Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Hands Off That Rumpus, Dave Eggers!

The Shadow EditorsesTom Scocca: So because I am a subscriber to the New Yorker, my current issue is still the August 24 issue, which I guess people could buy off newsstands something like 10 days ago.

Choire Sicha: So you have just seen a truly hair-raising thing, I take it!

Tom Scocca: The pages are a little loose in this issue, because I flung it away from me and it hit the wall. I am not a satisfied customer.

Choire Sicha: The McKinsey consultants aren't going to like hearing that.

Tom Scocca: On page 61 of this issue there is a tiny bit of type. A photo credit. The photo credit reads "MATT NETTHEIM / WARNER BROS."

Choire Sicha: Is it a still from a forthcoming film?

Tom Scocca: Or is it the illustration for the week's short fiction? Why, it is both. The New Yorker is running a publicity still advertising a motion picture, as if it were content.

Choire Sicha: Wow, who's Renata Adler now?

Tom Scocca: No one is Renata Adler there, it seems. Remember when the question about the integrity of the New Yorker's editorial content was whether it would stoop to running photographs as illustrations at all? Me neither. What a boring thing to argue about.

Choire Sicha: I remember that, a little!

Tom Scocca: Now it can be argued–more now than ever!–that from a certain critical perspective, publishing a photograph by Annie Liebovitz is one kind of marketing proposition, and that it represents a degree of engagement with commerce.

Choire Sicha: I would argue that!

Tom Scocca: The same kind of critic could argue that the fiction section of the New Yorker is not unfamiliar with a kind of product placement, in that Literary Events are not infrequently preceded and heralded on their way to the commercial marketplace by the publication of an excerpt in the New Yorker in the form (or guise) of a short story. But this is not an example of the funny symbiosis between the purposes of the New Yorker and the purposes of the publishing industry.

Tom Scocca: This is actual marketing: a marketing-department image which is part of the marketing campaign for a mass-market movie, occupying most of a page in the editorial hole of the New Yorker.

Tom Scocca: And the next nine pages, not counting the cartoons, are devoted to a piece of "short fiction" by one of the Warner Bros. movie's screenwriters, which is a novelization of the Warner Bros. movie's story.

Tom Scocca: This is a big, long step beyond using the fiction space to give everyone a preview of the new Jhumpa Lahiri. It is a step that carries the New Yorker off the sidewalk and into a deep ditch bubbling with raw sewage.

Choire Sicha: That's not a very nice thing to say about Hollywood.

Tom Scocca: Hollywood, or Hollywood marketing departments?

Choire Sicha: Like there's a difference!

Tom Scocca: Anyway, we have not gotten to the particular substance of the story, yet, because I am trying to keep these issues separate. For the moment, it is only worth stipulating that it is a lousy story.

Tom Scocca: It is an adaptation of an adapted screenplay–a derivative work of a derivative work–and is completely without the sort of artistic merit that would allow someone to rationalize the marketing package on literary grounds. At least, the pages I read before hurling the magazine against the wall were clearly worthless, and someone who read the whole thing confirmed that it just kept on going that way.

Choire Sicha: I'll report back to those that are concerned about stapling that the magazine only holds up so-so against hurtling.

Tom Scocca: So let's pause here and finish with the magazine: this package, particularly the publicity photo, represents a gross lapse of ethics and taste by the fiction department of the New Yorker, and the magazine owes the readers an apology for printing it. And an editor might think long and hard about why he employs a fiction editor who would think this was an OK thing to put in the magazine.

Choire Sicha: To her credit, she did publish a wonderful Chris Adrian story–a sometime McSweeney's author, by the way–back in April! But.

Tom Scocca: Now, this story (now: this story!)–this story does have a name-brand literary figure attached to it. Actually, it has two, but the second one doesn't get his name on it. The name on it is "Dave Eggers." One of the nice things that the semi-commercial publishing-promotion excerpt tradition of the New Yorker did do for me, long ago, was it allowed me to read enough of A Supposedly Fun Work of Heartbreaking Genius that I didn't have to go read the whole book.

Choire Sicha: I read the whole book.

Tom Scocca: How was it? I didn't mind the excerpt.

Choire Sicha: Capsule review: it had its ups and downs?

Tom Scocca: We are brave. Brave are we. We are going to hide in the hills, like desperadoes, and take Tiger Mountain by strategy. Etc. But Dave Eggers is not the real literary brand being monetized here, although his literary brand is being used to add value in an extremely irritating way.

Tom Scocca: The story is called "Max at Sea," and the "Max" of the title is the character Max–or Dave Eggers' and Warner Bros.' commercial reconceptualization of the character Max–from Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak.

Tom Scocca: Where the Wild Things Are is a masterpiece. I have read it many, many, many times in the past two years and two months.

Choire Sicha: It is a masterpiece!

Tom Scocca: It is a masterpiece of children's literature. What Dave Eggers and Warner Bros. have done is turned the plot of a masterpiece of children's literature into a creepy, idiotic piece of Young Adult Fiction.

Tom Scocca: When I read it, I was literally ready to punch Dave Eggers in the face, except he was nowhere around. Now that I have simmered down, it remains possible that if I ever do find myself in a room with Dave Eggers, I may throw a drink in his face, probably including the glass or bottle.

Choire Sicha: You know, violence is never the answer.

Tom Scocca: That's more or less what an editor told me many years ago when I wanted to review a Soul Asylum album by, rather than listening to it, borrowing my neighbor's shotgun and blasting it to bits and writing about the aesthetic experience.

Choire Sicha: Well that's not violence. It's a terrible capitalist construction that violence against objects is actually violence.

Tom Scocca: I don't hate writers anywhere near as passionately as I hate what they write. But, you know, we all have a dark streak. Unless we are characters written about by Dave Eggers. His innovation in this story is to supply Max, who "wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind / and another," with a sad Back Story just full of Problems. According to the oily world view of Dave Eggers, he has a broken home. Father gone.

Tom Scocca: Mother tired…. no, wait, that's Curtis Mayfield. Max Eggers is only a child of the EMOTIONAL ghetto. Would you believe his mother has a boyfriend he doesn't like? Would you believe his older sister is mean to him?

Choire Sicha: Oh boy.

Tom Scocca: If you ever read any of the books in your middle-school library, you probably could believe that. So Max Eggers is angry. He acts out. Dave Eggers is the voice from the world in which "acting up" has been replaced by "acting out."

Tom Scocca: Maurice Sendak's Max is from a stable, loving home. He is allowed to run around in a wolf suit, which belongs to him. He is sent to bed without any dinner, but in the end dinner is waiting for him.

Tom Scocca: But then why does Max go wild? Why does he chase the dog with a fork? Why does his nice tidy bedroom have a wild forest grow up through it, as he laughs?

51 Comments / Post A Comment

You're thinking of Mike Meyers as the Cat in the Hat. Equally repugnant. Jim Carrey was the Grinch.

Oh my God, are we??? We may be!


Moff (#28)

I have too many favorite parts of this to recap here, and it seems like it would be bad form just to repaste the whole post in a comment, so. Thank you, guys.

keisertroll (#1,117)

Can't someone please get Harry Dean Stanton to write something already, like books for young children who'll look sixty for the next eighty years?

jfruh (#713)

While I don't doubt your assessment that the story itself is terrible, I feel I have to question your assertion that printing it was some unforgiveable ethical lapse. I understand at a gut level while a short-storyification of a portion of an upcoming movie with a multimillion-dollar marketing budget feels meretricious in a way that an excerpt from (to use your example) the next Jhumpa Lahiri does not. But aren't films works of art in their own way, no matter what the size of their marketing budget? And are not Jhumpa Lahiri books subjects of commerce that make tidy sums for their author and a number of hangers-on and middlepersons in the literary industry? The difference is one of scale, not of kind. If this was a well-written short-storyfication of a film that you ended up liking, would you feel the same way?

Moff (#28)

I think I agree, but I hate to let logic get in the way of a good beatdown.

It's a fine question, actually! (One I've been asking myself for weeks.)

The story, and the screenplay, is itself a work of art. It has to be; it's something someone made. And the movie itself, steeped as movie-making is in commerce, is also a piece of art. (And I do have high hopes for it. I might really like it! I like a Spike Jonze Joint.)

But I absolutely do believe this is a pegged event for the promotion of the movie. Between the studio-supplied art–and I speak as someone who's been doing a weekly silly Q&A feature for a major newspaper for the last three years or so, and for which even that little thing we would NEVER accept studio art–to the timing, to the Brand Naminess Quotient (in which you ask: would the New Yorker publish this submission from my Aunt Susan? No they would not): well, it all smells.

(Um, sorry: don't try to parse that grammar and punctuation.)

In decades gone by, stories in the New Yorker–and I mean nonfiction ones–were never "pegged." The front of the book was about recent events; the rest of the magazine was about things that writers and editors deemed important. This has changed–but one never thought that the FICTION section would now become subject to the relentless, horrible "pegging" of everything.

(I use "pegging" in the sense of "tying to upcoming events," not in the Dan Savage sense of "people using strap-ons," by the way.)

And also, while the movie may be an adaptation of the book, which may or may not be fine, the expanded remix/"short story version" in the 'New Yorker' was, as a piece of writing and also as a thing with a relation to a preexisting piece of art, just horrifying.

Did I finish my thought entirely? Maybe not. SUPER-HUNGRY.

So anyway, I think the publication of the story is crass and pandering and incorrect for the publication.

Except quite possibly maybe I am living in the past, oh well, where everything is noble and clean and merit-based. (Which certainly is a distortion; which I should know, as someone without an Ivy League degree.)

jfruh (#713)

Also, I have finally figured out what these (wonderful, wonderful) columns remind me of: Socratic dialogues, if, instead a representative of the usual batch of humps and morons, Socrates' interlocutor was a cheerful, clever gay who liked exclamation marks, and Socrates himself was much, much grumpier.

propertius (#361)

Funny. I thought of Alcibiades in Symposium. Kind of close!

Tulletilsynet (#333)

A bit closer to Herodas's dialogues, I'd have said…

Eggers is writing Wildthings fan fiction for the New Yorker?

wiilliiaamm (#225)

I would say that the difference between that crisp "start" and Eggers' flaccid "begin" defines everything that could be said about the literary gap between the two, except I am also fixated on "understood that he was supposed to say something," which is essentially the epigram and epitaph for the literary imagination of Dave Eggers.

**This is why I put down the hardcore gay porn (sometimes)and go to The Awl for all of my smartypants writing. This passage makes me moan.

Flashman (#418)

I zoomed right in on that photo credit too. Haven't gotten beyond that to read the story yet. Luckily for me perhaps I grew up in a place where WTWTA wasn't part of the canon.

Dan Kois (#646)

It's funny, because I always agree 100% with Choire and Tom, but in this case I disagree 100%.

New Yorker fiction has been pegged for as long as I've been reading it. Not always, I imagine; I'm sure there was a time when it was just short stories that came in manila envelopes from John Updike, whether or not John Updike had a novel coming out soon (although, it being John Updike, he always did). I guess I could go back through my New Yorker DVD-ROM collection to see when it was that the magazine started running excerpts from forthcoming collections or novels, but I don't have the heart to subject my poor CPU to the rigors of that awful RAM-devouring interface.

At any rate: I don't buy that this is different! I'm not convinced, for example, that Warner Bros. placed this story. I think that there's a 99% chance it was his agent, Andrew Wylie, who certainly knows his way around that fiction department. But even if I'm wrong, I think it wouldn't matter, because the book is viewed by many — including me — as a potentially interesting literary event. Eggers has a book of narrative nonfiction out right now that has been widely praised; the movie and its screenplay come with the blessing of Maurice Sendak; the novel seems to me to be an honest attempt to make a story about childhood by a writer who is, I agree, "the most childlike of critically acclaimed novelists." But why is that bad? Why is a novel about a child, that children might also be able to read, that takes the concerns of children seriously, necessarily not literary?

How is this story, for example, different than Tony Earley's "Jim the Boy," a novel from the point of view of an eight-year-old in rural Depression-era North Carolina, written gracefully and gently enough that any child could enjoy it? It too was excerpted in the New Yorker, if I remember correctly, before it came out. That novel was amazing and meant a lot to me. I have high hopes that "The Wild Things" might do the same.

Yes, the difference is that there wasn't a movie of "Jim the Boy" coming out simultaneously with Earley's novel. But "The Wild Things" is still a novel, a separate thing from the movie, a work of art created by a respected (if not by everyone) author.

I haven't read the book. I read the story, and I really liked it. And maybe at its base this is what my disagreement boils down to: I like the story, I think I will like the book, and I hope I will like the movie. You guys hate the story, know you will hate the book, and won't even see the movie. I think we are both equally annoyed by Dave Eggers' public persona and how much more perfect it is than everyone else's, but I just don't think this qualifies as a hurlable offense.

Dan Kois (#646)

Or, more simply, as Choire says in his comments, it is a question of merit. I think that this story has merit, and that the book very well could have merit as well. It seems as though you guys think that the story does not have merit, and that the book could never have merit — that on top of the story being awful, no book produced under these circumstances could ever have merit. But the circumstances of its creation aren't part of my judgment as to this project's possible merits. I think it's at least potentially interesting, and I'm glad the New Yorker published it.

spanish bombs (#562)

You are VERY confused on the authors' feelings toward the book. Sendak's original work is universally considered a masterpiece of illustrated children's literature. The movie and Eggers appear to be defacing this, hence the ill will.

Also, you probably have bad taste!

Dan Kois (#646)


spanish bombs (#562)

Kois, I was disagreeing with you…

Animals howl, he had been told, to declare their existence.

Pâté was a regrettable name for an unfortunate food.

He swung it around, he stabbed trees and rocks, he whacked branches and relieved them of their snowy burden.

Dan Kois (#646)

Very much so!

Matt (#26)

Yeah, Mike Myers was the only thing that actually made me cringe about Inglorious Basterds, too.

No! No! No!
I say that as someone who, until mere hours ago, pretty much agreed with you. Unless you're joking, and think that the Mike Myers scene was brilliant! Which it is! It made no sense until I was at work, thinking about how Tarantino plays with accents and languages – a problem he plays with throughout this film. Mike Myers is in far too much make-up doing his really clever, really lovingly crafted English accent, and we all hear how clever and lovingly crafted his English accent is, usually for the purposes of his parodies – and so also recognizing it as a fake, something we would not expect from, say, your average German. Suddenly, hop and skip into the saloon – excuse me, French bar – and you've got a British man pretending to be German; to our ears, his accent is fantastic, he sounds like a kraut, looks like a kraut . . . but to a German, well, a German senses something wrong, he can hear that something isn't quite right . . . and the rest is history. Or not actually history because, well, it's not real. But history nonetheless.

Matt (#26)

All well and good! Still. Does not not make me cringe whenever I see Mike Myers on screen.

cgolden (#1,440)

Leaving aside whether the magazine should or shouldn't be pimping a film, Sendak worked with Eggers and co-writer/director Spike Jonze on the film — — and has approved of the finished product. Max Records, the young actor who plays Max said recently that Sendak told him, "I really love this movie. I hope people like it. If not, they can go straight to hell."

lululemming (#409)

The last time I hurled the New Yorker at the wall was also of the fiction section. ( On account of this piece of shit , for which I still believe the editor should be fired. I mean how would the narrator not know the age of the protagonist but know his innermost thoughts??!?? Entry-level P.O.V. problems do not belong in the New Yorker's fiction section!)

Anyways, living where I live, I get my New Yorker three weeks late, but when this issue arrives, I shall be ready with a well toned hurtling arm. My pre-existing condition of not being fond of Eggers, plus my tendency to view the New Yorker as the last major publication I can read without second-guessing every editorial decision they make practically guarantees something will be flung in anger.

The Sendak seal of approval doesn't negate — or even mitigate — any of Tom and Choire's criticism.

Just because his children's book is brilliant doesn't mean he can't go on to participate a movie of it that sucks.

This is what New Age psychobabble does to the imagination: it turns wildness into a developmental stage. The wildness of childhood is a pathology that we can blame on society and work out in therapy.

Also, I am dreading the hipster target market merchandising.

lululemming (#409)

I will admit, the trailer made me weep, it was so beautifully done- like stepping into the book, as many have said. While I was troubled by what appeared to be a back story about Max being somesort of neglected child (being of the opinion myself that the appeal of the Sendak story was that Max was safe the whole time; that Wild Things represented the natural fear of the unknown that comes with being a child coming to know the world, but all children in the idealized world of Sendak, are protected by a loving family whose very purpose is to keep a child safe and loved and unaware of Grown Up Problems like divorce or romantic love)

I watched that trailer 10 times, and every time it moved me to tears (perhaps those tears were from remembering the very shelter that children are ideally afforded – a yellow-eyed teeth-gnashing monster can be kept at bay with a nightlight, a bill collector calling constantly is not so easily thwarted. Alternately, maybe I just missed the sound of my mother's voice reading it to me.)

That said, I read today that they are making the movie version into a video game, which, I could be wrong, but, NO THANK YOU*.

Anyways, to paraphrase another inappropriate thing involving kids: ramblerambleramble,die

*Unless I somehow get to be Catherine Keener, because even being her in a video game would be sweet.

blily (#1,411)

Yeah, I HATED this thing in the New Yorker. I felt like it had been written by someone who had never actually been a child.

And I actually tend to be an Eggers apologist. For example — I liked "A Heartbreaking Work." Out and out liked it. I also liked "What is the What."

But as wretched a failure as I think the New Yorker piece was, I don't think it marks any new territories in movie marketing. Instead, I agree with the guy who thought Eggers's agent placed the piece. It's my understanding that Eggers decided to write this novelization sometime around the same time that the movie plans got firmed up. People are treating it like a regular book. So I think the New Yorker just treated it like a regular first serial rights sale (that is, the way The New Yorker treats first serial, which is to take material from throughout the entire book, string it all together, and not indicate anywhere that it's from a book).

hazmathilda (#839)

Loved this: "It's a terrible capitalist construction that violence against objects is actually violence."

And every other thing in Shadow Editors, it seems.

Cahiers (#1,443)

What a fucking surprise, snarky bloggers annoyingly chat to one another in sarcastic, quipy, self-loving ways. It's so much easier to sit back, get pissed off and remain ignorant than, you know, make art.

I'll grant you that The New Yorker running a novelization of an upcoming film in their fiction section could be taken as blatant advertisement space masqueraded as content. BUT, whether you like Eggers or not (you do not), he's a widely read, critically praised novelist adapting one of the classics of children's literature. You know who ASKED him to do that? Maurice Sendak (you do like him). Mr. Sendak also LOVES the film that Mr. Eggers and Spike Jonze have made of his book. His words: "There will be controversy about this, but the film has an entire emotional, spiritual, visual life which is as valid as the book. He's (Jonze) done it like me whether he's known it or not, but in a brilliant, modern, more fantastical way that takes nothing from my book, but enhances, enriches my book."

To claim the entire undertaking is immoral, that the film is akin to the recent films of "The Cat in the Hat" or "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is insanity born upon ignorance. Spike Jonze has made two feature films of great distinction that are, yes, art. His cinematographer Lance Acord is one of the premiere visual technicians in the world. There is no indication that any of the chief creative persons involved in the film are in it to make slick product to fill kids heads with junk and sell them toys.

Take issue with The New Yorker, take issue with the quality of text (though how one could take issue with a piece of fiction that contains the line "We’ll cut his brains out and make him eat ’em! He’ll have to think from his stomach!" I, in all seriousness, do not know), take issue with Warner Brothers, they are responsible for what is clearly a horrible offense to your delicate eyes and soggy brain, by god they must have ruined that rainy Sunday after noon you carved out to go through The New Yorker to find things to try and eviscerate on your blog Monday morning.

Mr. Sendak's book will still exist long after the movie has stopped spinning on space discs in the year 2000, along with your precious memories of it. The book is ten fucking sentences long. It provokes your imagination, and the film seems to be aiming for that too, albeit on a larger, more fleshed out scale. How is that wrong?

spanish bombs (#562)

Since when was Eggers "critically praised"? Are standards this low? Even his best books get mixed reviews.

sigerson (#179)

There are a couple different trailers of the movie on Youtube (go search for them) as well as a 5 minute featurette with Sendak and Jonze flattering each other, plus some clips of the film. (Artic Fire soundtrack, OF COURSE).

When I heard that they were make a movie of Where the Wild Things Are, I just knew it was going to suck. Just like Bridge to Terrabithia and Cat in the Hat and The Grinch that Stole Christmas and Starship Troopers and yadda yadda yadda.

That book still seems to glow and hum with magic energy to me, even know as a middle aged dude. I dressed up as Max on Halloween several times in the 70s when I was a young boy. Yes, the trailers did move me to tears. James Galdofini as the main monster friend just seems perfect in so many ways. In fact, just writing about the trailers is causing a little welling of liquidity right now….

So, hopes are high that the movie is in fact like "stepping into the book". My little son has just started walking so he's too young for the book but I hope someday to introduce him to it and fire up his imagination and thirst for adventure.

And, yes, if there is a Max figurine I will buy it for my boy. Although I bet he would prefer a 2 foot tall monster to wrestle with.

sigerson (#179)

Note that my mother added: "No, I think YOU would like a 6-foot monster to wrestle with." Damn straight I would!

pourover (#1,309)

I dislike everything about this story â€" not least the clumsy prose in which the wild things are mired â€" but what felt like an insult was the magazine's publishing a "young adult" or "kiddie lit" story in a place where I expect to find writing for grown-ups. In other books, Dave Eggers has shown himself to be an unparalleled master at writing about the assorted agonies of childhood and youth, and it may be that, with this novelization, he will enchant young readers. But for The New Yorker to publish the story was to fill its fiction slot with news. I do hope that no one over the age of twenty-five derived any literary satisfaction from the final third of the excerpt.

derekj (#1,450)

i've reviewed a few children's movies, and now more than ever i guess the question nags: is this movie pandering to experience at the expense of innocence? shrek, etc. this is marketing rather than art, right? selling children's films to their adult parents? i watched miyazaki's ponyo a couple weeks ago. wonderful film for children. adults: not so much. i liked it a lot for this reason. the previews that preceded the film included (where the) wild things (are) and anderson's fantastic mr. fox. my question, which may not be but seems fair, is will kids enjoy theses films? they managed to enjoy shrek, clearly and regrettably, but will they enjoy these more sophisticated versions of the shrek trend?

related: do kids respond to the arcade fire? that band always struck me as sounding gestural and nostalgic, like it needed footnotes to truly enjoy–not in a complicated and smart or good way, only that its textures and spaces were the shadows of certain antecedents.

i don't have kids, but i want them to be happy and have their own good art. is that what's happening here?

derekj (#1,450)

actually, i was trying to take it easy on these two new films by saying that they would be more sophisticated versions of the shrek trend, which is not quite right since sophistication (reflexivity and euphemism) is the problem with shrek. what i meant is that these two films will cater to adulthood in a different but equally bad way, and that way is… i don't know, something to do with indie rock and design snobbery and obama?

Sablesma (#1,244)

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. Editorial inclusion of fiction-as-advertisting and whatever your feelings are about Eggers aside…You didn't like Starship Troopers?

sigerson (#179)

It was missing that satirical portrayal of fascism that made the novel truly subversive.

Patrick M (#404)

I totally agree that this should have been a "Shouts and Murmurs" (that's what your point is? I think?) but here's my question: Even if I agree, is it still OK for me to buy the fur covered edition to complete my collection of fur covered books (Margaret Wise Brown's Little Fur Family, Spiegelman's Open Me I'm a Dog and The Highwayman: Narrative of the Life of James Allen alias George Walton)?

Ken Layne (#262)

Have not really looked at the internet in a couple weeks. This was the only thing I missed!

I am not an automatic fan of Maurice Sendak — "In the Night Kitchen" is just dumb and fucked up, and scares my kids — but the best Sendak books are a very nice combination of mischievous art and carefully worded stories that are fun for the grownups and children alike.

Max, as Tom says, is not a twee emo butthurt kid. He is a regular kid, who is being a little motherfucker because that happens, and he has a pile of self-confidence and imagination and that particular Sendak style of child indignation.

He is not sad and he is not lonely. He is running loose in a fucking wolf suit, for fuck's sake, threatening to kill and devour his (human) mother, because that's how wolves roll.

So she says oh yeah, well go to bed you nut, no dinner, calm down. And he stomps up and — because like most children at this age and this hour of the day, he is both spastic and exhausted — he falls asleep, immediately, and has this quick, crazy, wonderful dream.

And he wakes up a little while later, because he smells the sandwich and soup that his mom set out in his room, because obviously she was trying to make him dinner and he was being nuts and then he conked out and minutes later she finds her kid passed out, in a wolf suit, and she leaves his dinner.

What would possess someone to muck that up?

sigerson (#179)

I hear you, Ken. I'm worried about the "spying on my Mom and her creepy new boyfriend" jag that apparently is part of the movie. Max (in the book) isn't a damaged little kid ready to injure himself and he sure as shit ain't weighed down by his family life or any guilt trip.

J-Mac (#1,466)

Holy crap! Ken Layne!

joeclark (#651)

Gee, I wonder what the second half of this unnecessarily-paginated conversation looks like.

iplaudius (#1,066)

Another perspective on what’s going on here: the script of a good movie can suck. The movie can be visually stunning, “moving,” well acted, emotionally realistic, etc., and yet the script be lousy by the standards of written texts. People who read and write don’t like that, but there it is. The short story fails, because it needs the rest of the Hollywood Gesamtkunstwerk.

For what it’s worth, I too loathed the story and scoffed at the obvious advertising.

Liquid (#546)

"Hey, Eggers: rewriting Where the Wild Things Are doesn't make you Maurice Sendak any more than beating off to a picture of Posh Spice makes you David Beckham. "
Wow. For the win.

Also, I am annoyed that they're also turning Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl into a 3d animated (I assume) pukefest. Just sayin'.

Cahiers (#1,443)

It's not 3D, and it's not CG, and from the looks of it's far from a pukefest you rotten fuck. It's stop-motion, Wes Anderson adapted and directs.

Here's a look (you rotten fuck).

Liquid (#546)

I haven't been called a rotten fuck in ages!
In my defense, I was going by the poster image…It had the look of CGI, and since that's the going thing these days, I jumped to the conclusion that Hollywood was making *another* attempt to cash in on a beloved children's book (what, hard to believe?).
And since this particular beloved children's book was one of my favourites when I was wee, I didn't even want to look into it for more info, lest I become sunk in depression.

My apologies, you dirty fuck.
(I'm still not watching the trailer.)

Cahiers (#1,443)

Oh and here's your NY Times Magazine story, 7 pages. Jonze is on the cover.

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