Alice Upside Down

Question:
I meant to write you after I finished Intensely Alice but, of course, I never got around to it. I’m so bad about that stuff. But now I literally just finished watching Alice Upside Down so I figured I’d go ahead and e-mail you with my thoughts on the movie. I’ve always liked Alyson Stoner, and I think she made a delightful Alice. Also, Luke Perry as Ben & Penny Marshall as Mrs. Plotkin are a lot like I imagined the characters to look like. It was so weird to see The Melody Inn come to life! Even weirder for you, I bet. I like how the plot followed the book, for the most part. They did take some liberties, but I was glad the big things were there, like Alice at Gap and stuff. I know this is going to sound racist or being taken that way, even though I REALLY don’t mean it to be at all… but I didn’t like that they strayed from the description of Elizabeth in the books. I guess it’s all right if it’s only going to be one movie… but if they eventually did a TV show (which would work a lot better in the case of Alice) they would need to stick to the description of the characters. After all, someone pointed out on the IMDB message boards that when Elizabeth first introduces Gwen to her parents, her mom is racist (I don’t remember this, but it’s been a while since I read the whole series through). I really enjoyed the movie; it was good for what it was. But if Gossip Girl can become a TV show than Alice should too… since Lizzie McGuire there have been very few shows about normal (read: not super-rich snobs) teens… a TV series about Alice would be a very refreshing change of pace. I miss the shows of the 90s… and especially The Wonder Years, as it is my favorite TV show. These days all I see is reality television or dramas-bordering-on-soaps about rich teens/people (Gossip Girl, 90210, Melrose Place… pretty much everything on the CW). I think nowadays TV producers underestimate the power of a simple story… just because Alice doesn’t sleep with half the block doesn’t make her any less compelling. I wish TV was less drama and more real. Anyway, I digress on that subject. I would like to know your thoughts about the Alice movie… did you see it, enjoy it, did you like the performances?

 

Phyllis replied:

 

It isn’t racist to feel that an actor or actress was not right for the part, and I did not feel that Elizabeth should have been portrayed as an African-American either.  There is such a history to Liz, and her dark hair and pale skin is so much a part of her, that it’s hard to get your mind around someone completely different.  I agree, however, that if the producers had only one movie in mind, and the audience had not known the Alice books, then it would matter little.  But to base the first production on a cast of characters you can’t continue with poses real problems, and there is that wonderful character of Gwen just waiting to be played by an African-American.  ( I believe it was Pamela’s dad, not her mom, who was racist).  Still, glitches aside, I enjoyed the movie too.  I thought Alyson Stoner was great as Alice, I loved the guy who played Lester, even though he was considerably younger than the real Lester, and I cried a couple of times when Alice was talking with her Dad.

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