Wednesday, February 20

Starting in the Wrong Place

Over the weekend, RadioMan and I picked up some on-the-cheap-rack Blu-Rays for our movie collection. I grabbed The Holiday (one of my favorite movies) and a copy of Rum Diary, which I hadn't watched yet but had heard great things about. And because Johnny is the star. I mean, who doesn't want a little more Johnny in their movie diet?

Right? Right.

So, we settled in to watch and...I can't say I'm disappointed but I can say that I expected more. Not slap-dash, laugh a minute hysteria. But I love Hunter S Thompson - who wrote the book back in the 50s - and I loved the other movies based on his books...but for me this one was flat.

I liked the characters well enough. It was a fun look at the journalism field, and since I started my grown-up life as a journalist that was fun. And, admit it, who hasn't wanted to walk in to work drunk on rum in a tropical paradise? Still, the movie was flat for me and I think I've figured out why: it started in the wrong place.

In the movie, we see Kemp (Johnny) wake up drunk, go to his interview with a hangover and basically drink his way through the entire movie. He has some fun doing it and falls into lust with another man's girlfriend (don't worry, the other man is the villain; she'll eventually leave him) but nothing happens. In the book, there are characterizations and silly moments that make the characters come alive. In the movie it's just a kind of meandering thing that doesn't go anywhere - until the end.

The last 10 minutes, it goes. Kemp gets his dander up, he's ready to go on the warpath to right the wrongs being done. And then the movie ends with his dander up. No wrongs are righted. No big, confrontational scene. It's just over and we're left to wonder - did he right the wrongs? Or did he just go back to the bottle?

So, for me, the movie started in the wrong place. It should have started at the end and told the story of the righting of wrongs - even if Kemp didn't succeed in the end. That would have been a fun story to watch...

19 comments:

  1. I don't like movies like that. It's like they're made just so you can watch the star. George Clooney has done a few of those. He's still fine to look at, but...

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah. Two hours of Johnny is great...but I'd have liked a little more story with him. lol

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bummer on the movie! Great post though! Makes you wonder what the writers were thinking. But, yes, two hours of Johnny... And it is easy to start in the wrong place in a story. I've done it many times and had to rewrite, lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG, Jennifer, I've started in the wrong place...too many times to count! I think, in this case, it's that they were trying to stay too true to the book...but that's only my opinion.

      Delete
  4. That's too bad. I love Johnny--go watch "Chocolat." It will make you feel batter about movies and especially about Johnny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I've killed two different copies fo Chocolat..I love that one, Nan!

      Delete
    2. Agreed. I think that's my favorite Depp movie. Or at least in the top three and one of my all-time faves as well.

      Delete
  5. Not my kind of movie. Isn't it interesting that we can see when something starts in the wrong place?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is, D'Ann...I just wish I could always see it in my own work. That whole 'kill your darlings' thing is hard when I'm looking at pages I've written! lol

      Delete
  6. I've started in the wrong place. A lot. There was a zombie movie I watched that did that. It never did explain how people started turning into zombies. A couple went to sleep one night, and the next morning their neighborhood was being attacked by zombies. I walked away thoroughly irritated.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm not much of a movie buff. A friend and I walked out of Young Frankenstein in the 1970's I thought it was stupid and boring. Other people thought it was great. So I guess that goes for books too. I know about starting in the right place. Because I've been wrestling with chopping my beginning to the right point. I swear it's hard to figure out the right spot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, CK, finding the right spot to start is so hard...it's rewarding when it happens, though!

      Delete
  8. I saw Flight a couple of weeks ago because of the buzz and because it was at the $3 theater. While Denzel Washington was excellent, it was so hard for me to watch. I hate watching people being self-destructive. I find it almost physically painful. So, it's probably a good thing I never watched Rum Diary.

    Oh, right, this is about starting in the wrong place. Yeah-been there, done that. Fortunately I figured it out about half-way through the book. The funny thing is when we start a book, we always think we're starting in the right place but then we get to know our story and realize the true beginning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's usually on the second go-round that I 'see' the right beginning...I think it's because, when I start writing, I need to know a little more backstory. Until that backstory is there, I can't see the real Moment of Change. :)

      Delete
  9. I know about starting a story in the wrong place. Unfortunately, I didn't find it out until I had typed The End, but my bad, I hadn't researched the genre. Big big headache re-writing, it took me forever. But it's done, and obviously all the better for it :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm always starting in the wrong place. Story of my life :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I hate when movies are like that. I've started a few books in the wrong place....

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think everyone knows that feeling, but I dislike when a movie or book doesn't wrap things up neatly for me.

    ReplyDelete