Saturday, December 31, 2011

Faces, Places, and Characters

It's happened often, I'm sitting on my bed watching a movie and in walks an obscure secondary character, immediately my mind goes to work on who this person is. I ignore the dialogue and action until I have figured it out. Oh! now I remember! He is this character in this movie, etc, or she's from this mini-series or this movie trilogy that I can't stand. Sometimes I think it's cool that my brain recognizes all the faces, and sometimes names, of these actors and actresses. But most of the time it is just annoying. As in the case of Tom Hollander.
courtesy of
 Because I saw him first as Mr. Collins, I pictured the actor as a slightly obnoxious, very annoying and, well there is something so Collins-y about him! This picture of him was confirmed in my mind when I saw him as Lord Cutler Beckett in Pirates of the Caribbean  (forgive, me but I can't remember which two by name). Again, slimy unlikable guy, right? He just plays the bad guy so well! Besides, now-a-days it is so hard to see actors play more then one role. They are all character actors. Anyway, I admired this guys ability to act out these unbearable characters, but figured that he must be a little unbearable himself because he did it so well.
Then I saw him in Possession (sidenote: not worth watching in my opinion. Ending not worth sitting through the rest of it. Maybe my expectations were too high, due to the Gwyneth P - Jeremy N pairing.), well in Possession he wasn't altogether bad or good. He just was. If I remember rightly then he wasn't in the movie much at all anyway, but he is what I remember most favorably about the film.
 Now, being a new fan of Elizabeth Gaskell, I watched Wives and Daughters. Molly Gibson goes to live with the Hamleys (family friends?). Mr and Mrs Hamely have two sons. Osborne and Roger. Roger befriends Molly, while she develops a crush on the more fashionable, poetic Osborne. When you first become aware of Osborne he is painted much the same as other older brothers in Regency-Victorian literature. Careless, wasteful, etc... but you begin to see another side of him as the story progresses. In the end, I liked him better then the hero. (Without ruining it, Osborne has a good reason for not loving Molly back, and she gets over it quickly)
In closing, I want to say I know have a new respect for Tom's  ability to act. He played the good, the bad, and the annoying equally well.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lessons I've learned. . . From Disney Movies

Snow White
Don't take apples from strangers if they are older women, but if the stranger is a young man who jumps over the fence/stone wall and sings to you once, then kisses you in your sleep later, then you can ride off into the sunset with him.

Guys like girls with small feet who talk to rodents all day.

Alice in Wonderland
Nothing really, except that flowers are very judgmental.

Peter PanIt's okay to run away from home, and those pirates who outnumber you? Go ahead and fight them, they are really just a bunch of idiots.

Sleeping Beauty
 I've always wondered why they didn't just wait till the day after she turns 16 to do celebrate.
Anyway, again, talking to strangers is okay if they are handsome and sing to you.

The Sword in the Stone
Shirking your chores and responsibilities is okay if you are told to do it by a senile old man with a talking owl.

The Jungle Book
The most dangerous animals in the jungle aren't really, say, tigers, leopards, bears, no they are monkeys. The tiger runs away scared when you wave a sparking branch in his face and the leopards and bears are trying to put you back in the village, not eat you.

The Little Mermaid
Disobeying your parents will convince them that you deserve what you want.

 And there are many others of course not included here... anyway I hope you get a kick out of this.

*I enjoy all of these movies, I just have a very sarcastic sense of humor and can't believe how many Disney films center around running away from home.

    Saturday, December 24, 2011

    A Christmas Carol

    I watched the "new" Disney version of A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey, and others. First I would like to say a few words that have nothing to do with what I thought of the movie itself.
    The animated movies of today are becoming so very life-like! I saw the actors themselves when the characters spoke and moved. It was so very close to watching a live action film, that at times I almost forgot it was animated. A prime example would be the scene with the ghost of Christmas Present, in Scrooge's nephew Fred. His cravat tied neatly, leaning up against a piano (I think) with a drink in hand. The moment he starting to speak I shot up in surprise and nearly yelled. "Mr. Darcy!" (Of course I sounded just like Eliza Bennet). I'd read quite awhile ago about the cast of this movie, but it slipped my mind almost as soon as I closed the web browser. Anyway, the scene looked so very much like a Pride & Prejudice scene, I wanted to rewind it and watch it again. But the rest of the family wasn't so keen on the idea. (I tried to find a screen shot, I apologize for the deprevation you will suffer)

    Now, as to what I thought of the moive as a whole.
    I really enjoyed it, but I dont think it is one I will ever find myself watching with children. It was very intense, and more then a little spooky in some places.
    I have never read the book, I don't have much patience for Dickens, but as far as I know it was accurate, but I wouldn't quote me on that.
    All in all, I really enjoyed this movie, (even before I saw Mr. Darcy animated) and I will definately be watching it again next year, maybe even sooner.
      Merry Christmas all! "God bless us, everyone!"

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    An Unexpected Turnout

      To the movie The Hobbit, that is. To all you ladies who have begged the guys in your life (be it father,brother, boyfriend, husband) to sit through a period film with you, in exchange for watching some science fiction or superhero movie, you may actually be a willing participant in this one. For, now you may want to be seated, Thorin Oakenshield is played by none other then Richard Armitage.
      That's right, Mr. Thornton is now a dwarf. He sings too, you can listen here (the preview). For my part I never swoon, faint, or other such nonsense (Oh, I fear Mrs. Bennet would be disappointed) over actors, though I do admire a few for their acting ability when they can act. I am also always happy to hear that such a person can sing, I'd thought such talent was a thing of the past. So, I will say that I am looking forward to seeing him as something other then my favorite literary hero, though he did that role justice.
     Indeed I shall be waiting at home patiently for the movie to come out on DVD,or, as is probable only Blueray by then..

    Now, for those of you who read my blog because you want to here about my life, silly creatures, I will tell you what is going on this week. Yesterday I went over to a friends house for her birthday. There was a lot of noise, a lot of sugar, and a lot of fun. I kept my sarcasm to a minimum, and got along splendidly with everyone. To quote a lovely lady, "Yes, well to-day  I agree with everyone."

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    A Second Try

     In my last post I wrote a little letter to Jane, but I was never quite satisfied with the result. After much thought, I have come to the realization that I don't know Edmund Bertram enough to know what he would have said. I don't really like him enough to know him enough. Please don't mistake my meaning, I do like Edmund, but really only for Fanny's sake. He never did anything to prove he was worth liking for his own sake, in my opinion.
     Anyway, after coming to this conclusion, I have decided to write one more letter. I am aware that it is to late to enter it into the contest, but as this letter is only to satisfy myself that I can, indeed, sympathize with a character. I can truly get to know them (an important skill for an authoress to possess I assure you), and essentially become them in order to write from their perspective. Here it is...

    Dear Miss Austen,
     I have just had it from my cousin, Mr. Collins, that I am to congratulate you on the anniversary of your birth-day. I am afraid that this missive is rather late, but as I suppose you have been rather jolly in celebration, you won't be much put out by it. 
     Now, in answer to the questions put to me in your last letter. Yes, I rather like my sons-in-law. Mr. Wickham is perhaps the favored one, he simpers and smirks and makes love to us all. 
      Now, Mr. Bingley, though a very handsome character I'm sure, has no quality which I can laugh at, save the absence of such a quality itself. I know my daughter to be very happy as his wife, but that is all I can say for him, he is no conversationalist, something, as you well know, I must have in an acquaintance, if nothing else. 
      Mr. Darcy, an improvement to Mr. Collins as a life partner for my dear Lizzy, though he slighted her at first. I am very happy with him as a son-in-law. He is the sort of man to whom I cannot deny anything. I wouldn't dare it. He is pleasant enough when he makes up his mind to be so. He is also the sort of man to say his mind when asked for it. Not like Mr. Wickham in any respect, who says what he supposes in want of being heard. No, Darcy would indeed speak truth when asked. But not a moment before.  I, in turn, do not ask for it. Oh yes, we get along splendidly.
      I am rather a happy man, thanks to you dear lady. Despite having heard not two words of sense spoken together since Lizzy was married. But after reading some of your other delightful works, my lot in life seems delightful. 
     I remain your most interesting character,
                           Mr. Bennet

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Visions of Pemberly Dance in my Head

    I am sorry, I really cannot help it. By "it" of course I mean the terrible Christmas-Jane Austen mix of a joke. But I simply couldn't help it! No, really I couldn't.
     After attending a Christmas party with the ladies at church on Miss Austen's birthday, who could resist such a temptation? If you find that you truly could have, please enlighten me on how you can. I should dearly like to use your method another time.
    Anyway, I am going to write a little birthday card/letter for the contest, here.

     Dear Friend,
      Birthday greetings from everyone at Mansfield Park. I hope this letter finds you well and as happy as you have made me. I cannot but say that I had never expected things to end the way that they did, but now I prefer Miss Price above any other lady in the world, especially Miss Mary Crawford, and I thank you for your kindness in giving me what I do not deserve.
       Fanny is the dearest girl, I hope you will excuse me, but it must be said. Even you, who wrote her into existence cannot compare to my dearest Fanny. Oh! that you had made her with some fault that I might deserve her better! But it is of no matter. As a great authoress once said "Nobody minds having what is too good for them." Truly, her entire being is entirely agreeable.
      I thank you again for the happiness you have given us and now have only to say that I wish the best for you in your life.
     Humbly yours,
    Edmund Bertram

    There! Good night all!

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Jane Austen Birthday Tag Questions

    These Questions were asked by Miss Dashwood at Yet Another Period Drama Blog 

    1 - What was the first JA novel you ever read, and who introduced you to it?  Well, I believe the first of Jane Austen's works that I read was Sense & Sensibility. I remember that the first one I was acquainted with was Pride & Prejudice. But it was the 1995 film with my older sisters, not a book. I soon afterward learned about the book and found S & S at the library while looking for anything by JA.

    2 -  What is your least favorite JA novel and why?
     Well, I am currently in a love-hate relationship with Northanger Abbey. I have a hard time liking Catherine. Though I love Henry Tilney's wonderful wit.

    3 - Who do you think is the funniest character JA ever created?
     Intentionally funny, Henry Tilney, unintentionally Mrs. Bennett (by unintentionally I mean the character doesn't  intend to be funny, we know that every funny character was intended to be funny by JA)

    4 - Which JA villain[ess] do you love to hate?
    I abhor Mary Crawford. But who I turly love to hate, well, he isn't usually considered a villain. Frank Churchill. I absolutely despise this man! And as he is the closest Emma  comes to a villain, I think he counts.

    5 - Whats your favorite JA quote?
     ( I have two, they are not from her novels)
    I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them
    Where so many hours have been spent in convincing myself that I am right, is there not some reason to fear I may be wrong?

    6 - If you were to "start" someone on JA, which book would you recommend to them first, and why?  Persuasion, generally because it is shorter then others. But in special occasions I would pick a fairly accurate film adaptation and suggest that.

    7 - What is your absolute favorite JA film adaptation and why?  I have only seen the most recent of adaptations of Persuasion, though I wish to see the 1995 film, I do believe I like it best.

    8 - If you could authorize a new film adaptation of one of JA's novels, which would it be, and why?  Northanger Abbey, because I felt like the one that I've seen dwelt a little too much on the, ahem, "sensational" novels that she read. But I might also enjoy an accurate adaptation of Mansfield Park.

    9 - Which JA character do you most identify with? I suppose Anne Elliot, though not in the "pining after my love when all hope is gone" way. Just how she is not nonsensical, she does what needs to be done. And she defers from Elinor Dashwood in that she isn't very self sacrificing, (ex. Staying home with her nephew to avoid a certain gentlemen, while looking like she is doing it for some one else benefit)

    10 - If you could have lunch with JA today, what question would you most like to ask her? Well, I would ask her one of these two. Did she fall in love with an older man? (think Col. Brandon, Mr. Knightley) What is Col. Brandon's first name?

    11 - Is there any one thing you think could have been improved upon in one (or all) of JA's books? What is it and why?  Certain proposal scenes should have included dialogue. Like, Mansfield Park, Sense & Sensibility, Northanger Abbey. Because I like dialogue.

    12 - If you had lunch with one of JA's characters today, who would it be and why?  Depending on my mood, if I'm feeling sarcastic, Eliza Bennett, quiet then Fanny Price. No! I've got it! Henry Tilney. I would be sure to be amused. And I would never have to worry about offending with my sarcasm.

    13 - (optional) whay is Miss Dashwood so fond of asking "why"? Because she enjoys answers with "good strong words that mean something" (Jo, Little Women) not measly yes or no answers.

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Swing time!

    Well. I started to watch an old 30's film with Fred & Ginger, but they only had so much of it on youtube. So now I sit here trying to think of clever things to say, and failing.
     Today hasn't been very eventful. I stayed at home and did laundry, though I am not complaining because laundry is one of my favorite things to do. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, and at the same time I could have been reading all day. (Of course I never do that...)
    All week I've been desiring to sit down and write something. Something entertaining. Most likely fictional. But every time I sit down at this computer I draw a blank. Maybe reading more will help....

    Ta for now!

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    A Visit to Northanger Abbey

      With the weather as it has been, I recently got cozy with an old friend - that is - Jane Austen. It started with watching the movies mentioned in my last post, and eventually came around to the desire to curl up and read such a story. So I pulled Northanger Abbey off the shelf, (here most would say dusted it off, but a book never stays on my shelf long enough for this to be needed) and sat down with a cozy blanket to lose myself in the thrill of an Abbey.
      This reading of the novel though, brought on many feelings and thoughts I'd never had about an Austen novel. I found myself at the point of yelling at Cathrine many times for her folly. That she didn't know how to shut her mouth when it was needed had always been painfully obvious to me. I also knew that a certain amount of niavity was necessary and endearing.
      But I found myself angry with Austen for created such an ignorant yet arrogant little fool. I got to the end and thought to myself, "She doesn't deserve him. I can't believe he loves her." For the first time in my life, I truly disliked an Austen heroine.
      Then it happened. The epiphany! I realized what I believe Jane was trying to get through our skulls in the first place.
      We are not heroines/heroes.  We don't actually live in some fantasy world, were everything turns out well, and everyone is happy and the bad guys go away. More important to realize though, is that if we aren't the lead character, that means we are the supporting cast. I mean, yes, we have a story of our own. Our Creator is writing us a wonderful story to live out if we let Him. But really? To go through life with thought only for how said story revolves around us, we would soon have no supporting cast of our own!
      Think about it, in everything we read or watch, there is the best friend character who could have a whole show/movie/novel to herself (himself) because that person's story could conceivably stand alone. But for both characters, things workout better when they think of others, when they are true to the role of supporting character. No one wants the conniving "friend's" story to work out.
     So from now on, I strive to be the "Catherine Morland" who lives for others. The one who wants to encourage her siblings not to believe everything you read in a book, and not to let your imagination  run away with you.
    Thank you, Miss Austen, for writing a character into existence that I disliked enough to analyze.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Happy Birthday Miss Austen! (Written in the style of said lady)

    My dear Readers,
     These several days past have been filled with buzzing excitement. My sisters and I, along with my dear mother, have been making preparations for the upcoming Christmas festivities. In my spare time I have been reading the delightful quiz of a novel, Northanger Abbey by "A Lady". Also, I stumbled across some moving picture adaptations of Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion* that I had not yet seen. I must add that I thought they took rather preposterous liberties with that lady's manuscripts. That fact aside, they were delightful films in and of themselves.
      All of these things were accomplished while, unknown to myself, fellow blogger Miss Dashwood challenged the world to do the very same things during the next fortnight in honour of Miss Austen's 236th birthday on the 16th of December.
        In Christ,
           Miss Wylie

    * Emma (2009) Mansfield Park (2007) Persuasion (2007). My reflections are as follows.

    Emma: Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller: All in all a faithful adaptation of the novel. I preferred Miller's portrayal of Mr.Knightley, it being slightly more sarcastic and less temperamental then Jeremy Northam and Mark Strong's portrayal of the same character. Also a point in favor of this adaptation Mr. Elton was less creepy, and just as annoying.

    Mansfield Park: Billie Piper, Blake Ritson: Not my favorite version of this story, but it did have a few saving graces. For one, Sir Thomas' character was faithful to the novel. You truly see his affection toward Fanny in the end. I know that in the story, Lady Bertram is supposed to be a sort of sleepy individual, but I liked the way this one ended with her sharp eye and tongue helping the lovebirds along.  I liked this Fanny equally as much as I liked the other film's Fanny. Everything else was better in the 1999 version. (Plus, Blake Ritson is much better suited to playing Mr. Elton in the above version of Emma, and I firmly believe he should leave Mr. Edmund Bertrum to Jonny Lee Miller)

    Persuasion: Rupert Penry-Jones, Sally Hawkins: I don't have much to say about this one, especially in comparison to the 1995 version of the film, because this is the only one I've seen. But since I read this novel it has become one of my favorite of Jane's works. I do believe this movie was faithful to the novel, taking liberties where they may be deemed necessary for the film version.

     Ta for now! and thanks for reading :)