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March 11, 2004 1:42 AM   Subscribe

Garfield: The Movie: The Novelization Experience the pending awfulness first hand, then the relief of knowing you didn't have to write it. So far, this forthcoming movie is to be considered the Worst Film of 2004, until an upstart comes along.
posted by Down10 (50 comments total)

 
So is H.S. Newcomb to literature what Alan Smithee is to film? Or is there actually some poor writer guy right now, hitting the Manhattan cocktail party circuit fatally unaware that "You know the Garfield novel? Me, baby" is not going to work as a pickup line?
posted by arto at 2:07 AM on March 11, 2004


My god, that is really remarkable. It's rare to see something so perfectly misconceived as to be almost... beautiful
posted by leotrotsky at 2:56 AM on March 11, 2004


In a snug little bed, situated in a modest two-bedroom house on a tiny plot in a sleepy little suburban community, a mound of golden fur slept snugly.

It's a real-life contender for the Bulwer-Lytton Award.
posted by rory at 2:58 AM on March 11, 2004


Wow. Just... wow.
posted by LukeyBoy at 3:05 AM on March 11, 2004


Cocktail party? You must be utterly mad.

If I had to write that twisted drek I'd kill myself, making sure it hurt lots and taking my time about it. Sweet Ch'Thulu, take me away!!

I feel - with no trivial amount creeping horror - that the only thing that will properly scrub that mange from my violated mind would be a heaping megadose of Care Bears vs. Manson Family slash fiction.
posted by loquacious at 3:05 AM on March 11, 2004


And I've now just thoroughly creeped myself out knowing - this being the internet and all - that if such fanfiction doesn't exist yet, it will, and soon. *shudder*
posted by loquacious at 3:14 AM on March 11, 2004


There is nothing so droll that a movie mogul cannot make it worse. Sheesh.
posted by dg at 3:23 AM on March 11, 2004


This gives me the fear.

Umm, where was that ALF slash fiction again?
posted by GrahamVM at 3:29 AM on March 11, 2004


apparently this is the only book this guy has written. what a way to start a career...
posted by joedan at 3:33 AM on March 11, 2004


I'm sure "H.S. Newcomb" is a pseudonym for Dave Eggers... expect a great review from "A Reader in St. Louis" soon.
posted by pandaharma at 3:43 AM on March 11, 2004


I don't remember where the Alf pr0n got to, and I'm not about to go googling for it. My normally questionable sanity is already wearing dangerously thin. I'm feeling very strong urges to publicly re-enact classic Mentos commercials in Kabuki drag.

Meanwhile - inspired by the actual movie in question - the longest discussion thread I've ever seen on IMDB rages on. And on. And on. For 9 months.

"H.S. Newcomb" either sounds disturbingly familiar, or is an intentionally ubiquitous pen name chosen for that exact reason.

Are you telling me that you wouldn't use a pseudonym if you had to write that? I'd only communicate with my editor via a complex system of double-blind drop points and code words if I had to work anywhere near that pustule.
posted by loquacious at 3:52 AM on March 11, 2004


When I read that, I heard Kelsey Grammer's Frasier reading the passages aloud in my head. I have absolutely no idea why.

[this is not good]
posted by psmealey at 4:22 AM on March 11, 2004


Oh Lord! Those puns were no doubt written by Joel Cohen, and will be brought to our ears by Bill Murray. Surely Hollywood has gone to far this time.

Revolt!
posted by graventy at 4:24 AM on March 11, 2004


btw, that discussion on IMDB is the closest one can get to hell in all of the WWW: 400+ posts of spelling and grammar flames.
posted by psmealey at 4:27 AM on March 11, 2004


That IMDB thread is the funniest thing I've ever seen.
posted by maggie at 4:55 AM on March 11, 2004


That IMDB thread makes me glad I have access to MetaFilter. There, but for the grace of Matt go I.
posted by ColdChef at 4:56 AM on March 11, 2004


Can I get a fourth "Amen" that IMDB threads are the most painfully pointless discussions in all the world wide web?
posted by grabbingsand at 5:11 AM on March 11, 2004


Amen.
posted by chrid at 5:30 AM on March 11, 2004


yeah that IMDB thread is great, someone's already said "hitler" three times in that motherfucker!
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 5:32 AM on March 11, 2004


Next up: When Nancy Met Sluggo
posted by donpardo at 5:34 AM on March 11, 2004


You da mannnnn, Stan.

Ugh.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 5:56 AM on March 11, 2004


All is not lost, there is gonna be a movie based on the cartoon 'Fat Albert'.

Wonder if the background budget will be like the cartoon?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:57 AM on March 11, 2004


Oh, what's that going to be? The Klumps meets The Basketball Diaries?
posted by GrahamVM at 6:24 AM on March 11, 2004


Jeez Louise, it's a fucking kids movie for pete's sake. And it's a movie novelization of a kid's movie that was linked to. What the hell were you expecting?

But hey, tear it apart. You're all so iconoclastic.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 AM on March 11, 2004


If I had to write that twisted drek I'd kill myself

I would have Odie kill. Everyone.
posted by the fire you left me at 7:01 AM on March 11, 2004


Jeez Louise, it's a fucking kids movie for pete's sake. And it's a movie novelization of a kid's movie that was linked to. What the hell were you expecting?

What kind of sadistic monster would subject an innocent child to that piece of dung?

Metafilter: You're all so iconoclastic.
posted by RylandDotNet at 7:05 AM on March 11, 2004


Empire Strikes Back was a kids' movie with a good novelization.
posted by inksyndicate at 7:08 AM on March 11, 2004


Jeez Louise, it's a fucking kids movie for pete's sake. And it's a movie novelization of a kid's movie that was linked to. What the hell were you expecting?

But hey, tear it apart. You're all so iconoclastic.


The over-commercializiation of the Garfield franchise isn't what I responded to, specifically, when I read the excerpt--it's the atrocious quality of the prose that's surprising, even for a novelization of a kids' movie.

Personally, I think that's interesting because I've been reading neurologist Alice Flaherty's book The Midnight Disease, in which (if I understand her correctly) she claims that there are scientifically verifiable distinguishing marks that differentiate the prose of someone who writes for the pleasure of writing, and someone who writes for money or another secondary gain. I get the feeling, reading the excerpt, that if this guy weren't writing for money, he wouldn't be writing at all--he'd rather be playing pick-up baseball with friends, or tending the roses in his garden, or something.

So maybe it is the over-commercialization of the Garfield franchise I'm responding to, and that and the quality of the prose in the novelization go hand in hand.
posted by Prospero at 7:13 AM on March 11, 2004


I would have Odie kill. Everyone.

With Slobber?
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 7:15 AM on March 11, 2004


Wow, the IMDB board make /. look almost... useful. Informative.

Wow. Just... wow.
posted by hadashi at 8:11 AM on March 11, 2004


Yeah, that looks real bad.

I knew a guy who wrote those things - I think he'd written forty novelizations of tv shows and movies and made a pretty good living out of it. None of those novels were published under his own name. On the six days a week when he wasn't working on novelizations, he worked on the stuff he published under his own name which did ok, too. I think one of them was made into a movie. I can think of a lot worse ways to make a living.
posted by drobot at 8:40 AM on March 11, 2004


It not so much who wrote this dreck. Dreckwriters come in perforated rolls, especially in Hollywood.

Someone is actually paying this "Newcombe" person to shit out this stuff. They think they can make a buck off it, no matter how bad the end product.

By way of comparison: did Cat In The Hat (also unwatchable ill-conceived dreck, but full of marketing possibilities) ultimately make its money back? I'd bet it did.

As goes that, so goes Garfield.
posted by chicobangs at 8:55 AM on March 11, 2004


One very pleased Odie. With a double-stuffed mouthful of Garfield.

jonmc! Go away! You're spoiling my morning coffee, cigarette and schadenfreude!

I think the starving (and twisted) artist in me would sort of half-heartedly leap at the opportunity to write such a strange thing. You could have a lot of fun hiding things in it.

Frasier? Reading Garfield: The Movie: The Novel? That hurts so good. Unf.
posted by loquacious at 9:05 AM on March 11, 2004


Holy crap. That thread is high art.
posted by anathema at 9:44 AM on March 11, 2004


it's the atrocious quality of the prose that's surprising, even for a novelization of a kids' movie.

No, it's not. Most of them are exactly that bad. Did you ever see the novelization of Terminator 2? The author referred to the T101 as "Termy." As in "Termy" did this. "Termy" did that. Throughout the whole novel, this remorseless killing machine was called "Termy."

I shit you not.

Best novelization ever might be William Kotzwinkle's takeoff on "E. T. the Extra Terrestrial," although Orson Scott Card's extended backstory for "The Abyss" is good too.

In other novelization news, I see that Alan Dean Foster is admitting he ghostwrote the "Star Wars" novelization now. Guess he had a 25-year gag order on the contract.
posted by kindall at 9:53 AM on March 11, 2004


Burn, Garfield, Burn
posted by hipnerd at 9:55 AM on March 11, 2004


(starts energetically hammering pencils into his throat, realizing that humanity is doomed.)
posted by Samizdata at 10:22 AM on March 11, 2004


That IMDB discussion board is hilarious. It has all the charm and flavor of two drunks arguing on the subway, one of whom just got dumped by his girlfriend because his penis is too small and the other just lost his job because a 7 year-old in China can do it cheaper.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:40 AM on March 11, 2004


The author referred to the T101 as "Termy." As in "Termy" did this. "Termy" did that. Throughout the whole novel, this remorseless killing machine was called "Termy."

If only we could change nicknames at will. "Termy." thats some funny shit.
posted by Quartermass at 10:52 AM on March 11, 2004


The IMDB bulletin board exits for one purpose: to make MeFi look good by comparison.

Yes, I would've jumped at the chance to make "Garfield: The Movie: The Novelization" my first book, but I would've asked Berke Breathed to help ghostwrite it.

Thanks to Google, we discover that H.S. Newcomb was a Civil War naval hero.

And, in spite of his previous involvement in Garfield: The TV Show, I like Mark Evanier.
posted by wendell at 11:20 AM on March 11, 2004


Kids movies don't have to be stupidly written unintelligent drivel.

Pixar!
Pre-buddy-forumla Disney movies!
The Princess Bride!

I can't think of any more!
posted by cinderful at 11:52 AM on March 11, 2004


Guys, guys, relax for a second. You can bash this movie all you want, but please, don't hate Garfield because he's beautiful.
posted by BloodyWallet at 12:28 PM on March 11, 2004


Geeeezus, BloodyWallet, would you get off of our collective garfield, just for a minute?

(Did I use it right? Did I? Did I? Och, I'm so goyische.)
posted by chicobangs at 1:33 PM on March 11, 2004


What I don't get is the newfangled prose style where Garfield's thoughts just show up as the main author voice, without quotes or anything, but Garfield is written about in the third person. It makes me wonder if H.S. Newcomb is really Bob Dole.
posted by soyjoy at 8:47 PM on March 11, 2004


Its funnier when there's a novel first, and then they make a movie adaptation of the book, and then they make a book adaptation of the movie adaptation of the original book.

I can't think of any examples, but that would be funny.
posted by dgaicun at 10:27 PM on March 11, 2004


Its funnier when there's a novel first, and then they make a movie adaptation of the book, and then they make a book adaptation of the movie adaptation of the original book. ... I can't think of any examples

They novelized "Total Recall," which was based on a Philip K. Dick short story. Actually, it wasn't some nebulous "they" but Piers Anthony who did the novelizing.
posted by kindall at 11:06 PM on March 11, 2004


You know, first you people went crazy and judged the Gibson's "Jesus Christ, Lust for Glory" movie without seeing it, and now you're all ready to crucify a movie about another beloved by the masses icon. Why do you people hate America so much?
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:06 PM on March 12, 2004


Just because, Joey. Just fricken because.
posted by chicobangs at 6:46 PM on March 12, 2004


When they "modernized" Great Expectations for a movie a few years ago, they published a novelization of it under the same name. I didn't pick it up, but it was right there next to the real book on the shelf. There was a certain beauty to the words "Based on the novel by Charles Dickens" emblazoned on the front.

And now it's going for exactly one cent on Amazon. That's always a good testament to quality.
posted by brookedel at 10:24 PM on March 12, 2004


chicobangs: Fair enough. Let's bowl.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:21 PM on March 13, 2004


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