As many of you know, Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” is my favorite book in the world. I’ve read it more times than I can remember. The 1995 adaptation does have some flaws, but it is still almost perfect. But, when Netflix announced it was making an adaptation of Persuasion, part of me was excited and part of me was filled with dread. The dread intensified when I heard that it was a period piece starring Dakota Johnson.

I dumped Netflix a while back, and the trailer for this offering left me cold. Check it out here:

and let me know what you think.

The reviews were almost universally terrible so, when a good friend who does still have Netflix invited a couple of fellow Janeites over to watch it last Saturday, I was leery but I went. Friends, it was even worse than we thought. I’ve already shared my thoughts with other Janeites in private, but I thought I’d share them with the fine folks here at WordPress:

We hated the inane, teenage dialogue (5s and 10s? exes?). We hated the personality transplant given to Anne. Austen’s Anne (and Nick Dear/Amanda Root’s Anne) is elegant and refined.  Dakota Johnson’s Anne, however, appears to drop an F-bomb just after she sees Frederick for the first time (we rewound it – the part when she’s told about the jam mustache – to confirm).  We were appalled when she drunkenly yells at Frederick through the open window the night before.  We hated that Anne is a whiny lush. We hated that Lady Russell takes discreet sex tours. We hated that Elizabeth told Anne that she (Elizabeth) needed Anne nearby so that Mr. Elliot could see how much prettier she (Elizabeth) is.  We hated that Mr. Elliot told Anne of his plans right off the bat.  We REALLY hated the Mr. Elliot/Mrs. Clay denouement. As in jaws dropping.  We hated the way Harville knew all about Anne.  We hated how Louisa behaved.  We hated that Mary appears to see a shrink and spouts nonsense about loving herself before she can love anyone else. And what they did to The Letter is inexcusable. 

In short, we found zero positives, except for the cinematography. It was, admittedly, beautiful to look at. But I’m a substance-over-appearance kind of girl so the lovely cinematography didn’t cut it with me.

I started pacing pretty early on. I just couldn’t take it.  I found it to be almost physically painful.  There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. 

1995 does have its flaws, but it’s still as close to perfection as possible IMNSHO (as one friend put it, “Ciaran Hinds set a bar that could be seen from space” – and I would submit that Amanda Root did, too). To me, the very best example of why this version is so bad is the scene where Anne and Frederick meet for the first time. In this version, Anne is acting like an idiot.  She babbles incoherently when she sees him. In 1995, all we get is the 2 of them looking at each other and then the camera cuts to Anne’s hand holding onto the chair as for dear life.  Same scene, yet the differences are immeasurable.

All this awfulness made me think about the whole “accessibility” issue.  I find it rather condescending to make a period piece that uses modern language and sensibilities to “make it accessible” for the audience. Just make a new Clueless. That was brilliant. As I’ve said, I got people to read Emma because of it. Same with Bridget Jones’s Diary/P&P.

In addition, an LA Times review I read said that this group is considering bringing P&P and S&S to the unwashed masses also.  Dear God, make this stop!!!!!!

I have to wonder how many of the hits that Netflix is getting come from hate-watchers like my friends and me. Most of the reviews I’ve seen on YouTube have been just as scathing as the newspaper/e-zine reviews. This movie is just bad. Truly bad. It’s hard to believe that something could be even worse than MP99, but this managed what I’d previously thought was impossible. I guess that’s an accomplishment?

I love blue mascara. I’ve worn it for years. Black is too stark, and brown is not stark enough. I have green/brown/hazel eyes, and I just like the way blue mascara looks. But it’s almost impossible to find, unless I want some funky bright blue stuff that’s really not quite suited to me and my lifestyle.

“Voluminous” by L’Oreal is nice, but it’s hard to find in blue (I buy it from ebay whenever I can find it).  When Max Factor was in business, they made a mascara that I really liked. When I learned that Max Factor was going out of business, I bought as many tubes of that mascara as I could get my hands on. My stash should last me a while, but I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement now so that I’m not desperate when I find myself down to my last tube of Max Factor. I’ve laid out $15 or $20 for some of the more expensive department store brands (YSL, Estée Lauder, etc.) but, oddly enough, I like the drugstore brands best when it comes to mascara.

Ideas, anyone?

A jury declared that Casey Anthony was not guilty of killing her little girl.  All she’s supposedly guilty of is lying to the police and, given that those 4 counts are worth only a year in prison each, she will likely go free based on the time she’s already served.

Someone put duct tape on Caylee’s skull.  Someone put chloroform in that car. Someone put Caylee in those bags and put her in the car and then dumped her body in the swamp.

And someone was partying for 31 days after Caylee went missing and wearing a tattoo that translates into “Beautiful Life.”

In my not-so-humble opinion, those “someones” are the same person: Casey Anthony.

Why would Cindy perjure herself if she didn’t think that Casey was guilty?   Why would Casey lie repeatedly to the police if she didn’t have something to hide?  She is a raging narcissist and I cannot imagine she isn’t pleased as punch with herself for getting away with murder.  I hope and pray she never has another child.  God only knows what she’d try to do to that one.

May God bless Caylee Anthony’s soul.

First, a little background.

Manasota has a single art house, Burns Court Cinemas, which is owned and operated by the Sarasota Film Society.  It is located in downtown Sarasota.  SFS also owns and operates Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, which is located in the (as yet unincorporated) Lakewood Ranch area of Manatee County.  Burns Court is my source for indie and art films, even though they arrive somewhat later than they do in other cities (including Palm Beach and Miami).  Recently they started to offer films that are more Burns Court types of movies than Lakewood Ranch types of movies; the program is called Burns Court at the Ranch.  These films are shown every Saturday and Sunday at 11.  I love this idea, because I live closer to Lakewood Ranch than to Burns Court and the parking more plentiful and the amenities are much nicer.  Anyway, this week’s selection is L’Amour Fou, a documentary about Yves Saint Laurent and his partner in both life and business, Pierre Bergé. (here is an interesting piece about Saint Laurent and Bergé from the NY Times.)

The film was excellent.  It was narrated entirely by Bergé, and showed film clips and stills from their life together.  We also saw workers packing up Saint Laurent and Bergé’s possessions for an auction by Christie’s at the Grand Palais in Paris.  The auction’s proceeds were used to help create a foundation for AIDS research. Bergé is proudly unsentimental about the auction, and says point-blank that it’s a good thing he survived Yves because Yves would never have been able to part with the items.  Haute couture is not my thing, but Saint Laurent practically invented the concept of prêt-à-porter, and some of those clothes are simply gorgeous.

So, why the hate?  Because at least 5 people walked in to the tiny little room after the film had started and talked in their normal voices about where they could sit, and at least twice that number continued the conversations they’d been having before the movie even started.  Maybe they don’t understand French and are content to read the subtitles while jabbering, but I would bet that even people who don’t understand French wanted to read the subtitles in peace.

Does anyone else want to petition theaters for a “no-talking section?” This behavior is rude, selfish and annoying, and there’s really no excuse for it.  I cannot remember the last movie I went to when people weren’t having conversations while the movie was playing.  If you want to talk at a movie, wait until it’s on DVD or HBO and watch it in your own living room.

I have been a Mets fan since the 1960s.  But just because I love them doesn’t mean I like them very much right now.  The team isn’t playing well, and ownership seems to be competing among themselves to see who can humiliate the organization the most.  Between the Madoff business and the bad moves they’ve made on the field, there really isn’t a whole lot to like (speaking of Madoff, Harry Markopolos, author of No One Would Listen, is back in the news today due to his efforts to assist whistle-blowers on Wall Street).

Here is the New Yorker article that all the papers and pundits are referring to.  Wilpon is taken to task for his Dodger obsession which, given the embarrassments that the Dodger organization is going through, is strangely appropriate.  He also insults some of his players, including the two “faces of the franchise”, Wright and Reyes.  I’m not sure why he’s losing it, but that’s what appears is happening.

Just sell the team already Fred.  I’m begging you.


I’m going on a much-needed vacation and will report back upon my return.  I’m bringing the Kindle with me, and I have a good idea I’ll make enough progress on Jane Eyre that I’ll be ready to discuss it when I get back.

The Mets were pretty awful last night.  I wasn’t able to watch the game, but I did follow along on MLB At Bat 2011 on the Droid, and was definitely not amused.  Wright used to be one of the best 2-strike hitters in the game, and now he’s whiffing at bad pitches.  Beltran can’t run like he used to.  Pelfrey still can’t beat the Marlins.  And Josh Johnson still owns the Mets.  But it’s only 1 game, and there are 161 left to go.

I’ll be home for tonight’s game against the Marlins.  For some reason, even though MLB’s website shows that we here in Sarasota/Bradenton are definitely not part of the Marlins’ viewing area, Comcast does give us a lot of Marlins games on Fox Sports Florida. So, while allows me to watch Mets/Marlins games, ESPN and MLB Network don’t always.   I can understand them doing that with the Rays because, after all, we’re only 30-something miles from the Trop, but we’re not exactly part of the Miami metro area, yet we get blacked out of their games.  It’s very strange.

My own parish church is 13 miles from home in the opposite direction from the office, so I went to a church that is much closer to work for their 7 a.m. Ash Wednesday Mass.  We got a late start because a statue in the church garden of Jesus and 2 little children was vandalized overnight.  When I arrived at 6:45, the priest was talking to the police.  Fox 13 covered the story, as did several other local outlets. Personally, it’s not my taste in art, but that doesn’t mean I would ever consider hopping a fence in the middle of the night and whacking it with a blunt object.

Ash Wednesday is a sad day to begin with, and this made it even worse.  The priest referred to the vandalism several times during the service and tried to come up with reasons why anyone in his right mind would do something like that.  I know it’s Lent and we’re supposed to think even more carefully about “forgiv[ing] those who trespass against us,” and my heart goes out to the clergy and the parishioners because forgiving the person or people who destroyed their statue is not going to be easy.

I hope they have the strength to do the right thing.

Updated 3.10.11: This story made the front page of the Bradenton Herald.  There’s another picture of the damage at the link.

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve ranted about how much I hate people.  Not that I’ve stopped hating them — it’s just that my ever-evolving sense of “island time” has raised the bar.  It takes a little longer for me to spew the hate than it used to.

KC and I took my car up to Tampa last night to see the Lightning host KC’s Devils.  The Lightning won, and former Islander, Dwayne Roloson, played a good game.  Another former Islander, Sean Bergenheim, is also on the Lightning, and he was another reason I rooted for them.

I’m very glad I didn’t end up having to work in Tampa.  It’s a 50-something mile drive each way, and downtown seems to be perpetually under construction.  And the signage is very, very, VERY bad (it makes New Jersey signage look good, and that is not easy).  We were promised free parking, but that lot was full and we ended up having to pay $15.

We took I-75 to get there, and found not a single sign telling us how to get back home.  We did, however, see a couple of signs for I-275. We even saw one that promised to take us towards the South, and so we innocently trusted the sign and made the turn.

Unfortunately, that was the only sign with an arrow heading South and, after a good 20 minutes alternately spent cursing and laughing (that maniacal laughter one does to avoid crying), we headed onto I-275 North with the intention of getting off at the next exit and turning around.  The exit for which we were in the exit-only lane led directly to MLK Boulevard (Road?  Street?  Avenue? who cares?).  We looked at each other and realized we could be having a true-life Bonfire of the Vanities experience, but luckily all it required was a U-turn to get us headed in the right direction.

But I digress.  The above is a good reason to dislike people (the city planners, the construction workers, etc., of Tampa), but it’s  not necessarily a reason to hate them.  My reason to hate them came a little later in the drive home.  We were cruising along the interstate when we approached the toll plaza for the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  I got into the far-right lane because there was only 1 car in it, as opposed to 3 or 4 in the other lanes.  We sat there for at least 5 minutes, watching the toll-taker do something that looked suspiciously like filling out forms.  Then the car in front pulled up a few feet and the toll-taker wrote down the plate number. They futzed around for long enough that KC threatened to reach over me to honk the horn, proving without a shadow of a doubt that, even though you live in Paradise, and even though you can take the girls out of New York (or, in KC’s case, New Jersey), you really cannot take the East coast ‘tude out of the girls. When I finally pulled up to the booth, I asked the man what happened.  Apparently, the person in front of us had no money, and that he was the 3rd person of this man’s shift who had no money.  This is insane.  I can understand not having exact change (especially if you’re not from the area and have no way of knowing), but this driver didn’t have any money at all on him.  It’s not like he’s on the GW Bridge and they want $8.  The Skyway is only $1.  How hard is it to come up with $1?   How can you get in your car and drive on a major thoroughfare late at night with no cash at all on you?  To say that we were gobsmacked is putting it mildly.

How much do you want to bet that he’ll get the bill in the mail and ignore it?

Part VI: Persuasion

I saved the best for last.  Persuasion has been my favorite book since I first read it in late 1995, after seeing the gorgeous 1995 BBC adaptation. I’ve probably read it 6 or 7 times since then and I love it more each time. It’s been several years since my last re-read, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to have a fresher perspective this time.

Lately, I have been involved in a discussion about the heroine, Anne Elliot.  There are some people who think she is a doormat, and others who, like me, think she’s a strong, admirable woman.  So, in this reading, I am going to try to pay particular attention to Anne and her thoughts/actions to see if I can understand why some people don’t like her.

So I’ve just started the book. We’ve really only met Sir Walter, Miss Elliot and Lady Russell.  We know that Sir Walter is a very proud man who thinks very, very highly of himself.  His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, is a chip off the old block who cannot find herself a husband.  She has been her father’s hostess since she lost her mother 14 years earlier. Lady Russell is a neighbor of the Elliots and was a dear friend of the late Lady Elliot (who was not like her husband at all).  She is a sort of surrogate mother to the Elliot daughters.  We are told that she loves Elizabeth “just because,” and not because Elizabeth is particularly lovable.  We know that Mary, the youngest daughter, is married to the son of a local squire, and that she and Lady Russell are not that close.  But we are also told that Anne, the middle daughter, is special. Anne is the most like her mother, and Lady Russell loves her very much.  We get all this in the first two chapters.

Yet again, the Jets kicked us in the teeth.  They looked like world-beaters against the Patriots last week, and this week they looked like the 98-pound weakling of the old Charles Atlas ads in my comic books.  They didn’t even bother to show up in the first half, and they couldn’t make up for it in the second half.

I am disgusted.  I know it sounds prissy, but signing character guys is not necessarily a bad thing.  Why?  Because a lot of the guys who were brought in because their old teams didn’t want to deal with the baggage are the ones drawing all the penalties.  They are not disciplined in their personal lives, and they have shown us that they are not disciplined at work either.  There are reasons that their old teams couldn’t wait to get rid of them.

Before kick-off, I really thought Gang Green had a solid chance to win this game.  But you can’t play that badly in the first half and expect to win the game.