Monday, June 23, 2008

Shrugged, Unwanted -- UPDATED


I’m about to head off to an advance screening of the likely-mediocre comic-book-based movie Wanted (not that I’m ungrateful for the opportunity), but I have bad Angelina Jolie-related news (which will greatly disappoint my fellow libertarian Katherine Taylor, who likes Jolie so much she still speaks fondly of Tomb Raider — not that I’m knocking that opening fight with the robot).

Anyway: Vadim Perelman isn’t shooting Atlas Shrugged — disappointing but not a shock. (Maybe Zack Snyder should do it.)

The linked article about it dares raise the possibility that Atlas is simply “unfilmable” — which sort of makes me think I should become a screenwriter. I can shorten anything. (“Then why are all your blog entries at least 700 words long?” some might ask. Simple: No one is paying me to make them shorter.) As a veteran of advertising, TV, and comic books, I know how to excise blather down to barest essentials when necessary. So I should write Atlas Shrugged, dammit — and I know how to do such things without even contradicting the story as shown in the book (elide instead of reimagining, except where aesthetically necessary).

Lots of things in this world would benefit from being shorter. Take David Lynch’s Dune movie (in all its forms: the two-hour version, the two-and-a-half-hour version on TV, the three-hour-or-so director’s cut, the five-hour-or-so director’s super-duper-cut, each more awful than the last). The whole problem there was that they tried to cram in every plot twist from a very dense novel. You want to see my outline for a decent, workable Dune movie? Voila:

1. Family living on desert planet gets attacked by bad guys.

2. Handful of survivors train with giant worms as weapons to

3. Good guys win. The End.

There’s your movie. Anything else is extra and shouldn’t be overly distracting or hard to follow.

Atlas I could do in ninety minutes. Give it an Art Deco feel, maybe. Change the frickin’ world.

To compensate for the lack of this capitalist film-epic, I recommend reading some conservative movie and pop culture reviews at

UPDATE on Wanted: Well, its level of quality, I think, is exactly what you’d get if you told someone the bare-bones plot of Fight Club and then had a typical Hollywood screenwriter write it instead of the actual Fight Club people. No memorable lines of dialogue, no recognizable laws of physics, but “stuff looks cool” and you’ll alternately laugh at cool stunt/CGI moments (we need a new word for that) and laugh nervously at the ceaseless brutality of it, which is (fittingly) like going through some sort of disturbing hazing for cubicle drones who secretly long for the sado-masochism of their old fraternity days.

How’s that for praise, eh?

Oh! And you get to see Angelina walking completely naked from the back without any of the tattoos concealed, so there’s that. Maybe I should have mentioned that first.


missbhavens said...

Oh, yeah. You *totally* should have mentioned that first, silly!


Marc Steiner said...

In fairness to Lynch (and I know you’re still bitter about Inland Empire), he thinks its a colossal failure and that he shouldn’t have ever taken the job. And he had nothing to don with any re-releases, per wikipedia:

“Universal has approached him for a possible Director’s Cut of the film, but Lynch has rejected every offer.”

katherine taylor said...

When they make the movie of your blog, I’m so glad I’ll be an ancillary character.

Also, the other night at dinner I said I USED to like Angelina Jolie. Before she became the UN poster girl and before she became the happy homewrecker. When she was just a good actress with great roles who knew how to rock a vial of blood.

And she was totally hot in tomb raider, too. Well worth the price of admission, which I think then was about $7 at that theatre near 66th & 2nd.

jenny said...

despite the fact that the screenplay wrote itself (and the “twist” was obvious in the first third of the movie) i thought wanted was a ton of fun. even if angelina’s tats were all (or almost all) fake.