Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: A Christmas Movie Christmas (2019)

So after you watch every single version of Jane Austen movies, what do you have to watch next?

Hmm…I don’t know!

That’s why I started this list, to have non-Austen films that Austen fans can enjoy.

I can’t stop watching!

And since it is Christmas Eve, why not a Christmas Non-Austen Film for Austen Fans?

Eve (Lana McKissack) and Lacey (Kimberly Daugherty) are sisters; Eve loves Christmas and Christmas films, while Lacey is not a fan of either. Both of them aren’t having a wonderful Christmas as Lacey was ghosted by another jerk, Eve’s boss doesn’t know her name and won’t consider her for graphic design, and the heat is broken in their apartment.

This Christmas Eve, Eve tries to add more Christmas spirit in the apartment to the chagrin of her older sister, and it accidentally blows the lights. With a cold and dark apartment the two sisters decide to instead go out and look at the Christmas lights. As they do, they run into a Santa with a red kettle and Eve makes a wish that she could have a Christmas movie Christmas.

The next day the girls wake up in a strange picturesque town, a cute little cottage, with an adorable elderly woman who claims to be their grandmother. Yes, they are now in a Christmas Movie!

Eve immediately takes to this and loves it, with three possible “Christmas movie” plots to choose from. Lacey, on the other hand, doesn’t like the silly town and all the free stuff she is getting (why? I’m not sure).

Eve ends up choosing move plotline number three, the ruined Christmas Festival. She teams up with the local innkeeper Dustin (played by the handsome Ryan Merriman). The two grow closer as they plot a way to fix everything on a budget, while Eve also discovers that she is dating the international pop star by none other than Eve’s favorite actor Chad Matthew Munroe (Randy Wayne).

How sweet!

Everything is going great until Dustin’s ex Noelle, comes to town and tries to win him back; along with her messing up all their plans for the festival. Will Eve be able to fix everything in time? Will she be able to choose her perfect leading man or end up with no one?

Hmm…?

Meanwhile, the realistic Lacey is having a hard time living in a “picture perfect movie” town. While Eve blossoms, doing well at everything and experiencing the “Christmas movie Christmas”; Lacey does not. She visits a bakery one day and meets the baker Paul (Brant Daugherty), who’s cute and wants to be her friend-or boyfriend if he’ll let her. He makes her cute cards, and tries to bring her into the “Christmas movie Christmas” fun. Will Lacey try something different and join the Christmas fun, or will she remain a Christmas scrinch (Scrooge + Grinch)?

I really enjoyed this film and it reminded me a lot of Sense and Sensibility. Both have sisters where the elder one (Lacey and Elinor) are realistic and sensible, while the younger sister (Eve and Marianne) are romantic and pulled into things by their feelings.

Like Marianne, Eve also has two men interested in her. One of them is very romantic, shallow, and seems like her dream guy; while the other love interest is deep, makes his interest known from the beginning, and also is a romantic character.

How sweet!

Besides that this film is fun and full of Holiday cheer. It laughingly uses all the different Christmas movie tropes and is enjoyable from beginning to end. I strongly recommend it.

If interested, this film is on tubi and YouTube.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to You Have Thirteen Hours in Which to Solve the Labyrinth, Before Your Baby Brother Becomes One of Us…Forever.: Labyrinth (1986)

For more Christmas movies, go to Christmas at Pemberley Manor (2018)

Pick Us Up Another Thin Man, Will Ya Nick?: After the Thin Man (1936)

Are you gonna keep on with your detective work then? I retired. I’m just going to take care of my wife’s money, so I’ll have something in my old age. You said you’d retired in New York; but, I noticed you took that Thin Man case. Oh, that Thin Man was a beaut! They’re still talking about it. Pick us up another Thin Man, will ya Nick?

It’s time for another Thin Man Thursday!

As I have said before, I LOOOOVE The Thin Man series! The characters, the pacing, the mystery, everything is amazing. It’s a perfect blend of mystery, comedy, drama, and film noir. And out of all The Thin Man films, this is my favorite. All because of this gorgeous and talented man:

Yep, this film has Jimmy Stewart in it, my favorite actor. But enough fangirling, let’s get on to the review!

Mystery, you say?

As seen at the end of the previous film, the Charles couple is making their way to California, where they live now. They arrive in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve and receive a call from Nora’s aunt Catherine. And before you ask, yes even though this Aunt Matherine isn’t the Lady Catherine in Pride and Prejudice they are basically the same woman.

Gasp!

I never noticed this connection until last year when MadsenCreations and I participated in Noirvember and watched a Noir film every day.

Aunt Katherine hates that her socialite blue blood niece married a detective, the anger at allowing such degradation to the family name is only equalled by Lady Catherine’s anger over the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth.

Same sentiment for Nora’s home.

In Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine completely controls her daughter Anne’s life, and Anne is rather sickly and without personality. In this Aunt Katherine is equally as controlling of her daughter, Selma. Selma has anxiety, is often hysterical, and has had fits of blackouts when she is in a frenzied state (doesn’t surprise me with the way her mother treats her).

Selma is married, but the man she chose was nothing but a bounder; something Katherine constantly brings up. However, the lout has been missing and Lady Catherine, I mean Aunt Katherine, and Selma ask if Nick can take up the case. Well, Selma asks-Aunt Katherine demands.

Nick doesn’t want to, but Nora convinces him to give it a shot. As Nick starts questing people, David Graham (played by Jimmy Stewart) arrives. He is Selma’s friend and former fiancé and had offered to give Robert $25,000 ($490,000 in 2021 dollars) to divorce Selma and leave. That’s the last he ever saw of him.

Let me pause and say again that I love Jimmy Stewart (and would have picked him over Robert any day). At this time it would have been easy for Jimmy Stewart to stay in just one mold of chracter, but when you watch this you really see his full range and how amazing of an actor he is.

Nick ends up discovering that Robert likes to hand out at the LiChi Club, a Chinese nightclub. While all this detecting and hysterics have been going on, Robert has been relaxing at the LiChi Club as he likes the dancing. In fact he likes one dancer in particular, as he is having an affair with one of the dance girls, Polly. Polly is tired of being the “other woman” and tells Robert she is done unless he leaves his wife. Robert doesn’t want to lose Polly and agrees to end it with Selma, trying to get his final “paycheck” from David. Nick and Nora find him at the club (and he is none too happy about that). Nora tried to appeal to his heart but Robert is cold as ice. He reminds me an Austen character, only after money and doing whatever he can to get it.

He tells the two he will be taking David up on his offer and get out of the crazy family and his crazy wife. (what a Wickham).

Quick side bar, I’m sure by now you have realized I recommend this movie for Jane Austen fans.

Back to the story. Unbeknownst to Robert, Polly can’t stand him. She is only with him as she and the club owner Dancer plan to rob Robert after he gets the money from David. To further add another player to this drama: Polly’s crook of a brother is back in town and he wants a cut.

Robert gets paid off and goes home to pick up his clothes, where he runs into Selma. Selma is hysterical about him leaving, and begs him not to go. Robert insults her and heads out, followed by Selma who is armed with a gun. As Robert walks through the foggy night we see that not only Selma is out there but we also see Lum Kee (from the club), Dancer, and Polly. A mysterious figure approaches Robert, but because of the fog we cannot make out who it is. The mysterious figure draws a gun and a shot cries out, with Robert dead. But which one did it? Or could it be someone else? Aunt Katherine?

Selma is arrested as she has the most reasons to murder Robert and they can’t test her gun as it turns out David threw it away (he was afraid she killed Robert and was hoping it would keep her from being indicted for murder).

We have several suspects and it’s up to Nick and Nora to discover who the killer is. Could it be the mistress? The mistress’ boyfriend? The former fiancé? The angry mother-in-law? Mistress’ brother? Or is Selma lying and she is the murderer?

A really great film and one I highly recommend. I will not give away the ending as it is too good!

I highly recommend it for any mystery fan. 

For more on The Thin Man, go to You Know, That Sounds Like an Interesting Case. Why Don’t You Take It?: The Thin Man (1934)

For more mysteries, go to The Crimes of Juliet O’Hara and a Blast from the Past: Psych the Movie (2017)

For more film noir, go to Disappearance or Murder?: Lady in the Lake (1946)

For more detectives, go to Riddle Me This, Riddle Me That, Who’s Afraid of the Big, Black Bat?: Batman Forever (1995)

For more Jimmy Stewart, go to Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to I’m A Ghost With the Most: Beetlejuice (1988)

I’m A Ghost With the Most: Beetlejuice (1988)

I’m the ghost with the most!

I grew up watching Beetlejuice secretly as my mother hated the titular character. I did watch the TV show, as she didn’t mind that as much but I haven’t seen the actual film in a very long time.

So I was thinking, what better way to start off Horrorfest than to cross off a “Tim Burton” film off my list of things to review with Beetlejuice (1988).

We start off the film with Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) releasing a giant spider outside. How is he not freaked out? It’s GIANT! So weird .

Anyways, Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland are a couple happy to spend their vacation fixing up their country house (to each their own). Barbara’s cousin Jane comes to visit and is trying to sell their home as she has had some really great offers from a city couple but Barb and Adam say no. Really Jane?

If Jane was my cousin we would no longer be on speaking terms. I can’t believe she’s actually sending photos of her cousin’s house to people to try and sell it; that’s right selling a home she doesn’t even OWN! Then she gives a mean dig about Barbara’s miscarriages. RUDE!

As I was watching this, I started thinking cousin Jane reminds me of someone…but who? Then it hit me! Cousin Jane is so much like Mrs. Elton from Emma. I mean think about it: believe she knows everything, makes little dogs to others, writing to find Jane Fairfax a position when she was asked not to! Cousin Jane is Mrs. Elton!

Later the Maitlands go out driving to pick up more supplies for their model town. As cousin Jane clunkly inferred, the Maitlands have tried to have a child to no success and Adam has made the model town his “baby”. When they are driving home they swerve to miss a dog that runs into the road and find themselves dead.

They two don’t realize they are dead at first, until Adam tries to leave the house and they discover that if he does they will be killed by sand worms. They then discover some other odd things like the fact that they no longer have a reflection and a copy of The Handbook for the Recently Deceased. At first they choose to ignore it and try to continue their lives but the house has been sold to a new family, the Deetz Family. Charles Deetz (Jeffrey Jones) is a former real estate developer; his wife Delia (Catherine O’ Hara) is a sculptor; and Lydia (Winona Ryder), daughter from his first marriage, is a goth and an aspiring photographer.

The Maitlands try to scare them out as ghosts do, but Charles and Delia don’t even blink and eye. The Deetz family has their own issues. Charlies recently suffered from a nervous breakdown, his anxiety is off the charts; Delia and Lydia snipe at each other at every turn, and no one seems happy.

Current mood of the film (from a Series of Unfortunate Events TV show)

The Maitlands hang out in the only space that the Deetz can’t get to, their attic. But after Jane stops by to drop off a skeleton key, that’s the first place Lydia wants to head to. She tries to get in, but they keep pushing her out.

The actor who plays Charles, Jeffrey Jones, usually plays terrible characters, but this is the first one I can think of that I actually liked and connected to. He wants to relax, wishes everyone would give him peace, tries to birdwatch but stops as birds are terrible (I don’t like birds), and instead starts looking at everyone’s houses and using his real estate agent eye to inspect them.

Hmm…

Meanwhile, the Maitlands having finally started reading their Handbook for the Recently Deceased, (which contains an ad for Betelgeuse) have crossed over to the afterlife and find it to be a DMV of a horror waiting room. I love all the different “deaths” of the characters waiting. It’s like a mini A Thousand Ways to Die with every “death” you can imagine. The special effects, prosthetics, costumes, etc. are amazing. They really deserved winning that award.

In the afterlife all their who are the DMV-esque caseworkers are those who die by suicide (as seen the Miss Argentina who slit her wrists, the guy who stepped into traffic, and the man hanging). The Maitlands discover that they must haunt the house for 125 years, or else, and return home to try and remove the Deetzs. The Maitlands want to try and hire Beetlejuice, but their caseworker Juno warns against him as he’s a troublemaker and tells them to study their book. She also warns them he is hanging out in their town’s model cemetery and saying his name three times will summon him.

The Maitlands try to do the work and scare the Deetz family but are not at all successful as Charles just thinks Lydia is messing around, Delia is knocked out on Valium so it doesn’t even register to her, and Lydia thinks the “haunting” is her dad and stepmom trying to roam the house in sheets as some kind of weird sex.

When Lydia does realize they are real ghosts she isn’t scared at all, as a goth girl she has seen a ton of horror films and is not easily frightened. Instead she charges full speed ahead at this supernatural spooky phenomenon, remind you of anyone? (Like Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey?)

Adam: Well, how is it you see us and nobody else can?

Lydia: Well, I’ve read through that handbook for the recently deceased. It says: ‘live people ignore the strange and unusual”. I myself am strange and unusual.

But seriously, Lydia and Catherine Morland are so similar. They both love gothic and spooky things, their parents don’t understand them, they are both a bit naive, and they like trying to investigate (Catherine Mrs. Tilney’s room and Lydia the attic).

I love how nerdy and not scary the Maitlands are. Like when Alec Baldwin calls the two “ghoulish creatures” it is so hard to not laugh at him. Ghoulish? Really?

The Maitlands decide to “cheat” and try to hire the bio-exorcist to remove the humans, Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton). They say his name three times and find themselves transported to the model town Adam built and dig Betelgeuse up. It’s pretty amazing how they take someone as handsome and charming as Michael Keaton and make him so perverted and oafish. To me Betelgeuse is the equivalent of having to spend your time with Mr. Wattlesbrook from Austenland.

Keaton originally didn’t want the role as he didn’t understand what exactly was asked of him. He only agreed after Tim Burton took him to see Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. I imagine he said he wanted a crude and pervy Pee-Wee. (Ironic as how a couple of years after this film pervert would be used to describe Pee-Wee).

Betelgeuse is extremely gross in his behavior. He also looks very odd as if he is a man out of time. Apprantly Michael Keaton came up with not only 90% of the dialogue but much of the character’s look himself; he told the makeup department he wanted a moldy face, electric shocked hair, and clothes from all different time periods.

Like I mentioned before Betelgeuse is an extremely gross individual, basically a human fart and Barbara does NOT want to have him in their house or around Lydia. Barbara decides to send him back home and comes up with her own idea to get rid of the Deetz family. The two possess a Deetz dinner party and force them and their guests to sing and dance to “Day-O” by Harry Belefonte. It is a truly strange and fantastical scene. At the end their plate of shrimps reach out as arms and and grab everyone’s faces.


Tim Burton thought this scene wouldn’t go over well, but turned out to be wrong as it is one of the most remembered scenes from the entire film.

Instead of scaring the away the Deetz family, all this does is make Charles want to turn the house and town into a supernatural tourist trap. In fact all at the dinner party enjoyed it and see it as entrainment not fright.

The Maitlands are at their wit’s end and decide they need help and bring Betelgeuse into play. He decides to step up the scaring and we have one of the creepiest scenes in the whole film, Betelgeuse becomes a snake. It is truly terrifying, those eyes! This scene had been filmed before Michael Keaton was cast as Betelgeuse, so some additional film was shot for the scene using a layer to make it look more like him.

From unknown.

Lydia gets mad at the Maitlands as she saw them as friends and them hiring Betelgeuse has broken her trust in them.

The Maitlands are angry as they don’t want Betelgeuse to hurt the Deetzs, they just want him to scare them away. They say his name three times again and send him back to the model town that Adam built in the attic. Betelgeuse is really upset with their criticism, but decides to party and heads to a strip club in town. I do not remember that scene at all and Adam doesn’t even remember making it.

The Maitlands get called to the DMV and Juno reads them the riot act. They have seriously screwed up as ghosts; befriending Lydia, being photographed, losing their handbook, letting out Betelgeuse, etc. Their caseworker made the strip club to distract Betelgeuse until everything can be straightened out. Juno won’t let them return home until they show her their creepy plan, this scene was always the one stamped in my brain. Terrifying!

Back at the house, Charles starts second guessing his decision to move there and even his plans for the tourist town. Lydia is really depressed and contemplates suicide. Before she takes her life, Lydia goes up to the attic to talk to the Maitlands and finds Betelgeuse who tries to convince her to free him by saying his name three times. I remember my friends and I would do this all the time and we were always disappointed when nothing would happen. Lydia is stopped from freeing him by the return of the Maitlands who dissuade her from trying to commit suicide. They also have decided to give up scaring the Deetzs and try to live in harmony.

Charles tries to pitch his idea of a horror town, but his boss is not impressed. But even without “real ghosts”, I’m with Charles! This is a money maker idea! There are so many that would love to go to a Horrortown. I know I would.

Charles’ boss demands proof and they have Otto (the interior designer) perform a seance, but unfortunately he actually starts exorcising them instead. As they are fading away, dying forever this time, Lydia is heartbroken to see the only people who really “get her” “dying” and begs Betelgeuse for help. He agrees, but only if Lydia marries him.

Now why would a centuries old ghost want to get married to a 14-year old? Its not because she is a little girl, but because he wants to be tethered to the mortal world. If he married a mortal, then he will not have to go back to the afterlife but can remain above ground forever. Seeing it as the only way to save her friends, Lydia agrees.

So this next scene wben Betelgeuse comes with the Carousel head and the arms that stretch I’m pretty sure one of my friends had that toy. Like it was crazy how much merchandise there was after this film came out. I think the TV show helped with it, but it was literally everywhere.

To be fair even though Betelgeuse is totally rotten, at least he honors his business contract. He saves the Maitlands and gets rid of all the interlopers. He also changes to a snazzy red suit, gets Lydia a gown, ties up her parents (but brings them to the wedding), and brings in a monster minister.

Time for a wedding!

Keaton is just a phenomenal actor in this, with exaggerated lines and true comedic timing, just perfect.

All try to stop the wedding, but Betelgeuse stops them. But no matter what, Barbara keeps trying. Like he zips her mouth shut, she opens it. When Betelgeuse bolts it, she tries to remove the bolt. When Betelgeuse sends her away, Barbara comes riding in on a sandworm that consumes Betelgeuse and sends him back to the afterlife. Barb is the real MVP.

Time passes and the Deetz family and the Maitlands live in harmony; Lydia loving her new extended family, the Maitlands love having a child to parent, and Charles finally gets the peace he’s been after.

Betelgeuse having “died” again must wait his DMV turn, getting his head shrunk when he tries to cut in line. Oh that Betelgeuse!

So after watching this post Jane Austen I have concluded cousin Jane is totally Mrs. Elton, Lydia is Catherine Morland, and Beetlejuice is Mr. Wattlesbrook. Agree? Disagree? Comment below!

Also with the Austen connection, I guess this should go on my Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans and Catherine Morland’s Viewing List? What day you? Yay or nay?

For more Tim Burton films, go to Peculiarities, Monsters, and Time Travel.: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

For more Winona Ryder, go to I Just Killed My Best Friend. And Your Worst Enemy. Same Difference.: Heathers (1988)

For more Michael Keaton, go to A Man Dressed as a Giant Bat, Psychotic Deformed Man Wrecking Havoc, and a Zombie Cat Woman…A Batman Christmas: Batman Returns (1992)

For more ghosts, go to Ghosts or Madness?: Turn of the Screw (2009)

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to You Have Thirteen Hours in Which to Solve the Labyrinth, Before Your Baby Brother Becomes One of Us…Forever.: Labyrinth (1986)

For more from Catherine Morland’s Viewing List, go to A Legendary Jewel Goes Missing, A Country Manor Full Of Secretive People, Which Guest is the Thief?: The Moonstone (2016)

Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?

Two years ago I read an article on Nora Ephron and in the article she shared that she is a big fan of Pride and Prejudice and when she wrote You’ve Got Mail, she made it a loose adaption of Jane Austen’s novel. I was surprised when I read that as I don’t see the two being that much alike and last year I decided to finally review You’ve Got Mail and determine whether it:

  • Should be considered an adaption of Pride and Prejudice
  • Should be put on my Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans
  • Needs to be excluded from the Jane Austen multiverse/canon altogether?

After rewatching You’ve Got Mail I ended up deciding that it is most definitely not an adaption of Pride and Prejudice and I personally don’t feel like it should belong in the Jane Austen canon/multiverse.

But while this film is not a good candidate, what about the film You’ve Got Mail is a remake of? Could The Shop Around the Corner be considered?

Hmm…?

The Shop Around the Corner is not lifted from Jane Austen but a Hungarian play, Parfumerie. It has been made adapted many times: The Shop Around the Corner (1940) and You’ve Got Mail (1998) being only two of them. But just because it wasn’t taken specifically from Jane Austen, doesn’t mean it cannot be included in the canon. After all, The 12 Men of Christmas and Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade aren’t “official” Austen adaptions, but the similarities are close enough that I include them.

Let’s begin with a quick summary of the story of Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice is about a mother, Mrs. Bennet, wanting to marry off her daughters as quickly as possible, as with their father’s death they will have very little. Two men move to their community that Mrs. Bennet is intent on harpooning, no matter what. One, Mr. Bingley, falls for the elder daughter, Jane, while the other man, Mr. Darcy, is overheard insulting the second daughter, Elizabeth, by Elizabeth herself. (Ouch!) Elizabeth is wounded and when she hears a tale about how horrible Mr. Darcy is from a handsome charming man, she readily believes it. She later discovers there is more to both these men than meets the eye; as the story deals with the concepts of pride and prejudice, first impressions, whether you should be overt in how you feel or play it close to the heart, etc. It has amazing wit and characters.

The Shop Around the Corner takes place in Budapest in the shop Matuschek, and focuses mostly on two of the employees: Alfred Kralik (Jimmy Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan). Mr. Kralik is Mr. Matuschek’s oldest and best employee, the two often having more of a father-son relationship than a employer-employee. One day they are having a summer sale and a woman, Klara, comes in wanting a job as she has just been let go from her previous one. Mr. Kralik dissuades her from trying as they are not hiring, but Klara manipulates Mr. Matuschek into hiring her (she’s a really good saleswoman.) After this the two are constantly at odds as Klara is rude to Mr. Kralik, makes fun of him, and is always surly. After this treatment, Mr. Kralik does not care for Klara, and treats her with an equally surly, but professional, attitude. Meanwhile, months earlier Mr. Kralik had started writing to an anonymous woman for friendship and to to discuss literature. Over time the two have switched from literary topics to love and have fallen for each other. When Mr. Kralik goes to meet his letter lady, he discovers it is his work nemesis, Klara. When he goes in to see her, Klara dresses him down and Mr. Kralik starts wondering about his behavior. As the two continue to work side by side, Mr. Kralik tries to show Klara another side of him, hoping to win her heart as she has already captured his.

How sweet!

Even though this isn’t a true adaption of Pride and Prejudice, in every way it is so much closer to an adaption then it’s later remake, You’ve Got Mail.

First of all the interactions between the two leads in The Shop Around the Corner, is much more similar to Pride and Prejudice then You’ve Got Mail. In Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy meet at a ball and Elizabeth is very attracted to him, but later dislikes him when he says she is tolerable but not handsome enough for him. Klara also later admits in the film that when she first met Mr. Kralik she was very attracted to him, but changed her mind when he didn’t react to her the way she had hoped. Also like Elizabeth, Klara too believes lies about the male lead’s character, told to her by another employee, Ferencz Vadas.

Mr. Darcy on the other hand, didn’t really think anything of Elizabeth, as he considered all in the area to be below his notice. Later, after spending time with her when Jane is ill at Netherfield he falls for her wit and beauty. With Mr. Kralik when he first meets Klara he doesn’t like her or dislike her, he does try to help her find work by suggesting other places she could try, but he’s mostly preoccupied with his own work. Like Darcy the wit and intelligence is what gets him, as he too falls for his lady through the mind first, this case in her letters.

While there are more things at play in the film the springboard for all their fights seem to be in this moment when Mr. Kralik tries to dissuade her from applying for a job (as they don’t have any openings) while Klara not only manipulates Mr. Matuschek into hiring her, but buying worthless items they later aren’t able to sell (what Mr. Kralik had said from the beginning.)

Jimmy Stewart’s character Mr. Kralik is also more like Mr. Darcy than Tom Hanks’ Joe Fox. Joe Fox was cruel, abrasive, insulting, and rude. We see him sweet to his little kid aunt and brother but he never has a place or people he seems to fully relax, like Darcy does with Pemberley and his staff there. In The Shop Around the Corner, Kralik is very decisive, focused, has a tough exterior and can come off cold; but to those who know him, he is has a more relaxed side. We see that with his close friend Pirovitch, and then later when he hears how he is perceived by others from Klara, and tries to be less cold and curt.

Unlike Kathleen, who is not at all like Elizabeth, (having a lack of wit, obstinance, headstrongness, or initiative); Klara is very witty, strong willed, does not shy away from situations or people, is confident, and bold enough to give Mr. Kralik several dressing downs.

I really like the interaction between Mr. Kralik and Klara at the cafe. In the film the two letter writers are supposed to meet up, but Mr. Kralik ends up losing his job (a subplot is that Mr. Matuschek thinks Mr. Kralik is messing around with his wife, but he isn’t). Mr. Kralik isn’t planning on going to see her as he’s feeling depressed, but his friend convinces him to go and when he finds out it is Klara who always makes work unpleasant, he’s not pleased. At the cafe he plans to tell her his identity, her letter lover, but words are thrown around by both and Klara really let’s him know how she feels:

Alfred Kralik: There might be a lot we don’t know about each other. You know, people seldom go to the trouble of scratching the surface of things to find the inner truth.

Klara Novak: Well I really wouldn’t care to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik, because I know exactly what I’d find. Instead of a heart, a hand-bag. Instead of a soul, a suitcase. And instead of an intellect, a cigarette lighter… which doesn’t work.

Alfred Kralik: Well, that’s very nicely put. Yes, comparing my intellect with a cigarette lighter that doesn’t work. That’s a very interesting mixture of… poetry and meanness.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

After hearing this, Mr. Kralik takes time to self reflect and realizes that he wants to change how he is perceived by others. Now he has no plans to see Klara again, as he’s been fired, and is not quite sure what to do with the letter writing issue (as it appears she can’t stand him). However, when Mr. Matuschek discovers that he was wrong and a different employee was sleeping with his wife, he becomes so disheartened about everything that he planned to kil himself. Mr. Matuschek is stopped by Pepe the errand boy, and decides to step back from the to recuperate, calling Mr. Kralik, and hiring him back to take over the store. Now Mr. Kralik takes what was said to him by Klara and tries to be be not so cold and distant, while at the same time he also doesn’t try to show off and convince Klara or show her he’s changed-he just makes those changes.

This is much more similar to Mr. Darcy and the way he reacts to Elizabeth’s words. Mr. Darcy too took what was said, improved himself, and also never planned to interact with Elizabeth again. They only cross paths by accident and then later when he goes to support Bingley. When Bingley and Jane are engaged and he is invited to the Bennet’s home and card parties, he never tries to show off that she should be with him, he doesn’t try to take her aside, etc. He respects her wishes and only approaches her again after Lady Catherine’s rude visit and Elizabeth’s lack of promise not to marry him causes him to hope again. But even then, he tells her still cares but if she doesn’t feel that way he understands and will never speak of the matter again.

In contrast, Joe Fox is nothing like Mr, Darcy or Mr. Kralik as he not only makes it his mission to constantly run into Kathleen, but also uses his online persona and in-person persona to manipulate her.

Klara sees this change in him and realizes that she was misjudging him; and at the same time she does her own self reflection and realizes that she didn’t treat him as well as she could and a lot of their issues were caused by both sides.

So while it’s not a perfect adaption, I feel this one definitely is more of an adaption of Pride and Prejudice than You’ve Got Mail.

But while it is better than You’ve Got Mail, should it be considered a Jane Austen adaption?

After careful consideration I think not. It was very close, but it’s missing something else to really put it in the Pride and Prejudice camp. I will, however, highly recommend it for any Jane Austen fan and it will be going on my list of Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans due to its similarities and because it is an amazing film. I love it so much, I have to watch it every December at least once.

It is so romantic and I just adore how they falling in love over letters. I cannot recommend this film more. You are guaranteed to not only enjoy it but want to keep watching it again and again.

Audiobook

So do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments below!

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to You Have Thirteen Hours in Which to Solve the Labyrinth, Before Your Baby Brother Becomes One of Us…Forever.: Labyrinth (1986)

For more Jane Austen Christmas adaptions, go to Is You’ve Got Mail Really an Adaption of Pride and Prejudice?

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice: The Game

For more Pride and Prejudice film adaptions, go to Dear William

You Have Thirteen Hours in Which to Solve the Labyrinth, Before Your Baby Brother Becomes One of Us…Forever.: Labyrinth (1986)

You have thirteen hours in which to solve the labyrinth, before your baby brother becomes one of us… forever.

Labyrinth is one of my friend’s favorite movies. The first time she wanted us to watch it, years and years ago, I was like I don’t think I’m going to like this movie.

Majorly

Yep, I was 100% wrong as I Loved it!

This movie is a ton of fun and is one of my favorites. I can always watch it.

It is such a great film and stars the amazing David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly.

Did you know Jim Henson originally wanted Sting to play Jareth the Goblin King? He only picked David Bowie because his kids loved him. This makes me think of Nightmare on Elm Street and the decision to cast Johnny Depp. Good thing Henson listened to his kids. I love Sting, but David Bowie was perfect in this role.

David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King is supposed to be the villain of the film, but at the same time he channels the teenage dream/ideal of a man. I don’t know if it is his Bad Boy nature, his awesome mix of leather jacket/fantasy coat, his ‘80’s glam rock hair, or just the David Bowie of it all; but he’s amazing and every scene with him is a treasure. He makes every girls’ heart beat every time he enters the frame.

But I’m not only reviewing this film because it is a favorite and fits for Halloween, but also because it is a:

Yes, this film reminds me a lot of Jane Austen, which I will share why at the end of the review.

So our story begins with teenager Sarah, who is out at the park acting out a scene from her favorite book, The Labyrinth. Unfortunately, she keeps forgetting the last line. only to realize she also forgot how late it is.

Sarah: Give me the child. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great…[thunder rumbles] For my will is as strong as yours, my kingdom as great…D***. [pulls the Labyrinth book out of her pocket] I can never remember that line. [reads] You have no power over me.

She has to run home and take care of her baby brother (half brother) who she dislikes, as her stepmother (who she hates) and father are going out that night. I always thought Sarah’s mother died, but after some googling, it turns out that Sarah’s mother was an actress who left her family for another man. As Sarah doesn’t have her mom present to be angry with, she has directed all that toward her stepmother and little brother.

Sarah is doubly angry as not only did she not get to finish recreating her favorite book, but she has to babysit while her parents are out, and she discovered one of her stuffed animals was taken and put in Toby’s room. Her teen angst has hit an all time high and she erupts, wishing her brother would be taken away by the Goblin King.

The goblins listen and do take him. When Sarah realizes that Toby is gone, she screams out that she wants him back and Jareth, the Goblin King, makes a deal with her. I always thought that Jareth saw something different about herself, a worthy opponent to face off with. She will have 13 hours to solve the labyrinth-if she does she gets the baby, if she fails he becomes a goblin forever.

Sarah begins her journey and believes she can outsmart the labyrinth and the Goblin King, but quickly things are not exactly like the stories she grew up reading. Her plan to leave a mark of the places she traveled fails, she solves the logic puzzle but falls down a hole with grabby hands, encounters fairies who bite, etc. She eventually finds Hoggle, a troll, who agrees to help her in exchange for her bracelet.

But Hoggle is working for Jareth and is supposed to lead her away, so she will lose. However, Sarah not only uses her cunning to get him to help, but Hoggle begins to like her too. This is something Jareth is none too pleased about.

Jareth: Ah, what have we here?

Hoggle: Oh, uh, nothin’.

Jareth: [removing his disguise at the last second] Nothing? Nothing? NOTHING? Nothing, tra la la?

That’s one of my favorite parts of this film. It is just so silly yet fits. Sarah then sasses Jareth and ends up losing time from her quest. Yep, not the best idea but Sarah will not give up. That’s another reason why this film is such a great one to watch. Sarah is your typical teen and she can be dramatic, whimsy, and at times can be whiny (like most teens), but she’s also a dreadful determined woman who will not stop until she accomplishes what she is setting out to do. She feels very real and is someone you can root for. I love this exchange between her and Jareth:

Sarah: That’s not fair!

Jareth: You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is?

After their encounter, Sarah sees a Wiseman who she exchanges a ring for-but doesn’t get that much wisdom in return. They continue on and Sarah ends up adding to their party when she saves Ludo, a creature that can call rocks. Ludo is so cute and sweet, I definitely would want him on my questing team.

After this she enters the forest, having been separated from Ludo and Hoggle and encounters the creepiest things ever and the true villains of this story: the Fierys. I hate these things as they seriously creeped me out when I first watched it, and I still struggle with watching this scene. Ugh, they need to just go to die with those creatures for Fraggke Rock, they creeped me out too.

But Sarah is able to defeat these monsters and is reunited with Hoggle who saves her. But not for long as Hoggle has met with the Goblin King who wants Hoggle to ensure that Sarah does not defeat him. Hoggle has been given a peach that will put Sarah to sleep and he must do it or else he will be cursed to live in the Bog of Eternal Stench.

After they are reunited they find themselves in the Bog of Eternal Stench, the only way out a bridge protected by a fox like soldier. I love this characters of Sir Didymus and his noble steed the sheepdog named Ambrosius. These characters are absolute fun.

Like in most fairy stories and legends the bridge cannot be crossed, but Sarah outwits him.

Sarah: Okay, let’s handle this thing logically. What exactly have you sworn?

Didymus: I have sworn with my life’s blood, none shall pass this way without *my* permission!

Sarah: Well… May we have your permission?

Didymus: Well I, uh… I… that is, uh… hm… Yes?

They are able to escape the Bog with help from Ludo who can speak to the rocks. From here they enter an enchanted forest and Sarah, as she has been in the Labyrinth for hours, says she is hungry. Hoggle gives her the enchanted peach and instantly regrets it and runs away ashamed at his cowardice.

Sarah wakes up in a dream, a ball with the romantic song As the World Falls Down. She is almost distracted from her quest, but when she hears the clock she proves herself to not be any ordinary girl and escapes by waking up with a Junk lady who returns her home. This quest wasn’t real, just another dream and she has now awakened. Film over.

I know, it’s too easy and too simple. And Sarah knows it, she is truly a worthy opponent for Jareth.

The Junk Lady: What’s the matter, my dear, don’t you like your toys?

Sarah: [comes to her senses] It’s all junk!

The Junk Lady: [picks up a music box] Well, what about this? This is not junk, eh?

Sarah: [smashes music box] Yes, it is! [Sarah’s room crumbles without her notice] I have to save Toby!

Sarah wakes up and goes with Didymus and Ludo to the Goblin City. Hoggle joins them and apologizes and they fight the Goblins and more as they continue to fight.

Sarah has reached where she needs to be, but finds herself in a more challenging test of skills. She has to find Toby who has been hidden from her. This scene is fantastic as I love they way they filmed and set up the scene. Just amazing!

Then we have one of the best scenes when Sarah has to face off against Jareth. First Jareth comes out of the shadows, intense music playing as he does. I love the way the scene is fuzzy at the corners to give it that dreamlike quality! Oh yes, it’s fantastic! The pacing and the dialogue is just great too!

The way Jareth pleads with Sarah tempting her almost convincing her- but props to Sarah, she knows better what makes a healthy relationship than most people-refusing his charm and promises. And the thing I love the most, Sarah not being able remember the lines “you have no power over me” is so powerful. Such few and simple words, but at times can be so hard for people to say and believe. But finally she does, declares it to the Goblin King, and wins the Labyrinth.


Sarah: Give me the child.

Jareth: Sarah, beware. I have been generous up ’til now. I can be cruel.

Sarah: Generous? What have you done that’s generous?

Jareth: *Everything*! Everything that you wanted I have done. You asked that the child be taken. I took him. You cowered before me, I was frightening. I have reordered time. I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for *you*! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations. Isn’t that generous?

Sarah: Through dangers untold. And hardships unnumbered. I have fought my way here to the castle; beyond the goblin city, to take back the child that you have stolen. My will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great…

Jareth: Stop! Look what I’m offering you. Your dreams.

Sarah: My kingdom as great… my kingdom as great… damn, I can never remember that line.

Jareth: I ask for so little. Just fear me. Love me. Do as I ask, and I shall be your slave.

Sarah: You have no power over me! YOU have no power over ME! [the clock chimes 13:00 at that moment. Defeated, Jareth sends Sarah and Toby back to the real world where the clock finishes chiming midnight]

The best scene! A must watch!

She defeats him and goes home. At first going to say goodbye to her fantasies, dreams, and childhood-but deciding to not give it up just yet!

Ludo: [in the mirror] Goodbye, Sarah.

Didymus: And remember, fair maiden, should you need us…

Hoggle: Yes, should you need us, for any reason at all…

Sarah: I need you, Hoggle.

Hoggle: You do?

Sarah: [nods] I don’t know why, but every now and again in my life – for no reason at all – I need you. All of you.

Hoggle: You do? Well… WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO?

[Sarah] spins around and sees them all in her room, including the goblins. She hugs them all, and a huge party begins]

I love this film and I think the more you watch it the more you see, relate to, and love. I also really appreciate that they didn’t end this with a romance but friendship, that’s not something that is not really done all that often.

Another thing I like about this movie is that it is similar to Total Recall, in that the film lets you decide whether this really happened to Sarah or if it is all in her mind. In her room we see the characters that surface later in the film: a stuffed animal that looks like Sir Didymus on her dresser, a doll that looks like Ludo on the shelves next to her door, a Firey doll on a shelves next to her bed, bookends with Goblins reminiscent of Hoggle on her dresser, a figurine of Jareth on the right hand side of her desk, newspaper clippings of Sarah’s famous actress mom with another man (David Bowie), the dress that she wears in the ballroom scene is on the woman in her music box, a wooden maze game which looks like the Labyrinth is on her desk, and a copy of the famous picture by M.C. Escher which is used in the final confrontation with Jareth. So the question is did the Goblin King use these elements in his creations to give Sarah a fair chance, borrowing items similar to her surroundings which is sometimes done in fairy stories, did he choose her because he wanted a worthy opponent, does the Labyrinth change itself to Whomever enters, or is this all a teen angst dream. You decide.

So why do I consider this a Non-Austen Film for Austen Fans? First of all we have the character of Sarah being one who loves to read, and live in a fantasy world; which reminds me of both Marianne Dashwood and Catherine Morland. Both Marianne and Catherine love to read and are dreamers. All three characters are also very sweet, kind, naive, and innocent.

Sarah shares even more similarities with Marianne as both are young in spirit. Sarah still plays with dolls and stuffed animals and Marianne believes she knows all about love and life from the poems she reads.

Both girls have also been betrayed by people they love, Sarah having her mom leave the family and now having a new mother and brother, while Marianne’s father fails to protect his daughters by planning for their future; along with her having a brother that broke his promise to protect and care for her and her sisters.

Both Marianne and Sarah are also extremely emotional and act on their feelings, expecting others to be as honest as them. Sarah never considers that Hoggle could be deceitful or someone she shouldn’t trust, even after he tells her (and Jareth) that he is planning on sending her back to the beginning. Marianne never considers that Mr. Willoughby could not be as earnest in his affections or even that her lack of fortune might be something that could cause a roadblock in their relationship.

Sarah, Marianne, and Catherine all fits

go on a journey that teaches them about themselves and help them grow and mature. For Sarah she learns to love and care for her brother and not to speak out in such haste, Marianne is taught to not always act on her emotions and feelings but use sense as well, and Catherine learns to not always trust everyone and to use caution instead of imagination.

A fantastic film with wonderful imagery, amazing songs, and just a lovely storyline. It’s a film you can’t help but love and watch again and again.

Some friends and I went axe throwing a few weeks ago and dressed up as fantasy characters. I was going to be the Goblin King, but my niece pointed out that I looked like Sarah. So of course I had to dress up as her. I couldn’t find the vest she wears and had to with what I did have. Pretty close right?

And of course the Facebook cover photo!

For more on Labyrinth, go to A Dog’s Life: Chinese New Year

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to No Haunt Me Then!…I Know That Ghosts Have Wandered On The Earth. Be With Me Always…Drive Me Mad, Only Do Not Leave Me in This Dark Alone…I Cannot Live Without My Life! I Cannot Die Without My Soul.: Wuthering Heights (1939)

For more David Bowie, go to Changes, Turn and Face the Strange

For more ‘80s films go to, Something’s Out There and It’s Killing People! And If It’s Monsters, Nobody’s Going to Do a Thing About it Except Us!: The Monster Squad (1987)