Atlas Shrugged, the Movie.

Just saw the film and here are my impressions in no particular order:

  • Given the subject matter, I doubt there will be a single objective review of this film (pun sort of intended) since just about everyone will review the politics and not the movie.
  • I think they tried to squeeze too much of the book’s plot into the screenplay, even with three films they still were pushing it, and I think several scenes will come across as unnecessarily cryptic to the uninitiated.
  • I think the casting was pretty much spot on.
  • I also think the shift to setting the events in the near future was inspired.  It aggressively draws the parallels between the books events and the current state of the country in a way that IMO will probably draw in those viewers who might be unfamiliar with the book’s plot.
  • The movie’s a polemic, which is fine because the book was a polemic.
  • Judging by the previews I saw with the film, the distributors aren’t quite sure who the audience is. (Independent film about relationships, a Christian movie about fatherhood, an agonizing look at the immolation of Mel Gibson’s movie career?)
  • Those who think Ayn Rand as a Medicare recipient is somehow a critique of her philosophy are engaging in the same sort of argument that those on the right use to critique so many people who argue for higher taxes– i.e. Michael Moore is free to cut an extra check to the U.S.Treasury any time he wants.

For all those authors who explode over on-line reviews.

You may think your work may have been unfairly treated by some reviewer, blogger, or some commenter on Amazon.  But no, really it hasn’t.  Your work has never been truly insulted unless it has been insulted like this:

Gentlemen:

“Dod Grile” (Mr. Bierce) is a personal friend of mine, & I like him exceedingly — but he knows my opinion of the “Nuggets & Dust,” & so I do not mind exposing it to you. It is the vilest book that exists in print — or very nearly so. If you keep a “reader,” it is charity to believe he never really read that book, but framed his verdict upon hearsay.

Bierce has written some admirable things — fugitive pieces — but none of them are among the “Nuggets.” There is humor in Dod Grile, but for every laugh that is in his book there are five blushes, ten shudders and a vomit. The laugh is too expensive.

Ys truly

Samuel L. Clemens

That two star review on Amazon sort of loses its sting now, doesn’t it?

Speaking of authors doing things wrong. . .

Strangely enough, just as my ancient post on Mr. Patrick “fiction writer working at the very highest level today” Roscoe gained some renewed attention, another author decided to break the cardinal rule of writing in the age of the internet, that rule being: “Thou shalt not start a flame war over a review of thine book.”

I will not fully engage my snark here because Jacqueline Howett does not seem to fit in the same category as professional authors undergoing a review meltdown (Anne Rice for example).   She seems slightly more entitled to a bit of sympathy for her misstep. Her repeated misstep. Missteps ending with the eloquent:

“Fuck Off.”

More’s the pity because the review in question actually suggests that she has promise as a writer, and just needs some fairly serious copy-editing. (Note to self-publishers:  Everyone needs copy-editing.  Get yourself some before you start uploading files. This is one of the responsibilities you assume by bypassing traditional publishing.) Now, because of her public tantrum, she’s now known for being the author who had a hissy fit over her own bad sentence construction. (She’ll be lucky if the following sentence does not become an internet meme: “Don and Katy watched hypnotically Gino place more coffees out at another table with supreme balance.”)

So it doesn’t matter if you’re professionally published, self-published, or uploading things to fanfiction.net.  All public internet whining gets you is a fist full of abuse from folks who love this sort of thing, and a reputation as one of “those” authors. I mean, editors do Google you, and it doesn’t help you if this or this is one of the top results.