Pride and Prejudice

Posted by me on Wednesday, the 27th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 11:39 PM, local time.

Ok, so, sorry guys, I’ve been a little lax this week in keeping up with the blogging. I claimed I would be doing better. But, I’m trying. I’m just weak. Baby steps, right?

Several months ago, I was convinced that I should watch the Pride and Prejudice movie (the 2005 version). I had never read any Jane Austen novels, thinking they were just for girls, or whatever nonsense you pick up here or there about such things. So, I watched the movie. As many people know, I’ve long been a sucker for simple romantic comedy, which is, I guess, how I would categorize the movie. I enjoyed it. Thought it was pretty good. I enjoyed the arguments between the main characters, thought the scenery was pretty good, and really like the piano music in the background.

So, between watching the movie, countless recommendations from some of my friends, wikipedia articles, and a couple other secondary sources, I thought I would read the novel. Barnes and Noble’s had the Jane Austen collection on sale, and there was a copy of Pride and Prejudice in the “Everyman’s Library” hardcover edition, which I collect. So, I bought them both (it’s a problem, I know) and read Pride and Prejudice. Then I read it again.

Spectacular. I gotta say, had I known that authors from the 1800s could write like that, I would have read more of them beforehand. The dialogue is superb. The characters were very well drawn, and by and large, you could not wish for a better book. It is an easy, quick read, and there really is no reason whatsoever to not read it at every so often. It just goes so quickly!

When I first read the book, I was very much gladdened that the character of Mr Darcy was much larger in the book than in the movie. By no means was he the main character, but at least in the book, there were many times where you got to see things from his point of view, and you could see the basis for some of his actions before Elizabeth got to interpret them and skew them to something despicable. I was very pleased. It was nice to have a strong male hero to, not necessarily counter, but certainly complement the wonderful heroine, the younger Miss Bennet.

Very recently, I decided that since I enjoyed the book so much, and had enjoyed the movie when I first saw it, I should watch the movie again, to better compare it to the book. I had recognized before, after reading the book the first time, that the movie didn’t have a lot of the scenes in it that the book had, but didn’t think too much about it. It was a movie, after all. They do that sort of thing. But, when I saw it the second time, I was almost disgusted at the amount of stuff that was left out. There was a lot of characterization that was simply not there. Whole scenes, whole characters, whole conversations, etc., etc. Not only do we see nothing from Darcy’s point of view, but we see nothing of the “relationship” between Elizabeth and Mr Wickham develop, and we see nothing of the real awkwardness of Elizabeth meeting Darcy’s sister for the first time. These things are key to the book, really!

In comparison to the depth and, dare I say, majesty, of the book, the movie is a collection of short quick sketches, each merely outlining a portion of the masterwork that is the book, “Pride and Prejudice”. The only redeeming qualities the movie really keeps is the wonderful piano music, which really, by the way, prompted the blog post about background music a few days back. And Keira Knightley is hot. But we already knew that from Pirates, and you could just watch that to get your fill. (And sorry to mention her name, I just am really curious about how much google PageRank that will earn me.)

Anyway, for all my complaints, its not a bad movie, and I must respect the initial impression it had on me, that led me to read Austen’s various novels. I have now read enough of them that I would like to compare and consider each of the greater pieces here in my blog, but that is a larger task for another day.

Almost entirely unrelated from that, other than I used the word in this writeup: dialogue. Not dialog. Seriously people. It’s bad enough when I see it everywhere, but to have my own spellchecker refuse to accept the correct form of the word, and suggest the improper bastardization, is downright unacceptable. At least there exist proper dictionaries online and in print yet that use and promote the correct form.

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spellcheckers

Blast from the Past

Posted by me on Friday, the 15th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 12:51 AM, local time.

So, I like to watch movies, as anyone who's seen my movie collection could tell you. They might also have a few things to say about my taste in movies. Some do not approve. However, there are many gems in my collection, and today I watched one, because I had not watched it in a while, and it is one of my favorite comedies: “Blast from the Past”

This movie was not a gigantic success in 1999 when it came out (as far as I recall), but it really is a terrific movie. Simple, funny, endearing… what more could one want? What? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles? It has all that, too! Well, I can't prove that. But anyway, it does have Brendan Fraser in a classic role, Alicia Silverstone as an adorable but helpful Pasadena girl (but much less annoying than her other such role), bomb shelters, lots of money and the things it can buy for you, transvestites on the street, a cult, swing dancing, Firefly's Mal, a random "happy" guy, and a hilarious Christoper Walken (as opposed to the non-hilarious Christopher Walken, which surely must exist, though I havn't found it yet).

Its simple comedy is easy to enjoy time and time again, and it's easy for me to identify with the main character (not because I have lived in a bomb shelter all my life, but because I grew up in a family with traditional values and skills that are no longer appreciated or valued by a large portion of the modern world, but when we were growing up, we didn't know this, and assumed everyone was as good and honest, studious, religious, and happy as we were).

Anyway, every time I watch this movie it makes me happy. I can think of no greater accolade than that. It has been out for so long, and the DVD so cheap on the shelves everywhere, that I cannot imagine people our age exist who have not seen this movie, but if you havn't I heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys simple comedy and a bit of romance. And being happy. Everybody likes being happy, right?

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Stranger Than Fiction

Posted by me on Saturday, the 16th day of December, anno domini 2006 at 1:17 AM, local time.

So a couple of weeks back, I went to see Stranger Than Fiction, with Will Ferrell. It was surprisingly good. Really good. Now, as a rule, I don’t really like Will Ferrell in movies. I don’t/didn’t think it was the best place for him to be. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Elf and surely I laughed at the appropriate places in the other movies I have seen with him in them, but I had yet to see a serious movie with him in it that I liked. Well, Stranger Than Fiction was a comedy, I suppose, but a serious comedy.

So, as I left the theatre, I remarked to my friends what a good movie it was and that I should blog about it. Well, in my laziness, I have delayed this post. But I finally got back to it. I didn’t want to do the movie the injustice of not being praised on my blog…

So here are the “awards” I would give to Stranger Than Fiction, ignoring all other movies this year, and the fact that the movie was apparently based on a book (it was new to me):

  • Best use of Will Ferrell in a feature film. Ever.
  • Best original screenplay based on a book I haven’t read.
  • Best use of CG overlays in a non-reality duplicating way by a live action film.
  • Best movie based on a meta-book.
  • Best casting of a hot unknown actress as a baker in a long time.
  • Best pointless use of math as a plot device.
  • Best quasi-romantic pseudo-comedy that Might Have Had a Sad Ending.
  • Best film I can remember seeing this year.
  • Best movie about things that can’t actually happen in real life that I chose to remember at the moment.

Did I mention Best use of Will Ferrell in a feature film, ever? Anyway, it was really pretty good. You should go see it. I should go see it again. We all should buy it when it comes out on DVD.

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