Northanger Abbey: Readers, Meet John Thorpe

Still in Bath.

We meet the brother of Isabella Thorpe, whose name is John Thorpe.

This is his appearance:

John Thorpe was a stout young man of middling height, who, with a plain face and ungraceful form, seemed fearful of being too handsome unless he wore the dress of a groom, and too much like a gentleman unless he were easy where he ought to be civil, and impudent where he might allowed to be easy.

The very plain-ness of the man means the heroine, Catherine, will be paired up with him because she, though not un-attractive, is decidedly not beautiful. So why should anyone in Bath, England, pay attention to her? Isn’t it rather presumptuous of her to go to Bath and look for romance? Most women of Austen’s day and age would be happy to have anyone, looks or affinity do not matter in the least.

Self knows there will be plot twists and blah blah blah, but why in God’s name does Austen allow John Thorpe to bore us the same way he bores Catherine with pages and pages of tomfoolery and dull dialogue that was delivered to greater effect by Tom Bennett in the recent movie Love & Friendship?

We get that John Thorpe has no other subject of conversation other than horses (“look at his loins; only see how he moves”) and gigs, and that he doesn’t see the value of novels, but — could Jane Austen please stop belaboring the point and get on with it, please? A point can be made twice. It cannot be made three times. This is a short novel.

All self can see in her head is the dinner scene in Love & Friendship when Tom Bennet takes great delight in “little green balls” on his dinner plate and asks what they are and Reginald de Courcy (who is brought to blazing life by a blazing hot Xavier Samuel) says, “They’re called peas.”

Speaking of Xavier Samuel, self cannot wait to have Love & Friendship in her Netflix feed.

Stay tuned.

Actually a Very Good Question

Self has been browsing movie reviews, and binge-watching Ripper Street, and tweeting with fans about it, and beginning yet another fan fiction, which she needs like a hole in the head, but this one’s irresistible, this one’s got a Really Really Dark Peeta, a Peeta who just might be a murderer! Like Jack the Ripper! . . . Sorry! Back to the reason for this post.

From Critic After Dark’s review of The Shallows (which self saw aaaaages ago, at the start of the summer — feels like a lifetime!) starring Blake Lively, whose legs are so on point self can’t even:

Then of course death crashes the party in the form of a humpback whale carcass. Clever way to account for the Great White cruising nearby (otherwise it’s a bit of a puzzler why the shark — which habituates the waters of California, Northeast United States, South Africa and Australia — is hanging around a Mexican beach) but also raises a whole other question: why forego this tasty, properly wet-aged all-you-can-eat buffet of rich blubber and tender meat for a bony surfer who would hardly make up a satisfying snack?

In answer to which self wishes she could insert a hundred “shrug” emojis!

And self  has a question of her own for reviewer Noel Vera: How does he know the carcass is that of a humpback whale? Because it literally is half gone. So there is no possible way to determine whether it really does have a humped back. Har, har, har! Sorry, self just couldn’t resist making a lame joke.

Self will close with a list of the summer 2016 movies she most enjoyed:

  • The Shallows
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Our Kind of Traitor
  • Café Society
  • Love & Friendship
  • Ghostbusters
  • Bad Moms

Oh, summer. Self can’t believe it’s almost over.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

A Review of “The Interview”

For self to like a review enough for her to post bits of it on her blog, it’s got to be funny.

So, you all know about “The Interview,” right? The movie that ended up starting a Mexican stand-off between North Korea and the United States? The movie that had self making statements like: It is a God-given right that Americans watch what they want, when they want, and especially on holidays like Christmas, when all the shopping malls are shut!

Then “The Interview” came out, just as Chris Rock said (to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show) that it would, and judging from the remarks floating around the lobby of the Redwood City Century 20 on Christmas Day, the general consensus seemed to be: This is a stupid movie. Why the North Koreans ever felt it was so threatening — IDK (with shoulder-shrug emoji)

Finally, self lands on rogerebert.com (which she’s avoiding since coming to Mendocino because there are no movie theaters in the vicinity, and she’s too lazy to drive all the way to Fort Bragg, and anyway even if she did make it to Fort Bragg, they’re not showing it), and reads a wickedly entertaining review from Steven Boone. It’s so entertaining, self wonders why she never heard of Steven Boone before. So here goes (Note: The worst barbs are reserved for James Franco)

  • “The Interview” is nothing new, but it looks great.
  • You expect Kanye West and some X-Men to show up. It’s the visual approach filmmakers like Edgar Wright and various cohorts of this film’s star, Seth Rogen . . . spent the past decade indulging, to give their flouncy bromantic comedies the sizzle and swagger of a good romantic adventure.
  • Rogen’s co-lead, James Franco, takes a break from winking roughly one-third of the time . . . Early in the film, and for much of it, he is simply trying too hard. Imagine James Dean aiming for Will Ferrell speed and pitch. In Franco’s relentless hyperactivity I sense immense fear, of not supplying enough energy to this gargantuan film, of not giving Rogen enough to volley back.

There are several raunchy quotes from the movie, of which this one is the most tame:

“Welcome to the jungle, baby, welcome to the jungle. Na na na knees.”

Too, too hilarious!

Stay tuned.

 

Current Fan Fiction Fave’s Everlark Ship Still Not Yet Ready to Sail, in the Meantime at the Cineplex . . .

Oh, fan fiction.  You have self on pins and needles all the time.  All the time.

The Fourth of July weekend is coming up. On the Monday following (July 7), self sails off to Squaw Valley for the Writers Conference.  She just arranged to share a ride with someone from Benicia.  Excited!

This afternoon, self casts a very cursory look over the summer movie offerings.  She still wants to see “22 Jump Street”, though The Man saw it while she was in Los Angeles and declared it not good at all.

She still wants to see “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” as she loved the first one.

She’s seen “Edge of Tomorrow.”  Oh, that was good!  Emily Blunt is packin’.  It is so great when an actress with proven dramatic chops switches gears.  Blunt’s Full Metal Bitch deserves a place on the pantheon of Female Action Stars — maybe not quite on the level of Femme Nikita or Ripley, but definitely equal to Scarjo’s Black Widow.

She still wants to see “The Fault in Our Stars.”  Son and Jennie saw it and liked it, though Jennie maintained that the book was better.

She saw “Maleficent” down in Pasadena, with Son and Jennie.  3 1/2 out of 4 stars.  Self found Jolie’s razor-sharp cheekbones a tad distracting.  So was her lightning-fast change into leather pants in the movie’s climactic confrontation.

“X-Men:  Days of Future Past” — four out of four stars!  Magnificent!  Love the Vietnamese-talking Mystique!  Love J-Law/Mystique in 70s bo-ho hippie attire!  Love unrequited angst between J-Law/Mystique and McAvoy/Xavier and also with Hoult/Beast, and the jealous macho-ness of Fassbender/Magneto!  Not to mention, Ellen Page is one darn cute actress!  She hasn’t been this cute since “Juno”!

Finally, self still wants to see “Godzilla.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Ricky Gervais, Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition, March 1-2, 2014

Ricky Gervais was the subject of Alexandra Wolfe’s Weekend Confidential, two weeks ago.  He is as sharply witty on the page as he is while doing his stand-ups.  He plays Dominic Badguy in the upcoming “Muppets Most Wanted.” He’s probably most famous for creating The Office, which debuted on British television in 2001.

  • About Twitter:  “They worry about what someone on Twitter says about them . . .  You may as well walk around public toilets and look for graffiti about yourself, because it’s as relevant.”
  • About his humor:  “I enjoy deconstructing human behavior . . .  That’s my favorite thing:  social satire.”
  • About the criticism leveled at him for the way he roasted Hollywood stars while hosting the Golden Globes:  “You usually have to be a serial killer to get that many inches” in the press.
  • On his success:  “I’ve got a nicer house, and I travel comfortably, but . . .  I don’t do drugs, I don’t race cars, I don’t gamble, I don’t buy jewelry, and nothing I couldn’t do when I was poor have I started doing when I was rich.”

More:

He was in a band in college.  It was called Seona Dancing.

He got his start doing “a satirical alternative news show” called Meet Ricky Gervais.

Nice interview.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Movies Self Most Enjoyed Watching in 2013

Totally self-indulgent post.  Self is not even going to bother to explain.

These are the movies self could stand to see multiple times.

They’re not the best movies of the year, just the ones whose world(s) she found herself wanting to return to, more than once (The list is in alphabetical order, not in order of preference):

  • American Hustle
  • Anchorman 2
  • Boy A (Cheating a bit, because self saw this one on Netflix.  But.  Andrew Garfield.  WOW.  People who know him only as the Hollywood-ized version of himself have no idea.  None.  And it is Too BAD.)
  • Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing
  • Kung Fu Divas (featuring Ai Ai de las Alas, Marian Rivera, and Roderick Paulate) — Saw this one in Bacolod!
  • Nebraska
  • Riddick
  • The Hobbit:  Desolation of Smaug
  • The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire
  • Warm Bodies

*     *     *

Hope for 2014:  Self really, really hopes someone is making or has made a documentary of Typhoon Haiyan and the ongoing debacle in the Philippines.

Most Improved Show:  SNL

Most Surprisingly Sexy Show:  Sleepy Hollow (Just please never give Ichabod Crane a change of clothes.  Self would hate to see his affect dissolve once he gets around to dressing in jeans and T’s like a regular American dude)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Spotted in “Anchorman 2”

Borat * Doby the Shark * Christina Applegate * Will Ferrell * Paul Rudd * Steve Carell * Kristen Wiig * Liam Neeson * Kanye * Kirsten Dunst (as a beautiful goddess!) * an RV on cruise control * random comment about Filipinos * GNN (for Global News Network) * Marion Cotillard * Jim Carrey * Tina Fey/Amy Poehler * Vince Vaughn * precocious piano-playing kid

The funniest thing in Anchorman 2 (outside of Will Ferrell and Steve Carell) was a deliciously smarmy TV anchorman played by James Marsden.  Self isn’t a big Marsden fan, but she really liked his performance here.

This is not really a review of Anchorman 2.  If you liked the original movie, you will love this one.

Oh, and something else:  the way Kristen Wiig’s character and Steve Carell’s character drive an uptight newswoman almost crazy is 100% believable.  If someone who worked for you in an office screamed at maximum volume like that, would it qualify as abuse?  Do dear blog readers realize how difficult it would be to label — even describe — such behavior?  Therefore, it is brilliant.

On to Pajiba’s picks of the 5 Best Skits of SNL, which self read via Salon.com

Self loved the just-ended season of SNL.  She watched it (almost every Saturday) without fail (but still managed to miss Kerry Washington’s hosting gig, which apparently was the best episode of the season, according to Salon.com — go figure!)

She caught Ed Norton (meh) and John Goodman (more meh) and Jimmy Fallon last week (surprisingly meh) and Josh Hutcherson (adorable!).

She missed Miley Cyrus’s appearance.

The best SNL skit of the season was a pitch-perfect parody of Wes Anderson (during Ed Norton’s hosting gig), called “The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders.”  Watch and be slayed, dear blog readers!  Self loved the way Ed Norton channeled Owen Wilson.  It wasn’t just the bleached blonde wig (although that was pretty fabulous).  It was the way Norton nailed the Owen Wilson drawl, the whole surfer-dude affect.

Stay tuned.

ONE # 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

First, a digression:  Today, self and The Man went to see the first screening of American Hustle.

J-Law is just a-DO-rable!  Simply adorable!

Amy Adams was of course hot.

Bradley Cooper was the exact same speeded-up dude he played in Silver Linings Playbook.  Only this time, he was an FBI agent.  Many of the funniest scenes in the movie were his.

But Christian Bale.  CHRISTIAN BALE.  Since self had just seen him in Out of the Furnace, she couldn’t quite wrap her mind about this new Christian Bale iteration.  But — he was magnificent.  And also the only member of the cast whose Noo Joi-sey accent was firmly in place, from first to last.

The accent thing was quite a crucial thing in this movie.  Alas, self has finally spotted a chink in the J-Law persona:  Her accent was the messiest in the movie.  But self feels so chary in pointing this out.  For J-Law has the most hilarious scene with an exploding microwave.  Not to mention, she brings such vulnerability to her role.

And now to — the ONE!

Breakfast # 1 at Broiler Express in San Carlos: 1 egg, 1 pancake, and a strip of bacon.  All for $3.95!

Breakfast # 1 at Broiler Express in San Carlos: 1 egg, 1 pancake, and a strip of bacon. All for $3.95!

After the movie, we went to The Man’s favorite breakfast place:  Broiler Express on Laurel Street in San Carlos.

This time, when they brought her order, the pancake had mouse ears!

BWAH. HA. HAAAA!

Self’s pancake never had mouse ears before!

This was the very first time!

Self’s face broke out in a huge grin, she just couldn’t help it.  And the waiter was grinning, too.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Very Good Ideas for the Merry, Merry

Anchorman 2 is coming out soon! Love Ron Burgundy.

*     *     *     *

Sad about Paul Walker.  Self has seen all six Fast and Furious movies.  She loved Paul Walker’s laid-back cool, with those Converse sneakers especially.

*    *     *     *

Self will just come out and say it:  She loves the way so many reviewers come together to keep the Roger Ebert website alive.

*     *     *     *

Signing off to watch “Sleepy Hollow.”  How dare that Headless Horseman brandish weaponry at the adorably tall, thin Ichabod Crane!  A pox on you, oh Headless Horseman!  May pustules erupt all over your skin!  May you grow a new head like a serpent! And may the Bog of Sleepy Hollow swallow you up — forevermore!

And please, “Sleepy Hollow” producers, stop showing flashbacks of John Cho with his head hanging off his shoulders — backwards.  It is a most hideous, nightmare-inducing image.

She loves the way Mison calls Abbie Mills “Lef-te-nant”!  She saw a picture of him in People Magazine — a very teensy picture.  She thinks he possibly looks better in extreme close-up.  Like, on an HD television screen.

*     *     *     *

Self loves the huge pink-tinted glasses Sheila O’Malley wore on her latest blog post.  Sheila says:  “No way around it. These glasses help elevate the mood.  I like to wear them in a blasé manner out in public . . . “!

Oooh, self wants!  She wants!

If one cannot have pink-tinted glasses like Sheila O'Malley, one can still don Christmas headgear:  guaranteed mood-lifter!

If one cannot have pink-tinted glasses like Sheila O’Malley, one can still don Christmas headgear: guaranteed mood-lifter!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Oh Poor Selena

Self just happened to turn on the TV (for background noise while composing a story, of course) and landed on something hilarious featuring Anna Faris in full-on blonde bimbo mode (Emma Stone and an amazingly thin Kat Dennings are in it as well).  OMG, she thinks this is “The House Bunny,” a show self wouldn’t be caught dead watching in a movie theater.  So what, no one’s home.  Har, har, har!

She’s also finally getting through the Wall Street Journal of almost two weeks ago.  The regular movie critic, Joe Morgenstern, who she loves because he introduced her to the glory of “The Hurt Locker,” is on va-cay, so the reviews in this issue were written by John Andersen.  Andersen really liked “Closed Circuit” with Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall (Self caught the very tense, atmospheric preview) and he has a funny mixed review of “Afternoon Delight.”  If one is going to give a mixed review, one might as well be funny, right?  Right?

And then on to his review of “Getaway,” starring the very pretty Selena Gomez and an older man named Ethan Hawke.

Ethan Hawke??!!  With Selena Gomez??!!  Was he not just in theaters a few weeks ago with the wonderfully acerbic and touching Julie Delpy?

On to the Andersen review of “Getaway.”

Why is everyone in “Getaway” in Bulgaria, Andersen wonders.  Self wonders, too, since she doesn’t know what would be wrong with the country of Bulgaria.  But Andersen goes on to reveal that “filmmaking there is cheap” (Self madly scribbles this on a notepad, for future reference.  If she should ever be in the mood to make a movie, that is.)

This is the first movie to feature Selena Gomez in action mode.  She plays The Kid, a character who appears pointing “an enormous automatic pistol” at the Ethan Hawke character.  This is what Andersen has to say about that pivotal moment:  “. . .  in her hoodie, and wielding that cannon, Ms. Gomez looks like a delinquent chipmunk.”

At this point, self nearly stopped reading.  And here she was thanking her household gods that Selena did not choose to go the Miley Cyrus route of impersonating a sex goddess.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Andersen has to follow the “delinquent chipmunk” reference with a really low blow:  “It’s all you can do not to laugh.  Oh, go ahead.”

All the fun is not reserved for Ms. Gomez, however.  Here’s what Andersen has to say about Hawke:  “None of us really knows how we would act if a spouse were abducted by gangsters . . . ” (On the contrary, Mr. Andersen!  Self does know!  She knows very well!  She would go manic ape-shit crazy and run around in circles shouting curses and she would go to the nearest ATM machine and check her bank balances and then write a HUGE check — or she could maybe don a wig and board the next plane for Istanbul).  To make a long story short, Andersen is dissatisfied with Ethan Hawke’s performance because he “can’t quite maintain the level of panic necessary to convince us his wife is really being held hostage.”  (Perhaps the Uma Thurman experience soured him on marriage forever and that’s why he can’t quite pretend not to be a cynic about personal relationships?)

Anyhoo, kudos to Hawke, though, for having “a nicely ravaged look these days.”

Andersen is not yet done with Selena, though.  He has to stick the knife in and turn it:  Ms. Gomez, he says in parting, has the “facial contours” of “a petulant infant.”

OK, OK, we get it!  Not everyone can age as gracefully as Miley Cyrus!  Sometimes it takes AAAGES to lose the baby fat!

But once it is gone, the next thing on the menu is — drooping eyelids!

Selena, be happy about your current “delinquent chipmunk” look, and don’t fret.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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