Features
Contact
AOL IM

2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Best Actress
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

Best Screenplay
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film
Irreversible

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

Members' Marquees

Critical Contacts

Lobby Reading

The Video Store

Reel Resources

The Blog Bijou

-213
-Admit One
-Artistic Delusions
-Belligerent Bunny's Bad Movie Shrine
-Beware of Blog
-The Brain Drain
Biancolo Notes
-The Big Ticket
-Bitter Cinema
-Black & White World
-Bull Durham's Hot Corner
-Brewed Fresh Daily
-Camille's Film Journal
-Chiragdshah
-The Chutry Experiment
-Cineblog
-Cineblog (II)
-Cine Club
-Cinecultist
-Cinegraphic.Net: The Avante-Garde Film and Video Blog
-Cinema 24
-CinemaMinima
-Cinema News
-Il Cinema Secondo (Italian)
-Cineaste (Russian)
-Cinematix
-Cinema Toast
-Cinetrix
-Columbina
-Concentrated Nonsense
-Confessions of an Indie Filmmaker
-Cult Movies I Dare You to Watch
-Cutting to the Chase
Cybersam
-Cynthia Rockwell's Waiting Room
-The Daily Despair
-The Daily Digest
-Day for Night
-Delta Sierra Arts
-Dinky's Docket
-Distorting the Medium
-Donald Melanson On Movies
-Electric Movies
-Fade In: Blog
-Feeling Listless
-Filmfilter (German)
-Filmgurlland
-FilmingtonBlog
-Filmtagebuch (German)
-Film Talk
-Five Easy Pieces
-Fluxblog
-Frank Booth
-Fringe
-A Girl and A Gun
-Glazed Donuts
-Greg.org
-GreenCine Daily
-Harlequin Knights
-Harrylimetheme
-He Loved Him Some Movies
-The Hobo Reviews
-Hot Buttered Death
-Iggy's Movie Review Weblog
-Iguano Film Blog
-In Development
-Indigoblog
-Ionarts
-Ishbadiddle
-Japanese Films' Journal
-Joe Sixpack's Film Blog
-Joe's Weblog & Film Project News
-Junk for Code
-Kumari's Movie Blog
-Lights Out Films
-Like Anna Karina's Sweater (Filmbrain)
-Listen Missy
-Loebrich.org
-Magnolia Girl
-Marley's Ghost
-Media Yenta
-Michael I. Trent
-Moovees.com
-Moov Goog
-Motime Like the Present
-MovieBlog
-Movie Boy
-Movie Criticism For the Retarded
-A Movie Diary
-The Movie Generation
-Moviehead
-The Movie Marketing Blog
-Movie Retard
-The Movie Review
-MovieTawk
-Moving Pictures
-Nando's Blog
-Netflix Fan
-Odeon
-Onethumbsideways
-Or Kill Me
-Out of Ambit
-Out of Focus
-Paolo - Cinema's Radio Weblog (Italian)
-Pigs and Battleships
-Plot Kicks In
-Pop Culture Junkies
-Popthoughts
-The Projector
-Qwipster's Movie Reviews
-Rashomon
-Rawbrick.Net
-Reel Reviews (Podcast)
-Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
-Salocin.com
-SciFiDaily
-The Screening Room
-Screen Watcher
-Shikaku
-Short and Sweet
-The Silver Screen
-Solipsist
-Stinky Cinema
-Sunset Blvd
-Tagline: A Movie Weblog
Talking Pictures
Tea for One
-Tofuhut
-Tom Vick's Asian Cinema Blog
-Trailer Park
-Truly Bad Films
Waste of Tape
-Wayne's Movie Blog
Whippin Picadilly
Wittgenstein's Bunnies
-Yay! Movies!
McBain Recommends
-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Kill Bill vol 2
Shroom Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Brothers
-Head On
-Moolade
Joker Recommends
-Top 20 List
-House of Flying Daggers
-The Aviator
-Bad Education
Yun-Fat Recommends
-Eight Diagram Pole Fighter
-Los Muertos
-Tropical Malady
Allyn Recommends
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Songs from the Second Floor
Phyrephox Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Design for Living (Lubitsch, 1933)
-War of the Worlds
-Howl's Moving Castle
Melisb Recommends
-Top 20 List
-The Return
-Spirited Away
-Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring
Wardpet Recommends
-Finding Nemo
-Man on the Train
-28 Days Later
Lorne Recommends
-21 Grams
-Cold Mountain
-Lost in Translation
Merlot Recommends
-Top 20 List
-The Man on the Train
-Safe Conduct
-The Statement
Whitney Recommends
-Femme Fatale
-Gangs of New York
-Grand Illusion
Sydhe Recommends
-In America
-Looney Tunes: Back In Action
-Whale Rider
Copywright Recommends
Top 20 List
-Flowers of Shanghai
-Road to Perdition
-Topsy-Turvy
Stennie Recommends
Top 20 List
-A Matter of Life and Death
-Ossessione
-Sideways
Rodney Recommends
Top 20 List
-Chicago
-The Pianist
-Talk to Her
Jeff Recommends
-Dial M for Murder
-The Game
-Star Wars Saga
Lady Wakasa Recommends
-Dracula: Page from a Virgin's Diary
-Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler
-The Last Laugh
Steve Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Princess Raccoon
-Princess Raccoon
-Princess Raccoon
Jenny Recommends
-Mean Girls
-Super Size Me
-The Warriors
Jason Recommends
Top 20 List
-Old Boy
-Million Dollar Baby
-Head On
Lons Recommends
-Before Sunset
-The Incredibles
-Sideways

Powered by Blogger Pro™



links open windows

(c)2002 Design by Blogscapes.com



The Blog:
Wednesday, December 04, 2002
 

Adaptation



The script is the thing. The script is the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the writer.

Take a look at most reviews of Adaptation (or, for that matter, of Being John Malkovich and Human Nature), and you’ll rarely come across the name Spike Jonze (or Michel Gondry) compared to the number of times you’ll see Charlie Kaufman. Aside from the reason that Kaufman is the protagonist of this recent film, his stamp as an auteur is probably the most influential and dominating one of any screenwriter in recent memory. No matter who’s directing his films, the script is the guiding force of art in a way that’s almost a polar opposite to the director-over-screenplay dominance of a Hitchcock or DePalma.

Anyone who has read the script for Adaptation knows that it’s a singularly brilliant piece of writing, but the rub is that screenplays are written to be filmed, not to be read. If every audience member who paid nine bucks for Adaptation were to be handed a bound copy of Kaufman’s screenplay and placed in a chair to read it for two hours, the purity of the work would be even more affecting than it is at the hands of Jonze’s camera. That said, the benefits of the script being filmed include a masterful dual performance from Nicolas Cage, wiping out the memory of his post-Las Vegas career mired in Bruckheimer debacles and shitty Italian accents. As in Face/Off, Cage is at his best when playing two personalities off each other.

Cage stars as Charlie Kaufman, the writer trying to adapt Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief as a follow up to Being John Malkovich. Charlie’s blocked because he’s trying to eschew conventional Hollywood structure and can’t find a way to tell the story -- this frustration is made more concrete by the existence of Charlie’s twin brother Donald, a moronic formula-slave who writes ridiculous thrillers with car chases and violence. The brilliance of Adaptation is that for Charlie to finish his Orchid Thief script, he must employ the assistance of Donald -- and therefore everything Charlie despises about writing. (An important distinction is that the real Kaufman lies somewhere between the Charlie and Donald characters in regard to structure [though obviously, and thankfully, much closer to Charlie], and the best character arc in the film comes with Charlie’s realization that he needs to swing more towards the middle).

That the film we’re watching is Jonze’s interpretation of Kaufman’s script about a film that ends with the help of Donald’s ideas, and thus the film itself is infused with Donald-like ideas, is a mind-boggling parlor trick about self-reflexivity. But the beauty is also that this third act conceit allows the movie to leap from good to great. By the end, a Kaufman that has previously denounced the Donald way of thinking is actually admitting to himself that you do have to make compromises to allow your script to work. The entire film is about compromise (in love, in writing, in life goals, etc.), and the only way Charlie can finish his art film is to inject some of Donald's bullshit chase scenes, guns, and violence. Because it's that compromise of ideals that allows the poignant dialogue scene between Charlie and Donald in the swamp: a touching conversation that couldn't have existed without Donald's Robert McKee ideas worked into Charlie's pure artsy premise. Charlie is able to finally finish his script with integrity, but he does it by allowing some of the crap to filter in. He has to. Nothing can exist in life (most of all the flowers who learn to evolve over time) without compromising to the enemy. Changing behavior as a result of your environment in order to survive. Darwin has a cameo in the film for a good reason.