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About BethR

  • Rank
    Getting medieval on media

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  • Interests
    medieval English literature, fantasy and science fiction, historical fiction, movies, music, travel, a unified Christian life

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    university English professor
  • About my avatar
    Dandelion from "Sugarshock" by Whedon & Moon
  • Favorite movies
    Singing in the RainTo Kill a MockingbirdCasablancaGalaxy QuestBabette's Feast
  • Favorite music
    Steeleye Span. Bruce Springsteen. Warren Zevon.
  • Favorite creative writing
    William Langland, THE VISION OF PIERS PLOWMANGeoffrey Chaucer, CANTERBURY TALESJulian of Norwich, A BOOK OF SHOWINGSDorothy Dunnett, THE LYMOND CHRONICLES; THE HOUSE OF NICCOLO; KING HEREAFTERDorothy L. SayersC.S. LewisJ.R.R. TolkienPoetry: John Donne, Edward Hirsch, David Citino, Mary Oliver, Kelly Cherry
  • Favorite visual art
    medieval illuminations. JMW Turner. PreRaphaelites

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  1. link to the 2004 thread on Anchorman, for some wayback yet still relevant commentary on Will Farrell's comedic acting Having had mixed experiences with Will Farrell comedies over the years, I enjoyed Eurovision...Fire Saga (Netflix) much more than I expected: laughed out loud several times (mostly at scenes not primarily focused on WF). Rachel McAdams and the rest of the supporting cast really put their hearts into it. I have only watched a few evenings of Eurovision (including a performance by Conchita Wurst, who won that year) and have seen mixed reviews from Eurovision fans, but at least one, The Atlantic's David Sims, thinks the movie gets the mix of satire and sweetness right. Actually, though, Dan Stevens gives the funniest performance in the movie.
  2. I'm happy with my write-up for Places in the Heart, so that's all right.
  3. If I would be acceptable, I would like join in. It's probably time for me to re-read this series. I hope I can stand it.
  4. I started watching this 10 episode high-school comedy/dramedy series on Netflix because it pushes a lot of my buttons--inter-cultural issues, Indian culture, Sendhil Ramamurthy. I didn't realize Mindy Kaling (with Lang Fisher) had created it until after I finished. It is both light and funny, and also deals with legitimate trauma and insecurities of both the teen and adult characters. There's an Easy A plotline that's about as raunchy as it gets. The diverse, young cast should have a future--if not in season two, in more TV and movies. As is often the case, I found it interesting that protagonist Devi and her family are practicing Hindus and although Devi finds it "embarrassing" at times to go through the rituals and expresses some doubt as to whether the gods hear her, Devi's friends aren't dismayed and the priest is a kind source of good counsel. Unlike every TV show in which you can count on the Christian minister to be corrupt, stupid, or an outright villain (exception for God Friended Me.) The voice-over narration by an unexpected actor doesn't always work, but the self-aware metacommentary and a few twists are also entertaining, if you just go with it. Recommended for the un-cynical.
  5. I seem to be the only person in the universer without Disneyfication+, so I have not seen The Mandalorian. Thank goodness for social media, so at least I know what Baby Yoda is. Sort of.
  6. It's been years since I read Gone with the Wind, and I suspect I'd have less patience with it now than I did then--I think I was in 7th grade, and I may have re-read it in high school. I know the last time I watched the movie, I found Scarlett impressive as a character with more resilience than most, but she's also so self-centered that she destroys what should have been her "great love story"--with Rhett. But my memory may be fogged by Clark Gable. (I know there is an "approved" sequel in which Scarlett and Rhett reunite. I haven't read it.) As for the mythopoeia, it is organic, I suspect because Mitchell was part of that culture in the same way Faulkner was part of "Yoknapatawpha County," Mississippi, when he was writing his stories and novels in the 1930s. GwtW was published in 1936, and though it is set in the 1860s, the Civil War past was still very present in Georgia where she grew up.
  7. Top 100 lists before 2011 are now unavailable--is that correct?
  8. I don't think I can help you.
  9. The Goldfinch (film) is now at the top of my Netflix DVD queue, which means it will get here in a week or two, probably. I wasn't previously aware of Justin Chang, and now I am, so thanks, Andrew and Christian. I agree with Ken that reading situation makes all the difference with Moby-Dick. I'm thankful that nobody made me try to read it in high school (which they did with The Scarlet Letter, unfortunately). I read it in a grad school American novel class with the late, great Louis Rubin, and though I'm unlikely to voluntarily read it again, I definitely appreciated it. (Rubin also rehabilitated The Scarlet Letter, so I bless his memory.
  10. I have nothing against those who enjoyed and appreciated The Goldfinch novel and/or film. Christian is right about my summary of the audiobook, which I recall as extremely long--and believe me, I have listened avidly to books that are 25-42 hours long (not all at once). I just felt so bad for the kid throughout, with so few competent or trusted adult carers in his life, so little incentive of his own, and so many no-hopers pushing him here and there. The painting, despite its symbolism, became more and more of a macguffin as the tale proceeded. I haven't seen the film yet--as you might imagine, it's not at the top of my list--but it might be one of those cases in which compressing a long novel into a movie actually improves the storytelling. Writing a novel is an accomplishment, and I can appreciate Tartt's achievement. I'm not saying that all novels should be pure escapism, but there's a difference between feeling sympathy for a protagonist and pitying him--I just found young Theodore pitiful. Other novels that are amazing achievements but that I didn't care for: The Luminaries. Wolf Hall and its sequels. Sue me.
  11. This thread seems like a reasonable place to put this link: McSweeney’s Explains Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  12. Thanks for this info, Gareth. The documentary and the accompanying films should be well worth watching.
  13. A Facebook-style LOL emoji is what this post/response deserves :D
  14. I follow this plan, though I couldn't have come up with it. I salute your logistical skills.
  15. I didn't watch the final season, because watching characters running about hither and yon at the behest of a "God Account" was getting weird. Half the time they were determined to find out "who was behind it," certain that some human or human-engineered AI agent must be orchestrating everything (a bit like "The Machine" in Person of Interest, but nice?). The mystery is never fully explained, even though a computer virus nearly destroys the "God Account" and clever programmers "save" it, implying it's artificial. The other half, they were hinting that there might be some supernatural power at work, trying to convince our protagonist Miles to return to faith. In the two-part finale, after meditating (not exactly praying) in a church about the outcome of his sister's life-or-death surgery, Miles more or less does just that. The series wraps up with one of the ever-popular "It doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you believe in something, especially in yourself and the goodness of other people" voiceovers, and they all live happily ever after. I almost wished for re-runs of Touched by an Angel.
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