Thursday, September 10, 2009

Revolutionary Road, probably the Best American Novel, I mean sure, why the hell not, hasn’t Richard suffered enough?

No wonder Yates was unpopular, Revolutionary Road performs a type of surgery on suburbanites. By ripping them a new one, he alienated potentially four-hundred and eighty hundred thousand of his readership because that’s how many people live in the suburbs. I should know I grew up in one and had to put the book down because I was reading it in one and it was pretty upsetting and I was on holiday and nobody wants to get upset reading on their holiday.

Published in 1961, the novel puts an entire generation of smug suburbanites on a skewer and barbeques them in the salubrious comfort of their immaculate backyards. No wonder then that upon its release a lot of people averted their eyes from the hard truths (which Richard Ford distills pretty succinctly in the book’s introduction — the smoke and mirrors quality of suburban bliss), but really these people had no other choice, they had already been barbequed. So of course when the author turned up in their town to read from the book no one showed up. He spent his evenings after reading to empty rooms alone in bars and eventually died in a lonely place, penniless and borderline mad.

Now I am willing to accept almost any work as a comedy, at least I try my best to, but Richard Ford I take action against you saying Revolutionary Road is ultimately a comedy. Hard to accept such bile-producing sentences being construed as comic. Miss Lonelyhearts is pee-your-pants funny by comparison.

Truly asinine they turned this into a movie. There’s a vicious irony to these dilettantes living in the suburbs that I’m sure those movie bozos could never translate. Huge mistake casting the guy who saved the titanic from drowning. Needed some unknown without Leo’s millionaire swagger. Frank Wheeler’s main gig is fooling people into thinking he’s capable of some nebulous brilliance by way of some rather brilliant bullshit. Leo may be full of bullshit, but he’s filthy rich and bangs a different broad every night. Seem to have forgotten what my point was going to be.

RE the casting, I blame Winslet, who I quite like and her husband, who I quite don’t. I’ve seen Kate save her bacon by acting like crazy in movies that suck so I’m morbidly curious to see how she handles herself in the shoes of April Wheeler. April’s in a far more interesting place than whatever place Frank’s in, but then again, I find Betty Draper more interesting than her husband, so I guess deep down I’m just a 50s-era ladies man.

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