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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Hitchhiker's guide to ruining my goddamn childhood

There are a lot of aspiring screenwriters.

I mean seriously: There are warehouses upon warehouses in Hollywood that are filled with scripts that were never bought. And on top of those, there are probably twice as many that were never even submitted. Even still, there are those that weren't finished or those that were considered at a late night dinner party, and never put to paper.

I mention this because I feel like it's proof that the major film studios are actually spying on me, taking things I had fond memories of, and then paying Cuban immigrents to urinate on them in the form of poorly made movies. It can't be that there are no new ideas, or that novel takes on extant themes are impossible. I saw Melinda and Melinda yesterday, and that was decent. There isn't a lack of hack writers to churn out crap. They all got fired when TV executives realized that people really just want mirrors with ads, and turned everything to a 'reality' show.

The worst thing to happen to movies, apart from Junior, was the unfortunate confluence of illiteracy and nostalgia that began to fuel the entertainment market. It was figured out that you can poorly remake a movie that nobody has seen but which is considered to be good, and that movie will gross millions as the Emperors New Clothes complex takes over. The other thing people have done (and I blame George Lucas for almost all of this) is to make movies out of the books that kids grew up on.

Hey, guess what!? Lord of the Rings sort of sucked. The acting was mostly bad, certain subplots were alluded to but not made explicit because the movie was already so long, and when it comes down to it, the story really just isn't that compelling. Getting the kid from North to play a major role? That was just a low blow. Seriously. Go and get the Return of the King DVD and watch the scene with Frodo waking up in bed in the Elven villiage. And put it on repeat. Watch it five or six times. Then call the movie a masterpiece. I fucking dare you. There's more homoeroticism and pedophilic undertones in that one scene than all of Gilligans' Guy Land IV: The Skipper's Revenge. The truth is, people were willing to accept anything titled "Lord of the Rings" as the genius epic of our time because they remember it so fondly. If Peter Jackson had just repackaged Event Horizon and renamed Sam Neill's character to "Frodo," nobody would have blinked an eye.

Even if these were GOOD movies, it would still be stupid. Because for one, they'll never be as good as the books. And for another, they prevent younger people from reading by letting them pay $17 or whatever tickets are nowadays to go sit in the dark and watch some graphics art major from ITT Tech's senior project.

Which brings me to Hitchhiker.

First, the good. The casting was very good. Suprisingly so. It's possible everyone in the movie is a huge name in Britan or whatever, but many of them were not people who would have probably been chosen had casting been done American Idol style on the Hitchhiker Usenet group. Which is a compliment. And yes, I reaize this means I'm giving Mos Def "big ups" as the black people say.

Then there's the bad. Here's a note for Hollywood in the future: if a book is driven mostly by its imagery and plot and characters, it's likely a good bet for a movie. If, however, a book is largely clever writing, it's not going to translate. The only parts of Guide where I found myself really enjoying the movie were the ones where they just narrated straight from the book. Those parts are funny. Very, very few scenes were actually added to by having the visual representation present. That's not good in a visual medium.

So screw you Hollywood. Maybe in the future, rather than making more movies out of childhood memories, maybe youc an... you know... think of something original?

cranked out at 5:38 PM | |

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