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Variety reviews "Atlas Shrugged:" "a spindly toothpick of a movie"

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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:31 PM
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Variety reviews "Atlas Shrugged:" "a spindly toothpick of a movie"
Atlas Shrugged: Part I
By PETER DEBRUGE

A monument of American literature is shaved down to a spindly toothpick of a movie in "Atlas Shrugged," a project that reportedly once caught the eye of Angelina Jolie, Faye Dunaway and Clint Eastwood. Part one of a trilogy that may never see completion, this hasty, low-budget adaptation would have Ayn Rand spinning in her grave, considering how it violates the author's philosophy by allowing opportunists to exploit another's creative achievement -- in this case, hers. Targeting roughly 200 screens, pic goes out hitched to a grassroots marketing campaign, hoping to break-even via by-popular-demand bookings and potential Tea Party support.

Rather than lose the rights to Rand's novel, producer John Aglialoro enlisted co-writer Brian Patrick O'Toole, dashed off a screenplay and rushed the project into production. Made with the permission but not the participation of the Rand estate, the result cuts corners in every respect. Rather than try to condense everything into a tight, two-hour feature, Aglialoro and fellow producer Harmon Kaslow tackle the book's first third only, hiring relatively inexperienced helmer Paul Johansson (originally tapped to play John Galt, the shadowy, trenchcoat-wearing figure seen cornering billionaires in back alleys) to deliver their vision after Stephen Polk was fired.

Imagining what might happen if the world's thought leaders suddenly went on strike, leaving the hangers-on to fend for themselves, Rand's epic undertaking actually subdivides nicely, considering the author herself organized "Atlas Shrugged" into three 10-chapter parts. This opening segment lays out a decidedly uncinematic economic scenario in which government regulators pick at the achievements of leading industrialists, citing the public's best interest, as they undermine the progress of society's most successful entrepreneurs with anti-competition and spread-the-wealth statutes.

With neither the time nor the budget to find appropriate matches to play the political and big-business titans who populate the plot, Aglialoro settled for an ensemble of unfamiliar thesps, the most recognizable of whom are character actors Michael Lerner and Jon Polito (both of "Barton Fink" fame). Rand fans have spent decades fantasy-casting the role of Dagny Taggart, the tough-as-nails railroad tycoon who serves as "Atlas Shrugged's" primary earth mover, only to see her remade as a generic business-suit Barbie, unassertively played by pretty blonde TV actress Taylor Schilling (NBC's "Mercy").

<snip>

http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117944986/
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
1. It was already a spindly toothpick - now shaven down to non-existence
:rofl:
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Why would I pay money to see board room meetings when I could see those at work?
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CBGLuthier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:35 PM
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2. If Norman Mailer had written it, would it be called Atlas Fugged?
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
10. Unless he'd waited to write it in the 60's...
;-)
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HughBeaumont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
4. Fatlas Sharted.
Piece of Garbage that spawned . . .. well, the morass you see today driving through any small town and big city in UHmerica.
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. OMG, Hugh
:spray: :rofl: :rofl: :toast: :fistbump:

Gotta wipe off the keyboard now....
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
5. That was a pretty thorough evisceration
Though the original collection of pages (I hesitate to call it a "novel") was such a tower of horseshit it's hard to see how it could have turned out otherwise.

Rand's work is not "writing" it is typing.
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NoodleyAppendage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:45 PM
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6. Why don't they make a film about Rand's sexual proclivities. That I would watch. n/t
J
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:48 PM
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8. "Atlas Shrugged" was a creative achievement?
Interesting locution. I flushed a "creative achievement" down the commode today after my morning coffee.
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:57 PM
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9. Ebert's review is worth a look as well
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AI...

Atlas Shrugged

BY ROGER EBERT / April 14, 2011

I feel like my arm is all warmed up and I dont have a game to pitch. I was primed to review "Atlas Shrugged." I figured it might provide a parable of Ayn Rands philosophy that I could discuss. For me, that philosophy reduces itself to: "Im on board; pull up the lifeline." There are however people who take Ayn Rand even more seriously than comic-book fans take "Watchmen." I expect to receive learned and sarcastic lectures on the pathetic failings of my review.

And now I am faced with this movie, the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capones vault. I suspect only someone very familiar with Rands 1957 novel could understand the film at all, and I doubt they will be happy with it. For the rest of us, it involves a series of business meetings in luxurious retro leather-and-brass board rooms and offices, and restaurants and bedrooms that look borrowed from a hotel no doubt known as the Robber Baron Arms.

~~~

So OK. Lets say you know the novel, you agree with Ayn Rand, youre an objectivist or a libertarian, and youve been waiting eagerly for this movie. Man, are you going to get a letdown. Its not enough that a movie agree with you, in however an incoherent and murky fashion. It would help if it were like, you know, entertaining?




More Ebert goodness at the link.


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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Thanks!
:thumbsup:
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. You're welcome!
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. "the deserts of Wisconsin"
OMG... :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :spray:
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guitar man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 03:24 PM
Response to Original message
14. It was a fatally flawed work to begin with
Ayn had it all wrong about who "Atlas" really is. It's not the high and mighty occupants of the ivory towers who are the "Atlasses" of the world, but us "lowly" up-at-5am and off to hit a time clock somewhere for a day's pay who have made everything that we know possible for quite a long time now. We are the ones who have carried the world on our backs and made their grand dreams possible with our blood sweat and tears.

But to hear the adherents of Rand's fatally flawed fallacy tell it, yeah, we're just "hangers on" in a world where the grand imaginations of that powdered and pampered class inflates and conflates their contribution and worth to society.

To the trashcan and down the toilet with all this nonsense and folly I say! :grr:
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