Wednesday, August 7, 2013

" could have been perfect."

There is no excuse for this. Everybody who was involved should be shot. And drawn & quartered, whatever that is. And made to watch it over and over until their heads explode.

For the almost 30 years since I first read it, it has been one of my favourite books. Ever. When I first heard talk of a movie, I waited anxiously for further news. And waited. And waited.

While I was waiting, I came up with a fantasy cast - Nicole Kidman, Michael Douglas (because I don't like him, so he would have been perfect for the role), Patrick Swayze (he was alive then), Antonio Banderas, Courtney Love (as the train wreck), William Shatner, John Cryer, and more (I had the whole cast lined up) and yeah, Brad Pitt, because everybody knows who he is.

Then, while I was waiting some more. I used the characters in my greatest (and as yet unpublished) scambait ever, replacing my fantasy cast with pictures of the cast of one of the best t.v. shows ever. (I still cry at the final scene of the series finale, but that's another story, which I just told.)

While I was still waiting, I googled a bit and discovered that it had been in development hell pretty much since the book was published, various attempts to bring it to the big screen (and the small one) having failed for one spurious reason or another, such as Fred Silverman or the Time-Warner merger. But the dream lived on, and now there was talk of Angelina Jolie and, yeah, Brad Pitt. And then there was no more talk, again.

Then I got busy with brown-eyed girls and such, and forgot all about it for a while, until sometime last winter, I heard or read or imagined that the first part had been released, largely unnoticed by anyone, by which I mean me. Eventually, I got around to googling, and found out that not only was it true, but the second part had also been released. Then I forgot about it again.

Until a couple of weeks ago, when I was looking for something to pick up at the local video store, and thought to enquire about it, which they didn't have, nor ever heard of. Then, earlier this evening, after finally getting around to watching Black Snake Moan (because Kim Richards was in it) online, I thought to look for it.

I found it. I wish I hadn't. I could have lived the rest of my life imagining what a great movie it would have been with my fantasy cast, or even my substitute cast. To paraphrase Art Garfunkel in Bad Timing, "It they don't make it, there's always the possibility it could have been perfect."

But they did make it. Well, two-thirds of it, anyways. And I found it. And I started watching it. And I decided that it was the worst casting ever. The actors weren't all that bad, but they were playing the wrong roles, as if they were matched by picking names out of a hat. And then I stopped watching it, because the script was almost as bad as the casting.

While I was waiting to eventually decide if I would watch it or not, I IMDBed it and discovered something truly bizarre, even for Hollywood. Parts one and two have entirely different casts. And by "entirely" I mean "entirely". And then I discovered that the cast for part three, which is slated for release next year, has yet to be announced, which seems to imply that its cast will be entirely different again.

Seriously? Really? WTF? Are you f-ing kidding me? [Your favourite internet cliche signifying incredulity]? But really, and seriously, they made seven Harry Potter movies (including one in two parts) and managed to keep all the same people playing all the same characters throughout (except for Dumbledore, but that's understandable under the circumstances).

But this, it's like they watched a few episodes of 'Til Death and said, "That's cool what they did with the daughter, let's do that with all the characters." Because, of course, what works for an irreverent sitcom should work for a movie based on a book that didn't have a single funny line. And much like everything else in the universe, I doubt that the author, god rest her soul, would find anything funny about this.

At least I now understand why every previous attempt to make this movie (and/or miniseries) failed, and why they failed for relatively unrelated reasons like a new network whiz kid, a corporate merger, or an actress getting pregnant. It was the universe saying "Don't. Just don't." Now the universe is saying "I told you so."

At least I have one-up on all of the professional critics who unanimously panned this travesty - I didn't have to suffer through the whole thing to know how bad it is. I might yet watch it someday, if I get drunk enough to not remember any of it the next day so as not to ruin the book for me, More likely, I'll just pretend it never happened and go with what Art said.

Monday, January 14, 2013

An open letter to Carmen Ortiz

An open letter to Carmen Ortiz, US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. (A hard copy has been mailed to her office.)

Carmen Ortiz
US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts

January 14, 2013


I do not know what kind of person you are in your private life, nor whether you have had any trouble sleeping at night lately.

I only know what I have read about your professional life and actions, the most predominant of which is now your prosecution of a young man and his subsequent death; a prosecution to which the alleged victim of the supposed crime was opposed. I am sure you are aware of the relevant ruling of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. What I am not sure of is why you chose not only to ignore that ruling, but also to neglect to ask for a review of that ruling by the Supreme Court.

The only reason I can think of is that the ruling was inconvenient to your purposes, and a potential confirmation of it that would have been binding in your state would have been even more inconvenient. It seems clear from all that I have read about this case that your purpose was gaining a conviction, not administering justice.

You are not directly responsible for the death of that young man; suicide is a tragedy that has its roots in the psyche of the victim and his or her incapacity to cope with the challenges that life sometimes poses. But I would not sleep well knowing that I had imposed some of those challenges on another human being unjustly, for the sake of my own ambition.

I do not know what kind of person you are in your private life, nor whether you have had any trouble sleeping at night lately. I do know that from what I have read about your professional life and actions, you are the most despicable kind of lawyer - the one that seeks to make a name for herself whatever the cost, justice be damned.

Congratulations Ms. Ortiz, you have succeeded in making a name for yourself. Too bad it will forever be linked to that of Aaron Swartz.