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Movie Review: Adaptation

Story: Anyone involved in the creative process knows that it can be wrought with spectacular highs and debilitating lows. The creative team of writer Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jones (Being John Malkevich) depicts that angst perfectly on screen in this wonderfully rich, entertaining, film.

In a nutshell, writer Charlie Kaufman (during the actual real life filming of Being John Malkevich), was hired to adapt Susan Orlean's book The Orchid Hunter for the big screen. Facing writer's block, self-doubt and all of the other problems that come with being creative, he decides finally to insert his own screenplay adaptation dilemma into the real screen play. So, he becomes part of the film. This is the most original piece of film making I have seen in a very long time. It is not hard to follow. However, if you are a linear brained person, you might not enjoy this film as much as I did. Just sit back and enjoy all of the twists and turns and bask in the genius of this seamless treatment.

Warning: Do not leave the theater for a comfort break. You will be very confused when you return.

Acting: Superlative. Everyone was terrific. A special hooray to Nicholas Cage (who finally gets back to acting in this film), Chris Cooper, in a breakout performance, Meryl Streep (who can do nothing wrong) and a wonderful cast of supporting players and some very funny cameo appearances.

Predilection: I like Charlie Kaufman and would go to see any of his projects.

Critters: Alligators.

Food: Not a whole lot of food actually eaten. There are some restaurant scenes with food ordered, but very little eaten.

Visual Art: Some funny posters. Charlie Kaufman's home is minimalist in decor.

Soundtrack: Unobtrusive.

Opening Titles: I was grabbed into the film instantly with the voice-over beginning and the teeny tiny opening credits appearing across the bottom of the screen.

Theater Audience: A vast cross section of New York's Upper West Side Cinephiles.

Quirky Meter: Charlie Kaufman always demands at least a 3 on this meter when he is does the writing.

Predictability Level: Did not have a clue what was going to happen. I enjoyed the ride.

Oscar Worthy: Yes. Chris Cooper deserves a Best Supporting nod as does Charlie Kaufman for original screenplay. I would be shocked if Nicholas Cage did not get a nomination, either.

Nit Picking: When the film opened up with the dreaded voice-over I winced. This device, ofttimes used in films is dealt with amusingly in a mock screenwriting seminar in the plot. My buddy and I laughed uproariously when the topic of voice-over as cop-out, was annihilated by the screenwriting lecturer. However, in this film, the dreaded narrator works very well. Anyway, who am I to criticize a genius in the making?

Big Screen or Rental: Chris Cooper is always good, but this performance as Orchid Hunter John Larouche is a knock out. For some of his other work you could rent: The Bourne Identity, October Sky, American Beauty, Lone Star, A Time to Kill, This Boy's Life, Guilty by Suspicion, City of Hope and Matewan

Length: A little under 2 hours.