Gone With the Wind

Another English project that can double as a post....joy! This month, instead of a book report, we had to write a film review. We were required to write about 3 things we liked and 3 things we disliked about the film. Finding 3 things I like was simple. Finding 3 I didn't was more of a challenge. You'll easily come to find that this is my favorite movie. Also (CAUTION: Pun ahead!), if you didn't like the movie, frankly, my reader, I don't give a damn. You should keep reading this and reconsider it. If you haven't seen it, you better go watch it. So, without further adieu....

Scarlett O’Hara’s universality was the first thing that grabbed my attention about Gone With the Wind. Roger Ebert says, “Scarlett O’Hara is not a creature of the 1860s but of the 1930s: a free-spirited, willful modern woman. The way was prepared for her by the flappers of Fitzgerald’s jazz age, by the bold movie actresses of the period, and by the economic reality of the Depression, which for the first time put lots of women to work outside their homes.” Scarlett’s drive and attitude are timeless and placeless. She could be the woman in London or Tokyo. She could be the woman from 1531 or 2010. Her struggles are real and were felt before her and are still felt today—she is universal. I admired her for that reason.

While I admired Scarlett for her gumption and universality, I was also relieved to see justice played out. Some may call it karma. I like to say she got every bit of nothingness she deserved. Roger Ebert, again, says, “Of course, she could not quite be allowed to get away with marrying three times, coveting sweet Melanie’s husband Ashley, shooting a plundering Yankee, and banning her third husband from the marital bed in order to protect her petite waistline from the toll of childbearing. It fascinated audiences (it fascinates us still) to see her high-wire defiance in a male chauvinist world, but eventually such behavior had to be punished, and that is what ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn’ is all about.” Before the war, Scarlett schemed to get the man of her dreams to marry her. After that failed, she schemed to steal him from his wife (and her sister-in-law). After the war, when she vowed she would never be hungry again, (even if she had to “lie, steal, cheat, or kill,” every word of which she meant) she did everything in her power, no matter how scandalous, to have money. Because she stole, lied, cheated, and schemed, the fact that she ended up with nothing at the end made me happy in a way because it really gave a “what goes around comes around” feel.

Frank S. Nugent, a writer for the New York Times, said of the casting, “...casting [was done] so brilliantly one would have to know the history of the production not to suspect that Miss Mitchell had written her story just to provide a vehicle of the stars already assembled there....If there are faults, they do not extend to the cast.” Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara, Clark Gable’s Rhett Butler, Olivia de Havilland’s Melanie Hamilton, Leslie Howard’s Ashely Wilkes, and Hattie McDaniel’s Mammy were, in my opinion, utterly flawless. I recall the first time I saw this movie a few years ago, and instantly fell in love with Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. Their performances led to my viewing of It Happened One Night starring Gable and Anna Karenina starring Leigh. The acting in a movie, to me, is the most important aspect. The movie won’t sell without good acting, but this movie did not have that problem.

While the movie is captivating throughout the duration, I frequently caught myself looking at the clock, wondering, “When is this going to be over?” The running time (just minutes short of four hours) was quite lengthy. James Berardinelli states, “Gone With the Wind is a very good movie, perhaps bordering on being great, but its subject matter and running time (which is easily 60 minutes too long) argue against its status as a masterpiece.” While I agree with Berardinelli, I also disagree with him. Because the movie is divided into two complete parts, separated by the Intermission and Entr’acte, I felt as if I was watching one movie and its sequel rather than one continuous film.

A second thing that bothered me about the film was its lack of deeper meaning. Its philosophies of “what goes around comes around” and “there’s no place like home” (while not thought in those words when the film was made, seeing as those words belonged to the script of another 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz) were not subtle. They were bluntly shown and wrapped up at the end with the lines, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” and “Tara! Home. I'll go home. And I'll think of some way to get him back. After all...tomorrow is another day.” Frank Nugent stated, “By that we would imply you will leave it, not with the feeling you have undergone a profound emotional experience, but with the warm and grateful remembrance of an interesting story beautifully told. Is it the greatest motion picture ever made? Probably not, although it is the greatest motion mural we have seen and the most ambitious film-making venture in Hollywood’s spectacular history.”

The final thing that mildly bothered me about the film was a piece of the plot—in fact, it’s the drive behind the majority of Scarlett’s actions: her infatuation, or even obsession, of Ashley. What did she see in him? Personally, I didn’t find him very attractive. He was, as Nugent states, “a pallid character.” I would have taken Rhett over Ashley any day taking into account just how boring Ashley was, no matter how kind-hearted or honorable. Conceited of me? I wouldn't doubt it. Berardinelli writes, “When Scarlett confesses her love to Ashley, he admits his feelings for her, but notes that Melanie will make a much better wife.” Does this mean he is ignoring his love for Scarlett but is going to marry another despite? Does this mean he’s telling Scarlett, “I love you, but I won’t marry you.”? That won’t make it easier for Scarlett to get over him, which is precisely why she schemes, sabotages, and tries to seduce in order to receive Ashley’s affections, and that drove me crazy.

Would I recommend this movie to further viewers? Of course I would! The things I loved about the movie far outweighed the things that annoyed me. While it had a somber ending, the movie was phenomenally told, the characters were charming, and the plot was enthralling. Do I believe this movie belongs on AFI’s “100 Years...100 Movies” list? Again, yes, I do. I know for a fact that many people are dissuaded to view the film because of its length; however, I think the film--the story--is so legendary, that it is a film that needs to be seen. If I were to give it a rating in stars, I would give it five out of five; in thumbs, two straight up; in a percentage, 100. Gone With the Wind easily ranks among my top five favorite films—if not the number one.

Review Citations:
Berardinelli, James. "Gone With the Wind." Top All-Time 100. N.p., 1998. Web. 21 Feb. 2011.
Ebert, Roger. "Gone With the Wind." Roger Ebert. Chicago Sun Times, 21 June 1998. Web. 21 Feb. 2011.
Nugent, Frank S. "The Screen in Review: David Selznick's 'Gone With the Wind'." The New York Times 20 Dec. 1939. Web. 21 Feb. 2011.



I've got a while before I need to leave for school, so I decided to post. I'm going to focus on a subject that most people are familiar with: School spirit.

I attended one of my school's basketball games last night; however, this was not just a basketball game. This was THE basketball game. The big kahuna. The whale of the games. Kapaun Mt. Carmel vs. Bishop Carroll. This was East side Catholics vs. West side Catholics. Crusaders vs. Eagles. Blue and White vs. Green and Gold. Some people might even go as far as "preps" vs. "hicks".

Our games against BC are huge. Everyone knows about them. It is not just well-known throughout the city, either; the whole state knows. Two years ago, the whole country knew when our football game was broadcast on ESPNU. It's the Notre Dame vs. USC of high school rivalries...in football, basketball, softball, baseball, volleyball, what have you. Back to my point....

So often throughout the halls of KMC, I hear people ragging on Bishop Carroll students--how dumb they are or how badly they dress or wondering how big their farms are. First off, way to stereotype. Second off, really now? That's just rude. I may be tarred and feathered for what I'm about to say (that is, if anyone from school sees this), but I respect their spirit. It's more than I've ever seen at KMC.

Knowing that the game would be crowded, I arrived early. 1.5 hours early, actually. As more people started coming, the more we had to move. The collective "FRESHMAN, MOVE BACK!" was rampant. I and my friend (Juniors) were also being told to move back. We, however, refused because there were sophomores in front of us. Basically, it was loud, crowded, tense, and I was getting just a little bit mean.

The game started, but until the 8th point, we didn't cheer. Someone decided to organize this. I'm not sure of the reasoning behind it, but I went with it. It was a good thing I was standing near the aisle of the bleachers though, because that 8th point brought not only an 8 to the score board, but a mosh pit. Shirts were ripped off, people had fallen, and the faces of the BC students were priceless. "What the Hell are they doing?" was written all over their faces.

And that was the end of the spirit. The cheerleaders stood there--faces apathetic, hands at their sides, ponytails high with the yell-leaders behind them. The students just stood there. Rarely a clap was heard, and even more rarely a shout of "GO CRUSADERS!" or "GO BIG BLUE!" was yelled. It was pathetic. On the other side of the gym, the sea of green and gold was roaring. So coordinated, so loud, so ecstatic--why couldn't we be like them?

Is it horrible that the president of my school's pep club doesn't even come to our games? It is sad that the only people who went to every football game were the people required to be there? Is it awful that our cheerleaders have to be led in cheering? Isn't it normal that it makes me ashamed of my fellow students?

My school has lost its pep. The athletes hear constant grief when they lose, but no praise when they win. It's disgusting. As a "narp" but an avid sports fan, I get angry for the athletes when I see this. I don't want to be associated with it anymore. I get teased for loving Notre Dame athletics "too much," but what people don't realize is that I love my school's athletics just as much...it's just harder to show when no one else is willing to show it with me. Pep is a needle in a haystack, but it's sick of being looked for--it's time for us to find it again.



You can't change yourself to fit in, because then you're not actually fitting in.

If you have a puzzle and you've got one piece left and there's one open spot on the puzzle and you place the piece, but it doesn't fit, do you take a pair of scissors and some tape and change the piece so that it does fit? Or do you realize that the piece must not go with that puzzle?

My freshman year, I tried to fit into a group that obviously wasn't for me. I changed my habits and how I dressed to "fit in" with these people, but I was not happy. Then I changed myself again--back to the real me. That's who I am now and the friends I have now--they're the right puzzle.

I cannot stress "Be Yourself" enough. I say it to everyone and people may roll their eyes at it, but it really is the best advice you can get. Some people may not like who you really are, but people would hate it even more if you're fake. That shows a major lack of confidence and self-esteem and that's horribly unattractive. Plus, it's hard to uphold a character that you're playing when your instinct is to be you.

Since I tried to be someone I wasn't two years ago, I look back on that year in shame. It was a horrible year. I picked up awful habits and it got me labeled. I'm not a can of soup--I neither want nor need a label. People still judge me based on who I pretended to be two years ago and it sucks. Fortunately, I found friends who ignored that and really know me and like me for me. On the other side of that, not every person necessarily will find those good friends.

Don't cut yourself up like that puzzle piece to fit. Just go find the right place for yourself.


My 10 Ways of Surviving Life So Far While Keeping a Sliver of My Sanity

DISCLAIMER: I am not a high school counselor. All of the following techniques have been formulated through pure experience and observation.

I did the math. I am 5/8 of the way through high school. (That math was much easier than what I'm doing in math class now, by the way.) In 5/8 of 4 years that will define my life, I have come to discover the following rules that have gotten me through thus far with the least pain and tears and the most smiles and laughter. Even if you're not in high school anymore (or yet), try some of these. You may be in for a pleasant surprise.

Without further adieu, I present my 10 Tips to Surviving High School and everything it brings with it.

1. Time Management
Upon entering a new, bigger, overwhelming school my first day of freshman year, I didn't even know what "time management" was. After a few weeks of receiving homework, it was pounded in me that I needed to get with the program! Time management, for me, includes keeping procrastination far away, having paper for to-do lists on hand at all times, and lots and lots of post-it notes. Instead of sitting to read a full chapter of your history text book, try splitting it up into three parts and doing other homework in between reading those three parts. As a matter of fact, I did that tonight. It worked. Also, going along with time management, I recommend finding ways of studying that work just for you. I like to read aloud to myself—hearing and seeing at the same time really gets the information through. Also, my white board is my study buddy. I use it for notes, practice problems, visuals, etc. There are three kinds of time: Study time, Social time, and Sleep time. These three need to be somewhat balanced. Also, cutting into sleep time with either study or social is a bad idea. That’s firsthand experience. Don’t think I’m lying. Your hard work will be worth it eventually. I live by this sentence: All good things come with time.

2. Beware of Boys
(Or the according opposite gender.) I have said time and time and time again that I have plenty of (let me say the word again) time for boys after high school. Why add more stress to my life than I need? My studies are more important to me right now. If I don’t work hard, I won’t get into the college I want, *cough* Notre Dame *cough* and that would not be a good thing. Now, of course, if a really great guy showed up, then, yeah, I’d allot him some time in my schedule. (But that’s social time, so it fits in perfectly.) Girls, don’t let dating define you. If you dumb yourself down, you’re going to be called dumb forever. If you skimpify yourself, you’ll receive labels that you don’t want. It’s not worth the trouble. If he’s good, he’ll like you for as smart and modest as you are. Modest is hottest.

3. Save Drama for the Stage
Gossip is stupid. Just stay away from it. It doesn’t help anyone at all. Also, revenge isn’t worth anything. If someone offends you in any way, brush it aside and move on. You’ve got more important things to worry about. Many girls thrive on drama, so you also need to pick your friends wisely. Don’t commit to a best friend before you know who all is out there. (P.S. Your best friend (and I know it sounds lame) is yourself. That’s an odd concept, and it’s not something I can really explain, so I’m going to have to let you learn that the hard way.) Also, tip #3 plays into this as well. Most drama you encounter in high school is about...BOYS! Shocker, right? If you stay away from dating dilemmas, you’ll stay away from drama, too. You can’t lose.

4. CoFfEe!! (Or not...)
I live on it. Hopefully, you won’t have to. Although, it is really good stuff. I don’t have much to say about this one, so on to the next, I suppose.

5. Stay Away from Stereotypes
This entails two things: Don’t let yourself be labeled and don’t label others. Also, a cliché: You are the company you keep. If you hang around with the harlots, people will think you’re a harlot; the emos, they’ll think you’re emo; the party kids, they’ll think you like to party. If you go unlabeled, you’ll have a lot less trouble making new friends and having a conversation with anybody. Now, you can’t label other people either. If you do that, you’ll subconsciously prevent yourself from having those good conversations with others that really let you get to know them. Knowing people is a good thing, so preventing yourself from that can’t be. It’s pure logic.

6. Don’t take it personal.
A bad grade, a rumor, a lost friend, a bad day...you can’t take them personally. That will eat at you for a long time and, once again, that’s stress you don’t need. A bad grade? Do better next time. A rumor? Someone’s probably jealous of something that you have. A lost friend? It wasn’t meant to be. A bad day? Everybody gets them.

7. Greet everything with an open mind and a kind heart.
Be nice to everybody, be open to every lesson, and think highly (but not too highly) of yourself. These will lead to a good reputation, a crazy-good brain, and a high self-esteem with a side of killer confidence, respectively. Trust me. Experience talking!

8. Parties are for college.
I have been to one high school party. Yes, there were drugs and booze there. No, I did NOT partake in these things. The party was awful. I stayed for 20 minutes and decided that watching a movie with my sisters would be a lot more fun. Save the parties for college when you’re more mature and better prepared for the consequences (good and bad) of attending.

9. Booze=BAD
When you’re underage, that is. I have had beer, wine, daiquiris, mimosas, and martinis before, but these were under a mature adult’s guidance. They were pretty good, but if I had been drinking them without permission either parentally or legally, they would have tasted disgusting. Also, booze, when you’re under 21, can’t lead to anything good. Pure logic, people.

10. Have a good soundtrack for everything.
Car-tunes, Shower Songs, and Bedroom Beats by yours truly are my favorites. (Just kidding...but not really.) In all seriousness though, a good bit of music makes anything so much better. I also have a theory that singing (at the top of your lungs like no one can hear) releases stress. It feels pretty good and you know it’s fun. God doesn’t care if you’re tone deaf or you make glass shatter or your friends want to rip out your vocal chords when you peep a note. SING! It’s sooooo worth it.

Those are my tips. Simple as that. The golden rule, though: BE YOU!!! If you aren’t yourself, even following these tips won’t make high school (or life) even close to fun. I suppose that’s all for this post. If you’re still reading, thank you. I know it was a much longer post because it took me much longer to write. I don’t even think I’m going to proofread this one like I do with all my others. If there’s a grammatical or spelling error, I have one thing to say: I’m human. Get over it.


Bucket List: Part 1

I was recently filling out an information sheet about myself. While doing so, I realized that I'm not very spontaneous and I have a lot of potential, but not enough ambition. It then dawned on me that I tend to say, "Oh! I'm so putting that on my bucket list!" despite not even having a bucket list other than the one in my mind. That is why I'm designating this post to be my (completely incomplete) bucket list. Disclosure: Although some of these things may sound extremely generic and/or clichéd, every item on here is unique to me because it really is something I want to do. This is just the beginning of the list. I think of something new all the time, so this list is going to keep growing and growing. But you have to start somewhere, right?

1. Drive around a race track at maximum speed
2. See (at least parts of) Europe
3. Graduate from the University of Notre Dame
4. Meet Brian Kelly
5. Read War and Peace, Gone with the Wind, and every Sherlock Holmes ever written
6. Read my Bible cover to cover multiple times
7. Marry the right guy the first time
8. Have kids and raise them right
9. Meet Alex Flanagan
10. Make at least 1 person smile every day
11. Thank God for each and every day that He gives me
12. Make a better world for future generations
13. Improve 1% every day (I'll have improved 365% in a year)
14. Help someone achieve their dreams
15. Host Saturday Night Live (Okay, not so realistic, but I can dream, right?)
16. Watch the Chiefs win the Superbowl in person
17. Have a REAL Philly Cheesesteak
19. Learn to play the ukulele
20. Learn to play the drums
21. Get botox
22. Read (and understand) every work written by Shakespeare
23. Get my picture taken under the Green Monster
24. Play golf in Scotland
25. Lambeau leap (anywhere, anytime, any way I can)
26. Crowd Surf
27. Surf
28. Go Camping
29. Fly (yes, in a plane. I haven't done it yet, but I'm sure it's inevitable.)
30. Take a week to speak in a different accent every day (see how many people I can fool)
31. Learn to Salsa Dance
32. Swim with a Dolphin
33. Watch a sunset on a beach
34. Never settle for less than the best
35. Dance with someone special under the stars
36. Scuba dive
37. Joke about an item on my bucket list (Which one do you think it is?)
38. Change someone's outlook on life for the better
39. Visit all 50 states (KS, MO, NM, NE, IL, MA, FL are done...I've got a long way to go. Also, I know that Hawaii is already on my list, but that seems a little different to me for some reason.)
40. Finish this list.

40 items is a pretty good start. As I think of things, I'll write them down. Every time I have 20 more, I'll put up a follow-up post to this. Every time I complete an item, I'll write an entire post about the experience. Stay tuned.