Sunday, April 18, 2010

Not Original

It has been a crazy week here in the heart of the South, I am still sick. I believe it is a cold and not allergies or the flu or some other crazy illness that is flying around out there trying to destroy all of mankind. Just an old fashioned cold and I must say it almost kicked my butt. Seriously, by Friday morning when I opened my eyes and stared up at the slowly rotating ceiling fan and the alien shadows that it created as they rolled across the ceiling and down the walls in a pattern that was almost pornographic in nature all I could think about was trying to set my legs down on the cool, hard wood floor and make it to the bathroom without falling flat on my face. Which I did, but I did not make it very much farther. As soon as I set my feet on the floor and tried to stand up I felt pain racing through my body like uninvited guests at an all you can eat wedding reception.

I hurt. Joints, muscles, tendons, heck even my arteries were screaming at me to stop moving and get back to bed. And for the first time in a long time I listened to my body. I stumbled my way back to bed and called in sick to work. I slept, I dreamed and I slept some more and when I awoke I read some books. Ok, I finished reading some books that I had been working on for a month or two. You see I usually read 3 or 4 books at a time simply because I hate to not have one with me. It was nice day, blissful, peaceful and it made me wish I were a millionaire so I could sleep more often and work just a little less harder.

So, where was I, oh, books. I finished several of them. Good ones too and not all of them were fiction. When those were finished I went on to some more. Actually, what I did was make my way to my car where I had another book waiting for me to blow the dust off of and devour at a pace my semi-addled mind could handle. The book is "Jakes Wake" by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow. It is about demons and Good vs. Evil and it has all sorts of craziness in it. But, as a quick disclaimer, if you are weak of stomach I would not try to read it. Once the book was retrieved I settled in on the couch with a drink and commenced the wonderful and crazy trip into my mind and the madness of the men that wrote the book I held in my hands. As I read this tome I could picture the events of the story unfolding in my mind and it made me wonder whether or not the insane powers that be in the glittery world of movie making would ever be so bold as to take this book and turn it into a quality film.

The answer I came up with is...No. They would not ever make a quality film of this book or for that matter many of the books I have read that are now lying around my house collecting dust and just waiting to be picked back up and gone through again. Just a few moments is all they ask and they will eagerly divulge all their dirty, succulent, awful, wonderful, horrifying, brilliant secrets and lies. And for the crazies in hollywierd to actually make a quality film is not necessarily in their best interest. Usually quality films don't make a whole lot of money and books don't always translate well to the silver screen.

For example, recently I read the book, "Men Who Stare at Goats" which as some of you know was a movie last year and is now available at every video store, grocery store and street corner in America. I held off on watching the movie until I had the book read and I am happy I did so. While I enjoyed the film the book was just more "meaty". Which is what happens in most cases. Don't get me wrong, I like films and the several hours of mindless entertainment that it gives me. But, there is just something missing when I sit down and let a story unfold itself on a screen or in a box. That is where the "meat" comes from, actually the "meat" is what my mind provides for imagery, sound and all around feel of where the book takes me.

I suppose there has to be an exception or two to this rule and the films that quickly pop into my mind that were based on books would be "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy that Peter Jackson made almost a decade back. They were brilliantly done and they followed the book almost to the letter. True, some purists would say they left some characters out of the film and some scenes too but in defense of the films I must say that I don't believe they suffered at all from the omission of characters like Tom Bombadil, I don't know if I spelled his name correctly but I did not realize his absence from the film until after I had finished watching all three of them.

Ok, let's see, what have I covered and where am I going? Oh, yeah, ORIGINALITY!!!

There is none. I am serious. Look at all the films that are being put out by the film companies on the west coast. How many series of films are currently in the market? Iron Man, Halloween, Friday the 13th (Which is being REMADE), Harry Potter, Batman, Spiderman, Sex and the City and I am sure that if I went on IMDB I could find many more films that are either remakes of old films or just another 90 minute episode of an ever growing franchise that is digging ever deeper into the dumbing down of America's psyche. I know, I know, I am being cynical. I am sorry about that. Maybe I am just tainted by my youth and all the funtastical films that I got to see back then. Movies like, Star Wars (episodes 4, 5 and 6.) Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rollerball (The Original), The Big Red One, Any of the Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns!, RAMBO (the first one), all the Godfather's, The Black Hole, Halloween (Again the FIRST one), Friday the 13th (First ONE!), CONVOY (my first ever Date movie), all of the BLANK of the DEAD movies and many more.

Ok, so a few of the films I mentioned have had sequels or have become franchises but I mention them simply because they were ground breaking and influential and are even today spoke of as classic movies and are a must watch for any aspiring cinematography student. Some of those films even today have sequels in the pipeline for mass market distribution. I try to not get too wrapped up in that stuff either.

So, here is my point, I am going to try and wrap this whole mess up in one or two gluten free paragraph so I can go on about my life and post this blog for all your reading enjoyment.

Books are good and very rarely copy each other. If a person or author takes another authors idea without permission he or she will get slapped in the face by 100 starving attorneys whose only goal in life is to bleed dry anyone who opposes them and they are available to the highest bidder. Trust me, you do NOT want these guys on your butt. And their territories are ever expanding, remember all the "Sampling" that was going on in the music industry back in the 80's and 90's? These guys play for keeps and they take too kindly of mental infringement on behalf of their paying clientele. They are at times a good thing.

So, what do the people in the movie industry do when they need new ideas for films? Beats me but I can almost guarantee you they don't go down to the local book store and pick up a mass market trade paperback and sit down and read it. Then, when they are finished with the book, slap themselves in the head and say "HOLY SMOKE!!! THIS WOULD MAKE A GREAT FILM!! GET ME THE WRITER ON THE PHONE!! LET'S OPTION THIS THING!!!" Why? Cause they cant' they have other rules in place we don't know about nor do we care to know about because if you started to look into all the things these guys do to each other to even try to get a movie made you would want to slit your wrists with a rusty razor knife and then jump into the nearest boiling pot of salted water. (I'm not kidding, ask any film maker who has spent time out there on the left coast.)

Does all this mean there are no original entertaining films out there? Nope. There are plenty out there for us to have mindless hours of fun with. But, you have to search for them like you search for that dollar and twenty-five cents that you know are somewhere in the deep recessed folds of your blue jeans at 2:30 in the morning while standing in line at McDonald's hoping you can get a semi-fresh .99 cent double cheeseburger cause the munchies have kicked in and the booze is wearing off and there are 15 tweaked out homeless folks standing behind you demanding free refills on their coffee cups that they have just dug out of the dumpster out back.

Let's get back on track.

To sum things up simply:


Ok, blog done, rant somewhat over. Although I feel I may have to revisit this in the future simply because I don't feel quite purged like I have with some of my other blogs.

P.S. Be nice to each other.

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