If the sheer number of Leonard adaptations is remarkable, what is more remarkable still is how few of them are any good.
No one was more aware of, or blunt about, this disappointing onscreen record than Leonard himself. His first crime novel, The Big Bounce
, was twice adapted for film, in 1969 and 2004. Leonard memorably described the earlier effort as the “second-worst movie ever made”; it was not until he saw the 2004 version, he later said, that he knew what movie was the worst.
If it weren't for the 1976 Copyright Act, copyright on work would expire after 56 years - which would have meant that Kerouac's On The Road, the original 12 Angry Men, and Elvis's All Shook Up would be public domain by today.
Suffice it to say, Persepolis is quite a work. It’s a testament to the power of the graphic novel. The art’s simple linework helps the story feel unpretentious and direct. Persepolis was adapted as a 2007 French animated film, written and directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. Among other honors, it was nominated for an Academy Award. Why would someone want to ban such a book?
The secret allure of the spoiler. Think you don’t want to know the ending? Think again
"Is there a greater cultural sin than a good story spoiled? The accepted modern posture is that knowing too much beforehand about the plot of a novel, a play, a movie, even a TV series, ruins the magic of experiencing it for the first time — renders it damaged goods, not worth one’s time or money.[..]
It’s a given: Everyone hates spoilers. Except when they don’t. Two researchers in the psychology department of the University of California at San Diego recently decided to test whether we really hate spoilers, or just like to say we do. What they found surprised them: The majority of people apparently like having a story spoiled for them. In fact, we may enjoy spoiled stories even more than the unspoiled versions. Is it true? Do we secretly crave predigested plots the way some foodies sneak Big Macs when no one’s looking?"
Pdf link to study. [more inside]
Pirate Bay to be blocked By UK ISPs.
"File-sharing site The Pirate Bay must be blocked by UK internet service providers, the High Court has ruled." [more inside]
How well do you really know old Arty? It all began with the Welsh: The The Annales Cabriae (inside) and parts of the Welsh oral tradition (later collected into the Mabinogion
) give a very different picture of the popular King Arthur than contemporary readers are familiar with: no Lancelot, three or four different Guens, no love triangles or Holy Grails. A look at the vast scope of the Arthurian legend. [more inside]
(Belgium, 1971, aka ‘The Legend of Doom House’) is a movie
that has been described as ‘bizarre, lurid and baffling;’ ‘a mysterious curiosity;’ and ‘exquisitely bonkers.’ An international cast led by Mathieu Carrière and Susan Hampshire (playing five
rôles) also included Orson Welles
. Its director, Harry Kümel
, is otherwise best known for his stylish lesbian
vampire flick Les Lèvres Rouges
’). The movie
was adapted from an unusual
, first published in wartime Brussels—the work
of Jean Ray
(aka Raymond Jean-Marie de Kremer): a convicted embezzler & prolific hack
, who was, nevertheless, one of the foremost exponents
of the fantastique
in French-language fiction. Please note that some of the links above are NSFW
(some nudity) & several contain SPOILERS
. [more inside]
Let's Get Critical
is "a new Longform.org
partner site dedicated to surfacing the best cultural criticism on the web."
The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything. The vast majority of the world's books, music, films, television and art, you will never see. It's just numbers.
A World of Hits
"Ever-increasing choice was supposed to mean the end of the blockbuster. It has had the opposite effect." [more inside]
Notice some best of the year or best of the decade lists? I guess you could do that, if you are into the retro thing. Forward thinking websites bring you the best of the year to come. From The Millions we have books
and from io9 science fiction books
. (Io9 is also worried about a few things
in the coming year.) From The Onion AV culb we have media, broadly defined
. Rotten Tomatoes lists the most anticipated Sundance films
. You want games? We got games from BoingBoing
. [more inside]
Matt Helm is a fictional character created by author Donald Hamilton. He is a U.S. government counter-agent—a man whose primary job is to kill or nullify enemy agents—not a spy or secret agent in the ordinary sense of the term as used in spy thrillers. ... The character appeared in 27 books over a 33-year period beginning in 1960... A movie series was made in the mid-to-late 1960s starring Dean Martin... the series bore no resemblance at all to the character, atmosphere, or themes of Hamilton's original books, nor to the hard-edged action of Bond. One reason was the attitude of the filmmakers that the only way to compete with the Bond films was to parody them.
- Wikipedia (links may be mildly NSFW) [more inside]
Stephen King has described The Dark Tower as his "Jupiter."
The epic series, inspired in part by Robert Browning's poem, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came"
, has spanned 22 years, 7 books and nearly 4000 pages. The first book in the series, The Gunslinger
, begins with a simple, memorable declaration, "The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." [more inside]
Edward Samuel's Illustrated History of Copyright
A fascinating illustrated historical tour, looking at how different technologies have shaped how we think about copyright and intellectual property.
In 1917, Dashiell Hammett, working as a Pinkerton detective in Butte, Montana
, was offered $5000 to murder union organizer, Frank Little
. Or was he? Maybe not
. Anyway, Hammett quits being a detective and starts writing fiction. He draws on his Butte experiences
to write Red Harvest
about a lone detective who sets opposing factions in a corrupt city against one another and watchs the bodies pile up. Lots
of people have wanted to make movies from Red Harvest
. Akira Kurosawa did
. Or did he? Maybe not
. [more inside]
Starbucks saved his life
, and now Tom Hanks is saving his bank account. A story
of a middle-aged man with a successful career in advertising
, was fired from his high-paying job, was divorced by his wife, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and found himself getting back to basics
working for $10.50/hour at Starbucks, finding himself, and loving it
. How does he manage to deal with such a huge downgrade from his previously life? Well, turns out it doesn't matter too much, as it's soon to be a movie
starring Tom Hanks.
With the Bourne Ultimatum
released, that would appear to be it
for the series. Not so
for the books
, even though original author Robert Ludlum
has been dead for six years
. This type of thing isn't exactly
new, but do these ghost-written books do the originals justice
, or are the authors' estates just cashing in
FBI 101 -- "Essentials for Writers," an "exciting and informative" interactive workshop for writers being offered to members of my union -- the Writers Guild of America, East - by the FBI Office of Public Affairs and FBI New York. ...
-- Very interesting account of a workshop the FBI puts on for writers in NY.
What's in it for the FBI? ...The only question we have for you is 'Will it show us in a good light?'" ...
The His Dark Materials
movie is taking shape. The award-winning
children's series, considered the "anti-Narnia",
is due on the screen in 2007, starring a actress found in open casting, along with Nicole Kidman
(as Mrs. Coulter, for those who know the books). Unfortunately, the screenplay by Tom Stoppard
has been dumped, though the new one appears to be to the author's liking
. There is no official trailer yet, but there are several more
painful fan-made ones. The series has also been made into a successful play
, and a radio program
. For those who haven't read it, an excerpt is here
; and for those that have, try the interactive alethiometer
or find out your daemon's name
. Previous discussion on the debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury was here
"It has always been as if I carry chaos with me the way others carry typhoid. My purpose in writing is to transcend my existence by illuminating it."
Crime novelist Edward Bunker
, who died last Tuesday at age 71 (LATimes obit)
, became at 17 the youngest inmate at San Quentin
after he stabbed a prison guard at a youth detention facility. It was during his 18 years of incarceration
for robbery, check forgery and other crimes that Bunker learned to write. In 1973, while still in prison, he made his literary debut
with "No Beast So Fierce
", a novel about a paroled thief James Ellroy called "quite simply one of the great crime novels of the past 30 years" and that was made into the movie "Straight Time
" starring Dustin Hoffman. Also a screenwriter ("Runaway Train"), Bunker appeared as an actor in nearly two dozen roles
, most notably as Mr. Blue in "Reservoir Dogs
." (more inside)
at the core, neither good or bad. It simply is. [+]
"First, look up the most popular and critically-acclaimed books, movies, and music on Amazon. Click on 'Customer Reviews,' and sort them by 'Lowest Rating First'..." The Amazon.com Knee-Jerk Contrarian Game
GLAMORLUX Cool Collections
~ vintage photos, movie posters, book covers and album covers from Hollywood's golden era.
List of bests
permits you to keep track of how much you've read
, or heard
according to all of those fun "X Greatest X's" of all time. A recommendation feature may be soon to follow
On The Road...
coming to a theater near you (scroll down in link). Francis Ford Coppola is working on a film adaptation of Kerouac's classic (?), starring Brad Pitt. Genius? Heresy? I can see the Barnes & Noble tie-ins now...
Alexandre Dumas on film
This AP/CNN article says Dumas’ books make good movies, but aren’t being read as much as they used to be. Do the changes the movies make improve the books, or would more faithful adaptations be better?
When The Lord of the Rings
series rolls around to Xmas 2002, will they have to change the name of the second episode from The Two Towers?
Will Hollywood have settled down by then? Maybe it won't be a sensitive problem anymore. But what would be a good alternate title?
Everybody's got their indulgences-- maybe it's an impressively bad tv show, a blatently comercial film you've watched dozens of times or the upteeth sequel of a good book by a lazy author.
What's your cultural big mac? What can't you admit you love?
You've seen the movie
, maybe even read the book
. But have you experienced the website
? When the flash intro comes up, click on "You're a dead rat" for a good chuckle.
I'm sick of the Cunningham rumors.
I no longer believe the Neuromancer movie will ever happen. Music by Aphex, in my dreams. Console yourself by listening to William Gibson read the whole freakin' thing.
Don't make Hunter mad.
Hunter S. Thompson doesn't think the production company that optioned The Rum Diaries
is doing a very good job. And he tells them. Man, does he tell them.
You've seen the movie
, you've read the book
. Now, watch Dead Man Walking, the Opera
. (more inside...)