Fug the Fromage: Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story


fug-the-fromage

The first thing that Lifetime wants you to know is that MAGIC BEYOND WORDS is an unauthorized biography, which might make you think that it’s going to be full of salacious, semi-true details and tales of saucy romantic entanglements with inappropriate people. This is basically a total lie. I mean, no one reveres JK Rowling more than I — I love the Harry Potter books madly, and I think they are a miracle of plot structure — and I don’t necessarily think that there NEEDS to be a movie made of her life, and I certainly am not advocating going out there to rustle up some dirt on her, because that would be gross, but if someone makes the decision to Unauthorized Biography it up, then they should UNAUTHORIZE IT UP, you guys.

ANYWAY. We open with B-roll of people losing their shiz at a Harry Potter premiere. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but apparently it’s a very successful franchise.  A newswoman breathlessly narrates, “JK Rowling will be here this afternoon,” and we cut to Poppy Montgomery hesitating before getting out of a limo. A) How weird it must be for Rowling to know that Lifetime made a movie about her life without her authorization, and b) It’s probably kind of flattering to be played by Poppy Montgomery.

“What do I talk about with the Duchess of York? Honestly?”  JK says to this perky person:

I can think of several things: weight loss, Prince Andrew and whether or not they’ll ever really get back together, if the Queen is actually really mean or not, crumpets. Perky Dude tells her, super perkily, that they’ll talk about “whatever it is Famous People talk about” – so, weight loss is a go — and that she’ll be great. They then clunkily establish that he is her fiancé, which is interesting because I totally assumed he was her Sassy Gay Friend, who would implore her to look at her life/choices when she got drunk at the premiere party and sloppily confessed that she was a little bit in love with Voldemort.

After a deep breath, JK looks thoughtfully out the car window at a woman carrying a child. They’re both wearing witches’ hats and holding copies of Harry Potter: Not Without My Owl: The Hedwig Q. Potter Story (it’s Lifetime, after all), the sight of which flashes us all back to 1973, where some childish uniform-wearing prat teases Wee Jo and her sister Diana about…something that I didn’t really follow, mostly because I was bored, and she comes back with some very serviceable scary story to shame him, and — listen, basically all you need to know is that Rowling has always had a very good imagination, likes witches, is very invested in The Power of Friendship, and was basically Hermione Granger in a blue coat:

We cut from The Mysterious Woods In Which There May Or May Not Be a Whomping Willow and into the kitchen of Casa Rowling, where Mama Rowling and Papa Rowling have a very expository chat in which we learn that Mama Rowling is basically Perfect, Awesome, and Without Flaw, and Papa Rowling is Perfectly Serviceable, but does not, like his wife, read Wind in the Willows to his children for hours at night, even when they are about to start a new school in the morning.

This is what greets us at the New School:

Well, Hedwig, yes, but also these girls:

One of whom — the nastiest — is named Patricia Parkinson. If there is, in fact, a Real Life Pansy Parkinson, I wonder how she feels about being portrayed as basically a raging asshole in the books. Also a raging asshole: Jo’s mean mean teacher, Mrs. Morgan (we are clearly related), who “sorts them out” into their seating arrangements, not using a hat, but using some kind of test that I can’t really follow. Neither can Wee Jo, so she flunks it and is stuck in the back row of the classroom. I resent that my fictional relations are being made out to be so terribly Snape-ish. Although I suppose Snape is secretly brave inside and also is married to a lot of mega-Snape fans on the astral plane, so that’s not as unflattering as one might suppose.

ANYWAY. Jo hates school. But her mother — who dresses a bit as though it’s 1947 and not the mid-7os–  is perfectly comforting and wonderful about it.

Even if here she seems to be at a bit of a loss.

Soon, we transition to high school, where Teen Jo is STILL stuck in Back Row Siberia, and her teacher is wearing a black turtleneck which is totally what Snape would have worn in 1980. Proto-Snape catches her doodling – a very good picture of a snake, which means, GASP! IS JK ROWLING IN SLYTHERIN? This IS unauthorized! Anyway, he very Snape-ishly scolds her about it. She stands up and tells him that she did very well on her last exams, and can certainly draw and listen at the same time, and this all somehow leads to like five minutes of her talking about math. Proto-Snape sniffs that she needs to be “more grounded” (so, LESS MAGICAL?!? NEVER!) and moves her into the front row to prevent her flights of fancy.

Anyhoodle, the bell rings as Proto-Snape once again admires her snake (not a euphemism), then calls her back to talk to him, telling her,  “I didn’t choose you because you didn’t know the answers. I singled you out because you were NOT PAYING ATTENTION.” Teen Jo apologies, and Snape tells her that she should consider a literary career. Because she was drawing a snake? That…makes the sense that is none, as Buffy would have said. “It’s just a hobby,” Teen Jo insists. “Nothing more.” And he gives her this appraising look that I think is supposed to be all, “THAT GIRL HAS MOXIE” but which just makes him look like he wants to get into her uniform.

Put it away, Proto-Snape. Don’t you have a long-dead love whose Patronus you need to adopt somewhere?

MEANWHILE:  The other girls at school suck. “Oi, swott, where do you think you’re going?” one asks Teen Jo, as she is just minding her own business walking down the hallway. “Where do I think I’m going? That’s kind of an existential question, isn’t it?” Teen Jo snarks in return. This exchange devolves into a fight where Dranconia Malfoy PUNCHES TEEN JO IN THE FACE, as a Weasley-type watches in horror. The  Weasley helpfully yells that a teacher is coming and after the crowd disperses, checks on Teen Jo, who is rolling around on the ground holding her face. “I didn’t need your help,” she gasps. “Of course you didn’t. Given enough time, she would have hurt her fist on your face,” he Weasleys. Like all Weasleys, I like him. This kid — who tells her he is named “Sean Harris,” which we all know translates to “RON WEASLEY” — sort of awkwardly hits on Teen Jo, and she both blows him off and then runs away.

And he’s all, “GIRLS. JEEZ:”

At home: “Mum, do you think I’m weird?”  Teen Jo asks. Mum, of course, says no. Oh, Teen Jo! You’re not weird. You’re just a little Hermione-y, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Teen Jo explains that no one reads the books she reads, and wonders if that means there is something wrong with her. Maybe there is something wrong with ME, but I have literally never wondered if other people are reading the same books that I am.  Mum is perfect and awesome in this moment, of course, but because this is Lifetime, she also dramatically collapses on the floor in the middle of being Perfect and Awesome. And that’s when we learn that she has Multiple Sclerosis, which is very sad and also conveniently totally Lifetime.

Two years later:  Jo and The Weasley are now running around wearing leather jackets and 80s hair and smoking and drinking down by the river, where she refuses to talk about her mother’s apparently deteriorating health, despite The Weasley’s sensitive questioning on the subject:

I am kind of in love with The Weasley, much as I am in love with The Actual Weasley (Ron). I spent like five years in a coma of terror that Rowling was going to kill off Ron and then I would have to run down to the Barnes & Noble and RAGE. ANYWAY. Jo, instead of opening up to The Weasley (in any way), just tosses her beer bottle in the river. Drinking AND littering?! THIS UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY IS IS SCANDALOUS. The Weasley just mildly notes that’s not how the “head girl” is supposed to act, and Jo sasses that, at their school, “head girl” just means, “least likely to be arrested,” and then shows him an application for Oxford she’s been carrying around all over town in the pocket of her Scandalous Leather Loitering Jacket. The Weasley can’t BELIEVED she’s applied to Oxford, and points out that she’s never even let him read any of her writing. Jo says she isn’t going to show anyone anything until she’s got something good to show. The Weasley goes, “Maybe you could write ME into one of your stories,” and Jo says, and I am not making this up, “You’re such a WEASELLY guy!”  UGH, LIFETIME, GOD.

We are seriously zipping through the events of Teen Jo’s life, because all of a sudden, here we are at graduation, which is established thanks to a long shot of a cake that reads HAPPY GRADUATION. Mum Rowling’s MS makes it hard for her to cut the cake,  so the whole thing is very poignant and ends with Jo crying outside and smoking with The Weasley — in part, I am sure, because a scene of smoking with a dude while exhibiting terrible eye makeup and dated hair is required by the executives at Lifetime before they put your movie on the air:

“I’m going to miss you next year,” she tells him, then shows him a letter from Oxford — their whole relationship is apparently just her handing him pieces of school-related paper — that is as yet unopened. The Weasley doesn’t want to open it for her, but Jo makes him. And she did not get into Oxford, the news of which makes everyone terribly distraught. The Rowlings blame themselves for not being able to send her to a super posh private (er, public) school, but also point out that Exeter is a good school. “BUT I WANT TO BE A WRITER,” she wails. Perfect and Awesome Mum points out that Jo can still write. “There is nothing stopping you from writing,” she says. Pa Rowling decides this would totally be the best time to mention that she should probably study something more practical, anyway. Like math(s)! Or language! Jo just storms out in a huff.

Mum Rowling follows her to say things that are perfect and awesome. Poor Mum Rowling. I know this ends sadly for her, both because it ended sadly in real life, and because Lifetime doesn’t let mothers be perfect and awesome AND ALIVE all at the same time, in general.

Cut to The University of Exeter, 1987. ANOTHER GRADUATION. I feel cheated that I never found out if Rowling and The Weasley made out, and instead here we are seeing her getting a degree in the dreaded languages. Doesn’t all the good Unauthorized Stuff happen during the college years? Why did we not get to see, like, College Jo leaning out her Exeter window, smoking pot and talking about recreational lesbianism with her roommate? This seems like an oversight. Anyway: Pa Rowling is proud, and Mum Rowling is Perfect and Awesome, and also in a wheelchair.

Jo, on the other hand, is wistful:

“I should have smoked more pot and engaged in more recreational lesbianism,” she seems to be thinking.

We cut to London, 1990.  Rowling is now Poppy Montgomery and also working at Amnesty International, where she’s in research. Mum calls to check up on her, and Jo says to her — on the phone, IN THE OFFICE — “I’m just not sure this is where I’m supposed to be.”  And her writing is suffering: She can’t seem to find the right story to write. Her mother is…you know. Perfect and Awesome about it. Lifetime movies do love the Magically Flawless Critically Ill person, after all.

Anyway, Jo gets off the phone, and the boss calls her in and announces, “I think you’re unhappy here.” I CAN’T IMAGINE WHAT TIPPED HIM OFF. IT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN HER SAYING THAT ALOUD ON THE PHONE JUST NOW.  The Boss kindly tells her she should be doing what makes her happy. “I CAN’T,” she says. “Not practical.” And here’s the thing: I feel like one of the subtexts of this movie is, like, OHO, BUT IT WILL BE PRACTICAL BECAUSE YOU WILL BE A KAJILLIONAIRE EVENTUALLY, but the truth is, nearly every writer in the world writes around her day job. And so can you, Fictional Jo Rowling! Basically EVERYONE has a job that’s not “what they love” — or did, on the way to that job they love — and does the things they love on the side. LEARN TO DEAL, YOU MAGICAL WRITING MIND.

Cut to the middle of nowhere, where Jo is on a train, sitting smack dab in the middle of the Light Of Magical Inspiration:

She chats up the lady pushing the candy cart. What flavors does she have, you may ask? “Oh, EVERY FLAVOR,” Miss Bertie Botts says, and starts listing them off, including liver and tripe. “Tripe?” Jo gapes. “GRAPE, dearie, GRAPE,” Bertie Botts says, and then toddles off with her cart, after asking Jo where she’s going and learning that she’s off to another interview where she will be sure to do TERRIBLY because everyone knows she’s A TERRIBLE EMPLOYEE. Well, hon, at the very least you’ve got a terrible attitude. Once Jo is alone, the voices of her parents and boss and everyone pop into her head, asking her if she wants to WRITE, or if she wants to MAKE A LIVING?!?!?! But, doll face, you’re not making a living right now, so you might as well write your little fingers off instead of being crabby on the train.

And then this is where Hedwig shows up:

We follow Hedwig into the same Witchy Flashback from the beginning of the movie. Grown Up Jo steps into it, and follows her young self into the woods.  “Hello?” Grown Up Jo calls. “Is anyone there?” It’s your fantasy, sister. ANYONE can be there. May I suggest Ralph Fiennes? WITH THE NOSE. I want to be clear about that part. SUPER CLEAR.

But the only person there is a GRYFFINDOR SCARF!

AND HARRY POTTER GLASSES.

Fantasy Jo keeps walking into the woods, where she meets a young boy who is WEARING these glasses, and who has a lightening shaped scar on his forehead. “Hello,” she says. “Who are you?” Wait, wait! I know this one. Hang on. It’s coming to me. Just a sec. Right on the tip of my tongue…

We cut back to the train and Jo whispers, dramatically, “HARRY POTTER! YOUR NAME IS HAPPY POTTER. AND YOU’RE ON YOUR WAY TO SCHOOL. YOU’RE ON YOUR WAY TO WIZARD SCHOOL. I NEED A PEN!”

And so she writes this book. And it’s really good. The end.

No, actually, it’s just an ad break.

After the commercials, Jo goes home for Christmas, where Perfect and Awesome Mum is perfect and awesome, and says,  “I just want you to be happy. To find the thing that completes and fulfills you.” Jo says, “I think I have.” Her mother tells her to never let it go, and then the music swells dramatically…

Then she dies. That just sucks for everyone. And at the funeral, Jo goes into her mother’s room, and picks up one of her books. Some paper falls out of it: It’s a story that Jo wrote when she was six. When Jo realizes what it is, and that her mother saved it, she cries and cries and cries, and it’s actually very touching, and I also kind of cry because her poor mom really IS dead and that is just really unfair and terrible and DAMN YOU. DAMN YOU, LIFETIME. YOU ALWAYS GET ME.

Anyway. In the wake of her mother’s death, Jo decides to move to Portugal to teach English. She’s happy there. You can tell, because her hair is all bouncy, and she’s living with a bunch of sassy girls who dance in the kitchen .

She exposits in a voice-over of a letter that she can’t come home from Portugal for Christmas because she needs to be doing more writing (and she’s busy kitchen dancing). It is at this point that I realize this expository letter is to her sister, not her father, because she says, in closing,  “give your new boyfriend a kiss.” Although if her father had gotten a boyfriend after her mother died, AT LAST THIS MOVIE MIGHT HAVE BEEN INTERESTING. Alas.

But of course Jo’s Fun Roommates don’t believe in staying home and writing, and instead drag her out to meet boys. Which is not actually a bad trade. In fact, it is out at some disco that she meets THIS GUY:

Clearly, that look on his face means, “THAT WOMAN. I MUST HAVE HER.” Whereas when that look is on my face it means, “THAT WOMAN. WHAT IS SHE WEARING?”

He stares at her while she’s giving Fun Roommate Number One a fake life story to give any dudes at the bar that she’s not interested in. It is a story that she has lifted, wholesale, from The Taming of the Shrew, and when he comes up to her and chats her up — and she is very terse with him, in a very Hermione way — her calls her out on her plagiarism. “You read Taming of the Shrew?” Jo asks. He’s all, DUH, and I must agree.  It’s not like she was stealing from Titus Andronicus. Anyway, he charms her, OBVIOUSLY, by getting her a glass of wine, and next thing you know, her roommates are irritatingly teasing her using his phone calls, pretending she’s not home, which is clever when you’re 17 and FREAKING ANNOYING when you’re an adult and waiting for someone you really like to call you:

I hate her Fun Roommate now. GIVE THE WOMAN THE PHONE CALL FROM THE HOT DUDE WITH THE WINE.

So, Jo and Hot Dude — his name is Jorge — come back from a date, and she goes to get a sweater or whatever, and while she’s in the bedroom, he reads part of her manuscript, which is on the kitchen table and seemingly has been for days. And she gets all RAGEY. “This is PRIVATE!”  she screams at him, Dude, it’s on the kitchen table. People don’t keep private things on the kitchen table.  She then tries to kick him out.  But! “Let me say one thing. I THINK I’M FALLING IN LOVE. WITH A GREAT WRITER,” he tells her. Then they make out.

That was a good line, Jorge.

After the ads, we learn: Jo is mad in love with Jorge and writing a lot. Her sister Diana tells her that their father is getting remarried, to his SECRETARY. WHO IS DIVORCING HER HUSBAND TO DO IT. Okay, shit just got Lifetime up in here.  (Too bad that plot line is never mentioned again, because it’s actually seemingly full of drama). And then shit gets even LIFETIME-IER:  Jo walks in on Jorge canoodling with some blonde chippy at the bar. THE BAR AT WHICH SHE WAS MEETING HIM, so he is clearly no genius. After this, they have, in the Lifetime tradition, a big old fight in the alley during which she makes fun of his accent, and then he swears it will never happen again, and then he proposes and then she makes this face:

And then she accepts. Oh honey. No.

So they get married.  Don’t they look happy?!?!?!

Jo’s sister is all, “Don’t you think you’re rushing this?” And Jo is all, “DIANA. HE MAKES ME HAPPY, OKAY?” Except for when he’s kissing other girls in bars and reading your manuscript that you left out on the kitchen table for everyone to read. Girl, you’re not knocked up. Break up with the dude! There are other fish in the Portuguese sea!

Anyway, once they’re married, they seem mostly happy. At least, there’s lots of making out while he’s wearing a beret, which seems like happiness to me. And I thought Jorge was a journalist, but suddenly he’s wearing full-on army gear, and he leaves her alone in their new flat, with her box full of Harry Potter, for eight weeks, and when he gets home, he tells her the paper laid him off. Maybe because you were trotting around wearing an inexplicable army costume? I don’t know. They then have an argument about how he’s not a man if he can’t support his wife, so she decides that the best way to cheer him up us by telling him that she actually IS knocked up. Like it’s good news at that particular moment. LADY, HE JUST LOST HIS JOB AND IS WORRIED HE CAN’T SUPPORT YOU. NOW IS NOT THE TIME. LEARN TO READ THE ROOM. He storms out, leaving Jo alone to make this very Lifetime-endorsed face:

Anyway, she has the baby and names her Jessica. She says it’s after Jessica Mitford, but I’m pretty sure it was AFTER ME.  Fun Roommates come over to see the baby, and also to pointedly wonder where Jorge is, and it’s FINALLY made clear that he was doing his army service AND being a journalist simultaneously, not weirdly popping off to work dressed like a soldier for fun. ANYWAY, she — in the grand Lifetime Tradition — makes a series of super lame excuses for him and they make these faces:

AND:

Apparently, it’s time for a Fun Intervention: according to Fun Roommates,  Jorge is a drunk who makes Jo miserable and she needs to leave him.

Instead, in the grand tradition of all Lifetime  heroines, Jo lies on the sofa and cries until her husband gets home, at which point he acts like a drunk dipshit who doesn’t appreciate her and then tries to get into her pants when she is not interested.  They have a HUGE fight about what a jackass he is, and, frankly, the nation of Portugal should sue this actor for how all over the place his accent gets throughout. He sounds like Speedy Gonzalez.  Speedy promptly wakes up the baby with all his yelling, and then he THROWS HARRY POTTER AGAINST THE WALL, which is like the latter day version of when Amy burns Jo’s book in Little Women: AN UNBEARABLE ACT OF PURE EVIL.  So she breaks up with him.

And then we’re really watching a Lifetime movie:

Yes, Jorge beats her up and throws her out of the house without the baby, because he’s terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible. Outside on the street, Jo flags down some very conveniently near-by police officers, who make Evil Awful Book Thrower Lady Abuser Baby Waker Jorge open the front door and THEN he has an altercation WITH THE COPS. But, but….he’s read The Taming of the Shrew! SO HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING?!

Jo gathers up her two babies…

…and gets the hell out of Portugal. A sad song plays on the soundtrack as she gets off at a very meaningful set of platforms at King’s Cross:

Cut to Edinburgh, December 1993, where Sad Jo has to talk to a social worker about getting on the Dole. She is stunned at how little money The Dole provides. This is the look the Dole Lady gives her:

We then sit through like A HUNDRED THOUSAND YEARS of footage of things like: trying to get an apartment, and worrying about not making enough money, which is as compelling on Lifetime as it is in real life — namely, not particularly. But the point is that Unemployed Jo is depressed, as one might be should one find oneself unemployed in a hideous apartment with confused career aspirations and a sweet baby whose father is a TOTAL JACKWEED and no mother and a father who married his secretary and then drove off a cliff (presumably, as we never hear from him again). “Where do I go from here?” Jo asks her sister, who responds by wondering what makes Jo happy, for the one millionth time in this movie. As far as I can remember from when I was going through a lengthy period of unemployment, that is not actually the most helpful response to that question. The most helpful response is, “Oh! That reminds me, I have an awesome job for you. It’s really fun and super easy and it pays six hundred thousand dollars a year, and you’ll be working from your own private pool cabana at the Four Seasons with unlimited room service.” But this time, the question leads to Jo taking out her book box and letting Diana read Harry Potter. She hands over the first book, and then takes out a file folder and says, “This is the last chapter.”  Diana: “Of the book?” Jo: “Of the last book. The 7th book.” See, THAT is what I want to know more about. JK Rowling’s Mega Plotting Genius Skills. Although…that also perhaps would not be a movie as much as a filmstrip where JK Rowling pops up and says, “Jessica, just come up with tighter plots. Okay, time to go count my money. Bye!”

Diana reads the book.

Diana thinks it sucks.

Not really. Diana — obviously — thinks it is “MAGICAL.” And she implores Jo to write, damn it, write. “What do you have to lose?”

So Jo writes, usually here:

That DOES seem like a sign.

And sometimes she writes at home, where things like this tend to happen:

Babe, I’m pretty sure your ability to levitate a variety of fiery objects could make you some sweet cash in the interim before your book gets published. I’m just saying.

And eventually, Jo finishes the book. And gets an agent, courtesy of an editor going through the slush pile. This is not very dramatically compelling, other than for all the agents who turned down Harry Potter and now want to kill themselves every time they think of it. The agent makes Jo change her name to something that sounds gender-neutral, because boys don’t read books that they think girls have written, because boys know that girls have cooties and if they read girl books, their junk will fall off.

Eventually, after a dozen now-suicidal publishers pass on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Lucky Number 13 goes for it:

And then the book comes out. She looks at the dedication, which is very sweet:

And then turns her to her mother’s picture. “I did it, Mum. I did it,” she says, to it. And I certainly can’t make fun of that: a) it’s a wonderful thing to love your parents and to be able to feel like you made them proud, b) Harry Potter is responsible for some of the most glorious moments of my entire life as a reader, and I say that as someone who has read many, many books, and I would hate to live in a world without it, so obviously this is a moment that I too am beyond pleased actually came to pass, and c) she went and dedicated the book to ME. Jo, you shouldn’t have!

And then the book is in stores and everyone loves it and they think it is awesome and there is a bidding war in New York for it and she gets more money for it from Scholastic than any other children’s writer ever (at that date), and she makes this face:

And the publishers who lost that bidding war want to end it all, some more, again, and forever.

And then Warner Brothers makes a bunch of movies.

Ralph Fiennes finds himself noseless and living on the back of some dude’s head under a turban.

Jo becomes affianced to some guy, but we’re never told his name, how they met, or anything about him other than that he suggests she bring up Weight Watchers to Fergie, or whatever, because now we’re back at the movie premiere from the beginning. FINALLY, girlfriend gets out of the car, and tells a reporter that this premiere is “right up there” with the birth of her daughter and the publishing of the book to begin with, in terms of personal awesomeness. “Did you ever expect this level of success and fame?” the reporter asks. “I just wanted to be a writer,” Jo explains. The reporter nosily asks what Jo herself would see, if she looked in the Mirror of Erised, and she says that’s going to have to “stay [her] secret.”

I think I speak for us all when I say: DUH. Like Harry himself, I’m sure she would see her mother. And, in fact, when she and Nameless Perky Fiancee return home, she reads to her daughter from The Wind in the Willows for a bit, and then looks into the mirror in her room, and sees her mother looking back at her, as Perfect and Awesome as always, and looking a wee bit like Kate Winslet:

I TOLD YOU SO.

THE END. I think the takeaway here is that JK Rowling actually OWNS the Mirror of Erised, which I feel really should be in a safer place than kicking around her daughter’s room. The other takeaway, per Lifetime, is that she is now SUPER rich, which means that writing IS practical AFTER ALL, as long as you sell a billion, kamillion copies of your masterwork.

At the very end of the movie, they also nicely point out that Rowling has created  “the Volant Charitable Turst, which gives to organziations that aid children, one parent families, and multiple sclerosis.” Which is awesome, which makes sense, because — all kidding aside — as sort of boring and flabby as this movie was, Rowling HERSELF is totally awesome, and has given us many awesome things, not the least of which is Hot Neville.

Fuggery: 4 out of 10: Although the costumers missed MAJOR OPPORTUNITIES to give people insanely 90s outfits — like, I’m quite sure Fun Roommates would have been wearing clogs and chokers in 1993 and NOT little tea party dresses — no one looked outright heinous, and Poppy Montgomery generally looked great. Her hair was also fantastic. Points subtracted for all the Man Turtlenecks.

Fromage: 5 out of 10: For a Lifetime movie, this score is unconscionably low. I demand more fromage from the network that brought me Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?

F*ckwittery: 2 out of 10. I still feel cheated that I don’t know what happened to The Weasley.

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Comments (43):

  1. Sonya
    0

    This made my day, thanks ladies. :)

  2. Jasmine
    0

    I, too, spent the duration of the time between the 4th book and the 7th book coming out being absolutely TERRIFIED SHITLESS that Jo Rowling would kill off Ron. I told anyone who would listen (and even people who wouldn’t) that he was my favourite, and if she killed him off I would certainly have something to say to her. Very angrily. Via email because she’s richer than the bloody Queen and wouldn’t take my phone calls of harassment.

    Her life story makes me so crazy sad and then overwhelmingly happy for her. Oh Jo Rowling. How I adore you.

  3. yeahandalso
    0

    am I the only one who thinks Proto-Snape looks a lot like Colin Firth?

    Also I’m glad this article clarified that Poppy Montgomery is the actress…I tend to get her mixed up with Poppy Lifton…who is apparently just a Gossip Girl character now that I google it, but in my mind she was a Tinsley Mortimer type who was playing herself on Gossip Girl..now that would have been sweet.

  4. Sarah
    0

    This review is GOLD! Laugh out loud. I know I’m being super lame, but you outdid yourself with this one.

    Ps. I’m STILL ragey that Jo killed off the other Weasley.

  5. Claire L
    0

    Is it sad that I am making my girl hold off on reading the last three books a bit ( she’s 11 and rather well read) because I know that her heart is going to break when she reads book 7. The Weasley twins are her favorite and even though I’ve read the books she still has to tell me their bits in great detail.

  6. Christine
    0

    Fug girls, when can we expect the Fug the Fromage treatment to “The Last Song”?

  7. megs283
    0

    I LOVE your lifetime recaps. I always intend to just read the first paragraph… then I get sucked in and actually laugh out loud a bazillion times. Way to go!!

  8. KatieKazoo
    0

    Oh, My. Lord. Really? JK Rowling’s life is stroke-for-stroke the plotline of Harry Potter? Really? Really?

    Thank you for making sure I would not watch this piece of dreck and break my TV.

  9. KatieKazoo
    0

    But I would TOTALLY re-watch “Mother May I Sleep with Danger?” because it’s AWESOME.

  10. avidbeader
    0

    Excellent review of the trainwreck. I will be avoiding this with all my being.

    And I really wish Rowling had followed through on the logic and killed Ron. The sacrifice in the first book on the chessboard MADE his character, gave him a purpose for being there. It was perfectly foreshadowed. Bad writing, Rowling, bad writing.

  11. Ranee Singleton
    0

    I was semi-watching this the other day while flipping channels and every time I got back to the show, Wee Jo, Teen Jo and College Jo were all shrieking “But I want to write.”

    I was so hoping that you would Fug this Fromage, and I am so glad you did.

  12. yeahandalso
    0

    and also, the Weasly guy up there looks like Dexter in his teenage flashbacks

  13. vandalfan
    0

    Just a few sentences in and I must thank you for Sassy Gay Friend, especially his advice to Juliet. Viva le frommage!

  14. SLD
    0

    “I should have smoked more pot and engaged in more recreational lesbianism,”

  15. RACHEL
    0

    I’m still laughing at “Lifetime endorsed face.” Bravo!

  16. SarahM
    0

    I am delighted to have this synopsis made available so I don’t ever waste my time watching the silliness that is that movie. I am just as big a fan of Harry Potter et.al. as anyone can be, and knowing now that JK lost her mom makes so much sense! I lost mine, and my dad, figuratively, so I always identified with Harry’s longing for that love to be returned to him. Now I know how she wrote that so well. Personally, I was devastated at the death of Snape, and it made me sniffle, and the only good thing about this last movie was that all my loser I-never-read-the-books friends will stop asking me whether Snape is good or evil. NOW THEY KNOW, dammit. The fact that the question was left unanswered for so long is the quintissential example of the aforementioned brilliant plotting, in my humble opinion. But really, could it be possible that she actually took the characters from LIFE? I liked the idea that they were made up of whole cloth, for some reason.

  17. Stephanie
    0

    This was absolutely worth the 20 minutes I spent reading it. Good work fug girls, you never cease to make me laugh.

  18. Jen
    0

    i can’t believe I watched the whole movie and then read all of this! And I’m not embarrassed to say that I enjoyed both very much, thanks.

  19. Jennifer
    0

    I laughed so loud from my office, that someone stopped in to check on me. (I’ll close the door next time!)

  20. Jacq
    0

    Superb review, as always. If I ruled the Fug World you guys would Fug the Fromage once a week.

    And I totally agree with all the Rowling love: she’s awesome. I love her work and I love her for being so philanthropic (particularly as my husband has MS).

  21. Sajorina
    0

    I must admit that I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books or seen any of the movies, but it was fun to read this post! Thank you, Jessica!

  22. EmSpeaks
    0

    I must say, as
    1. a major HP fan (though not enough of a fan to know about this movie until now, apparently), and
    2. an aspiring novelist who has just completed her first full draft of her first novel, reading this actually made me cry.

    Yes, I’m a sap.

    But as a regular GFY reader, this made me laugh so hard. Especially the super-fangirl parts that sounded like they came from my own head. Thank you!!

  23. Jasmine
    0

    Thank you so much for this, I was flipping channels last week and saw the last 30 minutes, and was desperately wondering what happened at the beginning. Okay, not really, but sort of.

  24. Elizabeth
    0

    Oh I do so love Harry Potter. And Fromage.

    I would love to meet Jo, rave on for roughly 20 minutes about how she did so much for YA fiction and I loved the stories and it was fantastic, then have a small RAGEY that she killed Fred. Then offer to forgive her Fred’s entirely unnecessary demise if she’ll let me phone the “Jackweed” ex once a day from a phone that will display her name on the caller ID and simply leave the voicemail: “Neener “.

    After which I’m sure I’d need one of y’all to come bail me out while I wait for the hearing about the restraining order, but such is life.

  25. katie
    0

    Love the write up! I thought the same thing about the clothes – it’s 1992, I really don’t think you’re wearing super cute dresses that we’d still wear today. At least, I know I wasn’t wearing that in 1992 – I was wearing dresses with huge sunflowers on them, topped off with a denim vest and construction boots.

    It was cheesy, but kinda cute overall. Poppy is gorgeous.

  26. vandalfan
    0

    Delightful, but I agree, it sounds like the fromage was a mild Cheddar, not a hearty Roquefort.

    So explain to me again how the Elder Wand ended up going from Dumbledore to Draco (Draco, WTF?) to Harry.

  27. Sarah
    0

    I loved this! Jessica, I completely agree with you about Harry Potter, and as amazingly awful as this unauthorized movie was, it’s still nice to get a little bit of how JK Rowling came to write her books.

    Also, major points for inserting a Buffy reference (my second favorite series of all time).

  28. Ally
    0

    The best thing is realizing that The Weasley is played by a dude who was in a band that my old band used to play shows with back in university. Day made.

  29. Andrew S.
    0

    days like this make me wish you made this a fromage only blog. I just love these that much

  30. Hima
    0

    @vandalfan: Dumbledore won it from Grindewald; Draco “expelliarmus”-ed it from Dumbledore; Harry grabbed it from Draco.

    @fuggirls: Can you PLEASE just do a Fug the Fromage for “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” I mean, isn’t it the gold standard in fug AND fromage? Doesn’t Tori deserve the same treatment as J.Lo.Hew?

  31. Lauren
    0

    She is still friends with The Weasley. She dedicated Chamber of Secrets to him.

  32. Babs
    0

    sneaking in a Hot Neville reference, just at the end: clever!

  33. Anne
    0

    You girls should win some sort of “award for persistence and hard work for the greater good of people with boring jobs”… thanks so much!

  34. Kara
    0

    Look, this was wonderful and funny and stuff, as are all your recaps, but there should be a warning – other than IT’S A LIFETIME MOVIE – because I totally teared up while reading the recap. More than once! Which would be fine, except I am at the office, avoiding work. Apparently I have feeeeeeeeelings and am crazy hormonal. Whatever, I’ll weep into my emergency chocolate while I fantasize about having hair like Poppy Montgomery.

  35. deee
    0

    Stellar! (As Zenon would say.) Honestly, for me to spend more than five minutes reading an individual post on the internets is beyond rare. Long internet posts are usually drivel, poorly written or just plain crazy. LOVED this recap.

    You’re such a weaselly guy? Hilarious fromage.

  36. Molly
    0

    Y’know I think I love the comments in these threads as much as I love the Fugginess and this GFY. I LOVE THIS SITE!!!

    Emergency chocolate, indeed.

  37. CH
    0

    I’m bothered that the movie makes it seem like she just ripped off the elements of Harry Potter from a lifetime’s worth of experiences, acquaintances, and frequent pitstops.

  38. Alena
    0

    I absolutely adore Harry Potter and Jo Rowling, so I’m so glad you did a fug the fromage of this movie, which I have yet to see. By the way, the picture of her fiance made me laugh out loud when I first saw it!

  39. kcd
    0

    Honestly, I just love this site. You consistently make me laugh out loud. Like the “Kind Toucher”, I will have to forward this to various friends, bringing yet more fans into your wake.

  40. trixie belden
    0

    The next time I go to a cocktail party I am so cribbing my life story from Titus Andronicus.

  41. NYCGirl
    0

    In the picture before the graduation picture, Teen Jo looks like Mischa Barton.

  42. Christopher G
    0

    “The fact that the question was left unanswered for so long is the quintissential example of the aforementioned brilliant plotting,…” Uh-un, no way I haven’t even read the books (except for the dry-as-dust first one, and chapters here and there to young relatives) and I knew then, she GAVE it away, and no amount of sister or nephew worrying about it changed my mind. I knew Harry, Ron and Hermione were safe as well, ’cause she doesn’t have the #### to kill anyone really important off – BUT anyone who gets that many kids reading is OK in my book (just NOT a great writer, sigh – certainly no Susan Cooper… let the fights begin!)

  43. Christopher G
    0

    OH but FUG THE FROMAGE is possibly the greatest series or reviews ever! I never need to see any of the movies thanks to you ladies. (except for maybe “Mother may I sleep with danger?”)