I know, I've said on more than a few occasions that I'm going to be more diligent about writing here. And then I failed with epic proportion. So I wouldn't blame you for not believing me now that that is my intent. So rather than reassure you and then fall flat on my face (not uncommon) - I shall just jump in and show you I mean it rather than tell you I mean it.
Oh so much to say. Let's start with the stupidest injury ever! I was sitting on my couch watching old TMC movies and crocheting (my renewed effort to find some zen mentally) and had my feet up on my coffee table. No biggie, right? Apparently it is when you do it for almost eight hours straight. And apparently crossing your legs when propped on said coffee table, despite the pillow under my feet, is also not good. By the end of the day, my knee was hosed! H-O-S-E-D. Swollen and puffy and painful and I can barely walk. I iced it down all day yesterday and it's better but not good. And now, from all the limping and compensating for my knee, my calves, thighs and back hurt too. If I wanted to believe it, I would say I was getting old and falling apart. (I am getting old and falling apart - don't tell anyone). So, from sitting and crocheting and watching TV, I have a knee injury. Someone told me I should make up some cool story about how I hurt myself, but in this case I suppose the coolest thing about it is how stupid it is. Sigh...
Just finished rereading Atlas Shugged by Ayn Rand again just in time to go see the final installment in the trilogy of movies made based on the book. I have a lot of thoughts on this, both good and bad. So, lets dig in.
As you all know, the book is my favorite book of all time. So, when they finally got around to making movies, I was thrilled. Here are my thoughts on all three films and the actors chosen. After reading an account of how much effort it took to get the movies made at all, I can understand why they had to change the cast for every film, but wish we could now get it made with the same cast throughout and make it longer so that so much of the book didn't have to get cut. A mini-series would be great. With all that said, I'm still glad that the movies were made and hopefully people who found the book too daunting can gain exposure to Ayn Rand's brilliance and ideas. I won't do all the characters, there's too many, but I'll do the ones I felt strongest about who played them in the movies. WARNING: There may be spoilers below. :)
Dagny Taggert - Taylor Schilling (Pt 1) was the best of the Dagnys. Samantha Mathis (Pt 2) is an OK actress but so not right for Dagny. Not right at all. Laura Regan (Pt 3) was alright but came off weaker than I'd like. Taylor Schilling was perfect to my mind. Willowy but strong like steel (or Reardon Metal). Beautiful, smart and no nonsense.
Francisco D'Anconia - Again, the first part got it right. Jsu Garcia was the right amount of sexy and smart, and pulled off the playboy role as well as the man of integrity. Just perfect. Easi Morales (Pt 2) was good. But, Joaquim de Almeida was terrible. Not because he's a bad actor, he's not, but because he was too old. Just awful and not believable as Francisco in any way shape or form. This was truly the worst casting mistake of all three films, followed by Samantha Mathis - for me.
Hank Reardon - Grant Bowler (Pt 1) and Jason Beghe (Pt 2) were very good Hank Reardons. I think I liked Grant Bowler slightly better, but both were very good. As much as I love Rob Morrow (Pt 3), and I do love Rob Morrow, he was not Hank Reardon. So, as sad as I was that they cut Hank and Francisco's storyline in Pt 3, it was a good thing considering both actors were wrong for the roles.
Eddie Willers - Of the three, they were all quite good. I suppose I found Richard T Jones (Pt2) too big, size wise, for Eddie's character. I see Eddie as efficient and dedicated, but rather unassuming so Jones was good but too big. Edi Gathegi (Pt 1) and Dominic Daniel (Pt 3) were both quite good. The one thing I would have changed about the book was that Eddie wasn't invited to Atlantis. He deserved to be there too. So, even though it's a change from the book, I'm glad they added it into the movie at the end of Pt 3. I'll probably be burned in effigy for saying that, but so be it.
Ragnar Danneskjold - Eric Allen Kramer (Pt 3) had the right attitude and did a credible job, but Ragnar was supposed to be beautiful, like his wife Kay Ludlow. Criminally beautiful is what I always thought when I thought of him and when I was casting this in my head - the only person that ever came to mind as a perfect Ragnar was Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
Ellis Wyatt - Graham Beckel (Pt 1) had the right intensity but was older and not as thin as Ellis should be and Lew Temple (Pt 3) had the right look more or less but was lacking the passion I think. Owen Wilson would have been a good choice if he could pull off the power and intensity of Ellis.
James Taggert - All three actors were good examples of James' whiny avoidance of responsibility or competence. I couldn't decide which I liked best, so we'll say they're all tied up. Matthew Marsden (Pt 1) had the right snivel-y look. Patrick Fabian (Pt 2) had the right amount of weasel-y charm. Greg Germann (Pt 3) had the right cowardice and fear.
Lillian Reardon - Rebecca Wisocky (Pt 1) nailed the careless cruelty and dismissive entitlement of Lillian and I would have liked to see her play the panicked anger Lillian has in Pt 2. Kim Rhodes (Pt 2) was too sharp, too slick for my vision of Lillian.
Cheryl Brooks/Taggert - Larisa Oleynik (Pt 3) was a great choice for Cheryl. She had the right amount of naivete, wide-eyed wonder and hero-worship. I thought Cheryl was always a great character to represent the crushed innocence of 'everyman'. She was our window to see how what we thought was good and true was a facade with no substance behind it and how crushing that betrayal could be. Great character in the book. Wish she could have been explored more in the movies. But I do understand what a Herculean task it is to turn this book into a screenplay. Jen Nikolaisen (Pt 3) was ok.
Dr. Hugh Akston - Michael O'Keefe (Pt 1) was great as Akston. Loved his portrayal. I thought Stephen Tobolowsky (Pt 3) did a good job too. But O'Keefe was perfect.
Dr. Robert Stadler - I didn't buy Navid Negahban (Pt 1) or Neil Dickson (Pt 3) in the role. Robert Picardo (Pt 2) worked for me because he looked like a smart man who had lost his way by not understanding the consequences of his actions. The right amount of smart and arrogant, and dismissive and intolerant of anyone less brilliant than himself.
I know you're waiting for John Galt, right? Ok...
John Galt - You don't see him really, but Paul Johansson (Pt 1) looks like he could have done a very credible job. He has the right look. I was so excited when I saw DB Sweeney (Pt 2) in the role - for two whole seconds. When he was younger, he would have been perfect! I do think Kristopher Polaha (Pt 3) did a good and had a good look. I would have liked a little more expressiveness from him, but over all - credible.
So, the movies as a whole. I think Part 1 was the best. Part 3 was the hardest to accomplish since they used the three parts of the book to divide the story line up for the movies and the third part was half the book. So much more to try to cover. Tough job and so, while I think the movie accomplished what it needed to, it wasn't great. The second part was good except for the whole Dagny issue.
I wish people would just read the book because it's so amazing.