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Spyder crawls his way through the script for HANNIBAL

Hey folks, Fat Ass here with a review by Spyder of the Steven Zaillian pass at HANNIBAL. Now, most likely the script has changed a bit since this draft, probably a few nips and tucks, but personally... I really dug this draft, as did Moriarty. Here ya go...

Dear Harry,

I noticed you’ve been reporting a bit about the latest rumblings concerning a certain well-known cannibalistic doctor, but I could not recall having seen a review of the screenplay for the adaptation of his latest series of exploits, the self-titled "Hannibal." It has occurred to me that now may be an opportune time to share a rather unusual experience I’ve had here while tiptoeing through the web strands.

A short time ago, whilst tidying up the web, I came across a peculiar package. It was neatly wrapped in brown paper and tied off with string. (Odd, I thought, since the Fed Ex man usually delivers lovely blue, white, and orange packages.) Upon closer inspection, I found attached a small linen card, written in a distinctive copperplate and smelling faintly of ambergris.

Dear Spyder,

Submitted for your perusal. Do be kind, my voluminous life is complex to interpret. We can only hope the task is in capable hands.

Ever a fly in the ointment,

Hannibal Lecter, MD

Though frightened at the prospect of having been recently visited by the good doctor, I could not contain my curiosity. I began to delicately unwrap the parcel. Imagine my surprise when inside I found a copy of the "Hannibal" screenplay. Having read Mr. Harris’ accounts of the doctor’s recent encounter with Special Agent Starling, I eagerly devoured the script. On second thought… perhaps a different choice of words might be more appropriate.

The draft presented to me was dated in February of this year, written by Steven Zaillian. Overall, considering the expectations and demands, I would have to say Mr. Zaillian did an admirable job. I do feel the script is lacking some of the "oomph" the book provided, and that this loss is due to the restrictions placed on the screenwriter given the nature of this particular project (and those involved with it). In all fairness to the good doctor, I will do my best to refrain from spoiling any surprises he may have in store.

For those who haven’t read the story, "Hannibal" is the follow up to "Silence of the Lambs." The story picks up seven years after the events depicted in the first movie, when we re-join Special Agent Clarice Starling during a drug-bust that goes horribly wrong. Those consequences catapult her into the national spotlight, catching the attention of Dr. Hannibal Lecter who has sought refuge in Florence, Italy. It also introduces Mason Verger, one of the few Lecter victims who have lived to tell the tale (if you can call his current state of existence "living.") Verger has designs to exact revenge upon the good doctor for the damage done years before, when Verger was one of his ill-fated patients. Of course, those designs inevitably bring Clarice and Hannibal face to face once more. Those of you who have read the book know what happens next. Those of you who have not should read the exploits for yourselves; some things are better experienced than told.

Obviously, cinema is a different medium than a novel. There are different requirements, and the screenwriter does not have the luxury of several hundred pages upon which to expound upon internal though processes, and all the subtle nuances the author may summon to their aid.

Clearly, these differences influence the adaptation in this case as well. Further still, given that the last time these two characters shared the screen they garnered both critical and box-office success, the pressures are on to deliver more of the same. The problem is "Silence of the Lambs" was the story of Clarice Starling and her coming of age in the male-dominated world of the FBI. "Hannibal," is not surprisingly, the story of Hannibal Lecter. After supporting roles in other Harris novels, we finally, literally, get into the head of a madman whose exploits have become the stuff of nightmares and our collective conscious. (Personally, I can’t even hear the word "Chianti" without either snickering or shuddering) This time around, the novel has Starling in a downward spiral, exploring the consequences of early stardom and the resentment it can create in inferior minds.

There are a few things done well. Zaillian captures the essence of the entire Florence section of the story, including Inspector Pazzi and his wife. We truly get a sense of what a world Lecter has found for himself there, and what genius is at work in that enigmatic mind of his. Lecter comes across clearly throughout the entire story. Starling is serviced well. Her voice during the moments of duress is exactly what you would expect it to be. Nurse Barney (from the asylum where Clarice interviewed Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs") is present during the course of the story, providing an interesting commentary on the world after Lecter’s escape from the Tennessee police, and its effects on popular culture. Zaillian also manages to keep the spirit of the supporting characters in place (a gypsy Pazzi employs, Justice Dept. scuzz Paul Krendler, etc.).

I found myself missing some of the things they left out, though. Not all of them; there are some details that really don’t add much to the plot (things like the little known fact that Dr. Lecter did, at one point, have six fingers on one hand – a la "The Princess Bride"). Those you don’t miss. The pieces I found lacking were some that provided greater depth to some of the characters; namely Lecter and Verger.

Verger, though a victim of Lecter’s, is no angel by any means. There are aspects of his personality that are hinted at in the screenplay, and you know he’s not a nice person, but he’s never really cast in entirely the sinister light he is in the novel. I believe part this stems from the omission of his sister from the movie. I understand why she’s not there, she’s not pivotal to the plot. However, there are aspects of their relationship that make his own evil, and the consequences of it, so much richer in the book. When reading the script, I can’t honestly say I had an objective approach to Verger; I knew he was a rat bastard from reading the book. I don’t think I fairly evaluated how well he comes across on the strength of the screenplay alone. You know he’s bad… I just think he ought to be a little bit more evil.

The other things I felt were missing were some of the insights into the mind of Hannibal himself. In the novel you learn a bit more about how someone as intelligent and well learned as Dr. Lecter might become the monster he is (no offense, good doctor, just a reflection of public sentiment). There is more history to the doctor than what we’ve seen or read before, and I think it would be useful to know some of these things about our title character. Not that we’d forgive him for eating people, but we would at least have some empathy for what horrors he must confront in his own mind.

In the novel, there is also this wonderful device that Dr. Lecter uses to remember things, every thing, called the Palace of the Mind. It’s a mnemonic device which uses a house of your own creation, and the various possible rooms inside of it, as a metaphor through which one files away and accesses information. When reading it in the book, it just came across as such a remarkable, memorable (no pun intended) visual moment. I believe it’s out of the screenplay because the events are played out in a slightly different order (trust me, it will make sense once you see the movie). However, I think we’d all appreciate a glimpse into the mind of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. After all, that’s why we’d buy tickets to see the movie. Given that the film is rumored to be budgeted at around $85 million (if I read correctly) I think they could afford to work it in.

Now, by this point all of you who read the book are thinking, "Come on, come on, what about the ending?" All good things to those who wait.

It should come as no surprise by now that the ending of the book was something other than what many people anticipated. I found it to be an intriguing solution to the relationship between Lecter and Starling. However, I knew when reading it that there must be some changes for the adaptation, especially if Ms. Fosters continued involvement was desired. I devised my own solutions, and in some ways, Mr. Zaillian took a similar approach. Even though Ms. Foster has declined the good doctor’s invitation, I imagine the Starling in the screenplay will remain the same as it is currently for the sake of giving the audience a Starling closer to the one they saw in "Silence Of The Lambs."

I don’t want to blow what the ending is. I know, that ‘s terrible after dragging this out so long, but I am very interested to see what people’s unspoiled reaction is to how this works out. Especially those who haven’t read the novel "Hannibal" but did see "Silence of the Lambs." Suffice to say, the ending in the screenplay is different than what’s in the book. It’s set up well, though some may think part of it a little obvious.

The best part of it is like a good "Tales From The Crypt" story: everyone who really deserves it does get it in the end. (Of course, deserving is in the eye of the beholder)

And so, Harry, it is time for me to find a way to tighten security here on this web of mine. Although I’m flattered the good doctor saw fit to bestow this morsel, err… gift, upon me, I would rather he not return to reclaim it.

Hiding the Chianti,

A Spyder

Readers Talkback
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  • April 20, 2000, 5:02 a.m. CST

    Fava Beans

    by Captain Insaneo

    well this movie sounds like it should be good...am i 1st??? p.s. i see dead ppl.

  • April 20, 2000, 5:15 a.m. CST

    I am Happy!

    by moxon

    I have seen silence of the lambs but I have not read Hannibal and I dont really know anything about the endding. And so all this has me real excited, but now I getting anoyed tyin to guess the endding.

  • April 20, 2000, 5:27 a.m. CST

    Thank the gods

    by Salieri

    Sounds to me like the writer's removed everything that was rubbish about the book. The first half of "Hannibal" is great - but once he leaves Florence, it's a very quick spiral downwards into stupidity. The ending is simply lousy - none of the characters are in character. Verger might as well have a moustache to twirl in the book, the sister is a downright offensive stereotype and all the "why Hannibal is a Cannibal" backstory merely detracts from the guy's mystique. If the script really has tied up all those points, then it sounds like it might make a film as good as Manhunter (ie better than Silence...)

  • April 20, 2000, 5:36 a.m. CST

    Sounding excellent...

    by Pierrot-le-fou

    So far all the script reviews I've read (Harry, Moriarity, Stax, Jeff Wells) have been excellent. Ridley Scott is visually a master but can never sort out a lousy script, which explains some of his disasters. Zaillian sounds like he earned his money. I'm disappointed that the script doesn't follow the ending (Luis Bunuel would have been smiling) but that's Hollywood conventional wisdom for you. I'm also disappointed Margot's been dropped, she gives homicidal lesbian body-builders a good name! I was looking forward to that scene with Barney in the shower... so much.

  • April 20, 2000, 5:59 a.m. CST

    bad idea?

    by Eliot

    Does anyone else think that a sequel is a bad idea? Sure, it will make a shitload of money, and that is the point of the game, but from a story standpoint this is as smart as remaking "Psycho" shot for shot! The first one had a great, ambivelant ending, yet we, the audience, had an inkling of how their lives would play out. It was interesting because it didn't answer all of our questions, and had rich, developed characters. The sequel offers a mere follow up to make some quick cash. There is nowhere to go with the story and characters that isn't predicatable. That's why everyone loved the original; it was innovative and unpredicatble. That's all well and good for U (the fact that it will clean up), but let's not forget the stellar results of sequals to "Jaws", "Batman", etc. both financially and artistically. Bottom line, the original is great; it shouldn't be exploited. Some things are above money. Laugh now cynics, but do you want to see "Driving Miss Daisy 2", or "Return to Casablanca"? That is what is happening here, and it shouldn't be.

  • April 20, 2000, 6:33 a.m. CST

    NO!

    by moxon

    Sure sequels arent always great but trust me Hannibal will be great (And when you think about it it is really more than just a sequel.

  • April 20, 2000, 6:49 a.m. CST

    Manhunter vs. Silence

    by I am_NOTREAL

    Have any of the people who swear up and down that "Manhunter" is a better film than "Silence" actually WATCHED "Manhunter" lately? "Manhunter" is merely OK, more like an overlong episode of Miami Vice, complete with art-deco , synthesizer music (although the best use of Iron Butterfly in a film I can remember), and FBI agents who walk around with three-day beards wearing clothes no FBI agent would be caught dead in. The action sequence at the end is a fairly clumsy piece of work. I know it's considered 'cool' to profess admiration for a work that's really not that popular (and, gee, isn't "Unforgettable Fire" just SO much better than "Joshua Tree?"), but at this point in the Manhunter / Silence debate it's just silly. Knock it off. Manhunter is not and never will be a better film than Silence. It's OK, a highly flawed but perfectly watchable film. Out.

  • April 20, 2000, 6:54 a.m. CST

    That is correct!

    by moxon

    Yes Manhunter is not as good as silence of the lambs It is just a poor mans version really.

  • April 20, 2000, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Ok, stop toyin' with me.

    by TornadoJeff

    Howdy gang, Ain't-it-cool is still my favorite site on the net and it's the first one I click on when I log online but when it comes to these script reviews I have one problem. WOULD YOU PLEASE QUIT DICKIN' WITH ME AND TELL ME THE END OF THE MOVIE. Look, I know how The Lord of the Rings and the X-men ends but I still can't wait to see both of them. Everyone of my friends told me how the Sixth Sense ended but it still was a great movie. Seriously, if someone told you how Scream 3 ended would it have ruined it for you? The ending made no friggin' sense anyway. I'm not an 8 year old who wants to know what he got for his birthday and can't be told. I just wanna know if it's worth seeing. If someone had told me how Drowing Mona would've ended I wouldn't have had to sit through that 90 minute black hole. I know there are those of you who love to be suprized but spare me the "wonder of dicovery that only seeing a movie for the first time" speech. Post a spoiler warning and a countdown before you give away the end of the movie in your reviews and everone will be happy. That way y'all who wanna sit doe-eyed like it was Christmas morning when Hannibal opens, can. I'll know if after readin' the end of the movie if it's what I wanna spend my 5 bucks on. Just tell me, I'm a big boy. I can take it. PS. Can somebody tell me how Freddy VS Jason ends. None of these I-know-what's-good-for-you reviewers won't tell you how it ends so it's almost impossible to figure out the plot they're trying to review. I gotta go open up this years Christmas presents and ruin everyones holiday. Thanks. Jeff

  • April 20, 2000, 9:40 a.m. CST

    I aggree

    by moxon

    Yes it would be good to no how the film ends ***THIS MAYBEE A SPOILER WARNNING*** I read somewhere that at the end of the book Clarice turns into a cannibal.

  • April 20, 2000, 10:02 a.m. CST

    SPOILER:: Book Ending

    by Omega Red

    ...SPOILER...In the end of the book, Lecter ends up rescuing Clarice...he drugs her and she becomes his cannibal love slave, and together they eat Paul Krendler's brains...END OF SPOILER....Oh, and Manhunter is cheesy....they should remake it, with the books original ending....and the only details about what Dollarhyde does are only mentioned once or twice in badly acted dialogue....In silence it was a defined moment when we learn Buffalo Bill is making a women suit of real women....but in manhunter all they mention are a few vague things (ie...here are the teeth molded from the bite marks in mrs. leeds - why was he biting her?) The only people who delivered a decent acting performance were Brian Cox and Tom Noonan...and there is no way that Cox makes a better Lecter...and before someone tells me that Cox was truer to the book's lecter, well I've read all three books so i know...but Hopkins is Lecter...I enjoyed Manhunter, but its 80's miami vice style cheesiness were too much for me, and the book's ending was much less hollywoodish...I say, remake it as Red Dragon, and stay as true to the book as Silence is (and font say I'm wrong, i just finished reading SOTL the other day...there are barely any differences between it and the movie...In fact I like the movie better, in the book the Lecter/Senator meeting at the airport isnt as chilling, and we find out early on that Buffalo Bill is making "a vest with tits on it.") Ok, too much typing....

  • April 20, 2000, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Ending

    by P. Venkman

    Why not keep the original ending now that Foster is out? It's a very weird totally unexpected end to the book that is a whole lot of fun. It would be great to see how Scott would shoot a guy with a lobotamy getting his brains eaten. Oh, and then the whole crossbow thing... very nifty.

  • April 20, 2000, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Manhunter vs Silence

    by Salieri

    Yep. Got Manhunter on DVD. Easily better than Silence. The idea that anyone would trust Anthony Hopkins' Lector to be their psychiatrist is unlikely to say the least, whereas Cox is utterly convincing. While I agree that the Manhunter end action scene is badly done compared to Silence's equivalent, I think the greater subtlety of the film makes it far better. Lector becomes far more sinister as he almost imperceptibly gives away his own motivations. Starling is in greater physical danger than Graham but you never doubt she's going to catch the killer. Graham is in far more danger of an emotional kind: he runs the risk of going insane if he commits himself to his chase too much. Even if he does catch the killer, he still might lose (as he does in the book). It's the simple things like Graham calling his wife before watching the video while thinking like the killer for the first time, his son's reluctance to leave him alone with his mother and the reaction of the regular cops to Graham's ability to predict where the Tooth Fairy left finger prints that make it stand out from Silence, which is basically a slasher film when you get right down to it. Incidental characters like Dr Chiltern also get a far better deal from Manhunter than Silence. Foster's and Hopkins' dodgy accents are annoying. And for those of us who liked Miami Vice/Mann's cinematography preferences during the 80s, Manhunter's the clear choice for look (loved Chiltern's office/Lecter's prison and cell). As for defining moments, what about the point where Graham realises the killer works in the lab where the victims' home movies are developed: what's more worrying or likely - a guy who goes around hunting women for their skins so he can make himself some clothes, or a killer who has complete access to all the secrets of your house and life through a means you'd never have thought of? Incidentally, has anyone see the alternative version of Manhunter that's going around on a cable (white title sequence, Dolahyde with Red Dragon tattoo, extra dialogue between Graham and his son giving further hints of what Lector's thoughts are like and what Graham's became like as a result, Graham meeting Dolahyde's next intended victims after he's killed him, etc)? I'd like to see that (or those extra scenes) on a future DVD release. Silence is a good film (the book's about 10 times better, even if Lecter's maroon eyes/sixth-finger is a hint of the silliness that Thomas descends into with Hannibal) and Manhunter is a better film (the book's worse). Remains to be seen about Hannibal though.

  • April 20, 2000, 10:45 a.m. CST

    What, no eel? No steroid lesbian?

    by Dr. Channard

    I'll bet the screenwriter spends more time on the project than Harris himself did. One more mention of "carbon steel knives" and I would have been delighted to see Hannibal fall into the CuisineArt of the Mind, the jumped-up phoney. What the hell is it about Bach and Dante - Harris doesn't know Pettersson and Maturin? Probably not, the hyperventilating dim bulb, only OBVIOUS names (like the OBVIOUS plot and the OBVIOUS stock characters and the OBVIOUS eel) will do, since he shows his disdain for the reader in every disjointed paragraph. The movie would have to TRY to be worse than the book, but I'll never know - Harris will have to look for someone else to help pay for his cooking lessons, the ungrateful asshole.

  • April 20, 2000, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Waste More Cash on junk

    by Sid James

    Whywhywhywhywhy, The book sucks like an industrial sucky-thing. I wasted money on the flucking thing i am not going to waste money on on a poor attempt to improve a bargain bin piece of sorry shite. In an ideal world the Hannibal would stand up there with Silence but it doesn't/cannot/will not - never ever. I have farted better story lines.

  • April 20, 2000, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Love Slave?

    by moxon

    errr so hes druged, her she eats someones brains, and becomes his love slave...... WHAT DRUGS ARE THESE? and NOW WHY DO I FEEL MORE CONFUSED.

  • April 20, 2000, 11:16 a.m. CST

    Thanks for all the coverage + I want the Memory Palace

    by shrink-rapped

    Great Hannibal coverage! Thanks for not sticking spoilers in, anybody who wants a thriller's whole story printed out on the Internet is obviously an idiot. Ridley Scott could conjure up Lecter's Memory Palace brilliantly, I'd even think that was one thing that attracted him to the project. He could even put in a little in-joke: an image of Jodie Foster from Silence but tied up and gagged, rocking in a chair in one little nook!! Revenge! On this interminable Manhunter vs. Silence debate, don't be ridiculous Silence is far the superior movie, Hopkins far the superior Lecter. Cox is grumpy, Hopkins is seductive.

  • April 20, 2000, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Weak Web

    by Starfish

    Oh dear - me thinks this will be heavily focused on special effects at the cost of a good script - another fine mess you've got us into young graeme sparshott! Nevermind - superman lives could have been a contender? Then again look at the Hulk Returns...watch this space!

  • April 20, 2000, 11:22 a.m. CST

    to shrink-rapped

    by moxon

    er hello but the point of a spoiler is to cotain somthin that er spoils the ending or sumthin......... thats why its a spoiler script review

  • April 20, 2000, 11:24 a.m. CST

    oh yeh and..........

    by moxon

    if you dont want the story spoiled you shouldent clik on a link what has spoiler stampted next to it.

  • April 20, 2000, 11:48 a.m. CST

    dvd

    by BIGDADDY

    Where did you get manhunter on dvd from being that it is not out yet ?

  • April 20, 2000, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Hannibal is gonna KICK THE ASS OF EVERY 2001 MOVIE!

    by yt

    This is the flick I am drooling for. HARRY DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET INFO ON THIS ONE.

  • April 20, 2000, 1:12 p.m. CST

    my two cents

    by Sonata

    Anyone claiming that Manhunter is superior to SOTL has either never read the book or has completely forgotten it. As much as I love Mann's work and will defend him to the end (he's one of my to 5 favorite directors....Demme is not even in my top 10), I have to admit the he bit the weenie with Manhunter. Don't get me wrong. I DO love the film, but everytime I read Red Dragon I think of what the film COULD have been and it tears me up inside. Wouldn't it be great to see what Mann, with 20 years of maturity in his craft, could do with it now? BTW, how the Hell did you get Manhunter on DVD? It's not released and you can't even get the laserdisc anymore. PS - ever notice you never see Ridley and Tony in the same room at the same time? Creepy.

  • April 20, 2000, 1:46 p.m. CST

    Further defense of Manhunter

    by Lazarus Long

    To start, it's pretty easy to take potshots at films from the mid 80's and call them dated. Mann's "Miami Vice" look was pretty revolutionary when he used it back then, and 10 years later kept it to great effect in Heat. As for Mann's directing he is a far greater visual artist than Jonathan Demme. The positives and negatives of the 2 novels the iflms are based on isn't the argument here. What it comes down to is two things: Will Graham, in the film, is a far more interesting character than The Clarice Starling of her film. The thing that made Silence so popular is ultimately what makes it inferior, the second thing--Anthony Hopkins Hannibal Lecter. An supreme example of scenery-chewing but admittedly icon creating acting which steals the show. Unfortunately he becomes the focus of the story, and that is NOT what we should be seeing. Was it entertaining? Sure, but so is Nightmare on Elm Street. As mentioned earlier, Brian Cox's portrayal of Lector was BELIEVABLE as a psychiatrist, not as entertaining, but rather FRIGHTENING, which is probably what Lector is supposed to do. You are shocked by his calm manner, impressed by his ingenious resourcefulness. Hopkins' Lector was a joke-spewing Freddy Krueger for adults. Those that want to see a film about the FBI and the way they process evidence to solve a crime, and the psychological ramifications of identifying with the killer enough to get inside his head, Manhunter has much more to chew on. Throw in more incidentals like Dennis Farina being a superior Jack Crawford to Scott Glenns portrayal. and as mentioned by a previous poster, the much more unsettling methods of the Tooth Fairy as compared to Buffalo Bill, and you have a much more satisfying film.

  • April 20, 2000, 1:58 p.m. CST

    What is it with novelists and movies?

    by KingMenthol

    I have an aversion to novelists getting too involved with the goings-on in Hollywood when their authorings are or have been used. Especially when they become huge hits, i.e. SOTL or John Irving's Garp & Cider House. Haven't read Hannibal yet, but from what I've heard it is NOT good. I imagine that after the movie, Harris probably was seeing the adventures of Sir Anthony & Jodie rather than Hannibal & Clarice. To go back to Irving, I almost revile him as a writer simply because of his overzealous attempt to politicize Cider House Rules. What a perfectly wonderful story. A nice, Minnesota, Lutheran-Lake Wobegon-ese tale of the coming-of-age and the decline of age. And on the Oscar podium, Irving reduced this touching story to a fucking statement on abortion. BULLSHIT. Novelists should stick to novels. Hannibal is a sequel that should not be made.

  • April 20, 2000, 2:09 p.m. CST

    scenerychewing? Hopkins? huh?

    by Fatal Discharge

    The power of his performance in SOL was the stillness of Hannibal. He is always thinking and doesn't have to gesticulate and yell and scream which is what scenerychewing is all about. You can see the wheels turning just by looking in his eyes. And why wouldn't Hopkins make a believable psychiatrist? He's respectable and has the look of authority that someone would trust. Obviously when someone goes over the edge into insanity, their demeanour and even physical appearance would change from what it was before also. Anyway, I like MANHUNTER but it is not up to the level of SOL which stayed in my mind much longer and is the true test of a classic - to be unforgettable. When I read the books, Red Dragon made a bigger impact on me than SOL but films are a different medium because they can never match what we envision in our own minds when reading.

  • April 20, 2000, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Cider House Rules

    by Vomit Comet

    So Irving using the occasion of winning an Academy Award an "excuse" to drag abortion into his story was in bad taste? Dummy -- THE CIDER HOUSE RULES was a novel ABOUT abortion. The movie was also about abortion. What ELSE would he talk about? As I have said elsewhere, MANHUNTER is a fine film, easily the equal of SILENCE; the moment where Will Graham realizes how to catch the Tooth Fairy is one of the all-time best moments of ratiocination in the history of crime film.

  • April 20, 2000, 2:28 p.m. CST

    VomitComet

    by KingMenthol

    While you're entitled to your conclusions about Cider House, abortion is not thematically at the heart of the story. It is about Homer and Dr. Larch's struggles with independence, poverty, drug abuse and loneliness, aging and growing. To boil this complex story down to abortion is to oversimplify and ignore its beauty. Granted, it is an issue that recurs frequently because it bolsters the ironies, trials, and joys of the lives and ideals of the characters, but again, is not the central focus of the novel. Now if you choose to disagree, fine. Give me an argument, not an insult. That is crude and sophomoric.

  • April 20, 2000, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Bullshit

    by Pomona88

    RED DRAGON was hackwork, the kind of book you buy at the airport to kill time on the plane. MANHUNTER was a forgettable flick and doesn't hold a candle to SOTL. And there is ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING reason for a third film, other than some shithead studio exec wants to milk the franchise to death.

  • April 20, 2000, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Listen Up

    by moxon

    Check out "hercules the strongs tube tide-Buffy thing"Coaxial news, we have got a whole who is the sexist woman on TV thing goin.

  • April 20, 2000, 9:21 p.m. CST

    STUPID MOVIE!!

    by Seward

    YOU CANNOT BITE SOMEONE'S FACE OFF!!

  • April 20, 2000, 10:11 p.m. CST

    One last time

    by Orange Bat

    This movie will SUCK!! Why do people on this site persist on acting like the book was good? It was, literally, one of the worst books I ever read!! The movie will NOT be any better. Please, we need less hype over this piece of garbage. Please.

  • April 20, 2000, 10:53 p.m. CST

    This review reads like it was written by Moriarty Jr.

    by DarthJoe

  • April 20, 2000, 11:33 p.m. CST

    Manhunter is much better!

    by DrJeckyll

    There are clearly 2 camps here. One for SOTL and one for Manhunter. I am definitely in the Manhunter camp.But then again I believe that mann's "Thief" with James Caan is one of the all-time great movies. Michael mann's movie is brilliant in my opinion and much more memorable as a movie than SOTL. As another reader said, only Hopkin's portrayal is memorable. The final sequence with Graham putting his neck on the line, juming through the plate glass door and getting sliced up is classic cinema no?

  • April 21, 2000, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Manhunter / William L. Peterson

    by Samthelion

    I think that SOTL is slightly better than Manhunter, if only because the story is better . . . and yes I have read the book but I find that Mann's change of focus makes for a more riveting film instead of a disturbing, psychological gorefest (Which SOTL almost teeters into, its because of Demme's sure touch that it didn't.) But I think the thing that makes Manhunter are the performances by Dennis Farina and William L. Peterson as, respectively, Crawford and Graham. Peterson should have been a bigger star. In that film and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., he reminded me a lot of Steve McQueen. Too bad he only did crap after that. Maybe if Manhunter had been a hit, Peterson would have reaped the benefits. I agree that Graham is a more interesting character (although it seems Clarice SHOULD be more interesting), and Peterson gave a great performance in the role. To Dr. Jeckyl, THIEF is my all time favorite ass kickin' movie. I watch it about once every month or so. If you haven't seen it, RENT IT. This film shows the beginning of Michael Mann's genius. (The Keep seems to signal a downslide, but Manhunter, Miami Vice, and LOTMohicans pulled him out.) I find myself looking more and more forward to the Ali movie every day, even though I don't buy Will Smith as Ali. And, think for a second, don't you think a guy like Mann could have made a much better football movie than Oliver Stone did with that recent piece of shit?

  • April 21, 2000, 1:55 a.m. CST

    The Insider.

    by Nekko

    Not so sure about the Hannibal screenplay, for some reason. I just read the script this evening. It's lacking in something. I also read The Insider script again recently, and it's written so much better. Don't know why I'm comparing these two, perhaps because Michael Mann was the first director to take a crack at the Hannabal films with Manhunter all those years ago. I like Steven Zaillian as a writer, but this script seems so obvious in its delivery. There's no mystery to how it unfolds, or cleverness in its unraveling. Characters just talk on the nose, with everything they feel being summed up in their words. But the words aren't very cleaver. Of course, Ridley won't dissapoint. He never has in my book. Never.

  • April 21, 2000, 1:58 a.m. CST

    The Insider.

    by Nekko

    Not so sure about the Hannibal screenplay, for some reason. I just read the script this evening. It's lacking in something. I also read The Insider script again recently, and it's written so much better. Don't know why I'm comparing these two, perhaps because Michael Mann was the first director to take a crack at the Hannabal films with Manhunter all those years ago. I like Steven Zaillian as a writer, but this script seems so obvious in its delivery. There's no mystery to how it unfolds, or cleverness in its unraveling. Characters just talk on the nose, with everything they feel being summed up in their words. But the words aren't very cleaver. Of course, Ridley won't dissapoint. He never has in my book. Never.

  • April 21, 2000, 6:04 a.m. CST

    Hannibal spoilers SPOILERS

    by KittyKitty

    Since you insist on posting the ending to the movie, I think that's doubly lame - one to post it and two the ending. Hannibal is not a police procedural it's a novel about a psychotic psychiatrist who redeems himself through the phenomenon of transference/counter-transference with Starling. The ending doesn't cure Lecter OR Starling, it sounds like the watered down movie-of-the-week version of your average psycho serial killer vs. cop. The Miami bit calls to mind too many flashy Michael Mann memories too. Let's hope this is only ONE of the possible endings to Hannibal (if there could be two to Fatal Attraction, why not two to Hannibal?) put out for public consumption (sorry). As the novel was (very poorly) synopsized on the Net and spread all over the place before it was even published, resulting in the fact that so many "Talkbackers" THINK they have read the novel and of course haven't, wouldn't the studio try to protect a project from the irresistible urge Spyder has had to tell ALL? One would think so, wouldn't one.

  • April 21, 2000, 6:57 a.m. CST

    Will Graham

    by I am_NOTREAL

    I was actually hoping Will Graham would show up again in the book Hannibal...the only reference to him after Red Dragon is in the first part of Silence where it's said he's a drunk in Florida with a mangled face, after Lecter sicced Francis Dolarhyde on him. I thought it would have been great if, instead of Verger, Graham was the one using Starling as bait to lure Lecter out and get revenge...oh well, that's just me. BTW, Red Dragon is not hackwork, it's a good book. If only the movie Manhunter had lived up to the book, we would have two terrific films based on Harris books, instead of one terrific film and one so-so...Mann copped out completely going with the happy ending...and no, I'm not including Black Sunday here...

  • April 21, 2000, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Grab the Chianti and toast Spyder!!

    by TornadoJeff

    THANK YOU SPYDER. Thank you for having the brass monkey balls to respond and give the ending of "Hannibal." I didn't wanna know the ending to ruin everyones movie experience, I just wanted to know if it was worth seeing. I just hate when reviewers have this I-know-what's-good-for-you attitude. I enjoy this site because it's about "inside" information. I don't like when some of these script reviewers start actin' like the folks on the inside. I'll get the fava beans and grab the nearest census taker for some liver and I'll make ya dinner. THANK YOU,THANK YOU!!!!

  • April 21, 2000, 9:04 a.m. CST

    I Don't Get It!

    by moxon

    Why the hell does clarice willingly eat a brain just because she is druged........ as for spoilers....... there great arent they....... oh yeah i will say it again Manhunter is just a darker, more stupid, and worse acted version of SOTL.

  • April 21, 2000, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Hey, "Palace of the Mind" would have been a good title!

    by Drath

    I haven't read the book, so maybe it isn't central enough to be the title. But from the sound of it, neither is Hannibal.

  • April 21, 2000, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Serial Killers and Movies...

    by KOLOBOS REXX

    Hey Kiddiees!! Hellknight with a few quick words regarding "Hannibal", as well as the Great movie I saw a couple days ago, "American Psycho"!! Having just read that Gary Oldman is playing Mason Verger in the film, I think this could be shaping up to be a fairly good film. I, for one, don't mind Jodie Foster's "jumping ship", as I think Julianne Moore will do just fine(besides, she's pretty hot!), and Jodie Foster seems to be slipping into the realm of the mundane these days, anyway... I do look forward to Hopkins' visceral scenery-chewing vs. Oldman's scenery-chewing! Should be quite fun! Anyway, I saw "American Psycho" and LOVED it! As a mean-spirited black comedy and a satire on 80's shallowness and greed, I thought it was perfect! Not to mention, the whole idea of the "truth" of Bateman's killings really worked for me. What question could there be? It was apparent to me what the truth was! Of course, I figured out "the Sixth Sense" about 20 minutes into the movie... Just insightful, what can I say? Anyway, I don't see how harry can label this a "slasher-flick"... could you call the well-crafted and disturbing "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" a "Slasher-Flick"? I don't think so!! I found AP a hell of a lot funnier and more relevant on a story-level than any "Scream" movie(no offense to Mr. Craven, though Williamson can go do you-know what with himself and Joel Schumacher...) Anyway, on an unrelated note, just saw all 4 "Hellraiser" Movies within the last week, and thought they were GREAT!! Easily the best conceived and plotted horror-film series I've ever seen! And, it's SCARY! "Blair Witch Project" my ass... Though, to be fair, "Bloodline" could have been a lot better... but I think it was just meant to tie up the series, if you know what I mean... Looking forward to "Hellraiser: Inferno", though... That's all I have for now! Later, Kids! PLAY NICE. -Hellknight.

  • April 21, 2000, 1:17 p.m. CST

    RE: Serial Killers and movies

    by moxon

    American Psycho is a good movie,it is a Black comedy, a slaher flick, and a satier. But the endding is really anoying..... why?......I will explain. ****AMERICAN PSYCHO SPOILER ALERT****. To actualy discover that it was all in his mind and he is really not a murdering psycho (he just draws the murders but thinks he is killing people, he finds this out and is somewhat upset) is one of the most annoying experiances of my life. I sat through a movie about a psycho, who isnt one. Its strange I usally like twist. ****SPOILER WARNING LIFTED**** As for the sixth sense, I guessed the end from looking at the trailer. Hellraiser 1 was good the rest sucked........and all three Screams kick-ass,the Bliar Whitch Project is nothin but a camera movin up and down,left and right....and finally Kevin Williamson is a good writer.... Scream 1 and 2 and The Faculty are classic horror in my book..great movies............anyway just thought a replie needed to be sent.

  • April 21, 2000, 4:36 p.m. CST

    A quick reply to smoxon

    by KOLOBOS REXX

    Hellknight here again! Just a reply to Smoxon's reply: I understand why you might have been annoyed at the end of AP, but just because "it was all in the mind, you know" doesn't mean he wasn't psycho! On the contrary, actively fantasizing about murder and mutilation makes one just as dangerous as someone who goes out and does it, because it merely means they could easily step over the line ANYTIME. Also, living in that sort of twisted, violent fantasy-world is an actual manifestation of real-life schizophrenia... While he didn't hack and slash in reality, he was still genuinely mad, and that to me is a lot scarier and more believable than Sir Hopkins' cool but far too "over-the-top" Lechter. If it ends up a series of films, you'd better believe he will be taking axes and nail-guns to unsuspecting street-people and prostitutes, as a franchise could not support itself on violent fantasy alone! As far as "Scream", I liked the films, 3 best, but I credit Wes Craven, since 3 was to me, far better than the previous, mostly due in my opinion to Williamson's absence on the screenplay. As far as "The Facaulty", a pretty good popcorn-flick, but keep in mind it was directed by Robert Rodreigez, who has that great Tarentinoesque B-movie/explotation flick feel practically down to a science. Williamson's writing is really evident in tripe like "Dawson's Creek" and "Wasteland". He gets a good idea here or there, but he is hardly a talent, in my opinion. Of course, you are intitled to think as you like. As far as "Hellraiser", I thought 2 and 3 were great, as stated previously, thought 4 needed work. Suprising that Kevin Yeagher took his name off though! I wish they'd stuck to Merchand's history as it was wriiten the Epic Comics series, it was a lot more interesting! And as I have said before, anyone who wants to see a scary movie that features a psycho-head-trip and a lot of gore should see "KOLOBOS"... And that's all I've got. PLAY NICE.