November 26, 2002

Nov 26 2002

In other news, they’re remaking Solaris.

This would mean nothing to me if I hadn’t accidentally watched a good portion of this Russian film from 1972 that, if personified, would surely be Ben Stein’s character in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It is probably the most boring science fiction film I’ve ever seen, and that includes all those boring parts of 2001 and THX-1138.

Note to self: If I ever make a movie, avoid excessive numerals in the title.

This was a dog of a film. There was one scene that seemed to end when the actors get bored and wander off. All the actors looked like they were heavily sedated throughout the whole movie, even during the sex scenes (which were not explicit).

Note to self: If I ever make a movie, hire actors who can display emotions beyond “Listless.” It’s like the sketch from MST3K in which Mike had to guess the protagonist’s emotional reaction to a variety of circumstances; every answer was “Dull surprise.”

So I was intrigued to read that Hollywood is remaking this rock of a film, starring George Clooney and a few other actors I’ve never heard of. It’s being directed by Steven Soderbergh and produced by James Cameron, which really tells us nothing — it could be a brilliant meeting of creative minds, or it could be a twisted train wreck. It’s also based on a Stanislaw Lem novel, which apprently the American producers used as a basis more than the Russian film. And again, that tells us almost nothing.

But I came across this thoughtful review by David Elliott, which seriously impressed me with statements like “Used before as an improved Tom Selleck with a stone cladding of Cary Grant, Clooney is not doing the breezy dude stuff that has endeared him to audiences. But he is really acting, not sporting.” Whether he’s right or not, this guy’s analyzing performances. (I can’t wait to read Ebert‘s review.)

Also, Clooney’s been saying that this was his toughest performance to date, which isn’t saying a whole lot, but is still a statement worth considering. You can say that an acting job was fun, or interesting, or unusual, but tough? That’s pretty uncommon.

You also have to be impressed by the fact that the film has no action sequences. None. Think about the science fiction of the past five years, and name one that has no action sequences. Even the thoughtful ones like Gattaca can’t claim that.

Note to self: If I ever make a movie, consider making a science fiction film with no action sequences. Hmmmmmm.

Pharmaceutical heiress Ruth Lilly is giving half a billion dollars to Poetry Magazine.

What good will this accomplish?

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