Melina Duran

English 329b

 

            No Country For Old Men written by Cormac McCarthy, in 2005, takes place on the US-Mexican boarder in 1980, where Llewelyn Moss (welder and Vietnam veteran) stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong, leaving dead Mexicans and a truck full of drugs.  Moss figures there is a last man standing and finds him not far from the blood bath, dead, next to him a satchel full of millions of dollars.  He takes the money home but later returns to give one of the dying Mexicans some water when he finds himself being chased by Mexicans looking for the money and drugs.  This sets in motion the story in which Moss starts running from everyone who wants the money, one of them being Anton Chigurh (hit man), who believes that if you cross his path your time to die has come, unless he gives it to chance by flipping a coin, which rarely happened.  Chigurh was hired to recover the money.  Ed Tom Bell (Sheriff) is in pursuit of Moss knowing he is in grave danger of death.  Bell tells Carla Jean (Moss’s wife) that he wants to help Moss and bring him to safety.  In the end Llewelyn Moss and his wife pay the ultimate price and Chigurh gets away with murder leaving Bell with the sense of lost hope in his abilities and retirement.

            There are hidden but obvious philosophical meanings in this novel.  One is in the title, No Country for Old Men, implying the change in the times we live in.  The “country” meaning the United States of America, and “old men” meaning the older generation, the old school respect and honor that people used to display.  Throughout the book Sheriff Bell’s monologues at the beginning of the chapters talked about past experiences and how things used to be.  One being about how the old-timers did not have to and some would not even wear a gun on duty; there was no use for it.  Bell mentions a couple times in the book about kids with colored hair and piercings, showing his outlook on the changing times.  The country had no more room for the old men anymore; the times pushed them into retirement.  McCarthy uses the old western feel using the classic good guy (Sheriff Bell) and the bad guy (Chigurh) but with the ending letting the bad guy get away signifies evil growing stronger in today’s society and the good ethos of past generations stepping aside, or retiring.  McCarthy shows the conflict between free will and what Chigurh calls fate, for example, when he uses the coin as a way of explaining ones fate, he quoted “I got here the same way the coin did” (McCarthy, No Country for Old Men).  The beginning of the book walks right into the character of Chigurh as a psychopathic killer as he kills a sheriff and then a random man for his car giving readers the understanding right away of what kind of person they were going to be dealing with throughout the novel.  It also helped them understand what Bell was talking about in his previous monologue:

“…Somewhere out there is a true and living prophet of destruction and I don’t want to confront him.  I know he’s real.  I have seen his work.  I walked in front of those eyes once.  I wont do it again…” (McCarthy, No Country for Old Men)

Bell struggles with whether or not he is fit physically and mentally for the “new” criminal.  In the end he decides to hang up his hat and retire, leaving readers with a dream he had about his father.  As Diana Mican, from Pajiba Book Review, says:

“The book ends just as the title suggests. It’s sad. It feels unfair. Bell is out. Chigurh is free. You know it has to be this way. The old lawmen don’t stand a chance against Chigurh. It will take a new breed who can understand and predict his actions to stop him.”

           

The adaption film No Country for Old Men, by the Coen Brothers, was released in 2007.  The film is considered “…almost scene for scene, and what the camera discloses is pretty much what the book describes: a parched, empty landscape; pickup trucks and taciturn men; and lots of killing. But the pacing, the mood and the attention to detail are breathtaking, sometimes literally” (A. O. Scott, New York Times). The film starts out with scenery of a western style landscape with a monologue of Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) talking about the old-timers and how things have changed.  It moves right into the meeting of Chigurh (Javier Barden) and his murder of the young sheriff and the random man, for his car.  It moves slowly into Moss (Josh Brolin) hunting antelope and then stumbling into the Mexican bloodbath aftermath.  The film is quiet and slow for a while as you trace Moss’s steps finding the satchel of money, hiding it at home and then returning to the scene with water for a fatally wounded Mexican.  Just as viewers start to think he is a fool for returning, their fears come true with Moss being spotted by the Mexican cartel.  The scene continues with the Mexicans wounding him and chasing him to a river where they release their dog on him, which he barely kills on the opposite shore.  This scene in the film is the transition of Moss beginning as the hunter then becoming the hunted.  The story continues with Moss instructing his wife, Carla Jean (Kelly McDonald), to go to her mothers as he heads in the opposite direction.  Chigurh finds out who took the money and begins his pursuit of Moss.  There is a scene in the film where Chigurh sits on Moss’s couch looking at his TV drinking some of his milk and then shortly after Sheriff Bell is sitting in the same seat drinking the same milk almost tying all the characters together, as Thierry Jutel from Senses of Cinema put it,

“Anton Chigurh is occupying Llewelyn Moss’ seat; the gesture seals their converging fates. But a reverse point of view shot shows us the television screen where the figure of Anton Chigurh looms abstracted and motionless with light streaming from a window behind his back, his figure is reduced to a projected shadow. He is transfixed by his projected image. A few moments later as Ed Tom Bell visits the same location also looking for Llewelyn Moss, he replicates the ritual. He settles on the same coach, pours himself a glass of milk from the same bottle out of which Anton Chigurh was drinking earlier. Sitting on the coach, he also gets transfixed by his projected image on the television screen in the same affective but unqualified response. Both emblematic moments require the viewer’s deciphering: the repetition of actions, composition and editing structure invite a symbolic reading which would parallel and link the fate of these two characters.”

The film builds the suspense when Chigurh and Moss are just a wall apart at a motel as Moss recovers the case from its hiding place and Chigurh kills some Mexican cartel members waiting for Moss in his hotel room.  Moss later finds out of the tracker device in the money satchel and encounters Chigurh again this time wounding him and becoming wounded himself.  Moss finds himself in Mexico recovering in a hospital after throwing the satchel over a pass separating America and Mexico.  Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson), who was also hired to recover the drug money and an acquaintance of Chigurh, meets with Moss in the hospital to offer him his protection in exchange for the money.  Chigurh kills Wells and when Moss calls Wells to consider his offer Chigurh answers and asks for the money which Moss decides to make it his mission to get Chigurh, which puts his wife’s life on the line.  In the mean time Carla Jean tells Bell where Moss is and asks him to help him.  Bell shows up to late to help Moss, who is already dead from a Mexican cartel shoot out.  Bell leaves the scene only to return later with a hunch that Chigurh would be there but finds no one there and the air duct, where Moss hid the money, open and empty.  Chigurh makes a visit to Moss’s wife, giving her the option to pick head or tails in a coin toss for her life, she picked wrong.  A car, running a stop sign, hits Chigurh in his car shortly after, injuring him.  He gets out and offers random boy some money for his shirt and to keep his mouth shut.  The ending is with Bell telling his wife about his dream about his father.

 

The film plays almost parallel with the book as a whole, even though there are little things that were in the film that did not happen in the book at all, for example the Mexicans never released a dog to chase Moss into a river and the scene in the novel lasted several hours but was filmed in about sixty seconds, taking away from how difficult and tiring that segment was. 

You could see this story as breaking the rules of film, as C. Jerry Kutner from Bright Lights Film Journey says, “…The Coen Brothers have unforgivably broken the rules… We expect that as in most classic westerns… there will be a climactic shoot-out or some other kind of confrontation in which the Bad Guy, or maybe both the Good Guy and the Bad Guy, are killed. That does not happen. Sheriff Bell never confronts Chigurh directly. Neither man dies. (Allegorically speaking, neither Good nor Evil can be destroyed, only crippled.) Instead, the film concludes with Jones’ recitation of a dream…”

The film leaves out some important aspects, about Bell.  For instance, the point that he was a bronze star awarded World War II veteran, who struggled with the fact he left his men behind only to be awarded a medal for it.  This might have been a big factor in Bell wanting to save Moss and not leave him behind to be killed.

 

The novel and film use great metaphors especially when it comes to Chigurh’s character.  Chigurh represents the growing evil in today’s society, showing in the end during the car accident, that evil cannot be killed.  It also shows in our society good principles, the old men, are stepping aside bewildered at the ever growing evil.  As written by Edmond Burke “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.”  Which brings us to Bells dream in the end. He speaks of two dreams one of his father giving him money and him loosing it and his second dream of his father passing him carrying a fire into the darkness to set a fire somewhere. The first dream depicts the money being virtue and how Bell lost it and the second dream shows how Bells father had the fortitude to battle evil and how Bell lost his hope and faith and was defeated in the end, left to retire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Primary Text:

Cormac McCarthy. No Country for Old Men. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. Print. 

Secondary Text:

“He Found a Bundle of Money, and Now There’s Hell to Pay”
A. O. Scott
New York Times
9 November 2007
http://movies.nytimes.com/2007/11/09/movies/09coun.html

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Diana Mican

Pajiba Book Reviews

http://www.pajiba.com/book_reviews/book-review-no-country-for-old-men-by-cormac-mccarthy.php

No Country for Old Men, Visual Regime, Mental Image and narrative Slowness

Thierry Jutel

Scenes of Cinema

7 October 2011

http://sensesofcinema.com/2011/feature-articles/no-country-for-old-men-visual-regime-mental-image-and-narrative-slowness/

No Country for Old Men – Breaking the Rules  

C. Jerry Kutner

Bright Lights Film Journal

http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/blog/2007/12/no-country-for-old-men-breaking-the-rules.html

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  1. “Watchmen” written by Alan Moore is a comic book with the main theme of murder/mystery. The comic starts out as two investigators coming up with theories on how a man ended up on the street outside of his apartment- dead. The whole story is about Rorschach trying to solve Edward Blake’s murder. He warns his other “superhero” friends and tries to find out what Eddie did right before his death, which he is hoping will lead to his killer, gives the feeling of mystery to the readers. The murder theme is very prominent in the book, as we know because Rorschach says many different times throughout the comic “The comedian is dead”.
  2. “Watchmen” directed by Zach Snyder contains the main theme of heroism. This movie asks questions such as: What is a hero? What makes a hero? Etc. For example with Rorschach, to some he could be considered a hero because he put a lot of bad people behind bars, yet he got arrested and got put in prison and the people he put in prison certainly didn’t think of him as a “hero”. So throughout the movie viewers struggle with the question, is he a hero or isn’t he? As for the comedian to some he is considered a hero, yet he tried to rape his friend and shot a women pregnant with his child. So this makes viewers ask themselves, is the comedian still a hero after all the bad he has done? Or does the good outweigh the bad? And with Adrian Veidt, his ultimate goal is world peace but the way he went about it and set Mr. Manhattan up isn’t very heroic. The leading thought this film raises about heroism is, to be considered a hero one must be heroic personally and professionally, to the world and to your friends.
  3. Issues and problems with adapting “Watchmen” the comic into a film include the fact that a comic book goes against the logic of a film so much so that it’s almost impossible to do a faithful adaptation, like the lecture pointed out. Because the way that we go through a comic story is so completely different than the way that a story in a film unfolds, the film needs to be changed quite a bit. I think the comic would make a fun video game, of all the superheroes running around and fighting crime. But an issue with this form of media is that it will probably have to be even less like the comic then the movie was because there would need to be a lot more action in the story line (all that the game is, is fighting).
  4. http://www.twomorrows.com/comicbookartist/articles/09moore.html

This source is important in understanding “Watchmen” because it gives readers insight as to what influences Alan Moore. This insight helps readers  have a better understanding of the plot and characters. In this interview Moore also talks about how he feels about superheroes, how he is tired of writing about them and how his are different.

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/485797

This source is a cartoon theme song intro to “Watchmen” for children.

http://www.plasmicstudio.com/watchmen/poster_comparisons/

This source makes it interesting to see the artwork from the comic books being transformed into the film. This allows for the similarities and differences seen in the artwork.

5.Q: How does Watchmen, directed by Zack Snyder, deconstruct or criticize other super-hero comic book films and series?

A: This film in some ways deconstructs and criticizes other super-hero comic book film and series because like Moore said himself in the source above his super-heroes aren’t the average super-heroes, his are different. The film make you question what even a super-hero is because the super-heroes in this film sort of dabble between good and evil. It’s sort of confusing and viewers aren’t really sure if the hero is completely good and heroic. This reminds me of the dementors in Harry Potter, they seemed good yet they attacked HP on several occasions. 

  1. “Fantastic Mr. Fox written by Roald Dahl contains an overall theme which is family relationships. No matter what happened in the story Mr. and Mrs. Fox and their children always stuck together and love each other in the end. They dug together and were by each other’s side when things got rough and people were digging up their home. Even Boogus, Bunce and Bean have a family like relationship; the way they teamed up and decided to take down the fox together shows their perhaps brotherly bond. In each scenario these people (or foxes) work together to achieve a common goal or interest.
  2. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” directed by Wes Anderson contains themes such as identity and thievery. Mr. Fox and his son Ash are two characters that struggle with identity in the film. At one point Mr. Fox even asked himself and the possum “Who am I? Why a fox?” One of the reasons why he struggles so much with thievery is because he is searching for his identify and with the fact that he is a fox and it’s in his nature to steal. (Like Professor Byrne pointed out in the lecture it is the famous Nature vs. Nurture epidemic) Ash is extremely insecure with himself and that is known by the way that he treats his cousin. He is also searching for his identity and wanting to make his father proud throughout the whole movie, like the way Kristofferson does. Thievery is theme that the movie is basically based upon. Mr. Fox steals birds at the beginning of the movie with his wife, and then later comes up with a master one last time plan to steal. Then Bunce shoots off and steals Mr. Fox’s tail and Ash comes up with a plan to steal it back.
  3. The adaptation of this novel is very unlike any novel and film combination we have looked at before in this class. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is too short to become a movie on it’s own, so a lot of plotlines (and a character) had to be added in order to create a regular feature length film. This is considered an issue or problem because the director had to do a lot of changes to the story but just in a different way. Instead of subtracting things he had to add them because the story being one for children, was just not long enough. It’s refreshing to see the opposite side of the spectrum for once and I am sure for a director filming this movie, it’s a completely different experience then lets say Harry Potter.
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRugUl_Wbqk&feature=fvwrel

This source gives veiwers a little behind the scenes look on what it takes to make the stop motion animation movie “Fantastic Mr. Fox”.

http://performingarts.uncg.edu/event/fantastic-mr-fox

This source informs that the book was also adapted into a play at the University of North Carolina.

http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/the-fantastic-mr-fox/featurette-cutting-edge

This source is important in understanding the film because before I saw this movie I didn’t understand what stop motion animation was, probably like most students in this class. So seeing this video helped me to understand the process and all the work that went into making this movie. This video helps explain the process of this animation but also some tips and tricks that make the process a little quicker like their “fish-kat” technique and the fact that they can film 35 scenes at once. The whole aspect of the technology of the process helps in itself as well, like being able to send the director a picture or live stream and get his approval with the click of a button is convenient. (I can’t even imagine 5,2,29 shots and 621,450 frames)

5.   Q: The film introduces a character not present in the book: the son of Mr. Bean, who is always seen stuffing his face and watching TV. How does this character compare/contrast with other characters from Roald Dahl adaptations (such as Mike TV and Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)?

A: This character that was in the film but not in the book could be put there to     emphasize and show a common theme of where youth is headed in this day and age. Mr. Bean’s son sitting in front of the television and stuffing his face means that the director wanted to show that his is what a lot of kids to nowadays. This reminds me of two characters in Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” one of which was Mike Teavee (TV) who all he did was play video games and be in front of the TV all day. The other character is Augustus Gloop who loved to eat which eventually got him in trouble. I think of Mr. Bean’s son as a combination of these two characters from Dahl’s other movie. The director probably added this character in the film “Fantastic Mr. Fox” to emphasize themes he saw in Dahl’s other movies and find another way to tie them all together and make them seem related.

  1. “Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban” by J.K. Roling is a novel that includes themes such as “Owl Post” and the sport of Quidditch. The first chapter in the book, which is even titled “Owl Post”, makes it clear that these characters rely heavily on their pet owls to send messages to one another. Harry Potter received a few birthday cards from his friends through the owl post for the first time in his life. And we learn in the lecture that in the book reading, writing, book and letters define Potter’s world, and a huge part of that is the owls traveling to send them the letters and any other information. Quidditch is another theme in the novel that seems a lot more important here than in the films. The author made a note to point out that this game of Quidditch was the first one that Potter did not catch the Snitch and he lost the game. When Potter realized this happened he was extremely upset and disappointed, which isn’t as emphasized in the film. Like Professor Byrne said in the lecture the movie didn’t show the centrality of Quidditch to Hogwarts School culture.
  2. “Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban” directed by Alfonso Cuaron contains themes such as magic and monsters. Magic is a theme that appears through out the movie, countless times. We see it when Potter blows up his aunt, the floating broomstick and people changing into animals. Magic is something that the movie is based on and what helps Potter to get through his adventures. Monsters are a huge theme for this movie as it is the one known as taking a darker turn, as pointed out in the lecture. Potter’s foster parents will always seem like monsters to him and to the viewers this movie introduces the very scary dementors. We even see Potter wrestling with “The Book of Monsters” in the film. The Hippogriff, werewolf and the Grim might be considered monster like creatures according to some.
  3. The issues and problems with converting “Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban” from novel to film include getting all the details into one 2 hour movie. Reading a little from the book and watching the movie made me realize that there were a lot of other details that did not make it in the film. That’s probably because they were deemed not important enough and the movie wanted to take all the main ideas and storylines. But all the little details enhance the story a lot more. Making this movie series into a television show would be really interesting and it could help in getting all those details that couldn’t fit in the movie (like Harry’s first ever birthday cards). Also adapting the book series into a theme park at Universal Studios is so amazing to visit. It really feels like you’re in the world J.K. Rolings originally created and you might just see Harry himself. Around the corner. Everything from the rides, to the butter beer and little shops really had the essence of the books and movies.
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8CL6H0dWA8                                                       This source is important in understanding the film because you get information from the director himself about what it was like to make the film. He answers questions about what it was like to do the third movie in a series and what it was like working with teenagers and J.K. Roling herself. He talks about the advance that she gave in in adapting the film, which was to not put elements that contradict the books or the books to come. And to stay true to the spirit of the book, but he could almost do whatever he wanted. This information helps viewers understand the adaptation process a little more and it let you see a little about what it was like to do this film.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axRu7aEnktM                                                         I really loved this source and felt that it gave a lot of interesting information and a behind the scenes look about making the film. It tells again the importance J.K. Roling put on staying true to the spirit of the novel in the film and the movie being faithful to the novel, which makes me like the book series even more. I also learned that Hippgriffs weren’t her original idea and either was the shrunken talking heads (Cuaron’s idea)

 

http://www.scholastic.com/browse/book.jsp?id=2745&FullBreadCrumb=%3Ca+href%3D%22%2Fbrowse%2Fsearch.jsp%3Fquery%3Dharry+potter%26c1%3DCONTENT30%26c17%3D0%26c2%3Dfalse%22%3EAll+Results+%3C%2Fa%3E

This source gives a summary of the book, a little biography of the author, information about the suggested reading age and genre and subjects of the book.

 

http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2402163-harry-potter-and-the-prisoner-of-azkaban

This is a great source that contains quotes from “Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban” the novel.

 

http://www.funtrivia.com/quizzes/for_children/harry_potter/harry_potter_book_3.html

This is a fun link that contains games and trivia about the film.

 5. Q: To many critics, Alfonso Cuarón did a good job in the film in steering the Harry Potter series in a darker direction. How is Prisoner of Azkaban “dark”? And how does this relate to the growing maturity of both the main characters and the actors?

A: Prisoner of Azkaban is dark mainly because of the introduction of the dementors. These creatures are dark and scary and try to harm Harry Potter on several different occasions even through Harry isn’t Sirius Black or got in their way like Dumbledore said. It’s darker because we don’t know a lot about these dementors and little by little we find out more about them. So the mystery in the dementors makes the movie seem darker as well. This relates to the growing maturity of both the main characters and the actors by as they are growing up in the movies (and real life) so are the fans following this series that when it started were children. So making the movies darker and more grown up makes sense because it is more relatable to the devoted fans.

  1. The most important main theme in “A Scanner Darkly” written by Pilip K. Dick is the effects/consequences of drugs. Some examples of where this theme can be found is on the very first page Jerry thought there were bugs all over him and his dog, but obviously it was the effects of the drugs. Also when Charles Freck talked about getting pulled over but actually didn’t , he was being paranoid which can be seen as a consequence of drug taking. Freck then asked Donna for drugs, was tired and shaking, all of which could be effects. Something so unhealthy and harmful to a person should not make them happy, but that was the case with Freck on page sixteen. Even the scramble suit could be considered a metaphor as to how one will feel on substance D (always changing, scrambled, many different people). The author Philip K. Dick mentions at the end of the book that the book “… just tells what the consequences were” (277).
  2. The two prominent themes in “A Scanner Darkly” directed by Richard Linklater are reality vs. identity and control. Right before Robert had his memory of his wife and children he asks himself questions like “how did I get here?” The scramble suit is another symbol of the reality vs. identity crisis and the ‘what is real and what is not real’ dilemma. It puts on a persona of being someone else all the time, making being who you are confusing. Or how professor Byrne put it in the lecture, that Robert attempts to live in reality and delusion at the same time and the scramble suit is a sign of Bob’s slipperiness of Reality and Identity. This ties into what the lecture was talking about, “what do we know and how do we know it”. The other theme of control shows up everywhere in the film. For example, the scene where Robert and Donna are talking on the phone we can see that the Government takes control of the situation by taping into the phone and finding out who the people talking are. Also the fact that once during the film the scramble suit was talking for Robert instead of to him is of significant importance because it again shows that it had control over him in some way. Other examples include Freck trying to kill himself, Hank is really Donna, and that New Path is growing and distributing Substance D yet they are a rehabilitation facility.
  3. An issue or problem with adapting “A Scanner Darkly” text into film are that it is hard to put an entire book on film, it’s pretty much impossible. No matter how good the adaptation is there are always ways that it differs because of Hollywood, director’s preference and style, or simply because the film is shorter to go through, than a novel. The reason for cutting religion out of the movie could be any of the reasons above. Like Robinson said in the lecture, the movie has “loss of interior language that gives the book so much of its thematic heft and moodsetting power”. So the viewers get a general idea of the novel but essentially it is not the same thing. A movie is basically a preview of a novel.
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ewcp6Nm-rQ                                                        This source is an interview with Philip K. Dick where he talks about what the book is about and it also contains comments and thoughts from cast and crew about the film and what the author was trying to say from writing the novel and the “science fiction” genre of the movie.                                                           http://www.scannerdarklyartists.com/                                                                 This source contains a lists of all the artists that worked on the film; it shows some of their work, links to their website and email, and some of their favorite design websites.                                                                                                   http://www.floatingredcouch.com/2010/06/scanner-darkly_26.html             This source is important in understanding the film because it makes points that help understand the movie. For example, the author says that once reading the book you will have a better understanding of the movie. This makes sense considering that the movie was somewhat confusing at times. She gives reasons for the animation “rotoscope” that are accurate and discuses some issues with the adaptation (and rotoscope) that are intriguing. She also gives a good summery of all the main characters; this helps in understanding the film.
  5. Q:The film A Scanner Darkly, directed by Richard Linklater, can be described as an example of the stoner picaresque genre, in that it derives humor from watching people act out after taking drugs. How does Scanner Darkly compare to other stoner picaresque films such as the Cheech and Chong films, the Harold and Kumar films, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Dazed and Confused (also directed by Richard Linklater), or other examples of the genre you can think of?

A: “A Scanner Darkly” is similar to the other movies about drugs but the difference is ASD is a darker and more serious film. Some of the parts about the effects of drugs may be amusing however the ending is not so much a happy one. The ending is sad; Bob gets tricked into going to rehab (getting on drugs) and has permanent brain damage. The endings of the Harold and Kumar films aren’t as sad or serious towards the end; they are a comedy from start to finish. And even adding to the film that one of the main characters attempted suicide is a serious matter that most likely none of the other movies have. ASD is supposed to make viewers stop, think and reflect on drug using and not just laugh about it (the effects).

  1. “No Country For Old Men” written by Cormac McCarthy contains themes such as murder and chance. Murder is mentioned a number of times in the excerpt; Ed Tom the Sheriff mentions that there were recently nine murders in one week and Chigurh killed two people in the very beginning of the novel.  The Sheriff talks about a fourteen year old girl and a judge getting murdered. Moss dies and then Carla Jean, so basically there is just murder after murder. Chance is a common theme especially in the part where Chigurh is getting ready to kill Carla Jean. He explains to her that she has bad luck and she picked heads when the coin was tails so she picked her fate of death due to chance. Like it was said in the lecture “how much is our lives determined by free will and how much is forces outside of our control”. This sentence really sums up the main idea of the film and how the movie is constantly is juggling with the fate and chance dilemma.
  2. “No Country For Old Men” directed by Joel and Ethan Coen contains the main theme of greed. The whole movie was centralized on the idea that many characters were after the suitcase full of money. And it was greed that drove certain people to do things (like the countless people that crossed Chigurh’s path and he ended up killing). If it was not for the natural feeling of human greed than the film would not have even happened. If there was no greed in the movie then as soon as Moss found the money that was not his, he would have turned it into the police.
  3. Issues and problems associated with adapting the book into film are things that were mentioned in the lecture like pacing. The viewer really doesn’t get a feel for all the emotions and meaning behind Moss’ 60-second chase, instead the book gives a better feeling of the encounter with several pages of the chase. The book being more descriptive and making a scene seem a lot longer than in the movie could effect what the readers and viewers take out of that incident. It is a problem that the movie doesn’t have as much of the Sheriff’s dialogue that the book has and the audience really misses out on that extra information that could possibly change people’s opinion of characters and result in changing the story. However that could just be because it is a movie and they had to cut a lot of things that they felt weren’t as important out. I think this would make a great (or even better than a movie) television show, because there would be so much anticipation for the next episode.
  4. http://blogs.suntimes.com/scanners/2007/11/no_country_for_old_men_out_in.html                                                                                                                                    This source is important in understanding the film because it digs deep in figuring out who is Chigurh and what he represents. They talk about him representing evil and chaos and the role that he plays in the movie. This website also points out some important mofits and their meanings. This source gives readers a better insight to Chigurh as a character and a good analysis on the movie as a whole.                                                                                          http://www.blockbuster.com/browse/catalog/movieDetails/284510             This website gives you the option to rent “No Country For Old Men”. It includes a synopsis, member reviews, similar movies, the complete cast and a list of all the awards this movie has won.                                                                                    http://www.movieposterdb.com/movie/0477348/No-Country-for-Old-Men.html                                                                                                                            Interesting look at all the movie poster options for “Old Country For Old Men”
  5. Q: No Country for Old Men is undeniably violent and yet it is somewhat reticent about two killings, that of Llewelyn Moss and later his wife Carla Jean. Why would the film-makers decline to film their killings when so many other killings in the film are graphically shown?

A: The film-makers did not show Moss and his wife’s killings so that the audience would not be too shocked and cause them to not like the movie. It is a shock for two main characters (“good guys”) to die, but for the audience to watch them get killed and die is even a bigger shock and distress. If they were to show them getting murdered people would probably walk away from the movie with disgust and not like the movie as much. People know what happened but it was just too much to show it. Not showing their killings in some ways saved the movie from being too disturbing and a ‘bad movie’. 

  1. The excerpts of “American Splendor” by Harvey Pekar seem to have the common themes of cruelty and humor. Even though the cruelty might have been unintentional, from Harvey’s perspective his peers making fun of his name in his young age felt cruel. And later his peers making fun of his incorrect response to his teacher, felt like they were being cruel to him again. The one comic about Harvey having all junk food but no meat was supposed to be a humorous one. Like professor Byrne said in the lecture “humor can be found anywhere and in everyday life”. And that is what Harvey was trying to reveal in his writing.
  2. “American Splendor” directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini contains themes such as everyday/mundane life and identity. Everyday life is what the movie is centralized on. Everyday things like going to the store, trick-or-treating as a kid, and eating at a diner. The movie just tells stories of Harvey’s life. Like Robert Crumb mentioned (in the lecture) that his stories are “so staggeringly mundane…” And Campion said (in the lecture) that the stories Harvey tells are “extraordinary rich description of the anxieties, trials and tribulation of adult life”. Harvey had issues with his identity and viewers know that by the questions he asked himself at the end of the film. Questions like “Who am I?” and “What’s in a name?” Harvey having voice trouble in the beginning of the film and having a moment of silence is a symbol of his identity crises, because someone’s voice is a huge part of their identity.
  3. The issues and problems with adapting the book (comics) into film is the fact that comics are many short stories and adapting them into one long one, a film, is difficult. Perhaps another problem in adapting the comic into a movie is because the comics deal with everyday life, so the movie could seem boring. The directors and writers need to do a lot in order to capture the audiences attention and make many stories fit into one long one that flows. It is very similar to Sherlock Holmes, because that was many short stories as well. These comics would be easiest adapted into a television show because each episode can be one of the stories in the comics.
  4. http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/07/cleveland_comic-book_legend_ha.html                                                                                                               This article is essential in understanding the film because even though people don’t think heroism is a theme in these works, it talks about a different kind of heroism. The working class, getting through each day kind of heroism. This source even contains quotes from Pekar himself in which he speaks of the humor in everyday life being funnier than what comedians do on t.v. This website even as two attached Letterman interviews which give a deeper understanding of Harvey’s personality and life. I noticed that he is actually really funny, and from what I saw in the movie and exerts I didn’t think he was funny.                                                                                                                 http://trulyfreefilm.hopeforfilm.com/tag/american-splendor                           This source contains information on the people who made the film and their memories about Harvey.                                                                                       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5wkDfQvNE4                                            This is a youtube video where Harvey speaks of his love of Jazz, his record collection and tells his favorite unknown Jazz artist.
  5. 5.Q: What if the film were completely animated? Would this have made American Splendor a better adaptation? If so, how so?

A: A completely animated film would have made American Splendor a better adaptation because using the original drawings of the comics would have made the fans of the comics and other viewers relate to it more; therefore giving the viewers a better chance to grasp and understand the main themes. Having the original artwork of the comics come to life could have been another way to make the adaptation seem more faithful. In making a completely animated film, they could have used all of the original voices of the characters making the film seem more real. Furthermore, using the original drawings of the comics would probably result in the film being more true to the comics, which would enhance the themes and main ideas Harvey wrote in the comics.

  1. “The Orchard Thief” by Susan Orlean contains a clear theme at the beginning of the novel, which is mutation. Orlean focuses on things changing in the novel for example she said that in Florida nothing seems permanent and everything is always changing. She also mentions that Florida is always fomenting change, it is moldable and different from day to day. And the reason why John loved plants so much is because they were adaptable and mutable. The theme mutation is basically the title of the film “Adaptation”. Or like Professor Byrne said in the lecture “…mutation as a form of evolutionary adaptation…” So the terms go hand in hand.
  2. The film “Adaptation” directed by Spike Jonze contains themes such as passion and self esteem. Susan is lacking a passion for anything in her life and she so badly wants to it, or how she puts it “I want to know what it feels like to care about something passionately”. Or how David Denby phrased it in The New Yorker “…her (Susan’s) life lacked consuming passion”. This is why she was so attracted to John because he was so incredibly passionate about everything, well until he got over it. Susan even said it is intoxicating being around someone so alive; this is John’s passion for life in general. Self-esteem can be considered a theme as well in the sense that Charles had a very low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence. This is seen thought the movie but especially in the very beginning when he’s concerned about his weight, hair loss, the need to learn a new language and many more things. John also has a self-esteem issue, which might have stemmed for the fact that his dad was not in his life much resulting in his obsession with everything.
  3. This film/novel reminds me of The Hours somewhat but more of Tristam Shandy. The story was partly the book and partly a story about making a movie based on a book. An issue or problem in adapting the book into a film is, like many of the critical reading reviews said that the film is simply unfilmable. Having a complicated story is even harder to make a movie out of. But in doing so it implied a stronger theme. Like Professor Byrne said in the lecture “it plays with the different meanings of ‘adaptation’- both film adaptation and behavioral adaptation…” If anything this is extremely clever because it enforces the ‘adaptation/mutation/change’ theme in the book and film. The main issue here is that not every book can be turned into film because literature and movies are so different and sometimes doing a satire is the only route to go.
  4. http://www.pheasnt.demon.co.uk/mudge/cmudge/adaptation.htm                            This source is critical in understanding the film because it points out that this film is not an adaptation at all instead it’s about writing movies. This film is basically what happened in real life when Charlie was asked to write an adaptation of the book. Orlean wanted to write about John in the book but ultimately wrote more about herself. This author tells a synopsis of “Adaptation” but also more than that, really digging deeper into the meaning of the story.  It is also nice to see “Adaptation” being compared to other works. Understanding all of the points this author makes in their analysis will help in understanding the film. His statements help the film make sense.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUwrIeEB9-Y                                                          Susan herself talks about how her book transformed into a film (also the complexities of it), her first impression and favorite parts of the film, and how her and the real Charlie met.

http://threegeek.blogspot.com/2008/05/orchid-thief-vs-adaptation-jeremiah.html

This source is someone’s blog comparing the book and film; he mentions the themes, his impression of the book and he digs deep in an analysis of the film.

5. Q: Adaptation has two interlocking stories: the story of John Laroche, and his relationship with Susan Orlean; and the story of Charlie’s struggle to make the Laroche story work for the film adaptation. If you took out one of those stories, would the film still work? And which story would you remove?

A: Adaptation’s two interlocking stories are essential in getting the main theme of Adaptation/change/mutation across. I suppose if one of the stories were taken out the film might still work, but it will be no where as strong without both. Both stories really complement each other and give the viewers two examples in two situations of mutation. In John and Susan’s storyline mutation means changing your passions, Orchids, and life in general. Charlie’s change had to deal with changing the book into film, and finding something that would make the story flow and make sense. I think the situation helped change him as a person as well. I would probably remove the story of John and Susan because like Susan said herself in the youtube video above that she didn’t understand how they could make a movie out of her book because it isn’t linear and doesn’t flow like a movie. In one of my sources someone mentioned that this book is really just filled with tons of information and it’s not really a story. Charlie’s storyline could be a movie on its own; it would just be a movie about making a movie.

  1. “The Hours” by Michael Cunningham contains themes such as death and beauty. Death can be noted many times in the very beginning of the story such as the author’s choice of words as he describes the dead television. He mentions Clarissa walking over dead bodies, drug dealers killing people; Walter is alive so he should be invited to the party (opposite of death) and the sea turtle’s death. Beauty is talked about in the sense where Clarissa finds a June morning so incredibly beautiful and her trying to appreciate the beauty in life and in herself.
  2. “The Hours” directed by Stephen Daldry contains themes of a false concepts of love and anything ordinary. Many of the main characters have a skewed concept of love. Laura thinks that the only way to tell her husband she loves him is to make him a perfect cake. Richard thinks that because he loves Clarissa so much killing himself will allow her to live her life for her and not him. And Virginia thinks that killing herself will allow her husband to be free and do the things he wants to like work because she feels like a burden. In the film anything ordinary seems repulsive to the main characters. Virginia feels that eating is too boring and the sound of eggs cracking is like nails on a chalkboard. Clarissa somewhat does not live her life because it is too mundane instead she lives it for someone else (Richard) in a sense. And Laura feels that death and disappearing are her only two options because being a homemaker is just too much to handle.
  3. An issue or problem in converting the book into film is the fact that the book has three different storylines so connecting all of them and getting the story to flow seems challenging. Three different narrative voices are also hard to distinguish in a film as well. Transforming the novel in a television show might be difficult because the novel is a very serious drama. Cutting the story off in order to go to commercial and to wait to the next episode (next week) will be hard for viewers and can result in a lost of interest.
  4. http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780312243029                                                     This source describes the novel with information such as publication date, description of the book, and information about the author and praises from different reviews and magazines. It even contains some critical reading questions.                                                                                                                           http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/the-hours/;_ylt=ArC1upsXtkPg4U9kZN4aNfHzsJwF;_ylu=X3oDMTIwNmJ1cGRnBG1pdANNb3ZpZSBIZWFkZXIEcG9zAzMEc2VjA01lZGlhRW50aXR5SGVhZGVyTGlua3NQYWNrYWdlQXNzZW1ibHk-;_ylg=X3oDMTE2Z2ppM3RwBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdAMEcHQD;_ylv=3

This source contains information of the film such as fan reviews, cast and crew information and pictures, and a synopsis.

http://www.online-literature.com/virginia_woolf/

This is a lengthy biography of Virginia Woolf that contains details about the literature she wrote and the depression that she suffered from.

http://litmed.med.nyu.edu/Annotation?action=view&annid=1514

This source is an analysis of the novel from a nyu student. This source is important in understanding the novel and film because it gives a detailed description of the book that explains the important parts well. And it also points out aspects that I didn’t catch before such as the reoccurring yellow roses (Laura’s on the birthday cake, Virginia’s around the dead bird and Clarissa’s from the party). Even though this is a small detail it helps readers see another way in which the novel/film is so neatly sown together. The commentary from this author really gets people thinking about the main themes in the book.

5. Q: What does the title of the film, The Hours, refer to? What is its significance and what theme or themes does it suggests?

A: The title of the film helps reinforce the themes of death and beauty. “The Hours” refers to the statement Richard made about having to face the hours before and after the party. The hours signify every minute and every second of life, time passing by with or without you present in every single moment. The title reinforces the theme of death by saying that every moment of every day is simply a countdown to death and when one does not want to live the hours feel like death. On the other hand there can be beauty in the hours; every single second one can find something beautiful and be thankful for it. Much like Clarissa who was so incredibly happy at the beginning of the movie when she was buying flowers, viewers know that she was soaking up every second and finding beauty in every minute. 

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen contains a major theme that the book is entirely based upon which is judgment. Elizabeth misjudges Mr. Darcy’s character straight off the bat based on what she heard others say about him and upon meeting him once. And Mr. Darcy judges Elizabeth’s as well based on her class and family. In the end they get to know each other and fall in love. This proves that the major lesson learned in the end of the book is not to judge a book by its cover. Perhaps a ‘secret theme’ of Austen’s in writing this book was to not take life so seriously. This can be inferred from the fact that she wrote the book to poke fun of the times she grew up in and that all the rules and contracts about marriage.
  2. “Bride and Prejudice” directed by Gurinder Chadha encompasses themes of culture and marriage. Culture was a very important aspect of the film, because Darcy and Lalita were from different cultures, classes etc. it seemed like an impossible match. Both of them had misunderstanding about each other’s culture causing them to clash. But one thing that is essential in both cultures is the need to be married. Marrying off her daughters was the most important goal for Lalita’s mother (but of course marrying up as well). Otherwise the daughters would bring shame to the family and be a burden. And marrying someone that was similar to Darcy was equally important for Darcy’s mother. Marriage and family is celebrated immensely in both cultures. On another note, the traditional Indian clothing was gorgeous.
  3. I recently saw Pride and Prejudice as a play at a local church (3 of my family members were in it) and it is interesting to think about now that I am familiar with the actual play and Chadha’s re-make. One issue or problem in adapting Austen’s work into a play is capturing the time. No matter how much we read and study a different period of time it is hard to relate as an actor if you have not gone through it yourself. So if it is a difficult or unfamiliar time period that can be reflected on stage. Another huge problem was costumes! My mother-in-law worked 15-hour days for months trying to find the right garments that would reflect that time period, because 99% of the items at the local mall just are not going to work. Most of the time she could not find that much and really had to make her own which was costly and time consuming.
  4. http://www.funtrivia.com/quizzes/movies/movies_a-c/bride_and_prejudice.html                                                                                                     This source contains 3 fun quizzes to test your knowledge of “Bride and Prejudice”.                                                                                                             http://movies.about.com/od/brideandprejudice/a/bridemh020905.htm                                                                                                                                          This source is an interview with Martin Henderson who plays Darcy; he talks about how his character was changed, doing a Bollywood film, and how it was working in India and with his cast.                                                                        http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/esearch/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000799123                                                                                              This article mentions something that I did not quite realize before. The writer points out that Chadha uses Kholi to poke fun of the Indian culture (or the time) in the same way that Austen used Pride and Prejudice to poke fun of the times she was living in as well. This source is significant in understanding the film because it points out another way that the film and the book are similar which is important because they are so different it is hard to see the similarities sometimes.

5.         Q: At one point in the film, Lalita accuses Darcy of wanting to turn India into a theme park. Some might say that Gurinder Chadha turns India into a theme park in her film. Do you agree?

A: Chadha filming “Bride and Prejudice” in India gives the film a more Bollywood feel to it. I can see why some might think that Chadha turned India into a film park by filing there, but the thing is she had to. If she would have chose to film somewhere similar but not India it just would not have been the same. Filming in India means staying truthful to the Bollywood theme and this is inspiring to the actors so it will translate in their work. Viewers are able to relate to the film a lot more and really get a feel for it because the film was shot in India. In doing so it helps people grasp the themes and concepts a lot more. However, this statement from Lalita is somewhat ironic seeing as some people might think it is true (Chadha turning India into a theme park).