Top Ten Movies

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Some movies are funny, others are meaningful. Some are full of adventure while others are bursting with songs! Whatever the case, movies are what we look to when we want to explore another world, another time, another place. Films are such a powerful tool. They can make us have a dozen different feelings and let us think about hundreds of different things. Movies take us to the places we want to go when we are confined to our own world. For an hour or two we can live inside a fairytale or voyage to a faraway land. The possibilities are indeed endless. That’s why I love movies that are not only fun to watch at the time, but actually impact my real life, the life that matters. So here is a list of my favorite ten movies beginning with number ten!

(Warning! I may add a few “fun facts” being a crazy fan of all these films. If you don’t find them as fascinating as I did: sorry.)

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10. The Happiest Millionaire

1967 – Starring Fred MacMurray, Tommy Steele, Lesley Ann Warren, John Davidson, and Greer Garson. Music written by the Sherman Brothers.

Set in 1916, this movie is based on the true story of the Drexel-Biddle family of Philadelphia. It received an Academy Award for costume design; more than 3,000 costumes were required for the film. This is also the last Disney film in which Walt Disney had direct involvement, as he died during the production.

9. Mary Poppins

1964 – Starring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Matthew Garber, Karen Dotrice, Glynis Johns, Ed Wynn, Elsa Lanchester, Arthur Treacher, and Jane Darwell. Music written by the Sherman Brothers.

Adapted from the P.L. Travers’ books, this movie is a Disney classic, receiving 13 Academy Award nominations. It would be hard to find someone who has never heard of Mary Poppins as it is thought of as the greatest Disney film ever made. Walt Disney attempted to buy the story rights from Mrs. Travers back in 1936, but was rejected by the author because she believed no one could live up to her book.

8. The Apple Dumpling Gang

1975 – Starring Don Knotts, Tim Conway, Bill Bixby, Harry Morgan, Susan Clark, Clay O’Brian, Stacy Manning, and Brad Savage. Music written by Shane Tatum.

Another Disney film, this time set during the California Gold Rush. This western comedy has everything one would hope for jam-packed in 100 minutes! There is one scene in which Tim Conway and Don Knotts create the most hilarious improvisational skit, made up completely on the spot! It is said that while shooting the scene, many of the crew members had to leave the soundstage because they were laughing out loud!

7. The Music Man

2003 – Starring Matthew Broderick, Kristen Chenoweth, Victor Garber, Molly Shannon, Cameron Monaghan, Debra Monk, and David Aaron Baker. Music written by Meredith Wilson.

This is the most recent adaptation of the original Broadway musical first performed in the 1950s. There are a few errors in the historical accuracy, but I can overlook it since it’s just so funny! You have to listen to the song lyrics closely to hear the best parts of the movie. The original film included Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, and Ron Howard. If you love musicals, the 2003 version is just for you!

6. The Horse in the Grey Flannel Suit

1963 – Starring Dean Jones, Kurt Russell, Diane Baker, Ellen Janov, Fred Clark, and Morey Amsterdam. Music written by George Bruns.

Based on the 1955 book by Eric Hatch, this film is especially for horse-lovers! It’s about a girl who really wants a horse and gets one (I know, cliché and frustrating for us horseless horse-lovers). Dean Jones, my all-time favorite male actor, plays the girl’s horse-allergy inflicted father! Jones was known for his pretend sneezing and later used that skill in 1965 for Disney’s That Darn Cat, co-starring Haley Mills.

5. Just Around the Corner

1938 – Starring Shirley Temple, Bill Robinson, Charles Farrell, Franklin Pangborn, Joan Davis, Benny Bartlett, and Claude Billingwater. Music written by Harold Spina.

This is my favorite Shirley Temple film. Set during the Great Depression, Shirley Temple plays the daughter of a wealthy architect. She comes home from her girls’ school to find that her penthouse is now inhabited by another family, and her new apartment is now the basement. The slump in business has caused her father to lose nearly everything. In one scene, Shirley gives a little dog a bath. In reality, it’s her own dog, Ching Ching! Shirley charged the studio a total of $7.50 to use her dog in the film as an extra. She was certainly a little business woman!

4. Hot Lead and Cold Feet

1978 – Starring Jim Dale, Don Knotts, Darren McGavin, Karen Valentine, John Williams, Michael Sharrett, and Debbie Lytton. Music written by Buddy Baker.

This Disney western tale has one of the best casts ever! Jim Dale stars as all three main characters, Eli, Wild Billy, and Old Man Bloodshy! It’s the story of two twins racing to win their (supposedly deceased) father’s inheritance. Don Knotts and Darren McGavin appear together again in this film, the first time being in No Deposit, No Return, 1976. One of the two trains used in this film is today on display in Disneyland in California.

3. The Secret Garden

1993 – Starring Kate Maberly, Maggie Smith, Heydon Prowse, Andrew Knott, John Lynch, and Laura Crossely. Music written by Zbigniew Preisner.

Adapted from the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic, this film holds some of the most magical scenes! The costumes, the acting, the cast, the story, the score, and the cinematography are put together perfectly to create the chronicles of Mary Lennox, an orphaned girl sent to live in her uncle’s mansion in Victorian England. She soon becomes aware of her crippled cousin, steals a mysterious garden, and combines the two in order to bring happiness back to Misselthwaite Manor.

2. Little Women

1994 – Starring Winona Ryder, Trini Alvarado, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Christian Bale, Gabriel Byrne, Eric Stoltz, and Mary Wickes. Music written by Thomas Newman.

Taking place during and after the American Civil War, this is the story based upon the Louisa May Alcott book, Little Women. The four March sisters are growing up without their father who has gone off to war. The enchanting and heart-warming/wrenching tale brings history to life, causing the viewer to embrace the March sisters’ world and all its plights. This movie holds the most powerful score, it melts my heart whenever I hear it.

1. Anne of Green Gables

1985 – Starring Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst, Richard Farnsworth, Jonathan Crombie, Schuyler Grant, Patricia Hamilton, and Marilyn Lightstone. Music written by Hagood Hardy.

Here we are: #1! This one wasn’t too hard to guess, was it? Anne of Green Gables and its sequel were based on a book series by Lucy Maud Montgomery. For those who don’t know the plot, Anne, a red-haired and ambitious orphan is accidentally sent to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert on Prince Edward Island. Even after she creates much havoc and breaks a slate over a boy’s head at school, the Cuthberts allow her to stay for good. The movie continues until Anne is sixteen, and later picks up in the sequel in 1987. This movie has been my favorite ever since I first watched it many years ago. It transports special feelings right out of the screen and into my heart, letting me enter into the magical world of Anne. It has changed the way I think about the past, present, and future, and will forever be something special that I want to share with everyone!

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What are your favorite movies?

Who is your favorite actor?

Which of the movies on my list have you heard of/watched before?

Megan Joy

Five Things Learned at a Civil War Reenactment

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If you’ve ever attended a Civil War reenactment, you’ve probably seen the rifles, cannons, tents, and hoop skirts. It’s like stepping into another world of the past. But recently, I was able to experience it like a true reenactor because. . .

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I now own a tent!

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Along with having a tent is the necessity of knowledge and experience about such things. Unfortunately, you don’t have this knowledge or experience until after you’ve attended multiple reenactments and have learned as you go. I’ve certainly learned a lot from my latest reenactment! Here are five things I learned at a Civil War reenactment.

1)     When pitching your tent, it’s best to know which way the wind is blowing.

Explanation: When we arrived at the Civilian’s camp, there was a large bit of land across from many other tents and a cooking fire. The fire burns all day to boil water, bake bread, cook stew, and is there for anyone’s use. What I hadn’t known was that I had staked my tent directly in line of the smoke trail from the fire. All weekend, it burnt our eyes, made us cough, and blew ashes and sparks into the tent, hence the empty plot of land that nobody had wanted for those reasons!

2) Get accustomed to people taking your picture.

Explanation: Being dressed up and doing living history in public means that people are going to take your picture. Some are so kind as to ask permission politely and sometimes little kids come up and stand next to you and smile. Others, on the other hand, don’t ask. They either get out their phone and tap the screen a million times, or they pull out a huge camera with a lens seven feet long. Then they stand in front of you from 5 seconds to 5 minutes taking your picture. Some will even instruct you how to pose while others catch you when your bonnet flies away with your hair in a mess.

3)     Learn to bite your tongue.

Explanation: As the battle reenactment occurs, you watch from afar with many other viewers. You must learn to bite your tongue when someone behind you begins “explaining” to their friend that the Battle of Gettysburg was the Japanese fighting against the Americans (yes, I actually heard this one). You must also learn to remain quiet when you hear questions among others like:

“Where are their tri-cornered hats?”

“Did the soldiers hide behind all those monuments on the battlefield?”

“Did the British win the Civil War?”

4)     Say, “thank you” a lot.

Explanation: People like to complement those dressed in historical clothes, so you must get used to replying, “thank you” when someone pronounces a quite common statement such as – “I love your dress!” Not that I’m complaining, it’s just something I’ve learned. The last time this happened to me I was watching my brother in the battle about to be shot (pretend, of course!) and a woman tapped me on the shoulder to say how much she liked my dress. After I said, “thank you” and eventually turned back to the battle, my brother was already down in the grass! I had missed the whole thing!

5)  Don’t stay in the soldier’s camp too long.

Explanation: If you’re in ear range of where the men gather around the fire to talk, you’re bound to hear a few words that may not be very suitable. . . so, it’s just better not to listen too carefully to their conversations!

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There are five things I learned at a Civil War reenactment!

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Have you ever been to a Civil War reenactment?

Have any of these things happened to you?

Megan Joy

On the Waterfront // 1863 Camp Dress

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This weekend, I attended my first Civil War reenactment of the year! The three-day event was filled with dresses, tents, campfires, and soldiers. There were two mock battles fought and many drills performed. My brother even joined the Union army and marched into the battles this year! I was so pleased when he came out alive. (Just a note, no one was using real bullets, of course; just blanks.)

After the last battle, my sister and I were able to sneak down to the waterfront and snap a few photos.

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This is my new camp dress that I bought from one of the sutlers at the reenactment. Sadly, the first time I wore it, it was torn while getting out of a truck! It’s only a minor rip and I can sew it up, so it’s not too bad.

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I found a stone that looked like a nugget of gold! It wasn’t, though.

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Now, I’d like to share a story that occurred after the event had concluded!

After leaving the reenactment, we stopped at the nearest mini mart for a snack to eat on the way home. We were still dressed in our Civil War attire, but weren’t too concerned about the funny looks we might get. To our amazement, a Confederate soldier entered the store just as we did, and we laughed to see each other. After departing the store with a snack and a cheerful story to tell later, we never could have imagined what would be added to our tale! As we neared our truck, we noticed that something was dangling from beneath the engine. Upon opening the hood and taking a closer look, we noticed that the fan belt had frayed and half of it had dislocated itself from the rest. When trying to remove the loose piece, we realized that it was stuck, tangled, and in need of some brute force to get it free. My brother, dressed as a Union soldier, crawled underneath the truck, and attempted to untangle the mess but to no avail. At the same moment, the same Confederate soldier was then exiting the store and noticed our troubles. He offered his help and suggestions to dislodge the piece and managed to pry it a little looser.

Meanwhile, another Confederate had parked just ahead, and when sighting our dismay, came to help. Seeing that more help had arrived, we thanked the first Confederate and he drove off on his long ride home. Now, the second Confederate was able to pull the belt free with my brother helping from beneath the truck, while my sister and I watched from the side. This task was completed. Now, the next question: could the truck be driven the long ride home with half of the fan belt? Probably not. As we discussed this, two more Confederates pulled up and asked if they could help! They helpfully told us of four auto stores nearby, and offered directions to them. After a game plan had been settled, we thanked all the Confederates and we dispersed on our own separate ways. It had been a joyful reunion between both strangers and “enemies” – Yankees and Rebels. It was surprising to realize that four Confederate soldiers would be so gracious as to help a Union clad solider when just hours before, they were in battle against each other! It proves that there are good people in the world, and found in the most unusual circumstances, too!

So, to carry on with the story, we had to drive to several mechanical stores until we found someone willing to help us so near to closing time. Once our truck was accepted (I sound like we were trying to get it into college!) and was pulled into our last resort garage, we were asked to wait while the mechanics replaced the belt. Then we realized that the snack we had bought in the first place was now five feet high on the car lifter thing in the garage! We had spotted a Wendy’s down the block earlier and decided that some of us could eat there. We assembled a parade and marched down the busy street in fashion! We received many a strange look once inside, but smiled and had a grand old time. Soon the truck was fixed and we headed home with a new experience to keep under our hats!

The moral of this story: “When in doubt, ask a Confederate!”

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dress // sulter tent

bonnet // sulter tent

belt // handmade

bag // thrifted

shoes // thrifted

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Have you ever been to a Civil War reenactment?

Can you relate to any part of this story?

I challenge anyone to walk into a Wendy’s, wearing an historical outfit, and order fries to go! If you do, don’t forget to take a photo, and send it to me via email! The first person to capitalize on this awesome challenge before the end of May will win a $10 Wendy’s gift card!

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Megan Joy