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About BethR

  • Rank
    Getting medieval on media

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Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    North Carolina
  • 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

Recent Profile Visitors

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  1. Long ago I confessed that I had never read this iconic novel. Well, I'm reading it now, because I decided to teach it in my Honors "Heroes and Monsters" class. I have the Oxford World's Classics edition for notes, but the "reading" itself has been primarily via Audible.com audiobook, which is read by a stellar cast: Alan Cumming as Dr. Seward, Simon Vance as Jonathan Harker, Katy Kellgren as Mina Murray/Harker, Susan Duerden as Lucy Westenra, and Tim Curry as Van Helsing (plus additional readers in bit parts). It's too bad that most of Van Helsing's speeches are rendered through other characters' letters and diaries, which means we don't get nearly enough Tim Curry, but otherwise, it's a lot of fun. I can see how it might have been quite frightening, though, back in the day. Students seem to be enjoying it so far--the class is about halfway through it, and the term "vampire" has finally been uttered. Anyone else have thoughts on Dracula--the novel, not the films?
  2. I have been looking forward to seeing this, in any case, because I have been a big fan of Linda Ronstadt, but it's good to read that the documentary is a strong tribute. She's amazing, and it's sad that her voice has been lost to us too soon.
  3. Just finished J. Michael Straczynski's autobiography, which has the full title Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood, with Stops along the Way at Murder, Madness, Mayhem, Movie Stars, Cults, Slums, Sociopaths, and War Crimes. I can't claim to have read or viewed everything JMS has written, but I've been an admirer since the broadcast days of Babylon 5, which is still one of the most remarkable TV series ever produced (and now streaming on Amazon Prime, if you missed it before)--there's a thread for it in TV. He also wrote for/co-created Sense8 with the Wachowskis, but I haven't seen that. Anyway, his life story is truly remarkable and (as the title implies) very difficult--as he says in the epilogue, a series of events and achievements against million-to-one odds. Introduction by Neil Gaiman. Highly recommended.
  4. BethR

    Blinded by the Light

    I have been looking forward to Blinded by the Light ever since I saw the first trailers, and it did not disappoint. Everyone with me agreed. While I liked Yesterday much more than kenmorefield did, I agree that Blinded is more nuanced and thoughtful--doubtless because it is based on biography and history, rather than being a fantasy. Would Hairspray be an example of a musical bildungsroman framed around a woman's experience? What about Dirty Dancing? Coal Miner's Daughter? Charlotte O'Sullivan of the Standard acknowledges the male-centric issues, but loves it anyway: O'Sullivan also suggested another woman's musical bildungsroman: the Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy (dir. Asif Kapadia). I have not seen it and am not familiar with Winehouse's music, but FWIW...
  5. BethR

    Cats: The Movie

    Perhaps a planet where The Lion King is the only musical in any form?
  6. BethR

    The Nevers

    Six more cast members reported, with descriptions hinting at outlines for the series. Whedon again seems to be showing his ability to cast distinctive actors.
  7. BethR

    Cats: The Movie

    Woman #2 has obviously been living on some other planet.
  8. BethR

    The Nevers

    Twelve cast members announced, along with some intriguing character descriptions. It's starting to look good. Among the new names: Olivia Williams (Dollhouse), Nick Frost (The World's End), and Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark).
  9. Backlisted podcast will be discussing Hoban's Riddley Walker in the next month--it's been announced on Twitter, but isn't listed yet among the "Episodes." This unusual literary podcast is devoted to "giving new life to old books," or, according to the "about" page, "how and why some books stand the test of time." I've picked up a few good recommendations from them, and enjoyed their discussions of obscure books/authors that I happened to know already.
  10. I haven't seen this movie yet, and probably won't because Tarantino's violence and I don't mix, but here's Jezebel's Rich Juzwiak on misogyny in Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood.
  11. BethR

    Harriet (2019)

    I'm looking forward to this one.
  12. I guess I'll just note here that the Constantine character (played by the same actor) was brought back on CW's Legends of Tomorrow series, adding a dark supernatural thread to the sci-fi time-travel plotlines.
  13. Premiere date Sept. 26, 2019. Promo summary: "An Ivy League professor [Whitford] becomes director of a rural church choir." You know that's going to be a bucket of laughs. https://youtu.be/Gv2fXZfsqYE
  14. On the question of prequels enhancing the originals: Maybe with books more than movies/TV. The book The Sword in the Stone, as part of The Once and Future King, is lovely and plays a significant role in White's partially reworking Malory as a bildungsroman. Works well as a standalone, too. The cartoon, unfortunately, is a travesty. In terms of GoT-world plot, there's not much in the prehistory of GoT that seems interesting, unless they can create compelling characters. I might not have stuck with GoT either, if I hadn't cared what happened to Arya. Other book prequels that work, IMO: The Magician's Nephew, which I will defend to the death (figuratively) as the 6th Narnia Chronicle, rather than the first, because it refers to earlier books and also expects a level of maturity that LWW perhaps does not. Another is Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolo series (8 books), a historical novel sequence that is effective on its own, but also a prequel to her earlier Lymond Chronicles (6 books)--that's not really a spoiler, as she says as much in the preface of HN book 1. You don't need to know that before reading, but HN does add significantly to a re-read of LC.
  15. BethR

    Late Night (2019)

    I agree with your review, Ken. For me, Mindy Kaling's performance salvaged the movie, so I ended up on the positive side. Also, having just seen Men in Black: International, I enjoyed comparing/contrasting Emma Thompson's suiting choices. But yes, it could have been better.
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