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June 10, 2010


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Dan Coyle

Actually, I think fewer people know the Bill Engvall Show exists.


I hope the film does well, mainly so more people get to discover that Woodrell exists and is probably the best contemporary novelist currently working in the USA. I've been saying it for fourteen or so years (since I read his beautiful The Ones You Do) and the fact that Ang Lee's film seemed to do pretty much nothing for his profile I put down to the fact that it managed to traduce the racial subtlety that Woodrell built into his only historical novel to date.

Glenn Kenny

Another reason Lee's film did little for Woodrell's profile probably has to do with the fact that Lee's film did not even gross one million dollars in its theatrical run. I wonder if you could be a little more specific in your complaint about how the film treated the book.

Kiss Me, Son of God

Saw an advance screening of this in Chicago with Granik in attendance--in mannerism and appearance she's oddly similar to Lili Taylor, in case anyone cares--and as someone who read the Woodrell novel earlier this year without even knowing the film was forthcoming (total coincidence, I swear!), I can say it's probably one of the best lit-to-film adaptations I've seen. It helps that Woodrell's book is extremely "screen-friendly," to use Granik's term, but the film really nails that elusive combination of faithfulness and individuality that marks great adaptations. I would especially praise the use of the RED camera; the 35mm print I saw not only betrayed no hint of having been shot digitally, it actually looked richer and creamier than any shot-on-film feature I've seen this year.

My only problem with the film, and I think I'll be in the minority here, is Jennifer Lawrence's performance, which I felt erred too much on the side of blankness. I get that she was avoiding melodramatics, which is good, but I think she went too far in the other direction. In the novel, Ree is an incredibly headstrong, actively brave person; that's in the script, too, but Lawrence plays it way too passive, like everything is just washing over her, when in fact her character takes fearless initiative at every turn. I hasten to add, though, that John Hakwes is unbelievably great, completely bowled me over; he deserves any and every award that any award-giving body is smart enough to hand over to him.

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