Sariandra

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Reviews

Prozac Nation
(2001)

The United States of Depression
(Warning: this review contains SPOILERS)

As a fan of the book 'Prozac Nation' by Elizabeth Wurtzel - I came into this movie with high expectations. Christina Ricci, upon buying the rights to Wurtzel's memoir, claimed to be a fan of the book, too.

I find it hard to believe that, as a producer and star of the film, she would have allowed a very emotional and personal piece of literature to be butchered.

To say I hated this movie would be mild. I felt personally attacked. As a young twenty-something trying to cope with mental illness in this accurately labeled 'Prozac Nation', I found several points of this movie offensive.

Ricci, and the script, portrayed severe depression and mental illness like a whiny child. Wurtzel came across as a young woman with permanent PMS rather than someone with serious mental problems. Her relationships with her friends (Noah and Ruby in particular) were misconstrued, compared to the book. Her mother's own struggles with depression and substance abuse weren't even touched upon. In fact, there was a quote from the movie, after Wurtzel's mother had been mugged in New York that was directly contradictory with the book. Liz made a comment to herself when the nurse said her mother had refused painkillers, akin to 'She refused drugs? Are we even related?'. Her mother had an addiction to pain medication during Elizabeth's childhood - which added to Liz's emotional problems later in life. Even her relationship with her father was chopped up and put back together strangely.

If the screenwriter had tried to at least follow the book in the slightest - it would have been a thousand times better. They pulled bits and pieces of an elaborate story of substance abuse, mental illness, coming of age in the 80's, family dysfunction, and a young woman trying to overcome childhood trauma - and turned it into a mediocre movie about this tragically hip writer who b****es, does a lot of drugs and sleeps around.

The best part of the film was the supporting cast. Jessica Lange was beautiful, with what little she was given, but her talent was severely underused. Jonathan Rys-Meyers could have worked more on his American accent, but was good none the less. I enjoyed Michelle William's portrayal of Ruby, and Jason Biggs' performance is well worth mentioning. Out of the entire supporting cast, I MUST give mention to Anne Heche. Her performance was subtle, yet very good.

As an adaptation of a book, this movie was horrible. As a movie in and of itself, it was mediocre. I suggest that if you subscribe to Starz, and have a couple hours to spare - watch the movie. If you don't, I won't advise you to spend the money to rent it.

Beyond Borders
(2003)

Never forget what took me a lifetime to learn; you have only one heart, be true to it.
I came into this movie, expecting very little. To be honest, I only rented the movie for the Clive Owen factor.

Both of the people I had known, who had seen the movie - told me it was horrible. I rarely care what other people think.

A few details struck me as irresponsible, and unrealistic - but at heart it was a love story that spanned ten years and several countries. I enjoyed the love story, even though it was underdeveloped.

Clive Owen's portrayal of the emotionally-distant doctor was on the mark. I loved him, and wished that we could have seen more of his story - instead of being teased with bits and pieces. Angelina Jolie was far softer in this role, than the ones we're used to seeing her play.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie. It was worth the four dollars I paid to rent it, and made me reconsider my past volunteer work. I recommend that you disregard my opinions, and everyone else's, and rent it yourself.

Peter Pan
(2003)

An adaptation worthy of Barrie
Having been a fan of JM Barrie's books for most of my life, I was skeptical to hear that another Peter Pan movie was in the works.

I was disappointed beyond repair after seeing 'Hook' - and until recently hadn't fully recovered.

Hogan's 'Peter Pan' changed all of that. It made up for all the horrible adaptations over the past 50+ years.

It gracefully weaved Barrie's books and play together into a beautiful, dark, and touching movie. I have heard people complain that the movie was 'too dark'. I defend this by telling them to read the books. The story was like any other great tale - dark, taunting, haunting, hopeful.

I loved this movie, both as an adaptation of a story I've loved for years, and as a film in and of itself. It was perfectly cast, the cinematography was amazing, the special effects breathtaking.

This movie will forever hold a special place in my heart. I can only hope that my own children will someday come to love this story, and this movie as much as I have.

Jonathan Creek
(1997)

Don't underestimate American audiences.
For years now, I've heard my friends and relatives in the UK singing the praises of "Jonathan Creek". Unfortunately, I had never gotten the chance to experience the genius that is this show. But thanks to BBC-America, I can savor each and every mystery on Thursday afternoons (we get 2 episodes back-to-back!). I realize that, especially in the past 3 years, American television has consisted of a lot of very bad reality shows, and little else. Anything of substance is quickly taken off the air.. so that two more Real World/Survivor/Bachelor clones can take its place. There are millions of Americans who are starving for intelligent, thought-provoking entertainment. Of course Americans can handle "Jonathan Creek" -- why else would BBC-America continue to air it? This is an amazing show, and I truly wish our television big-wigs would realize that these kinds of shows work. Alan Davies is the ultimate anti-hero. Davies is gorgeous as the shy, rather nerdy, Jonathan. (I've developed a bit of a crush on him, to be honest :D) Maddy, played by the amazing Caroline Quentin, is the kind of role-model American women need: a tough-as-nails every-woman, who looks nothing like the malnourished actresses and models we see every day. The Americans who love this show are intelligent and witty, and we know good television when we see it.. and this is by far the best show I've had the pleasure of watching in a very long time.

8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter
(2002)

A true family comedy.
I'm glad that this show is finally getting some critical praise out there. I've been a fan since episode 1, and contrary to what some may say.. I think that this family comedy is a prime-time gem. I've had to suffer many, many new shows this season.. and '8 Simple Rules' has been a definate highlight. John Ritter and Katey Segal have great chemistry, both on and off screen (they are old friends). The three children strongly resemble myself and my two younger siblings -- I was very much Kerry until about my first couple months in college, and my sister is very much Bridget.. my brother, unfortunately, is Rory.. the obnoxious, attention-starved little brother. The jokes are funny, the parental frustrations are true-to-life -- all without being crude or cheap, which is more than we can say for a lot of the 'family comedies' on the air. The bickering between the siblings.. and even the parents.. is very real -- anyone who grew up, or currently lives, in a female-dominated household can relate. This is the best new show I've seen in a long time.

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