A blog to celebrate, dissect, and promote V.C. Andrews' addictive modern Gothic classic : Flowers in the Attic.

Let's talk analyses, movie and TV adaptations, sequels, editing, and share ideas on this literary crack, because as far as I'm concerned this book ought to live on and on, approach infinity, expand like our glorious universe...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Clover or Apple Came Back From the Dead and Ate My Homework, or Why I Started Then Stopped Reviewing Lifetime's If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday

People, come on, does or doesn't the awfulness of this post title deserve an award?

I haven't blogged in eons, and two more Lifetime movies have passed.  I know.  I am not perfect but I am self-aware enough to know when I'm being a total slacker.  But I think you'll understand once I explain!

This spring, between getting some schooling as well as randomly vacationing in Virginia (the train didn't stop in Charlottesville though - booooo!),  I fell off the blogging wagon.  Trust that I actually started a review for Lifetime's If There Be Thorns.  Had a whole bullet point sheet of notes… but I never handed them in to you guys to get graded.  The problem was that as I started tallying all the details from the two movies that I wanted to discuss, I also started to wonder if it was worth breaking them down at all.  Sorry Lifetime, I know that's a totally rude statement because I can see the level of effort that went into the movies' production and trust me I was along for the ride (I will refer you to my Twitter account where you can see how I reacted in live blogging time) but on the whole... I feel somewhat unmotivated to lick my chops and pick these movies apart.

At this stage of the game Lifetime has pretty much spiraled out into another dimension of reality, considering how far the teleplay adaptations have strayed from the original books.  It's sort of like a Ponzi scheme where you fudge too much from the get so that you can't back out, and then have no other choice but to double down and keep playing, lest everything fall apart.  It started once they tweaked Flowers in the Attic with some twists to Olivia's character (I was kinda OK with this as I thought some of it was clever) and with Corrine being somewhat of an airhead (less OK with this, but I can see why they would interpret her this way) - but then we completely derailed in the next movie when we had Chris dating a debutante sorority majorette in Petals on the Wind and Paul being the long lost twin of Leslie Nielsen (still, I forgave, because this movie was all about the forbidden love angle, and had about 1,000,000 pages of story and soap opera timeline to cover, and the drool factor was still there on screen), but by the time we got to If There Be Thorns, I said:

In terms of artistic vision, I give this movie an unapologetic A+.  Visually, I loved all of it.  I loved the cinematography and set designs, the overall misty blue-toned moodiness.  It was so good, I overlooked the fact that Jory looked like a Skipper doll and that they turned Cathy into a drug addict who glugged Pinot Grigio.  I forgave the way Corrine shrilly summoned "John Amos!" for tea and cookies like she was Marie Antoinette.  I didn't even pine for John Amos's missing pencil thin mustache all that much - I can live with a clean shaven lech - but let's be honest, was there any scene in this movie that you recognized specifically from the book?  The atmosphere and visuals were there, and yes, I can give credit that they kept in some pertinent details, but they missed the The Big Picture by making these movies more about the superficial drama and less about the theme of the saga as a whole.  In the end, If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday (... and Petals on the Wind, if I'm to be fair) became their own movies, and less like related installments from a series.  

It would have been nice to have at least one running theme to tie all the movies together, but I guess we all realize that the Wachowskis aren't writing these teleplays as metaphorical tales and so we have to take these movies for what they are.  However, it leaves an armchair blogger critic like me with little to chew on.   It's a lot easier to dig into a movie when it's kept close to the source material but these movies have been interpreted and assembled with so much artistic license it seems a little pointless at this point to actually review them.  Is If There Be Thorns the same memorable story without Cathy going into her PTSD psycho fugues and Chris having to parent her accordingly, and then having the two of them make out to old records?  Is it the same story without the wonderfully weird Edward Scissorhands style landscaping in Corrine's yard or having her climb a ladder in her hijab to look over a wall?  A lot of stuff that pertains to the thematic matrix of the whole series was sacrificed to make for entertaining TV, so to do a comparison of the movies to the books is like comparing apples to oranges, and there's nothing I haven't said in my analyses of the books that wouldn't tell you clearly what was missing from the movies.

I think I'm kind of a dumbass because it's not like I didn't realize this was going to happen, especially after Petals of the Wind aired.  It's just that when I read these books, I have a reel in my head projecting the movie onto my internal movie screen and then when the actual movie airs on TV and projects some things that are way different, I just can't help but grab my hair at the roots and go "Gah!"  After a while it makes you lose all your hair and you can't pull at it anymore, is what I'm trying to say.  You just sort of accept your bald existence at that point, and your motivation for writing your next review wanes a little.

So anyway, you can take that as my excuse for not reviewing thoroughly.  If you don't believe me, then my excuse is that the dog ate my homework.

I cannot even imagine what they're going to do with My Sweet Audrina.  Does any one want to do an office pool on whether we get to see a double amputee on a makeshift skateboard in this movie.  Yeah, you guessed it:  I can't wait to watch and find out.