Movie Review: Winter’s Bone



Winter’s Bone to Pick

One thing that instantly stood out about Winter’s Bone was the preconceived notion that every Ozarks town is the same: backwoods. When Missouri comes up in the news or in conversation, many people jump to the same conclusion that the people of Missouri are just that as well: backwoods. While the Missouri Ozarks will always be home, it is one perception I would like to break. Agreeably, there are still backwoods towns in Missouri, but by and large all of the Ozarks is not like this. There are many perceptions in this movie that the producers got wrong. On the other hand, there are some perceptions they got right.

Ree Dolly portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence is a teenager who takes on many of the responsibilities for her family when her father goes missing during his latest meth venture. If one has lived in Missouri, particularly the Southwest region, for very long, you discover the penchant for meth-making. Missouri has become known as the meth capital of the nation due in part to the overabundance of methamphetamines. Winter’s Bone does convey the drug culture that runs rampant through the Ozarks: the continual cycle of drug production, getting caught, going to jail, getting out, and starting all over again.

While Ree walks all over the countryside searching for her father, some details stand out. Forsyth in Taney County was where this was filmed and doubles as the setting for the film. Yes, this area is extremely mountainous and densely populated by forest, the absence of fast food restaurants and Walmart is somewhat alarming. Even when living in a rural area in Missouri, one can usually find one or both venues within a ten-minute drive. Hunting is a popular pastime for Ozarks’ residents, and a good majority still stock their freezers with meat for the winter, but who doesn’t love a good old McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries on occasion? Winter’s Bone gives the idea that unless one hunts for their food, they will starve to death. That has not been a way of life in the Ozarks for several decades.

Although certain regions in the Ozarks can come across as über religious, the town in Winter’s Bone tends to be a little on the extreme side, such as the continual presence of Gospel/Bluegrass music, adding to the backwoods perception. Where is the mention of sport’s teams (Cardinals, Chiefs, etc.) or Bass Pro? Anyone who has resided in this area knows that despite the love of firearms and Jesus, Sports is greatly celebrated in the Ozarks.

Friends and neighbors take care of each other in Winter’s Bone, which is something that is a common practice in the Ozarks. Ree’s neighbor brings by a food box filled with deer meat, potatoes, and other staples that could be used to make a hearty meal. This is a common courtesy that Ozarkians will do when they see a neighbor going through a difficult time.

Car graveyards is something that one will find anywhere throughout the Ozarks. On one of Ree’s outings to find her father, she walks through a field/yard of a guy who knows him, and it is filled with abandoned pickup trucks, cars, and a few school buses. Certainly not a crucial detail, but one that decidedly pegged the lives of many Ozarkians. In another scene, there are piles of old tires accumulating in a yard, which is another common sight in the Ozarks. Not so much hoarding, but certainly an accumulation of junk is a something that can be seen driving down any Ozarks rural road.

The language and phrases used in Winter’s Bone is surprisingly spot on for Ozarks vernacular. My family is not backwoods by any means, but they are definitely country to the core, and that shines through in their language. As an English major, and an avid reader and writer, I have spent years attempting to neutralize my accent so as not to sound like I am from a specific region. However, when spending any length of time in my family’s company, I easily drop back into the country twang and phrases. Language is a powerful aspect of one’s life.

Emotions run high in the Ozarks. Ree’s love and devotion for her family is evident in how she protects them and takes on the role of head-of-the-household when her father is gone. However, anger and retribution are also common emotions in the lives of Ozarkians. Ree gets in a bind when she goes against the advice of her neighbors while searching for her father, or for someone who might know where he has gone. The neighbors jump her and beat her bloody as they prove their point, teaching her a lesson, basically forcing her to pay for the sins of her father. Once again, it is proven that blood is thicker than water when her uncle comes to her rescue, despite his own misgivings with her interference. Life in the Ozarks can be a double-edged sword. Family and neighbors will bend over backward for you, but if you cross them, or if they think you have, they will turn on you in an instant.

Winter’s Bone conveys some aspects of the author’s life, but the events that take place in the film should not be perceived as a common occurrence in every life of an Ozarkian. There is no denying that the film merely highlights a dark facet that can be found in many places throughout the Ozarks, despite the lack or accuracy of certain details. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who calls themselves an Ozarkian, but also to anyone interested in one aspect of Ozarks culture.

Sources: Granik, Debra, Director. Winter’s Bone. Performance by Jennifer Lawrence, Lionsgate, 2010.

May <3 List

Sadly, I haven’t been very active on here. I’m hoping to make a positive change by posting at least once a month. I will start by posting a list of things I’m loving on each month. Without further ado…May:



  1. You Make Me Feel So Young Michael Bublé
  2. To Love Somebody – Michael Bublé
  3. Close Your Eyes – Michael Bublé
  4. To Be Loved – Michael Bublé
  5. Young At Heart – Michael Bublé
  6. Let The RoadRixton
  7. Storyteller Morgan Harper Nichols (feat. Jamie Grace)
  8. Go Hard or Go Home Wiz Khalifa and Iggy Azalea
  9. They Can’t Take That Away From Me – Jimmy Dorsey
  10. Moonlight Serenade – Glenn Miller

Listen to playlist


I got myself Michael Bublé’s latest CD for my birthday last month. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an album of his that I haven’t enjoyed. This one didn’t disappoint. The five songs listed are the ones I continually put on repeat. I really cannot wait to see him in concert again.


I discovered Rixton on the Today show a couple months ago. They are very reminiscent of 98* (remember Nick Lachey and the rest of those guys?). Lovely a capella tones with just a bit of percussion mixed in for a perfect balance.

rixton   98_Degrees_-_Revelation_-_Front

Morgan Harper Nichols is a breakout artist that I heard on a local radio station a few weeks ago. The lyrics are amazing. And her voice… I can’t even describe how amazing it is. And no wonder I fell in love with it; Nichols is the older sister of Jamie Grace, who performs background vocals on the track. If you get a chance, watch the official music video; it’s pretty powerful. I won’t lie, it brings me to tears every time I watch it.

Go Hard or Go Home is a track from the Furious 7 movie. Not only is the movie spectacular, edge-of-your-seat action, but it is emotional as well, since this was Paul Walker’s final hurrah. They producers and co-stars did his legacy justice. This song, just epitomizes that beautiful relationship that was shared amongst Vin Diesel and Walker and their characters over the years. furious-7

Of course my list wouldn’t be complete without some Big Band. Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller are two of the most notable big band directors of their day. Moonlight Serenade, all-time-favorite of that era. Plus it reminds me of Rose and Nine from Series 1 of Doctor Who, and the book I’ve been writing (rewriting) for the last few years. Rose and 9


Ethiopian…fruity, caramel-butterscotch, floral type of flavors.

In my Doctor Who mug.

20150407_085715  20150406_154554


I’m a multi-tasking reader, as you can see. I’ve got probably twice as many on my nightstand and coffee table, but these are my active reads.

homer  sparks  compass

Homer’s Odyssey is about a blind domestic cat who overcame physical challenges he faced during his life, from the time he was found on a street battered and worse-for-wear, to having to navigate through the many places he lived as a blind pet. It is written by the lady who rescued him, but ultimately, he rescued her. Heart-wrenchingly wonderful. I’m about half-way through it.

The People of Sparks is book two of The City of Ember series. I read the first book for my Children’s Literature class and absolutely loved it. It ended on a cliff-hanger, so I can’t just leave the rest of the series unread. I must know if they the city is able to be rescued from their life of darkness.

The Golden Compass was for my Children’s Lit class also, on the topic of censorship and controversial texts. It would never have been my first or second choice to read this, mainly because of the heretic controversy surrounding it. It is a book laden with concerning subject manner: violence against children, general violence (one fight scene at the end…oy vey!), not to mention the anti-religious message. After doing some research for a paper, it turns out the author is atheist, which makes sense why it was heavy on the anti-religion. As soon as I read the last page, my jaw had dropped open because I just couldn’t fathom the ending. Cliff-hanger, of course, as well. But it is part of a series, and I have to know if Lyra ever finds what she’s looking for. Merely for educational purposes. I would not recommend this for any child to read due to the violent nature of the story.


The relationship between Sr. and Jr. DiNozzos on NCIS. If you’ve watched much of this season, you’ve gathered a shift in their relationship. Sr. DiNozzo so wants the approval and acceptance of his son, yet Tony is plagued by memories of his father’s past failures and disappointments as a parent. It’s been interesting to see a somewhat friendship unfold between Sr. and Gibbs, however, making the elder DiNozzo seem more human and vulnerable, causing Tony to see him in a different light. DiNozzos


This is a painting of Gallifrey I would love to attempt. I have no idea who originally painted it; I just came across it on Facebook one day and saved it for future enjoyment.


Top Ten Movies (Only because I can’t think of a catchy title…)

I think it’s time for a little “light” blog post, since it’s been a while since I’ve blogged anything.

I was reflecting on what my Top Ten movies were. Because everyone has a top ten, but maybe they’ve never actually written it out.

So here is my Top Ten Favorite movies of all time:

10. Shining Through – During my teen years, I was on a huge historical kick thanks to a lot of movies and books released around that time. This is set in the 1940s during WWII. The plot surrounding the story of this man and woman and the Sherman Tank ride of their lives is surely of epic status.  There’s spy action, treachery, love, trust, betrayal, lots of running and hiding, and shooting Nazis. This was another one of those “VHS borrowed from the neighbors so my parents had to buy it for me” movies.  I recently reacquired my VHS copy of this after a long hiatus at a relative’s house.  I’m kind of excited to get to watch this again, and hope to someday upgrade this to DVD status, as I’m not completely sure about the workability of my VCR.

9. Sherlock Holmes – Back in the mid-late nineties there was a television miniseries about good ole Sherlock, and I instantly was fascinated by his mystery solving skills.  When I heard this movie was going to be released I could not wait! I went to see this in the theater, by myself actually, which was quite pleasant (you should try it sometime!).  Edge-of-my-seat-GOODNESS! I loved every minute of it! I loved the dynamic of Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock and Jude Law’s Watson. I loved the idiosyncrasies of their partnership that delved into their friendship and their trust of each other.  I thoroughly  loved the steampunk aspect of it as well.  I can’t wait for the sequel, and I may have to make this a 10.5 top ten list.

8. Last Holiday – Putting two of hip-hops biggest stars in one movie together? How can that not have the recipe for awesomeness?  I think why I love this so much is I see alot of myself in Queen Latifah’s character “Georgia”.  Her fears, weaknesses, dreams, aspirations…I really relate to this character.  I especially love how she throws caution to the wind after learning some devastating news and just goes on the biggest, best, most amazing holiday ever. Living it up.  Because that’s what life is all about, right? Living.

7. Kate & Leopold – Time travel.  That’s really all it took to make this one of my favorite movies. Combine that with the sweet, quirky Meg Ryan, and the handsome and debonair accented Hugh Jackman, well, I really didn’t have a chance.

6. Elf – My DVD copy of this needs to be replaced. That’s how much I love it.  It seriously gets better every single time I watch it.  Will Ferrell has me in stitches. I love the “singing in a store” and the chugging of 2-liter bottle of Coke in a single sitting, his uber hyperness, and the lovely Jovie. This actually made Zooey Deschanel one of my favorite actresses.  This is my highly recommended movies to anyone I talk to around the holidays. It will forever remain a “classic” in my book.

5. Star Trek (2009) – Parallel Universe. That’s what did it for me. I’ve always been a sci-fi fan, and even though I enjoyed Star Trek (mainly TNG), I never considered myself a Trekkie.  I didn’t have the books, the comics, or the RPG games.  But this movie quickly made me want to be a Trekkie.  A total re-imagination of the original series. I love re-imaginations. It is a great way to intrigue a whole new generation with a classic story.  They (TPTB – The Powers That Be) did that with The Wizard of Oz by introducing Tin Man, which would probably rank as No. 11 on this list if it went beyond 10.  Putting the parallel universe twist on this classic really opens it up to a whole new movie franchise for a brand new generation of “Trekkies”.  I cannot wait until a sequel arrives. Because it will.

4. Pride & Prejudice (2005) – I really loved the BBC version starring Colin Firth (because who doesn’t love Colin Firth, really now?), so I really had no desire to watch this until I watched it at a friend’s house. And absolutely fell in love with it.  In the Jane Austen realm, I consider this the “cliff’s notes” of Pride & Prejudice.  You get a great cast of characters and amazing cinematography, but it does sort of lack the depth of the character’s personalities and situations that the book and the BBC version contains.  Even so, Keira Knightly as Elizabeth and Matthew Macfayden as Mr Darcy is sublime.  Epic story. Mr Darcy’s “I love you. Most ardently,” gets me every.single.time.

3. Nacho Libre – When this movie was first released I swore I was not going to subject myself to this rubbish. It looked ridiculous and downright stupid.  I held out for over a year.  But then my boss started quoting it. And even though I had not seen it (not even clips) I thought his rendition was hilarious. Then I went to Mexico (for the second time) and the people on my trip were quoting it, and Nacho-isms kept popping up along the trip (Luchadores, Corn on a stick, etc). I think what really made me want to see it was the fact that it was filmed in Oaxaca where I had been in Mexico.  And then I watched it. And I was hooked! The BEST taglines ever! I really think it was destiny.

2. While You Were Sleeping – Bill Pullman and Sandra Bullock? How could I NOT love this movie?! I remember the very first time I saw this. It was 1995, the Saturday before the Christmas play at church. I simply fell in love with this movie, the characters, the storyline, the feel-goodness of it all.  A story of love at first sight that turns out to not be love at first sight, and the real (and often hilarious) journey to finding true love and the importance of those in your life.  A lot of people consider this one of Sandra Bullock’s least acclaimed films, but I feel that this is where she really started to build her acting skills.  She’s funny, quirky, lovable, admirable, sincere – so many things within this character.  And even today I can see little glimpses of this character in other characters she has portrayed. This movie is by far one of my favorites and will likely always remain so. I mean, it’s held the test of time for 16 years now.

1. Star Wars Trilogy (1977-1983) I know this is three separate movies, but since it is part as one epic story, it fully classifies as a singular entry. I discovered Star Wars when I was 13. I think I was the only girl in my school geeky enough to latch onto this galactic adventure. I had borrowed my neighbors VHS movies repeatedly that my parents finally got me the set for my own collection.  I have to say that Luke Skywalker was probably my “first love”, though eventually I crossed over into the Han Solo groupies.  I know I wore those VHS tapes out from watching them on a weekly basis, to the point of memorization. Then came the introduction of DVDs. I worked at Wal-Mart at the time, and was able to snatch up a boxset as soon as it was released.  To this day, it is still in my “collection”, and one of my prized possessions.  I am definitely an original trilogy fan over the prequel trilogy, although there are a few (young Obi-Wan) aspects that I enjoy of the prequels, they will never be in the Top Ten. Never.

Day Two – Favorite Movie

Day 02 — Your favourite movie

As with songs, movies generally take the same course with favoritism.  During different stages of my life I’ve had various favorite movies.  My favorite all time movie I’ve adored since I was 14.  “While You Were Sleeping” is such a precious, hilarious movie starring Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman.  This was one of her first movies … I believe she was about 25 when it was made.  I know it may not be one of her top of the chart movies, but it’s my top movie. 🙂  I have watched it religiously every Christmastime for the last 15 years.  It’s set in Chicago at Christmastime.  Lucy is a single lonely girl in the world who works in a CTA booth nearly every day…and especially every holiday…because she doesn’t have any family to spend them with.  She falls in love with this businessman who visits her booth every morning.  The thing is she’s never actually spoken to him!  On Christmas day he visits her booth and he actually speaks to her…but she’s awestruck and can’t say a word.  As she’s beating herself up about it, the man is physically getting harassed by a couple of hooligans as he waits for the train.  In a chaotic moment he falls onto the tracks and Lucy races to his aide.  With no one nearby she jumps onto the tracks and rolls him out of the way at the last minute from an oncoming train!

The man is taken to the hospital with a head injury/coma, and in a moment of confusion, Lucy is assumed to be his fiance!  Again, she loses the ability to form a plausible reply and the charade begins.  Enter the man’s family ….. Loud bustling Dad, weepy clingy Mom, Little Sister, Grandma with the heart condition, and the Jewish godfather next door neighbor!  And so the fun begins as Lucy is adopted by her “soon-to-be family”.  So the man, Peter, can’t straighten this little mess out, as he’s out of it himself.  As Lucy is praised for her heroic actions for saving their firstborn, Mom and Dad Callahan ask Lucy to join them for a Christmas dinner.  But there’s one member of the family that Lucy hasn’t met yet – Jack, Peter’s younger brother.

Through the celebrations between Christmas and New Year’s, Lucy and Jack become acquainted.  Lucy out of mere need of human companionship and Jack because he completely doubts that she is actually engaged to his older brother.  Through some hilarious twists and turns Lucy is mistaken for having an “affair” with her landlord’s probationary son and overheard sarcastically saying “Yes, I’m pregnant”.  All these things Jack confronts her about, but she is able to dispel them as false accusations.  Meanwhile, Peter is still in a coma, and Lucy and Jack are becoming attached to each other, without realizing it.

Peter comes out of his coma in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day and his family is at his bedside, including Lucy.  However, he doesn’t recognize her! Oh my! He must have a form of amnesia if he doesn’t know his own fiance…

And that’s where I’m going to leave it….You need to watch the entire movie for yourself because it’s a gem! 🙂

For my “favorite runner-ups” in the movie category they are the original Star Wars Trilogy, the new Pride & Prejudice, Nacho Libre, Last Holiday, The Mummy Trilogy, Indiana Jones and I’m going to have to stop right there or I’ll keep going. 😉