Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

I hate the idea of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The novel is an abomination. It’s an affront to literature. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite novels of all time and I hate the idea of some parody, modern interpretation mucking it up. HOWEVER. I went to see the movie adaptation, and while it is still the most ridiculous premise, it was pretty awesome and may have turned me around a bit. JUST A BIT.

I am in no way saying this was a good movie. It wasn’t. The pacing was uneven. I felt like it galloped through all the little intricacies present in the novel. It never felt wholly cohesive. But, to put it on the Flop House Podcast scale of measurement, it was a good bad movie and I had fun watching it. The first scene where zombies attack and all the Bennet sisters whip out swords and knives from under their dresses may have made me squeal a little. The mashup of badass ladies with the delicacy of the period was oddly compelling. It was a very empowering film. The women did 90% of the saving and much ass kicking. And the fight choreography was pretty cool. It was also hilarious to see the ways they integrated zombies into what is essentially a love story. It was very strange. It was both the Jane Austen story and an action/horror flick. It shouldn’t have worked, but somehow it managed.

The casting wasn’t terrible either. The actors who played Elizabeth and Darcy had nice chemistry. Though I was a bit put off by Darcy at first. He has an almost Byronic thing going for him and this low, raspy voice, but it grew on me. My favorite scene, and this may be a spoiler so if you would like to remain unspoiled AVERT YOUR EYES, was Darcy’s first proposal. It had the dialogue of the original Austen text, but they worked in a fight scene and it was quite nice. I won’t lie. Funny and ridiculous, but nice. The other Bennet sisters were pretty forgettable except for Jane. Wickham was appropriately smarmy and slimy, and Bingley was entirely too attractive. Lady Catherine de Bourgh was reworked as not only Darcy’s aunt but the fiercest warrior in England, which was neat. Also Matt Smith played Mr. Collins and it was AMAZING. He played him very silly and it worked well.

Adaptations are strange and people, myself included, have a tendency to get very upset about how they are handled. I try to treat any adaptation of a work as a new thing in and of itself. The medium has a tendency to change things; even the best of adaptations have to be worked to fit the medium. Sometimes it works well, others less so. But the adaptation in no way tarnishes the original work. So this zombie thing can stand. Is it ridiculous? Yes. Absolutely. But it serves its own purpose. It’s just another way to take in Austen and that can’t be a bad thing.

Until next time!




Review: The Magician’s Land

Th stirring conclusion to the Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman is presented in The Magician’s Land, the final book in the trilogy. As a warning, this is the end of a series, so if you have not read the previous books, this review might not be for you.

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The third book picks up pretty much where the second leaves off: sad Quentin in cool displacement, having been cast out of Fillory and unceremoniously dumped back on Earth. Slightly broken emotionally and having nowhere else to turn, Quentin returns to Brakebills where he takes a position as a teacher and throws himself into slightly arcane study. Meanwhile, Janet and Eliot worry about Fillory, which faces its most difficult and dire dilemma yet.

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Review: Inside Out + Vacation Fun Times

I was pretty wary of the new Pixar flick Inside Out, mostly because the trailer made it look like it had the potential to be ridiculous. It’s a tricky premise, personifying the emotions. There was a lot that could have gone wrong. But I am happy to admit that despite their marketing team’s best efforts to dissuade me, Inside Out was an excellent animated feature.

This movie has SO MUCH going for it. It is adorable, hilarious, and emotionally touching. SO MANY FEELINGS GUYS. I love it when animation makes me weep openly in public. The movie deals with some serious subject matter like growing up and embracing difficult feelings. The story follows the inner life of eleven-year-old Riley, specifically the actions and responsibilities of the emotions that live in her head: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. Together they navigate Riley’s feelings and behavior within what they call Headquarters (get it? get it?). With such narrow personality definitions, you would expect the characters to be static, but they aren’t. There is a lively arc and a fair amount of character development in regards to both the emotions and Riley. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Its pacing is great. It’s very bright, vivid, and beautifully animated. Neil and I went to a 10 am showing on a Sunday, i.e., it was kid city. Yet, they were all very well behaved, captured by the story being told. I think that speaks best to the merits of the film. It has so much to offer both children and adults alike. My favorite thing about the movie is the lesson it ultimately teaches. It deals with some pretty heavy stuff but manages to keep it engaging, without feeling forced. They did a top notch job. Way to go Pixar. You’ve still got it!

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Review: Wolf in White Van

I originally picked up Wolf in White Van because of John Darnielle. I am a big Mountain Goats fan and I figured if the book was anywhere near as lyrical and poetic as their songs, it would be worth the read. I also bought it when I was in Vancouver, so thanks Canada!

Also check out that cover. How cool is that?
Also check out that cover. How cool is that?

This novel is everything I hoped it would be: beautiful writing and a compelling plot explored in a nonlinear narrative. It studies the truths of being alone,  the judging eyes of society, and the gaping hole within us all.

At the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips suffered a disfiguring injury in an unnamed accident that remains a mystery through much of the book, leading him to a hermit’s life of isolation. As a way to fill the gaping hours, Sean creates the Trace Italian, a world of his invention that eventually becomes a mail-in text adventure game taking place in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic universe, as well as becoming a steady source of income and thereby a small modicum of independence. There his imagination stretches wide, creating a dark and adventurous world for himself and others to explore. Many things happen over the course of the novel. We find out about Sean and how he feels about himself and the world around him; how he copes with the way people look at him. We fully inhabit Sean’s mind, seeing through his eyes as he examines himself in relation to his family, his game, his past, and the strangers who invite themselves into his life via the Trace. When two young explorers of the Trace take their game play into reality, Sean’s life is rocked by tragedy and his culpability in those events. This misfortune sends him spiraling back into his own past and ultimately inspecting the accident from which all subsequent events emerge.

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Review: Frozen

Today, Neil and I learned the best kept secret of Boston cinema viewing. If you go to the Loews on the Common before noon, it’s only $7  (!), which is totally reasonable. It is possibly one of the few things that could get me out of bed before ten o’clock on a Sunday.


This particular Sunday we went to see  Frozen. I love Disney animation. I think they do beautiful films and explore great stories, so perhaps I am a little biased. However, how great this movie is cannot be understated. It is visually stunning and emotionally complex. I pretty much cried throughout the entire hour and forty minutes, and while I am a very empathetic person, I believe it was mostly due to the incredibly heartwarming and versatile story and magical ambiance.

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Beasts of the Southern Wild

I finally went to see Beasts of the Southern Wild, after several months of wanting to. It was an amazing movie. I completely understand why it’s nominated for four Academy Awards.

The movie tells the story of the Bathtub, a low-lying area of the bayou threatened by flooding and devastation.  The main character is Hushpuppy, a six-year-old girl dealing with the impending threat to her community in addition to her father’s failing health, which basically sums up the ‘tangible’ plot of the film. But alongside that sequence is a magical world involving great beasts rushing across the planet to the bayou, dream-like sequences, and ancient folk lore.

I would argue that at it’s heart it was a father-daughter story, for which I am a sucker. Needless to say I cried A LOT, but that’s only because I have a lot of feelings. The movie was sweet and heartbreaking, funny and visually stunning. It was such a creative film that actually trusted the audience to watch and make it’s own opinions about what exactly was happening.

The acting was brilliant. I just found out that the actor who played the father (Dwight Henry) was just a guy working at the bakery across the street from the casting agency and went out for the role on a whim. He almost didn’t accept the role because he was so dedicated to his business, but the producers really, really wanted him, and for good reason. He was perfect for the part. The passion and intensity was beautiful to watch. Then, of course, there was that little girl Quvenzhané Wallis. She just blew me away. Hushpuppy was such a strong, vibrant character; utterly fearless. That little girl is going places and that’s the truth.

It’s a good movie, and I really, really enjoyed it. Go check it out if you’ve got the time.