Thursday, January 31, 2008
Q: When you went to The Grit, did you meet anyone from Widespread Panic or REM? What's the best thing to order?
No, I didn't. I did see people talking about Bonnaroo and one kept saying "My band at Bonnaroo--" so people kept looking at him as if he was important and whispering, "Who is that?" but I don't think he was a star or anything. (Admittedly, if any of the WP guys cut their hair, I'd be easily fooled.)
The grilled vegetarian Reuben sandwich is to die for!!!!
Q: Which of JG Ballard's novels is your favorite? Which do you think would make the best movie?
I am passionate about Cocaine Nights, Hello America, Rushing to Paradise, High Rise and Super-Cannes.
Concrete Island would make a fantastic movie, but not over, say, 80 minutes. Optimally, it should be done swiftly, like an early-60s Twilight Zone episode, not a lot of introspection and talk. Done well, it could kick serious ass.
Ditto Running Wild, which needs to be carefully crafted to keep the very-obvious ending from being so very obvious. Whoever successfully does that?--could make a blockbuster, classic movie. Because the plot is just too fabulous.
Q: Which of PKD's novels-into-movies have you liked best?
I really liked Minority Report, although the ending turned all touchy-feely and was nothing like Phil. Yech. However, the mutants are portrayed perfectly; the whole plot is true to the novella up to the Dr Feelgood-lets-all-hug finale. Also, the subplot about Tom Cruise's son dying was an unnecessary addition, part of the touchy-feely thing. Blech. The F/X were fantastic!
The short story Second Variety was molded into a well-done fantasy/horror movie, titled Screamers. Again, they had to prettify the ending (which is right out of left-field and really makes no sense), but until then, good stuff. If you enjoy sci-fi/horror, look it up.
A Scanner Darkly, but I don't know how enjoyable it is for folks who don't already know the story. I think it may well be hard to follow or understand. And I realize: animation isn't for everyone. The casting of Keanu disturbed me at first, but I now see the choice of NEO as nothing less than mythic. Keanu Reeves looks GREAT animated! (See photo, left.) Robert Downey Jr. is a genius, as we all know, and Rory Cochrane is a real gem. As usual, Woody Harrelson gives us another truly funny, inspired doper. However, Winona Ryder was ALL WRONG for her role as Donna, which demanded a more duplicitous, stab-you-in-the-back Brittany Murphy-type character. Moviemakers once again hedged and prettified a bit, turning mean Donna into a somewhat more sympathetic person... Cmon, we all know that there is NO SUCH THING as a sympathetic female character in a Philip K Dick novel.
To Linklater's credit, he left the novel's ending intact... pure magic!
Aside: I hate how they enforce happy endings in Hollywood, because my guys often don't do happy endings.
Keep those cards and letters coming in.
Edit #1: I did not mention Blade Runner in my above reply, because I think it's as much a creation of Ridley Scott as it is PKD, but let me assure everyone that yes, I adore it! (Once again, we see Sean Young's sociopathic character was considerably softened, although at least they left Daryl Hannah's killer female android alone.)
Edit #2: The female character of Angel Archer, in The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, is a wonderfully, painfully three-dimensional and sympathetic character... so there IS such a thing as a sympathetic female character in a PKD novel. However, that IS the only one I can think of, the exception that proves the rule.
And to be fair, his male characters aren't bastions of decency either, but usually more hapless than malicious.
Listening to: Lou Reed - I'll Be Your Mirror