I just couldn't contain myself, so today's Friday Five is actually an Awesome Eight. Or whatever. It's Friday; my alliterative powers are a little off. Anyway, here are some popular films I think are wildly overrated (or at least inexplicably beloved) and some superior alternatives. No, I don't like Blade Runner or Breakfast at Tiffany's. I know I'm the only one, but there it is. Happy Friday!
The Period Drama: Pride and Prejudice (2004): Tumblr loves five things. Sherlock, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Hannibal… and this film. It’s everything Tumblr likes, in one over-saturated package: doe-eyed, skinny girls in long dresses, hot guys in period costume, gorgeous landscapes, and sweeping tracking shots over the aforementioned gorgeous landscapes. Gif heaven! But this film is such a terrible adaptation of the book – director Joe Wright’s commentary (reproduced slavishly by the Tumblr P&P superfans) suggests both ignorance of the source material and disdain for the time period, which begs the question: why the fuck did he make this film? If you don’t like empire waists and dudes in hats? Don’t make films set in the Regency period. Anyway, people love this stupid film, and I’d probably like it too… if it weren’t an adaptation of one of the greatest books of all time. (All that, but the worst is the bit where the screenwriter just rewrote Jane Austen’s dialogue. Jane Austen, one of the greatest writers in the English language. When Bowdler ‘cleaned up’ Shakespeare history rewarded his efforts by turning his name into an epithet. I suggest we do the same with this: Joe Wright wrighted P&P. And that’s no good thing.)
Superior alternative: North & South (2004). Smart heroine, hot guy in period costume, gorgeous landscapes and a social conscience. Also, it’s a brilliant adaptation of a brilliant book, which you should go read right now. Go. Right now. (This is not a film, I realize, so if you're going to insist that I suggest a movie alternative, let me steer you towards David Fincher's wonderful Zodiac.)