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Synecdoche, NY
September 8, 2006 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part. It's also the title of the directorial debut of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, set to begin filming in Summer 2007. He's proven his writing chops and shown us his creative ingenuity with Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but this will mark the first film that will showcase his vision from page to screen. The story centers on an anguished playwright and several women in his life, and is set to star Philip Seymour Hoffman and Michelle Williams.
posted by defenestration (39 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
But will his sword be mightier than his pen?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:43 AM on September 8, 2006


"What's that you say? You mean you don't know what a 'synecdoche' is? "

I hate it when stories presume ignorance on my part. Of course I know what synecdoche is.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:45 AM on September 8, 2006


What's that you say? You mean your ignorant ass don't know what a synechdoche is?
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:53 AM on September 8, 2006


(Whereas my ignorant ass apparently can't spell it...)
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:54 AM on September 8, 2006


You may be lysdexic.
Sceintology will cure that.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:57 AM on September 8, 2006


synecdouche
posted by snofoam at 9:02 AM on September 8, 2006


I hate it when stories presume ignorance on my part. Of course I know what synecdoche is.

Yeah, I thought that was sort of lame, too -- but it was the most informative story I could find for the time being.
posted by defenestration at 9:05 AM on September 8, 2006


Thanks for letting me know about this movie that hasn't started filming yet, or even secured financing. I'll rush right out to a location that might someday contain a movie theater.
posted by notmydesk at 9:08 AM on September 8, 2006 [2 favorites]


Cynicdouche.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:11 AM on September 8, 2006 [2 favorites]


The old dictionary definition trick is the exclusive providence of mothafuckin' hacks. Claude Brodesser-Akner, you are a goddamn hack!

Anyway, this trick is intended to set the tone of the piece thusly: Charlie Kaufman is a crazy writer type! Oh no, teh big words! What will he come up with next?

It's really hacky to belittle yourself and the readers without a shred of humour.

Now the positive part - Kaufman is a clever writer, and I think this can be a wonderful film, let's hope he hires a good DP. I would love to see more writers directing, and fewer directors writing, if you know what I mean.
posted by Mister_A at 9:14 AM on September 8, 2006


Damint, I thought I was all cool when I found out what that obscure word meant. Now every punk-ass idiot will know what it means! I guess I'm stuck with metonymy. Weak.
posted by delmoi at 9:30 AM on September 8, 2006


How 'bout chthonic, Delmoi? Or is that one played?
posted by Mister_A at 9:35 AM on September 8, 2006


psst... the IMDB is shit. Shit, shit, shit. Poorly designed, and accompanied with awful, user-written reviews. There is an alternative.
posted by koeselitz at 9:38 AM on September 8, 2006


Wow, this sounds pretty bad.
posted by stammer at 9:44 AM on September 8, 2006


Cynicdouche.

Wahey!
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:44 AM on September 8, 2006


Thanks for letting me know about this movie that hasn't started filming yet, or even secured financing. I'll rush right out to a location that might someday contain a movie theater.

I must admit I had similar thoughts when I saw the post, but I'm glad I didn't try to produce actual snark, because I wouldn't have done as well as that. (That said, it does sound like it might be an interesting movie, even if Charlie Kaufman is way, way too full of himself.)
posted by languagehat at 9:47 AM on September 8, 2006


Well, we can still feel superior to people who didn't know the word before the movie when everyone inevitably tries to pronounce it phonetically.
posted by Amy Phillips at 9:59 AM on September 8, 2006


psst... the IMDB is shit. Shit, shit, shit. Poorly designed, and accompanied with awful, user-written reviews. There is an alternative.

But AllMovies doesn't integrate film records with television records in the same way that IMDB does. From looking at Harrison Ford's AllMovie profile, for example, you'd never know that he played "Beach Patrol Cop" opposite Richard Pryor in the Mod Squad episode "Teeth of the Barracuda." Of what use is a movie profile site if it can't exhaustively reveal the bizarre and embarrassing roles that stars took when they were starting out?
posted by Iridic at 10:02 AM on September 8, 2006


Languagehat and notmydesk:
Here's where you go for info on movies that are in a more advanced state of development.
posted by Mister_A at 10:02 AM on September 8, 2006


I'm more a fan of metonymy.
posted by The White Hat at 10:17 AM on September 8, 2006


Dismissing the IMDb because of the user reviews is like dismissing the New York Times because of the letters page.
posted by riotgrrl69 at 10:21 AM on September 8, 2006


(tangent)

I read somewhere that "The Three," the screenplay written by the protagonist's brother in Adaptation, was inspired by Kauffman's experience writing a screenplay for A Scanner Darkly.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:25 AM on September 8, 2006


But the New York Times

(a) isn't all letters to the editor, and includes some decent, careful reporting and work; and

(b) doesn't look like shit. Seriously, numerous layout changes at IMDb haven't apparently dealt with this.

Automating everything has its price. IMDb needs more oversight.
posted by koeselitz at 10:28 AM on September 8, 2006


One of the many ways in which I'd annoy my Latin teacher in high school was by insisting on pronouncing the word, "See-neck-doh-chay" in a ridiculous faux-Spanish accent.

Poetickal devices are fun.
posted by sparkletone at 10:34 AM on September 8, 2006


Interesting to see if the name stays. Nabokov wanted to title his memoirs Speak, Mnemosyne but the marketing department wouldn't have it.

As to Kaufman- two strikes and one home run in my view. Curious to see what he (might) come up with.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:28 AM on September 8, 2006


WHich were the strikes indigo? Personally, I thought Adaptation was a mess, liked Eternal sunshine, and loved Malkovich.

Ms. Keener made MAlkovich IMHO.
posted by Mister_A at 11:36 AM on September 8, 2006


Just so people who aren't familiar with Kaufman aren't misled by the post, he also wrote Human Nature and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
posted by defenestration at 11:57 AM on September 8, 2006


He also wrote for Get A Life!
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:59 AM on September 8, 2006


Also a fan of the metonym.
posted by weston at 12:25 PM on September 8, 2006


Looking at the imbd and elsewhere, it seems that the title of the movie isn't Synecdoche; it's Synecdoche, New York (as with the title of this post). There's something admirable (?) about using a dumb pun as the title of your directorial debut.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:36 PM on September 8, 2006


Litotes isn't bad either.
posted by nicwolff at 2:19 PM on September 8, 2006


See what I did there?
posted by nicwolff at 2:20 PM on September 8, 2006


That's too booky a title. How about "Chicks on a Writer"?

(I do like his other movies so I'll probably see this one too)
posted by First Post at 4:02 PM on September 8, 2006


WHich were the strikes indigo?

Same order as given. Malkovich I thought tried way too hard (screenwriter too present, too, as LH said, full of himself) and the ending seemed added on and kind of gratuitously nasty.
Adaptation, as you say- a mess. (Though I did like Chris Cooper's performance.)
Sunshine was the homerun. Generally I'm not a Sci-Fi type (yeah, I know, my bad), but this one credibly (so to speak) sidelines the mad scientist/technology bits and instead focuses on interesting questions of free will, of playing God not just with others but also with oneself, of moral rectitude, generosity, cowardice, selfishness, the nature of love over time. And that the protagonists were believably unpleasant, both pitiable and moderately appalling, pushed it above the commonplace.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:54 PM on September 8, 2006


I didn't like Malkovich, Spotless, or Adaptation (I find that guy more annoying than clever), but anything with The One True Hoff has gotta be good.
posted by facetious at 5:59 PM on September 8, 2006


He knew all the tricks. Dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and...satire...
posted by Iridic at 6:08 PM on September 8, 2006


But will his sword be mightier than his pen?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:43 PM GMT on September 8 [+] [!]


That's a metonym, not synecdoche :(
posted by atrazine at 3:17 AM on September 10, 2006


"Nabokov wanted to title his memoirs Speak, Mnemosyne but the marketing department wouldn't have it. "

I'm trying to imagine what kind of silver-tongued marketing droid could persuade Nabokov, of all people, to change his mind. I just can't see it.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:28 AM on September 10, 2006


I just can't see it.

The operative word might be silver. It ain't cheap living in Monteaux....
posted by IndigoJones at 5:10 AM on September 15, 2006


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