Posted in Books, Jane Austen, Movies


The latest offering of Jane Austen’s Persuasion” (on Netflix) is an utter delight. Dakota Johnson is sassy and amusing, as any Austen heroine should be.

Austenites along the purist vein may find this latest adaptation jarring, but I love the diversity and anachronistic nuances. I adore when the classics are reworked and I feel that Austen herself, a progressive and subversive, would enjoy the tweaking of her works. At least I hope she would.

Critics love to tear things apart and are often persuaded by their editors to do so, for financial gain, but I refuse to listen to critics. I will not be persuaded by naysayers but will make my own choices.

This could just be the start of my very first Jane Austen marathon…never have I ever lost myself in Austen’s world, letting the words and images disburden me, if only for a flitting flash of fantasy.

Honestly, I’ve read/watched most every version of Austen’s work, more times than I should admit. Some are better than others. People are often way harsh on “Clueless” (1995, loosely adapted from “Emma”), I think, As if, it holds much merrymaking. “Bride and Prejudice” (2004), well, this has less merrymaking and much poor pacing, but the music is fun. The book of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (Seth Grahame-Smith) was better than the movie, though it had some intriguing moments; it felt very true to Austen’s convictions, especially concerning strong female characters in difficult and challenging situations.

I can never decide if I prefer “Emma” (1996) or “Emma” (2009), though I think Romola Garai is the best portrayal of the match-making mistress and though lavish and colourful, the 2020 version felt forced and well, clueless, as to who Emma really is, or is trying to be.

I will always love the BBC series, “Pride and Prejudice” (1995) with Colin Firth’s wet white shirt, er, I mean Colin Firth as Darcy. Also enjoy Kiera Knightley is the 2005 “P&P”. And of course, Helen Fielding loosely based, “Bridget Jones’s Diary” on “P&P” and thank you to whomever cast Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, but they should have stopped at the first effort.

As for “Persuasion”, the 2007 version is a delight, shakey camera choices aside, but also love Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds in the 1995 film, “Persuasion”. The 2022 version is delicious, thanfully including Henry Golding, and that’s always an added bonus; he was so good I wished Anne may have leaned toward William…sorry, Wentworth fans, it was a momentary weakness. If you haven’t seen Golding with Emilia Clarke in “Last Christmas”, well, I don’t know what to say. The music alone is worth it.

“Northanger Abbey”, definitely the J.J. Fields and Felicity Jones version.

“Mansfield Park” leaves me with brain hangover, the words, the feelings, the agony discussed can be exhausting, but intriguing. Jonny Lee Miller and Frances O’Connor (1999) version stands out for me.

“Sense and Sensibility”, the 1995 version with Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet, Gemma Jones, Imelda Staunton, etc. is a classic and worth a watch or six. Hugh Laurie gives a brief, but breathtakingly memorable performance as the laconic, brilliantly bored Mr. Palmer (best delivery of one word, “Try”.). I’m smiling thinking about it.

I highly recommend the 2008 BBC miniseries of “Sense and Sensibility” starring: Hattie Morahan, Charity Wakefield, Dan Stevens, David Morrissey, Dominic Copper, Linda Bassett, Mark Gatiss, yup, the BBC threw talent at this production, including Andrew Davies‘ wondrous words, and it worked. More sensual, very lush, in scenery and texture; I love taking this journey with the Dashwoods and company. I don’t know about you, but I always cheer for Colonel Brandon!

“Sanditon” (2019), which I struggle to pronounce for some inexplicable reason is loosely based on Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel, originally titled, “The Brothers”. I adored the first season, Theo James may have helped with that, the second time around, they struggled but honestly I’d watch Kris Marshall in anything, he fills the screen with energy and fun…hard to imagine BBC passed him over as The Doctor (“Doctor Who”), then again, they’ve made some questionable choices over the years, especially, er, lately.

If you haven’t yet, please check out: “Lost in Austen” (2008), certainly worth a watch and “Austenland” (2013), seriously, this is incredible…Keri Russell, J.J. Fields, Bret McKenzie Jane Seymour, Jennifer Coolidge, James Callis, Georgia King will give you the time of your life – and check out the novel by Shannon Hale.

People are constantly re-imagining classic works and Austen is not sacrosanct (but be persuaded to read the orginals). To date Austen has been reworked with, well, just about everything: zombies, proms, vampyres, seamonsters, cheese grits, cracklin’ cornbread, chili-slaw dogs, Mormons, murders, mystery, more murders, love, jealousy, books clubs, fight clubs, time travel, fan fiction, Bollywood, Hollywood, Prada, war, peace, potions, poison, passion, paintings, poetry, brides, snowmen, Christmas, dogs…

So if you love Austen, hate Austen (how’s that possible?), think there hasn’t been enough Austen (what is enough anyway?), think you can improve on Austen, or just want to cash in on Austen, dunno, maybe write your own fan fiction

I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.

~ Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

You may say that I’m a dreamer immersing myself in fantasy worlds, but I’m not sure how else to cope with the real world at this point. Any suggestions to sway me?

My idea of good company…is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.’
‘You are mistaken,’ said he gently, ‘that is not good company, that is the best.

~ Jane Austen, “Persuasion”
Posted in Movies

All Shook Up

I am indeed feeling all shook up these days…
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

I’m all shook up!

I went to the latest Elvis movie with my Mom, both my parents were huge Elvis fans and we were introduced to The King at a very young age. Baz Luhrmann isn’t always my cup of tea, but with this movie he outdid himself or maybe Austin Butler’s performance just overwhelms any “issues”.

Though Tom Hanks (whom I generally adore) gave a choppy performance. Maybe the subject of his attempt was just too repulsive to convey. The film was lovely, but chilling with it’s overwhelming theme of exploitation.

I loved Austin Butler in The Shannara Chronicles so I knew he’d be brilliant, but this was absolutely stunning, Warning: Bring tissues. A grand movie about a talent beyond measure and exploitation beyond reason. I hope fame doesn’t chew and spit out Austin Butler the way it did Elvis.

  • My memories of Elvis begin with Saturday morning chores. My parents were young and hip, and my Dad would do a “playlist” of 45s which he’d stack on our old giant stereo cabinet. The music designed to keep us all moving so we’d get our chores done quickly to get on with the weekend. This playlist always included some solid Elvis classics.
  • I remember where I was when I heard Elvis passed. We were in Kingston visiting family, my brother and I were watching TV when the Breaking News of Elvis dying was announced. I went into the other room where my parents, aunts, grandparents were and said Elvis was dead. My Mom told me that wasn’t a funny joke. I said I wasn’t joking. My brother then confirmed it. We all went into the living room and there was a lot of crying.
  • I don’t know how many times I’ve watched Elvis movies, ironically and unironically.
  • My Mom thought my Dad looked like Elvis…my Dad was ok with that.
  • I know the lyrics to many but not all 710 songs Elvis recorded.
  • I like many but definitely not all covers of Elvis songs (though many of his songs were also covers…whoa, sounds like a cover-up to me).
  • Elvis died at 42. That sucks.

But we can learn, can’t we? I hope we can. Stop falling for the snowmen, the con men, the ones who want to take our rights, scam us, snow us, trick us, diddle us, swindle, boondoggle, flimflam, all the grifters, including the ones in fancy suits with fancy cars in fancy offices and fancy bars. Stop arguing with each other on the internet. It’s not us versus them. It’s us being pummeled and saying yes sir, may I have another.

I was crying during the Elvis movie, partly because what was done to Elvis was awful but also, because it’s being done to me, to many of us every single day. We’re being chewed up and spit out, and all we do is blame other citizens, many of who are also suffering. We need affordable, secure, hopeful housing; we need affordable, secure food; we need affordable, accessible, consistent healthcare; we need transparency; we need politicians to keep their promises; we need a basic income, and above all, to be treated with basic human dignity, all this, for all. Times change. If something isn’t working, we need to change it. If we don’t change with them, adapt, well, survival of the fittest actually means survival of the most adaptable.

And I’m all shook up and I’m screaming at the top of my lungs (in my head)
Pretending the echoes of today, tomorrow, and yesterday belong to someone (they belong to all of us).

Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay