter Jackson/Middle Earth fantasy adventure! I hadn’t read The Hobbit yet because, well, it didn’t have Aragorn in it… But I corrected the situation, read it… and was a little underwhelmed by the character of Thorin. But by now I trusted Peter Jackson and the things he did for Middle Earth. I figured he would find a way to make Richard Armitage shine as Thorin Oakenshield and I was not disappointed!

I am awed by Richard as Thorin and I absolutely loved Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and last night I couldn’t resist and downloaded the last Hobbit extended edition and watched it. I don’t have the extra’s (I will wait for those when I buy the BluRay), just the movie… and I was hooked again! I admit to getting a little battle-weary and The Hobbit trilogy isn’t quite as powerful to me as The Lord of the Rings trilogy was, but even so, I loved it! And I loved what Richard did with his role, the subtle emotions battling in his eyes and on his face. He moved me to tears and I know I am not alone in thinking he did a great job. I loved Bilbo in it too, and his love for Thorin made me cry extra at the end… This, more than the other two Hobbit films, was Thorin’s film.

When the titles rolled, I was wiping away tears but Billy Boyd singing “The Last Goodbye” didn’t help (it’s all really over now!). I love love love the artwork for these films and the character drawings at the end, shown during the titles, are absolutely stunning to me, like this one:

Thorin Oakenshield drawing

Afterwards I went to YouTube and watched the video to Billy Boyd’s song and saw all the Lord of the Rings images as well…

… and now I just want to watch all 6 movies back to back again… extended editions only!

The Eichmann Show

The BBC showed a TV film called “The Eichmann Show” the other night and I have just watched it. It stars Martin Freeman (as producer Milton Fruchtman) and Anthony LaPaglia (as director Leo Hurwitz) and tells the story of how the trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann was brought to television screens in 1961.

Eichmann ShowMartin Freeman was a bonus attraction but the real attraction to watch this was the topic. I have a history with the topic.

I was born In Jerusalem, spent my childhood there. From the garden of our house in the village we lived in outside Jerusalem we looked out over a valley and at the other side of the valley stands Yad Vashem, the museum in Israel that shows the horrors of the Holocaust. I’m not sure if it is my later knowledge playing tricks on me or whether it was really so, but I always imagine that from my bedroom window I was able to see the reddish train car that is on display there outside the museum. Ever since I can remember, stories of the Holocaust were around. Our neighbor upstairs was a Holocaust survivor with a tattooed number on her arm (that we were never allowed to ask anything about). I remember being fascinated by this mystery of the Holocaust, I knew terrible things had happened but was sheltered from exactly what. When people said they had been to Yad Vashem and how sobering that had been, I wanted to go as well, especially as we lived quite close to it, but I was never allowed to as I was deemed too young. I finally did visit, years later, but not in my childhood when we lived there.

We then moved to Germany where at the time the Holocaust was more of a distant memory. I remember that just after we moved there, German TV showed this TV mini series called “Holocaust”. It was not the first airing but a repeat but I remember that the showing was relatively new. It had opened up a big can of worms and the Holocaust became a big point of discussion in Germany. See the “Reception” section in wikipedia’s entry about this series where the reactions in Germany are also described: For me too, it was an introduction to the Holocaust. I was allowed to watch it with my parents and I could finally see what the topic I had heard so much about really was about. I remember being devastated and upset and talking with my parents a lot. I wanted to understand how families of my friends in school could have been involved in such a thing! Or were they even involved? And what really happened? And how many Germans went along with it and how many stood up against it? The Germans I knew were nothing like the Nazis… it started a whole fascination of this topic for me. I read everything I could, about the horrific things that had happened, how it had come to pass, everything. I wasn’t taught anything about the recent German history in school so I had to figure it all out myself. At 13 I read the Diary of Anne Frank, about a girl in Holland (where my family was from!) and decided to write a diary as well.

Many years later, at the age of 19, I went on a German-US study trip with German students (and me) and American Jews. We first went to the US to study about the Holocaust and to study Judaism, we then went to Poland and visited Auschwitz and after that we went to Berlin (it was the summer before the Berlin Wall fell – I returned there 3 or 4 weeks after the Wall had fallen, which was an eery experience and is a story in itself). The trip was emotionally exhausting, relationships between the Americans and the Germans were sometimes strained and I was caught in the middle sometimes but the trip was also extremely enriching at the same time.

I was obsessed with the topic (at some times more than at other times) for many years. I remember when I was pregnant with my son that my husband forbade me to read or watch anything to do with the Holocaust as I was having nightmares about trying to hide my baby in the attic from the evil Gestapo. And yet, after all that study, I never felt I have ever really been able to wrap my mind around what happened in the Third Reich. And if I didn’t understand it well enough, how could I prevent myself from falling into such a blind hatred over something that would cause me to lose my humanity? I closed myself off from it for a while, I had to. Films like Sophie’s Choice and Schindler’s List I have seen once, maybe twice, and although they are excellent films I cannot bring myself to watch them again. I am never going to understand it all, not really, and so I have made my peace with that and let it go for the most part.

And then sometimes, something comes on TV and I am caught again… and this is what happened with “The Eichmann Show” that I just watched. Leo Hurwitz, the director of the Eichmann trial TV registration, is fascinated by Adolf Eichmann. His one goal is to find a crack, a humanity, a morsel of guilt or remorse in Eichmann. Leo Hurwitz… I am him in a way! Trying to wrap my mind around it, trying to understand how it ever could go so far. He believes every human, in the right (well, wrong, really) circumstances, is capable of such attrocity and that at some point they will crack and show remorse. Eichmann never did, he remained icy cold and tight lipped throughout the trial and showed no feelling whatsoever. What does this tell you about humanity? What does this tell you about hatred? I am yet again confronted with these questions and I fear I will never ever understand. I wish they had not used the death penalty on these war criminals at the time, that way there was never going to be a chance to learn what made them do what they did… It’s the same regret I feel about those terrorists in France being killed – how can we ever hope to find any answers to why people do these things if they all get killed? Lock them up and keep asking them questions, over and over again during their life imprisonment, and maybe there is a hope that they will regret and we can learn to understand?

Too many thoughts twirling in my brain now. If you’re interested, here’s a good article from The Guardian about this TV film: I’d recommend the film to anyone… but then again that may also be my bias towards the topic talking.

1.30 am in the morning! Now I have written about it, maybe I can finally let my mind rest and get some sleep (I have to be up again in 6 hours…)