Well, the best laid plans of mice and men…amiright?
The day I decided to start my brand new Boot Camp series was the day that we found out our friend Wally had died. After attempting to keep on keeping on despite the mounting grief washing through my soul, I finally came to the point where I couldn’t just keep on. I had to stop. Stop what I was doing. Stop and take stock of why I was doing it. And in the aftermath of tragedy, my body didn’t care about getting back into shape. The Dark Side had taken over.
I’d be lying if I said that the Darkness has left…it hasn’t.
But this past Monday, I decided to give my Star Wars Boot Camp a do-over. The desire to tune my body back to healthy has resurfaced and I feel extra motivated to make the best of my life. Especially remembering that there are people who don’t get one more day. It really does put your grief into perspective. It puts your fears and failures into perspective. And for me, it makes me stronger. It makes me want to fight for the best life I can have.
Week 1: Sith Apprentice Week (Anakin Skywalker)
I’m altering the routine I had previously shared just a bit (pray I don’t alter it further.) 😉
Here’s a look at my morning routine, which I will do every morning this week:
1 min of each
Jog in Place
Dumbbell Shoulder Press (4 sets, 8 reps)
Standing Dumbbell Curls (3 sets, 12 reps)
Reverse Curls (3 sets, 12 reps)
Dumbbell Lateral Raises (3 sets, 12 reps)
Hammer Curls (2 sets, 15 reps)
Tricep Press (3 sets, 12 reps)
Upright Dumbbell Row (3 sets, 12 reps)
Here’s another look at my playlist this week:
To add a little extra oomph to this week’s workouts, I’m adding some YouTube videos that will focus on some Sith skills, such as lightsaber combat, Kendo and martial arts. I chose one of these 4 days out of the week to try. Take a look:
No guarantee that I’ll master these in a week…in fact, it’s a safe bet to say that I won’t. But that’s not really the point of Boot Camp. This Boot Camp is supposed to give me focus. Every morning, I’ll be narrowing in on what’s happening with my body. Where the pain is, where I need to push myself. And by focusing on those things, it will take my eyes off of the unhealthy habits I’ve been forming in the last month or so.
As of today, I’m 2 days into it and I’ve had successful morning and evening workouts each day since starting! Now it’s time to add on these extra bonus workouts and push more…just like a Sith Apprentice would. Channeling my inner Anakin!
Here’s a look at some of the training Hayden Christensen did for Episode III to get you inspired!
Well, once again I’m standing at the start of a workout series. The last one was very successful. I felt good, I felt fit and then life interjected and while I haven’t completely regressed, I have not been at the level of fitness I’d like to be. The kind of level that energizes me. The kind of level that has me feeling my muscles in the good way!
So…here we go. But this time I want to invite you all into the process. Instead of showing you the results and breaking it down after 6 weeks of hard work, you are going to be my inspiration, my accountability, my reason for staying true to my 6:30am alarm each day!!!
If you want to follow along on the whole journey, come on over to my Instagram and keep an eye out for my stories each day. I’ll show you what workouts I’ll be doing and whether or not I actually do them. As well as daily inspiration to get me going and keep me going!
But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. What is this workout, you ask? I’m glad you did!! Cause it may just be my best idea yet. It’s a Star Wars Boot Camp!! That’s right…I said Star Wars!! The franchise that beats all other franchises IMHO!
You know my deep and abiding love for that galaxy far, far away. Now it’s turn that love into some fitness currency and put that love to work! Here’s a rough outline of week 1, but I’m leaving myself room to adjust each week as I need to.
I’ll be sharing my journey with you as I go and as usual, if you have any thoughts, let me know in the comments below or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)!! I’d love to hear your thoughts!!
Week 1: Anakin Skywalker (Sith Apprentice)
Week 1 is all about Anakin’s Dark Side, his fight with the ways of the Sith. I’m following the Sith Code this week:
Peace is a lie,
There is only Passion.
Through passion, I gain Strength.
Through strength, I gain Power.
Through power, I gain Victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall set me free.
This week is all about Passion, Power, Strength and Victory. And since this is Sith Apprentice week, everything I do will be at home utilizing the resources I have at my disposal. You Tube videos, apps, weights, bodyweight exercises. This week is all about quantity over quality. Reps, reps, reps! Going till I can’t go anymore. Channeling my anger and my passions into strong fitness routines that will be explosive. Just like Anakin Skywalker and his decent into the Dark Side.
Here’s my playlist for Week 1:
Let’s talk food. This week I’m going to be eating lots of protein and cutting out all those foods that weigh me down: dairy, bread, bad sugars. And replacing those things with dark greens, black beans, black berries, red raspberries, black lentils, black teas, basically anything dark, black, red, bitter, etc. Things that will keep me on the path to the Dark Side.
Here is a look at my morning power workout. I’ll be doing this every morning and pairing it with workouts like Power Yoga, Boxing, Arm Workouts and Tumbling/ Acrobatics.
-1 min indoor jog
-1 min mountain climbers
-1 min jump rope
-1 min jumping jacks
-1 min skiers
-1 min front kicks
-1 min power skips
-1 min high knees
-1 min squats
-1 min butt kickers
(Repeat 3 times)
Embrace your Dark Side and together…we can rule the galaxy!!!
This week’s playlist is populated with selections from the Moana soundtrack, naturally, as well as songs about water and the ocean. It great for a lazy day at the beach or to get you pumped for Hula class or even to take paddle boarding with you!
Deep Wide Ocean – The Jezabels
Orinoco Flow – Enya
The Ocean – Mike Perry, Shy Martin
The Ocean, The Wild Wind
We Move Like the Ocean – Bad Suns
Walk on the Ocean – Toad the Wet Sprocket
Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride – Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu
Hawaiian Air – Friendly Fires
Tuloa Tagaloa – Olivia Foa’i
Where You Are – Christopher Jackson
How Far I’ll Go – Auli’i Cravalho
We Know the Way – Lin-Manuel Miranda
How Far I’ll Go (Reprise) – Auli’i Cravalho
I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors) – Rachel House, Auli’i Cravalho
Know Who You Are – Auli’i Cravalho
We Know the Way Finale – Lin-Manuel Miranda
How Far I’ll Go – Alessia Cara
Only Time – Enya
Caribbean Blue – Enya
Dark Sky Island – Enya
Brighter than the Sun – Colbie Caillat
Something in the Water – Carrie Underwood
This movie was long anticipated. But I had no idea how much I would love Moana till I went and saw it in theaters…three times! Moana is the story of a young girl, the daughter of a chief. With her very birth comes the expectations of family and tradition. But Moana’s heart feels that #wanderlust and she wants to do out beyond the borders of her island life. Her meddlesome Gran is in her corner, but the call of her family is strong. And something just keeps holding her back. Until her true destiny is thrust into her hands by her Gran, who on her death bed tells her she has to follow her heart! Moana follows it past the shores of her island. She follows it to the demigod Maui. She follows it into the unknown, where she fights monsters and wrestles with her true nature. If you still haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for? It’s on Netflix…go on, I’ll wait!
Life of Pi
Life of Pi has a lot in common with Moana. Where Moana’s story is one of discovery, Pi’s story is one of survival. But they both have familial expectations to wrestle with and come to terms with. Pi’s family is lost on a voyage across the ocean. And only him and the family’s zoo tiger, Richard Parker, survive. This movie’s visuals are stunning! Definitely worth a watch, especially during Moana Week!!
Cast Away may seem like a strange choice for Moana Week. But when you look deeper into the story of Cast Away and the way that Tom Hanks has to survive insurmountable odds, there are a lot of similarities to draw upon. Plus can’t you just see the similarities between Moana’s silly chicken Hei-Hei and Tom Hanks’ volleyball companion, Wilson!!
Journey 2: Mysterious Island
Ok I mainly chose this one because it’s a fun little movie and has The Rock in common with Moana. There aren’t a lot of comparisons to draw between Journey 2: Mysterious Island and Moana. But Josh Hutcherson and the Rock are dreamy and there’s an island and I could go on, but I’m really just stretching here! Watch it for fun!
Ok…Waterworld. I know…I know, worst movie ever made. Huge inflated budget, one of the most expensive films ever made. And what’s worse..it tanked at the box office. But have you gone back and watched Waterworld? I don’t think it’s as horrible as we all seem to think/remember. I’m not saying it deserves Oscars or anything, though it was actually nominated for one. I’m just saying, I wanted a reason to watch it and it really only seemed to fit on my Moana Watch List for Princess Boot Camp. So here it is… Waterworld. The story of a post-apocalyptic, dystopian future where the polar ice caps have melted and the world is submerged underwater, forcing the remaining citizens of Earth to survive in the perpetual ocean…the water world, if you will (yep, I did that.)
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Who among us isn’t captured by stories of Atlantis? Have you ever dreamed of being among those who find the lost empire? I know I have! And Atlantis made me think a little of Moana. Both stories have that element of the search for something, the journey taken and the fellowships we make along the way to our destination. Did you know that Disney had plans for an underwater park based on Atlantis, but since the movie didn’t overwhelm at the box office, they cancelled it? I’m sad about that! I would love to go to an underwater theme park with an Atlantis theme!!
Swiss Family Robinson
There’s a theme on this watch list and it’s survival. Which is not really what Moana is about at all. When Moana leaves her island of Motunui, it isn’t survival that is first on her mind, it is mission. But with adding ocean and island tales to my list, survival themes just seem to come naturally with that. Swiss Family Robinson is the story of a shipwrecked family…the Robinsons. Who are forced to survive on an island together. And to rebuild their lives in the face of overwhelming odds. And there are pirates.
Muppet Treasure Island
Speaking of pirates. I added Muppet Treasure Island as a little visual and musical treat for everyone. It wouldn’t be right not to have another musical selection on the list. And this movie has lots of ocean and islands and journey through oceans to islands. Incidentally, it’s also one of my family’s favorite movies to quote. Enjoy!
Frosty the Snowman – Michael Bublé, Puppini Sisters
For the First Time in Forever – Frozen Soundtrack
For the First Time in Forever (Reprise) – Frozen Soundtrack
Love is an Open Door – Frozen Soundtrack
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
In Summer – Josh Gad
In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry
Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams
Summerland – Florida Georgia Line
A Little More Summertime – Jason Aldean
Summer Wind – Frank Sinatra
Summer Nights – Grease Soundtrack
All Summer Long – Kid Rock
Summer Nights – Iration
Summer Nights – Tiësto, John Legend
Summer Nights – Rascal Flatts
Long Hot Summer – Keith Urban
Summertime Romance – Johnnyswim
Melt My Heart to Stone – Adele
Melt – JONES
Let it Go – Idina Menzel
Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson
Break Free – Ariana Grande
Freedom – Soulive, Corey Glover
Breaking Free – High School Musical Soundtrack
Let It Go – Demi Lovato
Viva La Vida – Coldplay
Have of the Elsa Week movie list is ice cold, the other half is filled with the warmth of sisterhood. Enjoy!
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Frozen is the story of two sisters…best friends, really. Who are ripped apart by poor parenting, sorry to speak ill of the dead. But when Elsa’s powers become too powerful and she injures little sister Anna, their parents take them to see the mysterious and unexplained rock trolls who hold all the secrets to Elsa’s powers without ever actually giving explanations. So Elsa is made to feel ashamed of her gifts and is told to conceal and not to feel (bad advice for a super powered little girl, if we’re honest!) Years later, Elsa’s powers manifest at her Queenly coronation after years of seclusion. Is it any wonder that basically being a recluse wouldn’t lead to extraordinary people skills? Don’t worry, it has a happy ending, you just have to cry a lot to get there. “Do you wanna build a snowman?”
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Speaking of frozen tundras, let’s look to Narnia. That magical land that can be found in a wardrobe. I’m specifically putting Lion, Witch and Wardrobe on the list, as this is where the tale of Narnia begins, as far as the silver screen is concerned. After years of eternal winter, Lucy Pevensie makes her way into Narnia, after choosing a particularly deep wardrobe to hide in during a game of hide and seek with her siblings. Long story short, the Pevensie children all make their way to Narnia and break the curse of endless winter. There’s a lion and spiritual metaphors and it’s a beautiful story that pairs well with Frozen.
Rise of the Guardians
If you’ve never seen Rise of the Guardians, do yourself a favor and watch it. The Guardians are Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman. When the world is threatened by Pitch Black, the Guardians will enlist Jack Frost to help put things back to right. Also a bonus reason to watch this movie, a lot of Elsa fans out there seriously ship her with Jack Frost and I really dig that ship. Watch the movie and judge for yourself if Jack would be a good match for the Queen of Frozen!
Ok, this one is off the beaten path of what’s on the list before it. A bonafide tragedy, Dr. Zhivago really only shares a world of ice in common with Frozen. But if we’re looking for things that give you that frosty air, this is a movie that will make you feel those Frozen vibes for sure!
White Christmas, a classic Irving Berlin flick that should be watched every Christmas. This movie features cold, white stuff and a pair of adorable singing sisters with a penchant for the occasional disagreement.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Moving away from the snow and ice, we head towards those sister vibes with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The story of 4 best friends going through life together. As life events pop up for each of them, they fight like hell to keep the bonds of friendship and sisterhood alive by sharing a pair of pants that magically fit them all perfectly. And discover that even without the pants, their bond stands the test of time!
This is an adorable little Disney Channel original movie starring Rowan Blanchard from the ill fated Girl Meets World. When Molly, Cleo’s way more popular older sister, turns invisible after a science experiment goes awry, Cleo starts to have more of an appreciation for her sister. And Molly sees her sister after years of overlooking her. It’s about sisters and it’s adorable!
One of the most classic tales of sisterhood in all of literature, I present Little Woman for the list. Yes, there’s tragedy (looking at you, Beth.) But that’s sort of a theme for a lot of the entries on this list. Chalk it up to the Disney effect (looking at you, parents of Elsa and Anna!)
Scottish Fiddle Jig – The Scottish Bagpipes Highland Pipes
We start our movie list with our fiery haired heroine, Merida from Disney’s Brave. As the daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor, there is a certain life that Merida can look forward to. The life of a royal princess and future Queen of the Scottish lords. This means she must marry and she must behave herself. She’s supposed to learn from her mother and not bring her weapons to the dinner table. But Merida wasn’t born the perfect little princess and she believes her destiny lies on a different path from the one she was born with. What I love about Brave is that it’s the story of a tumultuous relationship between mother and daughter, not about a Princess falling in love with a Prince. This movie breaks from Disney Princess movie tradition and sets a precedent for Disney Princesses to come. It’s ain’t all about the man and given her choice among the sons of the Scottish lords vying for her hand…can you blame her? Respect, Merida! Respect.
Staying in the borders of Scotland, the next movie on our Merida Inspo list is Braveheart, a natural follow-up movie to Brave! I mean…if you’ve never seen Braveheart then you’ve been living in a cave or you are like…6 years old and if it’s the latter, this blog is a little old for ya, kid! If it’s the former, welcome back to the world…go watch Braveheart! “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take…our FREEDOM!” No matter how you feel about the decline of Mel Gibson, that moment is still pure movie magic!!
Ok, the premise of Highlander and ensuing spin offs and sequels is intense. There are Immortals…they fight to the death and of course “there can only be one.” Connor MacLeod, our main character, is one such Immortal as is his and his mentor (hey Sean Connery.) This movie did very poorly when it came out in 1986, but has gained a cult following. And obviously became popular enough to garner Highlander II: The Quickening, Highlander III: The Sorcerer, Highlander: Endgame, Highlander: The Source, and not only a TV series, but an animated TV series as well! Dive in, but beware the Highlander current will sweep you away (or maybe not. I’ve personally never felt the need to watch any of the sequels.)
Bad ass chicks who shoot bow and arrows stick together! Katniss and Merida have plenty in common. Mommy issues? Check. Mad archery skills? Check. A destiny that calls them where they don’t want to go? Double check! This movie has plenty of those Brave vibes and you have to be brave to make it through the Hunger Games…see what I did there!
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Ok, it’s not Scotland, but there’s archery and sweeping country side and that’s about where the comparison between Brave and LOTR ends, but the Lord of the Rings trilogy basically belongs on every list…so, here it is!
Brigadoon has absolutely nothing in common with the above list of more action oriented movie, other than the Scottish thing…to tie it back to Brave. But it’s a classic Hollywood musical starring Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse and Van Johnson and is an absolute treasure, hence it’s addition to this list! Brigadoon is a disappearing town in the Highlands of Scotland that appears once every 100 years. One that Gene Kelly and Van Johnson happen upon when they are on holiday shooting grouse or whatever it is you shoot in Scotland. And guess which day they happen upon the usually wild and empty space where Brigadoon usually isn’t…yep, that 100th day. Gene meets Cyd and falls in love, obviously. But Gene and Van have lots of questions about this disappearing paradise, especially after a native tries to leave and gets shot in the process. Mystery abounds, love is in the air and there’s lots of singing!!
The Decoy Bride
This one is a bit of a fringe choice and unless you are a big fan of the 10th Doctor and have actively searched out all you can find of David Tennant, you might not know anything about it. But this rom-com has 2 things going for it that are directly relevant to Brave. #1: It takes place on the island of Hegg, which “lies half-drowned and wind-battered, the furthermost drop of the outermost spray of the curling wave of the Outer Hebrides.” And #2: The Decoy Bride stars Kelly Macdonald, none other than the voice of Merida herself. It’s a simply adorable romantic comedy and on sick days, it is my go to feel better movie these days! Give it a watch, why don’t ya?!
This week’s playlist is whimsical and, like Mulan playlist, is great to listen to from top to bottom for a full musical story or on shuffle for a smattering of great Rapunzel inspired tunes!
Fairytale – Harry Gregson-Williams
Once Upon a December – Liz Callaway
Castle – Halsey
Fairytales – Alex Preston
Nolita Fairytale – Vanessa Carlton
Hair – New Broadway Cast Recording “Hair”
When Will My Life Begin – Mandy Moore
Lights – Jef Miles
Lights – Ellie Goulding
Shooting Star – Owl City
Almost There – Anika Noni Rose
When Will My Life Begin (Reprise 2) – Mandy Moore
Take on the World – Rowan Blanchard, Sabrina Carpenter
Try Everything – Shakira
Wildside – Sofia Carson, Sabrina Carpenter
Whip My Hair – Willow
I’ve Got a Dream – Tangled Soundtrack
Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
Dream On – Aerosmith
Dreaming – Smallpools
Healing Incantation – Mandy Moore
The Glow – Shannon Saunders
Kingdom Dance – Alan Menken
Flowers in Your Hair – The Lumineers
Fireflies – Owl City
Bubbly – Colbie Caillat
At the Beginning – Film Score Orchestra
I Can See the Light – Hamilton Cast
I’m Beginning to See the Light – Michael Bublé
Long As I Can See the Light – Creedence Clearwater Revival
I See the Light – Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi
Terrified – Katharine McPhee
See the Light – Matrimony
Lanterns – Birds of Tokyo
A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay
Counting Star – OneRepublic
When the Stars Go Blue – Tyler Hilton & Bethany Joy Lenz
Lost Stars – Adam Levine
Starlight – Empire Cast
Starlight – Neverest
Seeing Stars – BORNS
Journey to the Past – Liz Callaway
Wind in My Hair – Mandy Moore
Tangled – Thomas Rhett
Hair – Lady Gaga
Castle on the Hill – Ed Sheeran
Something That I Want – Grace Potter
It’s Not Just Make Believe – Kari Kimmel
The Frying Pan – John Prine
Here’s your movie watch list for this week. A mix of Rapunzel inspired fairytales, musicals and random other selections that I added to the list for fun! (My list, my rules!)
As usual, we start with the inspiration for the week. Tangled burst onto the screens in 2010, though at times it feels like she’s been part of the Princess line up for far longer.
Speaking of princesses who don’t know they are princesses…Anastasia is the story of a young orphaned girl, Anya, who has no memory of her past. After meeting a couple of con artists who want to use her to trick the Grand Duchess into believing that she is the long lost Princess Anastasia, little orphan Anya starts to recall things long forgotten. And in the course of remembering who she is, Dimitri, the boy who once saved her from certain death, starts remembering her as well. With voice casting from Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammar, Christopher Llyod, Bernadette Peters, Kirsten Dunst, Hank Azaria and the one and only Angela Lansbury as the Grand Duchess. If you didn’t grow up watching this movie, then I’m not sure it’s one you’ll love in this age of Disney animation. Nostalgia really has to be on your side!! It’s the Disney movie that isn’t Disney. And it shows.
And yet another princess who is not aware of her royal roots…the Princess Aurora is whisked away in the night by her 3 fairy godmothers, after the evil fairy Maleficent places a curse on the baby Princess. And all because she wasn’t invited to the party…beware using that red pen on evil fairy godmothers. Trust me, it’s safer just to invite them.
So Flora, Fauna and Merryweather secret the infant girl out of the castle and into the woods where she is raised as a young peasant girl who had to have questions about her parentage! Come on, 3 maiden aunts raising you in the woods? Questions are bound to pop up. But no, Aurora lives her quiet life and unlike Rapunzel, we don’t get the sense that she wonders too much about the world outside of her little forest. The only thing Aurora dreams of is her dreamy prince. Spoiler alert…she meets him…in the woods! And guess who he happens to be…the Prince. It’s a Disney fairytale, these things write themselves!
Into the Woods
Into the Woods could easily have been put on Cinderella’s Watch List, but that list was pretty full, so I saved it for this week. Into the Woods is a musical by Stephen Sondheim. And while I really enjoy this movie adaptation, it’s the stage production starring Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleeson that I love most.
This musical takes a whole slew of fairytale stories and throws them into the same woods. What if Rapunzel’s Prince and Cinderella’s Prince were brothers? What if Jack from the Beanstalk met Little Red Riding Hood? And so on. What this story boils down to is the general theme of “careful what you wish for.” It’s not the bright, fluffy Disney story that you’re used to. Sondheim often poses questions about good and evil in his musicals. What if the villain has redeeming qualities? What if the hero is flawed? It’s a unique take on these fairytales and my second favorite musical of all time!
Ok, Barber Shop has little in common with Rapunzel, other than the over arching theme of…hair. But I’m putting it on the list, so deal! Barbershop is the story of a man, Ice Cube, who has had enough of running his father’s barbershop and decides to sell it to a man who wants to turn it into a strip club. Without telling anyone of his plans, Ice Cube sells it and sells out.
Ice Cube soon comes to realize the error he has made and how truly important the barbershop is, not only to the surrounding community, to his employees and patrons, but also to himself. And he goes about trying to get it back. Solid movie…go watch it! And if you get hooked on the franchise, give Barbershop 2: Back in Business a try as well as…
Beauty Shop spins out of Barbershop 2, where we are introduced to Queen Latifah’s Gina. Gina is sick and tired of her boss and his criticism and decides it’s time to open her own beauty shop. But things aren’t as easy as they seem. She finds herself up against clients who are set in their ways, prejudice, vandalism and the day to day struggle of raising a daughter and being a business owner. This movie, like Barbershop, is the story of community, of friendship and of overcoming struggles.
Another movie with little in common with our Disney heroine, but is full of magical hair! Hairspray is the story of Tracy Turnblad, a young girl in 1960’s Baltimore. All Tracy wants is to be on The Corny Collins’ Show and to have mile high hair, is that too much to ask? As fun as this musical is, it also takes time to challenge race relations in the 60’s. They explore integration, not only on the dance floor, but in the budding relationship between Penny and Seaweed. I saw this show 4 times on Broadway and love the movie adaptation starring John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Elijah Kelley, James Marsden, Allison Janney and new comer at the time, Nikki Blonsky as Tracy.
Mandy Moore (voice of Rapunzel in Tangled) stars in this frothy teen flick about the First Daughter running away to experience the world outside of the White House walls. She, like Rapunzel, feels that there’s more to life than what she has experienced. And she, like Rapunzel, takes the first chance to run away with a handsome dark haired stranger when it comes along. (Ok, it’s a stretch to say that this movie and Tangled have anything other than Mandy Moore in common, but that’s enough for me!) Also see First Daughter starring Katie Holmes which came out at the same time. Same movie, different cast!
This week’s playlist is a mix of Mulan story telling and songs about being strong, a warrior, a fighter…like Mulan! Enjoy.
Honor to Us All – Mulan Soundtrack
Matchmakers – Bandshes
Matchmaker, Matchmaker – Ella Fitzgerald
Reflection – Christina Aguilera
Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls
Hard Love – NEEDTOBREATHE
Fight Song – Rachel Platten
I’ll Make a Man Out of You – Mulan Soundtrack
Rise – Katy Perry
Confident – Demi Lovato
A Girl Worth Fighting For – Mulan Soundtrack
Run the World (Girls) – Beyoncé
Run This Town – JAY Z, Rihana, Kanye West
Roar – Katy Perry
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
Fighter – Christina Aguilera
The Fighter – Gym Class Heroes feat. Ryan Tedder
This is War – Thirty Seconds to Mars
Stronger – Kanye West
Warriors – Imagine Dragons
Warrior – Ke$ha
Warrior – Hannah Kerr
War – Sum 41
Warrior – Steve James feat. LIGHTS
War – Edwin Starr
War of Change – Thousand Foot Krutch
Fight for You – Jason Derulo
Battle Scars – Lupe Fiasco, Guy Sebastian
True to Your Heart – 98 Degrees, Stevie Wonder
Princess of China – Coldplay, Rihanna
For the movies this week, we are focusing on Chinese actors and strong female characters. Take a look and let me know if you’d add anything to the list.
Mulan is a film that came out of what is considered Disney’s Renaissance period. And as with Pocahontas (another Renaissance film) there are some glaring issues that I’m gonna go ahead and side step because 1. I love this movie and 2. Mulan is a seriously kick ass female! The problems that present themselves are there. They are worth pointing out and they are equally worth ignoring momentarily to honor the great parts of this movie and to find inspiration from Mulan’s journey. You want a searing critique, that’s not what I do. But there are plenty of sites that will rip this movie apart for you, if that’s what you’re into. Otherwise, enjoy it for what it is and what it was at the time. The first Asian princess. A celebration of Girl Power! And a movie that has my favorite Disney song of all time “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”
Mulan: Rise of a Warrior
Before Disney has a chance at a live action version of their animated classic, Mulan, take a look at this version from 2009. A wonderful representation of the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. And another celebration of strong feminism in a time when that was not celebrated at all.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
If we’re looking at epic Chinese movies, we cannot look any further than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This movie was an international success when it came out in 2000 and was rather surprising, given that the entire movie is in Mandarin with English subtitles. It has a cast of Chinese heavy hitters including Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun-fat and Zhang Ziyi with direction from Ang Lee. If you haven’t seen it in a while or have never seen it at all, watch it! This movie has strong female characters, incredible action and martial arts sequences and intensely captivating cinematography!
House of Flying Daggers
This film came out in 2004, after the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but didn’t have quite the punch that Dragon had. Still a very strong film with a Chinese cast and strong female lead in Zhang Ziyi. It’s an action movie, a love story and is another must watch for Mulan Week!
Once Upon a Time in China
We cannot create a comprehensive list of Chinese movies without having Jet Li on that list! Arguably one of the greatest action stars of our time, Jet Li has been in so many movies that it would take a whole separate list to do justice to all of them. So I started us off with Once Upon a Time in China which has plenty of sequels to watch, if you want to go down the Jet Li rabbit hole…which you absolutely should (see Once Upon a Time in China II, III, Once Upon a Time in China + America and do not leave without watching Last Hero in China!) Once you start down said rabbit hole, add these Jet Li movies to your list as well: Hero, The Forbidden Kingdom, Romeo Must Die, Kiss of the Dragon, Cradle 2 the Grave and the movie he made his debut in, Shaolin Temple.
Next up on the list of must watch list of fantastic Chinese actors, Chow Yun-fat. As with Jet Li, there are plenty of movies to choose from. I chose this film from 2012, a more contemporary Chinese action movie starring Yun-fat, but you could also add any of these to your list for Mulan Week: A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Bulletproof Monk, Anna and the King oh and hey! Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End!
Speaking of amazing Chinese actors that belong on this list, we cannot go further without talking about Michelle Yeoh. Michelle was discovered in a commercial with none other than Jackie Chan (next on our list.) She then went on to become one of the most amazing female action stars, starring alongside Pierce Brosnan in the Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies and arguably earns her place as one of the very best and most kick ass Bond girls of all time. In this movie, Tai Chi Master, Michelle stars alongside fellow Chinese action star, Jet Li. Michelle along with Jet Li and Chow Yun-fat have an impressive roster of movies that you should watch in your spare time.
Jackie Chan is another Chinese heavy hitter. Chan has been in movies since he was a kid back in the 60’s. His roster of films is incredibly long and diverse. But I chose Rush Hour for this list mainly because it was one of my introduction films to the wonderful world of Jackie Chan. I consider him the Robin Williams of marital arts. He is funny and a master and what he does! Here’s another sub list to start you down the path of greater understanding into the genius of Jackie Chan: Shanghai Noon, Drunken Master, Dragon Fist, Armour of God, Police Story, Twin Dragons, Rumble in the Bronx and so many more! Fun fact: Jackie Chan did the Beast’s voice in the Chinese dubbed version of Beauty and the Beast!!
Ok, I know what you’re thinking…Yentl is a strange choice for Mulan Week. But think about it! A girl who wants something different out of her life, dresses as a man and challenges a culture’s perception on what women can do or should do or are capable of doing. Barbra’s Yentl and Ming-Na Wen’s Mulan share many themes and struggles. And hey…girl power to both of them! Give Yentl another watch!
She’s the Man
And for something a little lighter than Yentl and even lighter than Mulan, hit up Amanda Bynes in She’s the Man. She wants to compete against the boys in soccer, but can’t. So what does she do? She dresses like a man, gets on the team and in the final moments…reveals that they all got their asses handed to them by a girl! Just like Mulan! (Ok, it’s a stretch, but I think it works! Come at me!)
This was a really fun playlist to have on my canoe trips as well as to run to. Give it a try!
Return to Innocence – Enigma
Breath of Life – Florence + the Machine
Steady as the Beating Drum – Pocahontas Soundtrack
Water Flow – Klyne
Flux and Flow -LIGHTS
Waterfalls – TLC
Swan Dive – Sister Hazel
Steady as the Beating Drum (Reprise) – Pocahontas Soundtrack
America’s Sweetheart – Elle King
Rivers – Thomas Jack, Nico & Vinz
River – LIGHTS
The River of Dreams – Billy Joel
Just Around the Riverbed – Judy Kuhn
Where the River Bends – Matthew Barber
Hold Back the River – James Bay
River Water – Moon Taxi
River – Leon Bridges
Riverside – Agnes Obel
Rivers – Allman Brown, Robyn Sherwell
Rivers and Roads – The Head and the Heart
Listen with your Heart – Pocahontas Soundtrack
Running Up that Hill – Placebo
I’m Like a Bird – Nelly Furtado
Little Bird – Ed Sheeran
Blackbird – Boyce Avenue
Bird with a Broken Wing – Owl City
The Moon and the Sky – Sade
Alligator Sky – Owl City
Colors of the Wind – Judy Kuhn
Love Song to the Earth – Paul McCartney
Waiting on the World to Change – John Mayer
Earth – Imogen Heap
Rise Up – Andra Day
Children of the Earth – Josh Garrels
Earth – Sleeping at Last
Colors of the Wind – MAX
Scars to Your Beautiful – Alessia Cara
If I Never Knew You – The Cheetah Girls
Water Under the Bridge – Adele
Wandering Child – Wild Rivers
Wild Ones – Flo Rida, Sia
Running Wild – Moon Taxi
Wild Child – Enya
Wild Things – Alessia Cara
WILD – Troye Sivan
Running Wild – Morgan Page, Jayceeoh
We Come Running – Youngblood Hawke
Won’t Stop Running – A Great Big World
Colors of the Wind – Vanessa Williams
Lots of great movies to choose from to get your Pocahontas inspiration on. I tried to choose movies with respect to Native American culture. In order to fully get into the Pocahontas mind set, I did a lot of research into different tribes of Native Americans and attempted to watch these movies with new eyes. We can learn a lot from stories when we put ourselves in different shoes!! Take a look…
We start this movie list off with Pocahontas, the story of a girl who’s life and destiny is laid out for her by her father, chief of the Powhatan Tribe. She is to marry Kocoum and live the life that the daughter of the chief is supposed to live. The Powhatan are a traditional people and Pocahontas is to live a traditional life. But Pocahontas dreams of a different life. One of her own making. One where she gets to choose who she loves and how she lives. While I don’t have an overbearing father who is forcing me to marry (thanks Dad), society has made it pretty clear that the path I’ve chosen for my life is unconventional. So I relate to Pocahontas and have loved this movie since childhood. It’s impossible to ignore the red flags that pop up, like the song “Savages” (coulda done better there, Disney.) But nostalgia and love sometimes know no logic. Take this movie or leave, but I truly love it and it has some of the best music in all of Disney’s canon!
Avatar is about to make a “big comeback” (depending on who you ask about it.) There are 4 sequels in the works and Pandora is finally open for business at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. But don’t be deceived by fancy blue skin, this is Pocahontas retold. So, now is as good a time as any to dive back into the wonderful world of Avatar and see it with fresh eyes. I haven’t seen it since it was released, so watching it again was lovely, if a bit of a let down. It’s really made to be seen on the big screen in 3D, so on my little computer at home, it lost something in translation. But I still believe it to be a beautifully made movie.
Last of the Mohicans
Who wants some early 90’s Daniel-Day Lewis? A story set in the French and Indian War era. It’s a sweeping epic, a love story, an action movie. Basically, all the things. What else is there to say about it! It’s been a classic for a long time, so if you’ve never seen it, you’ve probably heard of it. And if you’ve never even heard of it, then you’re probably too young for a rated R movie.
Dances with Wolves
Dances with Wolves. Classic Kevin Costner right here! As I mentioned with Pocahontas, there are issues here that can’t be ignored. After watching this movie, Google “Dances with Wolves” and read up on some of the problems. It’s an enjoyable movie and is well loved by audiences who grew up with Costner and his films. There are plenty of great things about this movie and plenty of things to call out as culturally incorrect. But (to get soap boxy for a minute) I think open dialogue is the most important way to move through an issue. We should be able to watch this movie together. To say…hey, you messed up the portrayal of a white man in a Native American tribe. Native Americans don’t need a white savior. They don’t need him to survive. But we can also say…isn’t the relationship between Kicking Bird and Dances with Wolves beautiful? It’s a both/and scenario for me. What do you think?
The New World
Ok, I put this one on the list because it does have a Pocahontas story to tell. But it is not a superior movie by any means. I went to see it in the theater back in 2005 because I was desperately crushing on Colin Farrell (still am, who are we kidding.) It’s beautifully made. Some of the shots are just gorgeous. I guess it deserves props for telling a truer tale of Pocahontas than Disney did. So…there’s that. Watch it for Colin Farrell’s beautiful face! Watch it for Q’orianka Kilcher introduction and also ridiculously beautiful face. The cinematography and the score are both note worthy as well.
This is actually a mini series, so buckle in for a longer tale! It’s the story of Shane Chasing Horse and his grandfather, Pete Chasing Horse, members of the Lakota. Shane Chasing Horse is on the run and reluctantly agrees to drive his grandfather to the All Nations powwow. On the trip, Pete Chasing Horse takes the opportunity to pass on the stories of their people and to connect with his grandson in the process who’s mind is opened to the world of his ancestors through story telling and his own dreams.
Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale
This film is loosely…very loosely or broadly, perhaps broadly is a good word for it. The word generally could also be applied here. So…it’s a somewhat distorted take on the tale of Squanto, starring Saulteaux actor, Adam Beach (most recently seen in Suicide Squad) as Squanto. I find it so difficult to watch the tales of Native American destruction, as should we all. But it’s so important for us to be confronted with that dark chapter in history, even if it’s a fanciful, post historical commentary on true events. I couldn’t help thinking what it must have been like for this tribe of Native Americans to have been confronted with a new kind of people and to have those people treat them as less than people. Something we have seen too often in our history books and continue to see today.
I know this movie list was a little more politically driven in my commentary at times, but I truly believe that we have to take a hard look at how Native Americans have been portrayed and start to change the narrative. These are our indigenous people. We are quick to claim Native American blood when a scholarship is on the line, but do we take ownership of the other 95% of our blood’s legacy? It’s a tough question. And as I did this week of fitness and Native American eating and research, it was impossible to ignore and what’s more…I don’t think Pocahontas would want me to ignore it!
This week’s playlist is full of songs you’d expect to be on the list like “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea,” and of course “Kiss the Girl,” but you’ll also see a little Hunchback of Notre Dame on the list, some Pirates of the Caribbean and basically any song I could get my hands on that was about water, the ocean, kissing and the Sea. Enjoy this music as you swim your way to better health this week!
Hoist the Colours – Hans Zimmer
Fathoms Below – The Little Mermaid Broadway Cast
Water – Pentatonix
The Ocean and the Sea – Wilderado
Daughters of Triton – The Little Mermaid
Part of Your World – Jodi Benson
Out There – The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Under the Sea – Samuel E. Wright
Poor Unfortunate Souls – Pat Carroll
Evil Woman – Electric Light Orchestra
Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run) – Billy Ocean
Nightswimming – R.E.M.
Seaside – The Kooks
Jump in the Pool – Friendly Fires
By the Sea – Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter
Beaches – Moon Taxi
One Step Closer – The Little Mermaid Broadway Cast
Tenerife Sea – Ed Sheeran
Rowing Song – Patty Griffin
Rock the Boat – Aaliyah
Kiss the Girl – Samuel E. Wright
Kiss Me Slowly – Parachute
Every Teardrop is a Waterfall – Coldplay
Lost! – Coldplay
Swim Until You Can’t See Land – Frightened Rabbit
New Love – Gavin DeGraw
We Found Love – Rihanna, Calvin Harris
Marry Me – Train
Here’s a selection of movies to watch that will keep you swimming…
The Little Mermaid
Obviously the movie that features this week’s Disney Princess is first up on the watch list. But as I’ve mentioned before, she is not my favorite Disney Princess by a long shot. Still, I do consider this a Disney classic from early Disney heydays. And the music comes in higher on my favorites list than Ariel herself. If you haven’t watched it in a long time, give it a look with grown up eyes. It’s tough to justify her falling in love at first sight, abandoning her God given body and family and making a deal with a sea witch to lose her voice for mere days in the presence of the man she loves. I guess I’ve gotten a little more cynical as I’ve grown up, but I just can’t give Ariel a pass on this one.
SPLASH!! Classic 80’s movie right here featuring Daryl Hannah and Tom Hanks. This is the mermaid movie that beats all mermaid movies in my mind! A young boy (Tom Hanks) almost drowns off the coast of Cape Cod and is rescued by a mermaid. That boy grows up and is reunited with the mermaid who saved him as a kid, but she’s all grown up and has shiny new legs. He falls in love with her, blissfully unaware of the secret she keeps about her true origins. When an eccentric scientist (Eugene Levy) outs Madison to her one true love and to the rest of the city of New York, Allen (Hanks) will race to save her from the people who will experiment on her and treat her life a lab rat. Will she choose to remain on land or return to the sea where she belongs?
This mermaid movie is a fluffy, pink, teeny bopper romp that is pure fun and frivolity. Don’t look deeper than the surface. It’s cheesy and adorable, just accept! Chock full of the kind of fish out of water hijinks that includes, not being able to walk correctly with brand new human legs, falling down a lot, reacting inappropriately to normal human situations and phrases like “There’s something fishy about that girl.” My one small beef with the frothy comedy is that Aquamarine sets her sights on the boy of Emma Roberts’ dreams which breaks all kinds of Girl Codes. Just give that fish a different love interest, that’s all I’m saying!
Another classic that deserves it’s place on all kinds of lists and makes this one due to the very limited use of mermaids and the fantastical nature of Neverland. Hook is a retelling of the beloved J.M. Barrie story Peter Pan. Only this time Peter (Robin Williams) is a middle aged lawyer who was left in the land of men and has forgotten who he truly is. When he ends up in Neverland to save his children from the evil clutches of the maniacal and strangely humorous Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) the Lost Boys will teach him who he truly is before he can have a chance to bring his family back. And…there are mermaids in one scene! 🙂
Same goes for the classic Disney animated version of Peter Pan. There are mermaids in Neverland so I used that as an excuse to put it on the list this week. This version is a faithful adaptation of the classic story. Peter meets Wendy, John and Michael. He brings them to Neverland. We meet the Lost Boys and Tiger Lily. Captain Hook is bad and there is a ticking crock who is looking for some Hook meat. It’s fun, it’s classic and oh yeah…occasional mermaid sightings!
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Look, I’m not saying this is the best of the Pirates’ movies. I’m not even saying it’s a very good movie. Jack Sparrow works best when he is helping the Turner Family (Pirates 5 is far more enjoyable!) What I’m saying is that mermaid tears are a necessary ingredient when in pursuit of the Fountain of Youth. And that is just what everyone is searching for in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa and the dreaded Blackbeard are all in a race to drink from the cup that gives eternal youth along with the British Empire and the Spanish Armada. First…mermaid tears and a scene depicting mermaids as truly scary creatures from the deep. They sing you pretty songs, entice you to the edge of your boat and then drag you to a watery grave. Except for Syrena (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey), the mermaid that falls in love with the young cleric (Sam Caflin) who happens to be along for the ride. Not a great movie, but there are only so many mermaid films to work with here.
Which brings us to a decidedly un-mermaidy movie. Blue Crush has a special place in my heart. It came out when I was in college and fervently dreamed of running away to Hawaii and becoming a surfer girl. Ocean…strong, athletic females….love story…it works for Little Mermaid week and is still a stronger love story than The Little Mermaid’s! (Come @ me!) I still dream of being a surfer one day because of this movie, but it certainly is dated in the early 00’s and if you are coming to it with fresh eyes, don’t get too excited about it’s quality. You have been warned!
Do you have any movies you feel should make the list for Ariel Week? Let me know!