Pride and Prejudice

Not rated yet!
Director
Andrew Black
Runtime
1 h 44 min
Release Date
5 December 2003
Genres
Comedy, Romance, Action, Adventure
Overview
Pride & Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy is a 2003 independent film adaptation/updating of Jane Austen's novel, set in modern-day Provo, Utah, at Brigham Young University. The characters are Latter-day Saints (LDS).
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VJ Morton1
Right Wing Film Geek



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  • A story this good is hard to ruin

    A story this good is hard to ruin

    PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, Joe Wright, Britain, 2005, 7

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a novel in possession of a good reputation must be in want of a film adaptation.”
    Jane Austen, “Pride and Prejudice” (sorta)

    Why?

    Why do we need another adaptation of another Jane Austen novel? Particularly since this version of “Pride and Prejudice” looked so pedestrian and rote from the trailer and casting – Keira Knightley has never set my world on fire; and I love Judi Dench as much as the next guy, but must British casting directors be so unimaginative with the grande dame roles. The Internet Movie Database gives nine versions with this exact title (thus excluding the modernized “Bridget Jones Diary”), and with just a decade since the definitive 5-hour BBC miniseries with Colin Firth as Darcy, this film had “unnecessary” stamped all over it.

    But really, that’s like asking “why marry” to Austen’s famous opening line about men in possession of a good fortune. After seeing this latest “Pride and Prejudice,” I was asking “why not?” After all, it’s only the greatest novel ever written in English and only the work that has pretty much defined the modern romantic comedy template for nearly 200 years. There’s nothing despicable about wanting to see our favorite novels dramatized and seeing what real-life actors and directors can do with (or against) the images in your mind. While driving, I often listen to an unabridged Books on Tape of Irene Sutcliffe reading “Pride and Prejudice.” Heck, I even liked the semi-Bollywood Aishwarya Rai film “Bride and Prejudice” from earlier this year. As for the novel itself, well, however little known its feelings or views may be, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding adaptation teams that it is considered as their rightful property.

    Austen wrote such a corker of a story, so rich on so many levels, that as long as you’re reasonably faithful, you almost can’t completely screw it up – there’ll at least be a decent plot as skeleton for whatever skin and muscle the film-makers choose to wrap around it. And it is another truth not-so-universally acknowledged that our memories of the original and other adaptations fool us by “filling in” gaps and firming up thin moments.

    As for the story, it’s mostly all there, though obviously some things are minimized – we don’t get much of a sense of the three younger girls until Lydia follows her heart and the results become central to the plot. For about 30 minutes, in fact, “Pride and Prejudice” quickly slashes through the compressed plot events – Jane’s rain-swept trip to Netherfield is hardly seen and the whole illness episode takes about a minute. But the choices made are generally smart. For example, Austen’s immortal, yet completely uncinematic, two opening paragraphs are entirely skipped in favor of a lengthy track through the Bennet home, establishing their material circumstances (think the start of Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”). The book’s first dialogue – Mrs. Bennet eagerly telling her husband about the arrival of Bingley – is briefly overheard and swiftly out the side of the camera’s eye as it wanders through the house.


    This “Pride and Prejudice” is filled with this sort of shot – it’s easily the most cinematically flashy of the decade-long string of Austen adaptations. The camera is constantly moving, catching things – like Mary’s bad piano playing – on the fly. The film’s high point (I thought the same of the 1995 miniseries) is probably the dance between Darcy and Elizabeth, which becomes a serious sideways-accusatory conversation. Here, the camera twirls along with the pair, as if we’re dancing too and eavesdropping as Darcy and Elizabeth become more absorbed (and not in a good way) in each other and each other’s opinion. Director Joe Wright literally erases the other dancers – first in sound and finally in images until it’s just the two of them “quarreling” (to the extent that people quarreled publicly in Regency England) all alone and then taking their final positions. In visual look, this film’s scruffy gentility (and that’s the Bennets’ status as “poor gentry”) most resembles the Austen world of “Persuasion.” There’s more rain and dirt here than we often get in British period adaptations. The Bennets’ home is kinda drab (we see the shabby cracks in the walls and hear the squeaks in the floorboards) and not too far removed from people who worked the land – chickens in the kitchen, pigs in the backyard, and all that jazz.

    There’s just no way around some of the ways “Pride and Prejudice” is unfilmable. It’s not just the felicity of Austen’s language – at least some dialogue is transferable (though much of the dialogue in the novel is irrelevant, if often funny or relevant via its irrelevance). It’s that Austen simply *told* most of the plot, often by describing people’s interior states, particularly the most important characters’ states. Austen’s characters also often wrote letters to one another, which are simply reproduced. Those are two techniques cinema resists, even the frequent attempts to reproduce the letter content as conversation. And inevitably, one will have disagreements with the characterizations as presented. Jane Bennet here is not as obviously good-souled as I see her; Bingley’s a bit stupider; I see Mr. Collins a bit more silly and flamboyantly self-absorbed than Tom Hollander’s loser with a constipated-face act; and Donald Sutherland just doesn’t fit the avuncular quality of Mr. Bennet’s weariness.

    Other actors do much better, often simply because the casting is right. As Mrs. Bennet, Brenda Blethyn can play this kind of talkative “silly old biddy” role in her sleep. Jena Malone only gets a couple of scenes as Lydia, but she’s surprisingly effective as a pre-modern modern girl. Dench is just a compulsive addiction. I may groan at seeing her typecast (she’s Lady Catherine de Bourg, for those of you in Rio Linda). But those lips, those eyes – even those wrinkles – she just is regal imperiousness.

    I had heard nothing but bad things about Matthew MacFadyen as Darcy, and his performance is definitely at the stiff end. But somehow that seemed right for Darcy’s proud diffidence, as if he can’t be bothered to be here. And MacFadyen does loosen up a bit toward the end – as he should. As for Knightley, she at least is the right age to play Elizabeth Bennet (for a camp classic, see 35-year-old Greer Garson in the 1940 MGM version). Knightley’s a bit gigglier than Jennifer Ehle was in 1995, but her Elizabeth is a woman so intelligent and such an observer that the outside world are mere characters in her own private joke. In other words, she personifies Austen’s ironic sense of humor, if a bit bluntly. But it also plays well against MacFadyen’s muffled Darcy. As if each performance, like a real marriage, needs the other to play off it well.

    While the 1995 miniseries has entered the vernacular as the “Colin Firth” version, this one will be known as the “Keira Knightley” because it’s her joyful performance, and her joyful qualities as a person, that centers and defines the film. Which is why adaptations also, like marriages, need contrasts to play off each other.

    So … that’s why.
    ——————————————-
    Originally published at The Fact Is.

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Crosswalk1
Cross Walk



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  • 9 Squeaky-Clean Romantic Movies the Whole Family Can Watch
    Finding a movie the entire family can watch is difficult enough, but finding a romantic film that’s appropriate is next to impossible. The top-grossing lists of romantic drama and comedy films are littered with movies such as Knocked Up, Sex and the City and Fifty Shades of Grey.
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Brett Stevens2
Amerika.org



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  • Jane Austen, Western Restorationist
    (”Pride and Prejudice” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Jane Austen, Western Restorationist

    by Brett Stevens on March 22, 2017

    Some time ago, Greg Johnson at Counter-Currents wrote about women and someone brought up Jane Austen. Six years later, this provoked Leftist celebrity-academia to sperg out and get schooled by AltRight.

    With that backstory out of the way, we can look at the actual appeal of Jane Austen, and then expand upon it. Luckily, you have a credible guide; I wrote extensively on Jane Austen while entrenched in academia, before realizing that academia was just as much a lie as the private sector and bailing out of both as much as possible. And so, there are some expansions that can be argued as well.

    Austen writes books that many still consider “women’s novels” for their topic matter, which is fine as long as you think that Apocalypse Now was a war film and Repo Man was a film about cars, or that Naked Lunch was really about heroin, for that matter. Setting is not content; a good novel is like a virus, with an outer shell of setting and characters, and a payload of philosophy and detailed observation of life.

    As revealed in one of our recent Austen reviews, her thinking as a writer extends beyond the concerns of her characters to human questions of morality, existential fulfillment and even civilization itself. She may write through the lens of women’s issues, but Austen belongs on the shelf with Nietzsche, Houellebecq and Céline.

    Naturally, the Establishment is resisting the idea that Austen could be Alt Right, which tells you right away that some similarity between the two can be found, because otherwise they would not bother getting the hive-mind in a buzz about this issue. As Hannibal Bateman writes:

    Indeed, the Jane Austen outrage didn’t just stop with The Chronicle but has now penetrated into other elite purveyors of liberal discourse via The New York Times and The Paris Review.

    From The Times article “Jane Austen Has Alt-Right Fans? Heavens to Darcy!”:

    But it has prompted the most sustained chatter among Austen scholars, a more reliably liberal bunch who, like Ms. Wright, emphatically reject white nationalist readings of her novels.

    “No one who reads Jane Austen’s words with any attention and reflection can possibly be alt-right,” Elaine Bander, a retired professor and a former officer of the Jane Austen Society of North America, said in an email.

    …Of course Jane Austen comes out of a White world. This is why the commentary on the original Counter Currents article were so relevant. Because Jane Austen as a European writer speaks to peculiar conditions of European man, the same way Langston Hughes and Chaim Potok speak to their respective black and Jewish readers. All of Austen’s work takes place in a world where European identity, and in particular, regency English countryside identity, were presupposed.

    Austen not only touches on, but by arguing for certain attitudes within them, endorses some of the most taboo institutions to Leftists, including caste systems, eugenics and aristocracy. In the Austen world, people are either good or bad, and those that behave according to the psychology of Leftism are parasitic and threatening.

    Click here for an imaging of what Jane Austen might have looked like. Just two centuries ago, and already so much is forgotten. But her vision lives on because it remains relevant for any sane and thinking person in this time, as well.

    For example, her classic Pride And Prejudice melds eugenic theory with an intensely realistic morality. All of the bad men are slightly effete, harmless-looking and parasitic; all of the good ones are elitist, good-natured and generous. The self-deluding characters end up with other self-deluders and make themselves miserable, and realists find each other and escape.

    In her book Emma, Austen describes the Leftist mentality as similar to a lonely over-disciplined child playing in a doll house. The people and consequences are not real, only symbolic, and this manifests in a profound and damaging loneliness. In the background, civilization chortles on, oblivious to these deeper issues, as if Austen is reminding us that most of humanity is inert.

    For this reason, it is both a mistake to argue that Jane Austen is an Alt Right writer as it is to argue that her work does not contain some ideas which overlap with the Alt Right. She writes about a white world of a different era, in which social rank (caste distinctions) and personal qualities are more important than commerce. Her world is appalled by European foreigners, much less non-whites, whose presence she would find as awkward as she finds the concept of slavery.

    In other words, like most literary superstars, Jane Austen was that odd mixture of intense Realism and a passionate sense that the idea is greater than the material, or Germanic-style Idealism. In her books, characters are practical, but also live for spirit and a strong sense of doing what is right not only by themselves, but by principle itself.

    Claiming that her philosophy fits into the Alt Right world is thus both true and not the whole story. As The Chronicle writes:

    On the popular blog of the alt-right publisher Counter-Currents, the world of Austen’s novels is extolled as a prototype for the “racial dictatorship” of tomorrow. One commenter wrote, “If, after the ethnostate is created, we revert back to an Austen-like world, we males ought to endure severe sacrifices as well. … If traditional marriage à la P&P [Pride and Prejudice] is going to be imposed, again, in an ethnostate, we must behave like gentlemen.”

    In Jane Austen, the only reason the ethnostate works at all is the presence of an aristocracy. Austen’s work is intensely elitist, and she recognizes that most people are horrible and most human events are in fact failures. For example, witness this classic voicing by Elizabeth Bennet that expresses elitism and aristocracy at the same time:

    There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.

    Most things are garbage; most people are confused. The few who rise above merit attention, and this theme runs through Emma and Pride And Prejudice as well as other Austen works. In a foreshadowing of modern literature, most of her characters end up self-destructing or slotted into dead-end existences, while the few good ones struggle and then finally find a path of meaning for themselves.

    This elitism is the core of hierarchy. When sorting out a human group, it makes sense to place the best above the rest, not just by external traits (wealth, power, status, popularity) but by internal traits (honor, intelligence, wisdom, pathos). Much of Austen’s work consists of filtering out the internal traits from the external image presented by characters, including slimy ones.

    For those of us in the present day, this becomes essential because under democracy, everything is political. In Austen’s world we can see a comradeship of the gifted in which the political is recognized as a front, and the internal traits and motivations of individuals determine their quality and thus their relevance to that world. Austen may be as anti-democratic as she is insightful.

    Her characters are — unlike modern “literary” protagonistas — not uncomfortable with their roles. Women want to get married and have families; men want to be men; proles want to prole, and elites are concerned with the abstract issues that are relevant to leadership. Each thing has its place, and the only remaining task is to sort them all by hierarchy.

    That type of comfort only occurs in a strict hierarchy of both leadership and social status, demonstrated in her time by aristocracy and caste. Every person has a place, or zone of comfortable operation, paired to his or her characteristics. Scullery maids are not expected to be ladies, nor are footmen expected to be gentlemen. But all are accepted as they are and even seen through a kindly filter.

    One reason that Austen remains popular is that she shows us a time before the neurotic existence occasioned by modernity, which has its roots in the removal of this leadership and hierarchy and their replacement with egalitarian mob rule. In Jane Austen’s time, being accurate in speech was still more important than flattering others, and discerning inner traits was permissible. Neither is true today.

    This leads us to another uncomfortable recognition: the white world of Jane Austen could not exist without its other aspects such as aristocracy. The world she describes will never emerge from equality and democracy. It is an entirely different direction that we could have at any moment, were we willing to surrender our pretense of equality.

    Aristocracy in turn could not exist without her elitism, or recognition that inner traits exist and are important, and that we need those with the best inner traits on top because if decisions are left up to lesser people, crisis and horror result. It is this realization, which reverses the logical framework for both the French Revolution and The Enlightenment,™ that really scares the Left.

    If we read Austen as honest and alert people, we encounter a vision of human existence which directly refutes Leftism while simultaneously adopting and disciplining the emotional responses behind it, much as Elizabeth Bennet learns to discipline her emotions in Pride And Prejudice. While that vision includes the ethnostate, it is not limited to it.

    That in turn normalizes the ethnostate as a concept. Instead of being a radical idea, it is an ingredient in the most sensible recipe for happiness; it is not chosen for its symbolic meaning or personal value, but because it works, like every other idea demonstrated positively in an Austen novel.

    Her insight is to show us that the reason these policies work at the national level is because they work at the personal level. The question of civilization is not institutions, but individuals, and individuals follow the same framework and so can be predicted. Is Austen Alt Right? Perhaps neither yes nor no, but she attacks modernity the same way the Alt Right does, and we should heed her wisdom.

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  • Robocop (2014)
    (”Pride and Prejudice” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Certain movies or albums clearly reveal the presence of bad management. Either leadership by committee, which isn’t leadership so much as compromise that satisfies no one, or a bad manager who spends too much time worried about surveys, business objectives and the like to place his focus on whether or not the product is good. Such is the case with Robocop 2014 version, a movie so stunningly bad that with its obviously huge budget it can only be the result of thorough mis-management and execrably poor judgment.

    Following up on a winning franchise is never easy because viewers have high expectations, but one thing is clear: the new movie must be at least within the ballpark of the old, or it will be interpreted as having the same failure as most sequels which is too many cooks in the kitchen, too many fingers in the pot, etc. The 2014 version comes nowhere close to the 1987 original on any level and even where it attempts to pay homage to the original, completely misses the point. This occurs because management decided the 2014 version must fit within the parameters for television shows, namely that each scene must have one unambiguous point and one only. Remember, that which communicates clearly wins out over the truthful when you’re dealing with the masses, and so these filmmakers decided to sacrifice not just nuance so that every idiot in the room could understand it, but also depth. The result paint-by-numbers script is as excruciating as a Creative Writing final exam, moving from point to point with absurd over-emphasis on the basics so that even if you are brick-stupid, obese, lazy, drunk and distracted, you will still understand what is going on. Which, as it turns out, is not a whole hell of a lot.

    Instead of taking the intelligent course of action and creating a sequel set in 2014, the filmmakers decided to re-tell the Robocop backstory but with new actors and new settings. This becomes troublesome because they insist on dumbing this down and, as if pitching this movie to millennial women, centering the plot on the surface emotion of a generic character in its setting, rather than letting the emotion arise from this character’s struggle to understand his circumstances. Everything is surface level, cut from whole cloth in broad colors with boundaries double-underlined in thick market like an idiot kindergarten teacher might do, and the result is that the characters become caricatures. The expressive Jennifer Ehle (Pride and Prejudice) is utterly wasted in her role, and the excellent Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman are expended without purpose in theirs. Keaton portrays a CEO who dutifuly turns evil as the gimpy plot requires, instead of focusing on the fascinating side of his character which seems an amalgam of Dot-Com CEOs in his pursuit of technology and wealth with the zealous belief that nothing but good can come from progress. Oldman also experiences a character deformation as he goes from a good guy scientist to a self-interested quasi-villain to a hastily rehabilitated hero. Even Samuel L. Jackson becomes neutered as he must contort his acting to fit within the manipulated plotline. The filmmakers seem narcissistic in the worship of their own cleverness, forgetting that “writing in” details does not obscure the form of the plot itself, which shakes off their little footnotes and rampages straight into paradox.

    The above are terrible sins against the artisanal craft (heh) of filmmaking. But the worst sin of all is that they removed the fun and terror from Robocop. In the original, audiences were shocked by the situation, the horror of people themselves and the self-serving decisions they made, and the clash between man and machine. The whole movie might be described as man emerging from within the machine to triumph over it. The new movie removes the tension. Combat scenes are outright boring, with Robocop playing the role of either omnipotent effortless victor or duty-bound moral martyr, but the tension of tight situations and intelligent responses to them dies in a video game simulation that looks about as boring as most first person shooters are after the week they get introduced. Even more, fight scenes are over quickly with little resolved. The movie just moves on like a checklist between points the filmmakers wanted to establish, with utterly zero dimension to the characters. It is probably difficult to botch a story with this much promise, but the director and his staff on this one did so with ease, which is about the only effortless and unforced thing about this movie. Avoid!

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  • Beloved Sisters ****1/2
    (”Pride and Prejudice” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Beloved Sisters

    This German film tells the presumably somewhat true story of two sisters, Charlotte (Henriette Confurius) and Caroline (Hannah Herzsprung) von Lengefeld, and their shared love for Friedrich Schiller (Florian Stetter), a charming poet of frail health and uncertain fortunes. The offbeat romantic scenario and the performances are intense and largely engrossing, the love scenes erotic without being obscene; but costume drama buffs expecting another Pride and Prejudice may be put off by the gradually darkening tone of the film, which takes on the character of a tragedy without ever becoming a tearjerker, however. Beautifully staged and photographed, with a few quirky stylistic choices such as having characters address the camera directly, Beloved Sisters is unique and never feels like a run-of-the-mill Austen-derivative programmer.

    4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Beloved Sisters is:

    6. Pro-choice. “Do you want to have the child? … Why?”

    5. Anti-Christian. A mother whose bastard child is of an uncertain paternity is compared to the Virgin Mary. Schiller also recites from one of his writings dealing with the inhumanity of the Inquisition.

    4. Feminist/pro-gay. The sisters, who share Schiller sexually, also dress as men in order to attend one of his boys-only lectures. Caroline longs to be “a free woman, a single woman.”

    3. Anti-marriage. Beloved Sisters depicts multiple unhappy unions, with marriage described as “tragedy”. Caroline’s husband is an “evil elephant” who “wants a dozen children, but only because he won’t come into his father’s inheritance otherwise.” Consequently, he “keeps pestering” her. The sisters, says Wilhelm (Ronald Zehrfeld), sent Schiller “not to paradise, but to the solitary confinement of marriage.” An incident in which a woman who fakes her death to escape her boring husband and run away with her lover demonstrates “international flair”.

    2. Reactionary! Initially, Schiller is a naïve radical fired by the ideals of the Enlightenment. “I think humanity will evolve through knowledge and the sight of true beauty,” he says. Later, in the bloody wake of the French Revolution, and after having heard the horror stories of his friend Wilhelm, who has witnessed the carnage of the Terror firsthand, Schiller has more sobering thoughts. “Shouldn’t we have known, Wilhelm?” he asks. “Yes,” his friend replies. “Everyone who rang the bell for renewal should have known.”

    1. Racist! That a movie – a German movie, no less! – would have the nerve to present a primitive, pre-multiculturalist Europe as something other than a totalitarian nightmare, and a place, indeed, of great natural charm and civilizational order, is a crime that this critic cannot forgive. Internet bigots obsessed with those supposed Cologne “attacks” will no doubt find much to admire in this dainty, escapist portrait of a racially homogenous society.

    Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

    Have shopping to do and want to support icareviews? The author receives a modest commission on Amazon purchases made through this link: http://amzn.to/1T7hsQm

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The American Conservative Staff1
The American Conservative



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Is the RomCom Dead Yet?
    (”Pride and Prejudice” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Culture Film The romantic comedy film is either dying or dead, according to writers at The Atlantic and The Daily Beast. After watching “They Came Together,” a romantic comedy that parodies the genre, the Beast’s Andrew Romano argued that the romcom’s heydey has come to an end, due to shifts in audience targeting and gender preferences, as well as money problems and failed branding. The Atlantic’s Megan Garber thinks that romcom plots no longer address the “way we live now,” in the age of online dating and delayed marriages. Christopher Orr made a similar argument last year: he said romcom plots are too outdated for today’s society—we no longer have taboos against premarital sex, nor do we have societal class divisions. The romantic conflicts of yesteryear are outdated in today’s society. However, Noah Millman wrote a rebuttal to Orr’s argument, reminding us that the romantic movies of 1940 weren’t popular or good “because there were arranged marriages (there were none) and it isn’t because women couldn’t get a divorce (all the female protagonists of the movies I cited are or get divorced) or couldn’t have sex … they work because they go internal, into character, to find both the conflict and its resolution, and they work because they don’t isolate the world of romantic love from the rest of the social universe.” The troubles of the modern romcom may have monetary or societal threads, but it also has a problem with simplification and homogeneity that we can’t ignore. Most romantic comedies follow either a star-crossed lovers plot, or a “You Got Mail” storyline—the man and woman hate each other, or would never marry each other, but then slowly find out they’re perfect for each other (examples: “When Harry Met Sally,” “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “The Switch,” “27 Dresses,” et cetera). It’s true that both these types are rooted in classics—the star-crossed lovers are classic “Romeo and Juliet,” while the we-hate-each-other-no-wait-we-love-each-other is usually some reincarnation of Pride and Prejudice. But both these classics had greater complexity and depth than most of their modern manifestations. Both told stories of class and family, prejudice and tradition, virtue and vice. Their supporting characters were just as important as their leads—we couldn’t have Pride and Prejudice without Mr. Collins or Mrs. Bennet. Modern films don’t usually give us this rich, colorful tapestry. As NPR’s Linda Holmes wrote in response to Orr last year, “The best [films] often have other elements, elements of real sadness, like the terrific and underappreciated Hugh Grant-Julia Roberts vehicle Notting Hill, for instance, which touches on not artificial obstacles, but on the way people in difficult circumstances sometimes hurt each other’s feelings and let each other down, not to mention supporting characters struggling with disability and fertility issues.” In contrast, says Holmes, “The [films] that take nothing seriously except dating … rarely work, and they’ve rarely ever worked, because love in life is usually mixed up with all kinds of other nasty stuff.” Millman agrees: The romantic comedies that suck are the ones that adhere to a formula that none of the great romantic comedies of yore followed. They try to make both protagonists as “relatable” as possible by making them into everymen and everywomen – thereby depriving them of any interest. They focus overwhelmingly on the romance, treating the rest of the universe as so much “business” for low comedy, rather than exploring other themes that might reflect productively on the romance at the center. And they gin up artificial external obstacles instead of persuasive, character-driven internal ones. Yet these are the films that we keep getting, with increasing regularity. They all tell familiar stories, with familiar conflicts—the plots may change somewhat, but they never surprise us. And romcoms aren’t the only films that suffer from this problem: modern cinema is teeming with stereotypical superhero stories, underdog sports stories, exploding/smashing action films, and their like. We can usually guess exactly how the plot will unfold in the first few minutes of the film. People increasingly want different, surprising stories—and we’re starting to see some that are new, interesting, and complex. Many explore themes of friendship, rather than romance. Disney created an international sensation when they released “Frozen”—and perhaps one of its greatest surprises was that it was mainly about sisterhood, rather than the usual romance. “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” “The Monuments Men,” “Gravity”: all were primarily stories of friendship, trust, camaraderie, sacrifice. In the realm of television, many people love BBC’s new “Sherlock” series, and the friendship between Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock and Martin Freeman’s Watson. We may be tired of films that tell the same old story—but that doesn’t mean we should get rid of the romcom, or the dystopian film, or the action movie. We just need to reconsider the stories we tell, the plots we create, and bring innovation and complexity to these genres once more. We need stories that allow tragedy in their endings, stories with real protagonists and real villains, stories that reflect the complexity and confusion of life. If we get rom-com movies that reflect these things, then perhaps the romcom will be revitalized. But for now, the genre feels much like a broken record. It isn’t that we’ve run out of stories to tell; we’ve just told the same story too many times. ]]>
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  • Zero Dark Thirty: Smart and Gripping
    (”Pride and Prejudice” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Klavan On The Culture I watched Zero Dark Thirty with trepidation. Ordering Osama bin Laden's death and playing golf are probably the only actions that Barack Obama has taken these last four years that haven't made this country less free and less prosperous. I was worried the Oscar-winning team of director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal would use the story of the hunt for bin Laden to hagiographize this mediocre and reactionary president. I was worried that that was why the picture was getting such good reviews.But Bigelow and Boal turn out to be bigger than that and better. The two and a half hour film does contain one scene in which a White House official says, in effect, "The president is a thoughtful, analytical man who won't pull the trigger quickly because he doesn't want to make the same mistake George W. Bush made with the WMD in Iraq." That's the sort of political reading we expect from Hollywood, and Bigelow and Boal make sure to get it in.But the rest of the movie is a deadpan tribute to the intelligence agents and Navy Seals who slow by slow tracked this bad man down and sent him to meet a Maker very unlike the one he was expecting. Indeed, some could see the overall film as a reprimand to a president who took so much credit for what was clearly the work of men and women laboring through two administrations. Plus the movie graphically depicts how that work involved interrogation techniques that Obama ultimately prohibited — a prohibition which clearly hobbled the search. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/andrewklavan/2012/12/29/zero-dark-thirty-smart-and-gripping/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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