Sunday, January 31, 2016

Movie Review: The Finest Hours

Who doesn't love a good historically based film, especially when it's Disney so you're pretty sure that the outcome will be uplifting and inspiring. The Finest Hours does not disappoint - and I don't feel I have to worry about spoiling anything because, hey, history! But seriously, this is probably one of the most exciting and fascinating Rescue At Sea stories I've ever read up on - so I was excited for the film.

Okay, really I was excited because Eric Bana and Michael Raymond-James both had supporting character roles in the film... but shhhhh! that's not what this is about.

The film is based on the book written by Casey Sherman and Michael Tougias, and follows the heroic story of the Coast Guard rescue of 32 men from the Pendleton which split in two during a blizzard off the coast of Massachussetts in 1952.

In February of 1952, one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast struck New England, damaging an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod and literally ripping it in half. On a small lifeboat faced with frigid temperatures and 70-foot high waves, four members of the Coast Guard set out to rescue the more than 30 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly-sinking vessel. - Walt Disney Production Company
Chris Pine is our unlikely hero in the story - and if you're expecting his typical pretty boy role you will be shocked. He is by far the standout of this film, he isn't recognizable. He is an unsure, shy, awkward guy from the first scene until he pulls back into the pier after an insane night out in the storm. On the ship side, you also have a solid performance from the de facto leader of the survivors in Casey Affleck. I don't normally care for him in film (can't put my finger on why) but I found myself cheering for him to succeed in getting the group of men working together to keep the stern afloat (literally all that was left of the boat was its butt). Both men had the challenge of some of their coworkers not having much faith in their abilities - not understanding their need to follow rules.

One such character on the Pendleton is D.A. Brown played by Raymond-James. If you know his work, you know this is a character he's played before. Maybe not by that name in that situation, but a hot head with a lot of swagger. He quickly becomes the antagonist and you kinda hope he falls off the boat. Again, a solid performance (but I admit I'm biased), and a very needed voice in the movie.

We get a little bit of a love story with Pine's character, and while some have said that it was what is wrong with the film I disagree. It gave us more backstory for the way Pine's character (Bernie Webber) responds to thing. Webber is as straight laced as they come. He's not confident in himself even though he knows he's good - he just doesn't show that or have the courage to show it. He's a rule follower and if there aren't rules he fumbles around trying to figure out what he can and cannot do.

This comes to a head as the men head out on the rescue mission because they lose contact with the mainland and suddenly he is in control and has decisions to make. Not only is his life in the balance but so are the three other men with him - plus all the potential lives on the Pendleton. Once he realizes that rules and regs are just guidelines, that a lot comes to instinct and sheer determination, he comes into his own.

I really enjoyed the film, and my parents definitely did. My mother was on the edge of her seat with her hands covering her eyes (all the while screaming) during the ocean scenes (so for 90% of the film). My dad said he gave the movie two big thumbs up - and wanted me to tweet the cast that I follow (including MRJ lol) that he cried. It was that good.

Is it Oscar worthy? Probably not - though the graphics of the split ship were impressive (blows Titanic out of the water IMO, but we've come a long way in technology). It's a solid film - it's PG 13 for the intense ocean sequences, there's only one or two curse words that I remember and unless kissing is too graphic for you no sex. So older kids should be okay watching this film.

Definitely make plans to see it - if not in theaters then on DVD. It's worth the couple of hours.

Friday, January 29, 2016

I lost a friend today.

I lost a friend today. We met four years ago at the Tustumena 200. He and his wife had volunteered to help with the race, and I was the official photographer. Little did we know that it was going to be -30 for most of the weekend (plus windchill. It was flippin cold) and so we were all going to get really close in a Yurt in the middle of nowhere. Bob was, at the time, a hobbyist photographer who was still getting used to the digital age. He could work computers, but he wasn't sure about the DSLRs.

Bob would go on to become a pretty popular photographer over the next few years. When he got into something he went all in. He photographed many sled dog races, sometimes while volunteering in other areas of the race, and shared his views of Alaska for all to see on Facebook.

But I knew him as a friend, not just as a photographer or a name on facebook. Bob was a take no crap kind of guy. He was a straight shooter who didn't mince words. You knew exactly where you stood with him and what he thought on any multitude of subjects. He lived life in a way most only dream of being able to. He didn't play games, he didn't keep toxic people near. If you were a friend, you knew it - and you earned it.

I'm having a hard time putting into worlds just what this big guy means to me. He and Jolene (aka "The Boss") have always been so awesome to me, and I treasure the times spent together - which were not nearly enough. Schedules being what they were, there were a lot of missed opportunities. I think I still owed him Dairy Queen.

Last month he treated me and Taylor Steele (up and coming Mushing Superstar currently helping train Mitch Seavey's yearlings) to St. Elias Pizza. We gabbed about sled dogs, past happenings and up coming events. Taylor is fresh out of high school with all of these dreams and as he listened he gave advice and more importantly encouragement and support. If Bob was in your corner, you always knew it. He'd challenge you and keep you going.

No one saw this coming, while he was a man on "borrowed time" by doctor's standards - no one I know ever doubted he'd kick cancer's butt. Getting the message this afternoon (while I was at work, and we all know how much I LOVE getting emotional in front of people, no doubt that'd amuse Bob) I just sat there staring at my phone in shock. I wanted it to be a cruel joke. One I could get upset with him about.

But it's not. And I don't know how I feel. I'm in shock. My heart breaks for Jolene, but I selfishly also feel sorry for myself. I lost a friend today. Cancer took him away. Cancer Sucks.

See Bob Parsons' photos by going to his gallery here.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2nd day of a new year.

So this is my first blog post from my phone. Consider this a test if you will. Just think! I could get the hang of this and then I could become super annoying. Haha.
Anywho here are (I hope) a few pics to document the day. A new year, a new Disney countdown, so I need to get my cooking on again. With the new job that gets me home by 5pm I can do more cooking. Plus I am not exhausted by the time I get a day off so I actually want to cook and bake. The first two dinners of 2016 I have made myself (from scratch!). I've missed cooking.
Also I (hopefully) added a few pics of Stitch because... well... why not?? 
Not the best picture of me, but I love my snuggle pug,
so I was brave and shared it anyway!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year from Alaska!

Let's hope 2016 is a more beautiful, peaceful, and blessed year! Much love to all of my followers, friends, and family. Here's to making more memories in this next round trip journey around the sun.