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January 17, 2003

Free Reads -- Felix on Film

Friedrich --

Felix Salmon gets off some good ones at the expense of the Charlie Kaufman/Spike Jonze movie "Adaptation," and then segues into some good ones about the downside of watching films shot on digital video, here.

Sample passage:

Every columnist, it is said, is allowed precisely one column about how hard it is to write the column, how he has nothing to say in his column, how he needs to turn in something but can't think of anything to write, that sort of thing. Even when it's done well, it reeks of desperation. Adaptation is the filmic equivalent of that one column. Charlie Kaufman has got away with it, mainly because he's Charlie Kaufman, and in the wake of the success of Being John Malkovich, he and Spike Jonze could do pretty much anything they wanted. But insofar as Adaptation represents a whole new genre in filmmaking, it only does so because it's a genre which shouldn't exist, and which should never be repeated.

I haven't seen "Adaptation" yet. Have you? I haven't, partly because I was apparently the only person in the world un-wowed by the Kaufman/Jonze "Being John Malkovich." I mean, all due credit for a grabby premise. But I thought Kaufman and Jonze had no idea what to do with it, or where to go with it. And the film seemed to me to start falling apart within about 30 minutes. But most people seemed to love it -- thereby confirming my theory that many people are content these days to love something simply because it's offbeat or unusual.

How'd you react to it?



posted by Michael at January 17, 2003


many people are content these days to love something simply because it's offbeat or unusual

I still think they're in a minority compared to those content to love something that refuses to deviate from the beaten track. Adaptation has made a not-unrespectable nine point something million dollars at the box office in its first six weeks. On the other hand, Dude Where's My Car? made a fair bit more than that just on its opening weekend.

Personally I loved Adaptation, but I loved it because I thought it was, you know, a really good film. I don't care about where a film lies with regard to the mainstream, be it in the thick of Hollywood or on the furthest fringe.

Posted by: James Russell on January 22, 2003 1:40 AM

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