Ugh ... something happened to me last night, and I think I now have a cold. Hopefully, it will be a short one, but it is likely causing me to miss a show at Bowery Ballroom tonight that I was really looking forward to. Meanwhile, I have a ridiculous number of New York Film Festival coverage to write, and the aching in my head has made me unable to concentrate long enough to put more than one interesting sentence together at a time.
So I'm going to catch-up, and that means lots of new content this weekend. For real. No, I'm not kidding. Stop it. I can hear you laughing from here.
Please stand by while we cure these technical/medical difficulties ...
(For a little bit of bashing of one of my favorite major critic targets, feel free to follow the jump.)
Small postscript: If anyone once again wants to see why AO Scott is the luckiest blowhard pretentious critic in the business (as if the "AO" doesn't give that away on it's own, Anthony/Tony) for keeping a job as the premiere critic at one of the premiere outlets in the nation, simply go see Little Children and make sure to read the novel upon which it's based. I liked the movie much more than some others whose blogs you may also read; I'm almost finished with the book, which I absolutely love; even after reading the book, I still like much about the movie, however, reading Perrotta's novel helps illuminate many of the film's flaws and inadequacies. For Scott to almost imply that the film is stronger and deeper than the book is not only absurd but proves an absolute lack of understanding of the art of adaptation. He writes:
Mr. [Todd] Field, with his second feature — his directing debut was In the Bedroom — proves to be among the most literary of American filmmakers, one of the few who tries to find a visual language suited to the ambiguous plainness of contemporary realist fiction. He and Mr. [Tom] Perrotta [the book's author and Field's co-screenwriter] have wisely trimmed and modified the book, excising some of its harsher gothic notes and its wilder comic flights. The result is a movie that is challenging, accessible and hard to stop thinking about.
Look, trimming the book is a necessity. Modifying the book is where the art and creative elements of adaptating from one medium to the other comes into play. The only thing Field's film proves is that Perrotta is still a book author and not a screenwriter and Field didn't learn much from the mistakes he did make in In the Bedroom, another film which I liked but felt was totally overpraised, especially in contrast to the Andre Dubus story that inspired it. To me, rather than writing a valid criticism of the work -- positive or negative -- Scott once again is managing to bring the focus of his own writing on himself. He wants to be the one to make this valiant statement about Field's filmmaking -- right or wrong. He knows that a comment by the NY Times calling a filmmaker among the best of anything is enough to bring stature to that filmmaker, as well as the Pauline Kael/Andrew Sarris wannabe who makes the claim. If only it were actually warranted.
I actually responded and related to Little Children quite positively, but I think it may have been almost in spite of the filmmaking. As soon as Field can make a film that successfully tells the story without losing the subtler nuances of depth or character, then I'll be ready to also call him "among the most literary of American filmmakers." But he isn't there as yet. I'll get into all this more in my review of Little Children which should be up this weekend.
OK, I guess I could type something. More TK ...