Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I love Jane Austen. Most people who know me are well aware that Pride and Prejudice is my second or third favorite Austen novel-depending on my mood and my attitude towards Captain Wentworth that day. It is also a truth nearly universally acknowledged that I do love a good parody. I dearly love to laugh, after all.

From BBC America

Therefore, it was with great delight that I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies back in 2009. I took flack from some friends for enjoying a “rip-off” of Austen, but I didn’t mind. I liked the book. I thought that it continued the original novel’s themes well. I felt that zombification could be used as an analogy for the marriage market that Austen is so carefully criticizing in her original work. I immediately began hoping for a movie adaptation, but that was a bit slow in coming. It appears that many people were interested in such a project, but it took a while to get all of the ducks in order. And then, about about six months ago, it became apparent that all of the ducks were finally in order.

The movie came out yesterday, and naturally, I had to see it on opening night. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t know when the last time a movie (that wasn’t made by Mel Brooks) made me laugh so hard. It was a bit violent, but overall, it was enjoyable. The acting was good. I really enjoyed Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet; I thought she brought the right level of independence and sweetness to the role. I felt that Sam Riley was delightfully gruff. Charles Dance was a pleasant surprise as a Mr. Bennet who would far rather see his daughter alive and in full possession of their mental capacities than happily married to men who would see them leave their zombie-fighting days behind them. Lena Headey was a divine Lady Catherine de Bourgh who reminded me of Madame Kovarian from Doctor Who, and I liked that about her.

pride-prejudice-zombies-characters-1However, my one gripe with the film is that while it contained the spirit of Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, it was not terribly faithful to the novel. It was a true representation of the spirit of the novel, but it left many events out of the film. Now, I understand that this had to be done for the sake of time, but I’d really been looking forward to watching Lily James fight ninjas. Yes, it gave me a strong-willed Elizabeth Bennet. Yes, it gave me many moments of strong, independent women taking care of themselves. I had many pleasant moments of saying internally, “Yes! Sisters be doin’ it for themselves!” But there were no ninjas.

Admittedly, the loss of the ninjas was not the only change. The role of Wickham was changed, but I didn’t mind that too terribly. I felt the changes functioned well in the context of the film. A few things about Charlotte’s relationship with Mr. “Eleventh Doctor” Collins were changed, but that helped with the time management of the piece. Also, Matt Smith did an excellent job of playing an absurd Mr. Collins. But it would have been nice to see a showdown between Elizabeth and Lady Catherine’s ninjas.

Overall, it was enjoyable. I laughed a good deal, and that was definitely worth it. I would recommend it to people who like both Jane Austen and Monty Python. If you don’t like both of those things, you probably won’t like it. The script isn’t the greatest thing ever written, but that’s okay. I wasn’t expecting it to be brilliantly written. I have my Colin Firth-Jennifer Ehle P&P for that.

My official rating of it is a B. I would have given it an A if there had been ninjas, but no ninjas, no A.

Love Actually is The Holiday

Last night, my roommate and I had a Christmas rom-com double feature. We started out the evening with Love Actually and then moved on to The Holiday. While we were watching the movie, my roommate typed up our reactions to the movie so that we could share them with the blog.

(NB: A good alternate title for this post would be “A Good Catholic Girl watches rom-coms, gets frustrated with modern morality, and swears a lot.”)

Enjoy!

Who the fuck says “I know” to Colin Firth?  Moreover, who says “Get OUT, loser!” to him?!  What the actual fuck.

How many lobsters WERE present at the birth of Jesus?

How do you actually get a job doing [what Jack and Judy do]?  How much do you get paid to do this job?

Natalie swears:  shit, shit, fuck, piss it, fuck, fucking,

How do you hide that many people in your church?  And their instruments!  Unless…do they know all these people?

WHO cheats on Colin Firth with THAT guy?

/who cheats on Colin Firth?!

What do you do when your friend acts like…..  Colin Frissell

what prompts Harry to ask Sarah about her love life, exactly.
WHAT is Harry’s deal?  He cheats on his wife…

What made Colin think that Wisconsin was a fantastic place?

whooo says stuff like that to a married man?  if I was drunk, I MIGHT say that to [this single bloke I know]

what is she wearing?

Who labels their launderette?

Thomas Brodie-Sangster was 13 years old, playing an 11-year-old who looked about 7.  Six?   (“9” according to Cecilia)

“No one’s in love when they’re eleven!  No one!”

What does Harry/Sarah/Karl’s business actually do?

How come we don’t ALL have Prime Minister Hugh Grant around when we go through a breakup?

Does Daniel have nothing better to do with his life than worry about an 11-year-old’s love life?  I mean, come on!

Who cares what language you speak?  He’s Colin Fucking Firth!  Just snuggle!

Who would elect Billy Bob Thornton president of anything?!

(Well, who would elect Hugh Grant prime minister of anything?)

Why is she wearing that suit?  That suit is weird.
I would love to know what his Aunt Mildred looks like.

Why are you a douche-canoe?

Her dress is weird.

Why are you talking?!  Your personal life is not politics.

What is Colin Firth’s sweater?

How is Billy Bob Thornton afraid of antique furniture?  How is anyone afraid of antique furniture?

How do you sit?

You are fucking 11 years old. She is not the love of your life.
Who watches Titanic?
What’s all the garlic for?
How do you treat Emma Thompson like that?
The 270-pound necklace would, in 2015, cost $613.31.
Seriously, how do you treat Emma Thompson like that?
Why were they eating ice cream on Christmas Eve?  Isn’t it a bit cold for that, and also, bad for throats that are about to sing in a nativity play?
Does he think she doesn’t know?
How can you hate Uncle Jaimie?
His whole family just congregated SO fast.
Prime Minister – dancing, providing reassurance after breakups, going door-to-door “caroling” / etc.
“Eight is a lot of legs, David.”
Everyone should steal their lines from Colin Firth.
Can we talk about how many things are wrong with this Christmas pageant?
She already gave them ice cream!  Why do they need treats?
How can Colin Firth find Aurelia’s exact house while the Prime Minister has no idea where to find Natalie?
Do they have Dunkin Donuts in Portugal?
HE IS ELEVEN YEARS OLD.  YOU DO NOT FIND THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’RE ELEVEN YEARS OLD
People talking like house-elves to each other is adorable.
Can I just point out that the PM does not fly into Heathrow and come out a commercial terminal?

~~~~~~~~~

Don’t kiss Jude Law when you want to kiss a cat!
why is this an explanation for irrational urges?  Look at your life, look at your choices!!  Shut the fuck up, if you want to make out with him, then make out with him; don’t sit here and try to rationalize your behavior.
Shut.  up.
Why does his six-year-old have a mobile?
Never promise you won’t fall in love with someone.

HANG UP.
“So he’s a schmuck!”

This is one of the movies that gives me unrealistic expectations about love.
It makes me feel like – love is only for beautiful people in beautiful clothes by beautiful houses in beautiful landscaping.

Don’t have sex just because you want to. NO.
Be honorable.  Be respectable.  Be respectful.

You couldn’t pay me to marry Jude Law’s character in this movie.  Actually, you couldn’t pay me to marry Jude Law ever.

I vote that New Year’s Eve, we drink wine and get takeout.

She’s here for, what, a week?  How do we have any evidence that this relationship will be successful?  They’re getting awfully serious after a date and two shags.

These poor girls are going to end up…
…with a wicked stepmother?
You shouldn’t introduce your daughters to your girlfriend after 2 dates!  You’re sitting there playing happy families…
You are who you are!  Own who you are – name it and own it.
What’s wrong with hot chocolate spilled on your jeans?

VIDEO SHOP.  IT’S BLOCKBUSTER.

“I only used the good notes.”  <3
Sex and love are not the same thing.  Love is a verb, not a feeling.

To sum up:  The Holiday is suffering through the unlikeliness of a psychotic Cameron Diaz and a horny, impulsive Jude Law for the sake of watching Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Eli Wallach being heartbroken people who sweetly help support each other.

Why I Keep “Volunteering” to Marry Tom Hiddleston

It happened again. Someone pointed out that Tom Hiddleston would be a really good husband and dad-except for the fact that he’s not married. My immediate response was “I volunteer as tribute!” It wasn’t the first time that I’ve done that. It probably won’t be the last. It’s a thing that I do sometimes. I find Tom Hiddleston attractive, and that’s just a fact of my life these days.

Every now and then, I say that I should write a post explaining my Hiddleston crush. Why is it that I like this tall, skinny English dude? I first started considering this post this a few years back when I read a post somewhere on the interwebs written by some dude who was whinging about how girls keep falling for Hiddles and he couldn’t figure out why. I can’t find the post anymore, and to be honest, there are multiple such posts. But why?

Is it his hair? His smile? His eyes? His accent? His personality? His brain?

Yes, yes to all.

One of the most attractive things to me about any person is their personality. I like good, kind people who are genuine, people who love others, people who give of themselves. I want to see people who treat others (regardless of gender or any other qualifications) with respect. For that reason, Tom Hiddleston is attractive to me. In everything that I have ever seen of him, he respects others. He respects the women in his life-costars, his sisters, his mother etc. He respects his fans. He respects his male coworkers. He respects the people to whom he ought to look up, and he respects people who he is not required to respect-fans, children etc. He smiles at people, which is huge for me. I try to smile at people regardless of whether or not I know them because I think that it’s a small but important gesture. I really like the quote below because it’s simple and true. I don’t expect you to be happy all the time, but I do appreciate when people are joyful and try to share that joy with others.

Hiddleston is also quite intelligent. He has a degree from Cambridge University in Classics. That’s nothing to sneeze at. A few years ago, one of my students looked at me and said, “I just figured you out! You like smart men.” Exactly, I like smart men. And, as my roommate once told her brother, I’m more attracted to his brain than I am to his body. The man loves good literature. He loves Shakespeare. He claims that Shakespeare is the reason that he became an actor.

He always seems like he loves what he’s doing. It’s hard to find an interview where he isn’t smiling. Even when he’s being teased, he seems to be enjoying it. I’ve never heard him complain about his work or his costars. I’ve never heard him bash the work that he did when he was younger and perhaps more desperate for work. I’ve seen him laughing with his costars. I’ve heard him talking about enjoying his costars as people. He talks about hanging out with them.

I don’t think that Tom and I have exactly the same morals. He’s advocating more male nudity in film. Now, I don’t have a problem with his argument’s base in gender equality; I’d just rather see no on-screen nudity. I don’t know that we could have a happy marriage because we don’t have the same moral compass, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t dream about him or watch his movies.

So why do I like Tom Hidldeston? Honestly, it’s because he seems to exude joy. He seems to be a content human being AND he seems intelligent. And that is incredibly attractive to me.

Also, he has lovely blue eyes, and I’m kind of a sucker for lovely blue eyes. But things won’t work out for Tommy H and me unless he becomes Catholic. (Hey, T-Hiddles, the Eastern Catholic Church is awesome. Want to come hang out with the cool kids? We’re the real happy few.) But if that doesn’t happen, that’s okay. I’ll just watch his movies and enjoy his talent.

The Questions You Ask On Watching The Emperor’s New Groove as an Adult

Last night, my roommate (henceforth to be known as JCS and part of the Egotist’s Club) and I watched The Emperor’s New Groove together. We compiled a few MANY questions that we’d like the answers to, and we’re sharing them

– Why has Kuzco never fired Yzma before now?
– Where did Kuzco’s guards learn to Riverdance?
– Was Pacha democratically elected to be leader of his village? Or did he get his job from a random lady passing out swords in a lake?
– Why doesn’t Pacha’s wife have pregnant-lady boobs?
– Does saying “We’re just going to sit up all night saying how much we love each other” convince children to go to bed in real life?
– Where did all the purple animals come from?
– How did no one kill Kuzco before now?  He’s so annoying.

– What were Kuzco’s parents like?
– Where did Kuzco get that mouthwash from?
– Why do all these people have mullets?  This movie is not set in the 1980s, these people are not Canadian, this movie is not about hockey.  What’s with the mullets?
– Why is Pacha wearing a skirt?
– If Yzma’s signature color is purple, why did she wear a pink dress to Kuzco’s fake funeral?
– How old IS Yzma?
– Demon alpaca?

JCS: Why is this one conversation like an awkward morning-after discussion?  Like, walk-of-shame awkward?
JCS: How does Pacha know anything about blood-sugar levels?

Why are there Jews in the Incan empire?
Are there really sombreros in the Incan empire?

JCS: I don’t understand why he left the blanket.

Why does Kronk have a tent that only covers his knees?
Why are his pajamas more modest than his uniform?
Why does his teddy bear not have pajamas?
Is Yzma half-mosquito?
Is Yzma a ninja?
First of all, how did the children move so fast, and second of all, why do they need to Zamboni their floors in the middle of the jungle?
Why is there a mariachi band?
Why do the alligators barf?
Why doesn’t Kronk just kill her?
What does she have against spinach puffs?

JCS:  Why are all her potions and poisons pink?

How’s the octopus supposed to do anything?  Like, octopi are not supposed to be able to function on dry land.

How does this guy keep getting thrown out of windows?

Why does Kuzco wear dinner plates as earrings?
Where did they get the spinach for spinach puffs?
Why do these men not have hair on their chests?
Is it really that important to know squirrel?

The Ten Best Things that Netflix has Brought into My Life

If you know me well, you know that I love movies. I’m fond of TV at times, but I don’t tend to watch much current TV. I watch Castle. I watch Downton Abbey when it’s in season. And I watch The Mindy Project. I used to watch 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother when they were on. But by and large…yeah, I’m more of a movie girl.

However, I’m a big fan of Netflix because it provides me with background noise while I’m grading or doing schoolwork or knitting. I’ve had a Netflix account on and off since the spring of 2010, and it’s brought many good movies into my life. So I thought I’d compile a list of what I like and recommend to others.

  1. Old movies: I was interested in old movies long before I ever heard of Netflix. I love Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, and Netflix lets me see more of their movies than I can borrow from the library at any given time. The selection isn’t always consistent, but there are always a few new selections for my amusement and edification.

9. Psych: I’m not a huge fan of the later seasons, but I love this show. As a college student without cable, Netflix was the only way that I could watch Shawn Spencer torment Ghee Buttersnaps or whatever he had chosen to call Gus that week. And Pierre Despereaux is only an added bonus. Basically, it’s a hilarious buddy cop comedy, and I love it.

  1. Possession: The first time that I saw this movie, I was entranced. From the story line to the costumes to the acting…it was all amazing. I went on to read the book, and I loved it as well. It’s a brilliant, compelling story, and it was deeply moving to me both on the page and on the screen.

  1. Parks and Recreation: Everyone said that I’d love it, but I never got into it while it was on the air. A few weeks after it went off the air, I started watching it. And oh my lord do I ever love it! It’s quirky and ridiculous and charmingly flawed. Also, I like bacon. Please give me all of the bacon.

  1. The Grand Seduction: I’ve learned from my relationship with Netflix that I like quirky movies about people who feel real and who do things that have logical motivations that I can relate to. This movie about a small fishing village in Newfoundland that is struggling to adapt to the 21st century struck a chord with me. The characters felt real, and while their lives weren’t easy, I liked them and felt they were the sort of people I’d like to know.

  1. House of Cards: It’s not as good as The West Wing, but it fills a whole that TWW left in my life. I do love me some fictional political intrigue. I can’t watch it before bed because it gets me too amped up emotionally, and I can’t sleep. But while I don’t always like the characters, I want to know what’s going to happen to them and how it’s going to happen.
  1. Doctor Who: I’m a self-professed nerd, and I wouldn’t be half as happy as I am without Doctor Who. It’s smart (usually) and funny and all-around good fun. (If you’re wondering, David Tennant is my doctor.)

  1. Not Another Happy Ending: This movie was made for me. It’s smart and funny and entertaining. It’s a little dark, and it’s better if you don’t overthink it. It tells the story of an author and her complicated relationship with her publisher. It also sorts through the complexities of her (moderately dysfunctional) relationship with her father. Overall, it can be frustrating at times, but the end is so worth the watch.

  1. The West Wing: I started watching this show in September and finished it in January. It’s intelligent. It’s entertaining. It’s witty. It’s the best thing that I’ve ever seen. I love the dialogue and the character development. Overall, the show makes me wish for better things for my country. I wish that our country were led by the politicians on this show and not our current leaders-either side of the aisle. (Also, picking a video clip to accompany this was one of the hardest things that I’ve done today. I chose two and an image with one of my favorite quotes because y’all need to love and appreciate them.)

  1. The Decoy Bride: This might be my favorite movie. I relate to Katie so much. I jokingly call my church the Isle of Hegg because the two are not that dissimilar. The movie speaks to me. I wish I could go “man-vegan.” And I swear I am a “whole lot hotter than I look.” Now I just need my own personal David Tennant…

What movies or TV shows has Netflix introduced you to? What movies do I need to see?

Gilbert Blythe

True Confessions: I spent far too much of my young life wanting to be a redhead. Because I (like many girls, I think) wanted to be this girl…

I first encountered Anne Shirley and all of Avonlea when I was nine. And I fell head over heels in love with that whimsical, overly dramatic redhead and the whole eccentric town. I often tell people the first guy I ever fell for was Christian Bale when he played Laurie in Little Women, and that’s true. But my first real literary crush was this gentleman.

Gilbert Blythe, ladies and gents, Gilbert Blythe…I was that nerdy girl who wanted to marry Gilbert Blythe. He was smart, he was handsome, he was sweet, and he was good. He was unbelievably good, and I loved that. He rescued Anne from her ridiculous Lady of Shalott escapade. And he told Charlie Sloane (in front of Josie Pye!) that being smart was better than being good-looking. He also told Charlie that Anne was the smartest girl in the class. Gilbert was a good man.

(I also named a car after him once. It was a good car, a noble car.)

And for me, Jonathan Crombie perfectly captured my literary crush on the screen. He was impish and handsome and sweet and…he was Gil.

Jonathan Crombie died this past Wednesday. And I’m gutted. I never met the man. All I know of him is that he was in three movies that I loved, and apparently he loved those movies and being associated with them. But it’s so sad to me. He was young. And he’s gone…so suddenly. I feel like he’s taken a part of my childhood with him.

And at 26, I’m not okay with that. I’ve accepted that I’m an adult. But this somehow hurts in a way that I hadn’t expected. I know that he wasn’t Gilbert, but it somehow feels like Gilbert has died. I know that Gilbert is a fictional character and all, but I still feel this bizarre sense of loss.

Now, I suppose I’ll have to reread those books. And maybe I’ll rewatch those movies. And I’ll remember that while Jonathan is gone, Gilbert will always be with us in those books. Jonathan may have (beautifully) given him life on screen, but Gilbert can always be found in the pages of those beautiful books.

So rest in peace, Jonathan. Thank you for sharing your gift with us and for giving Gilbert life. You will never be forgotten.

Why “The Prince of Egypt” is an Easter Movie

From Christian Film Database

I love the movie,The Prince of Egypt. It came out when I was about ten, and I fell in love with the move. It was a story that I knew well, the story of Moses, the Passover, and God delivering his chosen people from slavery in Egypt. It was a story of God’s love for humanity and his desperate desire to draw his people to himself. But something about that movie resonated first with my ten-year-old self and then on into adulthood in a dramatic way.

Several years ago, I tried to convince a friend of mine that it is an Easter movie, and he disagreed with me. I don’t really remember his premise, but thinking it over, I think that I’m right.

On the surface, it is the story of God using Moses to lead the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land of Canaan. Well, okay, the movie only takes them just past the Red Sea, but the ultimate goal for them was the Promised Land. And it is clear from the movie that they will get there. It is the story of the first Passover. (Exodus 1-14)

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, and from there Christians move through Holy Week towards Holy/Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and ultimately Easter Sunday, Pascha. In those days, we celebrate Christ’s Passover. Just as God led his chosen people, the Israelites, out of physical slavery and into a physical Promised Land in the Exodus, so too in his Passion, Christ led his people out of a slavery to sin and death and into a the Promised Land of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus’ death and Resurrection took place at the time of the Jewish Passover, and that is no coincidence. He wanted to make it clear who and what he was. As the Paschal Canon of St. John Damascene says, “It is the day of Resurrection, * O People, let us be enlightened by it. * The Passover is the Lord’s Passover, * since Christ our God, has brought us from death to life * and from earth to heaven. * We therefore sing the hymn of victory.”

Christ is the Passover that comes once and for all. The lambs who were sacrificed and the first-born sons who died were for the liberation of those particular slaves, for that particular group of people’s freedom. They were but a foreshadowing of what was to come. They prefigured the Firstborn Son who would come into the world and become the Lamb of God, the Lamb who was “slain, and purchased for God with [his] blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” (Rev. 5:9)

That is the story prefigured by The Prince of Egypt. The story that began in the Garden of Eden, continued with Noah, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and with Jacob’s sons continues with Moses and the enslaved Israelites. It is the story of a God who tells Moses that “I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry…for I know their sorrow.” (Exodus 3:7). That is the same God who will send his only Son into the world because he continues to see the affliction of his people and heard their cries. And in the appointed time, he sends Jesus to live as a man, to suffer and die, and to rise from the dead to save his people from their slavery to sin and death.

To me, that means that The Prince of Egypt is absolutely an Easter movie. It tells a story of God’s relentless desire for his people, his tireless love for a people who continually turn their backs on him. He is a God who hears his people crying out for him. He loves them, and while his plans may not always make sense to us humans, he will never fail us.

And that is also the story of Easter, the story of a God who so loved the world that he sent his only Son into the world to give life and freedom to all people.