Movie News

MORIARTY Rumbles About BIG FISH, BIG TROUBLE... and KNUCKLE SANDWICH'!

Published at: Oct. 2, 2000, 7:03 a.m. CST by staff

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

What is it that keeps an artist vital? Is it the ability to push themselves into new areas of creative exploration? Or is it the ability to refine a theme to perfection, revisiting certain concerns over the course of a career? Which is better: shaking it up or embracing your strengths? These are the questions that were going through my head as I sat down early this weekend at the Labs, perfect warm sunlight pouring in the window in the front room. I have my favorite reading spot, as I’m sure many of you do, and I settled into it, my WinAmp spitting out a 45 hour playlist on "shuffle." Perfect mood set, I started to wade through my advance look at what Steven Spielberg, Spike Jonze, Barry Sonnenfeld and Wes Anderson are up to in the months ahead. Oh... and PT Anderson, too... sort of. Keep reading. You’ll see.

SPIELBERG’S MAKING A MYTH OF THINGS!!

Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen have what can only be described as a damn good batting average. Let’s review. Their first film as a producing team was AMERICAN BEAUTY. Best Picture Oscar. $100 million domestic hit. Yeah... looks pretty good. So how do you follow that up? How do you avoid a sophomore slump?

Well, evidently you option a novel by Daniel Wallace, hire John August to write the screenplay, then show it to Steven Spielberg and get him so hot and bothered that he signs on immediately to direct. The announcement about the project was made recently, and Logan’s already turned into Spielberg’s favorite writer. He’s in Hawaii right now tweaking JURASSIC PARK III. Since getting hold of the script for Spielberg’s currently shooting AI is pretty much impossible, I had to placate myself with this, one of the two projects he’s considering next. In some ways, BIG FISH was the bigger mystery to me. I knew that AI was science fiction, a riff on PINOCCHIO, but I wasn’t even sure what genre BIG FISH was.

And now that I’ve read it, I’m still not sure what genre I’d say it is. The inside first page of the script simply reads, "This is a Southern story, full of lies and fabrications, but truer for their inclusion." That captures some of the tone of the thing, but not all. Calling the script a "tall tale" begins to hint at the delirious journey that Wallace and August have laid out for the reader, but it’s also a touching study of a father and son unable to communicate. Like KNUCKLE SANDWICH, this film has a prolonged pre-title sequence. It’s actually quite lovely the way it traces the development of a rift between EDWARD BLOOM and his son WILL. Edward loves to tell stories over and over, broad impossible tales of his own youth. We see Will at age 3, age 7, age 13, age 17, age 21, and finally at his wedding at age 28. At each of those moments, Edward is telling the same story, and we see Will go from listening in wide-eyed wonder to listening politely to being bored to being embarrassed and finally passing into outright hostility. He confronts his father after the wedding and calls him a liar. For decades, the two of them don’t speak, and it’s only when Edward is on his deathbed that Will gets called home to take one last shot at learning who his father really is.

Will narrates the film, which is a beautifully constructed attempt by him to sort the facts from the fiction in the stories that Edward has told his whole life. Spielberg’s never had material to shoot like this before, and that’s an exciting prospect. In some ways, I think this is going to appeal to people on the same level as FORREST GUMP, striking a chord as an American myth, original and sweeping. In some ways, I’d compare this to Terry Gilliam’s magnificent THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN, too, in the way it brings lies to vivid life around characters. This goes further, though, than we’ve seen from Spielberg before, incorporating giants and mermaids and Siamese twins and more. We weave in and out of these stories and reality, past and present, and there’s a really beautiful natural arc to the way Will forgives his father, the way he comes to understanding that no matter how factually inaccurate the stories are, they reveal the truth about his heart. It’s a simple story dressed up with remarkable imagination, and I think it’s damn near heroic material for Spielberg to tackle. More than anything, it’s an indicator that even as we head into the third decade of his amazing career, Spielberg retains the ability to surprise us and to redefine himself at will. Actual production details are sketchy still, and there’s a chance that Scott Frank’s rewrite of MINORITY REPORT will get the greenlight before this does next spring. As the cast comes together, though, this will be a film worth paying attention to. If Jinks and Cohen aren’t careful, they could just go two for two with this wonderful, strange, surreal gem.

THIS TIME, IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE A BOMB!!

I’ve given Barry Sonnenfeld a fair amount of shit on this website in the past, but that’s because I was covering things like WILD WILD WEST and his thankfully-aborted attempt at ALI. There’s no denying that Sonnenfeld has done good work, both as a cinematographer and as a director. I’d say his most consistently entertaining film is GET SHORTY, the Elmore Leonard adaptation that was so much dizzy fun and that somehow managed to use Travolta as a gangster post-PULP FICTION without imitating that film. Sonnenfeld made a great human cartoon out of Leonard’s novel, helped in large part by the wonderful witty work by Scott Frank on the script and the ensemble cast, all of them turning in great, funny work.

And now he goes back to the same well, and it looks like he’s made a hell of a great choice in doing so. Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone have adapted the first novel by Floridian columnist Dave Barry, a story that could be compared to the dizzier work of Leonard or Carl Hiaasen. Barry’s trademark sarcasm is on full display, and the result is a fast and funny read with something like 3,000 major speaking roles. We’re talking about an ensemble cast made up of Andy Richter, Tom Sizemore, Rene Russo, Dennis Farina, DJ Qualls, Patrick Warburton, Jason Lee, Tim Allen, Janeane Garafolo, Heavy D, Johnny "JACKASS" Knoxville, Zooey Deschanel, Omar Epps, Stanley Tucci, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Jack Black, Peter Stormare, and Kate Hudson. That’s a lot of damn talent in there, and I can’t wait to start sorting out who plays what in the thing. Everything revolves around a nuclear bomb in a suitcase that makes its way from one set of unwitting hands to the next until things come to a head at Miami International Airport.

The great thing about a script like this is that there’s plenty of storylines, and if there’s something you’re not interested in, chances are the next scene will draw you back in. Some of the script is violent, some of it is absurd, but all of it had me laughing out loud. There’s something about Florida as a setting for films like this that informs them enormously. I spent many, many years in that insane swamp of a state, and it’s got a personality all its own. These writers do full justice to Dave Barry’s writing, and it should provide the perfect platform for Sonnenfeld to restablish himself as a wry comic force with major commercial clout. All producers Tom Jacobson, Barry Josephson, and Jim Wedaa have to do is wrangle this giant fistful of entertainment from the page to the screen intact, and this could be one of next year’s most potent comic packages.

IS ADAM SANDLER DUE FOR A KNUCKLE SANDWICH?!

One of those infamous "mysterious packages" ended up on my desk this morning. Inside was a script and a single sheet of paper with three names on it: ADAM SANDLER, SEAN PENN, and EMILY WATSON. Okay... consider my attention got. The name of the screenwriter jumped off the front page at me: PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON. Holy crap. This is the untitled comedy project. This is New Line’s mysterious thing I’ve heard about. And it’s got a title!! KNUCKLE SANDWICH, eh? It’s one of those titles that really needs to be said aloud in that cheesy trailer voice to be appreciated.

"ADAM SANDLER... IN A FILM BY PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON... KNUCKLE SANDWICH!"

I hadn’t heard anything about premise or the other cast members before, so I dug into the script immediately to try and get some grip on what to expect next year. First thing, first page, it says "This movie is to be shot in CINEMASCOPE." You know, there’s a reason I love PTA and his films so far. It’s that sort of high-functioning geek savant quality to his work that makes me smile right off the bat, just like QT. These are guys who list influences like Melville and Lawrence Tierney on the inside front title page, or who specify scope and every single camera move from the moment they start writing. They breathe cinema. They’re like guys who snuck in the back door, hardcore film geeks who have figured out how to bend the mainstream to meet them. PTA is once again working with Los Angeles as his stage, but this time, it’s 1967, and this is no PTA world we’ve seen before.

The one thing that’s immediately his, that’s familiar from page one to the end, is the sense of heightened romanticism. This guy believes in crazy love, manic love, the kind of love that... well, that people write movies about, actually. This film starts right away with the meeting of one BARRY WURLITZER (Adam Sandler) and one LENA LEONARD (Emily Watson). They’re at the Hot Doggie Style Hot Dog Stand on Wilshire. It’s the middle of the night. They meet, and there’s instant electricity. Within days, they’re in Vegas getting married. They speak in that same delirious drunk on love sort of way that Lula and Sailor did or that ‘Bama and Clarence did, like they’ve got a secret private language. As they lay in that honeymoon suite on their first night as man and wife, making love, Lena looks into Barry’s eyes.

"If we ever part, for whatever reason, I have no idea what, and I don’t want to think too long about it... but my darling, my dear... promise me this: promise me we’ll end it with one last kiss."

Barry promises, and so does Lena, and they hold each other even closer as Lena speaks again.

"If you listen closer, I’ll whisper something in your ear. I’ll tell you my secrets and my desires and I’ll tell you the purest thing in the world. I love you, my darling. I love you."

So it’s a fairy tale come true for the first six months. Barry’s a clean thief, a stickup guy who never gets his hands dirty, who never hurts anyone. One night he’s on his way out on a major job with some other goons, all of them working for some unseen crime boss named BABALOO (Sean Penn), a shadowy figure who only deals with one of them. Just before leaving for this particular job on this particular night, though, Lena asks for Barry’s wedding ring. She says she’s got a surprise for him. He leaves it for her, then slips out without a kiss. He and the other guys on the job meet at The Smiling Peanut, a local bar. The bartender there (RIDGELY, a nice nod to PTA’s longtime friend and BOOGIE NIGHTS star Robert Ridgely) gives Barry a note from Lena in a sealed envelope. What that note says begins Barry and the rest of this outrageous cast of characters on an insane path of destruction, violence, and love. This is a crazed action comedy about a man who just wants what he’s been promised from the woman he loves: one last kiss.

Oh... and before you flame me about giving away too much of the script, relax. KNUCKLE SANDWICH isn’t happening. One quick call to a New Line source put a stake through the heart of what I thought was a damn cool scoop. Turns out the script I have is something older of Anderson’s, an unproduced oddity that wound up on my desk out of the goodness of someone’s heart, a curiousity piece that we probably aren’t going to be seeing onscreen. And, to be honest, there’s a number of things that should have tipped me off. This is a fairly long script, and I’ve heard that his untitled project is actually lean and mean, clocking in under 100 pages. Also, it’s pretty rough. There’s a real delicacy to his work in MAGNOLIA and BOOGIE NIGHTS that isn’t present here. This is a fascinating glimpse into the artist that PTA once was, but for now, that’s all it is. That means his new script is still out there, still a secret, mocking me. I’m dying to read it. Whatever it turns out to be, I guarantee it will push Sandler to new places as an actor. How can it not with Penn and Watson attached?

I’ll be back tomorrow with the second half of this piece. We’ve still got Wes Anderson and Spike Jonze to look at, plus a few extras if there’s time. Speaking of Jonze, did anyone catch the episode of JACKASS that MTV showed on Sunday night? It’s like an entire team of Tom Greens, all working in concert to make the world far more bizarre. Johnny Knoxville wins as "most deranged bastard on TV" for this week thanks to the stunt we shall refer to from this point on merely as... "poo cocktail." I love that Jonze has been an Oscar-nominee, and this is what he chooses to put on TV. God bless his sick, sick mind. I’ve gotta go watch the tape again while I work through these next few scripts for tomorrow. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback

comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Oct. 2, 2000, 7:47 a.m. CST

    Jackass

    by harosa

    Jackass was one of the best times Ive had in front of the tv in a long time. I was literally crying while watching it. I'm just waiting for some kid to hurt himself doing one of these stunts and MTV yanking the show. Start taping it now!

  • I was going to comment further, but that's when Mr. Maugham did me the favor of citing FIGHT CLUB as pure genius. Here are three words for you: redundant third act. As for using someone's creative output from college as damning evidence of their idiocy..... well, what else is college for but to write self-indulgent/pitying garbage? You get it out of your system and move on, which is advice I'd also like to pass along to Mr. Hinkley. As for Mor-tay's rumblings, I'm interested in anything Dave Barry does. He's an underappreciated writer, who's not nearly as benign as his column often indicates.

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 9:07 a.m. CST

    "Big Trouble" is hardly the word.

    by Prankster

    I like Dave Barry, but that book was just a waste of paper. Its pathetic attempts to be "gritty" and "action packed" are precisely what did it in. Where is Barry's breezy, hilarious style? Where's the originality? Why is the plot such an unfocused, unappealling mess? Why doesn't the supposed main character have ANYTHING to do? And why, since he's trying so hard to be Hiassen or Leonard, does it just feel painful when he reverts to his usual style for a wry observation or two? Ironically, it might be possible to pull a good movie out of this book with a decent director who knows where the story is. But the book itself remains a total mess. And Moriarty? Why even respond to idiots like this? You should know better.

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Insane Swamp? My home this is...

    by agentcooper

    ...or, at least, was. Nothing wrong with Florida, aside from late afternoon thunderstorms, a horrible insect problem, and that whole Elian mess. Hope to move back there some day.

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Totally off-topic but doesn't it annoy anybody else that...

    by JezusKrist

    Harry reviewed Almost Famous not once, but two times, and both reviews suck major donkey-dick... Here's one of the most beautiful movies I've EVER seen in my life and all Harry does in his 2 reviews is spout off about being a critic and all that other surface shit without ever even touching the true beauty of the film. I just really hate it when I see people reacting intelectually to what should have been an emotional experience. Even though Harry tries really hard he doesn't REALLY get it. Read Roger Ebert's review... he gets it.

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Florida Movies

    by hatchling

    ah Moriarty, I too live in the big swampland and am really looking forward to the production of Adaptation, which just cast Chris Cooper to join Meryl Streep and Nick Cage[?] in the movie being adapted itself from "The Orchid Thief" by Susan Orlean. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading the true story of obsessed orchid people baking in the heat and humidity and swamps of my south florida, I highly recommend this most excellent read. To cast Cooper is Laroche is genius. Mimi

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 11:30 a.m. CST

    While We're Talkin' Florida Movies

    by mrbeaks

    Allow me to suggest the ever-underrated NIGHT MOVES, starring Gene Hackman and directed by Arthur Penn. Cool noir flick from the mid-70's, with early appearances from Melanie Griffith and James Woods, that benefits from its swampy Florida milieu.

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Moriarty, you tease!

    by All Thumbs

    Tell us about something passionate, something that would at least be filmed interestingly...then tell us it ain't happening. How cruel you are, sir. How cruel you are...

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Well now that I'm damned curious...

    by MrFurious

    You know what I hate? This article. You know why? Cause here, we're given a rundown on "Knuckle Sandwich", an intriguing premise with no small amount of praise from Moriarty, right up to the cliffhanger "note"...and then the denoument, a vague mention of the crazy misadventures of the quest for one last kiss. This is a good format. I'm curious, and I want to see the movie now. The only problem? THERE'S NO GODDAMN MOVIE! Why give all that detail only to cap it off with a conspiratorial wink and nod if there's NEVER GOING TO BE A PAYOFF for us loyal fans. If the movie might possibly get made, then sae the damn story for when it's got some movement. Otherwise, I'd appreciate it if you didn't lord over the common folk with all of your mysterious, kind-hearted spies who send you scripts all the do-dah day. If it's not being made, then let us know what we're missing. I thought that's what this website was for.

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Banning worries...

    by Prankster

    ...I've always supported this site, and your guys' ability to do what you want; and the accessible Talkbacks here make for a great deal more intelligent debate and self-reflection than any other site, despite all the flak you get. (Know why Corona and their ilk come off better? Because they only recently added a place for people to vent their genuine feelings and criticize the site.) However, having now witnessed a banning, I'm a little concerned. That Charles Maughm guy was an idiot, and bringing nothing intelligent to the debate...but I still don't think you should have banned him. He was at least, in his own puny way, trying to make an argument, rather than just flinging random invective. By banning him you're getting borderline tyrannical. Why pretend that you're beloved by all? Nobody is. Asinine comments from your detractors do a hell of a lot more to support your cause than a constant stream of praise. Come on, I like this site, lumps and all. It's still pretty much the most popular site. Let the naysayers nay, and if they have a valid point let them make it; if they don't, let them hang themselves.

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 1:27 p.m. CST

    WHAT IS THIS?

    by Michael Cheritto

    The man called Moriarty, you gotta love him. Why are you wasting out time on the P.T. Anderson flick that WILL NEVER HAPPEN? What bet did you loose? Jesus, Joseph and Mary Lou Retton. BIG FISH was published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, sort of stumbled out of the gate, got nice reviews, and suffered from lack of buzz, plus it was put out by the same house that pub's Larry Brown, they like good reivews, not sales. It's in a strange format, and probably was put in the fishing section, (just look at the cover). "Steven" is so far out of his element, I doubt he'd ever do this film. Does'nt his agenda have more pressing topics on it's list? Should'nt he be making a 4 hour sympathy peice for a third world country? Tell me more about your private conversations with P.T. Anderson. You guys seem to be living on the same damn block. And if one more person on this site foams over about the new Sly car movie, I might just reach through your T1 line and throttle them. Moriarty's best work to date has been his decade recap and the DVD reviews of Magnolia and Boogie Nights. I just don't get why he has'nt sent me that script. P.T. Anderson should persuade Radio Head to do a video, people are saying that if UnderWorld (Dellilo) were a record it would sound like one of there's. I just wish Anderson would pull his panties up and write the script to that book.

  • Hell, I myself have had 1 or 2 messages deleted for being too "open" about my complaints. The good old days are gone. I've learned to let go. AICN is an Establishment now, a brand name, a franchise - packaged, shipped, and delivered to thousands over the internet with a happy, glossy clownish Harry slapped on the label like a hamburger wrapped in those familiar golden arches. Establishments have to be protected, barricated (Hey, just look to your right next time you post - Welcome to AICN! blah, blah, blah... essentially = You're here at our discretion. This is our domain. You're a nobody. We're somebodies now and we can CAN you like pumpkin pie). Was that always there? Many of the guys that bad mouth AICN are the usual lot of trolls anyhow. Whose to blame if a few people with serious criticism are run down the gutters? It's what led me to discover alternative sources like Coming Attractions and Dark Horizons. AICN will never be great again, but it's still a pretty good place to be. That's still good enough to keep me checking back.

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 3:59 p.m. CST

    I think I missed something.

    by The Pardoner

    Can someone post the bannable remarks of this Maugham character? Could be funny... --- Again, having not seen said remarks, this guy be a colossal cretin: certainly, PTA is not an idiot. At worst, he's a rank sentimentalist, but even those can be fun sometimes (hell, I own The Shawshank Redeption, which is tripe-laden melodrama at its finest). But, mrbeaks, I don't know quite what to make of you. Fight Club had a redundant third act? First of all, I've always found it hysterically funny when people reduce movies arbitraryily in "acts". This stems from the first time I saw Brannagh's Henry V, and some idiot walking out of the theatre said that "the second act really dragged". He was referring to everything between the Second Chorus and Agincourt. Second, would you call that which illuminates redundant, because the thing being illuminated had already been seen in the past? Moron. --- Radix malorum est cupiditas.

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 4:17 p.m. CST

    Andy Richter IS Comedy!

    by Bitterman

    Check out Andy Ritcher in CABIN BOY, he is awesome!! "This is how a harem girl dances.....*uh*..*uh*..*uh*!!!!"

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Pardoner

    by mrbeaks

    Well..... last time I checked, FIGHT CLUB fit pretty snuggly into the three-act structure which governs most narrative storytelling (five-act structure being fairly rare; though, ill-advised attempts, such as Stone's NIXON, have been made.) As to "that which illuminates," is going back through everything that has suddenly been made clear illuminating? All of this was readily apparent, and deserved maybe a cursory review (2-3 minutes at most) rather than a full (I'm estimating here, obviously) 10-15 minutes. A colossal waste of screentime from a stylist who should know better (THE GAME was a paragon of storytelling structure.) And I don't find it hard to believe that Act II of HENRY V could be sleep inducing. Most productions I've seen (horrible ones, mind you) have died in that tricky second act. Oh, and since we're namecalling, I think you're a no-account lay-about!

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Great article Moriarty, a few questions!

    by cuervo

    Thanks Moriarty for returning with the rumblings; Great article, listen have you read the new draft of PANIC ROOM, or the script KILL BIL- Tarantino? Review them please I think you should write a series of rumblings concerning the directors, first with the COENS, then FINCHER,LYNCH, CRONENBERG, GILLIAM, RAMI, SPIELBERG,LUCAS, BURTON,DARABONT, etc, covering their entire work and future, one for each, then do a rumblings on screenwriters, actors and others. When you

  • Oct. 3, 2000, 12:38 a.m. CST

    mrbeaks: acts and tact

    by The Pardoner

    You said something slightly interesting/disturbing: "three-act structure governs most narrative". My point about the relevance of the act structure was this: did Fincher make the film to fit the structure, or did you apply that structure to the film? Since we can't know the truth of the former, and it would be very doubtful that an artist would limit himself so severely, then we have to examine the latter. Ultimately, your application of such a structure to a piece of art is meaningless. The reason the 3-act structure seems to prevalent is that it's incredibly simple to break down a story that way. Doing that tells you nothing, other than that it's a story which *you* can break into three parts. Try to break a film like Atom Egoyan's "Calendar" into acts; you will, in fact, LOSE a great deal, and gain absolutely nothing. Indeed, this kind of mindless critical work is exactly like labelling: anyone can blow something off as being "simply another post-post-modernist work" (what whatever you want) without touching on any of its particulars. Just like when I called you a moron - I wanted to be as dismissive as possible. =) --- As for why Fincher took so long, try this: as is extremely evident from the first, we are dealing with Jack's Perceptions. The question is not, "In my opinion, did Fincher the writer/director give too much screen time to this?", but "Was the amount of attention given to those scenes commensurate with what we knew of the character?" In a word: yes. --- And my Henry V reference was simply to point out that a lot of extremely and commonly stupid people will try to apply meaningless constructs to damn near anything. But, having said that, I'd encourage you to check out both Kenneth Brannagh's "Henry V" (ideally the DVD version, which is fucking amazing), or next year's Stratford Festival production. Said Festival will in fact be featuring the entire Henriad, and the quality of stagecraft cannot be equalled anywhere. --- Oh, and of course I'm a no-account lay-about; why in the great bleeding world else would I be here? =P --- Radix malorum est cupiditas.

  • Oct. 3, 2000, 1:13 a.m. CST

    Hi.

    by Quetzalcoatl

    Everyone says that Fight Club has a bad third act so I must think they are right. I have many great suggestions for how the film should have ended but I will not give them. I like to criticize Fight Club, that way people will know I'm not a fanboy. Harry and Moriarty are bastards because they banned me for being an asshole. My life is sad and I get really upset by something that takes less than five minutes to rectify. I am so upset about it that I will now whine about it in every talkback from now until the day that I die. I am not a fanboy. I hate fanboys. Just because I have a life size, autographed cardboard cutout of Stan Lee doesn't mean anything. PS...Fight Club sucks.

  • Oct. 3, 2000, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Pardoner Redux, or The Trouble With FIGHT CLUB

    by mrbeaks

    First, I must thank you for invoking the holy name of Egoyan into this discussion, as he is the perfect example of the European aesthetic (Canadian, or no,) which runs contrary to our (Hollywood and American Indie) strict adherence to the dreaded three-act structure (we can thank and blame Syd Field for this in equal measure, since there isn't a bookshelf in Southern California, or, come to think of it, the rest of the Continental United States that doesn't house the complete SCREENPLAY series.) Read KIESLOWSKI ON KIESLOWSKI, if you haven't already, and find how Euros approach the composing of a script with only an idea of what message they wish to convey, rather than how to introduce Plot Point #1 at page 15-18. That said, if one were so inclined they could break down, say, RED into a three-act structure, but, as with CALENDAR (or any Egoyan) they would do the work a great disservice. Back to FIGHT CLUB: had Fincher sought to eschew the Hollywood reliance on straight-ahead narrative, I believe he would have first discarded Jim Uhls draft, which sets its course with classic story structure as its northern star. The message is fairly explicit, and not requiring of much deconstruction (as with last year's THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, though Minghella is yet another practitioner of the Euro aesthetic.) Still, am I avoiding the thematic richness of FIGHT CLUB? To a degree, certainly, but I find it difficult to discuss the film without bringing up the fact that Fincher/Uhls undercuts the forcefulness of his thesis, which he was building to brilliantly, by backtracking and spelling out that which we already know. It may be new to Norton's character, but it's clear as Crystal Pepsi to us, and robs the film of its momentum. It's a massive disappointment for me, since I am quite the admirer of Fincher's work, which is why I'm similarly distressed that he's chosen Koepp's (i.e. Satan's Geisha) PANIC ROOM as his next project. As for HENRY V, I own Branagh's version on VHS, and will wait for my Criterion version, thank you, before I buy it on DVD. I'd happily trot up to the Stratford festival if I could find the time, since that is where I saw my favorite production of THE TEMPEST. Hope this all makes sense. If not, feel free to swing a sack of doorknobs at me.

Top Talkbacks