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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hollywood Is Running Out of Ideas, Part 34,770

Posted by on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Steven Spielberg is in talks with Dreamworks to remake The Grapes of Wrath, because apparently what's missing from John Ford's 1940 adaptation is cloying, formulaic nicey-nice conclusions, transparent plot-development exposition, and watering down of the script for minimum controversy.

Thankfully, Dreamworks claims Spielberg only aims to produce the thing because he'll reportedly be too busy filming American Sniper with Bradley Cooper (dry heave sound). Still, it's hard to believe that he'd rather be doing that than working on an adaptation of one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. Cue untested hand-puppet director! Apparently there was a big race to buy the rights for Wrath from the Steinbeck estate due to the upcoming 75th anniversary of the book.


Comments (19) RSS

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schmacky 1
Not sure why Bradley Cooper deserves your scorn...or Spielberg for that matter.

The pathetic dearth of new ideas currently emerging from Hollywood, however, is clearly pathetic.
Posted by schmacky on July 16, 2013 at 2:21 PM · Report this
seatackled 2
Bet it will look great with CGI and sound great with a techno-hiphop soundtrack.
Posted by seatackled on July 16, 2013 at 2:33 PM · Report this
spfldnet 3
I think it started with E.T. when they supposedly edited out the shotguns the police had at the roadblock scene and replaced them with walkie-talkies (to make it palatable for television viewers).
Posted by spfldnet on July 16, 2013 at 2:42 PM · Report this
California Kid 4
@2 This is Spielberg, it will be John Williams doing the soundtrack. March of the Okies!
Posted by California Kid on July 16, 2013 at 2:44 PM · Report this
seatackled 5

I'm worried about the scene he's going to shoot of the Joads eating raw monkey brains, but I bet the outtakes they show in the final credits will be hilarious!
Posted by seatackled on July 16, 2013 at 2:48 PM · Report this
Dougsf 7
@4 I got no issue with John Williams scoring this, however unlikely that is. What we don't want here is Danny Elfman.

I liked the John Ford film for what it is, but I think I more faithful version of the book could be made. The issues explored here couldn't be more relevant today.
Posted by Dougsf on July 16, 2013 at 3:43 PM · Report this
RainMan 8
The 1940 movie ended on a more optimistic note than the book, but I suppose it wouldn't have gotten past the censors any other way.
Posted by RainMan on July 16, 2013 at 4:16 PM · Report this
In the new version Tom Joad hasn’t been in prison, he was away at a university, Casey hasn’t lost his faith, he runs a counseling service for at risk youth, the family never moves from their home they all make minimum wage at Wal-Mart invest their money in penny stocks and get rich during the Second World War
Posted by Merchant Seaman on July 16, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 10
In the new version the Joads settle into California's Central Valley where they found a fundamentalist church and sponsor a series of anti-gay ballot initiatives.

Oh, wait...
Posted by Dr. Z on July 16, 2013 at 5:31 PM · Report this
Dougsf 12
@8 You know, it's actually hard to imagine an American film ending the way the book ends (assuming the scene in the barn is the ending, that's how I remember it) even today—I can't think of a film that's ever actually shown (or implied) that.
Posted by Dougsf on July 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM · Report this
#9, 10

No they would leave high unemployment California and move to oil rich the millions who did so in the last 3 years.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 16, 2013 at 6:20 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 14
@13: a couple of problems with that theory.

First, Oklahoma's oil is long gone. Now the state is experiencing earthquakes, unheard of when I was a kid, due to the oil industry's environmentally unsafe practice of pumping water into the ground to replace the oil.

Second, Oklahoma's economy is contracting at a rate unmatched since the Dust Bowl. The major growth industry in OK currently is fire insurance fraud.

Third, Oklahomans don't want the Californians back. There has always been an undercurrent of hard feelings between those who stuck out the Dust Bowl - like my parents - and those who called it quits and moved to California.

No state in the Union carries a chip-on-the-shoulder grudge like Oklahoma, which is somehow befitting a state whose early white settlers were bitter defeated ex-Confederates who promptly took out their rage and frustration on the Indian tribes who'd been dumped on that godforsaken land before them.
Posted by Dr. Z on July 16, 2013 at 7:22 PM · Report this



According to the DOF, California’s domestic migration has been negative in 18 of the past 20 years.…

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 16, 2013 at 8:56 PM · Report this
>15 cont'd

Oklahoma 'A-OK' with taking jobs from California

We love doing business in Oklahoma, and the choice part repeats itself often as we recruit others to join us. Talent continues to pour into the state, and government regulations are business-friendly and predictable. Oklahoma City, where we are headquartered, was ranked 12th in population growth in a recent study, with a growth rate 60 percent above the national average. Oklahoma's unemployment rate of 5 percent is more than three points better than California (8.6) and a point better than much ballyhooed Texas (6.5 percent). Oklahoma City has the nation's lowest unemployment rate at 4.6 percent and Tulsa at 5.5 percent.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 16, 2013 at 9:08 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 17
Have you ever actually lived in Oklahoma?
Posted by Dr. Z on July 16, 2013 at 9:10 PM · Report this
Let me just back up the point--having long taught the novel and the film (and Springsteen and Guthrie's takes on it) together: the original film got a Spielberg ending, lifting stuff from the middle of the novel to end with the optimistic "We're the people" speech by Ma Joad.

And go watch that film again. No such casting would be possible today.
Posted by Chicago Fan on July 16, 2013 at 10:44 PM · Report this
I think Spielberg did just fine with films like "Empire of the Sun," "Munich," "Schindler's List," and even "Lincoln." Pretending that Spielberg is only what's represented in his worst films is to be willfully, and sadly ignorant of what he's capable of and how timeless his best films are. He's greatly admired by some of the best film makers in the world.

I watched Ford's take on GoW right after I read it, and was unsurprisingly disappointed, as Hollywood of 1940 could never have produced a faithful adaptation. It's silly to assume a new version won't be better. Or worse, for that matter.
Posted by LJM on July 17, 2013 at 12:04 AM · Report this

Well I've never been to heaven
But I've been to Oklahoma

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 17, 2013 at 12:15 AM · Report this
Buttercup 21
Sadly, these issues are still current fucking affairs.
Posted by Buttercup on July 17, 2013 at 10:53 AM · Report this

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