Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Frankenstein

Happy Friday the 13th! I don’t know if you have any plans, but as for me I’m going to spend my evening with pizza and horror films.

Since this is Friday the 13th, I decided to share a spooky gothic post.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

You all know how much I love spooky and gothic fiction, almost as much as my girl Catherine does.

That’s why I started Catherine Morland’s Reading List, a list of gothic fiction I recommend for my fellow spooky lovers. 

So what can I say about Frankenstein that hasn’t been said? I of course watched the movie first, and loved it:

Shelley started writing Frankenstein when she was 18, with it being published when she was 20, in 1818- the same year as Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. And it is a mix between gothic fiction and science fiction.

The book starts off with a Captain Walton who is on an Arctic trip and writing to his sister. Every time I read the book I find myself connecting more and more to him than any other character.

“But I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy, and the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe evil, I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection. I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true; but that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling. I desire the company of a man who could sympathise with me, whose eyes would reply to mine. You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend. I have no one near me, gentle yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious mind, whose tastes are like my own, to approve or amend my plans.”

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Who doesn’t feel that lonely at times, especially as the older you get it’s harder to connect with old friends and make new ones..

Captain Walton finds Dr. Victor Frankenstein and learns of Dr. Frankenstein’s quest to hunt down his creature. We learn about how Victor was born into a wealthy family and had a desire to understand the world and create, like what the great alchemists have before him. But instead of trying to turn lead into gold, he wanted to capture life!

This is when things go downhill for Frankenstein. First he decides to create life without thinking about how he will train the creature or what type of morality he should instill in it. Or what it means to have a life breathing person. It’s as if he wanted to make a baby only for the science of it and then when the baby is born abandons it.

Victor also makes the Creature gigantic, about 8 feet in height. You have to remember not only is that really tall, but in 1818 it’s humongous as the average height of men were about 5.5. Compare 8 feet to 5.5

Victor goes to the trouble of trying to make the creature beautiful, but it’s several body parts from different people and is frightening with watery white eyes and yellow skin.

Once everything is completed Frankenstein realizes his mistake, but is unable to destroy it. Instead he just abandons it, adopting that mentality it is “future self’s problem). Frankenstein’s creature escapes from Frankenstein and tries to find acceptance, only to be rejected. He then acts on his emotions and wants; killing or hurting everyone that Frankenstein holds dear to get back at him after Frankenstein refuses to make the creature a female.

There are a lot of different analysis of the book, but to me I always felt that one of the points Shelley was making was the necessity of guidance and a code of morals to live by. You may argue between whether that is a higher power, the law, etc.; but there must be some kind of code of ethics or else chaos reigns. If everyone only went after what made them feel good and what they want terrible things can happen.

I also think it is reminiscent of her father not really guiding his daughter in her life where she was younger, but then trying to be a parent after she was almost an adult and already set in her ways/at an age when she didn’t feel she needed to listen to him. Frankenstein does the same when he abandons the creature, only to later try and have him adhere to Frankenstein’s moral code.

Either way I recommend it for all gothic fiction fans.

For more from Catherine Morland’s Reading List, go to Mexican Gothic

For more Gothic Fiction, go to What’s a Girl To Do When Your Parents Won’t Allow You to Live Your Gothic Dreams?

For more Frankenstein, go to Mysterious Things Have Happened. A Murder in the Village…They Probably Think You, Like Your Father, Have Created Another Monster…: Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Dracula in Discotheques: Love at First Bite (1979)

I have never seen this before but I needed a 1970s film and thought it sounded interesting. It’s supposed to be horror comedy version of Dracula, takes Dracula from Victorian themed and sets him in the modern world, and was for many years the the highest-grossing independent film of all time.

This film was inspired by the hit Young Frankenstein spoof by Mel Brooks and aspired to be as good. Let’s see if is worth the hype.

We start off with a rock song and a coffin slowly opening. I really like this music, pretty sweet.

From Bones

We are in a castle, candles lit and a piano plays while dogs (or werewolves?) howl in the background. Our Dracula (George Hamilton) is playing and drinking alone. He calls to Reinfeild his servant who brings him nude-y magazines. But that’s not what Dracula wants as he tosses them in their trash. He only wants fashion magazines.

Okay 🤷🏻‍♀️

On the cover of one of the magazines is a model who is his “true love”, the reincarnation of his one true love he bit back in Warsaw in the 1800s, and in England in the 1930s, etc Looking at the magazine articles that Dracula reads off the cover of the magazine, these are jokes that would no longer hit. That’s something you only to be found in a 70s film.

Dracula’s castle has been taken by eminent domain of the Romanian government and they are going to use it as a training facility. They only have 48 hours to clear out and he can move to government housing or leave the country. He forgoes the apartment (if I was a Count I would too in Soviet Union Romania.)

Dracula calmly leaves, and I’m surprised he didn’t go Vlad the Impaler on them, but I guess it wouldn’t be comedic. When the crowd does try to swarm on them he releases some strange breath and they all move away. One old lady tried to get a shot in by hitting him with a bat but of course it does no damage. Dracula leaves with a parting shot, but the joke falls flat.

The two fly to America with Dracula in his coffin trying to get up to date on American slang and but the book he’s reading is from 1932.

At customs, Reinfeld brings Dracula and goes on about this sob story about his father dying in Africa on safari and being in pieces. It’s so good, the agent starts crying. But it turns out that he accidentally swapped coffins with another family.

Hey Sherman Hemsley is in this movie. He’s the minister at the funeral of the family that they accidentally swapped coffins with. In the middle of the service Dracula wakes up and opens the coffin with everyone taking off frightened.

Now Dracula is lost and alone on the streets of New York looking for the Plaza Hotel or a taxi. He runs into some African American people and doesn’t understand exactly what they are saying to him, but when they try to fight he takes them out and even bends a metal switchblade with his mind, and uses telekinesis to throw one right through the window.

Eventually Dracula finds his way to the plaza. And gets Reinfeld on the job to return the other body, get Dracula’s coffin, and find the model from the magazine, Cindy Sometime.

I do! Ands that’s all I’ve found funny so far in this film.

Reinfeld is dressed in horrible suit (that’s supposed to have him blend in) and heads to the model agency to try and arrange a date with Cindy. When the agency won’t tell him anything, Reinfeld threatens her with his lunch, a King a cobra.

With the address in hand and the sun having gone down, Dracula heads to the photo shoot to meet his Cindy…but first a man has gotta eat.

Dracula turns into a bat and roams the city. First he tried to feed on a woman who is in the middle of making love, but is scared off by the guy who thinks the bat is his first wife. The second family is hungry and try to capture and eat him. The third is a drunk homeless man who gives the bat alcohol. I think these scenes are supposed to be funny but they all fall flat. While I’m not really into the film I do think the makeup of Dracula is good. They actually had the same make-up artist as Dracula (1931), William Tuttle.

So Dracula is sad as he is lonely, can’t eat real food, and unable to be a part of any holiday. Imagine if Stephanie Meyer saw this, in this version being a vampire absolutely sucks. Reinfeld tried to cheer Dracula up and gives him the address of where Cindy would be, a discotheque.

Dracula sees Cindy and tries to talk to her, but she thinks he is a waiter and ignores him. Dracula uses his vampire magic to end Cindy’s phone call and tries to make his move, but she’s not really into it.

The two dance and I really like this scene. Cindy enjoys the dance so much that she invited Dracula home to her apartment which is a mess. The two make are together with Dracula biting her neck.

Later, Cindy is talking to her therapist and boyfriend Jeff Rosenberg.

Yeah Cindy is dating someone and she picked up another guy. When she tries to explain it to her boyfriend/therapist…

I know, I can’t believe she is dating her therapist, he should totally lose his license. Anyways Cindy sounds super crazy trying to explain her cheating. Like seriously Jeff, you shouldn’t be dating her, but I’m sure you’ve guessed how he rolls.

Jeff thinks that Cindy might be making it up but Cindy shows him the hickey and Jerry recognizes the teeth. Turns out his grandfather was Fritz Van Helsing-the Van Helsing. Jeff warns her that she shouldn’t dare Dracula again as if she gets bit two more times she will become a vampire as well. Cindy walks out as she thinks he’s crazy! I’m sorry, Jeff is crazy? You’re the one who said your low blood sugar made you cheat. That the FBI is adding things to your feminine hygiene products that make you cheat. You’re crazy!

That night tbe Count crashes Cindy and Jeff’s date. Jeff gives Cindy a garlic necklace but she tosses it. Jeff reveals his true identity, and Cindy is trying to figure out what is going on. Jeff tried to use a Jewish Star of David on Dracula but it has no effect. The two men try and hyponitize each other, but that also doesn’t work. Cindy gets mad and leaves, Dracula later following her and going through her balcony.

I fell asleep twice during this movie. It was really boring and I’m not sure why it was such a big hit and helped make George Hamilton a star. After the second time I was done and ended up just looking up the ending online.

So how it ends is Dr. Jeff tried to kill Dracula but is thwarted, and Cindy and Dracula run off to Jamaica. I was very disappointed as I was hoping Dracula in modern times would be more funny, like in Hotel Transylvania when they run into the humans at the end. Definitely give it a miss.

So annoying

For more on Dracula, 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)

For more vampires, go to Creepy Baby, Vampire Worldwide Tour, and Psych Ending. At Least it Has Lee Pace: Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn, Part II (2012)

For more horror-comedies, go to All Right, We Got No Choice. Call the Ghostbusters.: Ghostbusters 2 (1989)

I’m Not Special, I’m a Monster!: Firestarter (2022)

I’m not special, I’m a monster!

Its fine for our annual Stephen King film, and this year’s pick is Firestarter. I have not read the book or seen/reviewed the original but I was having a hard time trying to decide on a Stephen King film this year and this one is always coming up on my fire stick; so I figured why not give it a watch?

Oh well…

It can be any worse than some of his other films.

The biggest thing I know about this film was how every millennial was posting about how Zac Efron is now a dad in a film; our generation is officially old.

We start off with a baby breastfeeding, an odd choice and come out to Andy McGee (Zac Efron) and his wife Vicky McGee (Sydney Lemmon) looking at their little girl. Their baby is upset as she still wanted to be held, not put in the crib, and then a fire starts in the room, becoming a giant inferno.

From Captain Planet

Andy saves the baby from the burning crib but then she bursts into flames like baby Jack Jack in The Incredibles. But luckily it’s just a memory in a dream.

Present day his daughter, Charlie McGee is 10 years old. Andy walks down the hall and finds his daughter playing with a lighter. She asks him about quitting smoking and ***ding ding*** a smoker, there’s one in every SK film.

Charlie says she feels weird, and at first Andy thinks she’s talking about her period but she says no “the other thing”, something is changing inside her. Zac tells her to remember her “tool”, some word association to keep calm. I’m not sure that’s the best idea, this whole scene is giving me Frozen flashbacks and we all know how that ended. Letting go and creating a giant snow storm and sentient ice beings.

We then switch to seeing old videos of Andy and Vicky from college, some kind of “FDA” clinical trial run by the government. They are asked standard medical questions (do you take drugs, their blood type, etc). However, the thing that gets me suspicious is that both have no parents or family (all dead) and this whole thing sounds like some weird testing, something that could go very bad for them to choose people with no family. They ask about psychic experiences and ***ding ding*** Psychics. We are up to 2 SK Tropes.

But not like a fake psychic like Shawn Spencer, real psychics or “shiners”? Shining? Shiningers?

So from the rapid fire images it sounds like most had a bad reaction.

Sorry, couldn’t resist! 😂

With the only two surviving being Andy and Vicky. Andy is a hypnotist/psychologist? He’s trying to help a person, but creates some weird high pitch sounds makes my ears hurt. I’m assuming he’s psychic (or has the shining as they say in The Shining). However, something is not quite right with his ability as blood starts coming out of his eyes. Ugh, I hate that. I hate any eye trauma.

Back with Charlie she accidentally destroys the frog they are supposed to dissect. The teacher recommends that she use google to answer her the frog anatomy questions but her family doesn’t believe in computers. She almost has a freak out at schooo but calms down. I forgot to count another SK trope ***little kid has crazy powers***. (Up to 3!)

The couple are anxious about what to do next. Andy wants to protect her while Vicky wants to train her. I have to say I’m with mom on this, she has amazing power and she’s in middle school. Doesn’t dad remember how tough middle school can be? Kids can be extremely cruel and they most definitely need to train her so she didn’t blow up her school or something. In fact they should home school her.

Charlie has an incident at school where she causes a fire in the bathroom and almost burns the teacher. They call in the fire department but luckily they only think Charlie did it with normal means and do suspect it could be something more. If I was mom I definitely would have been, I told you so.

Mom and dad are unsure what to do next, but they do think they need to move. Vicky wants Andy to “push” Charlie mentally (I’m assuming they mean his psychic blast/shining ability), but Andy doesn’t want to mess with her head. So Andy can “push” people while Vicky says she has a different power, but they haven’t told us what it is. Charlie is still upset from school and they decide it is time to tell her the truth. They finally let her know there are people after them that because of their abilities. Charlie starts freaking out, they try to calm her, everyone starts yelling, and charlie strikes out as accidentally setting her mother on fire.

Meanwhile while that is all going on, the government has been watching and pick up on what happened at the school, zoning into the area the McGees lived.

We then switch to see a creepy shirtless guy with a weird tatto of an upside down cross ***ding ding*** some strange religious connotation SK trope 4, multiple single boots and creepy drawings (***ding ding SK trope 5). His name is Rainbird and he’s no longer retired but back on the playing field.

Hmm…

Back at the McGees Charlie is drawing weird pictures, ***ding ding*** child draws a creepy picture SK trope 6. Andy tries to take care of Vicky but the burns are really bad. Vicky again insists that Andy “push” Charlie but he doesn’t wash to risk hurting their daughter, but Vicky warns him that their girl might kill them. I am definitely on Vicky’s side as a “push” might not be the worst idea. Finally Vicky is tired of everything and asks Andy to leave with Andy and Charlie for ice cream and give her some alone time.

After they leave, Vicky starts acting weird. I don’t hear anything, is that is what is off is it too quiet? Or does she hear something?

There’s a knock at the door, I hope she doesn’t answer as Andy left to get them ice cream and she’s wounded. When she goes to see who it is, it’s a police officer who is responding to their earlier hung up 911 call. Vicky explains away they burns but after the police officer leave sit turns out that Rainbird snuck into the house. He is here to take them in. Vicky tries to defend herself by using her psychic abilities to throw things at Rainbird, but he also has powers as he was a test subject as well.

That’s not good.

Rainbird tells her that if she gives up, the girl will live, but she refuses. We cut away after she is hit by a flying object and I assume she’s dead.

On their way back from ice cream, Charlie and Andy have a heart to heart with Charlie sharing it was supposed to be him. Yes, lighting mom on fire was only an accident as she hit her instead of who she was aiming for.

She just admitted to her dad she meant to set him on fire.

If I was Andy I would definitely start “pushing” her. I would 100% be sleeping won’t one eye open as the next time she gets angry she might try and kill him.

Of course Andy does no such thing, and Charlie mentions again she feels weird. Her dad thinks it is just an upset tummy, but Charlie insists it is something more.

Once inside the house Rainbird has captured Charlie and is hiding behind a lamp so that Andy’s powers don’t work on him (he has to look them right in the eye. Charlie gets so angry she sets everything on fire: Vicky’s dead, Rainbird injured and shocked, and Andy and Charlie take off for somewhere safe.

In the next scene we have the lady who brought Rainbird back, as she goes to speak to a doctor played by the Red Foreman actor. He’s just as angry as usual and I can tell by his voice he was the doctor running the tests on Andy, Vicky, and the others. The woman reveals that they found them.

Cut back to Andy and Charlie on the side of the road. Charlie likes her powers and is trying to test them and work them out. She moved a piece of metal with her mind. Charlie find a cute orange cat and I’m skipping because I know exactly what will happen as Stephen King apparently hates cats. ***ding ding*** animal murdered SK trope 7.

We go back again to the doctor and I really hate these fast transitions. The scenes are so short it’s like why even do that, they really should just have a full scene then switch to another. I’ve noticed this happening a lot in films recently and I don’t like this trend as it is super annoying.

So annoying

The doctor (Red Foreman) warns the woman who came to see him, the head of DSI, that they should just kill Charlie. He knows they want to use her as a tool but she has a really strong power and is only going to get stronger. Of course she doesn’t listen to him.

Then we switch back to Charlie and Andy who have buried the cat and are praying for it and her mom. Andy tries to make her feel better and tells Charlie that her mother wanted her to learn how to use her powers so that she might use them for good. Andy warns her that if she does too much it can hurt her, but Charlie says it doesn’t hurt it feels good.

Uh oh, Charlie is a bad seed. She’s going to kill everyone I just know it.

The two hitchhike and flag a car down. Charlie worries about strangers but girl you can start fires and move things with your mind, I’m sure you two will be okay. The guy who picks them up takes them to his house to eat and Charlie wants to see the chickens, bad idea because if they peck her she will probably set the whole house on fire. While there Charlie hears something strange and finds a woman on a respirator. It turns out the woman is the man’s wife, Essi, and she was hit by a car when she was driving and now is slightly comatose.

That night Andy tells Charlie to be careful with her powers and tells her about before when the government came after Charlie. Andy had to go get her, sensing her with his abilities and knowing exactly where she was at. He used his powers to take the agents out in order to save his daughter and because he was so angry over what they did. He feels bad about it now. warns her about being caught up in the moment. He shared with her that when you hurt one person it hurts everyone and has her promise not to use her gifts to hurt people.

Andy wakes up and hears the police report on TV warning about him and tries to reason with the man, but he doesn’t listen. Charlie comes in and shares that she knows what really happened with Essi and Andy says that why they are after them, because of their powers. Charlie shares that Essi forgives him for driving drunk and injuring her (***ding ding*** SK Trope 7 an alcoholic). The police are here and Andy doesn’t know what to do. The guy wants to help them, but Andy doubts things will go well.

The guy tries to talk the police into leaving but someone’s here and shoots everyone…Rainbird. Charlie senses him and becomes so angry she shoots a fireball at Rainbird, but it doesn’t hit him.

Andy sends Charlie off while he tries to take care of Rainbird, but his powers don’t work on Rainbird completely and he is still having the bloody eye issue.

The government clean up crew come in with special lenses so the psychic powers don’t work on them. They take Andy and Rainbird.

Now Charlie is alone and has to fend for herself. DSI is not happy with Rainbird for the mess of dead cops. They blindfolded him and lock him up.

Charlie is roughing it out in The woods when she feels her father’s presence and sees the facility. She says in the woods for a bit and starts practicing her fire ability, as she wants to hone it.

As Charlie is heading to the facility she is bullied by some boys on bikes. They call her names and she“pushes” them into giving her a bike, their luck, and clothes. Then off she goes.

She finds the facility and just walks into it. I’m surprised security doesn’t find her right away, but then again they do want to capture her. Charlie uses her abilities to capture an agent on their way and home and interrogate them. When the agent tries to pull a gun on her she sets them on fire.

Bad things happen when you don’t listen

Security sees her but they want Charlie to go downstairs to the “control” floor. I hope she burns the building down.

Charlie finds her dad but he’s locked up. Captain Hollister, head of the DSI wants to have Charlie willingly come with them, and tries to convince her by bringing her mom into it, “it’s what your mom would have wanted”. But she doesn’t understand Charlie, and that only makes her angry. Captain Hollister stands by Andy to ensure Charlie doesn’t kill her, but . Charlie sets herself on fire but Captain Andy does his last push and pushes her to burn the whole facility down. She begins to burning up both Hollister and Andy.

Charlie starts setting everyone on fire or using her abilities in other ways to take them out. Good for you Charlie.

In come the soldiers in flame retardant but that doesn’t stop her. When it almost looks like she is about to lose, Rainbird saves her. Then it’s her and Rainbird, Psy versus Psy. Rainbird gives himself up to her and she starts to burn him, but she’s sees her reflection and stops, leaving him be.

What that’s it? The girl who goes from 1 to 100 on the emotional Richter scale is just letting the man who killed her mother go?

Charlie then continues to explode the facility destroying it to the ground. But now what? She’s alone and has nowhere to turn to.

Rainbird comes over to her and carries her away. I guess they will be a family now? And that how it ends? Weird choice and strange way to end the film.

I have to say that this is probably one of the better Stephen King films as it had a concise plot and interesting characters. The end was an odd choice, but otherwise I enjoyed it.

For more Stephen King films, go to Do You Like This Hotel?…I Guess So. Good. I Want You to Like It Here. I Wish We Could Stay Here Forever… and Ever…: The Shining (1980)

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

Persuasion (2022) or MadsenCreations and I Watched the New Persuasion So You Don’t Have To

I have to be honest, when I heard Netflix was making a new Persuasion I immediately had a bad feeling about it. I decided to reserve judgement and hope that it wouldn’t be terrible, but I didn’t really believe we would get a miracle.

Then I saw the trailer and I knew it was going to be bad. I could see in those few clips they has completely misunderstood the character of Anne and that this was going to be another Mansfield Park (1999).

It was worse.

MadsenCreations and I watched it together, she did Instagram live while I live tweeted. You can read my tweets but more terrible and horrible moments happened that I actually couldn’t tweet as fast as the film went. It was a hot mess.

But before I go into what I didn’t like, let’s start off with what I did like

Set & Costume Design

The set was beautiful and the director knew how to utilize the home, forest, seaside, country and city. Unlike some other Austen novels these characters do spend a fair amount of time indoors and outdoors, the weather and scenery tying into the story and the emotions of the characters. This was probably the best thing about the film was how well the director understood to use the set.

The costumes are also well done, as MadsenCreations pointed out there are no large glaring zippers (Netflix has learned since Bridgerton). Although, I am sad that there weren’t any ones from previous Austen adaptions, or if there were any I didn’t catch it. I really love seeing the same gown pop up in adaption after adaption.

Visually the film was good, it was the other choices that were terrible.

Diversity

As with Bridgerton they chose to do a rainbow cast (for those who have never heard the term before rainbow cast means that you cast people for characters regardless of the color of their skin, hence having a “rainbow” cast). While other productions that have done this have either made the character’s skin tone their only character trait (I hate when they do that), this production didn’t go that route. In fact it reminded me a lot of Cinderella (1997), the one that stars Brandy, where they had a family unit that contains a white father, African-American mother, and Filipino son; but nothing is made to explain it and being those races are not the characters only personality; instead they are just people. I really enjoyed it, and feel that of other films and TV shows want to that they should definitely go this route. Although I have noticed that like in Bridgerton, Persuasion has no one of Latin descent. As someone who is Latina. I do find that offensive that they promote how inclusive they are yet there is no one of Latino descent. And if someone wants to say that perhaps they couldn’t find a British-Latino person, while I find that to false. First of all Dakota Johnson isn’t even British and they gave her the main character, and secondly I googled it and found 24 right away. Netflix I’m expecting the next adaption to have someone!

Dialogue

The dialogue in this was horrendous. I’m not sure who was paid for this because it was beyond terrible. If I was Netflix, I’d demand that money back. First we have all these modern sayings, phrases, and slang that just do not fit right with the atmosphere. I think if that’s the route they wanted to take they should have just made a modern Persuasion. Or if they wanted to make this a cross between modern + Regency they should have done it Romeo + Juliet (1996) style with her in the Regency clothes and all modern language; or modern clothes and regency language. But this mishmash, some Regency and some Modern did not work out well at all.

There is a lot of truly terrible dialogue but the biggest offenders to be was when Henrietta tells Anne that to win a guy she should pretend she didn’t know how to use cutlery. Not only is that the dumbest thing I have ever heard, but now a whole generation are going to think that Jane Austen wrote that.

I asked a friend if that would be attractive to him and this was his response was “no” and that he would wonder about her mental capacities. The reason I find this particular scene so offensive is first of all Jane Austen wrote very strong and intelligent characters, there are silly ones but these women were not. And not only are we perpetuating this idea that women need to be dumb and have a man help them in order to be attractive, they are making it sound as if Jane Austen herself agrees with that and promoted it as well!

But that was just the beginning. So much of it is terrible that even the good dialogue is lost in the cesspool of words. And let’s not even begin on the octopus line.

The other truly terrible parts of this dialogue is that there is no subtlety or secrets. Everything is out in the open. In the book no one besides Lady Russell knew that Anne and Captain Wentworth had been engaged; in this everyone knows. In the book, no one is certain of Mr. Eliot’s intentions-he saying that he just wants to fix the rift; but Anne suspecting more. However, in this Mr. Eliot tells Anne right away he wants to keep her father from having a male heir. It’s like did anyone read this book?!!

Where are the Austen things and characters I love??!!

They completely destroyed my two favorite parts: 1) when they discuss the loyalty of women and Anne points out that all the “proof” of men loving more are written by men; 2) the letter scene. It really felt like someone took the bare, bare, almost nonexistent bones of the story to write this production.

Mary Musgrove (Mia McKenna-Bruce), Sir Walter Elliot (Richard E. Grant), Charles Musgrove (Ben Bailey Smith), Elizabeth Elliot (Yolanda Kettle), & the Musgrove Children (Jake Siame and Hardy Yusuf)

So some of the characters and the decisions made about the characters were not good, but I’ll save my complaints for a little later. The ones I did enjoy were the above few. Sir Walter and Elizabeth were so horrible and rude, just as they should be, although I think it would have been better to include a bit more of them as they are hardly in there, but they did good.

Charles Musgrove although he too wasn’t in the film that much. The little Musgrove boys were adorable and they stole the scene every time they were on screen.

The one they blew me away though was Mia McKenna-Bruce as Mary Musgrove. You liked her and hated her, she was extremely awful but at the same time she also said a lot of things I agreed with when it came to Anne. Anne was such a mess that Mary (yes Mary), seemed to be the only adjusted character. She was a narcissist, that didn’t change, but she was more together than Anne (which is not how it should be). Out of everyone, I think she did the best.

Henry Golding as Mr. Elliot

Henry Golding was charming but too charming. He’s supposed to be somewhat suspect from Anne’s pov as he hasn’t done anything outwardly wrong, but she is questioning his interest and sudden appearance with her family. When Anne’s friend warns her against him and tells her she spotted Mrs. Clay and Mr. Elliot together, Anne immediately believes her and thinks something is up (which of course we later discover later that he ran off with Mrs. Clay to keep Sir Walter from siring a male heir [although he should be more afraid that Sir Walter will lose all his inheritance]).

However, someone in their great wisdom (read that sarcastically please) decides to reveal Mr. Elliot’s intentions in the first meeting. That’s supposed to be a big plot point! That’d be like if in Great Expectations when Pip goes to school if Magwitch sent him a letter saying that hey I’m your benefactor! By the way I also have a little girl that was adopted named Estella, do you know anyone by that name?

In this adaption Mr. Elliot also asks Anne to marry him (something not in the book), is messing around with Mrs Clay (which Anne catches instead of everyone finding out later), and they also change his character when he marries Mrs. Clay instead of just putting her up as his mistress. They completely changed the character and while it fit for Henry Golding; I this role was not the right one for him. He would have been better as a Frank Churchill, Mr. Tilney, or as Captain Wentworth as as Golding and a lot more chemistry with Dakota Johnson/Anne than Cosmo Jarvis.

Captain Harville (Edward Bluemel) and Captain Benwick (Afolabi Alli)

These actors did well in their parts but the problem was that there wasn’t a lot of them in the film. Benwick and Anne are supposed to spend quite a bit of time together, that’s why when he is engaged to Louisa all are surprised. In this he and Anne have one conversation and didn’t even use the amazing dialogue that Jane Austen wrote. Harville was also just used as a piece of the scenery.

Louisa (Nia Towle) and Henrietta Musgrove (Izuka Hoyle)

Most adaptions hardly use Henrietta but this one does it the least, blink, and you’ll miss her.

Louisa was not very well done in this either. She is made to be so silly, such as that line about how to get a guy. She also doesn’t make sense as a character. In the original book, she and Anne are close but she doesn’t know about their previous engagement, so when she meets Captain Wentworth it makes sense that she goes after this nice, rich, single man. However, in this production they show Louisa and Anne as best friends; Louisa knowing about the engagement and encouraging Anne to go after him. However, after dinner she then reverses that and tells Anne she is making a play for him. Seriously, what a jerk move to do.

The other thing that didn’t make any sense was that there was hardly any flirting and time spent between her and Captain Wentworth for us to even believe they were interested in each othe. In the book the two flirt a lot as Louisa is interested and Captain Wentworth appreciates having her attention in front of the woman who rejected him. The two do several jump and catch me little scenes, that later caused the accident as Louisa does it in an unsafe area. In this they cut out the previous scenes so when she does the jump it doesn’t make any sense and looks like she just decided to yeet herself.

Cosmo Jarvis as Captain Wentworth

I really didn’t care for Cosmo Jarvis as Captain Wentworth. I felt this version of the character was pretty boring and seemed to have no substance or relation to what was going on in the scenes. He never seemed upset or at all like the book character. And of course a big chunk is off because there are no secrets in this adaption like in the book.

I also didn’t feel as if Jarvis really fit in the regnecy times. He seemed out of place to me, as if he was not really apart of his surroundings.

Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot

I haven’t really seen Dakota Johnson in that many things so I can’t really attest to her acting but in this it was deplorable. A major portion of it has to do with her being the main character and pushing the film forward, but the script was terrible. Like Jarvis, I feel the bigger problem was that she never seemed to really inhabit the scenery as well.

Also her character is terrible. She’s trying so hard to be the “quirky” girl but it feels so out of place. They also made a majority of her character like little wine memes; basically this was her in a nutshell “It’s always wine o’clock”, “don’t give a carafe”, “wine not”, etc. She drank way too much, that is basically all she does-drink and fall down. She looks and acts like she needs to get help as she can barely function and cannot without alcohol.

In conclusion, I don’t care how much Netflix is trying to convince me this movie was “good”, I feel this is one of the worst Austen adaptations I have ever seen.

For more Austen adaptations, go to I Watched Austenland (2013) With My 14 Year Old Niece

For more on Persuasion, go to Recipe for Persuasion Audiobook Narrated by Soneela Nankani

For more Jane Austen retellings, go to Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)

I Watched Austenland (2013) With My 14 Year Old Niece

Today’s my blogiversary!

10 years of celebrating Jane Austen (and a few other things!)

10 Years! I can’t believe it. I wasn’t even sure if I’d still be blogging all these years later when I started; but here I am.

I want to say thank you to all of you who have been a part of my blogging journey these past 10 years! I also want to say a special thank you to some of the people who have been big supporters!

A.M.B, ashwillbiologist, Audra’s Book Blogging, Belle, Bibliophile89, caite92lovelythoughts, Christina Boyd, Christina Morland, Countess Parure, Elaine Howlin, Elsie Wells, JASNA EWANID, Jessica Ware, Karen M. Cox, Joy Thompson, lenoremarie34, Lost Opinions, MadsenCreations, Melody Faris, Middle Hyrule, Modesto Jane Con, Ms. Austen is My Homegirl, Northanger Soapworks, Ophelia, the Pretty Poems, ps_hansen_writes, P. S. I Love Rom Coms Podcast, SewMelissaWrites, Sophia Rose, Susan Joy Clark, Tom Austin, What the Austen, and everyone else who has read, liked, or commented!

And to celebrate, as usual, I decided to watch + review Austenland (2013) with my 14 year old niece.

Two years ago my niece and I watched Sense and Sensibility (1995) in my attempt to brainwash share my love of Jane Austen with my niece.

The post was popular and my niece and I had a lot of fun doing it. We decided to continue the following year, but this time I had her watch Northanger Abbey (2007).

I’m still not sure if this is helping to convert her to liking Jane Austen, but I’m still hoping!

This year I had planned to watch and review Pride and Prejudice (2005) but we only had a few weeks with her and even then we ran out of time. It was the night before she had to leave to return home and I needed a shorter Jane Austen film to watch. I ran through the minutes of the different Jane Austen adaptions and the shortest one is Mansfield Park (2007), but if we watched

that then I might turn her off from Austen altogether.

That’s not good.

So I quickly cast a wider net, and discovered that Austenland is only 97 minutes. Not only does it work best time-wise but it is one of my favorites.

Jane Hayes is a giant Jane Austen fan and decides to get out of the grayness of her life (and love life) and go to Austenland- a Regency inspired getaway where you can pretend to be in an Austen novel, go to a ball, and find you own Mr. Darcy ending. Things however, do not go as planned. She ends up having the cheaper package and getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. She starts to fall for Martin, one of the handymen at the resort, but he ends up dumping her because she is enjoying “their world” too much. (Seriously dude? I’m paying for this vacation-of course I’m going to enjoy it.) Anyways…she decides she is going to take charge of her own story and be the best Austen heroine she can be! Will she get her Mr. Darcy? Will she have the vacation of her dreams? Or will she decide she needs to stop her Jane Austen fascination?

This won’t be a full review as I reviewed it last Sunday, but you can read the full review by clicking here. Instead this will just my niece and mine’s thoughts while watching it. For this I refer to my niece as “G“.

Okay so here we go…

In the beginning of the film we are introduced to our main character, Jane Hayes (Keri Russell). She loves Jane Austen, even wanting to watch Pride and Prejudice (1995) when her boyfriend is trying to get close to her.

G: (Boyfriend tries to kiss Jane) Hahaha. Denied.

Yup, nothing gets between a girl and her Darcy.

Present life isn’t going so well at the moment as her ex-boyfriend hits on her and harasses her.

G: (Ex-boyfriend slaps Jane’s butt) OMG! That loser

Me: I know, right!

Jane decides to take the plunge and go to Austenland.

G: Austenland seems like fun. We should go. Is it real?

Me: No. I wish though. I would have my bags packed in a moment.

Jane makes it to Austenland but finds a few surprises. She does not get be vacation of her dreams

G: Miss Erstwhile? (Makes scrunched “ew” face)…Oooh she has the basic package. Omg! Look at her hair!

Me: I know it is so severe.

Austenland (2013)

We met Elizabeth Charming on the way to Austenland but as we spend more and more time with her she quickly become my niece’s favorite. And how could she not with lines like this

Miss Elizabeth Charming: I sure would like you to turn me upside down in the garden

Miss Elizabeth Charming: Is there something in my eye? (Shoves Mr. Nobley into her breasts)

G: She’s my favorite character.

She also likes Mr. Nobley!!!! Yay!!!

G: [Looking at Mr. Nobley] Isn’t he the guy from that other movie we watched?

Me: Yes, he was Mr. Tilney in Northanger Abbey.

G: He’s cute!

Me: He is indeed!

I am!

As things get worse for Jane she gets lonely and starts to get close to Martin.

G: Uuuuhh! No!

And when they kiss…

G: No!!! What about Mr. Nobley!! Get with Mr. Nobley!!!!

But Martin and Jane are not destined to stay together and a new guy comes in to town, Captain East.

G: He [Captain East] looks like the guy in Criminal Minds.

Me: Shermer Moore?

G: If that’s the guy who plays Derek. Then yeah.

Do you think he looks like Shermer Moore?

Jane is to be sent home for bringing a cell phone but is saved by Miss Amelia Heartwright, another lady at Austenland (and a platinum patron) who takes the fall for her. In return Amelia asks Jane to help her to get with Captain East. Amelia tries to be covert, but just looks silly.

G: [Laughing at Amelia] She runs so funny!

They decide to hold a theatrical and Jane picks Mr. Nobley so that Amelia and East can be together. She and Mr. Nobely have a moment.

Jane Hayes: You’re the resident Mr. Darcy. C’mon you’re every girl’s fantasy.

Mr. Nobley: So I’m your fantasy?

Austenland (2013)

G: Yes.

They do the play and it is terrible. Elizabeth Charming shoots Amelia in the eye, they all “die” terribly, and it is just laughable.

G: [Laughing] Why is Captain East taking off his shirt?!

Jane and Nobely have a romantic moment and she promises him the first dance at the ball. The next night they go to the ball and Nobley confesses his love to her, but she rejects him for Martin.

G: No this can’t be the end! She chose him [Martin] over Nobley?!! The country stable boy and granny hopper?!!

The next day Jane is going to go home when she is stopped at the airport by Martin and Mr. Nobley. She declines both of them and returns home. While back in her apartment she receives a visitor, Mr. Nobley, who traveled all the way from England to bring her, her sketchbook.

G: Gasp!

We then have my favorite scene.

My niece’s final conclusion? She loved it!!!! In fact she was a lot less vocal about this movie than the others as she was so engrossed. I definitely recommend this film for anyone to watch as it is so well done, but it’s also great for people you are trying to introduce to Jane Austen.

For more Austenland, go to Austenland (2013)

For more film and TV adaptions, go to Lean on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more blogiversary posts, go to I Watched Northanger Abbey (2007) with my 13 Year Old Niece

Now what is an anniversary without presents!

The 10th anniversary is tin, aluminum, or diamonds. As usual I look through the past years and try to find some posts that fit that theme. They aren’t my favorite posts, but the first ones I could find that fit the theme.

This year was very hard one, I couldn’t find anything from 2012, but I did manage to find aluminum on the tamale Matt eats in Night of Day of the Dead: Lizzie McGuire (2001) part of Horrorfest II from 2013

For diamonds I have a post on Aladdin in Diamond in the Rough (Day 15 The first Disney film you ever saw) part of the 30 Day Challenge: Disney Edition I did in 2014.

For more diamonds, I have the diamond that horrible Harry stole from his wife to give to his girlfriend in It’s Mrs. Archer. She’s on a Rampage!: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) from Horrorfest IV in 2015.

I purchased a lovely tea tin back in 2016 in My Trip to Teavana (which no longer exists)

There is also Apple pie made in a pie tin in my 2017 Thanksgiving day post, Are Dean Winchester and Jane Austen Kindred Spirits?

They celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in Basil of Baker Street: The Great Mouse Detective (1986) from Horrorfest VII (2018)

In 2019 I Won the Regency Marketplace Giveaway, part of my prize being two Oliver Pluff & Co tea tins: English Breakfast Tea and Jasmine Green Tea.

disney_52_films_desktop_by_classicalguy-d6anuq4

In 2020 I spent a lot of diamonds trying to get to the final conclusion of Desire & Decorum: Chapter 11, The Clock Runs Out Part III

And our final item is the theft of the priceless diamond called “The Moonstone” in A Legendary Jewel Goes Missing, A Country Manor Full Of Secretive People, Which Guest is the Thief?: The Moonstone (2016) part of Horrorfest X + Catherine Morland’s Viewing List

So thank you all for the past 10 years of awesomeness, and here’s to many more!

And a very special thank you to all who follow, comment, like, subscribe, etc. I wish I could mention you all by name, but even though I can’t, as it would be a really long list, just know I appreciate you all!!