Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:37 pm 
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Lynch would be a good choice, if only because Wallace was so heavily influenced by Blue Velvet.

I would add Spike Jonze and Guillermo del Toro to your list.


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:21 pm 
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David Gordon Green.


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:06 am 
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I'd like to propose Richard Linklater as a candidate director. See A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life.


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:41 am 
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If we could send Luke Wilson back in time, while keeping Owen Wilson as is, while also sticking with the Wes Anderson theme, I’d love to see Luke play Hal, and Owen, Orin.

Mario, as described, well, I think he might have to be CG.

As for Himself, I like the suggestion of Christopher Walken, though I’ve always sort of envisioned him looking more like David Lynch. For The Moms, well, the moms I’m thinking (have thought) Mary McDonnell, or, a very repressed Julianne Moore.

Gately, Gately is a mystery. I’m extremely fond of his character, love him actually - and, as someone who, at a clumsy 6’2, has always been a bit of a bull in a china shop, while also at one time being heavily involved in the wonderful world of illicit narcotics, I’m going to nominate myself. I keed, I keed. I’m at a loss…

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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:35 pm 
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Sutpen wrote:
My gut reaction is that the footnotes would be best left out. There's just no suitable parallel in the film world.
The movie pauses while everyone has to file over to the next screen of the multiplex for a 5 minute aside.


It's just far too complex to even approach in less than a 10+ hr miniseries. (That said, even if they did hack it into a 2 hr travesty, I'd still be there opening day.)


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:32 pm 
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rinard wrote:
Sutpen wrote:
My gut reaction is that the footnotes would be best left out. There's just no suitable parallel in the film world.
The movie pauses while everyone has to file over to the next screen of the multiplex for a 5 minute aside.
... and then everybody has to find their original seats again when they return.

I've actually been imagining Alec Baldwin narrating the more impartial footnotes, a la Royal Tennenbaums.


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:16 pm 
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Posts: 91
coupla thoughts:

-there was a script of IJ circulating in L.A. a decade ago, which a friend who travels in those circles let me read b/c he knew my love of the book: it was written by the actor famous for "sometimes you gotta say what the fuck" in Risky Business. Wasn't impressed by the script, but admittedly mostly b/c it had an impossible task. For that reason, I think the whole "limited series" is the only possible route.

-re: directors (a): as inspirational as D. Lynch was to DFW at a certain point, the idea of him directing IJ literally makes me feel sick to my stomach, and not because of any judgement on his talent: While I, personally, think he kinda jumped the shark a few films ago, I think everything he did from the start of his career through some point in the early nineties was pretty obviously the product of genius, even the stuff that wasn't my favorite. The reason I want to keep him away from IJ is that everything that I think is really remarkable about his style builds on a certain inward-looking fascination with (his own) subconscious and personal obsessions in a way that kinda happily moves further from wider examinations of community. (Think, for example, of how both Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks start from a fairly well-detailed vision of a whole community, but, as they go along, seem to move more and more to insular, private, hallucinatory scenarios.) IJ, obviously, has some pretty significant parallels to this trend in its plot movements (most obviously, Hal's (unintentional) descent, apparantly, into an absolute fairly literal solopsism. BUT I would really really strongly argue that DFW's interests in portraying all this is actually predicated on a kinda desperate desire to re-connect with people and with communities despite forces that would force us to pure self-reflexivity. In other words, Lynch seems to find his greatest pleasure and/or solace in rushing towards a certain extreme surrealism and individual obsession that DFW is trying to make sure (his characters) are NOT lost in, to make sure (his characters) find ways to reconnect/remain invested in community and personal connection.

-re: directors (b): while I am not familiar with the Wilco documentary (I've heard positive comments about it before), I think a talented and committed documentarian who connected with IJ might have a better chance of finding effective ways to translate the novel to film. It is not always a mistake when someone like Spike Jonze or David Fincher come to narrative film from skateboarding films or music videos, so I say the Wilco Documentary guy might prove to have something to offer that some very talented directors more accustomed to Hollywood feature films might lack.

-re: directors (c): OK, but so like what "established" directors MIGHT succeed? My list (NOT in order of preference)
---Spike Jonze does seem to have a certain gift for filming the fluid boundaries of identity. Is he still married to Sofia Coppala? I can't see her taking on IJ on her own, but I like her sensibility, so maybe they'd collaborate?
---Gus Van Sant, of whose films Good Will Hunting is my least favorite and My Own Private Idaho is among my favorite by ANY director (and which pulls off some pretty fun quasi-Shakespeare stuff itself). Have people seen his recent small weird (and great!) things like Elephant or Last Days?
---Ang Lee. Is there a director out there who seems more comfortable jumping into completely unexpected genres and nailing them? I'd put "The Ice Storm" up as exhibit A for him (and, yes, I actually even kinda like his "Hulk")
---Steven Soderbergh. Another guy who can seemingly do anything, and seems to enjoy going back and forth between (relatively) straightforward stuff and unexpected weirdness.
---In fairness, gotta throw in at least one Canadian. How about Atom Egoyan? (And, no, not Cronenberg, who is one of my favorite directors of all time, but who, in relation to IJ, I think I have similar issues to those I raised about Lynch).
---Danny Boyle. Trainspotting, which I first saw while I was reading IJ back in 1996, has always been a sort of companion piece to IJ for me (and a film I like better than the book it is based on!) Pair that up with the skill he showed working on a really sprawling and unusual canvas recently with Slumdog Millionaire, then glance briefly even at a few of his failures, like "A Life Less Ordinary" or "The Beach" and see what you think. Steven Frears would be my backup Brit option.


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation [I fear more the directors hand...]
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:18 pm 
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Location: London, England
Agree it needs to be a single series - directed (maybe) by Paul Thomas Anderson or Bernardo Bertolucci's love-child (any other director would make it too much 'his own' and leave indellible marks). I fear more the directors hand, than the writers'...

I.J. and its characters might actually be the starting point for the script. The series probably couldn't conclude the same way as the novel (there are various end points, some of them unclear) and perhaps a projected or reinterpreted ending would be the result.

Initially I didn't think the novel was particularly commercial. On re-reading it I find much of the dialogue enthralling. Parts of Infinite Jest are extremely accessible to much broader audience base than, say, those (currently) reading this novel. IJ-in-its-entirety is what many people find daunting (I bought the novel for 3 dear friends in 1997 - none of them read it - their loss).

I am convinced that much of the dialogue exchange would translate very well into film/TV. In some of the early exchanges between Marathe & Steeply you can almost visualize the camera angles, switching between close-ups and distance shots. On page 88, there is even references to Goethes 'Brockengespenst', with a clear descriptions of how shadows are falling, and how the scene is illuminated. DFW's descriptions often drip with cinematic details and codes.


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:01 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:46 pm
Posts: 23
Agree that it would have to be a series, not a movie.

I'm imagining that each episode (except maybe the first) would start with an excerpt of one of Himself's films, and the episodes would share their titles with the films, and there would be some connection between the plot of the film and the plot of the episode (sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious only in retrospect several episodes later).


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 Post subject: Re: Movie Adaptation of Infinite Jest
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:48 am
Posts: 61
Imagine the episode dealing with Eschaton, perhaps interspersed with shots of mushrooms clouds ala Dr. Strangelove, jockstraps full of tennis balls morphing into MIRVs all seen through the unresponsive eyes of Hal.


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