Procrastination

20 12 2004

Um… I should be using this precious time to study calculus… but I’m not. How sad.

Anyways… here’s a quote that I hope will make up for the lack of ANY…

From the movie Adaptation:

Robert McKee to Charlie Kaufmann:
I’ll tell you a secret. The last act makes the film. Wow them in the end, and you’ve got a hit. You can have flaws, problems, but wow them in the end, and you’ve got a hit. Find an ending, but don’t cheat, and don’t you dare bring in a deus ex machina. Your characters must change, and the change must come from them. Do that, and you’ll be fine.

This is a spoiler of the movie, so if you plan on watching it fresh, don’t read on.

So to set this up, the movie is about a real life person, Charlie Kaufmann, adapting a book to a movie. Ultimately, the movie you’re watching is his adaptation. Robert McKee is a movie writer who teaches thousands to write movies based on a formula, something Charlie Kaufmann sees as ridiculous and contrived. When Charlie gets writers block, he turns to McKee to help him, and McKee tells him this.

The irony is that Charlie uses the deus ex machina in his script. Off the bat, he invents a brother that doesn’t exist, Donald Kaufmann. Donald really acts as the “hack writer” part of Charlie’s psyche. His first attempt at scripting has led to a movie that shows signs of success while Charlie’s movie (one of many) can’t even get past the script phase.

The true deus ex machina comes later. Donald steps in to help Charlie “spice up” his script, and when they spy on the book’s author, they discover she’s having an affair (likely the most untrue part of the whole movie.) From there, the plot thickens into something out of one of McKee’s movies. In real life, Charlie breaks McKee’s rule, if for nothing else than to finally finish his adaptation in a way that the public would love. At least, it SEEMS he broke McKee’s rule.

Donald dies at the end of the movie, thus ending the nagging voice which tells him to write horribly predictable movies. The conflict is over, and, though Charlie mourned the loss of Donald, it is as if Donald never existed. Charlie is able to move on past his adaptation to further projects. On the grander scheme, while writing the movie you’re watching, Charlie HAS change on his own, with nothing but a script in hand.

Deep, eh?

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