Emily M. DeArdo



A Little Book and Movie Talk

books, Catholicism, moviesEmily DeArdoComment

I know, I hardly ever write on Saturday, but, I wanted to share some things with you, and there wasn’t an “official” Seven Quick Takes yesterday, which is good because I was editing the last bit of the manuscript! So the manuscript is edited! My editor will read it again, and then send it to the copy editor at Ave Maria Press in early July.

I should also be getting cover design shortly….and pre-orders should open soon!

Can you feel the excitement? I can!!!!

(Sign up for updates to get the news FIRST on all the book stuff!)

Anyway, speaking of books that aren’t mine….

The Feast of St. Thomas More was on the 22nd (which is also my mom’s birthday).

The Fourth of July is this coming week

So, in the spirt of both those things, let me offer you some good reading and film suggestions!

(These are Amazon affiliate links, FYI!)

St. Thomas More

Thomas More.png

If you aren’t familiar with this awesome saint, become so!

For movies, of course it’s A Man For All Seasons.

For books: The King’s Good Servant, But God’s First, by James Monti

For a look at the relationship with his daughter, Meg (which was a great one), read A Daughter’s Love: Thomas More and His Dearest Meg, by John Guy

American History

The Battle of Gettysburg raged from July 1-July 3. I highly recommend reading Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels and watching the film Gettysburg (which is based on Shaara’s book).

If you want to go back to the Revolutionary War, I suggest HBO’s series John Adams (Fabulous, based on the equally great book by David McCullough), the musical 1776 (great music, but also a great story), and the book 1776, also by David McCullough. Reading 1776 is an eye-opener. There was really no way the US was supposed to win the war, and that comes through with incredibly clarity in McCullough’s writing.

But we did win.

In terms of kid-friendliness—they can totally watch 1776. It’s very family-friendly. John Adams isn’t not family friendly but it’s sort of long, so I don’t know if it would hold kids’ attention, but older kids and teens? Definitely. Gettysburg is also long, and while it’s not incredibly graphic, it is about war. (Obviously) But I think kids could watch some of it. Teens, definitely.

#13 Paul, Apostle of Christ

journal, movies, Take Up and ReadEmily DeArdoComment
paul poster.jpg

I totally missed this movie when it was in the theaters, but I picked it up on DVD, and it’s great!

I gotta say, I knew very little about Paul’s life until I worked on Flourish, the new Take Up and Read book that focuses on the Book of Romans (and that you can BUY RIGHT NOW HERE!). Watching this movie was a great way to cement that knowledge and also watch some great acting. (I love Jim Caviezel!)

So if you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. And the Flourish study starts October 14! I’ll post more about it—INCLUDING a give away!—as we get closer to the start date!

My Favorite Christmas Movies

moviesEmily DeArdoComment

I've shared with you some of my favorite Christmas songs, and Christmas books, and now it's time for Christmas Movies!!! Few things say Christmas more to me than certain films. 

In no particular order, here are my favorite Christmas movies (or cartoons): 

** Mickey's Christmas Carol: This is from the 80s and features some dynamite Disney animators in their early stages; names like Glenn Keane and John Lasseter are in the credits. It's not entirely authentic to Dickens' tale, but it's a great introduction to the story, with beautifully animated characters and a pitch-perfect Scrooge McDuck. And how can you not love the Ghost of Christmas Present? 

Candied fruits with spiced sugar cakes! 

Candied fruits with spiced sugar cakes! 

** The Santa Clause: Kids today will be blown away by the size of the cordless phone....but the movie holds up well. Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) finds a fallen Santa Claus in his front yard on Christmas Eve, puts on the Santa suit, and becomes...Santa Claus. Only he doesn't believe it. But when he starts gaining weight by the ton and growing an impressive Santa beard right after shaving.....maybe there's something going on after all. A great family movie that will probably make you want cocoa. 

Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) tries a cocoa recipe 1500 years in the making at the North Pole. 

Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) tries a cocoa recipe 1500 years in the making at the North Pole. 

**'Twas the Night Before Christmas: This is an OLD Rankin-Bass cartoon. The town of Junctionville, NY has annoyed Santa because someone wrote a letter calling him a "fraudulent myth". How can the town get Santa to forgive them? 

**How The Grinch Stole Christmas: (both of them) Of course, the animated version cannot be beat. But the live-action one has its charms, especially in some of the dialogue. 

**A Charlie Brown Christmas: Right? I mean, you just have to watch it. 


** Muppet Christmas Carol: I LOVE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL. I usually watch it at least twice. If you haven't seen it, you must, because it's the most faithful movie version I've found, with the narrator (Gonzo) actually reading parts of the prose as the narration. Michael Caine is Scrooge, Kermit is Bob Cratchit, and Miss Piggy is his wife, Emily. Rizzo the rat is Gonzo's sidekick. The whole gang is here, with great music, too. 

Michael Caine and the muppets 

Michael Caine and the muppets 

**The Family Man: This is sort of a take on It's a Wonderful Life. High-flying financier Jack Campbell has the perfect life: a penthouse in Manhattan, a fancy car, and a huge salary. But one Christmas Eve he gets the chance to see what would've happened if he'd chosen to marry his college girlfriend, Kate (Tea Leoni)--and he wakes up the next morning in suburban New Jersey, with a wife, two kids, and a job at a tire store. One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Jack, in his alternative life, is given the chance to have the job he has back in "real" life. He tells Kate, "we could have a life that other people envy!"

"Oh, Jack," Kate says. "They already do envy us."

**The Holiday: A sweet movie wherein two women--Kate Winslet in England, and Cameron Diaz in LA--decided to switch homes over the holidays as they try to escape their lives. The movie really is sweet (meaning touching) and features great performances by Jude Law and Jack Black as the men in the women's lives. 

**The only "Old" movie on this list: Meet Me In St. Louis. I love it mostly for Judy Garland, and the movie gave us the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Which, of course, Judy slays. 


**And finally, the coupe de grace of all Christmas movies: A Christmas Story. In my family, we could probably recite this guy. If you haven't seen the tale of Ralphie and his Red-Ryder BB gun (with this thing that tells time!), you are missing out. FIX IT. 

The Parker Clan of Cleveland Street: L-R: Mom, the "Old Man", Randy, and Ralphie. 

The Parker Clan of Cleveland Street: L-R: Mom, the "Old Man", Randy, and Ralphie. 

Questions, I Have: Star Wars Episode VII

moviesEmily DeArdoComment

So, this is very SPOILER HEAVY. If you  don't want spoilers, then skip this post. Go read yesterday's! 


(you were warned)



Ok, we're going now. :) 


So I saw Episode VIII: The Force Awakens last week, and overall, I liked it. The dialogue was five million times better than in any previous installments, the effects were well done, the acting was solid, the music was great. I really liked the blend of old and new characters. 

THAT BEING SAID: I have a list of questions. In no particular order:  

  1. Where the HECK did the First Order come from? The Sith is gone, presumably, at the end of ROTJ (Episode VI), because the Emperor and Darth Vader are dead, and "two there are", Yoda tells us in the prequels. And that's it. There's not like a Sith Training Academy. You have a master and an apprentice--and both are dead. So there's no Sith, and presumably no one to run the Empire, because I'm pretty sure the Rebellion/Republic went after them with all the Power of the Force and we saw all those parties at the end of the Reworked Episode VI, Indicating that we were free from evil, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, Etc. 
    So...First Order. Where did you come from? 
  2. We know, from the prequels, that the Stormtroopers are basically disposable clones. Well, obviously, Finn is not a clone of Bobba Fett's Dad. So are we doing like a Lunar Chronicles thing and stealing them from their parents when they're born and basically brainwashing them into being Stormtroopers? (I'm not saying that HUGE PLOT HOLES aren't a part of the Canonical Star Wars Universe, because they are...)
  3. Also, Finn: When you were being trained as a Stormtrooper, what did you think you were going to be doing? Petting kittens? 
  4. Why Do Rey and Luke want to get back to these crummy desert planets?! SERIOUSLY?!?!?! It's a DESERT! ( I know, I know: it's home. OK. Fine. STILL.) 
  5. Why did Mark Hamill get top billing and the have precisely one scene, at the very end, with NO DIALOGUE? Also, why did he act like a Disney Princess and play the "this is all my fault, I'll run away now" card when Ben Solo/Kylo Ren Is turned....evil? 
  6. Also, why is he living on Skellig Michael? Has he become an Ancient Irish Monk? 
  7. Are Han and Leia divorced? Were they married to begin with, ever? If they were, does that make Han Galactic Royalty?  If they're divorced: did they have irreconcilable differences? Is there no fault divorce in this galaxy? 
  8. Why do the bounty hunters want Han and Chewie? 
  9. Why did they get rid off/sell the Falcon
  10. If they knew where the Falcon was all the time, why didn't they go get it?
  11. WHO is the crazy Supreme Leader Snoke? Is he REALLY a crazy huge thing, or is this like the Wizard? Pay no attention to the man behind the projection? Is he some sort of Sith derivative? 
  12. Don't we NEED the Sith to balance the force? So are they really gone? 
  13. Rey sure has a lot of power for never being trained as a Jedi. I mean, she almost took Kylo Ren down and he's supposed to be like, the MAN, here. (Random side note: He is MUCH more intimidating with the mask. Also, does he remind anyone else of Syndrome from Incredibles?) 
  14. Which guy--Finn or Poe--is Rey going to fall for? 
  15. I would've liked it if Han had said "If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine" before his son killed him. (Fathers and sons have SERIOUS issues in these movies.)
  16. Who makes up the Rebellion? WHY is there a rebellion, when they won? (That connects to the first question)
  17. Are there Ewoks in our future? I hope so. (This really isn't a serious question)
  18. Why are the Empire/First Order weapons so FREAKING EASY TO DEFEAT? "Oh, yes, it's completely unbeatable, except for this glaring error that is easily spottable by our enemies! Ha ha! And it's basically the same problem we had thirty some years ago! (No, we do NOT learn from our mistakes.) "
  19. Also, how does one turn a planet into a weapon? Without, you know, destroying said planet?  (Yes, I know the planet was destroyed at the end of the movie.) 
  20. How long do Wookies live? 
  21. WHY would you have Daniel Craig in a movie and not SHOW us Daniel Craig? I mean, come on, JJ! 
  22. Why don't the stormtroopers have better armor after all this time?
  23. Why does C3PO STILL think that everything is going to turn out badly? Come on, 3PO. Trust the humans and R2 and BB8 (who is AWESOME, by the way).
  24. Is Rey Luke's daughter? I want some massive Rey backstory, here. What is going on with parents leaving her, etc. Why do parents leave their kids so much in these stories? And if Rey is Luke's daughter, then who is Rey's mom? Who was taking care of her? Because I doubt she was scavenging parts and brining them to trade as a four year old. Is she some sort of crazy collection of Midichlorians that make her magical, or something? 
  25. I still don't really know what a Midichlorian is.