Adaptation is about a screenwriter named Charlie Kaufman who is struggling to adapt a book on orchids by a writer for the New Yorker named Susan Orlean. As it happens, the film itself is written by a screenwriter named Charlie Kaufman — whose previous forays into the bizarre and self-referential include the little-seen Human Nature and the inspired, if over-rated, Being John Malkovich — and parts of this new film are based on a book on orchids by a real-life writer for the New Yorker named Susan Orlean. As the character Kaufman himself admits, after he has written himself into the screenplay, his script is self-indulgent, narcissistic, and solipsistic. It’s also a heck of a lot of fun.
In When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan famously argued over whether men and women could be friends without one of them wanting to have sex with the other. When I first saw the film 11 years ago, I found it funny, entertaining and a good conversation piece, but I couldn’t help thinking that Crystal and Ryan — neither of whom seemed to have any family beyond their fellow single New Yorkers — had overlooked something. I could certainly think of a few women in my own life for whom this was a non-issue, and one of them was sitting right next to me in the theatre. I refer, of course, to my sister.
Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line is a brooding and introspective look at war, and with that in mind I’d like to start with a little brooding of my own. I have never known what to make, as a Christian, of war. I grew up in a nominally Mennonite, and therefore pacifist, environment, but I currently attend an Anglican church where the walls are decorated with memorials to parishioners who died — and killed — in battle.