I've spent the summer down south rummaging around Mexico with Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy that's composed of All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, and Cities of the Plain. If you hate commas, love the word "and", archaic language, descriptions of birds pinned to the needles of a Cholla, horses, open throats, she-wolf trapping, or westerns in general, you need to buy all three and spend sometime hanging around the border.
This isn't a disclaimer to get you to read a series of books that is already well known though. After I finished All the Pretty Horses, I wrote about my thoughts on it, read some analysis, and most importantly, checked out if the movie was any good or not so it could ruin the book and everything I had imagined while reading this novel. The movie has a 5.8 rating on IMDB. So rather than watch it blindly, I checked out the trailer. And OMG. It is the dumbest thing I have ever seen.
The trailer morphs this novel into a wet and wild summer camp filled with horses and hilarious hijinks where Matt Damon falls into a forbidden love until it all comes crashing down. The only thing missing is a Gin Blossoms song. It's like Miramax took Summer Catch, replaced baseball with horses, and replaced Freddie Prinze, Jr. with Matt Damon. And don't even get me running on that electric guitar that starts this thing out.
I's Saturday. You ain't got no work. You ain't got nothing to do. Let's run through all the other Cormac McCarthy trailers.
Child of God (NSFW)
This James Franco movie trailer doesn't turn the book into something it isn't to try and woo teenagers to spend their $5 and come and hold hands on a Friday night. It's gruesome. But it's kind of silly. Most of the trailer shows someone who may or not be mentally ill walking around screaming and shooting people. There's enough of the plot to keep you interested, yet only a glance at the awful things that are inside this book that would would turn you away. That's the issue with McCarhy's novels going from the page to the screen. They are violent. They depict awful, horrible things. No matter how lovely he depicts rotting bodies, it's still difficult to swallow. It's tough enough to imagine it, so it's exhausting and gross to watch.
I really enjoyed this book, though, but because of the things inside, I have no desire to watch this thing. Hey, at least the trailer is better than that time he directed The Sound and the Fury.
Now this is a great trailer. It shows you what the movie is about. It gives glimpses of action. Tension is covering this thing like craters on Mercury. Man, I want to watch this thing right now.
But like Child of God, his movie is nearly impossible to watch. The whole thing is gray, drab, and looks like the 'All Ghillied Up' level in the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which isn't the same thing as that fast-paced crap them youngsters play nowadays. The only good, or uplifting, thing that happens is the boy gets to drink a coke and they find some peaches once. Other than that, it's an existential nightmare filled with walking, cannibals, and more walking. That makes for a great book. But again, watching it is banal, nauseating, and gruesome. I would recommend it if you read the book because the director offers his own insight on how the world ended and what's going on with that wife of his. If you haven't, don't watch the movie until you read the book. If you don't read the book, don't watch this movie.
No Country For Old Men
That haircut. It's the most horrifying thing I've ever seen, and it's everywhere in this trailer. For that simple reason, it's perfect. It shows Mr. Chigurh walking around hideous and blazing in the sun. Landscape shots of the West Texas desert. And people running away from Mr. Chigurh as he haunts them. This movie is great. This book is great. This trailer is perfect.
Of all the McCarthy adoptions for film, this is the one best. Again, it all comes back to the gruesomeness of it. The book reads like all of his others, but the violence fits the action style rated "R" variety we are accustomed to, unlike the dead body dragging in Child of God. Shooting for money and getting away is cool. Hanging out with or eating dead people isn't.
Everyone hates this movie, but I really liked it. Aside from first half keeping you in the dark and a beginning love scene that comes off as gross (I'm not talking about the car) because an 80 year old man writing about sex is never a good idea, it's a great movie. The characters are colorful and interesting. It treats you like an intelligent person capable of thinking and shows, rather than tells, what's going on. The landscape is beautiful. It has some of the best violence I've ever seen in a film. Oh, and if I ever become a big-timer, I am dressing like Brad Pitt does everyday. Despite the first half being confusing and not revealing, it all comes together and makes you wish you never hit play so these people wouldn't have to endure what they just did.
As for the trailer? It's stupendous. It's like watching a Grand Theft Auto cut scene or a Sportscenter Top 10. Just cut after cut of highlights without telling you what happened.
I could watch Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones do anything together. Stitch sutures. Take out the trash. Play racquetball. Talk about God for an hour and half. Whatever it is, I'll pay $5 to see it. Their chemistry is perfect, and unlike everything else we've seen, these two are hilarious for this minute and a half.
I did watch the first twenty minutes of this thing and turned it off. It was interesting and enjoyable, but the dialogue, which is the entire thing, is deep and complicated. It's the type of thing you want to read, highlight, and make notes of, not watch on a Tuesday night before bed. I'll have to revisit this in the future once I've sat down and read the entire play.
The Gardner's Son
Somewhere on the internet is a PBS broadcast of this series based on a screen play McCarthy wrote, but I couldn't find it anywhere. If it is anything like old McCarthy, it takes place in Appalachia and a lot of bad things happen. Old McCarthy is weird, though. He loves Faulkner and tries so hard to be like him. But he can't do what he did. It just leaves a sour taste in your mouth and makes you want to read Faulkner, if you are into that type of thing. But through all of those years of emulation, and a move down to the border, McCarthy found his voice and became our greatest living author.
Yes, the films are nearly impossible to digest. Yes, most of these trailers are silly. But 150 years from now, when people look back on literature from this time period, McCarthy's works are the ones that will stand out. So if you hadn't read him, you should; if you don't read, you should. If you still don't read, you should save your time and probably skip all of his adaptations all together aside from No Country for Old Men and The Counselor.
That's all I have this Saturday. The floor is yours to talk among yourself about whatever you want, Houston Texans related or not. Just remember the same rules apply. Thanks again for making Battle Red Blog the thing that it is.