Who says you need to read the book first?

The Harry Potter Series is my favorite book series. I thoroughly enjoy the movies as well. In fact, I can admit without shame that I saw a majority of the movies before finally deciding to read the books.

It seems that most movies hitting theaters today are adaptations of popular novels, stories, and fairy tales. Even Marvel and DC movies come from comic books.

Honestly, I’m not complaining. I think it makes sense to use the popular stories that so many people are captivated by for film. It’s proof that books and reading can never truly go out of style.

If a young adult novel turns into a movie, you can be sure that people will be rushing to stores to buy the book. But you will also have those uninterested in reading the book, who decide that they  just want to see the movie. And here’s why: Seeing a movie is easy and fast. If you hate it, at least you’ve only wasted two hours of your time.

Personally, I don’t like to harp on people to “Read the book first!” Yes, I will often suggest they read the book, but only if I believe that reading the book will be even more enjoyable than watching the movie—which in most circumstances is true. With the Harry Potter books, I discovered them because I loved the movies so much. Once I started the first book, I couldn’t stop. I read them all and was enthralled by the details in the books that weren’t in the movies. Soon enough, I had finished all of the books and was waiting for the newest movie to come out.

Whatever you decide to do (read the book first, see the movie, or both) just enjoy it for what it is: a story to be experienced.

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#PrayforKesha

It takes courage to speak, especially when speaking means evoking chaos. I don’t know Kesha personally, of course, but I respect her decision to speak out on the tragedy of being a sexually assaulted victim.

According to an article by The New York Times, Kesha recently filed a lawsuit against Dr. Luke, her music producer. Although Dr. Luke has rejected all claims against him and responded to Kesha’s actions as a means to make money, there are plenty of stars and fans joining ranks with this beloved pop-star.

Fellow female artists like Arianna Grande, Demi Lovato, Kelly Clarkson, and Lady Gaga have been voicing, via social media, their concerns, support, and encouragement. Taylor Swift even donated a large sum of money to help Kesha in her legal battle. The hashtag “Free Kesha” has also been trending.

Demi Lovato stated in a tweet supporting Kesha that “Women empowerment is speaking up for other women even when it’s something uncomfortable to speak up about.” Demi continued saying, “Women empowerment is taking action now, not when it’s convenient.”

What strikes a nerve for so many women is not merely that it is Kesha, a celebrity, but that it is a female—a human being—who is has been taken advantage of in more ways than one. While none of us can know the full story behind what’s happening, I believe that it is important for us to lift up Kesha in prayer and ask for God to provide the justice that is deserved, wherever that may be.

Most of us can’t imagine what it would be like to have our personal, private struggles and shames announced to an entire nation. So instead of using harsh words, passing judgement, or jumping to any conclusions about the situation, let’s remember that Kesha is first and foremost a person as well as a child of God.

-Ruthie F.

Empowerment, unhealthy relationships, and self-love: 3 lies female artists tell you

At Beautiful Media, our goal is to share thoughts on the beauty found in different forms of media. However, in order to seek beautiful media, we must be aware of what to avoid and what to consider before making a song, book, movie, or television show our new favorite. Here are three lies often fed to us through female artists and their music.

1. You should feel empowered

Demi Lovato’s “Confident” says it all. “What’s wrong with being confident?”

Nothing at all, obviously. So why is it that being “confident” means flaunting yourself, kicking butt, and putting up walls? Is that really where our confidence should be found? Demi’s song continues by saying:

“I make my own choice

**tch, I run this show

So leave the lights on

No, you can’t make me behave”

Similarly, Fifth Harmony’s “Worth it” may be catchy, but what kind of message are they preaching? “Baby I’m worth it,” is the phrase they repeat. But nowhere in the song do they exemplify individuals with dignity who deserve the respect they want. In fact, they say

“Show me what you got,

cus I don’t wanna waste my time…

make it worth my while”

While these girls are singing about feeling powerful and desiring respect, their conceited and negative attitudes are giving off a very different vibe.

2. What’s bad for you isn’t actually that bad

Unfortunately, female artists can do a great job at showing what an unhealthy mindset and relationship can look like compared to a healthy one. In Selena Gomez’s explicitly sexual song, “Hands to Myself,” she sings,

“My doctor says you’re no good

But people say what they wanna say

And you should know if I could

I’d breathe you in every single day”

 

In her new single, “Run Away with Me,” Carly Rae Jepsen says,

“Baby, take me to the feeling

I’ll be your sinner, in secret

When the lights go out”

Although they attempt to make these feelings and behavior sound normal and gratifying, they’re buying into the belief that the physical side of things is all that matters. Songs should encourage girls to respect themselves and their bodies, not do the opposite.
3. All you need is self-love

Hailee Steinfeld’s debut single “Love Myself” is an upbeat tune, addressing the power of self-love and the ability to get along on your own. She sings,

“I love me.

Gonna love myself,

no, I don’t need anybody else.”

But Hailee’s sexually-understated lyrics allude to more than just fulfilling physical desires. They also convey desires of the heart. While God wants us to love ourselves because we are created in his image, it’s a lie to believe that loving ourselves will satisfy. In truth, the only love we really need is a perfect love that sees past every flaw and completes us more than we—or anyone—ever could.

Finding meaning in ‘Signs.’

I’m not much for thrillers or horror movies. However, when it comes to M. Night Shyamalan’s suspenseful and plot-twisting films, I’m always game.

In light of The 5th Wave’s recent release to theaters, I decided to touch on one of my personal favorite alien movies—and no, it isn’t War of the Worlds.

Shyamalan’s Signs hit theaters in the early 2000s, but it has remained one of my favorite films to date. Although I appreciate many of his other popular (and not so popular) films—The Village, Lady in the Water, The Sixth Sense—Signs has always stuck out to me as being one of his most religious, impactful films.

Mel Gibson stars as former priest, Graham Hess, a man whose life is turned upside down once his wife is killed in a tragic accident. This causes him to lose both his faith and his hope.

After the accident, Graham, with the help of his younger brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix), is left to care for his two children, Morgan and Bo.

Throughout the film, the characters discover that the world is being watched and inhabited by extraterrestrial beings. Everything slowly turns to chaos and panic, and Graham and his family prepare for the aliens to invade earth. And for this small-town family, the effects of this turmoil take an even greater toll on their already shaken household.

The heart of this grim film is more than just the power of a loving family and their test of survival. Instead, the concept of ‘signs’ plays a key role—thus the title. At one point, Graham asks his brother,

“See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?”

After his wife’s death, Graham can’t believe that miracles happen. But, for anyone who watches the film, they will find that he is indeed proven wrong. Maybe, just maybe, there really are no coincidences. And maybe God really does give us signs. We just need to look.

-Ruthie F.

#Beautifulmediachat: limitations, rated R movies, and ‘binge watching’

Q: What limitations should we put on secular media?

A: Limitations are subjective. Because secular media is such a broad term, there’s no way to put limitations in a simple, neatly-wrapped box. The best piece of advice I can give is to just take baby steps. Become aware of what you’re consuming and how that affects your everyday life. Does that TV show make you more of a potty mouth?  Do violent movies make you uncomfortable or afraid? How does the music you listen to change your mood? Once we realize that media does change us, we’ll be far more likely to identify when those changes are positive or negative.

Q: When it comes to R rated movies, how do I know when I should/shouldn’t watch them?

A: For some it’s violence and gore, for others it’s sexual content or language. Whatever it is that makes you tick, cringe, or walk out of the theater, come to terms with that and don’t force yourself to see anything your instincts tell you not to. We often convince ourselves that being old enough to watch an R rated movie means we can handle what’s put before us. This isn’t the case. Everyone is different and everyone needs to assess what they can handle. Don’t let others decide for you. Set the standards and let those be your deciding factor.

Q: When is ‘binge watching’ okay?

A: NEVER. Okay, maybe that’s extreme. But when you say “binge,” what do you mean? Four TV show episodes in a row? Five? Sixteen? Are these hour-long episodes or 30 minutes? There’s a difference. Are you binging when you could be doing homework or talking with a friend? Ask yourself why you keep clicking the “next” button. Are you avoiding something, someone, or are you using what you’re watching as a crutch? A lot goes into the decision to binge watch–it doesn’t just happen involuntarily. Binging can be fun and mindless, but be careful that mindless doesn’t turn into numbness.

-Ruthie F.

Have more questions? For the next #beautifulmediachat, tweet us your media questions @beautyinmedia.

‘Ella Minnow Pea’ and a call to seek out ‘non-trending’ books

“Hundreds of words await ostracism from our functional vocabularies: waltz and fizz and squeeze and booze and frozen pizza pie, frizzy and fuzzy and dizzy and duzzy, the visualization of emphyzeema-zapped Tarzans, wheezing and sneezing, holding glazed and anodized bazookas, seized by all the bizarrities of this zany zone we call home.”

Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn

Ella Minnow Pea is one of my favorite books of all time. On a whim, my mother placed it in my hand and said, “Read this.” So I did.

If you read the excerpt above, you may be wondering what this book could possibly be about. For lovers of words everywhere, this book is perfect for you.

Lead character Ella Minnow Pea dwells on an island called Nollop, ceremoniously named after the creator of the famous pangram (a sentence that uses all 26 letters of the alphabet) “The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog.” At the start of the novel, we discover that the main form of communication among the characters is through letters. Seeing as this is an island named after the famous Nevin Nollop, it is clear that the people cherish their words. In fact, they even have a statue dedicated to Nollop which showcases the pangram. Unfortunately, one day the letter “Z” falls from the statue, and the council members take this as a sign that “Z” should permanently be banned from the alphabet all together. Slowly, but surely, more and more letters continue falling, and as they do, the word choices and spelling mistakes in the letters become more and more ridiculous.

Without giving any more away, I will simply say that this book is a pleasure to read. By no means is this book very popular or well-known. However, I am so happy that I didn’t shy away from reading it just because it wasn’t “trending” at the time.

While there is nothing wrong with cracking open a book that many others are reading, I would challenge you to seek out books that aren’t often discussed–books that don’t have a movie version. Tap into something fresh and new, even if it is technically an “older” book. Pick a new genre, ask your parents or grandparents what they’d recommend. What was their favorite book as a child? Go to your library and pick something random off the shelves that draws your eye. Don’t limit yourself when it comes to reading books. There are thousands upon thousands of choices before you, and just because a famous actress will be starring in the movie, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily worth the read.

-Ruthie F.

Quality Entertainment: Why a reboot of ‘Full House’ may be just what we need

Come February 26, Full House fans will be gathering in front of their screens to watch the recently anticipated sequel show, Fuller House, a Netflix original.

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When we last saw the Tanner family, D.J. was still a teen and Uncle Jesse’s twin boys were toddlers. Fast forward into the future, and D.J., Stephanie, neighbor Kimmy, and the rest of the gang are all back. (All but the youngest daughter, Michelle, that is. Unfortunately, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen both decided that acting was no longer up their alley). 

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In this new spin-off series, D.J. is a full-time mom and veterinarian, recently widowed. In an interview with People magazine, Candace Cameron Bure (D.J.) and co-stars Andrea Barber (Kimmy) and Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie) discussed the reboot of the show, bringing the family–and the fans–back together, as well as the reversal of the characters’ roles. While the original Full House followed three men raising three young girls, Fuller House follows three women raising three young boys.

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There’s something amazing about the excitement among old and new fans of this sitcom favorite. With so many classic shows available on Netflix and others making a comeback with special reunion episodes or seasons, it’s nice to know that the warm and uplifting Full House hasn’t been forgotten. Some may find reboots and sequels unnecessary or silly, but when we look back at the genuity of the Full House characters and the clean, family-oriented messages in the episodes, there is something quite refreshing in knowing that Fuller House may continue the legacy of providing a quality television experience for its viewers.

Here’s to the shows that make us smile, laugh, and happy cry. May they continue to live on as long as television exists.

-Ruthie F.
What are your thoughts about Fuller House? Tell us in the comments below.