The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

mp’s rating: 3 / 5 stars

It’s been a long time (not) since I cried like this when I watch a movie. I didn’t know the reason I cried though, I think I am just too melancholy for things like this, but my sister said that it is because I am too sanguine thus my emotion fluctuates so easily. But it reflects how good the movie is. At least, for me ;).

“I killed my mother when I was four years old, that’s what I knew about myself. She was all I wanted and I took her away. Nothing else much mattered.” – Lily

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Secret Life of Bees (2008) tells a story about a young girl named Lily (Dacota Fanning), who accidentally killed her mother when she was four. Growing up with her abusive father, she ran away with her nanny, Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson), who was in trouble due to the apartheid politic that took place during that time. Haunted by her guilty for killing her mother, Lily tried to find peace under the care of August (Queen Lativah), a bee farmer, who was actually her late mother’s nanny. There, she found the secret life of the bees – the life that she never knew existed, full of hope and most of all, love.

It took me some time to realise that the movie was over, and digesting the movie is another thing that I need to work out how. Until now I still don’t know what to write, because I guess the movie has so much to tell about. I’m still not sure of what the ‘secret life of bees’ is. Is it the fact that life is unfair and all we can do is make the best out of it, or is it that life that has so many complicated things underneath the ‘calm water’? Or is it a common fact but not a common practice that what people aim to have in this life is love?

“There is nothing perfect,” August said from the doorway. “There is only life.”

What are ‘bees’? They produce honey, they have a queen, they can sting but after that they’ll die. What can we learn from these ‘bees’?

“Most people don’t have any idea about all the complicated life going on inside a hive. Bees have a secret life we don’t know anything about” -August

I think the part that makes me sad the most is at the end of the movie, when finally Lily’s father found August’s house and tried to take Lily home. In the beginning of the movie Lily’s father lied, “The truth is your mother ran off and left you.” But that was a lie because her mother did come back for her. He lied, “Because she did not come back for me.” This is really heartbreaking. Lily’s father loved her mother. He just didn’t know how to express that love. He just wanted his wife to be with him, thus he used violence. When Lily’s mother ran away, he searched for her everywhere. He just didn’t find her.

How many of us just don’t know the right words to say, or the rights actions to do, and end up doing the opposite of what we want to? How many of us just don’t get that second chance to prove ourselves, and we become reluctant and hence lose hope of making ourselves walk the right paths again?

…I feel sorry for Lily’s father, I really do. I actually admire this character because in the end he just wanted to be with his daughter, who ‘just looks like her mother’, but he knows that it’s best for her to be with August and thus left her there. I think he is hurt, although he tried to cover it by saying, “Good riddance.”

Lily may never feel a mother’s love. But now she had three. She believed that when her father said, “Good Riddance,” he was really saying “Lily, you’ll be better off here with all of these mothers.”

A really heartwarming movie indeed.

And here’s the soundtrack ;)

Reflection: Year 1, Semester 2, First Week of Uni

The first week is officially over! I know that it’s still Thursday but that’s the good thing of having a Friday off! ;). I’m so happy for the fact that I’m having a look weekend every week. Let’s see how this goes… ;)

First of all, I want to recap on last semester’s subjects. I took From Homer to Hollywood, Psychology, Critical Thinking, and Creative Writing. Since I’ve got the results of these four, I think I should do some revisions on what I’m getting and not getting in the subjects… So, here they go:

1. Homer to Hollywood. I was so surprised that the result was a lot better than I expected! It was not the best result I could get, I know, but still, seeing how much effort I put into this subject (and believe me, it was not much – I put most of the effort last minute prior to exam ;p), I think I have got a fairly good result. Well, although I didn’t study much from this subject (except it broadens my knowledge about the history of war), I think I managed to learn about how to make good essays, how to talk in tutorials and build up confidence to talk to locals. I did not really like the subject because it was so hard, but I ‘kinda’ like the materials (I like history sooo much ;p)

2. Critical Thinking. Can’t believe the result for this one either. I was hoping to get an H3 or maybe an H2B. It turned out to be better that expected as well ;). Although I did hate this subject for giving so many tasks and assignments to do, this subject teaches me to critically think about reports, researches, and many other things. I didn’t realise its impact until I begin to ‘criticise’ some research papers that are brought in my psychology class. Pretty cool ;p.

3. Creative Writing. The result was… Well at least I was not failing. hahah ;p. I wasn’t really happy with this result but I couldn’t do any better if I can redo this subject again so… It was okay. ;p. I think my ability to write is so much below the standard. Gotta to improve lotsss of stuffs!

4. Psychology. This is the subject that I was and am totally proud of, excellent result indeed ;). I was so amazed by the result itself. My first assignment in this subject was not good (it was ‘okay’), and the assignment carried 40% so I thought I would not do that good in this subject. I did study ‘hard’ during the exams (even though I watched TV and DVDs as well ;p), and I’ve got an amazing result. God is sooo goood! ;p

Okay those were the recaps. Now coming to the second semester’s subjects! I take Psychology, Globalisation, Culture media and everyday life,  and Principles of Marketing. Psych and Marketing are amazing! I totally love both subjects and I am really eager to learn much more about those two (attention: eager is different than the action to study itself…). Anyway, we are learning about human development in this first week of Psychology lecture. It is all about the development of personality and genetics for early development of humans (under the age of 5). and it is soooo interesting ;). Marketing is awesome as well! It is studying about customer value and I always have the passion in hospitality area so I was totally engaged in the lecture this morning. Hope to learn more in these two subjects ;)

For Globalisation and the Culture subject, I can say from the very start that THOSE TWO WILL BE VERY HARD. Each subject has about 20 pages of readings per week, and the concept and understanding are so alien to me. I am interested in these subjects, but I really feel I’m going to struggle in these. Just hoping that I will do my best (and get the best results as well ;p).

Another interesting thing in this first week uni happened in the Marketing lecture and tutorial. In Arts subjects, there are around 80-90% locals and 10-20% Asians in both lecture and tutorial. In Marketing, I see 90% Asians and 10% locals!!! I NEVER see soo many Asians in Melbourne University before. I am really shocked. ;p. Especially when I am the ONLY ASIAN in both of my globalisation and culture tutorial (well, the other Asian has been here for a loooooooonnggg looooonnnggg timeeeeeeeee… not faaaaaiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrr >.<). And guess what? In my Marketing tutorial, there are only 3 locals, and 4 of the Asians are Indonesians. I AM SHOCKED. I NEVER see another Indonesian (well, except for one guy I know before I go to Melbourne)  in my subjects. Well, pretty weird. hahah.

I have so many high hopes for this semester. Hope that I will do my best and enjoy uni all together. I’m thinking of joining a club as well (it’s an international club where the locals are willing to improve our poor English… Since I am going to major in media com… I think I NEED to improve my English skills ASAP. I know how horrible my English is ;( )

So, many plans ahead… I’ve got a good first semester, so I hope this second semester will be brilliant! ;)

Walking Her Home

It’s time to be a little bit melancholy and romantic… Maybe sometimes we need these stuffs ;p (not so often, but it’s nice to feel this way once in a while ;p)

Have you ever heard the song “Walking Her Home” by Mark Schultz? I just knew that song existed literally around 30 mins ago. My sister came home rushing from a dinner and she typed that song in the youtube and I fall in love with that song at the first sight ;).

I think as a girl, I really want someone who is ‘perfect’ (well, who doesn’t?) As a ‘normal’ girl, I have a bunch of criteria of the perfect guy to date with. For example: he must be a very good Christian, loyal, good-looking, and yada yada yada. But I guess, apart from the fact that he must be a Christian and loves God 100%, I think I really do want someone who’s ‘walking me home’, an ordinary experience, can be extraordinary; it depends on who’s walking you home. A guy who loves me for who I am until the day death sets us apart (I think I watch too many movies ;p).

He doesn’t need to very romantic and gives you flowers every morning (though it would be nice), but I do want someone who will stay with me 60 years later and still look into my eyes and say, “Marrying you was one of the best decision I’ve ever made.” I want someone who 60 years later, will still hold my hand dearly while walking together across the park. I want someone who will still be standing by my side no matter what, loving me and kissing me goodnight until we are 85 years old. ;)

Looking at the lyrics, I guess this is the perfect love story. It’s not Titanic, it’s not dramatic. It’s ordinary but yet it’s so true. My personal opinion will be this is the kind of song which guys do not like at all and say it’s a ‘fairy tale’, but it’s the kind of song that every girl longs for. I literally cry when I hear this song. I’m thinking of the one whose I’m going to meet someday. I want to be loved like this, but moreover, I want to love someone like this.

Ps. You know, I’m waiting for you.

He’s walking her home
Mark Schultz

Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call

Her dad said son
Have her home on time
And promise me you’ll never leave her side
He took her to a show in town
And he was ten feet off the ground

(Chorus)
He was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled it stole the breath right out of him
Down that old road
With the stars up above
He remembers where he was the night he fell in love
He was walking her home

Ten more years and a waiting room
At half past one
And the doctor said come in and meet your son

His knees went weak
When he saw his wife
She was smiling as she said he’s got your eyes
And as she slept he held her tight
His mind went back to that first night

(Chorus)

He walked her through the best days of her life
Sixty years together and he never left her side

A nursing home
At eighty-five
And the doctor said it could be her last night
And the nurse said Oh
Should we tell him now
Or should he wait until the morning to find out

When they checked her room that night
He was laying by her side

Oh he was walking her home
And holding her hand
Oh the way she smiled when he said this is not the end
And just for a while they were eighteen
And she was still more beautiful to him than anything
He was walking her home
He was walking her home

Looking back
He sees it all
It was her first date the night he came to call

MasterChef Australia: a Tribute to Callum ;)

I may not know your last name, Callum of MasterChef Australia 2010 (;p), but I will definitely go to your restaurant someday (with my boyfriend’s paying, of course!) when you open one! Watching MasterChef for the last couple of months really strikes me with a lot of new inspirations. I am inspired, revived, energised, and motivated. I love this show so much that I can’t help missing even one of the episode. A good one, a great one: a masterpiece show.

Even though I like to eat, I never have the ability to cook. My first omelet was a total disaster. The first time I tried to fry an egg turned to be a very ‘overcooked’ one. But hey, I like to watch this show. Even though I haven’t improved any of my cooking skills, this show improves other parts of my skills. They are: passion, hardwork, character, and love.

Number 1: passion.
This show is all about passion. All the people who enter the MasterChef have the same passion: cooking. And they live up their passion. Knowing that other people still having passion and truly living in it makes me want to pursue mine as well. It’s not too late to be living your dreams! It doesn’t matter if you’re in your twenties, or fifties! It matters if you live your dreams and pursue your passions, NOW.

Number 2: hardwork.
If someone says that to land on the star that is yours, you only need to pursue your dream, I would not believe it. It takes hardwork as well. Everyone can dream; everyone can write a thick 1000-pages book about their dreams and what they want to become. But not everyone has the guts and the will to really get their hands dirty and do the hardwork. Hardwork takes time, takes courage, takes strength, takes skills, takes your heart and soul and everything you’ve got. But it the end it’s worth it, isn’t it?

Number 3: character.
If you’re really good with what you’re at now and you have the skills to live up your dreams, remember: it all means nothing without the perfect character. I discover this along the show as well, while some of the participants lost my respect completely when they open up their true characters. Develop your characters. A good character equals to a thousand diamonds.

Number 4: love.
It’s either loving what you do or doing what you love. It’s up to us of how we want to interpret the things we are doing. Are we trying to love what we are doing, or we want to do what we love. Sometimes it’s both, but sometimes it’s not. I really like what Callum said in the grand finale, “do the job that you love.” and I guess if we all give one more recipe, love, to all that we are doing, it will be perfect.

Even though Callum didn’t win the MasterChef title, but I think I learn from him the best out of all other contestants. He is still 20 years old, but he is living his dreams right now. Will I be anywhere near him when I’m 20? I don’t know yet, but seeing him so true, living his dreams, really makes me eager to live my dreams as well. He’s got the passion, he’s got the hardwork, he’s got the character: the modest, honest, hardworking, kind, friendly, and yet – supportive. Even though he IS one of the top chefs, he is not being arrogant. He always got the ambition to win but yet he supports his friends as well. And what stands out for him is the amount of hardwork he has. He is like a machine gun that never runs out of bullet (exaggerating, I know ;p). But hey, he learns soooo much in the MasterChef show and most of them is because of hardwork. And do I need to say that he’s got love? He has a lot of it! He loves what he’s doing, he gives out love to everything he’s doing. And I love to look at someone like that, I bet everyone loves to. Callum is my winner today, even though I’ve got the non-supporting Australia behind my back. ;)

I want to pay my tribute to the other contestants as well. Matthew and Callum are my favourites, there are no doubts about that. Both have their specialties in desserts, both are young, and both are hardworkers. They both have great characters, and I guess there are no better examples of people living up their dreams NOW. ;p

I want to pay tribute for Phillip, who is also a great chef. He’s a hardworking one, and I believe that he will succeed. I give my tribute to Jonathan, even though I don’t really like him, but I can’t deny his hardwork, concentration and his determination to win. To Marion, who is a genius chef and has a lovely heart. She lost my respect when she gave that immunity pin though, but I doubt that I will NOT do the same if I were in her shoes. To Alvin, I love your personality. I always laughed out loud everytime you do something or by just seeing your expressions light my day. I think he’s the kind of person you’d like to be friends with. To Jake, the silent one but I guess, an honest man indeed. He may not have the greatest dream ahead, but I think it’s a great job, an honest one, and a loveable one. I will be happy to go to his stand one day.

It’s true that some of them totally lost my respect (and they never earn it again). I don’t like the way some of them treated their friends, or being too arrogant, or there are some words that I believe they should never have said. Those of you who watch the show all along, you will know the people that I’m talking about. (good examples of having the skills but not the appropriate character)

Nevertheless, all of them are great chefs, with great passion and lots of hardwork. Well done!

And a tribute for the judges and all the other chefs! Love to hear feedbacks from them ;)

Furthermore, I super like the quote, “I hope I have done this dish some justice.” ;p

Lastly, one more tribute to Callum, you are a winner indeed, and I can’t wait to hear what you’re going to become. You’ve become a role model, a great one – at least for me. ;) Hope you’re doing great in Melbourne!

http://www.masterchef.com.au/home.htm

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

mp’s rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

A definitely must-watch movie if you haven’t watched it! A remarkable, magical, fantastic, humorous, and great movie! ;)

“This is Berk. It’s twelve days north of Hopeless and a few degrees south of Freezing to Death. It’s located solidly on the Meridian of Misery. My village. In a word? Sturdy, and it’s been here for seven generations, but every single building is new. We have fishing, hunting, and a charming view of the sunset. The only problems are the pests. You see, most places have mice or mosquitoes. We have… Dragons!” – Hiccup.

Enclosed in a family-humorous type of movie, “How to Train Your Dragon”, directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, brings laughter to the people who watch it, as well as gives good morals as well. As we watch this movie, we are trained not to ‘judge people by its cover’, a long-known cliche but yet not a long-known common practice. We then learn to train our ‘dragons’, or as I interpret them as our personal judgments towards others. Intentionally or unintentionally, we will have some paradigms (either positive or negative), towards something that we are not familiar about. ‘Training’ means getting to know that ‘something’ in a more personal level. Who knows, your grumpy Boss might be an angel in the inside ;).

The next moral that we can get from this movie is about parenting job. Heeya parents, have you ever expected your children to ‘be’ someone they are not? Have you ever expected your son to be someone who is living your dreams, and not theirs? Communication is an important tool in building relationship between parents and their children, and again this is not a common practice. Have you guys ever said to your sons and daughters, “I’m proud of you, whoever you are”? You better start realising that your children want to live up to your expectations, but sometimes your expectations are not the best for them. Sometimes their dreams will make them the ‘someone’ you want them to be.

In addition, Hiccup‘s dragon, Toothless, is really adorable! He is the ultimate pet that I would like to have (if I can have a pet dragon…). A loyal, kind, cute, and yet amazing magical creature! But again, without Hiccup, Toothless will not be able to fly. They complete each other. They need each other. This symbolises the fact that everyone needs someone else to gain what it’s called ‘perfection’. But sometimes people just don’t want to acknowledge this truth and try to gain incomplete ‘perfection’ by himself.

In the end, this is a truly remarkable and hilarious movie. I have watched this movie twice and I’m thinking on watching it again soon. ;) Four thumbs up for DreamWorks! ;)

Pizza My Heart (2005)

mp’s rating: 2.5 / 5 stars

It’s been ages since the last time I watched this kind of movie!!! Well, maybe not. I’ve watched The Proposal, Did You Hear About The Morgans, and all other drama movies this holiday, but I guess… It’s been ages since the last time I saw such a HANDSOME ACTOR!!! (ALERT: single status guys, I don’t recommend you to continue reading this… But for you who already have girlfriends… It’s ok.. =p)

Okay, first of all, I never knew this movie existed until I watched Hallmark channel today. And guess what? Eyal Podell is so CUTE! Erm, I never knew that guy existed as well until today. Oh well~.

Another romantic comedy genre movie, Pizza My Heart (2005), directed by Andy Wolk, is another movie that I would like to watch again. It is light; it is funny; it is all about love (and all the cliches, but well – I still like it ;)); and it is all about hot guys ;). Hmm, have I mentioned that the guy, Joe Montebello (Eyal Podell) is so HOT? Maybe I haven’t. And have I told you that I like guys who cook? (It’s because of MasterChef Australia…) And guess what? Eyal Podell in this movie is a top chef as well! lol

Adapted from Shakespeare’s most famous play, Romeo and Juliet, this movie tells the story about a girl and a guy whose families are enemies for life. Prestolani and Montebello, they will never be PrestoBello. Or will they? (And I can’t help it but laugh all along when I realised the family names, the acts, and even there’s a ‘pope’ there who ‘helps’ the couple ‘escapes’, and all the other Shakespeare’s hints! “Love, or Family?” GOSH!)

I have searched through Google and YouTube but I couldn’t find the trailer anywhere. I don’t think there is any so I put the synopsis instead. >.<

“This witty (and taste-tempting) made-for-cable updating of “Romeo and Juliet”–minus the bloodshed!– takes place in Verona, New Jersey, where two families, bitter rivals since their origins in Italy, are in charge of the town’s two most popular pizza parlors. Upon returning to Verona from college, Gina Prestolani (Shiri Appleby) is informed by her domineering dad Lou (Michael Badalucco) that, not only is she obliged to enter the family business, but he has also picked out her future husband! But Gina’s heart already belongs to Joe Montebello (Eyal Podell), a talented pizza chef–and of course, the son of Lou’s bitter enemy Vinnie Montebello (Dan Hedaya). This star-crossed romance is further complicated when the animosity between the Prestolanis and the Montebellos is amplified by the efforts of both families to expand their businesses.”

– Hal Erickson, http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/412355/Pizza-My-Heart/overview

3 hours ago I was just entering my Mother’s room to have a chat, but I was stuck there for the next 1 hour or so to watch this movie. And I love the movie (and to spice up things, my second sister likes it too, and she also says that the guy is so cute! Those of you who know her, act surprised. lol). It’s a shame that I couldn’t find the quotes anywhere. Apparently it’s not in the Google (I have typed all possible words in the Google Search), so I just need to make up the quote myself. ;)

Quote 1, paraphrased: “I know you. I see you in the field everyday, caring about the tomatoes. You smell it, you see the colour, but it is never enough. All these years, you have been searching for the perfect tomato. And all along, the perfect tomato is been growing right next door.” (Joe’s brother saying to Joe)

Quote 2, paraphrased: “Why 8.22?” “Because that’s when my life stops.” “What time is it?” “10.22. Why?” “Because that’s when my life starts again.” “What time is it?” “12.01. Why?” “That’s when mine stops.” (Gina and Joe’s talking)

I really wish to find more quotes and clips and trailers but I have found none (I think this movie is so not well-known), but hey, I really like the actor anyway ;). Well, he makes me melt! Hahah, I feel like those high school girls when they talk about guys again. Gee, is this really me who’s writing? I hope not ;p.

Anyway, along my search, I find this. (RED RED RED ALERT: those of you who have cute guys phobia, you DO NOT WANT to play this…)

Well, overall, a good movie, cute guys, pretty girls, funny, and enough to light up your day (or night). Here’s an advice: Guys, (who already have girlfriends), cancel your cinema date, go to a rental, rent Pizza My Heart DVD, order some real pizzas, take your lover home, and do some home theater! lol

ohh wait a minute! I found something good! Enjoy~

The Bucket List (2007)

mp’s rating: 4 / 5 stars

Do you know what’s beautiful about life? We’ll never know when it ends. We can die today; we can die tomorrow. Or even 100 years later. Who knows? Only God knows, and once more, that what makes life beautiful.

In the beginning of this movie, Carter Chambers (played by Morgan Freeman) says that, “There was a survey once. A thousand people were asked if they could know in advance would they want to know their exact day of their death. 96% of them said no. I always kind of leaned towards the other 4%. I thought it would be liberating, knowing how much time you had left to work with. It turns out, it’s not.” Carter got cancer. His life is only months away. Now that he knows he is going to die, somehow life lost its beauty for him.

Edward Cole (played by Jack Nicholson), a millionaire, has got cancer as well. Realising that his wealth means nothing in the verge of his death, he then proposed Carter to make a ‘bucket list’. The list of things needed to be done before they die. Thus, they go in a journey, to fulfill their ‘bucket list’, and re-gain the beauty of life.

Life is beautiful. It certainly is. And it is even more beautiful when you have realised it! Cancer is real. Sickness is real. Death is real. But life is also real, isn’t it?

Both Carter and Edward decide not to give up on cancer. They have decided to do something more meaningful while they are still alive. Doing skydiving? not bad. Doing goodness to a complete stranger? even better. But most of all, they find life’s not life until they understand the joy in sharing life with each other. It’s always about giving, isn’t it?

Life lesson number 1: never give up. Even though they are diagnosed with cancer, they both refuse to just sit down and do nothing. Instead they try to do something useful and enjoy their remaining time. And throughout the way, they realise what is important in life and what’s not. what is that? you need to discover it yourself ;)

Life lesson number 2: Hmm, I think for this movie I’ll let you guys to watch it by yourself, and have your own lessons of life. This movie has too many meanings that I’d be loved to watch it over and over again. An ecstatic movie. Love it. ;)

There are some memorable quotes that I’d like to put here (alert alert! Too much spoiler in this ;p):

“Edward Perryman Cole died in May. It was a Sunday in the afternoon and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. He was 81 years old. Even now, I can’t claim to understand the measure of a life, but I can tell you this: I know that when he died, his eyes were closed and his heart was open, and I’m pretty sure he was happy with his final resting place because he was buried on the mountain, and that was against the law.”

“Dear Edward, I’ve gone back and forth the last few days trying to decide whether or not I should even write this. In the end, I realized I would regret it if I didn’t, so here it goes. I know the last time we saw each other, we weren’t exactly hitting the sweetest notes-certain wasn’t the way I wanted the trip to end. I suppose I’m responsible and for that, I’m sorry. But in all honestly, if I had the chance, I’d do it again. Virginia said I left a stranger and came back a husband; I owe that to you. There’s no way I can repay you for all you’ve done for me, so rather than try, I’m just going to ask you to do something else for me-find the joy in your life. You once said you’re not everyone. Well, that’s true-you’re certainly not everyone, but everyone is everyone. My pastor always says our lives are streams flowing into the same river towards whatever heaven lies in the mist beyond the falls. Find the joy in your life, Edward. My dear friend, close your eyes and let the waters take you home.”

“Good afternoon. My name is Edward Cole. I don’t know what most people say at these occasions because in all honesty, I’ve tried to avoid them. The simplest thing is I loved him and I miss him. Carter and I saw the world together, which is amazing when you think that only three months ago we were complete strangers. I hope that it doesn’t sound selfish of me, but the last months of his life were the best months of mine. He saved my life, and he knew it before I did. I’m deeply proud that this man found it worth his while to know me. In the end, I think it’s safe to say that we brought some joy to one another’s lives, so one day, when I go to some final resting place, if I happen to wake up next to a certain wall with a gate, I hope that Carter’s there to vouch for me and show me the ropes on the other side.”

Furthermore, the soundtrack is just wonderful. It’s the song “Say” by John Meyer. Totally one of my favourite songs right now. check it out ;)