It really has been a month since the sickness hit our house. I feel like a hermit. I have been doing much more reading and movie watching than usual. I haven't added the reading to my sidebar because, besides magazines, everything I have finished reading has not been worth recommending. But I figure you can all use the warning, and can also even allow that we might not all share opinions on these things. So without further ado, reviews on books and movies I have taken in during my month as a shut in.
Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt by Anne Rice. I hate to write a bad review for this. My husband, who has a Masters in Divinity, loved it. He wrote his own blog post about how outstanding it was. He actually required me to read it because he thought it would help me. I don't know if y'all have issues with understanding Jesus like I do. I think that anyone with a history of hurtful pastors, teachers, or even parents who taught them from Scripture in a less than gracious way probably has a little bit of the trouble I have. I struggle with understanding Jesus in Scripture, his tone and even his audience. I always fear that he is angry or worry that he doesn't understand me. I have said often that a book called Love Walked Among Us really helped me in this regard. I think George thought this would help me even more. He likes that it is in the proper historical context and setting, that Rice really did her homework and got the time of Jesus right. I understand that if we better understand the context of his life, we can better understand him. But the tone of the book is creepy to me. The setting is eerie. I don't know if it's because she has always been a vampire writer before or if it's just because it was a scary time, but I just didn't like the book based on the creepy factor. It had a dark and hopeless feel. But I will say that I didn't finish it. I read about half of it and just couldn't stomach anymore. Perhaps it gets better?
Mr. Darcy's Daughters by Elizabeth Aston. Have you ever wanted to read some of the modern day sequels to Jane Austen's works? I have always been a little interested, but there were so many, I never knew how to choose what might be the best ones. George went to Barnes and Noble while I was in the hospital and perused the Jane Austen knockoffs display in order to bring me a fun read to help pass the hours. He settled on this volume because the author had done several sequels which seemed to indicate that she was good at what she does. But no. I know that no one is going to be Jane Austen, but I was shocked at how short this fell. Perhaps there are others who do it better? I am pretty sure I could. This book had Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy raising five daughters, two of whom turned out to be exactly like their aunt Lydia and one of whom bore a striking resemblance to their Aunt Mary. Now tell me, how likely is that? Mr. Darcy is really going to allow the silliness in his home that was so repugnant to him in Lizzy's? Lizzy is going to allow it?! The book has Mr. and Mrs. Darcy on a trip abroad with their five daughters behind in London under the care of Colonel Fitzwilliam, who you will remember is Darcy's cousin, and is wife. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, who have risen to great wealth and now have a daughter who is betrothed with a dowry of ninety thousand pounds (the Darcy girls each only have fifty thousand), also share in the care of the Darcy girls and find themselves in a remarkably similar situation to the one they found themselves in twenty some odd years before, traveling to a large city in search of a young family member whose elopement threatens to bring her family to ruin. And again, a dashing and wealthy man, in love with the miscreant's sister, beats them to the punch and helps save the whole family from public humiliation. Honestly, it was that bad. The only good thing was that the author had enough respect for Miss Austen to spare us from dreadful attempts to predict what her main characters like Darcy or Elizabeth would do in specific situations- they were not actually present in any part of the book. However, she does take liberties with the Gardiners, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Lydia Bennett, and Caroline Bingley. Besides that, that the Darcys would produce such ridiculous children shows a real lack of understanding of the original book and characters to me. But do let me know if you have read anything actually worth reading after this fashion.
Burn after Reading. Oh gosh. This was so bad. Rotten Tomatoes has this as 77% fresh. How? How was this movie enjoyed by anyone? I wish I had more words. It was boring. And not funny. And I haven't seen a whole lot of Coen Brothers, so I just think I am not really a fan in general, but this was not good, no likable characters, or even sympathetic ones, just a bunch of yucky, selfish, stupid people. George didn't even finish watching it. I believe he said it should be called Burn Before Watching. That sounds about right.
Brideshead Revisited. Oh dear. Again, this was so dull. I think this is truly the worst movie I have ever seen. When would it end? Soon, please let it be soon. Do we really have to visit Brideshead again?! Rotten Tomatoes has this as 64% fresh. Again, how? It was rainy and grey and full of unhappy people. I have not read the book, but I can only imagine my disappointment would have been greater if I had, because surely the book would not have been made into a movie if it were this wretched.
Made of Honor. Okay, so what did we expect? This was just something George picked up at the library for me to watch during my down time. I forgot about it and we ended up watching it on Saturday night. We didn't expect much, but this was truly dreadful. First of all, the title annoys me to no end. The main character was a male maid of honor for his best friend, who he was, of course, secretly in love with, and was in no way honorable, and therefore by no stretch "made of honor." It was a horrible title. Just call it Maid of Honor. Back to the dishonorable main character, he was the disgusting male slut character that we are somehow supposed to be rooting for to win the heart of the girl. This is the old When Harry Met Sally story line, and while we fell for it with the original, because we were fourteen (or however old you were when you first saw it) and Harry is so funny and likable in spite of being morally depraved, we cannot allow it, twenty years after the original, with anyone who merely shares Harry's knack for sleeping with anything that moves. Patrick Dempsey is not funny or charming or even likable in general. How could we wish him on anyone? Add to it a predictable and ridiculous last minute bursting in on the wedding ceremony on horseback and giving a very short and trite speech that somehow wins the formerly unpersuaded heart of the girl scene, and you have the worst romantic comedy ever made. The worst? I don't know, there are so many bad ones, but pretty near it.
After the dreadful experience with Made of Honor, I decided to do a little research and find some more satisfying romantic comedies. There are quite a few that we have skipped lately because they are often so disappointing. I felt determined to find at least one that could take the bad taste out of my mouth from our Saturday night experience. With the help of Rotten Tomatoes, I found two on Redbox.com that were just down the road and looked like they would at least help me pass a sleepy Sunday afternoon with mild enjoyment.
Definitely, Maybe. This one was rated 72% fresh by Rotten Tomatoes which really surprised me. It is a good idea, I suppose. The story was much too adult themed to actually be telling a ten year old as the movie pretends to do. The basic idea is that the dad is telling his daughter about the three women that all sort of criss crossed through his life in the years leading up to marrying her mother. He doesn't tell her which one her mother is, and the daughter is left to guess based on the story. Unfortunately, the parents are in the throws of divorce, so the telling of the story borders on tragic. The reason all hope is not lost is because it seems that one of the women was "the one that got away" and steps might still be able to be taken to win her. Obviously, this is all an unfortunate situation, and even the "happy ending" does not really make up for what really happened in the story. The little girl ends up cheering for a woman other than her mother for her dad, and it just doesn't set well.
27 Dresses. This only received 40% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and will actually be my only positive review. So that teaches us, if we didn't know already, not to really depend on Rotten Tomatoes. And I won't say that this movie was spectacular. But it was cute and well done. There were definitely things that could have been done better, particularly the resolution scene. I always have trouble with the resolution scenes in romantic comedies- you know, the part where the people forgive and understand or finally see the light and decide to live happily ever after? Sometimes this is so absurd or unbelievable in a movie that it ruins everything else. Sometimes it is that bad, but it is par for the course, so it just confirms that the movie is dreadful. Sometimes, often actually, it is choppy and a little bit of a stretch, but forgivable. And sometimes, but only every once in a great while, it is seamless. I wish I had examples. But when you find yourself wondering how we are supposed to believe this or why that would make him change his mind or why those words would finally convince her, you know it's been badly done. This movie's resolution was not seamlessly done, it was even rather silly to a point, but you knew what they meant, and you understood why. Does that make sense? It wasn't the story that was flawed, it was just the onscreen execution of getting from point A to point B. And it was forgivable. The characters were likable and the story was interesting. It didn't feel contrived, and it would have been very easy for it to feel that way. Mostly, it just felt happy and lighthearted, a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening just taking a break.