Old Fashioned (2014)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Old Fashioned (2014) from Skoche Films
Rated PG-13. Drama, Romance, Faith Film


Description (from the film case): Former frat boy, Clay Walsh (Rik Swartzwelder), has given up his reckless carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern town. There, he has become notorious for his theories on love and romance as well as his devout beliefs. When Amber Hewson (Elizabeth Ann Roberts), a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his strong faith and noble ideas. Together, they attempt the impossible: and old fashioned courtship in contemporary America.

My thoughts: I don’t think this film’s description does it justice, as I’ve found the story to be so much more than two people trying to attempt an old fashioned courtship. The style of their courtship isn’t the point, so much.

Since I read Old Fashioned as a novel before the movie released, I was already aware that the story isn’t about giving folks pointers or rules on chaste dating. That would’ve made for a noble but likely pretty simplistic, flat tale—and if you watch the movie and only see “chaste dating rules” in it, then you’ve missed the movie.

This story is about a guy and girl who must each decide if they’re going to finally get to the nitty-gritty of their individual fears and deal with them head-on, or if they’re going to continue to use their chosen methods of running and hiding. Neither one of them is completely right. Neither one of them is completely wrong. Neither the characters who’re Christians nor the characters who aren’t Christians are either right or wrong about everything. There’s tension and layers to this story.

Sure, I had to get past the obvious fact that the leading man here is rather, um, mature for the young man he plays. Some parts of the movie are too slow, the bar dancing is corny, and though none of the acting is bad, not all of it is my favorite.

But the writing here is excellent. It ties so many thoughts, points, and images together and doesn’t waste them, no matter how small. And although the leading man may not have been my first choice for that role, the fact that he also wrote, produced, and directed the film himself is nothing to sneeze at.

Old Fashioned is one of my all-time favorite novels, and although I didn’t cry, oh, quite as hard at the end of the movie (I literally wept after reading the novel’s last page), the movie didn’t disappoint me and even exceeded my expectations.

My corresponding reading: Old Fashioned by Rene Gutteridge.



The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta von Trapp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Countless people the world over are familiar with the collective singing sensation of Maria and Captain von Trapp and their several children from The Sound of Music, the Rodgers and Hammerstein film and the Broadway musical, which together garnered multiple Academy and Tony Awards. I wanted to read the real story behind it all, written by Maria herself, for a number of years before I finally did it–and it was quite the experience.

I was surprised at the amount of humor in the memoir, as the author relays the story of her family in such a personable voice, right from her opening line in “The Chapter Before the First” (since she’s worried that if she called it a Foreword or Introduction or something, we’d just skip over it, as she would.) And she and the Captain–well!

“I wish I could see your eyes when you read the announcement of my engagement,” the Captain writes in a letter to Fräulein Maria while she’s still only the governess of his children, referring to his possible betrothal to a certain Princess Yvonne.

All “flared up,” Maria immediately writes back, “My eyes are none of your business.” Heeheehee, now, Fräulein! Captain! You two.

It’s not all fun and games and a family in song, of course. The Nazi invasion into Austria makes things suddenly eerie. I mean, imagine your children coming home from school and reporting that the teachers are beginning to disappear, being replaced with new ones. Or you’re walking through town and see that the names of all the streets have been changed. It becomes illegal to greet your friends and neighbors with “hello” or any other salutations other than “Heil Hitler.” And speaking of the leader you’re supposed to hail, what do you do when you get a call declaring that your family has been chosen to sing for the Führer’s birthday? What happens if you say no to Adolf Hitler?

I was somewhat more engaged in the first half or so of the book than the second, and the account in Maria’s letter toward the end had a depressing effect on me. But overall, this is a rich and delightful memoir full of hope.


Yeah, sure. Like I’d really be able to resist posting clips from the legendary and simply awesome Rodgers and Hammerstein film, here. Definitely one of my all-time favorite motion pictures. 🙂

The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Edith, an impoverished orphan in the bloom of young womanhood, wins the favor of her wealthy friends (and the love of noble Lord Percy) with her kindness and gentle spirit. But when an envious rival, Lady Ida, schemes to rob Edith of her position, Edith may be forced to reveal the secret hidden in her locket in The Inheritance, a novel by author Louisa May Alcott.

Ah. One of those rare instances when I like a story’s movie better than its book.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy reading this, hence two stars instead of one. Over the top in its drama, in an almost Shakespearean fashion, this little work of fiction leaves nothing to subtlety or nuance, penned by an obviously unseasoned hand. “Gay,” “noble,” and other forms of the two words, along with a handful of other oft-repeated terms, appear on practically every page, sometimes several times a page, and the heroine is sweetly perfect to the point of becoming something of a nuisance to read about.

Still, though, knowing that this was Alcott’s first novel, which she did not publish, I didn’t plan on taking it too seriously, and about as much as I enjoy reading Shakespeare, I enjoyed this–as a quick, in between, taking-a-break kind of read with an “old-fashionedness” that I am partial to in literature.

I’m happy to know that Alcott did get better, after this.


Here’s the intro to the 1997 television movie I like so much. Horses are an important part of the story, mind you. 😉

Giveaway: Full of Grace

Facing new conflicts within the burgeoning Church, Peter turns to the counsel of an ailing woman of influence: Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Full of Grace

Find the giveaway for this movie in the Faith, Hope, and Book Love group on Facebook.
Giveaway ends April 6, 2017.