Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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When I heard they were adapting this collection of short comics to film, I couldn't help but feel both excited and wary. The source material can hardly be called a 'graphic novel' -- it's an interesting serialized comic done in varying styles; as if Peanuts met Doonesbury who then brought Calivin and Hobbes to the party. There is an underlying storyline, but for me the real soul of it somehow lives in the pieces more than the whole. The graphic 'version' also turns conventional Sunday morning comic tropes on their head, which isn't something you can easily (or at all) translate to film. So jokes that are just fundamentally hilarious in comic layout fall flat or don't even get conveyed in the film.
It's kind of like trying to adapt a video game to film. Even with a decent underlying plot, a lot of the video game 'story' gets lost in translation between media. I think that's what happened with Wilson, because the original serialized comics (I can't call it a graphic novel -- it just isn't) are totally hilarious, dark, cynical, but also soulful. Most of this doesn't make its way into the film, unfortunately.
I was also bummed that they took the location out of the story -- in the comics Wilson lives in and around Lake Merritt, Oakland (where Daniel Clowes, the writer, lives in reality).. Oakland rarely gets to be known as anything besides the other side of the bridge from San Francisco, so it was too bad they couldn't throw in some Oakland specific landmarks (e.g.. the Grand Lake Theater), just to give the movie a sense of place. This is a totally personal gripe, but just think if your neighborhood (including the specific geography, cultures, and even homeless characters) was wiped away by generic suburbia in the movie version. Of course this happens in every movie, but maybe those little bits of reality actually add up to something subconscious in a film. Or maybe not, I have no idea.
Oh Peter Jackson. In an alternate universe, he still only made classic movies like 'Meet the Feebles' and "Heavenly Creatures". In that world he wouldn't have 100 million dollars to create this really good looking but overall shallow adaptation of the young adult fantasy (?) novel.
The movie clocks in at 135 minutes but still somehow is able to cut out some of the main characters from the novel (Ruth), fundamentally change key plot points (the killer runs away early on), and screw up the whole marriage dynamic between Susie's parents. In retrospect, most of the movie seems to be an excuse to create purgatory via green screen and CGI, which was admittedly done really well, but Jackson has caught Lucas Syndrome -- he was a hilarious and deep storyteller who has turned into a self-indulgent, out of touch stereotype.
An interesting footnote in Holocaust history, but overall the movie made me feel kind of empty. I know more about the British legal process relating to libel, but I didn't get much more out of the film.
I'd probably rather see a good documentary on the trial. I knew most of the details of what happened -- the most interesting thing about the movie was Rachel W.'s great New Yawk accent.
Mel Gibson. MEL GIBSON. Yes, I had to decide whether I could watch a movie made by this maniac and live with myself. So i gave it a chance.
If you're not paying attention to the Gibson factor, you don't realize this is just more Christian propaganda wrapped in some fancy WWII nostalgia.It's a well made movie, a great story, and the acting is top notch. But it's just another platform for Gibson's ulterior religious motives.
At least Woody Allen doesn't just write movies about adults marrying their adopted children. They're both despicable people but Mel Gibson is an insane bigot to top it all off. So luckily it won't be hard to boycott his movies since they aren't very good.
Wow, the reviewers really got this one wrong. 63% at this point? Insanve when you look at some of the 95%+. What is a critic anyway -- they're just like the gym teachers of journalism (sorry P.E. teachers, there were a couple good ones).
Maybe the critics couldn't stand their attempt to modernise (like that? British spelling) The Catcher in the Rye -- as if it were some national treasure.
For whatever reason, they miss the great mixture of humour, sadness, adolescent confusion, and the darkness of madness. Perfectly paced and filled with interesting shots, this film has just the right balance of themes to make multiple viewings such a pleasure.
The ending was a but corny, I will admit. But she has a choice between life and death and that's how they chose to portray it. It's such a short segment that it can be easily forgiven.