Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Hottest State

So what is this one about?
It was brought to my attention that Ethan Hawke--yes, the actor!--is also an author. He has written two books, The Hottest State and Ash Wednesday (in that order). Now, I was told that Ash Wednesday was much better than The Hottest State, and it was. I also didn't realize that the first book was made into a movie, but it was! So I rented it.

Netflix tells us
Ethan Hawke wrote and directed this adaptation of his novel, the story of William Harding (Mark Webber), a struggling actor who falls for a beautiful musician named Sarah (Catalina Sandino Moreno). While she's largely indifferent to their affair, William continues to pursue her, hoping to make a connection. His quest eventually leads him to insight into his own need for love. Laura Linney and Frank Whaley co-star.

And how much did I pay to watch?
Like I've said, probably a lot, because I haven't been wating many movies. But, I got it on netflix, if that answers the question sort of.

And what did I think?
This is the thing I don't understand about the Hottest State. I have been yapping on and on about how movies haven't been doing books justice...so tell me if this makes sense. Follow me for a minute... Actor Ethan Hawke writes a book. He then makes his book into a movie which he directs and stars in. Now, one would expect the movie to do a good job of translating the book, right?

Well, I am sure you can all imagine what happened.

No. Not at all. How can an author direct his own book into a movie and still lose a shit-ton in translation?!?!

Now, to my beloved Mr. Hawke's credit, the feel of the book was pretty much encapsulated in the film. However, some of the deviations from the book were so egregious I just don't know what to do with myself.

Sarah, the female lead was supposed to be a pasty, chubby, frizzy black haired weirdo (for lack of a better word). The reader of the book doesn't really understand why William is so head over heels for this girl. William is supposed to be a hot, slick, ladies man. But Sarah, she isn't interested in him, she isn't nice, she isn't putting out, and she isn't even good looking. So it was just shockingly bizarre when Hawke cast a beautiful girl in the role. It just loses so much.

And then, William was supposed to be the good looking one, which made his love for Sarah even weirded, but he wasn't!! When I read the book I pictured William as hot Ethan Hawke from Before Sunset, because his character's voice read just like Ethan Hawke...but William looks like a trashy, hideous Ethan Hawke. WHY!??!?

The characters went to Mexico instead of Paris, which I buy alright, but there wasn't enough buildup to Sarah asking William to marry her. Whoops! Just ruined it. Actually, I didn't, because you shouldn't really bother with this, and you shouldn't really read the book either. If you wanna read some Ethan Hawke, you should read Ash Wednesday, which is so entirely much better than The Hottest State.

The music was trite. It was like Hawke was trying too hard to make the charaters deep, and the pain authentic, and the music sentimental...and it just didn't work!

But man, was Laura Linney good. I guess I will need to stop pretending, lets be serious. I love her. She isn't my new girl crush, but she is a pretty damn fine actress.

Also, Michelle Williams was good as Samantha, but there wasn't enough development of the Sam character, like there was in the book.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Oh Ethan Hawke, really, if you hadn't written this book, directed the movie, and acted in it, I wouldn't have watched it. Well, I might have, but I wouldn't have given it the same ammount of credit I do when you put your name behind it.

I mean, I guess I will give it a 5. It was passable. It would have been much better if Richard Linklater had directed this, and it starred a young Ethan Hawke...but I guess that is impossible by the laws of time and space.

I'd like to see more directed by Hawke, and I love the idea of him making Ash Wednesday into a film, but I just don't know if that book--or maybe books in general--translate well enough to film.

Le sigh.

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