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)

Happy Halloween Darlings: Horrorfest IX

It’s that time of the year again! Time for another Horrorfest, 31 days of horror, mystery, monsters, etc.

So I started Horrorfest back when I first began blogging. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it, the direction I wanted to go in. Since I like to watch scary movies every day in October, I decided to review them, and I had so much I fun I continued every year.

I know some people aren’t interested in it or would think it has nothing to do with my blog’s title, but you know who would love it and be so into horror films?

When I started this, I used a lot of stills from the movies I was reviewing and ended up with a a bunch of photos I couldn’t reuse for future posts. Since then I try to add less, unless I think I can use it for future posts or that it is crucial to the story. Instead I reuse old photos and I try to caption each photo with what film it came from, but at times I forget.

from Clueless

Over the years I have established a set of rules and annual films categories.

Rules are there must be at least one film or TV show episode:

  • From every decade (1930s-2020s)
  • At least one Alfred Hitchcock
  • At least one animated film
  • One made by Disney
  • One Stephen King film
  • One made by Tim Burton
  • One starring Vincent Price
  • And one in some way is Jane Austen related

The Jane Austen one is the hardest to do, although two years ago I had several. There was the Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans  Alta MarAKA High Seas, “Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders, Rebecca, and Strong Woman Bong Soonalong with the film that led to Sense and Sensibility (1995) being made-Dead Again

Two years ago I finally reviewed Northanger Abbey (2007), which started a new tradition, #CelebrateHalloweenwithNorthangerAbbey, something I will be continuing every year! So be sure to join me!

Another tradition I added a few years ago is dressing Jane up in costume every year. Last year I did Jane as a Ghostbusters.

This year I did Jane as Batgirl but I’m not 100% happy about it. Hope you all enjoy it though.

Well, I hope you enjoy this year’s picks-so far we have ghosts, monsters, gothic tales, vampires, mummies, and more!

For the original Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

For Horrorfest II, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

For Horrorfest III, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

For Horrorfest IV, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For Horrorfest V, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For Horrorfest VI, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For Horrorfest VII, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For Horrorfest VIII, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For Horrorfest IX, go to Time for You to Awaken, Master. Time for You to Go Out: The Return of the Vampire (1943)

For Horrofest XI, 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)

Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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.

When I first saw this book last year I was really excited! I love gothic fiction, and being Mexican; I couldn’t wait to see how the author blended those two components. Mexican culture has a lot of superstitions that would be ripe for a gothic tale.

Noemí Taboada has everything anyone could want in 1950s Mexico City: youth, beauty, and wealth. Well…almost everything. What Noemí really wants to do is continue her education and get her masters in anthropology, but her father refuses to support her as he feels a few years at the university is enough for any woman. To get back at him Noemí dates men her father feels are beneath their family and has become flighty in everything she does; nothing and no one lasting for very long.

However, when Noemí’s father receives a troubling letter from his niece Catalina, he proposes that if Noemí will go to visit Catalina in her home in the country, The High Place, and see if Catalina needs help; he will allow her to continue her education as far as she wants. She readily agrees.

Catalina lost her parents at a young age and she has always been close to the Taboada side. She and Noemí were almost like sisters, but that all changed when Catalina married. There is still so much that Noemí doesn’t know about Catlina’s marriage, she was engaged and planning a civil ceremony before Noemí even knew Catalina had a sweetheart. As the marriage happened so quickly, no one really had time to meet the groom, Virgil Doyle, his family, or discover what his finances were. Senor Taboada, Noemí’s father, was most displeased; and ever since then Virgil whisked Catalina away to his home far from Mexico City where the train barely visits and no phone lines exist. Nothing had been heard from Catalina for months, with all assuming it was because of normal newlywed ardor and the frostiness wiht the family…but that all changed with a rambling, handwritten letter.

Catalina has never been one to keep up a correspondence but when she did it was always typewritten and to the point. This letter is handwritten, rambling, full of strange symbols, and accuses her husband and his family of poisoning her and forcing her to stay when she wishes to leave. She begs Noemí to come and save her. As Senor Taboada discovered after the wedding, the Doyles no longer have any money; just an old British name, a closed mine, and an old home. He’s worried that Catalina has lost her mind and Virgil is forcing her to stay to keep control of her money, or perhaps worse. Maybe she wants to divorce him and he won’t let his meal ticket go? If Senor Taboada were to visit they would all be on their best behavior, but if Noemí were to go, perhaps she can discover the truth and find out if it is just a “woman’s issue” (it’s the 1950s remember) or something far sinister.

Hmmm…

This is only 13 pages in in and I am already hooked. I immediately started conjecturing, might it be a like in Gaslight where the husband drives his wife mad to keep her money? Could there be something supernatural like in The Tomb of Ligeia where the ghost of the first wife torments the new wife? With gothic fiction it can go in any type of direction.

When Noemí arrived she is not reassured. The Doyle’s live very high up the mountain where it is foggy, forest-y, and solitary. The mountainside also has the ruined look from its former mining operations. The Doyle’s are very English, no Spanish is spoken in the house, food is British, they even brought British soil to try to “recreate” the homeland. The house is decrepit and falling apart, although one can see that it “used” to be a beautiful building.

Creepy…

I’ve read a lot of Gothic fiction and this house is already giving me a bad vibe.

Noemí goes to see Catalina who is pale, still, and has no memory of writing any letter. She has to take medication multiple times a day that leaves her sleepy after. Is the medicine really helping her? Or is it to keep her quiet?

In the house the patriarch Howard Doyle. With them is Howard’s son and Catalina’s husband Virgil; along with Howard’s niece Florence, and her son Francis. Howard is ancient and disgusting (along with being racist), but he does appreciate Noemí’s spirit. Florence seems to dislike her from the first moment she set eyes on her and constantly shoots rude barbs at her. The only one who seems nice at all is Francis, but he is very quiet and tries to keep the peace, not one to stand up for himself. Virgil is definitely hiding sometneing, as he is more defensive than he should be, and quickly attacks Noemí’s character.

That night is the first night Noemí has a nightmare, a nightmare about being silenced and something lurking in the moldy yellow-pink wallpaper.

At this point I would have left and gone home to my father bringing him back to rescue Catalina. I’ve read far too many gothic novels and too many books; I would not have stayed. There is something off about all of this.

SUPER creeped

The days are boring and quiet, the solitude is deafening, and Noemí tries to do her best in this crumbling gargoyle, full of mold and depression. Noemí tries to discover the truth surrounding Catalina’s accusations but hardly gets a moment alone with Catalina. When she is able to, much of what Catalina says doesn’t make sense; “it” being in the wall, the walls whispering to her, etc. Is it in her head? Or is there a sinister ploy like in Under Capricorn? One thing was somewhat sensible, Catalina asks Noemí to go down to the village and get a tincture from a healer named Martza.

When Noemí is finally able to wrangle a ride to town, she meets up with the Mexican doctor and tries to get him to take a look at Catalina. However, he is not interested in going, as he does not think he will be welcomed by the Doyle’s. He also shares that there have been many strange happenings in High Place. When the mine was operational the workers would get sick with a high fever, rant, rave, speak in riddles, convulse, and die. It would be quiet for several years and then start up again. There is an English cemetery behind the house while the Mexicans would be sent down the hill for burial.

When Normí meets Martza she discovers Martza was the mystery letter mailer, that’s why the Doyle’s had no clue about it. Catalina gave it to Martza and asked her to mail it for her. Defiantly suspicious. Martza also reveals that the family is cursed. She tells Noemí about an event that happened nearly 20 years ago. Ruth was Howard’s daughter and she was supposed to marry her cousin Michael, but a week before the wedding she shot her groom, mother, aunt, and uncle. Virgil survived as Florence hid him away. After taking care of the others, she then turned the gun on herself. Most of the servants left and the family stayed up on the mountain out of sight. Florence married a stranger named Richard, who was nice, but then started talking about ghosts, spirits, the evil eye, etc. he disappeared and was later found at the bottom of a ravine. The townspeople are afraid of them as everything the Doyles touch rots.

The local doctor comes to call and Noemí questions him. He believes that Catalina is anxious, melancholic, and that her illness has aggravated it. Noemí finds the idea of Catalina anxious odd as she was never one to stress, and asks about what could have caused the depressive state. Virgil blames it on the death of Catalina’s mother, but that was years ago. The doctor tells Noemí that Catalina is recovering from tuberculosis and will be fine. He also cautions Noemí against getting anxious or agaitated. Cautions…or threatens?

Hmm…

The longer Noemí stays there the more strange and sinister things seem to be. Howard had two wives, Agnes and Alice Doyle (sisters and his cousins), both not lasting a year after their wedding ceremonies. Even more suspicious as now Catalina is failing. Noemí continues to have nightmares, them getting more and more frightening; with Noemí even questioning her own sanity! Is it something supernatural? Is it chemical? Is someone in the family trying to make them lose their sanity? Is the house and family really cursed? Whatever the reason, Noemí must find a way to free her cousin and herself before it is too late.

I won’t give the ending away as it was really good, and not quite what I was expecting. I definitely recommend for any gothic fiction lovers. It was a really great read and I’m eager to read her other books.

I can’t put the book down

For more from Catherine Morland’s Reading List, go to The Night Gardener

For more Gothic Fiction, go to Secrets of the Heart

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.

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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!!

Austenland (2013)

So I’m sure you are wondering, a review of Austenland? What about Netflix’s Persuasion? Aren’t I going to review that like everyone else?

Yes, eventually. Until I actually post a full length review go to my Twitter page and you can read my live tweet.

I’m instead reviewing Austenland as my yearly tradition (since my niece turned 12), is to watch a Jane Austen adaptation with her and post her review for my Blogiversary. This year we watched Austenland and I need to get my review out before I can post her thoughts.

Austenland the book was published in 2007. I had always been a big fan of Shannon Hale, (I LOVE Book of a Thousand Days), but as I didn’t become a Jane Austen fan until after I was sixteen I read the book a few years after it came out. The book is about a girl, Jane Hayes, who is obsessed with Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice (particularly the 1995 version) who is given the trip of a lifetime by her deceased aunt: a three week vacation in England’s very own Austenland. There she interacts with other Austenites, some Regency men, and tries to get the Austen ending she desires.

While I enjoy the book, Jane’s character did annoy me at times as she not only thinks every guy she has ever been with is her “boyfriend” (even when they haven’t even dated but just talked to them), she also blames Jane Austen for all her bad relationships instead of actually taking responsibility for her bad decisions.

The sequel came out five years later, Midnight in Austenland, and by this time I was a hardcore Jane Austen fan and immediately read it. I fell in love with it and thought it was amazing! This book follows Charlotte Kinder, recently divorced mother who is looking for a way to treat/distract herself. She goes to Austenland and tries to get her Austen ever after, but instead has a little Agatha Christie thrown in.

I love it

Then the film trailer came out for Austenland and it looked like it was to be mostly this first book, but with a few traits of the sequel that I loved. I was so excited!!!

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I tracked that film and when the release dates were changed, waited. And waited. And then when it wasn’t released in any theater near me, I waited some more for it to come out on DVD.

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I rented it as soon as it was out, watched it, and adored it from beginning to end! I thought it was soooo well done.

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Austenland the film follows Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) who has been unlucky in love. She finally decides to take her dream vacation, to Austenland, and go after her happily ever after! But things don’t go exactly as planned. When she gets to the resort she discovers her extremely expensive trip was the basic package and is treated poorly by the proprietress Mrs. Wattlesbrook (Jane Seymour) and given dreary clothes and the smallest room. Determined to have fun, she tries her best but finds herself left out as the kind and hilarious Miss Elizabeth Charming (played by the wonderful comedian Jennifer Coolidge) is matched with Colonel Andrews (James Callis) and Miss Amelia Heartwright (Georgia King) has Mr. Nobley (JJ Feild). Jane feeing lonely, mistreated, and all out disappointed with her dream vacation turns to Martin (Bret Mackenzie), the gardener/stable boy/Jack of all trades/etc. The two spend as much time together as possible until they have a fight and Jane is back to square one. At this point Jane is determined to no longer be on the side but go after the main character storyline. She and Miss Charming raid Miss Heartwright’s room for nicer gowns and redo her hair. She also sets her sights on newly arrived Captain East (Ricky Whittle).

However, she finds herself spending more time with Mr. Nobley, having been forced to choose him as a partner in the theatrical. Will Jane get her happily ever after Jane Austen ending? Or will her dreams be crushed by reality?

I LOVE THIS MOVIE! I highly recommend it to any Jane Austen fan as it has everything you could want and all the things you would expect from Jane Austen’s books. There is drama, comedy, heartbreak, love, a secret connection, reveals, and a truly romantic scene that I could watch over and over again.

Script:

There were a lot of changes made to the script from the original novel and they also used some aspects of the sequel in writing this and I am 100% okay with all those decisions. Everything they did made the film better.

Set:

The set was gorgeous! After reading the book I desperately wanted to go to Austenland and watching this, it’s perfect. A gorgeous house, beautiful grounds I would love to roam through, wildflowers to throw yourself in, a gorgeous area for teatime, etc. I absolutely love it!

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Costumes

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Absolutely gorgeous and ones that make you want them. They did such a great job giving Jane plain and dowdy outfits for the beginning, and then absolutely drop dread gorgeous ones when she steals Amelia’s. (And yes Amelia does notice, although it takes a while).

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Music

The music is phenomenal and there were quite a few written just for it by Emmy the Great. I plan to one day do a post just on that. Most of the songs I used when I had my birthday party last year, and almost all are available on Amazon Music.

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On to the acting! This has a small cast, but they do absolutely wonderful with the production.

Rupert Vansittart as Mr. Wattlesbrook

Mr. Wattlesbrook is a small role but his character is one that you hate as he is drunk, leecherous, and attacks Jane. Vansittart did a great job making you hate him from shot one, although it wasn’t too difficult for him as he played a similar character in Pride and Prejudice (1995) as Mr. Hurst (Mr. Bingley’s brother-in-law).

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Jane Seymour as Mrs. Wattlesbrook

Mrs. Wattlesbrook is our villain of the story and Seymour does a wonderful job being rude, demoralizing, and the perfect perpetrator of the cruel treatment she gives to Jane. You absolutely love to hate her.

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Ricky Whittle as Captain East

Captain East had a few changes from the book. He still is a lower class man who was engaged to Amelia Heartwright, engagement broken off as her family wouldn’t allow it, and has come back a Captain with money. However, in this he is also a soap opera star and a guy who always finds a reason to take off his shirt and show off his muscles. He is hilarious, sweet, and a lovable character. Whittle was perfect at bringing charm and hilarity to the role and giving him a golden retriever like charm.

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Georgia King as Lady Amelia Heartwright

Lady Amelia Heartwright arrives on the scene and becomes Jane’s rival as they appear to both be after the same men. In the original book they were friends, while in the film Lady Amelia is the Caroline Bingley. Georgia King is perfect in making you dislike her and laugh at her little eccentricities as she tries so hard to be Regency. Georgia King clearly has read or watched Pride and Prejudice as she knew exactly who she needed to be and what she needed to do.

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James Callis as Colonel Andrews

Colonel Andrews is the one who has been at Austenland the longest, and as you watch you can see it as he lives this Austenland experience. Callis was an excellent choice as he is able to match Jennifer Coolidge/Miss Amelia Heartwright energy and verve; which is not an easy task. As Coolidge made up most of her own lines Callis was able to keep his all alongside her.

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Bret McKenzie as Martin

McKenzie is perfect as the disingenuous, smarmy Martin. He’s so fake and false with Jane that it’s obvious to the viewer, but perfectly for the lonely, left out, naïve, and sweet Jane. He’s not the main villain, but plays his side villain perfectly. Even when he knows he’s not going to win, he tries to destroy any chance of a rival competition having happiness.

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Jennifer Coolidge as Miss Elizabeth Charming

Jennifer Coolidge was an excellent choice for Miss Elizabeth Charming as she was able to elevate the character and make her one you adored and admired. As most of Jennifer Coolidge’s lines were made up on the spot, it makes it even better as each one is hilarious. The character of Miss Charming is one that knows zero about the Regency era but has money and wants this wonderful experience with handsome men-making everything about her perfect as her odd remarks show she never fully submerges into this world.

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JJ Feild as Mr. Henry Nobley

Feild was a perfect casting for Nobley. Nobley needs to be the “resident” Darcy but appear to have more to him than meets the eye; something we discover at the end of the film. At first we are supposed to dislike him,As Jane does, but with every shot fall in love with him more and more. Feild has experience in being in the Austen’s world, Northanger Abbey (2007), and was just perfect. I don’t know how else to describe him, he was ultimate perfection and makes every one who watches him want their own Mr. Nobley. Just absolute perfection!

For more JJ Feild, go to Stolen Lover Leads to Murder: Death on the Nile (2004)
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Keri Russell as Jane Hayes/Miss Jane Erstwhile

Jane Hayes is not an easy character, she needs to be kind, caring, sweet, naive, a romantic, etc but someone that we the viewer can relate to and root for. Keri Russell is a great actress and relatability is something she does extremely well in everything she has been in. Just perfect casting as well.

Did you know Keri Russell is actually married to Mr. Darcy? Not only did she get to live out our Austenland fantasies, but is married to Matthew Rhys, Mr. Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberley.

For more Keri Russell, go to You Are My Fantasy: Austenland (2013)

Ending conclusion:

I love this film. I just love it so much. The writing is amazing, the actors and actresses. I could watch it over and over again.

For more Austenland (2013), go to You Are My Fantasy: Austenland (2013)

For more Austenland, go to Midnight in Austenland

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