Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ba Da Da Da Da Da Da Da Daaaaa

Deliverance is on and I'm watching it again (well, that and Celebrity Rehab. Seriously, what is going on there? Eric Roberts is wearing a saggy tank-top and I can see his nipples; that is something I can never unsee) and hot damn, that is a fine movie. A fine movie AND a gorgeous novel.

The novel, by the poet James Dickey, flows like the river at the centre of the plot; lush and vivid, it is an achingly beautiful story about survival and the disparate nature of urban life and our more primal instincts. The kind of book that compels one to write things like, "an achingly beautiful story about survival and the disparate nature of urban life and our more primal instincts".

And, the movie is almost, like super close to being just as good as the book. So good, I forget that Jon Voight is a total dick-hole. So good, it makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I could love movies. 

But, alas, I don't love movies. There are movies that I love but as a whole, I rarely opt to watch them and when I do I'm so very often disappointed. Although, I do find it really difficult to stop talking for two hours  the reason is a bit more complex.

I love to read and I read a lot. A lot, a lot. It is, hands down, my favourite form of entertainment. I dedicate hours upon hours to a single novel; days some times weeks, even months are spent with characters, plots. Everything in a truly great novel must be thought-out, solid and enjoyable: the characters, whether likable or loathsome; the setting, realistic and vivid -- if there is a scene on a beach I want to feel the sun on my arms and the sand between my toes; stylistically the language must be clear and precise having been put through the ringer by a good editor (writing is an exercise of the ego and an editor is the one who brings a piece down to earth) while still maintaining the author's individual style; and a consistant, cohesive plot. 

Movies, basically novels crammed into a couple hours, inevitably have to make sacrifices to meet the time constraint. The visual element has to be pretty spectacular, same goes for the dialogue for a movie to be half as enjoyable as a book (this is all in my opinion, I know I'm a bit of a rarity in this regard). 

This is what makes Deliverance the movie so successful; the movie stays true to the book, maintaining the integrity of the original work while still standing on it's own as a great film. The two are a little difference; as with any adaptation the nuance of the novel is lost a little in translation but it doesn't matter because what is lost is gained in the visual aspect. 

Not many amazing books have made for good adaptations but Deliverance is one exception and it is well worth both reading and watching (dueling banjoes makes the movie worth it alone).

Eric Roberts' nipple. You had just got it out of your mind, hadn't you? 

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