Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I am a man! A man's review of Les Miserables

I am a man (not 40 like coach), I like man things.  I like Duck Dynasty, I like to fish (caught one last week), I even like hunting (although I don't do that much).  I drive a very large truck in a city that is not very accommodating for trucks.  I wear boots with almost every outfit I own.  I have a real tree camo UK hat.  I like SEC football and The Civil War.  I AM A MAN!

However, I recently watched Les Miserables for the first time.  Let me be clear, I knew very little about the musical prior to watching it.  I knew it had something to do with the French Revolution.  While I do not care much for French history, I do like military history.  I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  So here is my manly, unbiased, review of this movie.  Yes, I did the American thing and watched the movie instead of seeing the play.

(Im just saying....)

Alright, so here is the skinny.  I do not see how Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress. Don't get me wrong, Anne was good, probably great.  The problem is she was only in the movie like 25 minutes total.  That might be a generous allotment, too.  She is barely in the movie.  Russell Crowe plays Javert, and he is pretty bad. I give him credit for having the "courage" to do this movie, but he isn't very good.  Borat is in the movie....basically playing Borat.  He is pretty good.  However, to me, Hugh Jackman absolutely steals the show.  He plays Jean Valjean, a character that most men could relate to.  He did an outstanding job, seriously.

Here is the bad (other than Russell Crowe)...they sing through the ENTIRE movie.  Now don't give me the  "duh, Boomer, its a musical!" crap.  Most musicals that I am aware of, Tommy, Camelot, Showboat, (that's the extent of my musical knowledge thanks to Trinity High School English department) have dialogue, song, dialogue, song.  This entire movie is singing, and its actually sort of distracting.  At least it was for me.  I also wanted to take a shower as a result of this movie.  These people, almost all of them, were disgusting.  Also, the more I watched it, the less I cared about their revolution, and realized I wasn't entirely sure what they were fighting for?  I think this is mainly because I was over thinking my AP Western Civ class (again, thanks to Trinity), but I ultimately really didn't care about a bunch of college hippies. I actually was somewhat sympathetic to Javert, who was just doing his job.  Even Jean Valjean admits this very fact.  I sort of felt like the movie/musical was sort of a mess.

There was good though, mainly Wolverine Jean Valjean.  What a great character arc, what a great performance.  Three scenes stuck out to me, two which dealt with the same subject.  Jean Valjean had been living a life of crime for stealing bread...seriously.  Anyway, about the time he is going to be sent back to jail he is saved by a Catholic Bishop (Myriel).  The Bishop covers for Jean and keeps him from going back to jail.  As a result of this, Jean dedicates his life to God and to living a better life.  Which, to his credit, he does.  I liked the fact that this event and intervention (from a Catholic), really steered him in the right direction.   This is something that many of us can relate to.   

Now, here comes the two scenes that I loved.  Through a series of events, Jean Valjean takes the above blond hair, blue eyed girl, (not Baylor Grace) under his wing to raise.  He realizes he is now a father, and everything has changed.  The world is "full of grace, full of light." Everything he had done wrong, was gone.  Happiness was his because of her.  His only fear, is failing her.  Can't every parent relate to this? Hasn't every father to a little girl gone through this very same thing!?  The moment you hold your child, the moment you hold your girl, for the first time....it changes everything.  So here I am, a self proclaimed "mans man," on an airplane...fighting back the tears because this is exactly how I feel about my girls.  This scene really got to me, one of my favorites of the entire movie.

The second scene happened right towards the end of the movie. This is when his adopted (aforementioned) daughter comes to find her father, who is sick.  Jean Valjean proclaims that all he has done in his life, which was a lot of good, SHE was the best thing he did.  He considered her a blessing in this crazy world, and now that she was next to him, he could die in peace.  It actually was a beautiful scene, very moving.  

All in all it was worth watching, but I don't get all the fuss.  I gave you about 10 minutes out of a 2.5 hour movie.  I suppose those 10 minutes wouldn't have been meaningful without sitting through the other 150 minutes.  

Now, I need to go do something manly.  

Friday, April 5, 2013


Some say that adversity builds character.  I disagree, I believe adversity reveals character.

Hadley with binky on 4-21-2011

Last night was a big day in our house, the Binky Fairy came (presumably) for the last time.  This is always a traumatic day in our house for both child and parent.  The time spent crying themselves to sleep is always difficult for any parent to hear, especially when you know its because of your own doing.  It was very bittersweet this time, because this is just one of those last baby hurdles that we will never see again.

Hadley with binky on 4-4-2013

After I got home from work I was told it was time.  We all said goodbye to the binky and placed them on the front porch.  The girls were literally taking bets on how long it would take for the Binky Fairy to come.  When the BF comes, she (I guess its a girl) takes the binky and leaves a gift in its place.  The binky will then be given to a new baby that needs them.  Its the binky circle of life.  We had been prepping Hadley that this was going to happen.  She fully understands what her binky is, and she understands bye.  We have had her saying bye to her binky, she goes most of the day without, but like all comfort items, it was always there when she needed it.  After a few minutes, Brooke asked Hadley to go check the front door  to see if the BF had come, and there was "Princess (a stuffed pink poodle with big eyes)," the new toy from the BF.  This was very exciting.  Carolina goes "see I told you the Binky Fairy was fast."  I guess she won the bet.  The new toy became Hadley's favorite toy du jour.... for about five minutes.    Then this conversation happened:

Hadley: (to her mother) binky??????
Mom:  They are all gone, the Binky Fairy took them.  This is your new toy.
Hadley: (Walks over to the counter where Brooke's purse is.   Brooke would often keep a spare binky in her purse.  Hadley looks at it points to the purse and says).."ehhhhh?"
Mom: No Hadley, binky all gone
Hadley: (Walks over to the stair case points up to her bed) "EHHHH?"
Mom: No Hadley, binky all gone.
Hadley: (Walks over to the front door)
Brooke: We can look one more time if you want, but binky is all gone.
Hadley (like a hawk- visually sweeps back and forth on the porch looking for a binky).

Blankey (this is her blanket she carries around with her everywhere.  I know, we arent real original with names in my house.  Brooke once had a doll named....Dolly) and Princess didn't leave her side all night.  Honestly, we were pretty good without binky until bedtime.  That's when we had about 30 minutes of crying out for binky.  Poor girl.  The big girls liked it though, they had a sleep over in the basement, because we didn't know how bad it was going to get with Hadley.  Before you knew it, Hadley was asleep.

This morning we were all waking up and getting ready for the day, when Brooke decided to wash Hadley's sheets.  Why right then? I don't know.  The three of us are in Hadley's room and Brooke rips up the sheets and out flies a binky.  Admittedly, Brooke had cat like reflexes and swipes it up in her hand so Hadley doesn't get it.  So far, so good.  The look of sadness, joy and confusion in Hadley's face was priceless. Brooke later says "I knew she had buried a binky or two!"  Really, then why undress her bed in front of her?  Anyway, now we will see what Brooke is made of.  Now the pressure is on, the adversity has hit, you could cut the tension in the room with a knife.  I was fascinated to see what Brooke would do in this enormously high pressured situation.   So what does my wife of 10 years do?  The woman who carried and brought 4 children into this world.  The person who runs the house, cleans the house, pays the bills, feeds the kids, etc.  What does a woman with all these great attributes do, as her recently binkiless child stares at her mother who has a newly found binky in her hand?  And let me say this, figuratively speaking, if you ever wanted someone at the free throw line to win the big game, its Brooke.  She has ice in her veins, nothing ever rattles her.  She is always calm, cool, and collected.

Brooke quickly hands me the binky with a frantic  "do something stare in her eyes. She panicked. Hadley now looks at me with the most defeated and hurt look in her eye and says: Daddddyyyyyyyyy! At which point she begins to cry.  Now, this whole thing is my fault.

At this point I am thinking this can go one of two ways: either she can get over pretty quick and move on, or she can grow up to be stripper because her father took away her binky.  Luckily, by the time I was leaving for work I got my usual grand send off from Hadley.  I think we are good.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank my normally stoic wife for throwing me under the bus.  I will get you back for this.