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It's a death row pardon two minutes too late
March 1, 2011 3:18 PM   Subscribe

The trailer for Radio Free Albemuth, an independent film based on the Philip K Dick novel, has been released. The film stars Shea Whigam as Philip K Dick and features Alanis Morissette as a mysterious singer. It premiered last year at the Fantastic Planet Film Festival.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn (27 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I had the opportunity to see it last year. It was pretty good, with a nice atmosphere of paranoia. Things were a bit non-sensical, but it was PKD adaptation...
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:19 PM on March 1, 2011


Dick heads? Really?
posted by Splunge at 3:25 PM on March 1, 2011


oh yeah... that's pretty old and long standing Splunge.
posted by edgeways at 3:30 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The film stars Shea Whigam as Philip K Dick

Oh boy, alternate history! That's where I'm a Viking!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:31 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man. I'm out of the loop I guess. And I love Dick.
posted by Splunge at 3:33 PM on March 1, 2011


All the big budget imaginings of Dick's work have almost all sucked. I can forgive Blade Runner its sins, but all the recent others have sucked.

Except for the indie versions. I have high hopes. And Morissette does really wonderful cameos.
posted by clvrmnky at 3:45 PM on March 1, 2011


I honestly felt a bit uneasy after the screening. The narrative of the film actually resembled the Tea Party narrative in alot of ways, right down the resistance coming from Talk Radio. It was almost certainly a coincidence, and Dick's Christian paranoia is of a much stranger and less politically destructive variety than what's currently being peddled. Still, it felt a bit off.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:48 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


All the big budget imaginings of Dick's work have almost all sucked. --- Really? You weren't happy with A Scanner Darkly? What about Total Recall?
posted by crunchland at 3:50 PM on March 1, 2011


Man, I love PKD, but RFA is one of the worst books he ever wrote. Definitely post-crazy-PKD, although some people are into that, I guess.

Now Palmer Eldritch, THAT is one I'd like to see.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:02 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Really? You weren't happy with A Scanner Darkly? What about Total Recall?

I love Total Recall to death, but more as a crazy, fun action film than as an adaptation of the Dick. A Scanner Darkly was okay, but that animation style just does not work for me. I do have a soft-spot for Screamers.

Now Palmer Eldritch, THAT is one I'd like to see.

Shhhhhh. Don't give anybody ideas. I want to adapt it one day.

Like that'll happen. :(
posted by brundlefly at 4:08 PM on March 1, 2011


This looks astoundingly bad. Like, same quality of writing and direction as the new "V" series, and same level of right-wing paranoia. It's a shame, but I suppose all PKD adaptations can't be great.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 4:11 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Production value-wise, this makes the Atlas Shrugged movie look like Meet Joe Black.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:12 PM on March 1, 2011


Production value-wise, this makes the Atlas Shrugged movie look like Meet Joe Black.

It kinda works, though most of the big SFX bits happen off-screen
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:22 PM on March 1, 2011


Yeah, Radio Free Albemuth wouldn't be my first choice, it's kind of a mess. If you're going to go for this side of PK Dick, I think Valis would work better. Actually Scanner Darkly was absolutely fantastic, in my mind. The animation style was too distracting by half but the acting and directing and script all worked really well.

What I really want to see is another adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, focussing on the stuff that wasn't in Blade Runner. Particularly Mercerism, and mood organs, and all the other poetic stuff about identity and self-actualization. The unicorn imagery in Blade Runner was sort of a stand-in for these themes in the film, but it didn't really work for me.
posted by Nelson at 4:37 PM on March 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dick never even intended Radio Free Albemuth to be published, it was the first draft of Valis and when his publisher rejected it, he rewrote it completely. If I remember right he reused bits of the plot of Albemuth in the movie that the characters in Valis go to.
posted by octothorpe at 4:53 PM on March 1, 2011


I thought RFA was always more about what it was like to be PKD during and after the Pink Beam Experience. I think RFA captured that much better than VALIS, but I think he also realized he had to recast it in terms his editors and readers would accept. I always thought that the finished RFA would be a book I'd love to read. The last line left me aching to find out what happened next.
posted by localroger at 5:11 PM on March 1, 2011


Looks OK. Not great. One of these days, out of his dozen or so great novels, I hope a great movie comes to be. Why not Ubik, for God's sake? That is almost a screenplay already, and ginormous production values would not be necessary.
posted by kozad at 5:15 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, UBIK is probably going to be made eventually kozad. Think Michael Gondry is directing it sooner or later.

I'm hoping this is better than I fear it will be.
posted by zenwerewolf at 5:34 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't forget about the BBC production of Man in the High Castle that's supposed to be coming out this year.
posted by octothorpe at 7:20 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would pay money for a VALIS is coming - look busy! t-shirt.
posted by zamboni at 7:22 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now if only Linda Ronstadt would record that John Dowland album.
posted by mykescipark at 7:43 PM on March 1, 2011


This isn't the novel I'd choose to make into a film either.
And is this made for TV or something? What's with the those FX? They look unfinished.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:52 PM on March 1, 2011




I honestly felt a bit uneasy after the screening. The narrative of the film actually resembled the Tea Party narrative in alot of ways, right down the resistance coming from Talk Radio. It was almost certainly a coincidence, and Dick's Christian paranoia is of a much stranger and less politically destructive variety than what's currently being peddled. Still, it felt a bit off.


Well he was a crazy, drug addled libertarian American. So this isn't a huge shock.
But he was also fascinating, weird and genius, so some political disputes doesn't necessarily devalue his works.


My favorite Dick trivia involved his slightly insane letter to Stanislaw Lem, another great:

"In 1973 a club for professional SF authors, the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), made him an honorary member. However, Lem soon fell out with some of its famous writers, including Philip K Dick, who was in dispute with his Polish publisher and held Lem responsible. Dick wrote to the FBI, accusing Lem of being a Communist party apparatchik, or perhaps even one of a faceless committee of functionaries, organising a cell that intended to subvert American science fiction. In later years, Lem himself made this letter public, always with the forgiving note that Dick, whose work he admired, was suffering from schizophrenia at the time."
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:04 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


This movie was made in 2007. There is likely a reason (or several) why it has never been released.

I'm one of the few who liked that book, but from the trailer, the film looks pretty bad. (Why not just go with VALIS instead? I'd watch a film version of the opera.)

Alanis Morissette - Professional Torturer
posted by mrgrimm at 8:13 AM on March 2, 2011


If you're going to go for this side of PK Dick, I think Valis would work better.

Yeah, I'm not so sure that's a good idea. I'm a big fan of Valis, I gave a copy it to a couple of people who immediately had nervous breakdowns. So I stopped recommending it to people, I never know if they can handle it. I worry about how it would work in a mass audience.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:31 AM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I worry about how it would work in a mass audience.

Most people would be bewildered, but a handful of folks would notice that the film contains layers of oblique symbolism with eerie parallels to strange mystical experiences in their own lives. Then they'd go visit David Bowie and Brian Eno.
posted by twirlip at 6:16 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always thought Dr. Bloodmoney could make for an interesting movie.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:51 PM on March 3, 2011


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