“You talkin’ to me?”

taxi driver

Well, no, Travis, not to you, specifically.

But we are talking to our readers, our friends who check out our blog.

Hello, friends. How is your week going?

This week, for our bonus content, we’re presenting more excerpts from our Q and A. Karen asks Aaron a question. She also asks Greg a question. And just to make sure Karen isn’t doing all the work, Greg asks Karen a question, too. The questions this week will, hopefully, let our readers know a little more about us. But all of them require a bit of background information.

Karen, first. Karen loves Wonder Woman. A lot. Greg asked Karen the following question: What is your favorite type of movie character and why? Paint me a portrait of what he/she looks like, and describe for me how he/she fits into the world, and tell me about his/her strengths, flaws, and ideals.

Karen responds: “Oh, you mean like Wonder Woman? IS THAT WHAT YOU MEANT, GREG?? No question — the strong, confident, ass-kicking, name-taking, uber-intelligent save-the-day women types are generally my favorites. They have been since I was a kid. But they have to be relatable. Everyday issues, problems, hardships, character flaws — these are necessary to balance out the perceived perfection of such a character. Otherwise there is no incentive to go along on the ride with her, whether to Themyscira, Berlin, the factory floor, deep space, or an FBI training facility.

I’m also gonna throw a 3a onto this one: Villains we love to hate. It’s perversely cathartic, watching them from a safe distance. J. K. Simmons’ Terrence Fletcher in Whiplash, any of Alan Rickman’s villains, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Cate Blanchett’s Hera, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, Agent Smith in The Matrix, Lina Lamont in Singin’ In the Rain, anything Peter Lorre did where he played a villain, Misery’s Annie Wilkes, brilliantly portrayed by Kathy Bates. Lucy Liu’s O-Ren Ishii is a particular favorite of mine (from Kill Bill). They are often more enjoyable to watch on screen than their heroic counterparts.”

Greg next. Greg spent the better part of a whole year devoting his Facebook feed to a “Greg’s Top 100 Movies of All Time”. It was riveting and fun (and, honestly, part of the reason why Karen and Aaron asked him to participate in this blog). Karen asked him this: I enjoyed reading your 100 Favorite Films entries and appreciated the care and knowledge you crafted into them. What did you learn about yourself as a film lover from that process? Do you think your Top 10 will stand firm or has it already changed and why?

Greg said: “I love this question (and all the others as well, by the way). There would be some changes, but only minor ones. This is going to allow me to express something I’ve been wanting to express since day one on this project.

I forget the context in which I discussed this before, but I have been thinking of doing a follow-up list of ten or twenty movies that I’ve either seen since, or maybe didn’t think of for whatever reason the first time around, my own version of Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival. Having said this, I won’t divulge which movies exactly would appear, but I did mention to Aaron that the movie Chef would be in there somewhere, because of the overwhelming sense of positivity I feel whenever I watch it. Of all the movies I watch to love and love to watch, it’s those feel-good (not by way of Lifetime originals, but instead by way of straight-up, well-written, well-intentioned, Ferris-Bueller’y type movies) that truly inspire me to be my very best, whether at work, in my personal life, when I type this silliness I call ‘writing’, and any other facet of my life. I think when you’ve found that one thing that you love and do well, you latch onto it and do it the best you can. For me, it’s movies, which I’ve been fortunate enough to make a career out of. A close second is that whole writing thing, which, love my informal style or hate it, that’s how I do it, yo. . . Therefore, when I see those types of movies, like Chef, about someone who throws caution to the wind and marches to the beat of his or her own drummer, and ends up better because of it, well, man, I’m in. It’s why I feel okay writing exactly the way I want to write. Are my short stories (I write those too, Mr. Polk!) in the same style as my Facebook posts and this blog? Not at all. Well, not usually. But they could be if I wanted them to be, because I watch enough movies to know that I’m not going to be happy unless I do things the way I want to do them. (Wait. . . why am I still single again? What? I’m supposed to compromise? Dammit to hell. . .)

last flagWould my Top Ten change? Tough to say, Page. Tough to say. I recently watched Last Flag Flying, directed by Richard Linklater (to be fair, the fact that he directed slipped by me completely until the end credits – a rare dropping of the ball on my part, to be sure – but I was delighted when I saw his name on screen). It was one of the best dialogue-driven movies I’ve seen in a very long time, which, in the world of strong dialogue-writing, goes a very long way. Would it be in the revised Top Ten, or would it be in the Edmonds Overlooked Top 100 Film Festival? Again, tough to say, Page.”

And finally, Aaron. Aaron reads a lot. And always has. So much so that this fact stands out to Greg as one thing he truly remembers about Aaron from high school. Aaron might actually read more books in a month than he watches movies. Karen’s question to Aaron: Weighing in on Greg’s question about writing and film, what is your favorite movie adaptation of a written work and why?

Aaron responds: “This question is almost too easy to answer because my response was immediate with almost no hesitation. With that said, I’m cheating a little because I’m picking two adaptations for my answer. However, both adaptations are by the same screenwriter adapting works by the same novelist. So it’s not really cheating, right?

shawshankFrank Darabont’s screenplays for The Shawshank Redemption (which, in my opinion, should have won Best Picture that year) and The Green Mile are anomalies to me in the world of adaptation because they both simultaneously remain incredibly faithful to the source material while still expanding on it. I don’t think anything happens in either written work that doesn’t transpire in the screenplay, but Darabont manages to fill in some holes in both cases with the unspoken things we didn’t get to see in the original novels. As an example, Stephen King’s original novella (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption) never leaves the prison. It is stated in the work that inmates become so institutionalized to being inmates that they cannot function in the real world upon release. But we never see evidence of this in the prose. It’s just out there as a statement of fact. Darabont’s screenplay has the luxury of leaving the prison and following a few characters into their release back into society. We see how they are institutionalized, how they adapt for functionality, how they struggle. (And while we’re on the subject of Darabont’s work, his adaptation of The Mist has a better ending than King’s original story.)

There are a couple of movies that I think are wonderful films, but horrible adaptations (such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest or The Lovely Bones), but that wasn’t the question, so I’ll stop there.”

Well, that’s it for this week. What say you? Leave us a comment! Tell us your favorite adaptation of a novel into a film. Don’t you think Greg should repost his top 100 so that everyone could see it? Isn’t Wonder Woman awesome?

Aaron will be back on Friday with new content inspired by our Movie of the Month (which is The Breakfast Club, don’t ya know?).

Greg, Aaron, and Karen

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