Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trifecta of Terrible

I am rereading The Road, which is not terrible, obviously, but is certainly not a summer day at Disneyland. I figured since I was already depressed, why not go ahead and watch Schindler's List (deeply upsetting Holocaust film), finish The Wire series (incredible show, but desperately real and grim depiction of inner city life in Baltimore), and read The Road (shockingly beautiful writing, but GOD, it could not get any worse in the realm of HORROR and DESPAIR). Yeah, I'm living the dream.

But the interesting thing I've realized as I've been reading The Road is that this time around Viggo Mortensen IS the main protagonist in my mind. I can see him as the desperate father and I can hear him speaking the lines--it is a natural fit. I was wary when I heard the news that they were adapting this novel to the screen. Not really because of Viggo, but if you've read the book, you know how hard it would be to transfer it to film. I've seen stills from the shoot, and he certainly does look the part--who knew Hunky McHunkerstein could transform into such a wretched, gnarled thing?--but it took this second read to realize that the casting is actually quite genius. If they do it right, this could be a galvanizing piece of art.

Anyway, not to encourage anyone to ride this particular Magic Mountain of Gloom in the same way (all at once), but I can't recommend these three works enough. The Road is hard to read, mostly for me because it seems so likely (not the nuclear war, but what would happen to the survivors--what we would become), but it is worth it. The writing gives me pangs of tearful happiness--the line about the mother with the lamp circling the earth knocks the wind out of me every time. The Wire--enough already! Get Netflix and watch this damn show! It is NOT all doom and gloom--it also has a whole lot of heart and a nice helping of humor. And, well, duh: Schindler's List. It was only the 2nd time I've seen it, and it holds up well. And I believe the film maintains its integrity right up to just before the ending. It would have been better if Spielberg had ended it just after Schindler first said he could have saved more...but he didn't, so you just have to wince and bear the heavy handed dramatics. Too bad. It's still a great film, though.


Blogger Toby said...

Maybe we can get Mike R. to rig the DVD to cut out at that point and skip the rest of the speech, like how some dude erased JarJar Binks in toto from the Phantom Menace (not that that one thing would save that movie).
Oh, and I've heard that though McCarthy has never said outright what disaster sets off the apocalypse in "The Road" his statements indicate that it was more likely a globally destructive meteor(s) strike than a nuclear war (which is too 1950s sci-fi).

10:45 AM  

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