Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Movie Review- Persuasion (2007)

Another review for a Jane Austen novel movie adaptation I watched recently.
To begin with, this movie was pretty decent but I still prefer the 1995 version. The casting was pretty good. I liked the Anne Elliot, once I got used to her. Her sister Mary I thought was played well... she was really annoying. However, I thought she was too pretty... Mary is suppose to be the plainer of the three sisters. I actually think I might like the Captain Wentworth in this version better. I just thought he was handsomer and so I could better understand while all of the girls fell for him. I honestly thought that the story was told just about as well as in the 1995 version.
But now my major complaint with the movie. I really disliked the end... it is super rushed and the movie has Anne running all over Bath wrapping things up. Completely uncharacteristic of her and of the time period and I think completely unnecessary. My two minor complaints are that her friend Miss Smith isn't lame in this movie and that a line that Anne thinks in the book she speaks in this movie... and it was to her father and it was kind of disrespectful... which is why she didn't say it in the book.
Besides that, I think this is an okay version and I was pleasantly pleased.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Movie Review: Sense and Sensibility (2008)

There will be some spoilers in this review, fair warning. 
I grew up watching the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and have always loved it. Later on, when I was older, I read the book, and liked it too. Recently I heard about this film version and since we had it at the library I thought why not? So here are my thoughts.

My general overall opinion of this movie is that it is decent. It is in three 50 minute episodes but despite being a good bit longer than the 1995 version, I don't think the storytelling is nearly as good. There were some scenes that were included in this version that were not included in the 1995 version, namely when the meet Mrs. Ferras, Mr. Willoughby taking Marianne to see Allemand (which is only mentioned in the book) and Mr. Willoughby coming and explaining himself when Marianne is sick. Also they included Anne Steele in this version, who is not included in the 1995 version.

I thought the casting was well done. I really loved the Elinor, who was acted by Hattie Morahan. I think she did a very excellent job. Colonel Brandon was another character I really enjoyed. It took me a while to get used to him but then he really grew on me. The rest of the casting was alright. Something that surprised me was the casting of Mr. Weasly from Harry Potter as Sir John Middleton. However, he did do a good job, though I couldn't get the Mr. Weasly image out of my mind. The Willoughby I felt could have been done better... he seemed to look (and sometimes act) as if he could have a dark secret... but according to the book he is supposed to be so friendly and have such wonderful manners that one could never suspect ill of him. Also I thought the Marianne was a little too toned down.

A few things I disliked about this version besides them not telling the story as well are as follows:

  1. There was a scene with Willoughby and Marianne kissing, which I do not think would have happened. 
  2. In the scene were Elinor tells Edward about the living that Colonel Brandon has offered him after everyone knows about Edward and Lucy's engagement, Edward makes somewhat of an apology then about how he treated Elinor, which I don't think was right for him to talk about considering his engagement. Also, Elinor tells him that he didn't act at all badly, which I disagree with and in the book she thinks he did act wrongly in not removing himself from Norland on realizing he loved her.
  3. Marianne being engaged to Colonel Brandon so quickly after she gets better... though I do think they showed the romance fairly well, though almost too much romance. Also, they have Marianne be engaged to Colonel Brandon before Elinor and Edward are engaged... which is NOT true to the book.
  4. I thought the cottage looked too reduced for them to be living in. Yes it is supposed to be a cottage, but in the book you get the impression that it is still nice. 
  5. The lines didn't seem to be taken from the book as much as they should have been. I am not asking for them to quote the book word for word, but there were very few lines that were from the book.
  6. I think it was a little over romanticized.... maybe actually, though I hate to say this, oversexualized. See my last point for one of the main reasons I think it is oversexualized.
  7. Above point in mind, I don't think they developed the romance between Willoughby and Marianne enough. 
  8. This is a WARNING. The first scene is a sex scene between Willoughby and Eliza (Colonel Brandon's ward). It is not explicit... but I went ahead and fast forwarded through it. 
All in all, I did think it was an okay version and I would watch it again. The Elinor was, I repeat, great, and that alone makes me want to watch it again sometime. Have you seen it? What are you thoughts on it?

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mid-Month Progress Report- April 2013

Well halfway through April already... and I almost typed in March there... shows how far behind I am.


I am doing pretty well on this. After my upset last month after not studying on Spring Break I dove into my next unit of Pathophysiology with a renewed effort and pulled out of my most recent test really well... better than I have every have done before actually. :)

Read or Re-read at least 5 books

Let this be warning to me, little triumphs can get to my head. That said, despite my reaching my 5 book goal last month, I will need to do some serious reading to accomplish it this month. Not a book has been read yet! I did read some more in the Silmarillion.... most namely the story of Beren and Luthien, which is REALLY good. I thought all of those years that my brother was just geeking out over nothing... I was wrong. I also started re-reading Northanger Abbey last evening. 

Exercise in some form at least 3 times a week

Most absolutely.

Stick to my diet

I am doing well on this. I have had one splurge day so far... but as always I surrounded it in salads. After I gave blood last week I also had to eat a lot more to renew my energy/nutrients. I honestly almost passed out because at first I passed up the juice and cookies so I ended up having to eat them anyways. However, I figured that between passing out and eating a little more "bad for me stuff" than normal, I chose the better of the two options. 

Lose 4 pounds

I lost two pretty quickly at the beginning of this month but now I am struggling to drop any lower. However, I still have half of the month. Just two more to go. 

Cut down on computer time

I have been making more of a conscious effort to do this and it has helped a lot. Most of the time I just get on my computer to listen to music while I study (which I know isn't the most productive form of studying) and then I get distracted by the internet, ect.  So I just think it would be in my best interest to get an iPod so my computer won't distract me... right? Nope, I'm not convincing myself.

Write at least three more blog posts this month

Already completed and I even have a whole bunch more lined up all having to do in some form or another with Jane Austen. Let's just say I'm a little in the Jane Austen mood right now.

So that's my progress! Hope y'all have a great rest of March... I mean April. 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Lizzy Bennet Diaries

Starting about Spring Break, I began watching a YouTube series of a modern day interpretation of Pride and Prejudice called The Lizzy Bennett Diaries. I finally finished it the other day... all one hundred episodes. I have a lot of thoughts on these so here they are.
First off, I thought the writers executed the story really well. It was really clever how they brought the story about it modern times, though granted I didn't always like how they did that.
Secondly, the acting, I thought, was really good. Every character was played incredibly well. I would say they are just like I imagined them in the book, but still they are slightly different, being modernized. Mr. Collins, I felt, was done especially well. Mary and Kitty Bennett were done differently; Mary was their cousin and only appeared in one episode and Kitty was her cat. Lydia was one of my personal favorite slight changes that they made. Yes she was still awful, but there was a redemptive side to the story with her as well, which I appreciated. However, Lydia did contribute more of the inappropriate content, which I will mention later.
One of my more major disappointments with this was that it didn't portray the close father-daughter relationship that Lizzy and her father had. However, with it focusing more on the relationships between the sisters, it might not have worked well into the story. Still though, that's one of my favorite parts of Pride and Prejudice.
Part way through the series, Lydia starts making her own videos too, which I only watched about half of them as they were needed to understand the story. Gigi (Georgiana Darcy) also had some videos too, which went along with the story. I didn't watch hers but just picked up what happened in them form the comments section.
This series is definitely PG-13. It deals with more mature themes and there are things that are said, mainly by Lydia, that just aren't appropriate for younger children. There is also bad language every once and awhile. I don't want to give away exactly how it ends but I was slightly unsure about how I liked it. You would have to see it to understand. There are some morality issues I take with it also. I suppose for those of you who watch TV shows like Psych, I would say it has along those morality issues and language issues. However, nothing bad is shown. Also, one of the minor characters is gay but that isn't a major part of the story and you could almost miss it being mentioned. I almost forgot to mention it actually.
I did like it, but I did have a fair number of problems with it. So I recommend it cautiously. If you have seen it I would really like to hear your thoughts on it as I am still developing mine.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Life is Looking Up

Life has been fairly stressful this semester, with my Grandma having her stroke, difficult classes, trying to lose weight, and just life in general. However, it has been looking up recently.

First off, I got a really good grade on my last Pathophysiology test, which made me so happy I almost cried... my tutor did. Studying pays off.

After giving blood.
Then I got to cross one of the items off my Bucket List... I gave blood. That was actually a really big deal for me, as I am afraid of needles. However, I promised my tutor last semester in a moment of weakness that when the Red Cross came to Butler for its next blood drive I would. So I did and actually it wasn't too bad. I looked away whenever they poked me and everything went smoothly. Afterwards I didn't have any juice or cookies... just a sloppy joe and then I ended up feeling really faint so then the nurse made me have juice and cookies. So my diet wasn't the best that day but I think all things considered, eating a little unhealthily that one day was probably better than passing out.

My Grandma had surgery to unclog her carotid artery and that went well too. Hopefully she will be able to move back home within the next three weeks. She has made incredible progress though still cannot talk. Prayers appreciated there.

All in all life has definitely been looking up. Also, I was able to check out The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Wreck it Ralph from the library so I'll get to re-watch the first and finally getting to watch the second this weekend. Look for a review of Wreck it Ralph in the near future and until then.... God Bless!

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Movie Review- Pride and Prejudice (1980)

Over spring break I watched via YouTube the 1980 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. I had been interested in it for awhile, having seen commenters on IMDB write that they thought it was the most true to the book... so I watched it.... and let me assure you, it is not truer to the book than the amazing 1995 version. So here are my thoughts on it.


I can't say any of the characters were done to the perfection of the 1995 version. They weren't bad... but they weren't amazing. The Lizzy seemed to me not spirited enough. Mr. Darcy definitely had the proudness down, but he never seemed to let go of it until about the last five minutes of the movie... and by then, I'm sorry but by then it was too late for you to really like him. The Mr. Bennett was too distant for me and rather grouchy. The rest of the characters were all right.  I felt character development to be scarce... especially with Wickham. As with the 2005, they didn't have him in there long enough to make you like him so when you find out he is bad it doesn't really phase you. I liked the Mary to a certain point. I felt they did some things well with her but then sometimes she acts more like Lydia and Kitty.
I liked the Mr. Collins; I thought the actor captured the character well. Lady Catherine de Bourgh was done well, though slightly differently then I've seen her normally done. So average on characters.


A majority of the lines were taken straight from the book... but the actors seemed to recite them off so monotonously that it ruined them. This really bothered me and is one of my main complaints about this version.


I know this is kind of a minor thing but I'm talking about it anyways. All of the scenery seemed rather dark and more gloomy like, which lent a slightly different tone to the movie.


I felt the scenes to be unconnected somewhat.... disjointed in away. It was about the same length as the 1995 version but somehow didn't tell the story as well.

All in all, I that it was an okay version but for me the 1995 version will aways be my Pride and Prejudice. I do think it's worth watching. You can find it on YouTube in about ten minute segments and good quality.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

"Healthy" Brownies

With trying to lose weight, I have been always on the lookout for some healthier recipes. One of these I will share today. Skinny Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies. These are excellent! They have a fudgy kind of texture, which is oh so good! The secret ingredient in these is greek yogurt. Greek yogurt has actually been in a lot of "healthier" recipes I have been trying out recently. This also has oatmeal in it instead of flour. So theoretically if you used gluten free oats, these brownies could be gluten free. They are pretty healthy but let me warn you, health can only go so far if you just keep eating them, and eating them, and eating them... they're that good. So here is the recipe!

Healthy Brownies

Makes 12 (I got 16) brownies. 
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter 
  • 6 oz. low fat vanilla greek yogurt (could use fat free)
  • 1/4 cup skim milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 large egg (or 2 egg whites)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar (author of recipe says Splenda or other artificial sweeteners work as well)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 8×8 (I used 9X9) inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place all of the ingredients except for the peanut butter into a blender or food processor. (Yes, a blender!) For easier blending, place the liquid ingredients into the blender first. Blend until mix is smooth and oats are ground up. You will have to stop the blender and scrape down the sides a few times.
  3. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Batter will be thin. Microwave peanut butter for about 30 seconds. Drop melted peanut butter by spoonfuls onto the batter, swirling gently with a knife to create a marbled effect. (Try not to overmix!)
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan (It took me longer to bake them). Brownies will be extra fudgy, so be sure to wait until COMPLETELY cooled - I stuck mine in the refrigerator for 2 hours, which allowed them to be cut very easily. Cut into 12 squares and enjoy!
Recipe taken from Sally's Baking Addiction.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monthly Resolutions- April 2013

Spring is coming... I can feel it... and I'm EXCITED!!!! :)
So now for my resolutions.


April is an important month for school as final projects need to be worked on and finals start to get mentioned by the teachers. Plenty of studying needs to get done and plenty of studying had better get done.

Read or Re-Read at least 5 books

I don't know which ones these will be but I do want to finish up re-reading all of Jane Austen's novels... so that would be Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Lady Susan  Beyond that I am thinking finishing up reading The Silmarillion is a definite option.

Exercise in some form at least three times a week

That is really lenient for me considering I am normally exercising every day but I want to give myself room to wiggle.

Stick to my "Diet"

If I'm going to have a splurge I need to surrounding it with healthy eating days to compensate for it. I am excited that I have gotten to the point where I'm not hungry as often, which is a good sign. I've also become pretty good about bringing a snack from home so if I am hungry in between meals I am not choosing from the vending machine.

Lose 4 Pounds

That would be about a pound a week. That's nothing super ambitious but I don't want to make it too hard for me. 

Cut down on computer time

Pretty basic... JUST DO IT!!!

Write at least three more blog posts this month

As always. 

Nothing too fancy this month, just the basics. School is getting a lot more intense so I appreciate any and all prayers. 
Thank you all and many blessings!

P.S. How do you like the new blog layout?
Linking up with Kelli at She Learns as She Goes.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.
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