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Worst Adaptation Ever!

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message 1: by Michael (last edited Dec 15, 2007 09:10AM) (new)

Michael | 13 comments Think of the worst adaptation ever..
I'll start.


Fight Club (By Chuck Palahniuk)
Starring Henry Winkler and Drew Carey as Tyler Durden, and a brunette Paris Hilton as Marla Singer.

or

The Graduate redux (by Charles Webb)
Starring Bobcat Goldthwait as Benjamin Braddock, and Bea Arthur as Mrs. Robinson.
Also, starring Alexis Arquette as Elaine Robinson.


message 2: by Paul (new)

Paul Wilner This is cheating, but...I nominate "The Two Jakes,'' Bob Towne's sequel to "Chinatown.'' A perfect screenplay absolutely RUINED by his "friend'' Jack Nicholson.


message 3: by brian (last edited Dec 15, 2007 02:58PM) (new)

brian   i gotta disagree with you Michael... one of the unescapable ironies of the Fight Club movie is that this film, which very badly wanted to be a huge motherfucking punkrock anti-establishment anarchist anti-capitalist blahblahblah, was directed by a former director of television commericals and MTV videos, with mega production value, a classy and pitch-perfect 'rebellious' soundtrack, starring two of the world's biggest stars (one married to the star of the world's biggest sitcom, the other married to a former mexican soapstar turned h'wood starlet)... and the whole thing is played without an inch of irony?!?! what's up with that? - i think tossing paris hilton in there would've been genius. shit, the movie was so goddamn sanctimonious and wanna-be subversive it would've been nice with some sense of what it really was, some warholian twinkle in the eye... paris hilton would've made for the BEST movie adaptation ever. if warhol were alive he'd have directed the best (and most gloriously dull) version of Fight Club ever. yee-haw!


message 4: by Tosh (new)

Tosh | 68 comments I saw the film and it didn't impress me in any direction or way. Went from eye to ear to out of ear. Is the book close to the film. I haven't read the book as well.... and to be honest I don't think I will.


message 5: by Fostergrants (new)

Fostergrants doesn't having Meat Loaf crying with manboobs qualify as a little irony? maybe not but at least i did get to see brad pitt in a fuzzy pink bathrobe. simple pleasures.

well, i finally got my copy of 'postman' in the mail so i'm reading to catch up and will hopefully be able to watch the movie (lana t. version) while everyone else watches the football game sunday or monday. i'm 20 pages into the book and i love it already. frustrated hellcat/trollop meets handsome young/hard drifter....what could be better to seed your afternoon nap dreams, which is what accidentally happened shortly after i started reading - oops. now i'm off for a stiff coffee and back to it!


message 6: by brian (new)

brian   oh... you know i can hate, marshall!

fincher is an interesting guy in that, yes, his movies are very pretty, but they are also almost unbearably boring and vacant. he seems, to me, to epitomize mainstream american filmmaking at this point in time: raised on MTV with no reference point in the real world. it's why i actually do love one film of his: The Game. it's silly stupid mindless dark and cool... and knows that's all it is. but the serial killer thing? it's panty-sniffing nonsense. the fact that he's done it twice proves he's just searching for something (anything!) to say. and the social commentary stuff? uh-oh. stay away. in a way fincher is a barometer of movie & pop culture... the vacancy, the panty-sniffing obsession with the myth of the serial killer, the paranoia, the false darkness...


message 7: by Michael (last edited Dec 16, 2007 12:19PM) (new)

Michael | 13 comments I don't really care what the critics said. I liked the moved fight club. what about...

Choke (palahniuk)
starring Tom Cruise and Whoopi Goldberg.
or

The Alchemist
Starring Adam Sandler and Burt Reynolds.



message 8: by Jim (last edited Dec 17, 2007 12:11PM) (new)

Jim | 45 comments I liked Fight Club too but I think Palahniuk is a lightweight dressed up in hip phrases which impress you when you first read his stuff.

However he didn't even sustain his hipness to the end of a book which was so impressive I can't remember its name even though I only read it last month.
I remember the names of books I read 50 yrs ago like Don Quixote, Adventures of Tom Sawyer etc so I don't think it's my memory going bad.

Chuck Klosterman is a much better pop culture analyst and writer by far.

The above brings me indirectly to a question/observation I've had for a long time.

Why is it when you read Book A you think it's really a good book but then when you read a really great book, you wonder why did you think Book A was so good.

At least that what happens with me on a somewhat consistent basis. Pschologically, I guess you could say since I'm doing/reading this it must be pretty good - some sort of self validating thing I guess.

Does this happen to anyone else?


message 9: by Jason (new)

Jason | 6 comments I'm with Jim on Palahniuk. I recall liking the book, whenever it came out, and recall disliking most everything I've tried by CP since, and have no remaining memory of that original novel other than having loaned it to a bassist who somehow dropped it in his bathtub and wrecked my copy.

I was reading along here, always intrigued by the zip and oomph of the opinions, and generally it's good enough to enjoy the give and take. But I think Fincher's film is better than Palahniuk's book; I won't go much beyond asserting that there's a recurrent obsessive search for purpose in his first few films (maybe even in the studio-degraded "Alien 3"), but I enjoyed them all. (Obsession's done wonders for a number of directors' careers.) I'll stipulate that "Panic Room" is crap, but I need some persuading--something beyond those similes Marshall also found a bit slick. And telling me Fincher came out of MTV won't cut it. (Wallace Stevens sold insurance, which didn't wholly determine the substance of his poetry.)

And "Zodiac" is so far the best film I've seen this year, akin to "Seven" in the way that "Tom Sawyer" preceded "Huck Finn" and both were about kids. I think "Zodiac" is a sophisticated and jaw-droppingly lovely and dread-inducing and mature evocation of Fincher's earlier themes, and I'd like to hear why--beyond the common topic--it can be dismissed so quickly.

Jim, your last question/topic probably deserves its own, separate comment, but since I'm here--sometimes I return to old loves and groan, or maybe grin wryly at what that kid used to enjoy. (Stephen King's _The Stand_, which keeps literally growing in size, has diminished greatly in its impact on me.) But you have a tougher, more interesting question in mind. I think I do tend to like what I'm reading, or I put it down, and that may color my initial reactions. But I'm not sure it's self-validating as much as the nature of my interest in books. I have what certain dismissive friends call catholic tastes: as long as I'm engaged, I'm not so interested in ranking and ordering which are the "really" great and which merely good. It's easy to bang on the lousy ones, but the distinctions between pretty good and very good and great, well... whatever. Which reaction will spark the most interesting conversation? That said, some do really linger: It's not so much standing up to the 'test of time' as some just don't fade--and those tend to bear up to my re-reading.


message 10: by Alison (last edited Dec 18, 2007 10:59AM) (new)

Alison Jim: Sometimes I think it's important not to try to compare books. For instance, Bridget Jones Diary is a great book, and Pride and Prejudice is a great book, but I would never try to compare the two.

More importantly than being good or great, I think we have to ask ourselves, Does this succeed in being what it set out to be? Does this work...for what it is? We can't make books or films be more than they were meant to be. And, of course, the beauty of books is that they are different things to different people. And they are different things to us at different times in our lives. They are always evolving, as are we.

I must stop watching the Hallmark Channel. It's getting to me.






message 11: by brian (last edited Dec 18, 2007 11:59AM) (new)

brian   in reference to manny's comment: if anyone feels the need to rebut that having pitt comment on the underwear ad was the filmmakers giving us a wink of the ol' cinematic eye... well, i feel safe in calling him/her a disengenious fraud. it's fairly easy to explain away any kind of postmodernist nonsense with the irony tag, but it doesn't make it true or meaningful. the filmmakers want their cake and attempt to shove it down their gullets by using one of the oldest tropes: negate and disarm potential criticism by calling attention to it ourselves. sorry guys... your film is a mess of shallow nonsense all dressed up in a dark blacks, blues, and some kind of weird and juvenile anti-capitalist anarchist nonsense. yee-fucking-haw cowboy!


message 12: by Jason (new)

Jason | 6 comments Susan Faludi called the ending of the film "Fight Club" a surprising vision of what might come after the ironic breakdown of the old manly-man crap. The postmodern vision sees no out from the "real man" mythos except to exaggerate, grotesquely parody--to make of the 'struggle' to grapple with new-age demands (hug guys at support sessions) and old-school tough-guy shit something literally dissociative. And the film, like the novel before it, does play that winking, nodding game. We're not that, eh?....

But as the buildings crash, after the Pitt has been spit out, Tyler holds hands with Bonham Carter's character. Sure, the Pixies are playing (but wasn't the coolest guy in the Pixies Kim Deal?--more gender -fucking fun), but that scene is resolutely sincere in its comic aspiration -- expelling the nihilist/ironist, rejecting the anti-female/-feminist stance of late-20th-century manhood.

Letting the audience know that the representation is a representation is not necessarily winking. Sometimes it's poking in the eye. And the oldest trope challenging irony is to say that any disarming is an attempt to disarm; is there any irony, any disarming, that could work? Convincing Manny and Brian otherwise may be impossible, like trying to deny repression to a Freudian, where every denial becomes a signal of the repression.


message 13: by brian (new)

brian   of course that's the supposed 'point' marshall... but it's kind of bullshit. but in your defense, i guess it's in line with the supposed anti-war movies that only serve to glamorize and/or romanticize war. chuck came up with a preposteous split-personality storyline which enabled the filmmakers to have it both ways: show off fincher's MTV roots and pitt's uber-coolness, but always able to step back and say "that's the whole point!" -- it's ridiculous. we walk away from the film with a sense of how cool pitt's hair looks. not much else. it's as if chomsky's next book was only available through the official white house website... moreover: if the sense of 'cool' that the filmmakers manufactured actually was cool, it'd all go down a lot easier...


message 14: by brian (new)

brian   i'm not suggesting that chuck wrote the book to be made a film -- nonetheless it did enable fincher.

as far as the 'whether i like it or not' comment... do ya' really believe fincher's form matched the content? really? and you're arguing for substance? as i wrote earlier, it's funny to have an MTV and commercial director hacking away at an anti-establishment piece... but really, that's all it is: funny. and his style? you mean the same exact style he employs for his serial killer movies or alien movies and thrillers? no. the 'form' in fincher's case is all about fincher. fincher merely dresses his shit u in somber tones and vague meanings...

the war simile wasn't mean to be so specific, btw. just comparing the 'point' of a movie as opposed to the reality of what it conveys.

substance is illusion. simile is fun. (particularly manny's re: a kid's allowance!) -- stop the simile bashing!

check it:

A metaphor is a glorious thing,
A diamond ring,
The first day of summer
A metaphor is a breath of fresh air,
A turn-on,
An aphrodisiac

Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig metaphors,
Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig metaphors,
Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig metaphors

Use them wisely,
Use them well,
And you'll never know the hell of lonliness

A metaphor is a popular place,
A pocket space,
A multiplex showing,
A remake whose action is louder than words,
She whispers "can we be going, going?"

Use them wisely,
Use them well,
And you'll never know the hell of lonliness

Whose up for a metaphor?
(We're up for a metaphor)
Are you chicks up for a metaphor?
(Yes, we're up for a metaphor)

Don't, don't, don't, don't, don't mix them
(We, we, we won't mix them)
Don't, don't, don't, don't, don't mix them
(We wouldn't dream of mixing them)

Use them wisely,
Use them well,
And you'll never know the hell of lonliness

A metaphor is a glorious thing,
A diamond ring,
The first day of summer
A metaphor is a fresh air,
A turn-on,
An aphrodisiac

Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig metaphors,
Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig metaphors,
Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig metaphors

A metaphor is a glorious thing,
A diamond ring,
The first day of summer
A metaphor is a breath fresh air,
A turn-on,
An aphrodisiac

A metaphor is a glorious thing,
(Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig)
A metaphor is a breath of fresh air,
(Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig)
A metaphor is a glorious thing,
(Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig)
A metaphor is a breath of fresh air,
(Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig)

Use them wisely,
Use them well,
And you'll never know the hell of lonliness


message 15: by Tosh (new)

Tosh | 68 comments The song is by the great Sparks and written by Ron and Russell Mael.


message 16: by brian (new)

brian   no, no, no. one thing you must know about me marshall is that i adore commericalism commerce and capitalism. i watch reality television. i rank spielberg alongside godard. i consider myself a goldwater conservative.

i don't like fincher because his (and pitt's for that matter) sense of cool is just not cool. and it seems like all his films are about coolness. by nature i will argue endlessly and will always use any and all arguments to back up a gut feeling. you must be aware of this. you are a fun sparring partner. we must do this in person. with a bottle of chivas. so much more fun.


message 17: by brian (new)

brian   oh yeah... the song -- METAPHOR -- really must be listened to to be believed. the lyrics are pretty fantastic written down, but when heard -- that melody?!? that voice?!? GODDAMMIT! truly one of the great works of 21st century art. jump the fuck on itunes and download that song RIGHT NOW.


message 18: by Tony (new)

Tony | 5 comments Not to switch the subject or anything, but for awful adaptations, I'm going two lousy versions of Pierre-Ambrois-Francois Choderlos de Laclos's Dangerous Liaisons: Valmont (1989) and Cruel Intentions (1999).

The 1989 version of the film held mostly true to the fabulous book, a treatise on seduction, virtue and justice, while later versions lacked passion and tension, a terrible fault in a movie about sexual remorselessness.

Plus, the good version of the movie absolutely launched John Malkovich's career. Although the Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer took home Oscar nominations for their work in the film, it was really Malkovich's cruelty and ultimate change of heart that drove the movie.

The film also has one of the best retorts I have ever heard. After Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil declare war, the Marquise told Valmont to be careful, she was better at this than he was. He responded, "It's always the strongest swimmers who drown."


message 19: by Alison (last edited Dec 20, 2007 11:15AM) (new)

Alison Thank you, Marshall for finding some meaning in all of my babble. I don't like the word "sucessful", and it's my own word, so I can say that. It's such a subjective term...what makes art sucessful, or what makes a person successful. It all pivots on what's important to the artist, or to the person.

I don't think it's meant for anyone to over-critique art. The artist creates, and as long as it's heartfelt and honest...it's his right. The audience's response or lack of depends on whether or not it speaks to them based on personal interests, life experiences, childhood...we're all the sum of our parts.

I think it's fair to say why one thing or another about a piece spoke to us or didn't, or felt honest to us or not, but I don't think it's fair to decide greatness by comparison.


message 20: by Robert (new)

Robert | 111 comments Many years ago I heard an author and critic by the name of Harry James Cargas (now deceased) - on the occasion of his 1000th Book Review - give his formula for criticism. It's a simple one but as an easy entry into analyzing a work of art, pretty useful (I used to deliver a modified version of the same thing to by film studies students...) He said that he tried to answer three questions:
What was the author trying to do?
Did he succeed?
Was it worth doing?


message 21: by Alison (new)

Alison Yes, Robert. That just about sums it up.


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