Wednesday, April 16, 2008

S&S, AI, BL and...that's about all for now...

#2 has the stomach flu (which seems to be gone now) and she lost her first tooth last night!! She's only 5 years old. But #1 lost her first tooth at 5 years old, so it seems about right.

Sense and Sensibility:

To remain completely unbiased, dear reader, I have to admit that I did not read anybody's reviews of this film. I only have snippets here and there that told me how you felt about it. But I'm glad I refused to read reviews so I could see it for myself. And how do I feel about it? Thrilled. Absolutely thrilled with this version of S&S! I always enjoyed the Emma Thompson version of S&S, to be sure, for a lot of the dialogue and plot situations were correct. However! This version was much improved, and that was because of the details. Here's what they got right:
  • Length. Of course, this makes the most sense, seeing how movies made from books always do better when the length is increased. Usually.
  • Elinor and Marianne's obvious love for each other, despite their differences.
  • Elinor and Marianne were being portrayed by women that can be believed to be under 20 years old.
  • The character of Mrs. Dashwood.
  • Meg's tomboyish tendencies.
  • Meg seeing Willoughby receive the lock of hair from Marianne.
  • The gift of the horse, although there was no argument about it. Willoughby was always going to "house" it.
  • Marianne and Willoughby going to Allenham while Mrs. Smith was away and Mrs. Jennings guessing it at the dinner table.
  • Almost all plot lines!
  • The hair in Edward's ring
  • The silliness of the elder Miss Steele (Anne). Too funny! And having her in the story.
  • The characters of Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Palmer, and Sir John.
  • Most dialogue --at least, the most important dialogue
  • Marianne's reactions to the arrivals of, respectively, Edward Ferrars and Col. Brandon when she was expecting/hoping for Willoughby.
  • The details of the dance, although Marianne did not collapse nor need help out of the room.
  • The early morning letter by Marianne to Willoughby.
  • The letter from Willoughby --word for word!
  • 90% of Col. Brandon's confession to Elinor about his "ward".
  • The sword fight --with both unwounded, although it's only mentioned in passing by Col. Brandon to Elinor (in his said confession).
  • The mention and praising of Miss Morton and Marianne's bold retort to Mrs. Ferrars about it.
  • Mr. Willoughby riding to see Marianne when he hears she is near death and confessing all he did and felt to Elinor.
  • Elinor telling Edward about Col. Brandon giving him the living.
  • Marianne's genuine change of heart and character --her sincere wish to live the things she had learned.
  • Willoughby truly loving Marianne, but he was too selfish to be honorable.
  • The encounter with their servant, Thomas, where he tells the girls that Lucy was now Mrs. Ferrars.
  • Elinor rushing out of the room when she realizes that Lucy married Robert and not Edward.
  • Marianne learning to love Col. Brandon.
What they got wrong:
  • The walk where Marianne fell wasn't because of Col. Brandon. Marianne and Meg went walking just to go walking.
  • No mention of Mr. Pratt (Lucy's uncle and teacher, who was the means by which Lucy and Edward met).
  • Not enough conversation and mention of Lucy Steele (for my taste).
  • Too little encounters with Lady Middleton (Sir John's wife).
  • No reading of Marianne's letters to Willoughby! We're left to guess. Which is actually better, in my opinion (guessing, that is).
  • No detail of Miss Grey (Willoughby's wife).
  • The assumptions about Edward's gift to Elinor (although I can hardly blame them). The book doesn't mention any kid of parting gift.
  • Edward stayed a week and not two days at the cottage.
  • Lucy did not leave with Edward when he surprisingly walked in with both Lucy and Elinor in the same room. She left shortly after he did. I know that's a silly detail, but it was in BOTH movies, so I noticed it.
  • Mr. Robert Ferrars was not introduced until after Mrs. Palmer had her baby and they had left town. But that's too much moving about to make it "watchable" (i.e. they're in London, then they go to Cleveland, and then London again, and then Cleveland, etc. ).
  • Marianne did not get sick from one crazy walk in the rain. She got sick because she went out walking several days in a row, at twilight, and did so even when it was wet.
  • Eilnor DID forgive Willoughby and said to him that Marianne did as well. Their parting (Elinor and Willoughby's) was actually very amiable. But that last phrase "She could never be more lost to you than she is now" was right from the book.
  • Marianne was "unconscious" throughout Willoughby's visit (she was still very sick and in bed).
  • Lucy was actually in correspondence with Robert "on the side" and so her sudden switch to him was not unfounded.
  • No mention of Mrs. Ferrars' blessing of Edward and Elinor; nor of all the details surrounding Edward and Elinor's engagement. The focus was more on Marianne and Col. Brandon, and that's okay. I totally get why they did it, since her change of heart seems to need more explanation. But the book talks of it very, very little. At least after they get back to Barton (the cottage).

Please notice that a lot of the details and plots that this movie got "wrong" were also the same things the Emma Thompson version got wrong, too.

So, my conclusion? Wonderful! So very much impressed! The scenery/location of the cottage was to die for, the actresses were fabulous. All the men played their roles rather well, although I didn't find Willoughby to be very attractive. His eyes, yes, but not his mouth. Weird. Anyway, it was really great. I'm sure I left out more details --things I was thinking about as I was watching it, but for now, this will do. Just know that this version is right up there with Emma, NA, Persuasion, and P&P. Now, if someone could just make a decent Mansfield Park, I'd be all set!


American Idol

Hooray! I got to watch AI without nary a problem. And so here I am, back to my reviews. Mariah Carey night! How cool was that? Although I can't stand the woman. Wait, wait, I'll tell you why. I have nothing against her as a musician or artist, for she truly is amazingly talented. I'm not against her fame or choice of dogs, either. What I laugh about is her Diva-ship. I watched her perform on VH1's Diva concert thing they had years ago, and she was so full of herself. After they announced her name, she wouldn't come out for over a minute; and she made the cameras only show her right side --which is what happened last night, too! So laughable. She drives me crazy. But at least she was nice to the contestants? Which should bump her sales nicely, I think.

Anyway--here's my thoughts of the performances:

David Archuleta: One off note (or was it three? It was in a run, so you can't always tell), but it was still a top-notch David A. performance. Very, very good. Sorry, folks, but David is going to win American Idol. He's the only contestant that is loved by ALL demographics. Old, young, male, female --every person I know that critiques this show (you know, like 3 people) likes and respects him. If that ain't proof enough...Anyway, that's my prediction.

Carly Smithson: She was fabulous for about 3/4 of the song. I was like "yeah! That's Carly! No shouting, no freaking out on us..." and then she did. Shout and freak out. She would have done herself a favor to end the song softly, but no! That ain't Carly's style, you know. So, until that second run of the high chorus, I would have given her a 9. After that? A 3.

Sayesha Mercado: Not bad, not bad. Too many notes were out of key, though. Right there at the bridge, with all those crazy runs. But her ending was top-notch! Very, very good. Controlled, in tune, and powerful. I actually liked it a lot. The beginning, and the ending.

Brooke White: She got two things wrong. First, when she made her pitch mistake at the bridge (in the middle), she did just what Paula said --she sped up. And the look on her face?! I know that look. It's the "Holy Crap I just made a huge mistake and I can't stop thinking about it and so how the heck am I going to move on at this point?!?!" face. Don't give it away! And speeding up? When it's not part of the song? Look, dear reader, I have to tell you something about music. Sure, we work hard to get the notes right. But I tell my piano students this: "If you get the note right, great! But if the rhythm of that note is wrong? Then it's still wrong. I don't care if the note is right. You have to have the rhythm!" Tempo truly is important, especially if it's obvious. Second: Her stupid confessions in front of the judges. It's starting to really annoy me. I'm all for humility, but to say "Yeah, I totally screwed up"?? Not classy, and not smart. She needs to be more confident with herself --I know it's a sincere humility (unlike Melinda Doolittle in a previous season), but it's still starting to get old. Now. If you could have erased those two things, I would have shouted to the rafters that Brook was back! Because it was a fab arrangement and she sounded so good! But those mistakes were blaring, people. Blaring.

Kristy Lee Cook: Totally disagreed with Simon. I know he hates country music and it was obvious, because I didn't find it whiny at all. I actually thought that last week and this week were Kristy's very best performances. She sounded all Patsy Cline to me! And that's a good thing. To sound like Patsy? Yes, I would think so. Good for Kristy!

David Cook: They praised him to the sky, but I actually didn't think it was his best performance. Honest. I found it to be...boring, really. Creative? Yes. Daring? Yes. Kind of fun? Yes. Thrilling-oh-my-heck-you-are-a-freakin'-genius? No. I may be the odd-man out on this one, but it just didn't rock my world. I'm thinking it's because he's already done cool arrangements and I was bored. Or tired. Not sure...

Jason Castro: I really, really liked it! Like Kristy, Jason's last two performances have been awesome! He's back, people! He performed with the confidence he needs --his choice of notes was brilliant (and I guess we can thank Mariah for that...?).

Who should go home? Who cares. They're all good right now.

Who do I think will go home? Like I know! I mean, Michael Johns went home last week, so it's all messed up now.

The Biggest Loser

I LOVED IT!! The Season Finale is always wonderful. I love to see everybody weigh in one last time --I love to see their before pictures and how they look now. So fun! Some of them did such an amazing job. And when Bernie won the BL off-campus? Holy cow! I thought Mark would get it, for sure. Hooray for Bernie!

But, of course, the best part of the night was when Allie won! For the first time ever, a girl won the Biggest Loser! I was so excited for her (and for me, being all "Go Girl Power" and all). She so deserved to win it all. And she looks amazing! I was so proud of Kelly, too. She worked so dang hard, and it showed. And Roger? It's like he lost 2 persons! He's as thin as his wife, now. :)

This show has inspired me this week to do it --I only have one pound to lose before I hit goal weight. I weigh in on Friday morning, and all this moving has been really hard on me. I should have hit goal weight weeks ago, but it's been really, really hard. Also, I've been self-sabotaging (like Allie did on the show!), and it ain't pretty, people. But one pound?! How can I not do one pound? So, I'm refocused. I can do it! Oh, and Brandon? That weight loss machine? He has been at goal weight for FIVE WEEKS. That's right! One more week and Brandon has achieved life-time! I'm so excited for him! And our budget!

I was going to talk about why I hate Renters, but this post is psychotically too long already. We'll save that for tomorrow. Assuming you've even noticed, what with all these reviews...


Julie said...

I totally agree on Brooke. I wish I would've remembered to mention the speeding up and the face in my review. I was thinking to myself "Dang, girl, you're not the first person to make a mistake! Just move on!" But she's so sweet. And I wish she'd get some of that sass-a-frat back!
What did you think of David C.'s tears? I was weirded out by that whole thing. And yes, that was definitely a more boring performance from him.
Oh, and I did like the finale of BL (it's the only time I really watch that show). Awesome! I couldn't believe Mark lost by one pound to Bernie. Ouch! And I also liked that Ali really was the Biggest Loser of EVERYONE. That doesn't always happen. So that was cool. She's got an incredible body now.

Anonymous said...

I loved Sense & Sensibility as well. I always enjoyed the Emma Thompson version, too, but I love the feel of this one even more.

David A. did great. Brooke totally blew it, I thought. Poor thing looked so nervous and shaky after her blunder. I think she's in danger. Syesha-eh. Carly-eh. Kristy Lee-she sounded decent last night, but I'm still not a fan. Jason Castro was great. David C. was cool, but I was surprised how highly the judges praised him.

Good luck with your last pound! You can do it!

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

I totally have a crush on Jason Castro now that he's getting his groove on...after last week, I'm a solid fan.

David C. rocked it! I loved his version of that song, and almost didn't realize which song it was for a little while. He could totally have a record RIGHT NOW!

Brooke, sweet Brooke. Maybe it's getting to be too much for her? They need some downtime with their families for a week or so. She might not make it through tonight.

David A, (A for awesome)...he's gonna win, I totally agree with you Cheryl.

Everyone else--blah.

Leslie said...

I'm sooooo happy that Ali won...she totally deserved it! Good luck on your last pound!!!

On S&S...I was so mad at myself for missing the second half...mayby one of these days I'll catch it, but from the first half I was very pleased with what was happening. I loved the actresses portraying Elinor and Marianne...they were so believeable in their parts and so very, very good. I was disappoined in the actor for Willoughby...I just didn't think he fit...I also agree that some important things are left out of borh film adaptations, but feel that, on the whole...both do the book justice quite well. I'm with you on Mansfield Park...there is NO good film adaptation of that one!!!

Susan M said...

I was bummed for Brooke. She did my favorite Mariah Carey song and botched it.

When we learned it was Mariah Carey night I said to my husband, "She'll be changing her clothes every three minutes! And asking the contestants if they like her shoes!" but she actually did great. I did notice the "only shoot me from this side" thing, though.

I thought it was funny that Simon called David Cook's performance "original" when it was just like all the other ones he's done.

Amanda said...

Go Girls! I was so proud of Kelly and Ali. I was really hoping Kelly would win, but I am pleased that Ali did. I think it is awesome that Bernie won the $100,000!

I hope the flu doesn't pass to anyone else! My second child just lost her first tooth a little while ago too! She was 4 still...she got her teeth late so I thought she would lose late, but she has lost one and has one more loose! Exciting times.

The Wiz said...

David Cook mumbled through that whole thing, and it sounded exactly like everything else he's sung up until now. I was really surprised the judges liked it so much. Maybe they just liked it because it didn't sound like Mariah Carey, with lots of superfluous high notes and fancy runs.

I loved this S&S. I really like the Emma Thompson one, so I was worried, but it was great. Loved it.

Jamie J said...

I just love David C. but that's just me. But I was a little taken back by his crying...

S&S was awesome! I thought I would be disappointed because I love the Emma Thompson version so much but this one was great! The part I wish they would have done more with was Meg and Edward. I liked that they focused more on that in the Emma Thompson movie. But all in all a very well done movie!

Cheryl said...

You know, I should have mentioned this, but when she said she missed her sister's wedding to be on AI, I just felt so bad for her! Maybe her mistakes were deeper than just an "oops" note. Perhaps she's really struggling with being away from family like MoTWB said. Seriously! I would be heartbroken to miss a sibling's wedding, especially if it was a Temple wedding (I'm totally assuming here).

Susan -YES! David Cook did nothing new. His awesome arrangements are getting old. Is that possible?

I wish I could give you a copy (and Jamie J --I can't give you one, either, I'm so sorry!), but all I have are copies. I hope you get to see the second half somehow, though!

I'm glad you all liked S&S as much as I did. Somehow, it validates my expertise on all things Austen. :)

Rochelleht said...

I loved the new S&S. I've seen it now 4 times. I watched it again today. Just play it while I do laundry. I think Willoughby was perfect. Just shady enough... And Col. Brandon and Edward were yummy!

Never A True Aggie said...

I loved this S & S. I actually like it better than the Emma Thompson one for many of your reasons. I was watching the clips from the screen writer and he said that he wanted to make the men more "manly" in this one so he had them doing "manly" things like chopping wood, training birds, etc. I think it worked. I also think Col B was less stuffy in this one and you can see how M would fit with him. Willoughby was perfect. Not cute, but very dramatic which totally fit his character. I am so glad that you liked it. Great minds think alike!