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By David Poland

BYOB 41613

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65 Responses to “BYOB 41613”

  1. sanj says:

    watched spring breakers – yeah not bad. i only had a few problems – the Selena Gomez character could have done more.. Franco needed like an extra 5 minutes near the end .. Gomez needed to do more risky stuff in the movie . she was wasted…damn it.

    one thing i found super interesting was how stuff throughout the film was repeated over and over.

    Franco singing Britney’s everytime was pretty good. Franco should get oscar for that.

    weird how 75% theatre is full and everybody is slient during the movie.

    also strange how i had to sit through 5 movie trailers .
    usually its 3. movie theatres are really pushing it .

    i really wanted more surprise guest movie actors in this.

    overall – i see spring breakers showing on mtv ..thats where it belongs.

    also surprised that movie critics aren’t comparing it to God Bless America by Bobcat Goldthwait …

    the pain and gain trailer doesn’t do much for me .. but Michael Bay needs a dp30. i wish super important film critic would ask DP that cause DP never listens to my dp30 requests.

  2. SamLowry says:

    As promised, my assessment of SKYFALL, but first a story about Debbie Gibson.

    Many years ago, a reporter asked Debbie’s manager if Ms. Gibson would be seeking singing lessons. Although she was already selling millions of records, her vocal skills left room for improvement, to say the least. “Not at all,” the manager essentially replied, because if Debbie sang too well then her fans could no longer imagine themselves in her place, and identification was the key to her success.

    This story came back to me during the opening of SKYFALL. I initially let the hyperactive antics in CASINO ROYALE slide because parkour was the thing back then so what the hey, let them do that brand new thing so we can look back in a few years and laugh. But after more of the same in SKYFALL, culminating in a long drop into a river (after Bond is shot in the chest by a high-powered rifle) where we see him drift to the bottom AND FRICKIN’ DIE, I realized we had gone beyond being able to identify with this spy because “James Bond” is no longer human.

    There is no explanation given for him showing up later, drinking with the locals and their pet scorpion, looking like he was a heartbeat away from helping himself to some unsuspecting tourist’s American Express travelers cheques. He decides to go back home only after seeing his negligible workplace going up in smoke, but once back inside he proves not just to be an understandable mess but rather stunned by his new quartermaster, who offers him two paltry pieces of spy gear that any bloke could order off the internet. Computers are now the way to go…although theirs are hacked rather easily and Q, who prided himself on his mad skillz, seems barely able to keep up.

    A question presents itself: no department voluntarily parts with any excess cash budgeted to them, and since in the past we saw the Q branch blowing an awful lot of money on gadget design and testing, you have to wonder where the rest of their budget went, since these new computers of theirs are pretty crappy.

    Another thought came to mind–Project Paperclip. The Americans got Hitler’s rocket scientists, but what about his mad doctors? Perhaps England got them. So while the Americans perfected rocketry, they decided to perfect biology and started collecting sperm and eggs from the most physically fit specimens (considering how many metric tons of condoms they went through in the Olympic Village last year, it’s apparently not that hard to convince young athletes to have sex with each other). After a few promising gene lines were developed, they decided to provide second generation with a psychological background that would make them a proper mental fit for the strenuous work they would be expected to perform.

    Thus “Skyfall”.

    How many children grew up on nearly identical estates across Scotland? How many were raised by “parents” who met with a mysterious demise that allowed them to hand off this perfectly primed child to someone else so they could move on to the next test-tube baby at yet another Skyfall? How many children grew up with histories that could be summarized as a “story” so pat and predictable that it doesn’t need to be discussed? And after sixty years of experimentation, just what are their capabilities? It seems they can run long distances without exhaustion, master any vehicle, shoot exceedingly well and bounce back from injuries that would kill a normal human being after merely taking a brief nap at the bottom of a river (I almost expected to see an explosion of gold light and fireflies–but then we’d wind up with another new face, wouldn’t we?).

    What are the other explanations? The Q branch was able to revive Bond just in time, but decided to leave him on a beach in Turkey? They didn’t arrive in time (since there really was no one anywhere nearby who could reach him before brain damage would set in), but they cloned him, copied his memories into his new body, messed it up a bit so he wouldn’t be any the wiser…then left him on a beach in Turkey? Or Mendes showed us Bond dying on the bottom of a river (only to bring him miraculously back moments later without explanation) because it looked cool?

    Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that word association test. Really, who does that anymore…unless the tester was a member of the Q branch, giving a Voight-Kampff test to see how well this new model is working? Or was it all a charade just so the tester could mention the seeming nonsense word “Skyfall”–he was not testing a reaction but planting a suggestion, giving a coded direction, which is the only explanation for why Bond would take M to the middle of nowhere, where both of them were almost certain to die. Who decided to plant this suggestion? Mallory? The Prime Minister? Or was the tester a mole working for Silva all along?

  3. SamLowry says:

    (And yes, the golden explosion is a DOCTOR WHO reference–nobody else noticed that new Q looked an awful lot like Matt Smith? And the music…umm, it bordered into this territory rather often.)

  4. berg says:

    you are putting much too much thought into Skyfall … it’s all about the scene where Bardem walks across the room … check out Quantum of Solace for real clues

  5. YancySkancy says:

    I see no particular resemblance between Ben Wishaw and Matt Smith, other than maybe the way Q parts his hair.

  6. Lex says:

    Is SamLowry more or less nutty than Chucky? I swear it’s like nobody really wants to get the Poland ban hammer and point this out, but Lowry is absolutely fruit-loops fucking nutty and never makes much sense, never is on topic, doing these EPIC RAMBLES like this is the first web site other than IMDB he’s ever discovered.

    Yeah, yeah, I know, pot kettle black and all, but really, nobody else finds this guy TOTALLY incoherent and all his opinions faintly ridiculous?

  7. SamLowry says:

    Okay, I guess we’re supposed to ignore the fact that Bond died just before the title sequence and was mysteriously vertical afterwards with no explanation given. Or that Bond makes a big flourish out of introducing himself with his “real” name to baddies who seem to have no idea who he is beforehand, perhaps because there are so many “Bonds” available at any one time.

    And the glasses were the only difference I saw between Q and the Doctor–not just the hair but the voice, the body language, the attitude…it’s like Eon realized Bond and the Doctor were England’s only worthwhile cultural exports and decided to sneak them into a film together.

  8. Wilder says:

    ‘I know, pot kettle black and all, but really, nobody else finds this guy TOTALLY incoherent and all his opinions faintly ridiculous?’

    Hey, it’s IRONY O’ CLOCK!

  9. hcat says:

    I would think that Bond taking M to Skyfall served two purposes, to give a larger sense of backstory to Bond (which was served better just being hinted at during the train conversation with Eva Green in Casino) and as a way of leveling the playing field against the villians by going off the grid.

    There were plenty of references during the movie about Bond’s Obsolescence, the timex in a digital world to quote a lesser Die Hard, and leading the villians out to the highlands where ‘the old ways sometimes still work the best’ placed them on his turf. This aspect I liked, juxtopposing the technical agents (Q and Silva) against the physical (Bond).

    From their beginning the new Bonds have added the aspect of addressing the mental toll that all this killing takes upon Bond and having Q somewhat belittle Bond’s contributions by saying everything is computers now places Bond as sort of an unappreciated Man out of Time. The journey to Skyfall reinforces that.

    What I disliked about it was how they placed M as a parental replacement rather than the disapproving boss. Bond is better as a rogue agent that gets results rather than a black sheep son. Plus having him destory his old home and find a new one in the service changes the tone of the stories to more of a heros quest. This isn’t Potter, this is Bond, he should already know his place in the world.

    So thats the long-winded answer to why they go in the middle of nowhere, as for your other arguements….

  10. Sam says:

    Is it really that implausible that a guy would be injured badly enough as to be near death and then not actually die? Happens all the time. In the world of James Bond, this isn’t even in the Top 100 moments that stretch plausibility.

    As for Bond introducing himself, I’m not even sure what your complaint is. Is it that he uses his real name? Not always, actually — he’s used aliases before. But when he uses his real name, is it surprising that the badguys don’t know who he is? The characters within Bond movies don’t have Bond movies to watch and find out. He’s a SECRET AGENT and therefore obviously not world famous.

    Or are you objecting to the “Bond, James Bond” signature line? I suppose I could see it if the line strikes you as artificial and throws you out of the reality of the film. But look, lots and lots of movie dialogue feels written rather than organic. Bogart’s “destiny” line in Casablanca is just such a line, as is Henry Fonda’s “I’ll be there” speech in The Grapes of Wrath. Doesn’t stop these from being great movies and the latter a great speech in its own right. “Bond, James Bond” is a crowd-pleasing line for a crowd-pleasing movie. Mission accomplished.

  11. hcat says:

    ‘perhaps because there are so many “Bonds” available at any one time’

    You are thinking of the David Niven Casino Royale, not the Daniel Craig Casino Royale.

  12. anghus says:

    That would be a great twist. There are an endless amount of Bond clones. He doesn’t cheat death, he dies and is then replaced. Like Dean and Rusty Venture.

    Maybe better suited for something less grounded in reality.

    And doesn’t M basically say “no one else dies because if me” when they go to Skyfall. That she’s well aware this will be a last stand scenario with the odds squarely stacked against her. Bond and M are well aware of their predicament and the end game was of their choosing.

  13. hcat says:

    The clone thing would work better as a bad guy, the secret agent has to keep assasianating the same guy over and over since there are plenty of him to spare.

    Maybe as a Kind Hearts and Coronets type black comedy.

  14. Sam says:

    hcat: Diamonds Are Forever did that. In a really sucky way, certainly, but there were three Blofelds running around in that one.

  15. Don R. Lewis says:

    Great stuff, Sam….seriously. I think the Bardem character also fits into your idea as he was clipped from the service due to “faulty wiring.” I also don’t think it’s happenstance ***POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT*** that when what “happened” to him is revealed, he looks like a melted cyborg. Kind of what Anghust was saying about the Venture Bros (hats off to that call-back by the way) but also in terms of just this perfect cyborg kind of person.

    Replaceable but human. Perfect at random shit (drive any vehicle, shoot any weapon). Can snare any woman due to her psychological prowess and perfect good looks.

    All that being said, I thought the purpose of SKYFALL was to reboot the franchise and the “killing” of Bond in the beginning was more symbolic. Everything we know about Bond is destroyed in SKYFALL and we also end up back at his birthplace, which is almost a reverse origin story in that “we” don’t go through the origin but get it by the modern day events.

  16. Monco says:

    See I look at it as the finishing of a trilogy in which the whole trilogy rebooted the franchise. In this sense it is perfectly reasonable in my opinion to have M be a surrogate (M)other to Bond. Finishing at his birthplace shows that Bond has broken free from his past and is officially “Bond” at the end. They even said they are going to make future installments more fun and light hearted. Skyfall was kind of a step in that direction. This is all remarkably similar to one of my interpretations of a much better movie, The Dark Knight Rises. By making Bane a part of the League of Shawdows he becomes a metaphor for Batman to overcome his past and start living. He finally climbed out of the cave that he fell into in the first scene of Batman Begins. The new Bond trilogy owes Nolan a lot. Now if you argue that this really isn’t Bond I won’t argue but I think it makes for interesting new interpretations in a series that is 23 movies deep.

  17. cadavra says:

    I should point out that 007 also “dies” at the beginning of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE; this seemed like just another wink at the Bond films of the past. Besides, how do you know he wasn’t wearing a vest?

  18. SamLowry says:

    Mindless entertainment that makes you think has failed its primary goal.

    SKYFALL couldn’t even qualify as fridge logic because we weren’t ten minutes in and I was already trying to figure out the answers to problems that Mendes had tossed at us with no interest in solving. How did Bond survive? Oh, he just snapped out of a death scene off-camera and…wait, isn’t that usually reserved for villains? If he’s the first and only Bond then how did he manage to lay his hands on a 1963 Aston Martin that had obviously been tricked-out by the Q branch? Why wasn’t there a garage or carriage house or servants’ quarters or barn or even a shed at “Skyfall” even though the main house was over 300 years old and must’ve had them at one point? Did they lay an underground power line all the way out to the road or did the house get by on generators all the years Bond was growing up there in the ’70s and ’80s? (This would explain why there was power despite no one living there for decades.)

    Maybe I’m weird, but whenever I see a residence in a movie or TV show I always wonder what it would be like to live there (usually because I’m bored silly by the main plot), and “Skyfall” looked totally unrealistic. Sure, it blew up good, it blew up real good, but could you imagine living there? Thus I saw it as no different than Deckard’s apartment in BLADE RUNNER–a fake set full of fake memories that remains unoccupied until a new Deckard is assembled to hunt down another replicant.

    And it’s not the words “Bond, James Bond” that bother me but the fact that he gives his real name to all these baddies long before the final confrontation and not one of them bothers to look him up or mention him in his villain blog or whatnot and every single villain seems bemused to meet him, perhaps because they know that there really are and have always been several Bonds running around.

    Oh, and the link between Batman and Bond is apt, though it has been around a while.

    Edit: And Cadavra, the fragments he pulled out of his chest? But even if there was a vest (which would’ve made all that grappling with the thief a tad difficult) my dispute is with him being unconscious at the bottom of a river…how’d he get out of that?

  19. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Nit pick:

    Bond is not a “Secret Agent” – agents are enemy operatives who have been compromised to work with MI6.

    “Intelligence Officer” is the designation for MI6 operatives.

  20. greg says:

    Enjoyed Skyfall greatly but two things about it still bug the hell out of me. 1. PreCredits Bond was dead. Period. Was he saved by mermaids? Having him just show up in a bed PostCredits was a bit of a cheat. 2. The villians “plan” was so utterly ridiculous – Made Ledger’s work in “DKReturns” look almost childish in comparison.

  21. Sam says:

    “Mindless entertainment that makes you think has failed its primary goal.”

    Who said Bond movies were supposed to be mindless entertainment? Even if I were to grant you that, which I don’t, that’s got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. It’s like complaining that your McDonald’s cheeseburger was too good.

    As for the rest of your questions, it boggles my mind that you can get hung up on the periphery like that. Give me ANY MOVIE, no matter how great or beloved, and I can come up with TONS of questions about relatively inconsequential details. In other words, it’s not the movie’s fault that it’s possible to do this. Ultimately your dislike of Skyfall is of your own choosing.

    That makes debating with you uninteresting and futile.

    But I’ll shoot at a couple of easy targets anyway:

    “Why wasn’t there a garage or carriage house or servants’ quarters or barn or even a shed at “Skyfall” even though the main house was over 300 years old and must’ve had them at one point?”

    Because the estate is 300 YEARS OLD. How many 300-year-old buildings are still around today? Is it any great surprise that the one building left standing is the main house, which would have been more sturdily built and better cared for than the other buildings, especially after those other buildings lost their utility over time?

    “If he’s the first and only Bond then how did he manage to lay his hands on a 1963 Aston Martin that had obviously been tricked-out by the Q branch?”

    The Q character in Skyfall was new to Bond, but the department was not. Bond has been working for MI6 for a while now and has had the use of various gadgets supplied by (an unnamed) Q branch all along, as seen in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

    But you’re right! It’s too implausible that he might have been issued a company car. SKYFALL SUCKS.

  22. hcat says:

    It does seem odd that Lowry’s suspension of disbelief allowed for a car that had remote control machine guns and an ejection seat, but what was unbelievable was how it came into Bond’s possesion.

  23. storymark says:

    “Mindless entertainment that makes you think has failed its primary goal.”


  24. RP says:

    “Mindless entertainment that makes you think has failed its primary goal.”

    Did you get that from Michael Bay’s business card?

  25. palmtree says:

    Everything Wrong With Skyfall in 4 Minutes of Less uncovers a ton more plot holes…

  26. AdamL says:

    Thinking The Dark Knight Rises is superior to Skyfall is both beyond delusional and completely surreal.

  27. SamLowry says:

    “Who said Bond movies were supposed to be mindless entertainment?”

    Berg: “you are putting much too much thought into Skyfall”

    I have no problem with mindless entertainment, but when it starts throwing plot holes at you that activate all your think glands then it’s no longer mindless anymore but very much mindie.

    The Car: Who was the car built for if Bond was not an operative in 1963? Did Bond buy it because his totally loaded family left him a ton of money, or did he help himself to it because making a car worth more than $400k disappear from the motor pool is the MI6 equivalent of helping yourself to Post-It notes and legal pads from the supply closet? No deleted scene to explain this?

    This is why Bond never had an origin and always lived in the present–once you start making references to the past you create nothing but trouble, and paradoxes.

    And yes, Adam, I agree that both Dark Knight films were incoherent messes, totally inferior to SKYFALL, which is okay if you’re able to look past all the plot holes.

    Funniest connection of all? Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of Chechnya, wrote this on Instagram about the bombers who spent at least the first nine years of their lives in a war-torn region: “They grew up in the US, their views and beliefs were formed there. The roots of evil must be searched for in America.” So as long as you’re living in a stable environment after the age of ten, your life should turn out perfectly fine? Bruce Wayne and James Bond would disagree.

  28. SamLowry says:

    Time ran out before I could edit this in:

    “But you’re right! It’s too implausible that he might have been issued a company car.”

    Did you see the scene where Q gave Bond everything he was allocated to receive, and it was two pieces of cheap crap anyone could buy online (because spies don’t matter anymore–it’s all about the pentiums)? Do you think in an environment of such grinding austerity Q would slap his head and say “Sorry, there’s a tricked-out vintage car waiting outside for you, too. How could I have forgotten about that?”

  29. tbunny says:

    Skyfall was just another boilerplate Bond movie, only 30 minutes too long and with pretensions to “importance” in the manner of recent brooding men-in-tights franchises. Being overlong and having pretensions to making some kind of socio-political statement in favor of righteous badasses seems to go hand in hand.

  30. Wilder says:

    And where does all the music playing in the SKYFALL background come from? Totally brings me out of the film everytime I hear that Bond theme.

  31. Yancy Berns says:

    Don’t you guys get tired of being contrary? Of course everyone wants to bitch about SKYFALL now! It’s out of theaters, it made its money, was well received by critics – and so what does someone who wants to come off as a rarified film lover have to do but to get to work disliking it? This cycle is nothing but misanthropy.

  32. SamLowry says:

    The point is to shame filmmakers into making better films. The “Everything Wrong” series in particular, by pointing out specific flaws, mocking them, and totaling them up, is a great tool for this because I suspect that most people who spend a year or two working on a big-budget release don’t enjoy being laughed at.

    Folks like Bay, though, laugh all the way to the bank because they know tens of millions of ticketbuyers will line up for a ride movie, any ride movie, no matter how awful it may be (One critic said Trannies 2 was so bizarrely awful that Bay may have unintentionally made an art film). Looks like Abrams has moved into that territory as well, and based on his track record I can’t believe people are actually looking forward to SW7.

    (Oh yes, SW7 will make lots of money–make no mistake about that–but like a typical Abrams movie it’ll be an uninterrupted stream of liquified shit.)

  33. doug r says:

    Doesn’t anyone remember Bond won that car in a poker game in Casino Royale? Maybe he tricked it out then. Could Mendes be making a point about the recent European austerity kick with the Q Branch “spyware”?

  34. storymark says:

    Yancy totally fucking nailed it. The hipster glasses are getting a workout.

  35. Triple Option says:

    Meh, I didn’t really care for Skyfall. Started out ok enough but I slowly lost interest. Then watching Bardem was like someone slipped me an Ambien.

    I’m not a Bond aficionado. I generally don’t have preconceived notions of what it should be or a bar it should hit. I expect over the top but that still has limits. Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist made it seem like I was watching a Carol Burnett sketch and then there was one drive off a dam in one film that was about 100 ft too far but for the most part I’m on board w/everything. I think it was Goldeneye where Bond was driving around in a tank. The realism wasn’t a problem for me but the fact that it was an ordinary activity. That is, anyone could do that. I liked seeing Bond in action sequences cuz he’d drive better or ski better or ride a motorcycle better than anyone else. Not superhero level but on another plane than everyone else. That’s about the only thing I’d hope for.

  36. Mike says:

    I just wanted to say thanks to Lex, or it may have been anghus – I can’t remember, for recommending Robot & Frank on these boards a while back. I wasn’t expecting much, but what a really good film.

  37. anghus says:

    i didn’t want to post this in the ED DOUGLAS FIGHTS CANCER post because i didn’t want to be a dick. But i have to ask two questions:

    1. Who is Ed Douglas?
    2. What has he done that would require DP to put a disclaimer about negative comments being posted about him?

    I dont need the guys life story, but i was curious as i’ve never heard of him and apparently he is a character of some controversy? I’m guessing?

    Any insight is, as always, greatly appreciated.

  38. SamLowry says:

    I know I gave ROBOT & FRANK a thumbs up here (my only issue was to ask if there really was a form of dementia/Alzheimers that was as specific as the condition Frank had). I thought it was especially touching that he had to hug the robot like a child at the end to do…something that will give the ending away.

  39. David Poland says:

    Anghus… he is a film critic and writer who is mostly known on the web… and that means there is a lot of snark, as there is for all of us.

    I just wanted to be clear that I was drawing a clear line about “censorship” in regards to that thread. All if takes is one thoughtless comment and a guy who is going through a lot of basic human suffering is being kicked around like a meme. And the fact that he is not famous, as Roger was, makes it all the more likely that people will take cheap shots. And the last thing I wanted was to pull one inappropriate comment down and have it become a threat about me pulling a comment down.

    So yes… sorry I felt the need to write a disclaimer.

  40. Don R. Lewis says:

    If you don’t think DP shoulda put the disclaimer in, head over to Jeff Wells’ site where some prick takes a similar posting as a chance to say Ed is a know-it-all dick and the planet could use less of people like him. Yay! Internet!!

  41. christian says:

    Anghus, it seems like 70% of your comments are variations of “I’ve never heard of X so why does anybody care?” But you can find out. Yay! Internet!

  42. mike says:


    If it was you, then thanks. One of the joys of a blog like this is hearing about films I’d probably otherwise miss.

    I doubt the dementia in real life would work in that specific way, but with artistic license, I thought a lot of it was handled with a soft touch.

  43. anghus says:

    Christian, didn’t say it wasn’t important. And I actually googled Ed Douglas and found a twitter page that gave me very little insight. So I figured I’d ask here. And huzzah, I have an answer.

    and really Christian: 70% of my posts? Ahhh hyperbole.

  44. hcat says:

    So I am almost through Les Miserables and watched Anna Karenina last week, and while I enjoyed them, they both had a feeling of choppiness to them. Granted when adapting a thousand page novel to the screen there is a lot to cover and it can feel rushed, but there has to be a way so these do not feel so Cliff Notesy (though I am a little more forgiving of Les Mis since it is taken from the stage version so all the trimming is sticking with their already adapted stage material).

    So with Les Mis and Anna last year and Gatsby on the horizon just wondering if people think its a bit foolish to adapt the literary heavyweights or if pulpier efforts (Godfather, Jaws) adapt easier to film.

    Or just some suggestions on successful novel adaptations. We discussed How Green was My Valley a few weeks ago, I would say that and Grapes of Wrath and the Frederic March Miserables would be strong examples, as well as Wright’s and Ang Lee’s Jane Austin films.

  45. anghus says:

    I liked Anna Karenena. Though it did feel brisk. I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing. I’m becoming a fan of Wright. I think Atonement is a ridiculously good movie. Karenena isn’t perfect but he’s trying to make something unique, and I appreciated its staging. I haven’t read Gatsby in so long (High school? Middle school?) that I barely remember the intricacies. I wonder how true that is for other people.

  46. hcat says:

    I too liked the staging idea, it wasn’t as distracting as I thought it would be. Thought Knightly didn’t bring enough weight to the role though I have liked her in most of her other projects, especially her two previous Wright collaborations.

  47. anghus says:

    I thought Atonement was Knightly at her best. She’s never been as good. And I agree she felt a little inconsequential in Karenena.

  48. hcat says:

    Warners and Icon did a Karenena in 95 with I think Sophie Marcou and Sean Bean and it suffered the same issues but for opposite reasons. The lead was exceptional, but the story was even more streamlined (I don’t remember the brother, his wife, or kitty at all). But they did bring Anna’s relationship with her son to the forefront, which you didn’t see in Wright’s version where he mostly just lied in bed for goodnight kisses.

  49. Glamourboy says:

    I only come to these boards from time to time now, so I have to ask two questions:

    1. Who is Anghus?
    2. What has he done that would require negative comments about him?

    I dont need the guys life story, but i was curious as i’ve never heard of him and apparently he is a character of some controversy? I’m guessing?

    Any insight is, as always, greatly appreciated.

  50. Don R. Lewis says:

    Anghus rules…as does christian.

    I think Knightly’s best is the criminally under-rated and underseen NEVER LET ME GO.

  51. Lex says:

    Knightley is the greatest actress in the world and one of the five hottest. Her best performance is anything she shows up. Especially Domino, but also P&P, Atonement, NLMG, and whatever that dusty thing was where some lucky bastard was doing both her and Sienna Miller.

    And The Duchess is pretty good, too. KNIGHTLEY. The PERFECT woman. Especially body-type wise.

  52. leahnz says:

    hcat, did you mean just classic novels/literature? fwiw of books/stories that I’ve actually read and enjoyed, successfully adapted into films i really dig (and in some instances I’ve seen the film first of course), these are some of my ‘best’ pics (that I can think of right now anyway, i always forget stuff doing lists) in no order:

    2001 a space odyssey
    Doctor Zhivago (’65 Lean)
    the shining
    blade runner (Do androids dream of electric sheep)
    the godfather
    the color purple
    one flew over the cuckoo’s nest
    lord of the rings
    Apocalypse now (Heart of darkness – pretty loose, is this still considered an adaptation in the strict sense? whatever)
    HP and the prisoner of azkaban
    empire of the sun
    the dead zone
    the mosquito coast
    stand by me (the body)
    no country for old men
    to kill a mockingbird
    last of the Mohicans
    born free
    die hard (Nothing lasts forever)
    LA confidential
    lord of flies (’63 film version)
    silence of the lambs

    thinking about it there’s a shitload and I’m sure there’s plenty more, and then there’s the kazillion great adaptations from source material I haven’t read. we’d have a lot fewer good movies without adaptations, that’s for sure.

  53. Glamourboy says:

    Yes, Lex, Knightly is the greatest actress in the world. So much better than those amateurs, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, , Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep. Even though those women have film and theater experience and a body of work from the past 40 plus years, Knightly, with her signature performances easily outshines then.

    Just put Keira’s indelible performance as Elizabeth Swann up against…say…Jane Fonda in Klute or Streep in Sophie’s Choice…it’s just no match.

    79 year old Cicely Tyson is gaining raves for her performance in Horton Foote’s Trip to Bountiful on Broadway….but clearly Keira is the best actress in the world.

    I’m sure after such misses as Mildred Pierce and Game Changer, Kate Winslett and Julianne Moore are watching Keira’s awe-inducing performances in Domino and Seeking A Friend At The End of the World, and the two Pirates of the Carribean sequels…to find the real masterclass on acting.

    Faye Dunaway’s performances in Network or Chinatown? Nothing compared to Knightly!

    Yes, Keira Knightly is the greatest actress in the world!

  54. hcat says:

    Leahz, I meant classic but looking at the list speaks to the other topic I was wondering, whether it works better to take something pulpier (Shining, Nothing Lasts Forever, even 2001) than something reviered (have to admit that most of Zhivago and Kill a Mockingbird leaves me cold).

    So books like Dead Zone and Lambs become strong adaptations due to the lowered expectations but films that are based on the ‘literary canon’ sometimes fall out of favor. So you might have more success taking something lightweight and turning it into a classic film, than taking a classic and trying to make the cinematic equivelent (somewhat evidenced by the lack of Dickens on your list).

  55. movieman says:

    Leah- Don’t forget “The Last Picture Show.”

  56. YancySkancy says:

    Glamourboy: Way to take down Lex’s well-reasoned, super-serious argument for Keira Knightley being the world’s best actress. He almost had me convinced, but you make a lot of great points.

  57. chris says:

    Another of these ridiculous (and, undoubtedly, inconsistently enforced) embargoes on “The Big Wedding”: No online reviews until 9 pm Thursday night. (And, yes, that does mean it is godawful.)

  58. Joe Leydon says:

    One reason I absolutely love Claude Lelouch’s Les Miserables is that it doesn’t intend to be a “faithful” adaptation, but rather a story about how great art (in this case, a novel) can inspire men to greatness.

  59. leahnz says:

    hcat – I think that’s a sound theory, adaptations of classic literature certainly seem to come under greater scrutiny and expectations as far as living up to the quality/complexity of source material (not to say less heady stuff doesn’t, for instance there were times when I thought hard core HP fans might blow a gasket if an adaptation varied from the book), maybe film-makers also feel a greater freedom to deviate from canon and be more inventive and creative when adapting to the visual medium material that isn’t so closely studied/critically acclaimed/revered in the halls of academia, which leads to more daring movies with unique flair and flavour.

    (movieman, i’m a bit embarrassed to admit i’ve never read ‘the last picture show’, it’s been on my to-do – or should i say ‘to-read’ list – for a couple decades haha, i really should rectify this)

  60. christian says:

    It’s a noted rule by wise novelists, screenwriters and filmmakers that the best adapations come out of lesser books — it’s pretty obvious as to why. Most of what makes literature famous are the words, the stye of writing. Most of which is difficult to translate to the screen.

    ON THE ROAD is a great example – Kerouac’s style, his language IS the book, not the “plot” — which is often all Hollywood thinks is the important thing.

    That’s why JAWS is a great film = bad book.

  61. hcat says:

    And Leah thanks for the Born Free recomendation, I had completely forgotten about that movie but it is now waiting on the counter for movie night with the five year old (bit of a wild animal nut, specifically Big Cat). I think we have exhausted our animated options (though last week was Kiki’s delivery service which we both liked quite a bit) and its tough to find a decent live action for her age. I’ve been circleing Black Stallion but the boat fire might be a bit much.

  62. palmtree says:

    Yes, books must be truly adapted if they are to be turned into good films. Let’s also add:

    The Princess Bride
    Stand By Me
    The Shawshank Redemption

    And mind-blowingly enough:

    Adaptation (from the book The Orchid Thief)

    I think the point is that a Great Gatsby movie doesn’t just spring to life from mimicking the book. It requires finesse and vision just as an original work does. There’s a reason why Cuaron’s HP was perhaps the least faithful to the book but the best standalone film of the series.

  63. leahnz says:

    hcat, if you can remember would you please let me know how your daughter reacted to ‘born free’? Joy Adamson’s novel was one of the first ‘proper books’ i ever read as a kid, that and the lovely film adaptation stand out as one of my most treasured, emotional childhood experiences/memories.

    “Most of what makes literature famous are the words, the style of writing. Most of which is difficult to translate to the screen.”

    well said; the beauty and intricacy of superbly crafted prose is just about impossible to translate to a visual medium, film tends to thrive off a well-structured story whereas while a good story is always preferable, even the most mundane tale can be made magnificent and touching and compelling simply by the way words are arranged and dance in our heads, it’s a completely different experience.

    (i would have liked to put ‘the shawshank redemption’ on my list above but my list only includes source material i’ve actually read and weirdly, in spite of being an avid S King reader as a youngster, i’ve still never managed to read ‘rita hayworth and the shawshank redemption’ story; ‘stand my me’ is on the list tho – adapted from ‘the body’. also never read ‘the princess bride’ or ‘the orchid thief’ unfortunately.)

  64. Foamy Squirrel says:

    I’d recommend the Princess Bride book, but like you commented about adaptations it’s a COMPLETELY different beast than the film. The book is (supposedly) an abridgement of an historical satire, so there’s numerous notes from Goldman on his editing decisions, plus “Historical Anecdotes” etc. from the “original” novel.

    To bring it to life, this narrative device (the “editor” comments) was swapped for a completely different one (grandfather reading to his sick grandson), which absolutely changed the tone from deadpan satire to a genuinely warm romance adventure. And a generation is forever thankful for that adaptation choice.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon