Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Liked the Movie Better

Lots of movies began as other things, whether they're being retold, interpreted, or followed up on. And sometimes those movies suck, but once in a great while, the movie - We kind of have to stop using "film" for these, don't we? There really won't be film recorded on, but for niche pretension or effects, soon enough. Anyway... - the movie is the superior artifact.

Some movies I like better than their source material:

Adolescence Apocalypse - Either a sequel or retelling of the television show, Revolutionary Girl Utena, but pretty much the same folks, this boils down thirty-nine half hour episodes to a ninety minute morality play as it is played on a skipping record player with the speakers turned away from you and a mouse or a monkey dancing on the vinyl as it turns. Witty avoidance, sharp metaphoric demonstrations of teenage life and everything that can come after it, there are parts that just break my heart and others that remind me why I have one.

Angel Heart - Fucking brutal. It's excellently acted, insanely well paced, beautifully scripted, and exceptionally directed, too, but the brutality, the amazing cruelty and the underlying kindness and depth of empathy push it beyond.

Fire Walk With Me - The sequel, prequel, and follow up to television's Twin Peaks. I saw this before I ever watched more than ten minutes of the show, mainly because I didn't have broadcast television in the house when it aired, and really, I like the show, but the movie means more to me. It might work better without the show's elaborations and lightening. (Lightening, despite the show having a downer/tragic ending and the film, well..!) Brutal, uncomfortable stuff, and the last film from David Lynch I feel the word "unflinching" can be put to until Inland Empire came about.

The Godfather - Hey, I like the novel, but the film owns the characters, the stories, the pervasive tonal storm of deepseated convictions of business, respect, pecking orders, crime, debt, and family.

MASH - The books go one way (boy, do they!) and the TV show veers stronger and steadier in another, and you know, there is some good stuff in both, but what a movie! The inability to isolate conversations, moments, or in any way navigate except by fording the whole bubbling babbling thing is quite remarkable, and the hand of Altman shines over it all.

Psycho - I could prepare a whole slew of reasons, from the musical stings to the cinematography, the sexy palpable atmosphere of the hotel scene, the real concern in Janet Leigh's face, the killer pacing, but... Tony Perkins trumps everything. This, children, is the lesson of life: Tony Perkins trumps everything. This is probably why there are sequels. ^_^

Rambo - I like that he lives. I like the hyperbolic strain the movie works into the narrative of the novel. That simple.

- Take all the desolation out of an HP Lovecraft adaptation and come out with something brilliant? That, alone, takes remarkable talent. Atop that, there's some crack acting, surges of genuine revulsion, comedy, surprise, and anticipation, and everything feels perfectly natural as it progresses, then it's over like a shot from the shadows parting your hair.

The Trial - Remember the Tony Perkins rule? Right, then. Add Orson Welles. Bearing in mind that Welles and Perkins are overdubbing almost the entire cast, take this bastard beast, brew in deeply constrictive sets, marinate through a perverse focus on Tony Perkins trapped in terror, in his trial, in tight trousers, even, and kick the whole thing until it can't stop crying when it thinks of shoes. Then raise the thing in Imelda Marcos' closet.

Special mention to many of the films made from Clive Barker's Books of Blood collection(s), and both adaptations of "The Thing", for different reasons.

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