So once again we have survived.

Vern reckons that ADAPTATION is absolute genius it darn near looks like!

Hey folks, Harry here… Both Moriarty and Mr Beaks have seen ADAPTATION and are set to write reviews that declare it just about earth-shatteringly gob-derned whipperwill brilliant, and I lay here simmering in jealousy, because I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve been uga-bugga beating my chest about this one and carving “SEE ADAPTATION” in granite for the past year and a half. My fingers have bled, in an exisstential manner of speaking, over this one. Vern loved it. Vern’s better than both Moriarty and Mr Beaks, because Vern doesn’t fondle octogenarians. Yeah. Here’s Vern… MUST SEE MOVIE!

Boys —

You fellas will not believe what movie I saw today. It was ADAPTATION, the new picture by Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman starring Nicolas Cage as twin screenwriters hired to write a script about themselves being hired to write a script about flowers. Actually only one of them is hired and he’s not supposed to put himself in the script, it’s just supposed to be about flowers, and then his brother lives in his house and is taking a screenwriting seminar, and he’s better at picking up women. You know, it’s kind of like WES CRAVEN’S NIGHTMARE, only with Nicolas Cage playing fat twins. I don’t know it’s hard to explain it man. You guys already know anyway.

Adaptation.Now the director and writer team here, we all know they did BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, that movie about how there’s a door that if you go into it you go inside John Malkovich’s brain. It’s hard to imagine they could come up with a more bizarre premise for a followup, but this might be it. If you don’t read the internet, let me summarize the real life backstory for you. Basically, Mr. Kaufman was hired to adapt the book _The Orchid Thief_ by Susan Orlean, an expanded New Yorker article about an outlaw horticulturalist stealing endangered orchids from a wildlife preserve. He wanted to stay true to the book but as he worked on it he realized that he had no idea how to turn this sweeping essay about flowers into a compelling movie. After going way past his deadline and feeling that he had to turn in something, he basically flipped out and turned in a script about himself trying to adapt the book into a movie. So it was basically that school assignment where you turn in a paper about you not knowing what to write the paper about. Except that it was really fuckin good, and probaly to Mr. Kaufman’s horror it has now been turned into a real life movie, with Nicolas Cage all padded out, bald and sweaty to play him.

Wait a minute, you do read the internet, that’s what you’re doing right now. Sorry bud skip over that last paragraph.

Anyway fellas you probaly figured this out already, but I am a Writer. An award winning film Writer. So I think I know what the fuck I talk about when I say, “this is a good movie about Writing.” It might remind you a little of that one about the dude in the hotel and then John Goodman tries to kill him so he goes to the beach with a box. But not really. This is an even better movie about writer’s block, or writer’s struggle.

Everyone is a writer, all you gotta do is write something, anything, then you are a writer. You just have to tell yourself “I am a Writer.”

There is alot going on in this movie. On one level, it really is an adaptation of _The Orchid Thief_. Alot of the movie depicts Susan Orlean’s interviews with the orchid burglar Laroche, and the stories he tells her. And then it’s also the story of Charlie Kaufman trying to figure out how in the fuck to write it as a movie without making it corny hollywood trash, and also the story of his problems with relationships, and with facing the people involved in the movie project, including Meryl Streep as Susan Orlean herself. And also it is the story of Susan Orlean’s feeling of emptiness and her struggle to understand how this orchid crook guy could want something so bad, with her wanting something just as bad but just not knowing what exactly it is or how to find out what it is. And somehow this all ends up connecting together – Charlie Kaufman’s troubles in life being one and the same with his troubles in writing, and with her loneliness, and also the story of the orchid thief being the story of him trying to meet the author, and also the communion of man and flower, etc. Also there is Charles Darwin and dinosaurs.

I thought pretty much everything in this movie was dead on, from the directation to the acting to all the other crap. Nicolas Cage is outstanding, never seeming too silly despite his getup, and always convincing as an awkward guy, and as as two separate guys. His best dual role since FACE/OFF. Chris Cooper is great as the orchid robber. Good to see him get a role that’s not the disciplinarian but ultimately supportive dad or some stupid shit like that. I think if I was gonna throw one and only one of these actors an oscar though I’d throw it in the direction of Meryl Streep. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed before but that gal can act pretty good, in my opinion. Kaufman gave her the type of loneliness and yearning he seems to have and Streep gave her dignity. She’s as pathetic as many other Kaufman characters but with more soul.

And this young man who did the direction, I gotta say I am in favor of his work. Maybe his most significant contribution is to portray it all with realism and gravity. I mean on the surface this is just another really, really sad comedy. But he plays it all completely straight. There is an out of the blue real life tragedy, taken from the book, that reminds you that these are real people with real pain. If you didn’t realize it before, you know now that Laroche is not just the comic relief goofball that Susan’s friends see him as. The scene is just devastating, and then later there are more ridiculous things that happen, not taken from real life, but treated with the same gravity. It’s the definition of deadpan. There is very little wackiness in this movie, and no underlining or nudging, and that makes it both funnier and sadder.

As great as the directionist and the cast are though I’m going to go out on a limb and say that really, this is Charlie Kaufman’s movie. I say that mainly because he is the main character, and because the movie is about him writing the movie. Holy shit come to think of it this may be the one that blows a hole through the auteur theory. Just wait until the french find out about this. Anyway I guess it’s pretty obvious to say that this is Kaufman’s most personal work so far, which is saying alot. It’s also his most human because of three different female characters who have more layers to them than the female leads in his previous films. They aren’t cruel like BEING JOHN MALKOVICH’s Maxine and whatsername, and he still ends up in pain. As if he realized on this script that the problems were his, not anybody else’s.

Mr. Kaufman appeared for a Q&A session after the movie, along with Jones and Cage. He did not appear to be bald or sweaty, and he definitely wasn’t fat. He’s not as awkward as in the movie, but you can imagine that that really is how he sees himself. He spent most of the session with his head down in embarassment. And I didn’t get the impression it was from all the dumb questions that were asked. He was admirably tightlipped about what he was trying to do with the movie or which parts were “true,” just pointing out that it was co-written with Donald, which really does explain everything you need to know about the reality of the movie.

Last year I reviewed JAY AND SILENT BOB’S STRIKE BACK (Click Here) right here on The Ain’t It Cool News and I rightfully accused that movie of being the skidmarked bottom of the toilet bowl for modern american comedy. Well on the opposite side of the spectrum is Mr. Kaufman, who plows down all rules of comedy and Hollywood conventional wisdom to create defiantly weird, uncomfortably personal stories that are both moving and hilarious. He does not back away from personal humiliation – in fact he seems to back toward it. He is very observational about the ugliness of human nature, especially his own. He knows that it is okay for a movie to be so sad that it is funny. He has also managed to find directors who are visually inventive and great with actors, which you don’t get in that many comedies anymore.

Most movie writers are enslaved by their expectations of what the industry will allow. Maybe they want to make a movie about a doorway into John Malkovich’s brain but they know there is no way in hell somebody in hollywood would even consider it. Even if they tried to write it, they’d think they had to tone it down a little, make it more commercial if there was gonna be any chance of getting it made. But Charlie Kaufman seems to completely suppress any of those worries. He seems to be so full of self loathing that it drips out his ears, but somehow he still has the confidence or the dumbluck to be able to turn these impossibilities into realities.

In this movie, Kaufman’s outlaw status becomes part of the storyline, with one of those rule bearing screenwriting gurus actually becoming his opponent . The guru represents the formula Hollywoodizing that Kaufman wants to avoid, but in a moment of weakness he attends the seminar searching for answers on how to make an exciting hollywood movie about flowers.

One of the themes of Kaufman’s work is that he really is lost, he doesn’t know what the answer is and doesn’t try to tell you what it is. He doesn’t know what the fuck to do at the beginning, or at the end. In the sorely underrated HUMAN NATURE I don’t think he sides with the clinical, etiquette obsessed Tim Robbins lifestyle or with the naked, hairy, living in the woods with the squirrels Patricia Arquette one. ADAPTATION is the same way, because he doesn’t want to ruin the book by turning it into Hollywood formula, but he doesn’t know how to make a compelling movie about the beauty of flowers either. When Charlie talks about the movie, his ideas are pretentious but in the right spirit. When Donald talks about it his ideas are asinine, but sort of right. So when Charlie’s world starts turning into Donald’s formula thriller, you know it’s ridiculous but you don’t know where else the movie could go.

It’s a brilliant movie, and there are many other aspects I would like to discuss, but nobody reads this shit anyway so I’ll cut it off. By the way did you know that gun control rules, and superman shouldn’t be able to fly in the movie. (just shaking the cages of the talkbackers there). Anyway Harry if you are still out there you gotta see this movie man.

thanks,

Vern

Originally published at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/13863

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 9:15 a.m. CST

    first

    by Dude Borachon

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 9:22 a.m. CST

    you suck

    by Aronld Scazziger

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 9:24 a.m. CST

    How bizarre…

    by Monkey Lover

    Yesterday we got Mr. “I’m A Producer!” Truthgame and today we get Mr. “I’m A Writer!” Vern. Crazy shit. Do all these people really work in the film industry or are they taking the piss?

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Finally, a breath of fresh air this season.

    by Cutter’s Way

    I hope Jonze can settle Cage down enough to give a decent performance. Lately, that Nic Cage has more unnatural tics than Tourette’s sufferer during an earthquake. And by lately, I mean the last ten fucking years.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Oh, by the way – real writers know grammar and can spell…

    by Cutter’s Way

    Don’t mean to piss on your parade, but you asked for it.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 9:33 a.m. CST

    I am a Writer

    by Rondo

    “Anyway fellas you probaly figured this out already, but I am a Writer. An award winning film Writer.”

    who spells direction,directation?

    Among other errors……

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Nick Cage

    by Glass

    The guy is box-office poison. And you know why? Because he sucks, plain and simple. There are two movies he’s been in that are decent: Peggy Sue Got Married and Raising Arizona. The drivel that is Leaving Las Vegas is SO OVERRATED it makes me want to puke. Terrible acting, TERRIBLE. Elisabeth Shue and Nick Cage stink worse than Shue’s vaginosis. I nearly vomited during that movie, not because of all the booze going down his throat, but because the movie stank of old cheese. I was wishing the whole time that I had a bottle of Jack to drown my sorrow while watching that hopeless pit of corn.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Nick Cage

    by Glass

    The guy is box-office poison. And you know why? Because he sucks, plain and simple. There are two movies he’s been in that are decent: Peggy Sue Got Married and Raising Arizona. The drivel that is Leaving Las Vegas is SO OVERRATED it makes me want to puke. Terrible acting, TERRIBLE. Elisabeth Shue and Nick Cage stink worse than Shue’s vaginosis. I nearly vomited during that movie, not because of all the booze going down his throat, but because the movie stank of old cheese. I was wishing the whole time that I had a bottle of Jack to drown my sorrow while watching that hopeless pit of corn. Sorry if I send double posts: this server sucks almost as bad as Nick Cage. Harry, why hasn’t this been dealth with?

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Seattle Screening: I was there…

    by Blast Doh

    I am definately not a writer or a producer as the last two people who have reported on this film. I’m just a fan. And being a normal fan, I was drawn to this screening by the film and the expectation that Cage, Jonze, and Kaufman would be there. In the end, the film did not disappoint, though the Q&A did. The guys just seemed tired being at the Guild 45th in Seattle right after a ‘god knows how long’ of a press junket answering most likely the same questions they were asked there. Not that they were mean. Jonze seemed just as nervous and sweet as he did in Three Kings, Kaufman seemed a bit neurotic, and Cage sounds very much like Jimmy Fallon’s impression of him, but they were all gracious, but tired-looking. The film itself…I loved it. I had questions, but being the chickenshit that I am, didn’t get the nerve to ask one or ask for an autograph (I am a fan remember, though I only have one autograph). Funny thing was, after the screening, someone was giving Jonze a hug and at first I thought it was Kris Kristofferson (spelling?), but it was actually Tom Skerrit. I wonder what he was doing there? Great film. I think you guys should give it a chance. I thought Cage’s dual roles were really some of his best work in while.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 10:07 a.m. CST

    Snoogins

    by trafficguy2000

    Ah quit your bitchin about J&SBSB ya freakin pansy ass “writer”! Ohh Im sooooo impressed. That flick is 3 times funnier than just about anything put out in the last 10 years. Now get back in the prison showers for daily slick leg ya fuckin fairy! By the way this movie will suck balls!

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 10:25 a.m. CST

    Geocities website has been CRASHED!!!

    by Batutta

    Was in the middle of checking it out when down it went.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 10:34 a.m. CST

    anyone see HUMAN NATURE?

    by sanjuro377

    I got a DVD screener on it and I only got through like the first ten minutes of it. I’ll watch anything but this was GOD-AWFUL. Even so, I like Charlie Kaufman because he take chances; it just didn’t work this time around. I will probably go see ADAPTATION because it sounds cool.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 10:46 a.m. CST

    “The Writer”

    by jammasterj

    I don’t write in Talkbacks very often. However, because of your colossal pretensions I would be remiss not to denounce you as both an ass and fraud. Vern, you unimaginative dildo, you are in need of at least two things: A community college course in composition, and someone to humble you. Thankfully, I can fulfill the latter. Your writing is reminiscent of a high school junior whose just discovered his/her proclivity towards writing, and runs to and fro telling everyone how good he is. I’ve read award-winning writers. You are NOT an award-winning writer. You are NOT even that good. Your arrogance is geometrically paradoxical because of your myopic talent. Try pumping gas; just think, you can tell everyone you are an award-winning gas jockey and you won’t have to put up with people like me who don’t believe you.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Now wait a minute

    by Glass

    I feel bad for this guy. Jammastrj, I can be as big an asshole as you about most things, but maybe this guy is an award winning writer. How do you know? Maybe he was tired when he wrote this, or maybe he just didn’t care because after all, THE ONLY PEOPLE READING THIS SHIT ARE LOSERS LIKE YOU AND ME. It’s not like the guy is writing an important screenplay here. He’s emailing a useless review to Harry Knowles. Why should he waste his time and energy perfecting a pathetic review for Ain’t It Cool? I know it sounds like I’m the guy who wrote this shit or like I’m a plant of some kind, but I swear to holy fuck, I’m just a guy who knows his place.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Spellingual Mistakivations

    by albumental

    I think “directation” was supposed to be a (whatyacallit..?) malapropism jokey type thing…

    Nevertheless saying “I’m an award winning writer” in a review does sound a bit arse-wipey.

    “I’m an award winning sexual deviant”

    See nobody gives me props do they?

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 11:34 a.m. CST

    I Don’t Think Getting The “Happy Face” Stamp on Your 4th Grade ”

    by hipcheck13

    The pretentious tone of your fucking review is only swamped by the unbelievable density of bullshit it panders.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 11:35 a.m. CST

    re spellingual mistakivations

    by albumental

    Obviously that should have been “misatkivacations”…

    Damn my spelling sucktivates!

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 11:42 a.m. CST

    I thinkitate the guy reviewerates pretty well, actually

    by Glass

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Vern

    by Palpatine100

    Jesus, people. If you nimrods haven’t figured out who Vern is yet there’s no hope for any of you. And for those of you who DO get the joke, avoid saying his name in here. It’ll spoil the fun.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Pretentious ass…

    by Blisterstheclown

    Good christ this reviewer comes off as that asinine asshole who never shut up in your senior year English class.

    “I am a Writer.” (Note the capitalization.) Get a day job you hack!

    Most people learn to read and write and then move on to other things.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Vern pisses all over you guys, and you fall for it EVERY time

    by Atropos

    Vern IS a writer, because, as he himself points out, allya gots to do to call yourself a writer is write something. He also uses a lil’ thing called irony, which always falls on deaf ears in here. He also likes to wind up talkbackers by saying stuff like I Am A Writer, while he knows full well twenty two thousand idiot talkbackers are gonna jump him for it. It’s like all the nimrods who STILL point out every time he posts that “you do realise that it’s ‘site’ not ‘sight’, don’t you Vern?” like he hasn’t received about 15 million e-mails and talkbacks ridiculing his spelling of that word. Since he still does it, ya reckon maybe he’s baiting you? Maybe.. a little bit? Idiots.

    And yet, you keep walking into his traps. The fact of the matter is, Vern IS quite a good writer, and improving all the time, because he is getting really good at the kind of subtle ironic humour that your average moron fanboy just … won’t…understand… And hence, I shall always keep visiting Vern’s sight for updates since he’s funny, and I shall always despise nimrods whose life consists about bitching about other peoples writing rather than doing anything themselves.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Tom Skerritt lives in Seattle………

    by Manaqua

    ..and props to Albumental. As hard as I might try, I have yet to be recognized for my sexual deviancy. Good lookin out…….

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 12:47 p.m. CST

    Kaufman and Jonze’s next project should be . . .

    by The Hawk

    I am mainly familiar with Spike Jonze the commercial and music video director, but based on that knowledge and what I have heard about “Being John Malkovich”, I have become intrigued with this movie and it sounds like it will be quite an experience. I also think I know what project Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman should attempt in the future: a live action version of the “Peanuts” strip. Also, it sounds like Cage, Streep, and Cooper will be EXCELLENT in this picture.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 12:48 p.m. CST

    “Nicolas Cage’s Best Dual Role Since ‘Face/Off’!”

    by Aquatarkusman

    Jeez, that’s what… 20 or 30 movies? This sort of idiotic statement is only usually found in the single positive blurb for a movie from “60 second reviews”. However, the movie looks badass. Hopefully a significant improvement over Human Nature.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 12:49 p.m. CST

    I feel so inferior.

    by Pvt. Duke

    Dude, I’m not arguing the fact that you can write, nor am I arguing the fact that you’re a writer. Who the hell am I to deny that? But seriously, that has to be the most pretentious review I’ve ever read. I mean, “I rightfully accused that movie of being …”??? You’re too bent on proving to the readers that your opinion is valid simply because you know how to craft a good piece of writing; somehow your writing gives you the ability to differentiate between a good film and a shitty one. Thus, you leave yourself open for ridicule for any and every grammatical error you make, on top of already alienating the J&SB fans by essentially calling them idiots. Just give us your opinion about the movie and, if it sounds logical, we’ll decide whether or not it’s justified. I liked the whole ‘I think, therefore I am’ thing, though. How inspirational. I am a writer!!!! ADAPTATION looks great, btw.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Funny Review

    by McBane

    I just re-read the article. It aint pretentious, its funny. He is quite plainly taking the piss. I mean if he was really that dumb, I don’t think he would have mis-spelt “directionist” so perfectly. He is laughing at us, and we didn’t even see it. Well one of us did.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 1:51 p.m. CST

    I hope it hasn’t changed much since May…

    by xeeds

    I saw a test print of Adaptation in May and have been dying to see it again. The movie was brilliant. One thing this review only touches on is the large amount of self-referencing that goes on. There are several different subplots going on and they all seem to leak into each other, but often it is so subtle if you blink you’ll miss it, and other times its pretty obvious. Though you also have to deal with the chronology of events as well. Kaufman’s character may talk about a scene with Orlean and Laroche, then you see Orlean and Laroche, which may be a flashback or it may be Kaufman’s imagination which foreshadows something that will happen in Charlie’s life later in the film, then an hour later Charlie’s twin brother Donald may make reference to something that happened in that scene with Orlean and Laroche. It’s one of those films that you’ll still find new things in after watching for the 10th time. It’s not just bizarre; it’s a wickedly clever mindfuck, laced with in jokes. While watching the movie and shortly after, I was a bit put off by the way the film jumped from comedy to tragedy so quickly and so violently, but given time to reflect, I hope they haven’t toned it down too much from the test print. As for Acting, this is definitely Cage’s best role ever, and I think his work outside his first few films has been redundant and shit for the most part. Streep is very hit or miss with me, she is either annoying or pretty darn good, rarely anything between or greater, here she is pretty darn good. Though if an Oscar should go anywhere, it’s to Chris Cooper, he was spot on in this film, it was such a great colorful character, but he played him so well and with more depth than the white trash stereotype the character could have been played as. This movie is not for everyone, some people will hate it for its sharp twists, and much of the satire and irony will be lost on people, but if you skip this movie, even if you end up hating it, you’ll be missing out. Oh and my two cents on “Award winning writers,” Akiva Goldsman who fucked up Batman, that HACK, he is an award winning writer.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Kaufman should adapt Ernie Kovacs’ “Zoomar” and Peluca should di

    by Declan_Swartz

    Peluca’s Chris “Christmas” Rodriguez: http://formen.ign.com/news/32016.html Kovacs: www.wga.org/WrittenBy/0402/ernie-kovacs.html http://users.ntplx.net/~shiraz2/ekart20.htm

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Another kick-ass review from Vern…

    by crimsonrage

    …his reviews are usually more entertaining than the movies he reviews. What now?

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 2:47 p.m. CST

    We are ALL writers

    by Vern

    Xeeds, you convinced me. I don’t want to be lumped in with that BATMAN & ROBIN fucker, so maybe I will play down my award winning status until they revoke his oscar. Good review of the movie too, I agree that it seems like a movie that will get even better the more you watch it. As for the rest of you fuckers. I want to clear up that I am not a screenwriter. I am a Writer on the films of Cinema. You know, like Francois Truffaut, only I say “motherfucker” alot. I write ABOUT movies. There is a guy who tried to option my life story, but he never wrote the fuckin script, and never delivered the one pack of cigarettes I demanded as payment. So no, don’t expect to be seeing my name on the big screen. Thanks for the feedback though. And as for HUMAN NATURE vs. ADAPTATION, I will say this. When I saw HUMAN NATURE, I was laughing much harder than most of the theater, and it was kind of embarassing. For ADAPTATION, everybody was laughing. What this means is that you are wrong about HUMAN NATURE, but you will still like ADAPTATION. It’s more commercial or something.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 2:49 p.m. CST

    We are ALL writers

    by Vern

    Xeeds, you convinced me. I don’t want to be lumped in with that BATMAN & ROBIN fucker, so maybe I will play down my award winning status until they revoke his oscar. Good review of the movie too, I agree that it seems like a movie that will get even better the more you watch it. As for the rest of you fuckers. I want to clear up that I am not a screenwriter. I am a Writer on the films of Cinema. You know, like Francois Truffaut, only I say “motherfucker” alot. I write ABOUT movies. There is a guy who tried to option my life story, but he never wrote the fuckin script, and never delivered the one pack of cigarettes I demanded as payment. So no, don’t expect to be seeing my name on the big screen. Thanks for the feedback though. And as for HUMAN NATURE vs. ADAPTATION, I will say this. When I saw HUMAN NATURE, I was laughing much harder than most of the theater, and it was kind of embarassing. For ADAPTATION, everybody was laughing. What this means is that you are wrong about HUMAN NATURE, but you will still like ADAPTATION. It’s more commercial or something.

  • Nov. 20, 2002, 11:43 p.m. CST

    mike wilde

    by quills

    mike wilde has a warm heart, even though he has been in trouble with the law for indecent exposure, he still is a great guy. and boy what a chin

  • Nov. 21, 2002, 12:15 a.m. CST

    of Writers and directionists …

    by hktelemacher

    Wow. The quality of film “criticism” on this site has bottomed out as of late. Harry goes apeshit over everything — even James Coburn’s death seemed to get him all keyed up. And with that clubhopping producer yesterday – it’s just become very grand around here. I’m a bit bothered that all of these very special people are seeing very cool flicks before the literate public does. Is there any pride in reviewing movies anymore, any skill? I wish that some of these internet critics would take a look at Truffaut’s film criticism (which has been published in collections and is worth any film geek checking out) to see that one can bring themself personally into a professional review without coming off like an ass. Any irony attempted by Vern must have been lost in translation, but all in all – I’m glad people are enjoying Adaptation, as after only two films Spike Jonze is one of the coolest and most talented directionists of his generation. Does anybody remember the Wax video with the guy running down the street on fire in slow motion? In my opinion he was the only great music video directionist – he understood the entertainment value of it, didn’t push it too far, and was always original. The Wax video is a great example because of the turn at the end of the piece, with the kid on the bus watching the guy on the fire like he was just another dude on the street – just a little extra beat to give it something more. Which is exactly what he did in Being John Malkovich. Before seeing Human Nature I gave a lot of BJM’s credit to Kaufman, but seeing a Kaufman script in the hands of somebody else I realized just how much of Jonze BJM had and I’m interested to see how Clooney handles Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which looks badass – but so did the trailers for Human Nature, which had the quirks of BJM but not the heart. And there was heart in BJM, it just didn’t come from any of the characters (Kaufman writes great reprehensible characters) – it was just kind of there hanging around. As for Nicolas Cage, I liked that Vern said it was his best dual role since Face/Off. Indeed. I hope it was his latest role since Windtalkers.

  • Nov. 21, 2002, 3:41 a.m. CST

    king tut

    by Vern

    Hey bud, why am I supposed to go fuck myself again? Do I know you? NOTE TO ALL TALKBACKERS: if you ever want seventy strangers to spew venomous hatred at you for no reason, just write reviews on The Ain’t It Cool News. Trust me, it works!

  • Nov. 22, 2002, 1:34 a.m. CST

    Adaptation sucks because of last 20 minutes

    by phil dearly

    SPOILERS> Saw it, started out well, but the last 20 minutes are so fuckin’ bad, that i would have to give this film a negative grade. How bad you ask? Well, let’s just say that the ending contains a car accident, Donald flies through the windshield and dies, Meryl Streep trying to kill Charlie for spying on her having sex with Cooper, a swamp, and alligators who kill Chris Cooper. I can appreciate Kaufman “delving into the unknown” with his writing, but this was total crap! Pretentious fanboys may call it genius, but audiences will call it slop.

  • Nov. 22, 2002, 2:05 a.m. CST

    HUMAN NATURE was really good.

    by Ronnie_Dobbs

    And I’m surprised that no one bothered to speak up about BARTON FINK, the great film that Vern did the injustice of flippantly forgetting its title in comparing ADAPTATION to it. The Coen Bros made this film, for crying out loud. They, Terry Gilliam, and Kaufman make me proud to be from Minnesota —- we’ve got the most imaginative filmmakers.

  • Nov. 22, 2002, 3:38 a.m. CST

    to the last 20 minutes guy

    by Vern

    I appreciate your right to not like the last 20 minutes of the movie, but you make it sound like it’s just random nonsense thrown on for no reason. You mention car accident, etc. as if the very content of the scene alone makes it bad. But if you took those things out of the movie it wouldn’t make any damn sense. Whether it works or not is one issue (I say it does) but I don’t think it’s debatable that those twists are the whole point of “adaptation.” If you see it again, which I’m gonna go ahead and require you to do, you will see that those things are coming from the beginning.

  • Nov. 22, 2002, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Oh, Vern

    by jammasterj

    You know, I’ve written reviews on AICN before, and nobody hassled me. (Well, one person said, “What? Is Easton Ellis writing for AICN now?” but I took that as a complement. The thing is, Vern, if you want to be a award-winning reviewer, I think you should leave out the pathos and the arrogance. Obviously, stemming from the terrible feedback you’ve received, it’s not working. I noticed you still capitalize “Writer.” Stop that immediately. You make it holier than it is. It’s not that hard to put some words down, no matter what you think. I write every day of my life (stories, grants, proposals, newspaper articles) but I still wouldn’t be pretensious enough to call my self a “Writer.” I write; I am not a Writer (whatever the hell that is). Oh yeah, do us all a favor: If you don’t like the critisism you receive at AICN, then fuck off–don’t write any more reviews, Skippy. Your “fans” will thank you for it.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 20th, 2002 at 9:07 am and is filed under AICN, Comedy/Laffs, Crime, Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

10 Responses to “Vern reckons that ADAPTATION is absolute genius it darn near looks like!”

  1. Holy shit, I recommend everyone follow the aintitcool link and read the comments. It’s hard to believe people can be that fuckin clueless, it boggles the mind.

  2. Ha, thanks for that stroll down memory lane. You know, I feel like some of those guys didn’t like what I was doing back then.

  3. My favourite quote from that talkback is for any reason “The pretentious tone of your fucking review is only swamped by the unbelievable density of bullshit it panders. ”

    If I ever release a record album, this will be its title, I think.

  4. I like the guy (a professional writer, no less) who calls Vern pretentious and then goes on to write “Your arrogance is geometrically paradoxical because of your myopic talent”. What the fuck does that even mean? Makes me miss the old Vern AICN talkbacks.

  5. “Your arrogance is geometrically paradoxical because of your myopic talent”

    This will be the first single of my album.

  6. My favorite ones aren’t the assholes, but the voices of reason. Like this guy: “The thing is, Vern, if you want to be a award-winning reviewer, I think you should leave out the pathos and the arrogance. Obviously, stemming from the terrible feedback you’ve received, it’s not working.” Yeah, good advice, bud. Just take out all the interesting shit that makes a man his own damn self and maybe then a bunch of reactionary mob-mentality dickbags won’t make douchey comments about you. Sure, you won’t be a published author or have articles in everything from Entertainment Weekly to Cracked to the Village Fucking Voice and have a legion of fans who support the community you built from the ground up every fucking day, but I think you’ll agree it’s worth it.

  7. I used to wait for someone to point out how the words “probably” and/or “web site” are supposed to be spelled. Happened after every review without fail.

    I stopped going to that site entirely when there seemed to be more support for rape analogies in the reviews than there were objections to said analogies.

  8. Did you notice that one talkbacker who was saying the other guys didn’t “get the joke” because they hadn’t figure out who I was? I’m not sure but I believe he thought I was secretly Kevin Smith. As you can see they were all hung up on this really negative Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back review I had written, and as far as I could tell at the time that guy was convinced that it was so harsh because it was Kevin Smith having a laugh. Whoops.

  9. Is that who they thought you were? I thought it was some really inside AICN thing where you were supposed to be some staffer who’d let himself off the chain. The idea of Vern = Kevin Smith is probably the greatest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s like Teddy Roosevelt was secretly Bigfoot.

  10. What a stroll down memory lane this review was. I rewatched Adaptation for the first time in probably 10 years, part of a Nicolas Cage double-feature of movies that shit the bed in the final act (Snake Eyes was the other). I still think Adaptation shits the bed, and yes, i understand that’s the point of the movie and they made it a schlocky B-movie in the last reel on purpose, but that doesn’t make it any less dramatically unsatisfying. The nonsense at the end negates the beautiful work Streep and (especially) Cooper pull off in the earlier scenes, and again, the “it’s supposed to be bad!” defense seems more like a cop-out than an actual ending. (Kind of like the whole “I put myself in the script. How arrogant! How indulgent!” speech doesn’t change the fact that it’s actually kinda arrogant and indulgent and worked well in 2002 but yeah this wouldn’t really fly today).

    One thing I did like alot on this watch though – I feel like I hit that advanced age where I honestly would have rather seen the movie-within-the-movie; the Nicolas Sparks-ian love story with Cooper and Streep. It actually has pathos and character development and the two leads have chemistry. But then on this watch I realized that none of that stuff existed either – their love story that jumped the shark into action movie territory in the final reel was just as made-up and fake as the thriller aspects that supposedly ruined it. Again, not sure how that actually makes the movie better or worse; it’s a tricky thing to make a movie like this and by all accounts they succeeded the best they could, I guess.

    Also on a side note: with all the brouhaha over the Academy and nominations and whatnot, I still can’t believe Charlie and “Donald” Kaufman got an actual Adapted Screenplay nomination for this movie. I mean, aren’t there SAG contracts and memberships and guilds and shit? How did a non-existent person get nominated for an adapation of a source that ignores and then shits all over the source (and original author?)

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>