Take off your hat…there are ladies present!

They thought you couldn't make a movie about the editorial process. So they just made a movie without one.
Reported on 3rd of September, 2016

I saw Genius because it was 30° in Rennes, and 20° in St. Malo and 1000° in a place they send people who talk about Celsius as if it’s the real way you measure temperature. Also, who else would see it? Elevated by borrowed language, and brought low by its motionlessness, it remains of historical interest (sic) because it’s the first film to contain two, count ’em two, wives complaining about their husband’s jobs.


24 August 2016 @ Le Vauban 2

$0.50 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


Normally one would file this under Stop Saving The World, the Girl Complains, but Mr. Jude Law and Mr. Colin Firth ain’t doing much but writing books. And you know what, two years to edit a book actually is indulgent, which means I’m siding with one of the most repellent character types that you can put in a film.

The film seems 1000°-bent on evacuating the drama from not doing much. Despite its attempt to focus the life of Max Perkins through his relationship with a single author, the movie is diffuse, with virtually no conflict other than the aforementioned and now aginmentioned because seriously, how do people keep putting these characters in movies?

I’m going to relate one interesting error for the sake of my own future edification. We are told by two characters, as is customary in films without conflict, that ‘Tom is going to leave you.’ Mr. Law’s character is as wacky (could he be the Magic-Pixie-Dream-Boy? Sorry that’s Ledgerdemain-Flapper-Gent), as Mr. Firth’s is stolid, and so this will be sad. Thing is, Mr. Firth’s character is defined also by his love of his family, so this will not really be a great loss. Later on, it is Mr. Firth that rejects Mr. Law, so the only potential conflict wasn’t one and didn’t resolve.

Two things of note. The equimaux (french for ice-cream treat, in this case purchased with much drama from the local patisserie) was, after all that wind-up, and that phrase is part of the wind-up, not so hot. But I have to say, the screen at Le Vauban is one of the best I've seen the post-digital age: huge, bright and defined. I'd almost see Robocop on it.

Two things of note. The equimaux (french for ice-cream treat (Eskimo)) was purchased with much drama from the local patisserie. I was trying to sneak treats into a cinema; what’s not to understand? It was, sadly, so so-so. I was hoping for better because their tarte au café is to die for. Despite moderate snack disappointment, I am reminded that the screen at Le Vauban is one of the best I’ve seen the post-digital age: huge, bright and defined. I’d almost see Birdman on it.

Telling the story in this straightforward way, leads to such exclamations as ‘editors should be anonymous’. This feels like the desperate cry of the Exec. Prod., one of the few groups strongly motivated to turn this into a Major Motion Picture: ‘It’s not enough that I’m impossibly rich off the work of others: why don’t I get the credit!’ One feels, given the inclusion of the Shrew-but-it’s-okay-as-long-as-it’s-played-a-legit-actress, that this story is being expressed by a simultaneous let’s celebrate/be embarrassed by the White Man. The Exec. Prod., and I should know, all destruction, ego and chaos, is the worst of all worlds, and deserves a movie of his own. If there weren’t thousands of them already.

Mr. Scott Berg’s much lauded book underlines the importance of the unsung labor of shaping writing, a process that would be more compelling onscreen, and cheaper, than 1930s CGI New York. You imagine it filled with details of the process of certain books; they don’t have to be well-known, better that they aren’t. This is a medium that can visualize and juxtapose all the possibilities, worlds and words, and how the slightest difference means all the difference.

I guess they thought you couldn’t make a movie about the editorial process. So they just made a movie without one.

The Take

Again, the refined language is something else, and you long for a world that included the shaping of words.
This counts as an historical bonus. TIL that terrible french re-titling has always been with us. The French title for Look Homeward Angel is L’ange exilé (‘the exiled angel’). This is nevertheless how Mr. Wolfe’s book was translated in the day, as is, naturally, the opposite mood conveyed by the original title. However, that 1930s egoiste translator could not have known the original title, as revealed in the film, was O Lost. His 2016 homologue translated this as O Âme Perdu (‘O lost soul’). French translators have known for years it seems what the author really meant. The good news is that when they translate the commands from our robot overlords in 2089, it’ll all come out ‘Freedom’ and ‘Not going to vaporize you’, so we have nothing to worry about. For the people who were worried about our future robot overlords. Which makes up a surprising percentage of my readership.
Total Profits
The film actually contains, in a rare moment of someone being right that I really don’t want to be right, a straight up Betchel scene where the two female characters, having whined to their husbands about not being home, then whine to each other, exclusively about their husbands. A bleak day indeed.
An historical note that was driving me crazy. You take your hat off indoors. Certainly at the dinner table.
Then I learned. To create an ending for something with no direction, Mr. Law died so Mr. Firth could finally, finally take off his hat. As powerful as a AAA battery.
Total Losses


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