Wild Child

I would like to confess something before we get into this one. I do not like Emma Roberts. I don’t know why, and I’ve never met her so it’s a totally unfair judgement. I used to watch her old Nickelodeon show, Unfabulous, back when I was about eleven and I didn’t like her then either. However, I do enjoy things she is in. Such as Scream Queens, American Horror Story and Wild Child. When thinking of films that sum up my teenage years, this was one of the first that sprung to mind. I remember thinking this film made England look miserable, I mean, it’s not totally inaccurate in terms of weather anyway! I also remember thinking it was a far more realistic portrayal of boarding school compared to St. Trinian’s or Zoey 101.

Time to re-watch!

Okay, so the film starts with the change that is Poppy’s Dad forcing her to go to boarding school in England. It’s interesting that, with the character of Poppy’s best LA friend, the audience can see the fake-ness of her life here. Aside from her family, and the weather, there’s not actually much to keep Poppy in LA. I feel as though that could have added an interesting layer to the story, if Poppy was conflicted about where to live, but the film eliminates any plausibility of this in making her LA life seem so fake and having her make friends and a romantic interest so fast. The contrast in colour from LA to England is obvious, it’s a nice little detail to add to the feeling that Poppy has for feeling out of place. Her walking around the school in a ‘designer’ uniform and having a strange eating routine seem like fairly stereotypical things to assume with people from LA. Maybe if I were from LA I’d think this was funnier? Or perhaps the jokes are just slightly dated. I get that they’re trying to appeal to both sides of the audience though, which is clever. I didn’t go to a posh boarding school, but I am so happy with this representation of ‘mean girl’. Honestly, I think she’s my favourite character. Another small detail that I liked was Poppy saying: ‘What is this place, Hogwarts?’ Then the camera pans to the matron, who also played Moaning Myrtle. Nice. Do you remember the ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ make-under show? That’s what the salon scene feels like. I forgot about the mention of Alice in Wonderland in this. I understand the connection; a girl growing in a world far from her own, but the way it’s introduced feels a little random. I love the scene where they are trying to buy wine! It’s very relatable as a fifteen-year old, especially the part where Drippy ruins it by asking for two creme eggs as well. I feel like I completely missed the hangover scene as a child! That’s a good thing, I guess. Ah yes, it ends with the weird student trial thing, another nod to Alice in Wonderland. Honestly, this end could have been more moving if they had spent more time on her relationship with her father and feelings about her mother and less time on the romantic relationship. Overall, I don’t think it quite lives up to my expectations/memories of it. However, the script is not bad, there are funny moments and the actors are all fairly strong. In my humble opinion, Wild Child is not a ground-breaking teen film, but it’s fun and quite unique.

Favourite Quote: “She was a grade one a-hole with a severe attitudinal problem.”

A Series of Unfortunate Events

In celebration of me just finishing the new Netflix version of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ I decided my first post would be of Lemony Snicket’s book series. These books were the first real series I read. Previously I mainly read Roald Dahl and Jacqueline Wilson, but as I got to age eleven I wanted more intricate stories, and Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) delivered. I was always a fan of stories that felt as though the had a real conflict, like life or death situations. Therefore ‘The Witches’ was my favourite of Roald Dahls. When I found ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ I could not put it down. I remember thinking the plot was so clever, the writing style was awesome, and I loved how the author became a character in the story. I also remember thinking book eight was my favourite, so it’ll be interesting to see whether that is still the case!

Time to re-read!

Now, I must confess I did not fully re-read all these books (there’s thirteen altogether)! Starting at the beginning, the writing style is as amazing as I remember. It’s so engaging, especially for someone aged ten/eleven who is furthering their reading ability. The inclusion of more complicated words, along with a usually witty explanation makes me wonder if these books are used in schools. Because they should be! I think one clever element of the actual story is that the Baudelaire orphans begin with Count Olaf as a guardian. It would perhaps be easier, although lazier, to simply have him chase them from place to place. However, in having him be the first guardian the reader gets so well acquainted with the antagonist to the point where, and apologies for skipping ahead, the ending of the series feels quite moving! I’d forgotten about the ‘Dear Editor’ notes at the end of each book. These are very effective ways of increasing the readers want to read the next book. Always styled differently to suit the themes of the following chapter, they work so well with the overall tone of someone researching these events. I can see why book eight would have been my favourite as a twelve-year-old as it is the first book in which the Baudelaires venture out alone without Mr Poe and in hiding from the world, as they are suspected murderers. As a ‘tween’ there is nothing more appealing than freedom and out-smarting adults! As an adult reader, the stylised writing and the repetition of tropes and themes does become some-what tedious toward the end. These things are understandably needed with the target audience, however, as it allows the plot to stay directly in the readers mind and the pace to remain snappy, for the shorter attention spans. Upon reading it again, I relate much more to Klaus than Violet, who I related to upon first reading it. This is not surprising to me, Klaus’s methods for problem solving and his interest in books fit my personality far more than the hands-on approach of Violet.

This is a side note comparing the book series to the Netflix series and the 2004 film adaptation. The film, although focuses only on the first three books and changes the plot quite significantly to fit, is very entertaining. The cast is great, and Jim Carrey does an excellent job of undercutting the evilness of Olaf with comedic moments. I also love the inclusion of Jude Law as Lemony, his voice is perfect for narration and, as a Brit myself, it is much more how I imagined the character to sound. I’m not sure if this is an unpopular opinion, but I prefer the Netflix series overall. Not only because it covered the entire plot of all thirteen books, but I think it is a much more accurate representation. The cartoon-like style of the set reflects the hyperbolic language used throughout the books, while also being very visually appealing. Neil Patrick Harris’ version of Olaf is far more what I imagined from the books also. He brings the theatricality of the role more into play, of course. Furthermore, his Olaf is more pitiful than the films portrayal. A key aspect of Olaf that the books included making him a more layered and interesting antagonist.

Overall, these books are as great as I remember them to be! I would recommend them to all ages, but with a reminder that they are written for a younger reader. I think there should be more children’s fiction that is willing to be this dark, because it holds so many important messages, without spoon-feeding them. I’d say my favourite, upon re-reading, is book seven. ‘The Vile Village’ is a turning point in the series. It also introduces the Snicket family into the story, and the whole plot just becomes more intricate. I also love the whole visual of town run by idiotic adults and the images of the crows and the couplet clues from two of the triplets. This book just helps cement the series in the mystery genre. In my humble opinion, these books allow their plot to grow alongside their characters and their audience (usually), making them perfect for any young readers.

Favourite Quote: “Well-read people are less likely to be evil.” (The Slippery Slope)

Second Favourite Quote: “If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats.” (The Wide Window)

(I am indecisive, sorry.)

Rewind Reviews

Hello there. I wanted to start my blog page off with a selection of reviews on books or films I enjoyed/hated/are synonymous with my teenage years. Journey back with me to a time of flip phones, dream matte mousse and Avril Lavigne. I’ll be reviewing some of the most infamous books/series/films from the noughties.

After re-watching ‘Friends’ recently, and grimacing at more than a few moments, I wondered what other beloved shows perhaps don’t hold up well today? Is ‘Mean Girls’ still funny? Is ‘Twilight’ as awful as I remember? Is ‘Harry Potter’ overrated? All questions I may answer.

So, coat your lips in thick lip gloss, feed your tamagotchi and join me as I delve back in time. Please keep your arms, legs and Uggs inside the Delorean at all times and remember, this is all just my humble opinion.