Movie Review – Brian Banks

 

Movie Review - Brian BanksI really love movies based on a true story. I’m always curious to see how the storyline will play out, and if it seems grossly embellished or not. Brian Banks is relatable and “reel” on so many levels.

Yes, this movie can be categorized into the files of the “MeToo Movement” for sure, but with a little twist, and intense and valid emotions throughout the whole movie.

The actors were very good, and I’m a huge fan of Morgan Freeman. Freeman is not one of the main characters; he is a catalyst to the transformation of Brian Banks. Morgan is never bad; he’s like the godfather of movies. He shows up and shows out at the most opportune moments.

Was He Like the Real Brian Banks?

I watched interviews with the real Brian Banks before going to see the onscreen depiction, just to be able to validate whether Aldis Hodge (Brain Banks) gave us a top notch reflection of the real guy.

And Aldis did. His movements, diction, and emotions were on target. Now, I’m not sure about seeing Aldis in another movie involving him in jail though, which comes out December 2019. I clutched my pearls with confusion when I saw the trailer for Clemency immediately before the Brian Banks Movie started. I thought Brian Banks had begun, and that I missed the cue to start my timer. LOL! But I digress…

The pace was good for one hour and 39 minutes. The use of flashback scenes were very effective, especially toward the end when Brian was waiting to hear the judge’s decision. All the critical moments in his life flashed before him as he awaited yet another moment that would change his life.

An Insightful Film

What I found very insightful was how the director explored the dynamics behind criminal law. He peeled a lot of the onion back to reveal crucial case law, how attorneys collaborate, and why some things are presented in the courtroom or not.

I especially liked that, because I know I sometimes ask myself, “Self, why didn’t they say this?” “Why wasn’t that important?” or “What in the heck was the judge thinking?”

So pay attention to the law narrative. I also liked how there were lots of plot pieces, but the director pretty much flushed them all out to the end;he didn’t leave me hanging.

Everyone had a connection to Brian’s struggle directly or indirectly, including his workout partner. Ultimately, I was tuned in to see if the plot was realistic and believable for such an event that happened to teenagers. And I was elated that the plot made you think and get watery-eyed; not frown and question the likelihood of the tragedy.

The use of light was very emotional; reminded me of an epiphany at its best. Another thing that resonated was the “tether.” The tether took me back to Jordan Peele’s movie Us. I admired how the director ended the movie at the exact location where the movie and Brian Bank’s dreams started.

Check it out for yourself, and take your teenagers, because when they know better, they will certainly do better. We have to teach/show our children how to stop and think about the “what ifs” on a daily basis, thus to matriculate through life without becoming a part of the existing societal problems — instead becoming an intelligent, good-natured, ethical citizen that’s part of the solutions.

(By the way, for those that may be running late, there were 24 minutes of previews in my showing.)

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: It wasn’t difficult selecting Peetimes, given this is a biopic, and I knew a little about the back story — which gave me some perspective. I recommend the 1st Peetime.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Brian Banks. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for thematic content and related images, and for language
Genres: Biography, Drama, Sport, True life story

Movie Review – Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

Movie Review – Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

Top Five Movies about the Civil War

Cold Mountain Civil War Movie
This is exactly no one’s idea of fun. But the Civil War made for some great films.

What makes a great American Civil War movie? The battles, the politics, the inhumanity of slavery, brother against brother, the great generals of both sides, the personal sides of war, families being torn apart, or all of the above?

The movies I’ve listed contain all or most of the issues listed above, and are in no particular order. Enjoy, for an excellent Civil War oriented binge watch (or re-watch) over your favorite American holidays.

Cold Mountain: (2003)
IMDb score: 7.2
Winner of 1 Oscar. Another 19 wins & 101 nominations
Starring: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, and Natalie Portman.

Cold Mountain contains no extended battle scenes, but relies heavily on emotions and personal conflict.

Lincoln: (2012)
IMDb score: 7.4
Winner of two Oscars. Another 108 wins & 245 nominations.
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, James Spader, and Tommy Lee Jones.

Lincoln leans heavily on the politics of the war, especially in the decision to emancipate the slaves. Here’s our review of this A+ film.

Gettysburg: (1993)
IMDb score: 7.7
Jeff Daniels was nominated for Best Supporting Actor by the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times said of Gettysburg“This is a film that Civil War buffs will find indispensable, even if others might find it interminable.” I’ve seen the movie several times, and have personally walked the battlefields of Gettysburg, from Little Round Top to Pickett’s Charge. So I can enthusiastically recommend Gettysburgnot only for it’s historical accuracy but for also bringing the soldiers from both sides to life in a spectacular way.

Glory: (1989)
IMDb score: 7.9
Winner of three Oscars, Glory was Densel Washington’s first Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Also, Glory received 14 other wins & another 18 nominations.

This was the first major motion picture to tell the story of black U.S. soldiers fighting for their freedom from slavery during the Civil War. Everything about this movie was done on a grand scale, including hiring Shelby Foote as a technical adviser.

Foote later became well known for his contributions to Ken Burns’ The Civil War, a nine episode documentary in 1990, which I highly, highly recommend.

 

The Conspirator: (2010)
IMDb score: 6.9
Directed by Robert Redford

The Conspirator is the story of Mary Surratt, the only female conspirator charged in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the first woman to be executed by the U.S. Federal Government. This alone is enough to make the list, but also for the uniqueness of the crime. Great movie.

Movie Review – Lincoln – An A+ Presidential Biography

Movie Review – They Shall Not Grow Old

Movie Review – A Private War

 

 

 

Surprise! The Lion King is a Hamlet Remake

lion king characters
Lion King Crew. You can probably name every character here.

As you may know there, is a controversy that surrounds The Lion King. The fact that it possibly stole its entire movie from one called Kimba the White Lion is one ting…but we’re not talking about that here. We are going to be talking about how the Lion King is basically Hamlet with lions.

And yes, I mean the Shakespeare Hamlet too, and not some play or movie about a baby pig. So if you don’t know Hamlet like you should, here’s a brief reminder:

The king has a brother and that brother kills the king. The king prior to death had a son. The son now has to kill his uncle and reclaim the throne. 

There’s the very short and sweet reminder of Hamlet. (Sparknotes should take notes on how it’s done.) Either way, today I’m going to be comparing the Lion King (which is loosely based on Hamlet) to Hamlet (1996), which is essentially a word for word re-imagining. Obviously, this battle is pretty even. Let’s compare the two and see how they stack up to each other.

The Villain—

First things first, Scar and Claudius and drastically different characters for the better of each story. Scar, I would say, is a dictator, where as Claudius is a king. Claudius is very methodical and punctual with his words and actions, where as Scar when he gets power runs everything downhill. Scar doesn’t think about the betterment of all his people, but Claudius does. That said, it does mean that it’s more satisfying to see Scar lose in the end, than it is to see Claudius lose.

But if I had to give it up to which movie killed off its villain better, I would go with Hamlet.

Hamlet fighting scene
Hamlet fights for his right to party.

The Love Interest—

We have Nala and Ophelia. Nala is basically a side character that only really serves for one music number, and to push the main character to fulfill their destiny. Weirdly enough, Ophelia has a musical number too. Nala is very basic — interesting and better than most side characters in movies — but still basic. Ophelia starts out as a confused girl who then just snaps to crazy. It’s kind of jarring, but she dies shortly after, so it’s all good.

simba and nala in lion king
Hamlet and The Lion King. One lady is insane. And the other is a princess. Do you recall which is which?

Ghost Dad—

Weird one to put in, but I wanted to mention it. In Hamlet, ghost dad simply acts as like a Macguffin to inform Hamlet about the foul play in his death. But ghost dad in Lion King acts as a guiding light for Simba. When Simba is confused and unsure, ghost dad comes in to guide him in the right direction. Ghost dad in Hamlet just yells at his son to avenge his murder.

Hamlet/Simba—

The main man/lion. I’m going to keep this bareboned. Simba is a scared, confused, yet growing character who realizes what needs to happen, and grows to become the lion he needs to be. Hamlet just kinda goes from mad to slightly insane, then back to mad.

Kenneth Branagh still brings many complex emotions through his acting, but the character as a whole has just about those three emotions, looking back on it.

The Queen—

The queens are completely different characters in these movies. In Hamlet she is a woman who loves her son, marries a murderer willingly, and falls victim to the king’s evil ploys against Hamlet. In Lion King the queen is not really seen ,but from what we do see she is forced into marriage, doesn’t put up with the “king’s” rule, but still loves her son. 

hamlet the movie
You can’t beat a good confetti cannon.

Overall, The Lion King vs Hamlet–

In the end, if I honestly had to say which of these movies is better, that would depend on who you are.

If you’re an absolute film nerd and want to see something beautifully done, you can watch both of these. If you mainly love Shakespeare, then watch Hamlet, since it’s more true to the original tale.

But let’s face it, you’re not just watching 4 hours worth of movie regardless of any high praise I could give it, if you’re a true fan of good films. 

How much do you know about the 4th of July?

America’s Independence Day is upon us, so it’s a good time to start thinking about our nation’s birthday. It’s not an easy quiz, but you just may learn something you didn’t know about the 4th of July.

How much do you know about our Nation’s birthday?

I hope you had fun with this quiz. Thanks for stopping by.

Dumbo Review – The Original 1941 Animated Classic: High Time for a Remake

animated dumbo 1941 classic
Such a cutie. But the classic is off-putting and makes you cry. A lot.

The original 1941 Dumbo is a strange little movie. Not only is only an hour long (it’s almost a long “short”, if you get my meaning), but has many weird scenes of mostly padding (which would make for great Peetimes, BTW).

It’s also…um…wildly racist (there’s no other way to say this, and not in just the scene with the jeering crows — don’t even get me STARTED on Song of the Roustabouts). And Dumbo is so casually, completely inhumane. The moniker “Dumbo” alone is intended as a cruel nickname by his own fellow elephants — his actual birth name is Jumbo Jr, in case you wondered.

But much worse, Dumbo the film depicts the massive abuse of circus animals, with harsh whips, cruelly binding leg chains, and minuscule cages. Circus performers are willing to toss baby animals a thousand feet off of rooftop platforms, because they reason the higher the fall, the more money they will make…and so what anyway, because “Elephants are made of rubber.” (Listen to the clowns talk this over. Seriously.)

Also, a crucial plot point features the main character, an infant, getting massively drunk. The ‘pink elephants’ sequence is played for laughs, but, you know what? I’ve been drunk, and I don’t hallucinate. That watered-down champagne must have had something much more hard-core in it. The scene is weird as hell, and if I was a child, it would give me nightmares.

These things just wouldn’t ‘fly’ today – pardon the pun.

From the get-go, I honestly thought Dumbo was a strange choice for one of the first live-action remakes from the Disney Vault. There are a whole lot more bigger hits to choose from, and at least a dozen Disney Princesses to get through.

But. It’s not all bad: Dumbo has Disney Classic status after all.

So, I re-watched the original to prepare for the 2019 Dumbo redo and, yes,  I sentimentally cried. A lot. Granted, I’m an easy crier, but the mother-child scene set to the tune of “Baby Mine” had me really blubbering. Dear lord. Much as I complain about the unforgivable inhumanity of the 1941 Dumbo, this is absolutely a moment I want to see in the remake.

There’s other good stuff too. The unnamed mouse deserves a medal for going above and beyond in being a true friend. We should all be so lucky to have such a “mouse” in our lives. Compassion, as a concept and in execution, is where Dumbo shines.

I’ll talk about that below the video of the original trailer:

So I wondered about the Dumbo remake. Maybe the general theme of love and kindness is enough of a reason to drag this out of the Vault.

The aforementioned kindly mouse who befriends poor baby Dumbo contains a great message: even one small person can make all the difference in someone’s life.

And Dumbo reminds us that taunts hurt, especially about body image: it’s not just about teenage girls. There is tremendous pressure to be a perfect physical specimen. This is certainly timely in our modern era.

And the crows do come around and help transform Dumbo’s life. Their song is a showstopping standout (“When I See An Elephant Fly“) with the bestest puns, and I hope this is retained — minus the off-putting racism.

Ultimately, my hope is the new Dumbo will increase awareness about the plight of elephants in worldwide circus acts and zoos. And in the wild, if one can dream. I was heartened to learn  PETA contacted Tim Burton to change the ending of the new Dumbo — and Burton did! —  in a way that should be very satisfying and maybe give us a few tears of joy in an iconic film, for once.

You will believe an elephant can fly.

Flying is, of course, a metaphor for finding one’s own path to happiness and meaning. And I say YAY, with fingers crossed, that the remake will give us exactly that transcendence humans can achieve if we care enough.

Soapbox off.

(PS: Extra note: Dumbo won the 1941 Academy Award for Best Original Score. I’m adding the videos and lyrics to some of the iconic songs to RunPee already — see below.)

Movie Grade: I can’t even grade Dumbo without overthinking it. I like the idea, and there are lovely grace notes, but man, is this film is so bizarre for today’s audiences. I wouldn’t let children watch it without a lot of discussion. Maybe give it a C+ for what they attempted to do, within the mentality of the 1940s. Buried under all the uncomfortable weirdness and unpleasantry, there’s a good message and a lot of heart.

Dumbo – Lyrics and Video to the Original Disney Classic Song Baby Mine

Movie Review – Dumbo – A remake your kids will enjoy

The Biggest Upcoming films of 2019 – Get Excited!

Best Movies to Watch Over President’s Day Weekend

presidents day weekend movies
Sit back and enjoy some presidential movies!

Presidents Day Weekend! Time to get presidential and enjoy some flicks worthy of this American holiday. We’ve got movies listed here that are historical, comical, romantic, sci-fi-esque, or even just totally wacky — there’s something for everyone.

Not in any particular order, here are the greatest movies to get you into the presidential spirit of this weekend in the USA:

Vice (2018) — Still in theaters if you can catch it, Vice is up for several Oscars film trophies — of which it won some other big awards already:

  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
  • Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actor
  • Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actor in a Comedy
  • BAFTA Award for Best Editing
  • Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Makeup

 Lincoln (2012) — According to my research, Lincoln was listed as the #1 movie about American presidents more consistently than any other presidential movie, even though it covers only the last few months of Lincoln’s presidency. The movie won two Oscars and was nominated for an additional 10 Oscars. According to my research, Lincoln, was listed as the #1 movie about American presidents more consistently than any other presidential movie. The movie won two Oscars and was nominated for an additional 10 Oscars.

  • Daniel Day-Lewis: won for Best Actor.
  • Tommy Lee Jones: nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
  • Sally Field: nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
  • Steven Spielberg: nominated for Best Motion Picture and Best Director.

In total, Lincoln has 110 wins and 245 nominations. It’s worth a watch, or a rewatch.

W — Oliver Stone did a fine job of showing the ups and downs of belonging to the Bush clan. It covered not only his political life, but also that of a spoiled rich kid, which made it non-stop entertainment. Josh Brolin will go down in cinematic history as one of the best presidential actors. I find it interesting that this great movie was snubbed by the American press.

Nixon — Again, this is an Oliver Stone film about the early days, and right up to the disgraceful end of Richard Nixon’s presidency. It was nominated for 4 Oscars: Anthony Hopkins for Best Actor, Joan Allen for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Writing and Best Music, and Original Dramatic Score.


 

Here are some more fun categories to choose from: 

Best Fictional President

Fail Safe —
If you’ve never seen this movie, now is a good time with all the trigger happy despots out there in the world who would love to blow us to smithereens. The final scene of the movie will stay with you for a while.

Primary Colors —
We all know that this is an unauthorized bio of Bill Clinton so just sit back and enjoy the trip on the campaign trail.  Kathy Bates won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Libby Holden, and Elaine May was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Deep Impact —
This film is one of the best, “Oh my god, we’re all gonna die”, movies ever made…and a big reason for that is Morgan Freeman as President Beck. One might say he was…impactful. 😉


 

Best Comedy about a President

Dave (1993) — Kevin Kline was nominated for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture, and Charles Grodin won for Funniest Supporting Actor by the American Comedy Awards for Dave. It’s great fun and even a little touching at times.

The American President (1995) — This movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music or Comedy Score and nominated for 5 Golden Globes: Best motion Picture, Rob Reiner for Best Director, Annette Bening for Best Actress, Michael Douglas for Best Actor, and Aaron Sorkin for Best Screenplay. This movie is a classic.

My Fellow Americans (1996) — In my opinion, this is the funniest presidential movie ever made, and the two stars, James Garner and Jack Lemmon, have great on-screen chemistry.

Wag the Dog (1997) — Shortly before the election a spin doctor and a Hollywood producer fabricate a war to cover up a Presidential sex scandal. Dustin Hoffman was nominated for an Oscar for Lead Actor, and nominated for 3 Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture, Dustin Hoffman for Lead Actor and Best Screenplay.

Dick (1999)  — A fun little film worth catching, even though it’s from the point of two silly teens watching the Nixon controversy from a unique point of view. Lots of fun!


 

Movies About the Presidency (In General)

All the President’s Men (1976) —
Without a doubt, this is the definitive movie about the inner workings of a presidency. It’s an old movie – 1976 – but still very pertinent in today’s world. The movie earned 4 Oscars: Jason Robards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Writing, Best Art Direction and Best Sound, and was nominated for an additional four Oscars.

JFK (1991) —
As far as conspiracy movies, nothing can top JFK. We’ll never tire of speculating about this American tragedy, and therefore, never tire of making movies or documentaries that tend to sensationalize this event. JFK won 2 Oscars for Best Cinematography and for Best Film Editing, and was nominated for an additional 6 Oscars: Best Picture,  Tommy Lee Jones for Best Actor, Oliver Stone for Best Director, Best Sound, Best Music and Oliver Stone again for Best Screenplay.

Thirteen Days —
In 1962 America came close to another World War when the Kennedy Administration struggled to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even though we know the outcome of this crisis, observing the path the administration took during this standoff is extraordinary.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) — Definitely not your typical presidential bio, it’s funny, entertaining and maybe just a little bit scary. Also, despite a funny title, this one is NOT a comedy. You’ve been warned! 🙂

Movie Review – Vice – Deeply Funny But Tonally Strange

Movie Review – Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter

Movie Review – Lincoln – An A+ Presidential Biography

Movie Review – Stan & Ollie – Surprisingly Genuine

Movie Review - Stan & OllieStan & Ollie is so much more than a biography; it’s a love story between two men who had great respect for each other.

John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan were perfect for their roles. Not only did they look the part, but the chemistry between the two actors was beautiful.

It takes a couple of really great actors and a great director to pull that kind of emotions out of their performance. The gentle assurance they gave each other with just a gaze was, for me, the high point of the movie.

Shirley Henderson as Mrs. Laurel, and Nina Arinda as Mrs. Hardy, deserve high praise. Watching the two women together was like watching a sitcom. They were either resentful and condescending to each other, or loving and supportive.

Stan & Ollie stole my heart. I grew up watching this duo on the old black & white, along with Abbot and Costello, The Three Stooges and The Little Rascals. Good grief — how old am I anyway???

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Being a short movie, I felt that 2 Peetimes would get you through the movie.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Stan & Ollie. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for some language, and for smoking
Genres: Biography, Comedy, Drama

Movie Review – They Shall Not Grow Old

 

Movie Review - They Shall Not Grow OldWatching They Shall Not Grow Old was an experience unlike any I’ve had before. Knowing all these fresh-faced boys, who were initially so excited about going off to war were about to die: that was hard. Unlike most movies when the director yells ‘it’s a wrap,’ the actors go on to another movie: in this film there was no one to hear the director speak. They were all dead — even the voices we hear in the narration are all dead. Doesn’t that feel like a gut punch?

In my audience, there were men whom I’m sure were veterans of war. Are they the target audience? Maybe. [pullquote]But here’s the thing; the target audience should be everyone who’s old enough to know what the word war means.[/pullquote] This film should be on every history teacher’s syllabus. Also, there were a few young men and women in the audience who were there to admire the technical aspect of the revivification of the 100 year old footage.

[pullquote position=”right”]I will pass along this warning: if you have lost any family member to war, as I have — my brother, Danny, in Vietnam — this film will be beyond painful.[/pullquote] As I watched the camera pan over the trenches filled — yes filled — with bodies of both men and horses, it was difficult to determine if the body part was man or animal. I couldn’t help but wonder if Danny suffered the same sort of injuries. I did not sleep well last night.

Even with all the carnage, the saddest part of the film was when the narrators spoke of coming home, and the mistreatment they endured from people with the mentality of ‘just get over it’. [pullquote]PTSD was just a dot on horizon of mental health and it would take decades before it was recognized as a treatable mental health problem.[/pullquote] The WW1 vets took to alcohol and drugs, just as they do today.

The survivor’s guilt that came home with so many vets would eat away at them like a bad cancer. It’s a never ending source of anguish. I was a flight attendant flying out of New York during 9/11, so I speak with authority.

If you wonder why I can bring up so many negative aspects and still give this film an A+, allow me to explain. Any flick that can generate the emotions I felt, deserves an A+ and nothing less. This film is just another way of paying homage to the many men and women who have given their lives, so that today we citizens of America have the right of free speech…so we can bicker about a wall.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: Before the film begins, we see a 3-4 minute exposition by Peter Jackson, who explains how he became involved in this project. You will start your timer AFTER this short clip, as the WB logo fades.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of They Shall Not Grow Old. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for disturbing war images
Genres: Documentary, History, War

Quiz – King Arthur and his Legend

King Arthur – the man, the myth, the king of Britain. Who doesn’t like a quiz about wizards, castles, magical swords, knights, ladies, kings, and queens? I’ve kept the questions at a middle school level, but no matter your grade, jump right in and enjoy this 10-question quiz!

Quiz – King Arthur

Hope you enjoyed this fun little test, and perhaps learned a few new things about the legendary Once and Future King of Camelot. Maybe you can share it with your teacher and show him/her how well you pay attention in class. 😉

A Real History – Mary Queen of Scots vs Queen Elizabeth I Timeline (And it’s NOT like we saw in the movies)

historical painting of the real mary queen of scots
Off with her head! (Ouch; too soon?)

Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room: did Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots ever meet face to face?

No. No, they didn’t!

And whose fault was that? The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Elizabeth. Take a look at the following timeline, and maybe you’ll see what I saw: Mary had a charmed childhood. Elizabeth was for the most part treated like ‘the redheaded stepchild’.  So who do  you think grew up with a chip on her shoulder?

Let’s take a stroll through history.


The Queens’ Timelines, a comparison:

1533: Princess Elizabeth is born to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

1536: Anne Boleyn, the mother of Elizabeth, is executed for treason.

1537: Elizabeth’s half brother, Prince Edward, is born.

1542: Elizabeth’s stepmother, Catherine Howard, is beheaded for treason.

1542: Mary Queen of Scots is born; her father dies six days later,making her Queen of Scots.

1543: Mary is crowned Queen of Scots at 9 months old.

1547: Henry VIII dies and the prince becomes King Edward VI.

1548: Mary of Scots sets sails for France and arrives six days later.

1553: King Edward VI dies, and Elizabeth’s half sister, Mary becomes Queen.

1554: Queen Mary Tudor I has Elizabeth thrown into The Tower of London for three months on charges of treason.

1555: Elizabeth is freed from The Tower of London.

1558: Queen Mary I dies, and the Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen Elizabeth I.

1558: The Dauphin, Francis, and Mary Queen of Scots, are married in Notre Dame Cathedral.

1559: The coronation of Queen Elizabeth I.

1559: King Henri II of France dies; Francis and Mary become King and Queen of France.

1560: Mary of Guise, the mother of Mary Queen of Scots, dies.

1560: King Francis II, husband of Mary Queen of Scots, dies from an ear infection, and Mary loses the French crown she had only worn for less than two years.

1561: Mary Queen of Scots arrives back in Scotland.

1562: Mary tours her native Scotland, beginning at Linlithgow Palace, the place of her birth and ending in Edinburgh.

1562: Elizabeth is seriously ill with Small Pox.

1565: Mary Queen of Scots marries her cousin, Lord Henry Darnley.

1566: David Rizzio is murdered in front of the heavily pregnant Queen
Mary.

1566: Mary gives birth to the future King of Scotland and England.

1567: Mary Queen of Scots is force to abdicate the Scottish Throne in favor of her son, the future James VI of Scotland.

1568: Mary Queen of Scots is imprisoned in England after fleeing Scotland.

1570: Queen Elizabeth is excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

1571: The Ridolfi Plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth, and replace her with the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots is discovered. As a result, Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, is executed.

1580: Pope Gregory XIII states if anyone decided to assassinate Queen Elizabeth, he would assure them they did not commit a sin.

1586:The Babington Plot, a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and put Mary Queen of Scots on the Throne of England, is discovered. This led to the execution of the Scottish Queen.

1587:Mary Queen of Scots is executed for treason, by order of her cousin and fellow monarch, Queen Elizabeth I.

1603: Queen Elizabeth dies and King James VI of Scotland becomes James I, King of England.

1612:James I of England/James VI of Scotland, son of Mary Queen of Scots, has her body removed from Peterborough Cathedral to Westminster Abbey, to lie in the Henry VII Chapel at the opposite end of Queen Elizabeth I of England.


What can we take away from the above timeline of both queens?

Here are my thoughts on the subject: We can see Mary had a glorious upbringing in the glittering world of the French Court, while Elizabeth was used as a pawn in establishing the line of succession.

First, she was a princess; then she was a bastard. Next, she had the unenviable role as ‘the second’, much like today’s ‘middle child’ who gets all the hand-me-downs. Then, she was tossed into The Tower of London by her half-sister, Queen Mary I, and if the queen had it her way, Elizabeth would have found herself headless on Tower Hill (keeping company with her long-since-dead mother, Anne Boleyn). With all this in mind, is it any wonder Elizabeth would grow up suspicious of just about everyone?

The fact that Mary Queen of Scots married three times, and Elizabeth never married, I think, speaks volumes.

Through knowing her mother was executed by her father, Elizabeth learned marriage can be a dangerous undertaking. Husbands do kill wives. And furthermore, I don’t think Elizabeth wanted children, who may have had to endure the trials and tribulations of a prince or princess as she had endured.

Plus, children can and do kill their parents. Example: Lyle and Eric Menendez.

Mary, on the other hand, married three times. Her first marriage to the Dauphin, Francis of France, by all accounts was happy, but short-lived. Since her first marriage had gone so well, the fact that her husband died a year and a half later notwithstanding, she supposed the next marriage would also be blessed with happiness.

It wasn’t. When the second husband died, Mary once again walked down the aisle with the nefarious Bothwell. Some say she was coerced, or downright kidnapped by this bad boy; I don’t know. I wasn’t there. The point is, Mary took the trip down the aisle three times; Elizabeth never took that trip. I think this exemplifies the two totally different mindsets of the queens.

So in the end, the two rival queens may not have met in life, but who knows what happened when the lights went out in Westminster Abbey?


If you enjoyed this post, share it with a friend who honestly believes the two queens did meet, then let me know and we’ll both have a good laugh. 🙂

Fact verses Fiction – Mary Queen Of Scots

Movie Review – Mary Queen of Scots

Quiz – Queen Elizabeth l and Mary Queen of Scots

Quiz – Queen Elizabeth I