Thursday, March 3, 2011

Extremely Annoying and Incredibly Repetitive

Most of you movie buffs are probably aware that the film adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is expected out in the next couple of years. (It could theoretically come out this year, but it's slated for 2012, which is why it's missing from Andrew's and my early predictions along with Roman Polanski's Carnage.) It's being directed by Stephen Daldry and will star Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks.

To say I am not looking forward to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is the understatement of the century. I cannot stand that book. Maybe it will adapt well, but it's the equivalent of trying to put lipstick on a really artistically-stunted, incoherent pig.

Told you I really hated it.

The truth of the matter is, EL&IC is a pretentious piece of crap masquerading as a novel. It loves to use blank pages for "dramatic effect" and it attempts to break the mold of storytelling--which only makes it suck harder.

Obviously, these issues will be sorted out through adaptation, and the film will do quite well at the 85th Academy Awards if only because the film is helmed by Daldry (who is three-for-three on getting Best Director nominations for his films) and starring two former Academy Award winners. But I'll still have a negative view of the film simply because of something far more intensely personal than whether the book is good or not--it's the piece that beat mine when I was a speech-and-debate competitor in high school.

Yeah, that's right. This is high school trauma happening right now. It was about a year ago and I was competing at a local State-qualifying tournament. I was on fire with my Dramatic Interpretation piece, "Iphegenia in Orem" by Neil LaBute. I had long struggled with the piece, but for the first time I was fully comprehending and digging into the emotion of the piece. In the finals round, I lost myself and fully became my character. (I Black Swanned before it was a thing!) I had never felt the piece so much before.

And then I got second. What was first? A guy doing freaking Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Damn that book.

Why do I tell you this story, other than to make you laugh at my high school pain? Surprisingly, there's actually a point. My performance was no better or worse than my competitor's (I'd like to think it was better, but I'm biased), but I was working with an unlikable character. He was playing the little boy at the epicenter of EL&IC, a boy who loses his father in the 9/11 attacks and blames himself. (The father is to be played by Hanks, while the surviving mother is to be played by Bullock.) It's exactly this kind of thing that will lead the movie adaptation to succeed.

Much like Toy Story 3 and, to an extent, The King's Speech this year, EL&IC will be a tear-jerker. It's going to be overly emotional and campaign as a movie you "feel." For that, it will be massively successful, as well as for the high bankability of its stars.

I will go see EL&IC upon its release, of course. There's a chance that I might even like it. But the fact of the matter is that this is an open-and-shut case of "Will it be a hit?" Don't believe any stories coming out in the next two years about whether the movie will be successful. It could be the worst movie Stephen Daldry's ever directed or either star has ever appeared in and it will be an absolute home run. Mark my words.

...and I totally deserved first place.

No comments: