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Old 01-15-03, 09:58 AM   #26
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The best clue about the third act is the film's represtation of Donald Kauffman. Up until the last act Donald is treated as a moron and buffoon, but magically after Charlie attends the screenwriting conference and asks for Donald's help, Donald becomes a genius of sorts. He spouts off a quote about life and love that I chuckled about everytime I see it in someone's signature. The only reasonable explanation for the change in Donald's representation is that he is now writing the script.
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Old 01-15-03, 11:15 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by mdc3000
I'd have to agree with you. I loved the first 2/3 of the movie and hated the last act. I thought it was quite obvious what was going on, but to me, it felt very STUDENT FILM. This half clever idea that just sabotages everything that came before it, for the sake of saying "look how clever I am!"

I thought the ending was an easy way out and not half as clever as the filmmakers think... like I said, very student film-ish....

MATT
Funny you should mention the "look how clever I am!" factor. Since Signs just came out, I want to point out that I felt the whole movie was written just so, at the end, the audience could see how clever Shyamalan was. Just wanted to vent on that.

As for Adaptation, I am also a film student and just wish I could see or make a student film that so deftly blends fantasy with reality, mixing in satire and a great deal of humor and pathos. I never for one moment felt that the third act of Adaptation somehow "let down" the first two acts, because it was meant to be totally different. Just because it isn't what you (you being the general audience, not one person in particular) would do or what you expected doesn't mean it doesn't work. In fact, I think Adaptation is the best script I've seen in almost a decade.

The only way this will end up being like a student film is when it is studied and copied in film schools across the country.
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Old 01-27-03, 08:31 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by Inverse
I liked the *idea* of the last act, but it went on too long. Also, there weren't enough clues for the non-movie buff audience to explain why the last act was so different.
I don't feel this movie was made for non-movie buffs. The movie makes no apologies for itself, you either get the the joke or you don't. (And if you do get it but still don't find it funny, the movie just drops you and goes on...) I think the title "Adaptation" becomes clever in this regard. Anyway, when I went to see this movie, the theater was about 1/3 full and me and my friend, and one family a few rows ahead of us were the only people laughing at the end. I didn't care, I loved this movie!

And I am getting sick of hearing people pronounce this film's title as "Adaption"!! I've heard djs on the radio say it way too often, and did not the presenter at the Globes say this?? AHHH!!! **end of pet peeve rant**
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Old 01-27-03, 09:23 AM   #29
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Saw it. Liked it.
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Old 01-27-03, 10:01 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by slop101
^ Well, then I'll ask again - So what?

He mocks these script-writing conventions by utilizing them in the final act and destroys all he's set up. Does that make it okay? I don't think it does.

It's that same as saying: "Well I know the movie I made is sh*tty, but I meant for it to be, therefore it's okay." - Which is complete B.S.
I'm in complete agreement with you, slop101. In fact, my problems with Adaptation began well before the last act.

After the cleverness of the initial section of the movie, I thought it became very formulaic in its self-referential "meta"-ness. As it went on, it became pretty obvious that everything that was set up or mentioned would be used, twisted, or deconstructed before the film was done. Well before it happened, for example, I knew that we would eventually get a scene of Charlie writing (or in this case describing) the opening scene of the movie we were currently watching.

The whole movie turned into an exercise in deliberately knocking down one thing after another. Voice-overs? Check. Trick photography? Check. Various uses of the word "adaptation"? Check. Deus ex machina? Check. Character epiphanies? Check. Sex, drugs, violence? Check, check, check.

I don't agree that I somehow didn't "get" the movie. I think I may have gotten it too well. As a result, it lost any hold it had on me early on and I frankly got rather bored waiting for it all to play out.

Just my few cents.
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Old 01-27-03, 11:30 AM   #31
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Okay. I have just read the first post and no others, but I will give my opinion. Which has probably already been talked about, but hear goes:

When Charlie is talking to Tilda Swinton's character at the beginning of the film, he says he doesn't want a hollywood film with sex, drugs, etc.

And in the end that is what it turns into.

But that is all that I got out of it.

Loved the film though.
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Old 01-30-03, 01:12 AM   #32
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finally saw this tonight and loved it. Can't wait to see it again. I thought the 3rd act was brilliant, but that's just me i guess
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Old 02-03-03, 12:25 AM   #33
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Interesting thought on this ending: I went to see this today with my girlfriend. I knew beforehand about what was true and what was false, and asked her if she knew the basic setup. She said she did, but I guess she didn't. When we were leaving, I asked her if she thought the ending was a copout, and she said "Why, didn't that all really happen?" When I told her no, she thought it was hilarious.

It seemed to me that Charlie was following McKee's one good piece of advice - to let an ending develop out of the characters. Donald became poignant not because of any last-minute brilliance, but because of his obliviousness. Orlean and LaRoche act on desires left unspoken in "The Orchid Thief" - whether or not they were actually there is irrelevant, because the reader would only be able to add his own interpretation.

OK, the gator thing was a cheap joke, but I digress.

And finally, the movie ends with flowers. By the end, it has gone through all the permutations of contrivance and reality, and ended at flowers. I personally think it earned that ending.
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Old 02-03-03, 04:45 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by slop101
^ Well, then I'll ask again - So what?

He mocks these script-writing conventions by utilizing them in the final act and destroys all he's set up. Does that make it okay? I don't think it does.

It's that same as saying: "Well I know the movie I made is sh*tty, but I meant for it to be, therefore it's okay." - Which is complete B.S.

I know you probably won't change your mind, as you have made this point many times now in multiple threads, but I have to disagree with you. My arguement is simple: the fact that the final act was meant to be bad DOES make it ok. Why? Because the satire of the movie gives it the authority to be considered smart. When you watch Saturday Night Live, and you see Will Ferral acting stupid as George Dubya, that's smart and clever. But one could make the arguement, "Just because SNL is making fun of being dumb, doesnt change the fact that Will Ferral is acting dumb." Doesn't make sense, does it? Satire mimmicks that which it is mocking, but because it is mocking it, it sets itself at a higher level. This is exactly why the "bad" ending of Adaptation is smart, clever, even brilliant.

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Old 02-03-03, 05:34 PM   #35
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Well I just have a few points

- First is one that I have not heard anyone talk about is there is a lmost a homage to a sam sheppard play (starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinese) called "True West" with regards to Donald and Charlie and there relationship, there are lines and a few concepts that are clearly poached from these play.

- next is with the shift between 2-3 acts, it can be seen as Charlie has ended his movie as Susan has also ended her storyonly to be told that he cant end the movie like this and then we have Donald's Ending Or hollywoods ending.

- Last is the concept I got from the book was about disapointment, Susan not ever seeing the flower, the lack of something for her to truly love and feel pasionetly about. What Kaufman has done with this ending is given you a feeling of disapointment or a feeling of being cheated out of a proper ending. this feeling disapointment I feel he wants the viewer to feel. Like Susan you were also cheated out of a good ending.

Well then again who knows but I truly loved the movie.

Matt
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Old 02-03-03, 05:55 PM   #36
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*WARNING* Newbie here!!

I also truly loved this movie--it was much more personal than Being John Malkovich, which I loved but never got personally involved with. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I am a writer also, I don't know.

As for the ending, I thought it was marvelously absurd. The film goes from a quirky comedy to a dark "thriller"--and on purpose. I absolutely love the ending simply because it DOESN'T match the rest of the film!
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Old 02-03-03, 06:19 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by brizz
Can't wait to see it again. I thought the 3rd act was brilliant, but that's just me i guess
Couldn't agree more I thought the ending was great and same feeling overall for the film. I'd like to see this again, but I still want to see The Pianist and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
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Old 02-03-03, 06:20 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by caiman
I know you probably won't change your mind, as you have made this point many times now in multiple threads, but I have to disagree with you. My arguement is simple: the fact that the final act was meant to be bad DOES make it ok. Why? Because the satire of the movie gives it the authority to be considered smart. When you watch Saturday Night Live, and you see Will Ferral acting stupid as George Dubya, that's smart and clever. But one could make the arguement, "Just because SNL is making fun of being dumb, doesnt change the fact that Will Ferral is acting dumb." Doesn't make sense, does it? Satire mimmicks that which it is mocking, but because it is mocking it, it sets itself at a higher level. This is exactly why the "bad" ending of Adaptation is smart, clever, even brilliant.
First of all, that's what C.S. Lewis would call "A Wrong Analogy". They approach satire from two completely different angles and cannot be compared.

What killed the ending was; a.) not that it was satire - but that it was telegraphed from the very first scene as Kaufman explains what he DOESN'T want to do. - b.) it wasn't obvious or over-the-top enough to make it entertaining, or even interesting - was that intentional, or not? - can Spike Jonez bring himself to direct like Michael Bay? I'm not sure - but it'd been far more fun if he had.

It's satire doesn't work in all the ways Altman's "The Player" does.
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Old 02-03-03, 08:17 PM   #39
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One thing no one has mentioned. The ending, with the time-lapse and the "Happy Together" song, is completely copied from Wong Kar-Wai's ending for the film "Happy Together" (sans flowers). I see absolutely no purpose to that, and I have no idea if it was intentional or not. THAT bugged me more than the whole 3rd act thing, which I knew was intentional.
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Old 02-03-03, 09:33 PM   #40
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Originally posted by Grimfarrow
One thing no one has mentioned. The ending, with the time-lapse and the "Happy Together" song, is completely copied from Wong Kar-Wai's ending for the film "Happy Together" (sans flowers). I see absolutely no purpose to that, and I have no idea if it was intentional or not. THAT bugged me more than the whole 3rd act thing, which I knew was intentional.
I seriously doubt it was an intentional rip-off of Wong Kar-Wai. The song was the song that Donald tried to get Charlie to sing to cheer him up, and the same one that Charlie sings to Donald to wake him up at the end.

The flowers, I think, were another reference to McKee's scriptwriting guidelines, try to use a visual cue to get the audience involved. The movie was essentially about flowers, so in the true Hollywood ending, the last shot should involve flowers.

I think the time lapse was to highlight adaptation itself. If you watch the flowers, they bloom and close up every day and night, respectively. They 'adapt' to their environment, as the movie lets us see in the very last shot.

I think the last shot was hilarious for all these reasons. It was basically a visual way of summing up the last two hours of film we had just watched.
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Old 02-03-03, 09:44 PM   #41
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I know perfectly what the scene represented. Yes, it was a reprise of the song Donald/Charlie sang. Yes, the flowers opened and closed throughout the timelapse to represent "adaptation". But it bugged me that it came off as a complete rip-off, whether intentionally or not.

Maybe it is because from a guy who has created such original works like Kaufman, ending with exactly the same idea and shot as another highly regarded film is tantamount to the guy running out of original ideas. Well, I guess that goes with the whole theme of the film too, does it not?
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Old 02-03-03, 09:48 PM   #42
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I guess its obvious if you know beforehand that there is no Donald Kaufman.
Or if you know beforehand that he's in his 40s, is a Hollywood producer, and his married with children.
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Old 02-04-03, 10:30 AM   #43
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Grim, what makes you think Kaufman's even seen Happy Together?
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Old 02-20-03, 01:57 AM   #44
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I just saw this and thought I'd add my thought on the ending. For the most part I really like the third act (although it may have been a bit long) but hated the final few minutes. I thought it could have ended perfectly in the swamp, where the film he was writing ended. But instead they brought it back, why? I figure you either "got it" as it was happening or you didn't get it at all. Did this resolution help anyone understand it? Did it add anything that I didn't catch?

And Donald Kaufman is nominated for an Oscar, so he must be real. I can't comment on his family though.
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Old 02-20-03, 10:56 AM   #45
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The nomination's a joke - Donald Kaufman is NOT real.

Even the movie version of Charlie Kaufaman was exaggerated and not even close to the real person.
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Old 02-20-03, 08:59 PM   #46
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Originally posted by MrPeanut
I just saw this and thought I'd add my thought on the ending. For the most part I really like the third act (although it may have been a bit long) but hated the final few minutes. I thought it could have ended perfectly in the swamp, where the film he was writing ended. But instead they brought it back, why? I figure you either "got it" as it was happening or you didn't get it at all. Did this resolution help anyone understand it? Did it add anything that I didn't catch?
The way I saw it was that it had to come back to wrap up all the loose ends that were set up in the first part of the movie, in the classic Hollywood fashion. I think if it had ended in the swamp, it might have been too much of a downer, and in the style that the film had set up, it wouldn't have worked. They needed to show us that Charlie somehow figured out his life and was moving on.
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Old 02-28-03, 11:56 PM   #47
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finally got to see this tonight and i have 2 questions.

first off, i really liked it, and since we're beating a dead horse here, yes i was thrown off by the 3rd act. it was ok. in the beginning i thought "oh great, here we go ruining the movie" but afterwards i realized how a lot of it fit in.

so, what was susan orleans response? i read somewhere that she "liked it" but didnt here much else.

secondly, in regards to the oscar nomination for screenplay, i originally thought yes, but now i'm wondering how it was put into "adapted" screenplay. i realize it's based off the book but doesn't it wander far enough to be taken as "original screenplay"?

(almost forgot, what happened after the credits? this was like the one time i didnt stay and of course i missed something!)
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Old 03-13-03, 04:25 PM   #48
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Originally posted by slop101
it wasn't obvious or over-the-top enough to make it entertaining, or even interesting - was that intentional, or not? - can Spike Jonez bring himself to direct like Michael Bay? I'm not sure - but it'd been far more fun if he had.
In my opinion the ridiculous change in plotting is enough; in fact, a change in style would have killed the joke.

Also, some of you in this thread have commented on how the clever ending should have been more obvious so more people would have understood it. In other words, the irony of the third act should have been made accessible to all viewers. But isn't this *precisely* the "Hollywood" thing to do? It would actually make the ending considerably less clever!

And matt.train, thanks for the idea about disappointment. I didn't think of that.
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Old 03-13-03, 06:44 PM   #49
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I just found this thread now and I must say I agree with the way a lot of you felt...very much enjoying the first half, and not enjoying the second half. I understand what it was trying to do with the Hollywood-style writing Donald was so fond of, but as a previous poster mentions, that doesn't make the final act any less sucky.

I had similar feelings about Being John Malkovich...a very clever premise that doesn't pay off. The originality in Kaufman's screenplays makes for some wicked good first-halfs, but 1/2 a good film isn't good enough, IMHO, of course.
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Old 03-13-03, 09:34 PM   #50
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My feelings on the last section of the movie can be summed up as extreme joy. It was somewhat therapeutic. I have sat through so many hollywood movies that presented silly and absurd endings that I am constantly saying to myself, "Oh boy, here is comes". This movie let me revel in the absurdity and realize that I am not alone in hating the garbage that is routinely produced these days.

I also liked the very ending between Charlie and the Amelia. It was kind of like the Cherry on top of the Sundae. The main character of the film makes great strides in changing his life, gaining confidence and telling the woman that he loves just how he feels. Who would have ever expected such growth from Charlie based on his utter ineptitude and inability to express his feelings throughout the whole film (except, of course, the constant expression of his self loathing through voiceover). This scene would have warmed even McKee's heart (I'm referring to the character as I don't know much about the real McKee).

I really enjoed this movie the first time, and liked it even more on second viewing. I am definitely looking forward to the DVD release.
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