I finished Mysteries on Friday, as pleased with it this time around as the first. There’s a very nice section as the three main male characters are drinking Rolling Rock and shooting tin cans off a fence where they talk about the “will to bigness,” and though they describe it as the desire to be do things of a gigantic nature it seems to be based just as much in desire t do as fear of not doing.
It’s a good book.
Then I watched the movie. If I hadn’t been in such a melodramatic mood and properly drunk it would have been unbearable, and even so it was an incredible piece of shit. The director, who also wrote the script and is best known for directing Dodgeball, decided to combine the characters of Cleveland and Arthur Lecomte, and even with this addition managed to flatten the character to a simple street rat in leather. He also switched much of the plot about Phlox over to Jane Bellweather, but not her characteristics, which is confusing and unpleasant. And fucking Nick Nolte is Joe Bechstein, who is now not just a numbers guy but an actual gangster of the first order. Did I spell Bechstein right?
It was just disheartening to see that Mysteries got turned into such a shit movie. After all, Wonder Boys got turned into a great movie — actually I just looked it up and the guy who wrote the adaptation for Wonder Boys went on to write all the Harry Potter movies except for the 5th, weird. In any case, his script for Wonder Boys was pruned expertly from the book. He took out a few great minor characters and a large section about a seder, but he did so while keeping the same essence that the book has. He simplified, which is always needed to send a book to film, but he didn’t flatten. I wonder what Chabon things about this.