From listening to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio series while in junior high school, what I recall most vividly was how Ford and Zaphod tried to “out cool” each other. Their absurd affectations intended to make themselves appear hip and suave even in the most dire circumstances was the source of most of the humor.
Their “beatniks to the nth degree” banter contrasted perfectly with poor Arthur Dent, the perpetually clueless earthman who was not savvy enough to know to hide his misgivings.
That core character dynamic was present in the books, the radio series, and the tv miniseries, but it isn’t in the film.
Without the characters’ highly comic attempts to out-impress each other, what we are left with are snippets of storyline from Adams’ saga, oftentimes rendered so literally from their past versions as to be utterly boring. I found myself craving something new, something which justified making the story as a film.
I found of bit of that in the one character given any sort of depth: Zooey Deschanel’s Trillian. I was already a fan of Zooey’s work (she played the GenY “Dead Like Me”/”Wonderfalls”-esque lead in the film “Eulogy”) so perhaps I was inclined to enjoy her performance regardless, but I thought she brought some life to the character. Admittedly Trillian hadn’t been particularly 3-dimensional in past tellings, but it was a good move to make her something more than a “scientist-turned-Dale-Bozzio-in-hot-pants” as she’d been in the tv series.
Pity that Arthur didn’t get more than a handful of lines of dialogue in which we could get to know him, too.
The characters were barely there, and frankly that was what was so fun about the original(s). The storyline, which the film adheres to far too strictly, was just a fast-and-loose path on which the characters could tumble down – opportunities for wild banter and philosophical hilarity.
I could praise the film for following the storyline of Adams’ series so closely, and for the way the filmmakers manages to recreate the look and feel of something the BBC might have produced 30 years ago, right down to the use of clayfields for alien planets. But honestly I am not sure it deserves praise. Because we’d already seen it. The BBC produced a tv mini series which had the same look. We’d already heard these lines of dialogue (in better, more “beatnik” form) before. Why make a film if you aren’t ready to take it to a new level, to riff on the material? The books and the radio series and the record albums at least took slightly different routes along the same storyline.
Ironically, by sticking so closely to the original, they did a disservice to it.
Boulder. Denver. Portland. Seattle. Vancouver (wait, is Vancouver in Canada?). These are some of the towns I am considering as places to move to and live in later this year. My scanning project, that is, my scanning of the papers of the late author John Mack, will likely conclude within 2 or 3 months. And then I am free. I haven’t told my employer of my plan, but I may once they have added some more board members who would give them a greater sense of stability – a stability which I fear would be rocked if they heard from me that my plans involve leaving in a few months. But as I see it, after I complete the scanning project there is not enough reason to keep me on — not at full time, certainly. And while I could likely continue there in some form, it has become increasingly clear that to do so would simply be to take financial advantage of their hospitality. That isn’t fair to them, and frankly the lack of conclusion isn’t fair to me. Though I fear it terribly, I am coming increasingly to realize that one must create their own resolutions. Funny that resolution both means “an end” and also it means a plan of action. As one workplace ends, another plan will need to be created by me. And at this point I don’t know what that is, other than the idea of relocating to another town in an entirely different part of the country. Reason? To see if I change, I guess. It’s about me. I’ve also started to feel that it would be ok to leave my parents behind in this part of the country while I go out to another part. Both me and my sister have remained geographically close to our parents, as they seem to need a lot of support in the form of being in touch and nearby. But I think they’d also like me to see me live a life too, so, I am feeling a bit more that it would be ok. Though I don’t like the idea of them aging while I’m away!
The towns I am considering are mainly selected for their median ages, all of which are in the mid-30s. I am 36, but better to skew younger I figure.
I have no job prospects known to me in any of those places, as I don’t even like traditional jobs. So it would be a bit of a dare, to see if I could scrap up work of some kind in any of those places. Boulder might have some more organizations that are like minded to me, but then again who can say if that would lead to any job leads? I have a friend who is searching out towns in that state and I’ll hear from that person about what the state is like, but I… I hate to think that I could become entirely alone if I end up in one place (say, Boulder) while she ends up in another (like, Denver). That would be ironic or something, to be nearby but far enough to make it not real. These kinds of situations is why I’ve always found it easier just to ditch all past contacts. I don’t know my high school friends anymore (‘cept one!), and I don’t see my college friends in years (though I still consider them friends, certainly, particularly my housemates…I figure they’ll contact me if they ever need to).
But generally speaking, I don’t tend to view myself as being in relation to another. Problem is, if I am in relation to another, who am I? Would I move to a city because someone else lived there, and if so, am I still living my own life? The boundaries get all fuzzy.
So, existential crisis time as I figure out where I could live.
Of course I’ve seen Seattle and Portland and Vancouver on tv for so many decades (since most tv shows are filed in the pacific northwest) that it feels like I’d at least recognize the place. But on the other hand Boulder looks like it might have a sort of nice arty vibe that would be life-affirming even if one is out of work and running out of money.
Realistically, I should probably wait till my friend moves out to one of those places in Colorado, and then visit both Denver and Boulder to see how either feels. And if neither feel ok, then consider one of those Pacific NW places. Maybe also consult with another friend to find out where she might be moving to. But then again, there’s the blur starting. Arg!
The 1980s pop star Adam Ant, most recognizable by his white-striped face paint, often gets talked up on the Ant boards as being the kind of musical icon who would make a keen figure.
Inspired by the discussion I made this mock up of Adam Ant in his “ant warrior” outfit. He also had a few other outfits that would be excellent but this is the one that most people would recognize as Adam).
I figured I’d post the pic here too for fun.
Well the Catholics got another extremist Pope. No hope for another John XXIII in our lifetimes, it seems. Not that it matters so much — the Catholic Church used to be recognized as being way beyond what mainstream America related to, and so I imagine it will be recognized in this way again — and never more clearly than now, with Pope Ratzinger being the guy who tried to involve himself in our last election. Soon enough the United States will be divorced from Rome, because Rome can’t stand us, and America won’t put up with Rome. And by Rome, I mean Vatican City, I don’t mean the fair country of Italy. Some people say that the prophecy which was delivered to the children of Fatima was about how the Catholic Church would become so out of touch with its constituents in the new century that it would fracture and fail. Maybe this is what is going on. They feel the fracture, but their response is the opposite of what it needs to be.
What would it take for them to elect someone who has the qualities of a Matthew Fox?