Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:17 pm 
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I interned at an independent movie financing/rights management/distribution company recently and I was shocked to find, in one of the company's computer's databases of submitted scripts, a script entitled Infinite Jest. For real and surreal. I skimmed through it (not having read the book yet but planning to), and the script wasn't overly long. An average movie script's size. The movie has not been put in production or given the go-ahead yet, don't worry. In fact, in the script's folder was a write-up (summary/review) by one of the employees, and the employee obviously didn't know that the script was based on the book, and was completely disoriented. The comments sounded a little like, "Hesistant to finance this because it seems like too many things crammed in one movie. Dealing with a tennis academy, terrorists called the Wheelchair Assassins, this submission seems to lack focus..." Obviously, the script was denied in terms of the company providing financing for it.
But this raises a larger question that would be interesting as a discussion- can (and should?- perhaps a rhetorical question) Infinite Jest be made into a movie? When they tried it with Tristram Shandy, it turned into a meta-meta-movie, because the joke was it was the adapatation of an unfilmable book. Same thing with the movie Adaptation about The Orchid Thief. Could the endnotes be somehow incorporated, if we getting past the vomit-a-little-in-your-mouth idea of an actual Infinite Jest movie? What would it look like? Who would care to see it?


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:48 pm 
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My default position on this sort of thing is NOOOOOO. But, on second thought, Infinite Jest could probably be turned into a fairly good movie. My gut reaction is that the footnotes would be best left out. There's just no suitable parallel in the film world. It would end up seeming gimmicky, however you did it.


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:42 pm 
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As the book reached a climax with the AFR getting prepped to raid ETA, I was struck by the thought that there was a pretty good action movie interwoven with the book. One could just take the dystopian setting of Johnny Gentle's ONAN and whether a rogue group of separatists can bring down the government if they can acquire the samizdat, with its location and history being wrapped up in a tennis academy.

This would be an interesting movie that has almost nothing to do with the interesting parts of the book. But it might make a good movie. There are probably two or three other movies that could be teased out. I don't know if the whole thing could ever be wrapped up into one without it being of Lawrence of Arabia length. Also, a writer would have to sit down and decide how he/she wanted to end the film. No controversy about that, I'm sure.

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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:28 am 
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A studio should just cut to the chase and film The Entertainment.


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:38 pm 
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I've actually been thinking about this, and was going to start a post about it...

I think if it was somehow made outside the Hollywood's tendency to make movies accessible to the lowest-common-denominator audience and it was adapted by someone of the Lynch/Paul Thomas Anderson caliber, it might be pretty awesome. Film, lenses, and cinematography play an important role and it would be interesting to see how that would be played out in a movie in addition to the book's "the medium is part of the message" thing.

I agree, though, a movie adaptation of the actual "Entertainment" or one of J.O.I.'s other films would be pretty rad. Or some kind of narrative focusing on a minor character or part of the book using IJ's setting and background would be cool, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:27 am 
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I'm hoping that if a film version is made it's as single season series (10-13 eps) on HBO or some other pay service a la Band of Brothers, John Adams, Generation Kill etc. I don't see any way you could make a single movie, even a 3hr + one of the book and have it be good. There's too much to cover and you would have to cut entire sections and characters out. Since there are so many connections between characters and plot lines it would be difficult to cut it down to film length. But of course that' s never stopped Hollywood before.


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:55 pm 
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Oooh--a single-season series is a good idea. I was going to say that there's no way to adapt this without destroying it, but that actually might work.

What about actors? Who would you cast?

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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:01 am 
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I already decided, years ago, following the release of The Royal Tenenbaums (and to a lesser degree, Rushmore), that Wes Anderson would direct – this is non-negotiable.*


* But keep in mind that I am willing to compromise with respect to Paul Thomas Anderson – Magnolia being one of my favorite movies.

Edit – there have been reports that Sam Jones (of Wilco documentary fame) was chosen to direct, and that he may have been in talks with Wallace prior to his death. Now, I’m a huge Wilco fan, and I Am Trying to Break Your Heart was a great documentary, but IJ is definitely not the sort of project that a documentary filmmaker should be cutting his theatrical teeth on – in my humble opinion.

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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:39 am 
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A film adaptation would contradict the book's existence. The book's Sierpinski triangle-like structure (Wallace's words) and emphasis on language will not translate well on screen. They will be cheapened.


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:27 pm 
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Were a movie adaptation of Infinite Jest to be made, I would suggest one* of the following directors, in descending order of preference:

    -David Lynch
    -Terry Gilliam
    -the Coen brothers
    -Ridley Scott
    -David Cronenberg
    -zombie Stanley Kubrick
    -zombie Frank Capra**

* or, divide the movie into sections, have each of the above direct a section, and jumble them up and splice them all together to arrive at the final product.
** IMHO, zombie Frank Capra would be preferable to Wes Anderson.***
***Gentlemen, start your flame throwers.


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