Scatology 101

I started this project on the premise of making a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy blog for an American Studies class. I know it doesn't really make sense but it did in my proposal.
When I started talking to fellow students (most of whom are 15 years younger), I discovered that most of them have not read the book, and have seen the movie. Most of them thought the movie sucked. Well, It got me pondering over the state of culture, literature and film. What I decided is; if American culture (responsible for Hollywood) was more open to reading, more receptive to reading things from other cultures, and more responsive to international film, not only would less crap come out of Hollywood, but less good stuff would be turned into cultural diarrhea. And thus I present to you the answer without knowing the question..

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When a story isn't just a story

In the glory days of cinema, a solid storyline with amazing acting and an accurate wardrobe was able to carry a film on to great heights. Many of these came directly from books, many did not. If you were true to the story, you had a hit.

Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Everything has to have a political agenda attached to it in some way. The current uproar over Avatar, a movie I have zero interest in seeing anyway, is only the latest in a long line of activist movies. Why do you folks in Hollywood feel the need to inject your ultra-liberal agenda into everything? Even leaving that hypocritical Michael Moore out of it, there have been so many films, both the big and small screens, with political messages in them. As I write this, I cannot tell you the last movie that I was really waiting to see. Sure, there are a few that I wouldn't mind watching, but nothing that made me say, "Dude, I HAVE to see that movie!"

I'm sure that if you try to pick apart every great piece of literature, you could find examples of political bias. The difference is, those great works were not the vehicles for those agendas. The agenda wasn't put in for the sake of it being in there. Hollywood insists that we do not see a great story. We have to see a cautionary tale that makes us feel bad about ourselves, even if we did nothing wrong.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Ten Crack me up Commandments

So I started thinking about how long ago books started being made into movies. I don't really have an answer for you yet, Strangely I am having trouble finding it. However I did remember one of my favorites that was based on a very early book..The Bible

Ten Commandments, to me is a prime example of unintentional high comedy. This movie keeps me rolling every that Easter I manage to stay awake through it. I won't go into the political/religious aspects that make me giggle. The humor comes from the special effects and general hilarity of sets in the movie.

Taking into consideration the time period and point in technology film was at when Ten Commandments was made doesn't really help me to stop laughing though. It seems like they would have had the sense to just not make it at all instead of being corny. Or, maybe it wasn't corny when it was made. At any rate it's STILL funny.

Firstly, ever since I was little the mere sight of Charlton Heston sent me into fits of giggles (soylent green is PEOPLE). So seeing him as Moses after seeing him in Planet of the Apes was just hilarious to me. Especially the because he was Moses first then an Ape. I first saw it atduring a time when my mother was writing nasty letters to my science teacher for teaching creation in class, so the irony was almost too much to handle.

so anyway be on the lookout for a follow up post as to my ten crack me up flicks in a few days

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Road I Avoid

Anyone who knows anything about my literary preferences knows about my problem with Cormac McCarthy. There are very few authors that bring me into severe panic and depression upon the mention of their name, McCarthy along with Virgina Woolf are a couple.

So, when I came across this article in Time magazine yesterday I nearly fainted. God thing I was close to the Counseling Center when I read it. It is a review of the new movie The Road based on a novel by McCarthy. Of course it's supposedly a very good film and does the book justice according to Steven James Snyder, author for ( ) . But before you get all excited and go buy a ticket to see this let me just tell you I totally agree with Mary Pols from Time magazine when she asks "How do you lure people to a movie made from a book that itself probably should have borne a mental-health warning from the surgeon general?" Let me insert a little more of her article

The Man and his son, the Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a child of perhaps 11, raised in a postcivilized era in which a lone can of Coca-Cola is a treasure, encounter no miraculously budding tree in the wasted landscape, no fish jumping from a dead ocean. The best they get is a rheumy-eyed old man (the great Robert Duvall) who considers death a luxury. Bands of cannibals rule the land, favoring children as meals. It's hopeless except for, as in McCarthy's book, the driving force of the narrative: a father's fierce devotion to his child. "The child is the warrant," Mortensen tells us in voice-over, the only reason for being.
If you can handle this, I suggest you go see the movie and them come tell me about it. Ill be hovering in the corner with a bottle of xanax blowing my nose all over Blood Meridian. .. Keep your friends close and your enemies as kleenex.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

From Sharks and Bears

On why paper books are better than Kindle:
I will never need to replace my book's batteries.
* If I get my book wet, it will not ruin my other books.
* If I drop my book, I can pick it up and still read it.
* If my book breaks, I don't need a degree to fix my book, nor call an 800 number. A little tape/or glue will fix most damage to my book.
* I do not need a 100+ page manual to learn how to read my book.
* I can forget my book in my car in the summer and winter.
* I can hand my book down from generation to generation without having to worry about the new books being backward compatible.
* You can wrap/unwrap a book as a present.

Now I understand that there are many advantages when it comes to all of the new e-books. I'm considering a Kindle myself. While the e-books are a great piece of technology, I do not see them replacing normal, printed books anytime in the near future. Will the era of printed books end? Probably. I honestly can't say whether I will see that day in my lifetime."

I couldn't agree more Brother. Original text here

What's Context got to do with it?

Well, let me tell you. I decided to watch "Alice" on the sy-fy channel last night. I have to admit I kind of liked it. HOWEVER.. It was 1am. Also since in middle school I read "Go ask Alice" and have never seen the Disney massacre of the original novel there were probably several things I found amusing that the average person would not. For example there were turbo charged jet powered flying pink flamingos to ride on. I couldn't help but draw the John Waters connection, which made me laugh entirely to gleefully. "Wonderland" was a casino.. HOW FREAKING HILARIOUS and anything with Kathy Bates as a big fat QUEEN.. also good stuff. So, if you have never seen a John Waters film, been to a casino or made fun of Kathy Bates I'm sure our disimilarities in context would harbor an entirely different review.

Monday, December 7, 2009


I figured we need a quicker way to say "movies made from books" I know not all books are novels. "Flooks" sounded even lamer than flovel. If anyone can think of, or has heard something better please feel free to comment.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hollywood's oil to literature's water

When it comes to big screen adaptations of great pieces of literature, Hollywood often shows that most writers have either never read a great book, or don't care about those fans at all.

When it is done correctly, you can take a masterpiece and take it to a whole new level. Take George Orwell's "1984" for instance. It was a powerful literary work by a great writer. When the movie was released in 1984, it took the narrative and brought it to life. You were able to feel the issues that Orwell intended.

Most times, however, Hollywood writers seem to think that as long as they say "based on the book", they can do whatever they wish to the storyline and plot. One of the more mild offenders, but one that still annoyed me to no end, was the big screen edition of "Jurassic Park" Yes, the storyline was basically intact, but when you let characters survive that died in the book, that's just plain wrong.

Even the big budget flop that was "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" didn't fail to disappoint. I have been a fan of all five books in the trilogy for many years. When I heard that they were finally going to bring Douglas Adams' brilliant epic to the big screen, I was overjoyed. I knew that Hollywood had a habit of crapping all over great books, but I thought that with the books and the radio plays all pretty straight forward, there would be no way they could make a total disaster of it. Boy was I wrong!

It starts off benignly. I never pictured Ford Prefect as a black guy, but that's just semantics. The story follows along very close to the books for a bit. All of 11 minutes. Now, the introduction of Zaphod Beeblebrox shouldn't have been hard. A pirate, with a covered cage on his shoulder. Easy peasy. Nope, they had to completely screw with a character that is central to the story. It just gets worse from there. Leaving aside the character issues, the script goes completely off the rails just a short 10 minutes later. Yes, I know that the scene with Arthur and Ford being brought to the bridge was more than likely cut for time, but is crucial in understanding the Vogons.

I could go on and on, but the more I write, the more depressed that I would get. Hollywood and the literary world will no longer mix, and the world will be the worse off for it.

Fourty-Two words on why movies from books suck.

1) Product placement is lame.
2) Animated picture books are creepy.

3) Jim Carey

4) Ethnocentrism. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Americans don’t get it unless they bother to explore British Comedy. So basically two percent.

5) Cheesy graphics are never as good as your own imagination
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