Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Top 5 Movies I Don't Ever Want to Watch: Pride and Prejudice

Cinematic kryptonite. Some movies just scream "cinematic kryptonite." It like you're Superman and these movies are going to hurt you, cause you physical pain. When the BBC released a five hour miniseries entitled Pride & Prejudice I knew I had met my match. Lex Luthor, himself, couldn't make me watch this movie.

Whitney over at Dear Jesus and I came up with our Top 5 Movies We Never Want to Watch lists and decided to watch them all together and write something about them. Pride and Prejudice was at the top of my list. I just finished watching it. Here are my reflections.

After the first three hours,
I realized I was twelve minutes in.

This movie was LONG. L-O-N-G-long. Let me save you the trouble and give you a brief recap of the film's events. Imagine five hours of:

Girls giggling. Colin Firth glaring. Bowing. Curtsying. Crying. Group dancing. Giggling. Glaring. Crying. Group dancing. Giggling. A double wedding.

But you can't forget all the whining. Oh, sweet Moses, the whining. The Bennets never stop complaining about being poor. They complain in their mansion. They complain wandering around their property. They complain in front of their servants. The Bennets are the richest poor people in history. I remember being poor. It wasn't like the Bennets. It was more like the Sanfords.

"There's nothing I love more than a country dance."

Once I heard this line, I knew there'd be a lot of balls in my future. That wasn't a double entendre. I know what you're thinking. But after five dance sequences (I counted), I began to think I might prefer other options.

Five long dance scenes. If the dancing got cut, it'd be a short instead of a miniseries. Surprisingly, however, only one woman fainted. I assumed there'd be a lot of people fainting but I was wrong. These movies always seen to have people faint when they're surprised, scared, or for any other reason. Bravo BBC, you didn't overdo the faints.

The Bromidic Bennets and their Old-Fashioned Friends

The Bennets have five daughters. You would think with all that horseback riding, having five children would have been a more difficult task. They're a lovely group of "handsome women." The only goal of the girls' mother, Mrs. Bennet, is to marry off her kids to wealthy gentlemen. Here's the kicker. Nobody in this movie has a job. Everyone's money is inherited. Some of them are in the army, but I just assumed they did that as a hobby.

The main character is Elizabeth Bennet. She's actually pretty rad. When everyone tells her to marry some rich guy, she decides to marry someone she loves. Elizabeth is the closest thing to a feminist that Pride and Prejudice has to offer. She's played by Jennifer Ehle. Jennifer Ehle is the poor man's Moira Kelly (unless Moira Kelly is already the poor man's Moira Kelly).

The gentleman she ends up with is Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth). Colin Firth's sideburns fall somewhere between Wolverine and John Popper in his fat days. Darcy spends the majority of his time glaring across ballrooms and trying to play a badass.

Mrs. Bennet is rough. Her voice hit my eardrums like Bobby Crosby playing T-Ball. For the entire five hours, she sounds like Mrs. Doubtfire yelling "Heeeelllllooooo" with that cake frosting on her face.

Some Other Stuff to Note

[*] In a page out of the "To Catch a Predator" handbook, the girls' creepy uncle weighs his marrying options between his five nieces. He stumbles into the youngest sister, age 15, in her bloomers, and is then greeted by the ever-charming Chris Hanson. He explains that he's just been chatting to the girl through carrier pigeon but Hanson has heard that one before. You can be sure of that.

[*] When the youngest sister elopes, her family acts like she's strapping on some clear heels and stripping to "Cherry Pie." Everybody starts sobbing like two-year-olds lost in a supermarket. She's not a heroin-addicted prostitute, she's dating a guy without marrying him. Alert the Queen's troops! You know how they deal their family shame? Mr. Darcy bribes the guy. He takes the bribe and marries her. Problem solved. I miss the good ol' days.

[*] I can't explain how frustrating it is to know the ending five hours before the movie ends. Will the main girl end up with the main guy? I wonder! Inch by inch. Dance scene by dance scene. Slowly, we pull ourselves towards the finish line. The story deserves a mile, what we get is a marathon.

Overall, the film was more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Even with the Olde English, dance scenes, creepy uncles, and absurd running lengths, I made it through. I can't believe I [watched] the whole thing. Props to the BBC for pulling this off. I'm sure adapting one of the highest praised novels of all-time certainly stacks on the pressure.

When I read "Pride and Prejudice" (thanks to that Classic British Literature course I stupidly took) the length astounded me. It still does. The fact that I read the entire book surprises me even more. After "Pride and Prejudice" and the first half of "Tom Jones" (which isn't about the singer!) I was done with Classic British Literature. I was also done with their adaptations...until today.

Final thoughts: I'm glad it's done. It wasn't as terrible as I thought but I'm glad it's done.

Thanks to Fletch, Whitney, Shaun, Fox, Kaleen, Ross Williams, and DCMovieGirl for leaving really great comments on The Decline of Cuba Gooding Jr. Maybe a "Decline of Eddie Murphy" series may have to created soon. Keep those comments coming. They make it worth writing so much. Also, keep voting on the Cuba Gooding Jr. poll question. I feel so sorry for the person who hasn't enjoyed a Cuba movie since A Few Good Men. It's been a LONG time since A Few Good Men.


whitney said...

Whatever. You totally love balls.

elgringo said...

Whatever, you're totally supposed to be working right now.

Stop neglecting children and get off the computer!

MC said...

It could be worse though... someone could have not liked a Cuba Gooding Jr. Movie since Gladiator.

Laura Hart said...

I told you to watch it with me!!! Let it be on record that I'm put out with you for not doing that. I was at home all yesterday doing...wait for it...yeah, that's right, sewing a corset.

You could have come over and had an immersion experience complete with costuming! I know you'd have loved that!

I'm glad you came to the conclusion that it wasn't that bad. You have to like the time period to really appreciate the movie.

And I never realized how much Mrs. Bennet sounds like Robin Williams with the cream mask. I hope you didn't ruin the movie for me now, much like "Come on Eileen".

elgringo said...

Laura, I'm so sorry. I watched it over a couple of days and forgot to call you. You know I would have wore the hell out of that corset!

I certainly hope I didn't ruin it for you! Noooo! Although, that Eileen song seems pretty obvious. Then again, the people I heard it from could have been wrong. :)

MC, yeah...that one didn't even make the poll question list.

Fox said...

Love this:

"After the first three hours,
I realized I was twelve minutes in."

HAHA. Way to start strong!

And then to follow it up with refrences to "giggling" and "group dancing" just made me, well... giggle myself.

I curtsy at this post, my lad.

elgringo said...

Fox, thanks so much! This is actually one of my favorite posts I've written so far. Not one of my favorite movies though...

Megan said...

I love this book. I tend to avoid the movie versions of Austen, but I did see this one and liked it okay.

Watching a miniseries in one go is not always the best way to get a sense of it! ;)

Rick Ryan said...

"strapping on some clear heels and stripping to Cherry Pie."

My God, this was a brutally funny post!

This is my first visit to your blog. It won't be my last.

Evan Derrick said...

Great stuff, here. I admit I have a certain affinity for this one (my wife is a die hard...Keira Knightly is dead to her). However, you couldn't have hit the nail more squarely on the head with the dancing bit. My gosh, dancing is these people's version of crack. Too many "balls" indeed.

Loved the piece, man. Hi-larious. I'm sending it to my wife, although I'm not sure she'll appreciate it as much as I did.

Daniel said...

Hehe, awesome. Colin Firth needs to stick to fistfights with Hugh Grant a la Bridget Jones.

Homirah said...

fyi: I read, I just don't like to comment. :) and you would be amazed to know I read the entire book when I was like 12.

Blogger said...

I have just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.