1) Adaptation is the story of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s search for meaning, not only within the book he’s attempting to adapt to screen, but also within his own life. He feels neurotic and alienated from society. Furthering his neurosis is his dedication to artistic integrity, which, in an industry (don’t tell him I called it that) that increasingly is about dollars, is nearly impossible. Kaufman’s neurosis is achieved through a stream ov conciousness voice over that literally drowns out whatever is happening in the scene. Furthermore, his twin brother, whom is played by the same actor, serves as a weird sort of “foil” mirror, showing kaufman, and the audience, everything he isn’t.

 

2) The book The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean is a character study, both of John LaRoche – an orchid thief – and of the state of Florida, which Orlean finds a fascinating place. LaRoche comes across as a crook at first, but always manages to make the labels one is apt to put on him fall by the wayside. The whole story is an examination of LaRoche and his home state, and though the story has no real arc, it reveals the real depth hidden behind quick glances and first impressions. The problem for a screenwriter is that character studies such as this one are just long, explanatory descriptions in which not much action actually happens. There’s a story to it, but not the traditional narrative that film seems to really depend on.

 

3)

http://www.killermovies.com/a/adaptation/reviews/j25.html

A review of Adaptation by Killer Movies, an independent blog site. Like most other reviews of the movie, K M praises Adaptation as visionary.

 

http://www.markreviewsmovies.com/reviews/A/adaptation.htm

A review of Adaptation in which the author sees the movie solely about the creative process, and less so about an individuals search for meaning.

 

http://cheatsheets.cracked.com/movies/adaptation-27871/

On the comedy website Cracked, they have a section of “cheat sheets” where users give quick and dirty accounts of movies or books. The users vote on the best description, thus ranking each short description and building a consensus of sorts of the site’s users. Being a comedy site, most of the user descriptions try to be clever or funny, but ultimately they do a good job of building a stripped down collective picture of the film. The top pick reads as such:

“Nicolas Cage valiantly attempts to play two different characters in Adaptation, despite the fact that he hasn’t managed to do this at all, in his career, yet. He’s well-suited to the film’s narcissistic theme, however, and easily pulls off the role of a man who can’t get over himself long enough to do the job he was paid to do. Meanwhile, a gap-toothed Chris Cooper steals an orchid and the show.”

 

4) In Adaptation, the twins Charlie and Donald are opposites in many ways. How do they respectively represent film as art and film as (Hollywood) entertainment? And is this a crude dichotomy that the film subtly undercuts?

– Charlie and Donald as twins writing two very different screenplays allows the movie to dissect the dual nature of film in modern society. Charlie, the struggling, tortured artist represents film as art. More specifically for Charlie, film is artistic expression. He sees his work as a personal statement. By putting down his words on a paper, he is putting himself out there, something he finds exceedingly difficult to do in all matters of his affairs. Charlie is constantly talking about writing something “real” or something that “means something”. He holds this opinion so strongly that it sometime handicaps him from just enjoying life. In terms of movies, this is similar when the artistry of the film becomes a burden to its enjoyment. Donald on the other hand is lighthearted and more simple than his complicated twin brother. His script is cliche after cliche, but the whole time it does sound sort of, dare i say it, cool. Donald is easy to relate to (as evidenced by his ways with the ladies), and just all around more fun. He doesn’t come with emotional baggage, there isn’t too much below the surface – the same reason his script is quickly picked up. Adaptation seems to be poking fun at itself by presenting this dichotomy. The film is definitely artsy – Kaufman as a leading man is not the sunny-spirited, good looking lead man of hollywood. Yet he is played by an extremely markatable, big name actor who constantly plays those sort of roles. Furthermore, the movie ends in a dramatic chase sequence – a tool Charlie despises. In this way the film is admitting to its own “simpleness” but by doing so it shows that a film doesn’t need to exist solely as art or hollywood entertainement; a film can be both and, possibly should be a bit of both.

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