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Adaptation

What the hell is going on?

The assignment sounded easy enough. See the new Charlie Kaufman-Spike Jonze joint, Adaptation, mull it over, and write a review on the film, due the next day.

I wanted to focus on the film as an entity, a whole comprised of its myriad parts. I did not want to make it artificial, try and put things into my review that were not in the film itself.

Please bear with me. All of this will make sense when you see the film. And you should see the film. In case you're confused, let me get you up to speed. Charlie Kaufman wrote Being John Malkovich. Spike Jonze directed it. Good thing they did, because not only was it a great movie unto itself, it plays a significant role in their latest effort, Adaptation.

But how to turn this sprawling, New-Yorker type film into an edible piece of film criticism?

ANGLE ON: Nick Cage, rising like a phoenix from the ashes of bad Jerry Bruckheimer movies and has been reborn as a thinking person's actor.

Remember Raising Arizona?

Cage turns out a nearly perfect performance as twin brothers Charlie and Donald Kaufman. Charlie's the artistic self-loathing type while Donald is one of those guys who stumbles obliviously into happiness, riches, and hot chicks. This time it's the always beautiful Maggie Glynthaal. Good for Donald. He also, during the course of the story, becomes an accomplished screenwriter. Charlie, on the other hand, is facing a dilemma similar to my own. He's already an established writer. He wrote Malkovich, for Christ's sake. In the beginning of the film Charlie is hired to adapt a Susan Orleans book about an orchid thief into a screenplay.

I could also talk, incidentally, about the fine performance by Meryl Streep as the orchid-addicted Orleans. Or her affair with John Laroche, the Floridian orchid thief who's played brilliantly by Chris Cooper.

Unfortunately for Charlie, his idea of writing a movie about beautiful flowers is about as easy as trying to fit this incredibly original film into a genre. What does he do? He writes himself into the story. Simple, therapeutic, genius. Laroche's story, Orleans' story, Donald's story - they all turn into Charlie's story. And Charlie starts to change, to adapt, if you will, to the stimuli in his new environment.

Okay. So there's the basic outline, I guess. But now I have to think of an ending.

Got it!

I'm going to finish writing this now. And I'm not going to spell check it, because usually I don't make any spelling mistakes. I'm not proud of this, I'm not bragging; this is just who I am.

I'm going to finish this now, and then I'm going to save it onto a floppy disc and walk to my neighborhood coffee shop because my internet connection has shit the bed on this rainy Richmond morning. And I'm going to email this to my editor, and hopefully she'll buy it and it'll go up on SFStation tomorrow, as scheduled.



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Adaptation
Rated R
1 hour 42 minutes

Nicolas Cage
Meryl Streep
Chris Cooper
Tilda Swinton
Cara Seymour

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