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Feb 9, 2011

The State of the Cabins (2/9/11)

Movies watched for the first time (non-theatrically) since last week:
The Green Mile
At the beginning of the year, in my "50 Films I Will See in 2011" post, Buffett35 (aka new contributor Mayday) commented with this:

Before you watch The Green Mile, I want you to read the book the way I read it. It was separated into 6 parts, released on the 1st of the month over 6 months. I still have them. It was much more enjoyable than just reading the whole thing at once. Oh, and the movie didn't live up to the book at all, of course."

Well, if you've been keeping up, you'll know that I was reading the book (though I didn't take gaps in between parts). I got engrossed in it and finished it Friday night, and I was dying to watch the movie immediately. I knew - just knew - that I either had it on one of our DVRs or on Netflix Streaming. Of course, I was wrong, and had to actually (ewww) rent it from Blockbuster. See, they're still relevant!

Where was I? Anyway, I watched the flick (three hours? seriously??). As I neared the second act or so, those words were floating through my head: "Oh, and the movie didn't live up to the book at all, of course."

Did I miss something? This movie was 96.7% faithful to the book, the closest thing to a shot-for-shot adaptation that I've ever seen (Watchmen coming in at 94.8%, I guess; really, they're about the same). Even the Constant Writer himself "called this the film single most faithful adaptation of his work." So, Mayday (or anyone else that could possibly share that sentiment) - what's the deal?

It should come as little surprise, then, that the same issues I had with the book I had with the movie. The magic negro, the predictable plot, the tidy ending. True, the film diminished the pieces of the book that bookended each part of the six-book set, but to little detriment. The casting - as I discussed before - was essentially dead-on. The visuals beautiful, if overwrought a time or two (not sure how many instances of lights being blown out in slow motion I needed to see). The effects to make Michael Clarke Duncan grand in scale were a bit inconsistent (in the book he's said to be 6'8"; in the film, he first appears to be ~ eight feet tall, and slowly shrinks as the runtime advances).

But all in all, it was...faithful, in multiple senses of the word.

Fletch's Film Rating:
"It's in the hole!"
"It's in the hole!"
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Music I'm currently obsessed with:
* Anything and everything by the Black-Eyed Peas.

No, just kidding. I got nothing again here. Been a mad dog catching up on podcasts from the last month, and am kicking ass at said task. Soon, I will be out of fresh ones and clamoring for more. Until then, no new music to speak of and nothing from the past infiltrating my mind too heavily, outside of evil baby music that I sing every day. I'll spare you from those songs, though.

Book I'm currently reading:
* Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon.

Not too far into it. First book I've read of Chabon's. He's intuitive and much smarter than me, but I'm not how accessible I think he is, and I'm pretty sure I find some of his overthinking annoying. Not sure I feel the same sentimental way about some things as he does, and the emotion he spills out about them gets on my nerves at time. Still, I can't deny that it's well-written, and the buffett-style of it (it's a collection of inter-connected essays about fatherhood, sonhood, and spousehood) makes it easier to forget the things that might bother me since the essays are only about 10 pages apiece.

Loved the one about Legos, since I had the same thoughts some weeks ago when my brother's kids were visiting. When I was a kid, Legos were still rather simple - there were some custom things coming down the pipeline, but for the most part, when I played, it was free-form. But my nephew bought himself a Lego set that builds an airplane and such. The instructions are detailed, and the end product leaves you with zero Legos left over. You are solving a puzzle, not "playing" with Legos. I loved pouring out my cannister of Lincoln Logs and building something different every time; the thought of being guided to "create" the same thing that every other kid out there is making depresses the hell out of me.

There is at least a happy ending, though. As I would expect with myself or any other child, eventually Chabon's children grew tired of their pre-processed sets and starting mashing up their Star Wars Legos with their medieval Legos with their airplane Legos, creating the kinds of creatures and vehicles no one could possibly think of.

Why not skip the middleman and just encourage kids to do that stuff from the start? Oh yeah, that's right...commercialization.

Things to Click On
* If you are a LAMB member and have not yet taken the LIONS for LAMBs poll for 2010, DO IT NOW! The link can be found here. (the Large Association of Movie Blogs)

* I guess I'm just gonna link to Ross v Ross every time they snare an interview with a major Oscar contender. Seems fair enough.

* Vancetastic feels old just thinking about The Roommate. I do, too. (The Audient)

* I've been writing and reading movie blogs for about five years. Might not be the longest time ever, but I think the quantity I've read over that time kinda pushes me over the edge (of what, I don't know). Anyway, it's taken some time, but I've come to the conclusion that my Closest Taste Ally out there (he or she who is most likely to rate a movie the same as me) is Aiden. He proves it yet again with his Amelie review. Of course, agreeing with someone all of the time can get old, but not when you write as good a review as he does. (Cut the Crap Movie Reviews)

* Castor lists the 7 corporate mascots he feels deserve a movie. As some have said, I don't know if any of them deserve a movie, but if they were going to be made, you could do worse than his choices. My main suggestion: the Kool-Aid Man, of course! (Anomalous Material)

* Many were impressed with Chrysler's patrioticy Detroit commercial during the Super Bowl. Paul was not. An awesome analysis of what is wrong about it. (Careful With That Blog, Eugene)

7 people have chosen wisely: on "The State of the Cabins (2/9/11)"

Jess said...

Glad you liked The Green Mile! I loved the chemistry between Tom Hanks and Bonnie Hunt. I have The Adventures of Cavalier and Klay on my shelf and it's been waiting forever.

Mayday said...

I've only seen The Green Mile movie once, and it was probably around the time it hit my local Blockbuster, so, over 10 years ago. I've been a huge King fan since I was about 8 years old, and am used to being terribly disappointed by movie adaptations of his books. Yes, this one was more "faithful" than most, and the production value was definitely higher, but you said it yourself... you were engrossed in the book, but the 3-hour movie was too long. That tells me that you were bored at times.

I just don't think it's possible to effectively translate King to the screen. The best film adaptations of his work have been from short stories, when faithfulness goes out the window and the director makes it his own (Stand By Me and Shawshank being the prime examples). That being said, I'm still eagerly awaiting the remake of "It" coming out this year, and, of course, the long-awaited Dark Tower films. I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess.

Fletch said...

Jess - My only problem with the Hanks/Hunt relationship was one of the few missing pieces from the novel. They were portrayed as a perfect couple, never less than totally happy with each other, a little too movie-ish. Specifically, there's one key part of a scene that was left out (in which Hunt's character goes a bit loco).

Mayday - Au contraire, mi amigo. I said "seriously?" about the length, but I never said I was bored with it. I suppose it probably could have been shorter, but instead Darabont opted to keep as much as possible and, with it, stretch out the length to three hours. I think few movies should be that long, and maybe under other circumstances I might have gottten bored with it, but I was just too psyched to see it to get bored.

Castor said...

Not gonna lie, that Green Mile ending will get me choked up a bit...

Ahum, thanks for the linkage sir!

Aiden R. said...


Totally made my day. What a feeling to finally find your Closest Taste Ally. Truly flattered, made my day.

And I really need to see The Green Mile again. Great stuff considering that half of it is just about how Tom Hanks can't piss. Also one of Sam Rockwell's best and most-forgotten roles.

Fletch said...

Castor - you big pushover! Which ending, though? There are kind of a few. I'm guessing with Mr. Jingles?

Aiden - CTAs for life, yo! Haha - glad you dug it. You keep having good taste, and I'll try to do the same.

Hey, man - he had to be suffering from something. Coulda been worse, I suppose.

Castor said...

No the one in which the big fella dies of course!