Monthly Archives: November 2012

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”

Dear Frank,

Today is a first: I’m telling you about a web series, which I’m fairly sure has never happened before (on this blog, anyway — I’m pretty sure I’ve told you about stuff in person, but of course that doesn’t count because it didn’t happen on the internet).

But Frank, as you are a man who appreciates transmedia narratives and Jane Austen (at least, I think you appreciate Jane Austen), you’ll be glad to know about this.

There are more adaptations of Pride and Prejudice than there are stars in the sky, but The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which premiered on YouTube last April, is the only one that updates the characters as young, Internet-savvy vloggers, and uses multiple social media accounts to offer multiple perspectives on the classic tale of gossip, misunderstandings, stubbornness and (eventually) makeouts. Read the rest of this entry


Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “She’s All That”

Dear Frank,

I don’t think my prom had a prom queen. Or, if it did, no one gave a shit. Personally, I went stag — well, technically, I went with another girl, because they didn’t sell tickets to prom, they sold two-person “bids” or something, and both me and my friend Evelyn didn’t have dates, but did want to go, so we split a bid and shared a San Antonio limousine service with a big group of friends and it was a pretty fun time.

[And by the way, points to my NorCal high school for never even raising an eyebrow over the fact that me and Evelyn split a bid, several years before that sort of thing mighta been a major news story. Though, to be fair, we never pressed the point by slow-dancing (and/or being in a committed relationship).]

So I enjoyed my prom, to a certain extent, but the lead-up to it didn’t consume my existence or that of my peers. (By “peers,” I mean the honors students, school paper editors and drama nerds who made up my core group of friends in high school — perhaps there were girls/boys who were deeply committed on that score, but for reasons that should be very obvious, they were not a part of my social circle.)

What this means is that the film She’s All That, the plot of which is entirely focused on which lucky 18+-to-play-younger lady will win the oh-so-important crown, is as alien to me as, well, aliens. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Starlight Express”

Dear Frank,

It is time, my friend, to tell you the tale of the first musical I ever loved. A little ditty, penned by maestro of cheesy musicals Andrew Lloyd Webber, entitled Starlight Express.

If I recall correctly, my exposure to Starlight Express began with its end. When you were a kid, Frank, did you have to sing songs in recitals? We did, with our teachers drawing from an eclectic mix of pop music and musicals. I do not know what it was like to be a grown adult, listening to a bunch of eleven-year-olds singing Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do, I Do It For You,” but I’m sure it was pretty memorable.

Anyways, when my third-grade class sang Starlight‘s big finale number, “A Light At the End of the Tunnel,” I liked the song enough to ask my parents for the original cast recording.

Because I am an old person, the soundtrack came on cassette tape. Two cassette tapes, and it, along with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack, were often to be heard blasting from my clock stereo’s speakers for the next several years. (In case it wasn’t clear, Frank, I have AWESOME taste in music.)

The funny thing is, despite not having had a tape player for the last decade or so, I still remember large chunks of Starlight‘s lyrics, which I have been singing in the shower for the last twenty-odd years. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In the “Roseanne” Series Finale

Dear Frank,

Did you read that piece Roseanne wrote for New York Magazine last year? If you didn’t, you should — it was really great! I mean, she has a very strong point of view on what kind of women are “good” for feminism and what kind aren’t, and the part where she takes credit for discovering Joss Whedon is probably interesting news to Joss Whedon.

But the part where she threatened a producer with a pair of scissors is a great deal of fun, and in general the account of how she seized control of the TV show with her name on it is inspiring. In a “boy, it’s probably for the best that you’ve moved onto growing macadamia nuts and running for President” kind of way. (Bitch be CRAZY, yo.)

One thing she writes about is the day when Roseanne, in its seventh season, dropped out of the Nielsen Top 10 rated shows and she could no longer get a table at the Palm. I bring this up because that’s probably about the point I stopped watching the show, for reasons I cannot recall. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Speed Racer”

Dear Frank,

I’m still not sure yet what I think of the latest film co-directed by the Wachowskis, Cloud Atlas. I’ve seen it twice (once at a test screening months ago, once again this last weekend), and parts of it are really fucking cool, and parts of it are deeply problematic. There’s no doubt that when it comes to the making of movies, the Wachowskis kill it on a scene-by-scene basis.

But when it comes to a complete whole: Well, there are victories (The Matrix) and then there are less-than-victories (the other Matrix movies). Speed Racer, the Wachowskis’ 2008 big-budget well-cast adaptation of the classic Japanese cartoon, falls into the latter category.

(Stop shouting at me, people who really like this movie! I know you exist. We will address your concerns in a bit.) Read the rest of this entry

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