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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. BethR

    Little Women

    Good point. I wondered elsewhere whether the flashback structure may work better for viewers who are more familiar with the straight chronology? I've read the novel multiple times and seen nearly every previous screen version, so I can't answer this.
  2. BethR

    Cats: The Movie

    I gave in and saw the movie. It was as predicted. Only Ian McKellen's performance genuinely impressed me. Jennifer Hudson made me tear up, but--as Ken Morefield has written--could have blown us all away. Evan C wrote: "Speaking of bad ideas, possibly the worst one plaguing this movie is the decision that the paper-thin plot tacked onto the original needed more explanation." Absolutely right. The same mistake was made in reverse when Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie was made into the stage musical Spamalot.
  3. Hilariously accurate! It's what people wish graduate school was like...excluding the suicides, sexual assaults, and evil [fill in the blanks].
  4. After some significant plot events and the death of a major character in season 4, season 5 premieres January 15. The books have been left far behind. It's mostly a show about friendship now. Yep, Friends, with magic. That's oversimplifying, of course. It's also about power (magic).
  5. BethR

    Cats: The Movie

    Sigh. I sort of want to see this, because I remember enjoying the stage musical long ago, but I know I will regret it. Thanks to all the professional and amateur critics who have sacrificed your time and talent for the rest of us.
  6. I gave the CW Nancy Drew five episodes and then deleted it from the DVR. It's just trying too hard to be Veronica Mars AND Nancy Drew AND dark/gritty AND a ghost story AND teen sexcapades, and maybe some other things too. One of the ways it's trying to be dark/gritty is to write Nancy and her father attorney Carson Drew as having some kind of long-standing conflicted relationship, because of course that is more interesting than a positive parent-child relationship. And the writers probably said, "Well, Veronica Mars and her dad got along, so we can't do that!" However, Scott Wolf plays Carson Drew, and although the actor is, in fact, old enough to be Nancy's father, he has such a baby-face that it's hard to take him seriously as anybody's father.
  7. Thanks for this, Noel T. Manning. A&F doesn't even have a film thread for Yesterday, and I believe many dismissed the movie, but you have articulated my experience with it as well. I'm not a participant in the Ecumenical Jury, but just wanted to say this.
  8. BethR

    Blinded by the Light

    Gurinder Chadha's first film, Bend It Like Beckham (2002), about a Sikh family whose daughter wants to play soccer, would fall into an adjacent category of Pics About the British Indian Experience.
  9. BethR


    Finally saw this, thanks to free premium channels over Thanksgiving weekend. You guys--it's a Christmas movie! Why didn't anyone tell me this? It certainly starts in a very dark way, but also ends up making the villain somewhat sympathetic--he is exactly what Billy could become. Yes, it did bother me some that Billy B is obviously not "pure of heart" when given the power, but I think that's actually fitting, isn't it, for a Christmas movie? The point is that no one is pure of heart, so we are given the Gift anyway, and by grace made like Him. Noticed a few Aquaman "easter eggs," too--did that movie come out before or after this one? The family metaphor was also timely and effective. Though it definitely earns its PG rating and I wouldn't recommend it for young children, I ended up enjoying it much more than expected.
  10. 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?
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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...
  14. BethR

    Cats: The Movie

    Perhaps a planet where The Lion King is the only musical in any form?
  15. 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.
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