Thursday, January 13, 2011

Movie Adaptations

After watching Easy A, I realized that my professional direction may be writing teen movies based on books we have all read in high school English class, a project that will challenge my storytelling skills and intellect and give meaning to my life. There may be no nobler task than the dumbing down of celebrated masterpieces for the culturally apathetic youth. I have since set myself to work, diluting beloved literary classics into hollow adolescent clichés.

The Great Gatsby

When Nick Carraway’s family moves to Long Island he discovers that he has a mysterious next door neighbor: Jay Gatsby. The wildest parties at West Egg High take place in Gatsby’s gothic mansion almost every night and his parents never seem to be home. His cheerleading cousin Daisy, her cheating quarterback boyfriend Tom, and her best friend Jordan Baker try to make Nick feel at home as he is sucked into a world of rich kids, crazy parties, and varsity sports. Nick’s relationship with Jordan blossoms as shocking secrets are revealed. What happened at summer camp between Jay and Daisy two years ago? Scandal and secrets unravel without the interference of social themes and symbolism in this gripping new adaptation of a classic story.

Jane Eyre

In Lowood High School, freshman Jane Eyre is the victim of bullies, snotty sisters, and evil principals. When she volunteers to tutor Adele, a glamorous French exchange student, things finally start to look up. Through Adele she meets Eddy Rochester, a silent and brooding senior football star who happens to be part of Adele’s host family. Adele gives Jane a Parisian fashion makeover, and Jane begins to attract Eddy’s attentions. Just when Jane begins to feel happy for the first time, she discovers that Eddy is secretly hiding his insane ex-girlfriend in his locker. Can their relationship survive in this clever adaptation which conveniently ignores the moral questions and Gothic elements of the original novel?

Julius Caesar

In spite of his epilepsy, sophomore Julius Caesar takes the varsity basketball world by storm. While the impressionable students of Rome High School think of Caesar as a hero, his teammates aren’t his biggest fans. Caesar has undermined the rest of the team in his rise to fame and lowered the former team captain Pompey to the ranks of the school mascot. Brutus, Caesar’s teammate and best friend, launches a plan to teach Caesar a lesson he won’t forget. Will Caesar learn what it means to be a team? And why does the janitor who waxes the gym floor keep repeating, “Beware the Ides of March?” The answer will surprise you in this fresh, athletic take on a Shakespearean tragedy that will teach us all a lesson in friendship.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Occupational Fantasy, Part Three

I am employed as an adjunct literature professor at a community college that specializes in the culinary arts. The administration provides me with an office in a former men’s restroom and I move all of my material possessions into the office, including a twin bed. I teach introductory classes with vague titles and the few students who take literature classes to become rounded and critically thinking chefs frequently spend the lectures compulsively sautéing mushrooms or garnishing salmon. The administration considers liquidating the School of Humanities to fund the lucrative new hibachi track, but instead requests new classes with a culinary angle, such as Food for Thought. I am pressured into lecturing a seminar on food writing. For lack of a better plan, I bring in doggie bags from various dining establishments and assign articles on their contents. In my office the peace is occasionally disturbed by an aspiring hibachi chef looking for the men’s restroom, but in my free time I write stories and build cubist furniture.