Here is a novel about possibility. It might make a great movie. But why take the risk? Great novels seldom translate onto the screen. The trouble is: you lose the words. That’s why All the Pretty Horses didn’t work. That’s why A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius will never be made. Without prose, most great novels are just paper. To make novels work as movies you need images, not imagery (it’s why directors’ yell “action!” instead of “talk!”). But The Invention of Everything Else has images: it has New York City in the 1890s and New York City in 1943; it has a time machine… fireworks… man-eating trees. It’s movie-ready.
Can you think of a movie with a good super-computer? From Hal through to Skynet through that computer that turned Richard Pryor into a robot in Superman III, super-computers equal bad news in movies. Luddite Hollywood doesn’t seem to trust advanced technology. Never mind the irony that most of the most memorable moments in modern blockbusters are made of ones and zeroes; on-screen, super-computers are not our friends. In the new techno-thriller Eagle Eye, yet another sleek, malign thinking machine is added to the villains’ roster. Was it always this way? Did ancient audiences boo the abacus whenever it appeared on-stage?
What was it like to be Martin Scorsese on Oscar night in 1981? Think on it: you’re Marty; you’ve just made Raging Bull; you and everyone else know it’s a masterpiece – but Ordinary People wins Best Picture. Do you: a) Rip Bob Redford’s lousy throat out? b) Gouge his eyes a little first? or c) Clap along with all the other saps? Bear in mind your movie is, definitely, a masterpiece. And you’re probably coked to the gills tonight. You may or may not be sleeping with Liza Minnelli (I can’t remember who you were sleeping with in ’81). Whatever’s goin’ on, the Sundance Kid deserves a slap. Oh Marty. And to think: you lose to Kevin Costner in ten years.
Who are the bourgeoisie? Is it you and I? – slouched, respectively, reading/writing this review. Blogging seems like a pretty bourgeois pastime. I can’t picture true aristocrats writing blogs (shooting peasants, yes; catching syphilis; maybe). Do heroes of the working class blog? Is it a proletariat thing? I guess the aristos would say so, but I dunno… you can’t ween the masses off their opiates properly if you’re sat your bedroom. So bloggers, accept it: you’re bourgeois. French director Gaspar Noé has it in for you something rotten, I’m afraid. His movie, Irreversible, is a one and half hour assault on all your petty bourgeois sensibilities, and if you pee yourself in bourgeois terror at the result, he’ll be a very happy bunny.