Wednesday, July 18, 2012

10 Movies That Defined My Adolescence

I love movies probably as much as I love cats, which (if you know me) is a LOT. Besides God, my love for movies is probably my only other constant in life. Is that dramatic? Well I was a drama major in college so I think I'm in debt enough to have the right to be dramatic. Here are the top 10 movies that pretty much changed my life as a kid/preteen/teenager. 

1. Now & Then

If you were a girl in middle school and you didn't obsess over this movie, then you were probably super popular and had a really swell social life but you also might be pregnant now. ZING. Oh man was that rude? I'm kidding I'm sure you're really happy. 

Listen, this movie was so great. This movie was a favorite with my sisters and I. So many summers we'd ride our bikes, singing the old 70s tunes, just waiting for my own Devon Sawa a la "Wormy Womer" to come play basketball with me and give me my first adorable kiss. COME ON! Who didn't love Thora Birch in this movie? Christina Ricci? And their two other friends? So good. The four of them were girls I wanted to hang out with - girls I wanted to be. This is such a great coming-of-age movie. And Demi Moore is in it before she went cray. So good. Gosh, Christina Ricci's meltdown scene about her mom dying and how she tapes down her boobs because she hates them? And also when she beats up that kid because she's playing baseball with the boys and he's all like, "GIRLS CAN'T PLAY BASEBALL" and I'm all like, UGH SOOOOO GOOD. 

2. Jurassic Park

I was, what, four when this movie came out? I probably saw it for the first time when I was five or six but I'm pretty sure it changed my entire childhood and my imagination. First of all, can I just thank my parents for LETTING me watch this movie? Nowadays all these parents who do yoga with their kids and only feed them pureed veggies would freak OUT if their kid was watching this dinosaur spectacle. But those parents are part of my "Juice Generation" theory and why kids are lazier and lazier and one day I'll elaborate about it. Anyway, I grew up in the "Uncensored and Processed Sugar" generation, and in my opinion, the best generation. 

I remember watching this and thinking a few things:

"Why am I attracted to Sam Neill?"

"I want to eat jello after seeing that scene where the kids eat jello."


"Laura Dern has great legs."

This was the first action-packed and scary movie I ever watched and ever became obsessed with. It's what propelled me to stand in the sweltering heat at Universal Studios in Florida with my family to ride the Jurassic Park ride and get a shirt that read "I survived Jurassic Park: The Ride."

This movie was also my little sister Christina's favorite movie when she was two. I feel like this explains a lot about us.......

3. Newsies

I've already blogged about my love of this movie which you can read here, so I'll keep this brief: 

Dancing newsboys. Christian Bale. Badass harmonies. 

Is that brief enough for you? Newsies led me to discover in 8th grade what fanfiction was, which promptly changed my life. Wanna read about my love of fanfiction? You can read my love letter to fanfiction here. But seriously, this movie made me stay up until two a.m. on school nights reading story after story about Newsies. The perfect outlet for a chubby, curly-haired 8th grader. 

4. Sixteen Candles

I went through this phase in 9th grade where I desperately wished I was living in the 80s. I asked my mom for the entire Brat Pack collection of dvds for Christmas. I rapidly became obsessed with Molly Ringwald. I dressed like her. I wanted to cut my hair like hair--it's a good thing I didn't follow through because I'm pretty sure this is what I would have looked like:

SIDENOTE: Where is Carrot Top nowadays? You guys think he's okay?

5. A Little Princess

This one really is probably only relatable for little girls. I watched this movie so many times and each time I thought, "I want to be in this. This is so magical." When Sara and Becky are woken up to a feast - COME ON HOW COOL IS THAT?? Ugh, and when Sara sees the poor lady with her little kid selling flowers in the snow...MY TWELVE YEAR OLD HEART! IT JUST BREAKS. This movie was such a treasure. 

6. Stand By Me

This movie launched my River Phoenix obsession. And when I say obsession I literally mean OBSESSION. Read his entire biography. Researched everything about his life and his acting. Watched every single movie he was in, even that horrid "The Mosquito Coast" with Harrison Ford. Ask one of my best friends, Jeane. We both fell in love with River Phoenix. Especially with this movie--I remember sobbing at the end. I cried so hard I even yelled at Jeane. HA! I laugh when I think about it now. This movie is so real and so beautiful. When Chris Chambers (Phoenix) breaks down with Gordie (Wil Wheaton) I just kept thinking, "Wow. That is true, raw talent."

This is probably my number one favorite movie of all time. 

7. Titanic

You had to see this one coming, didn't you? I saw it when I was nine with my family in the theatres. Let's move on from the question of "WHY?" and onto what this movie meant to me. It was so much more than how much I still love it today. So much more than the love story, and Leo's fab face. This movie reminds me of a very specific time in my life. When I was sixteen, my parents had been divorced for three years and we had to move from my childhood home into a different, smaller one with just my mom and my two sisters. It was one of the hardest times in my life and I remember I bought the Titanic soundtrack. I used to play it up in my room during the summer as I lay in my new bed in a strange house and read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." I remember the feeling of lying down, reading this book as the soundtrack crooned through my old-school CD player. 

It was in those times that I remember thinking, "I am meant for something more than this." I think that little thought was what propelled me toward God and eventually toward a life of something more than just this world. I am so grateful for that time in my life. When we go through rough times we grow so much, even if we can't see it then. 

8. White Christmas

This is all my Grandpa's doing. My sisters and I grew up watching this with him. I've written about him before - Angelo Marchesani, the true South Philly Italian musician. We would watch it with him and then perform the songs for him. We'd belt out "Sisters" and hysterically laugh. This movie reminds me of all the good things about being little - before holidays got weird and everyone lived so far from each other. It reminds me of the coziness of an East Coast winter, the peace and comfort of cuddling with my cat while my sisters sleep on the floor in front of me and my mom sits next to me and we stay up late watching Christmas movies. It reminds me of my roots. 

9. It's a Wonderful Life

It's basically everything I love about movies and more. Pretty much the above description. Jimmy Stewart is my all-time favorite actor. I can watch this movie all year round. 

10. American Beauty

The only reason my mother let me watch this movie when I was so young is because I wanted to be an actor. She sat me down at told me I should watch this movie if I wanted to see great acting...if I wanted to see art. This is the first movie I ever saw where I thought, "I think this is perfection." I fell in love with Wes Bentley and Thora Birch. I'll never forget one cold evening when I was a student at NYU. I was walking home from hanging out with a friend in the Lower East Side and I passed by the Classic Stage Company, a theatre on 13th street. It was one of my favorite places to see plays. And there he was - Wes Bentley standing outside the door with two friends smoking a cigarette after a performance of a play he was currently performing in at the theatre. My heart began to race and I knew I had to talk to him. I walked right up to him and told him I loved his work and had loved it since I saw him in American Beauty. He smiled and thanked me and I kept walking. 

His acting in this movie was astonishing. The way he welled up with tears, the way he looked in Kevin Spacey's eyes at the end of the film. When Annette Bening collapses in the closet full of Kevin Spacey's clothes - can it even be put into words? Brilliance. 

* * * 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

7 texts that could have really helped Harry Potter out

Today I couldn't find my phone all morning and while sitting in Starbucks before church I realized how much I rely on my iPhone. And then I started thinking what in the world people did before cell phones. My mind trailed to worlds where they don't use them, like in Harry Potter. And then I realized even though I would rather live in the land of Hogwarts, it really would have benefited Harry for them to have cell phones. Here is a text for each book that could really have helped him out. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

To: Ron-a-tron
From: Harry Potter

"HOLY SHIT. Voldemort's living in the back of Prof Quirrell's head. SEND BACK UP STAT."

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

To: Harry Potter
From: Hermione Granger 

"It's a freaking Basilisk in the chamber, don't look in its eyes or you'll get Pet---" (she gets Petrified)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

To: Prof Loopy
From: Harry Potter

"Professor, don't forget to take your Werewolf medicine so you don't almost kill me, Ron and Hermione and then get fired from Hogwarts and we continue to have horrible Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers. K thanks."

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

To: Herm-oh-ninny
From: Harry Potter


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

To: Harry 
From: Sirius Black

"Hey bud, I'm just chillin' in Grimmauld Place, don't get any crazy ideas like going over to the Ministry of Magic because I don't really feel like dying tonight."

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

To: Ron-a-tron & Herm-oh-ninny
From: Harry Potter

"So things just got real weird up in here. Before Dumbledore freezes me and I can't send this text, Y'ALL NEED TO COME THE TOWER ASAP CUZ I THINK SNAPE IS BOUT TO KILL DUMBLEDORE."

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

To: Everyone
From: Neville

"Don't worry, I got this." *slays Nagini*


Obviously there's so many that could be thrown about in the series, but well, it wouldn't have been the same story if texting was around huh? See, this is what I do with my day. Think about Harry Potter ALL THE TIME. BRB while I go see if I have any friends left. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

What My Tweets Really Mean

Let's face it: twitter is awesome. And vain. And addicting. It's like Facebook but better. It's also the best platform for embellishing the truth. Here are some of my tweets decoded: PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN. (I'm sure some of you can relate. If you can't, you're a liar for saying you don't lie a little on twitter. And I'm probably going to unfollow you.)

* * *


1. "Beautiful weather!! Perfect for going on a 7 mile run :)"


"I'm going to start out running but about ten minutes into it I'll slow to a brisk walk. I'll maintain this walk for the duration of the 7 miles until I see either one of the following: a fire truck full of strapping young firemen or any good looking under 30 male human specimen. I will then sprint like an Olympiad and hope the sweat gathered on my upper lip can somehow be construed as sexy."

2. "Happy for a day off. Doing some laundry and relaxing!"


"Happy for a day off. Gonna watch the entire first season of Laguna Beach on netflix and wonder why LC didn't go after Trey instead of being Stephen's lapdog."

3. "Men are stupid. I'll date after I get married."

"Men are stupid. I'll date after I get married."

4. "Writing!! Love a blank page. Can't wait to have this screenplay published and make millions."


"Sitting at Starbucks, stalking people on Facebook and occasionally typing a sentence while mentally debating with myself whether I should get a scone or not."

5. "I love grocery shopping."


"I'm overwhelmed and terrified and why can't I live off of Subway?"

6. "It's a Dr. Dog kind of day."


"My last five tweets were pop culture references and about the Kardashians, QUICK LET ME PROVE TO PEOPLE I LIKE GOOD MUSIC AND AM QUIRKY."

* * *

Happy tweetin'

Thursday, July 5, 2012

an open letter to Andrew Garfield's hair

Dear Andrew Garfield's hair,

Just stop it okay? You perfectly coifed, chocolaty mess of beauty. You're distracting me and it's really an issue because I don't want to fangirl out here, but I'M KIND OF FANGIRLING OUT HERE.

Here's the thing. It's not fair. IT'S JUST NOT FAIR, OKAY? I've loved you since you were dear little Anton in "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" that cracked out movie that was super confusing and trippy and left me stumbling along the streets of New York City with a massive headache. But it was you, wisps of messy, unkempt hair, that left me wondering, "Who is this British, wiry actor and um, why isn't he my boyfriend?"

And now you're all being pushed under the Spiderman cap and dating Emma Stone's blonde locks and I'm like, COME ON. 

Let's go through some of my favorite pictures of you.

Jeepers, you're so cool.  Look at that perfect side part that says "I'm not trying but I totally am." Werk eeehhht!

Um YES you bada$$. This haircut is one that says "I'm rough around the edges but I would totally spoon during a thunderstorm." 

UMM BRB while I go swoon for days. You part so great.

Yeah okay that's enough. Obviously my favorite from Spiderman. 

You may be thinking, "Nina you're such a creep. Leave me alone to my human." But let's be honest. The entire time I sat through "The Amazing Spiderman" last night I kept being distracted by you. In my opinion, it should have just been called "The Amazing Ways My Hair Will Make You Swoon And Wonder, 'Where Have I Gone Wrong That I Don't Have That In My Life?" 

Anyway, Andrew Garfield's hair, what I'm trying to say is basically You Rock, Never Change.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

o my soul

There are little moments where I feel a deep peace and a little murmur that says,

"This is right where you are meant to be."

This week has been full of those moments. I am always grateful for these moments and if there's one thing the Lord has taught me this week it is to have a heart of gratitude. Real gratitude, not a fleeting whisper of thanks. But the kind of gratitude that brings me to my knees in awe of something so much greater than myself...

Lying on the beach at Lake Champion this week I reflected over the past two years. Visiting  my sister Rebecca who is the ropes intern this summer was beyond amazing - and to be there with my mom and stepdad. Just unreal. Young Life means so much to me because it led me to meeting my Savior and to sit there with my family and listen to the cross talk...I can't even put it into words. 

I know I've written the last blog or two about how much I've changed, but lying there in the sun, hearing the laughter and the happy yells from the campers as they went fearlessly off the blob tower or spoke to their leaders about a life they were unsure about, I felt more myself than ever before. I breathed in and out away from everything. Away from the noise and chaos that is Los Angeles, away from the anxiety of student loans, and a career, and relationships and friendships. Away from the insecurities that creep constantly, away from the moments where I'm unsure and alone and so far away....I breathed in and out, in and out and I just...was. I felt God holding me, telling me it's okay. And I felt gratitude.

* * * 

I'll never get tired of sitting in an air conditioned room with my sisters, laughing and being myself and eating pizza and feeling like I'm ten again. I'll never get tired of holding Rebecca's ice cold feet, or singing at the top of my lungs with Christina until we cry laughing, I'll never get tired of watching Gizmo, our childhood cat, with them...I'll never even get tired of the seconds where we get so annoyed with each other and then the next second bust up laughing because of how ridiculous it is.

Being home in Philadelphia makes me feel rejuvenated. It reminds me of my roots, and as I sit here with brown hair dye on my hair I feel like I am literally going back to my roots. My natural crazy, brunette curls and in a way I feel like it's just what I'm supposed to do. Be the me God created me to be. 

Being around courageous women like my mom, my sisters, women from our home church, women I've met through the years through Young Life and Peru and all of our crazy adventures--these women help me be brave. Help me to feel brave when all I want to do is cry and stay in Philly with everything familiar. 

God calls us to live uncomfortable lives - actually He promises there will be hard times. But he also promises to be right there with us. God, I am so thankful You are with me every second of my day. How could I do anything without You? Thank You for reminding me that I am Your daughter and I am called to live the life You want me to live.

Thank you thank you thank you.

A few pictures from this week:

Lake Champion 

Work dem ropes girl!

The favors we made for my mom's wedding.  MY MOM GOT MARRIED. And it was the most beautiful, Christ-filled wedding I have ever experienced. I'll be posting later about it in more detail. 

* * *

On the road travelin' back to Lake Champion to drop Rebeca back off. 

* * *

Now I'm off to spend time with Melanie and Jeane, my two best friends since 8th grade!!!!!!!! My heart is so full!!!