Monday, January 30, 2006


I was recently reading Rabenstrange's blog and was surprised to find my name at the bottom. It was in a list of names that had been "tagged". And after figuring out what that meant (I'm a green blogger), I have attempted to fill out that survey as follows:

My Only Real Jobs

Babysitting (The only people who don't think this counts have never baby-sat.)

Writing for our local newspaper. (Their teen columnist left for college, and they sent out the call for new teen writers, and got so many replies they made a whole new section. So now I write articles for it once a month.)

Being homeschooled (At least my Mom thinks this is my real job. )

Movies I could watch over and over

The Winslow Boy. This is a lovely film, by David Mamet of all people, (it's G rated, I promise) based on a Britsh play and it has a very British premise. A young boy is expelled from military school because he supposedly stole sixpence from another boy. He gives his word he didn't, and his outraged
family hires famous lawyer to take the case and sues the government.

It sounds boring, I know, but the real story is in the character's lives. The arrogant lawyer (played by Jeremy Northam), The suffragette daughter, the long suffering mother and the father who is wonderfully played by Nigel Hawthorne. It also has one of the best ending scenes. Just trust me and go see it.

The Princess Bride . Does this even need an introduction? A side-splitting parody of swashbucklers of old, somewhat reminiscent of Mel Brooks. Full of quotable lines, if you haven't heard "Inconcievable!" or "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." than you are hereby ordered to go out and see it now.

Star Wars IV: A New Hope. My personal favorite of the Star Wars. Classic, classic, classic. The trio of Luke Han and Leia and all the accompanying banter is the best in this movie. It's Star Wars for Pete's sake! You don't need a reason for liking it!

Finding Nemo. I heart Pixar. I love their smart comedy, and their beautiful animation. And this movie is their best so far. The Incredibles was good, but this is the best. "You so totally rock, dude!"

Pride and Prejudice. Yes, it's a mini-series. But it's worth it. And you've heard about this already so I won't say anything more about it.

Scaramouche. Okay. Nobody had better laugh. I mean it. This is a hopelessly cheesy old swashbuckler, with Stewart Granger and Mel Ferrer and Janet Leigh. It's the kind of movie you don't tell anyone you like, it's that embarressing. But that doesn't mean it's not a good movie, the sets are great, the costumes are over the top, it's nothing but high drama, but well acted high drama. Basically it's a good movie, but one you will be laughed at for liking.

Places I've lived

I was born in Texas, moved when I was seven to Illinois, did a two year stint in Finland, because of my Dad's job. Yes, Finland, as in over seas, the one next to Russia. It's a beautiful country and lots of them speak English. I would highly recommend it.

But now I live in Illinois.

TV shows I watch

Stargate Sg-1 and Stargate Atlantis. I used to watch these every week, but I haven't in a while...they're good series, sci-fi and everything. The only thing is that the writers can't write 'ship to save their lives. It's aggravating to see the wrong people getting thrown together...

The Apprentice and The Amazing Race. Heh. I watched them when they were on...

Jeeves and Wooster. This TV series isn't on air anymore, but it's absolutely wonderful. Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry star as the bungling Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves respectively. I actually got my family hooked on P.G. Wodehouse this way. And that's something.

Yes Minister, Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, and all that great British stuff. Just one comment: British comedy ROCKS! Go find some episodes of these and just try not to go around talking in a Britsh accent.

Places my family vacations

Lots of places. My Mom just likes to take trips. Last summer we went to Lancaster, Pennsylvania with my grandparents, then went up to Bethany Beach , Delaware. I'm not huge on traveling though. I like my comfy home.

Websites I frequent

I go to a couple blogs on to, ummm...not tons of different places. is a cool site. And for good Christian movie reviews. Otherwise not very many places.

Foods I like

Mmmmm...I like food. Fettucini Alfredo with Chicken (but not broccoli) is a guilty pleasure, also fondly known as "Heart Attack on a Plate". Chicken I like. A lot. Meat, is a good thing. Noodles, I am also fond of. Oh, yes, I mustn't forget, FRENCH TOAST. WITH REAL SYRUP. NOT THAT MAPLE JUNK.

My Mother, has a thing about whole wheat. And maple syrup. It just doesn't work on french toast. Prepare yourself for something terrible, I only get Mrs. Butterworth's wonderfully artificial, sickeningly sugary, ambrosia of a syrup on my birthday. As in, Once a Year. *sigh*

Well, that was a cool survey. Who to tag? I think I 'll tag: Hayley J, jolene*marie and christy. I think that's everyone who has commented on my blog except for Rabenstrange himself. So if you are reading this and your name is on the list, consider yourself tagged!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Pride and Prejudice: An Austenite Review

I have a confession to make.

I am an Austenite.

You know, one of those people all the movie critics talked about in their reviews of the new Pride and Prejudice that would supposedly pick it to pieces for being inaccurate. On the whole, they portrayed people who love Jane Austen's splendid prose as petty, humorless, librarians who probably spend their free time poring through magazines looking for grammar mistakes.

The reality is, I only point out the differences in the movie from the book because the way it was in the book was better.

Well, to them I will just say that tonight I will be going to the movie theater to see Pride and Prejudice for the third time. It will tie my record for how many times I've seen the same movie in a theater. Phantom of the Opera is the co-holder. But that's all my cousin's fault...which is a subject for another blog post.

Anyway, I liked this latest incarnation of Pride and Prejudice, with it's beautiful photography, lovely understated music, and excellent performances from most of the cast.

Just in case you didn't know, there was a mini-series done by BBC on the same book with Colin Firth as the one and only Mr. Darcy, and Jennifer Ehle as the self-assured, witty Elizabeth who is more than a match for Darcy. You can tell it was made by people who loved and above all, really understood Austen.

Naturally, I wasn't expecting the movie to measure up to the mini-series, but I found you can't really compare the two.

The movie tries to take the elegant, but constructed style of Austen and shake it up to make it into something more modern looking and sounding.

Yes, sounds like a good thing on paper, but the point they're missing is that what makes Pride and Prejudice so good is that it is Austen. If you mess with the dialogue, you take the whole heart out of the thing.

In the original, you have a group of (yes, I will admit it) formal characters all conversing in witty repartee, and by the time you're done "keeping it real", you have a bunch of teenage girls either running around wild or not saying anything at all, one very stilted and out-of-place guy and his bumbling friend who can't phrase a sentence without tripping over his tongue, and they are all talking over each other at such volumes, and behaving in general as if they had never heard of manners in the first place.

The place this really irked is the first proposal scene, where they dilute the glorious declaration of Darcy's feelings, "In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed, you must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." to a long rushed sentence, where we don't get to catch half of what he's saying, ending with "I love you. Most ardently."

The only thing that saved it was Matthew Mcfadyen's wonderful delivery. He stands there in the pouring rain (another liberty) and looks just like the proverbial kicked puppy, so when he utters lines as lame as that, we believe that it's because he really is At A Loss. He turned in a solid performance as Mr.Darcy, and considering whose shoes he was filling and what he had to work with, he really did a fantastic job.

I wish I could say the same about Keira Knightley. She really tries, and sometimes hits the mark, but when you see her on the screen you think "Oh, there's Keira Knightley...I mean, Elizabeth."

She's got a funny quality about her, she's too sharp and sarcastic, too much lively and not enough class. She wears her heart on her sleeve and says whatever happens to pop into her head. Which is just not something Elizabeth would do.

I guess the ultimate problem with her performance (or the director's interpretation, rather) was that it makes you wonder what on earth the cultured Mr. Darcy sees in her.

But Elizabeth aside, several of the supporting character's are pitch-perfect, even better than the mini-series.

Claudie Blakley plays Charlotte Lucas, Lizzy's best friend, and was just right. She shares Lizzy's fun-loving personality and keen wit, but not her beauty. The ending to her story, shows the harsh shallowness of those times, where only beauty and birth secured your place in the world.

Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins interpreted the part much differently, more sympathetically and less the revolting prideful prig, that he was in the mini-series. Surprisingly this works just as well, and I almost like his performance better.

The other Bennet sisters are a mixed bag. Jane, played by Rosamund Pike, was perfect. She was delicately lovely, maternal and made of sugar and spice, just like she should be. Kitty and Lydia, were a bit dissapointing. Lydia lacks the inherent naughtiness of her mini-series predessecor, and goes overboard trying to compensate while Kitty really does nothing but giggle.

Mary Bennet was a charming surprise. Talluah Riley was great. Even with such a tiny character to play, she left an impression on me as the only other decently human girl in the house, but sadly left out by all her sisters.

The Bingleys were well done, Kelly Reilly as Caroline does the snotty, rich girl to an absolute Tee. A pleasure to watch. Simon Woods plays a goofier Bingley, but with such a lovable good-naturedness it works.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were...less than they could be. After the histronics of Mrs. Bennet in the mini-series, anything else is an understatment, but Brenda Blethyn does a good, realistic job with the character. Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet, though, has left me still wondering where the casting director's brain had got to.

Not only does he really not do a British accent, but he's such a lumbering, useless presence, it's painful to watch. Granted, it works somewhat in the story, but so opposite to how Mr. Bennet was written. But, *sigh* it's only a thing that would matter to an Austenite.

Now that I have rambled and rambled until your brain must be leaking out your ears, I will say:

Yes, it has it's flaws and you will have to sit up and listen if you want to know what is going on, but it's worth the effort for this spirited attempt at making Austen "accesible" to people who wouldn't sit through the book.