Thoth God of Knowledge/Flickr
Bill Watterson, creator of the popular Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, has recently quashed all talk of a possible film adaptation – saying, “as a comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes works exactly the way I intended it to. There's no upside for me in adapting it.”Finally. An artist thinking with his head and not his pocketbook. Having ended the strip in 1995, one might have thought Watterson would be eager to have his characters jump into the digital age. Not so, says Watterson, all the while acknowledging Pixar’s “visual sophistication.”For trumpeting the graphic medium as the ultimate arena for his creation, Watterson should be commended. Too often, it seems the true intent of comics nowadays are simply to act as storyboards for the silver screen. Most times, however, the results pale to the magic of the original tale – so why bother tarnishing the source material?Not every work of art need be all-things (or all media) to all people. Does every song become a painting? Does every television show become a sculpture? Of course not. So why is it that Hollywood has become so lazy as to simply mine each and every comic property in the hopes of landing the next franchise? Here’s to Watterson for having the conviction to just say no. You want to enjoy Calvin and Hobbes? Pick up a collection at your local bookstore. Here, the adventure of a boy and his tiger remains pure and timeless – no CGI required. Let this sleeping tiger lie.
Bill Watterson via mpetrus001/Flickr
Bill Watterson, the creator of the Calvin & Hobbes comic, recently held an interview with the Mental Floss website. This was news in of itself because he's a noted recluse who rarely ventures out into the public eye since he shuttered his creation in late 1995. The most notable thing he said was that he wouldn't allow the strip to be adapted to the big screen.
But still, I say, if Watterson really exercised extreme caution and prudence, he could pick something like, oh say...Pixar (a company that even he admitted he loved). Imagine a whole CGI Calvin & Hobbes movie instead of that half-CGI, half-live action dreck that was Garfield and The Smurfs. To quote from Breaking Bad: No half-measures. Imagine a really well-done movie that managed to capture the whimsy of the comic. Watterson would still have enough pull even with a comic that last ran two decades ago. If I were the one choosing, I could see a Brad Bird-helmed movie being REALLY good.
I've always wondered what Spaceman Spiff would sound like on the big screen. If the people doing this, and I could see Bird not stepping outside the lines, it would be a really interesting vision. This would be a movie that practically wrote itself.
I can understand that he wants to protect his own intellectual property - and kudos to him for that, since the movie industry does not really have a great track record when it comes to lifting from the funny pages. For this purpose, I'm separating these comics from the ones in the Marvel and DC universe - aka the superhero genre. There have been good adaptations from those, like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, a couple of Batman movies and The Avengers. I'm thinking of comics like Garfield and Asterix.
The problem with those movies is that the creators didn't seem to care about what happens to their property. What did Jim Davis care that the Garfield movies were the equivalent of cat litter (yes, I know I've been picking on this movie, but it's such a huge punching bag) ? He was already a billionaire before the movies were made. Once the contracts have been signed, it's like the quality.
But keep Joss Whedon away from it...the last thing we need is to have a twist ending where an important member of the cast dies.
In mainstream news: Sandra Bullock is still floating around in space, and movie-goers still seem into it. In less mainstream news: crazy antics from Madonna, M.I.A, and, oddly, AMC. Here's some news you might have missed this week.
M.I.A. is too cool for YOLO, writes song called "Y.A.L.A" (You Only Live Twice). Listen to the song's banging preview at Stereogum.
Neil deGrasse Tyson disses Gravity. Read a collection of his self-righteous tweets at Hollywood.com.
Bill Watterson, elusive comic writer and absent subject of the new Calvin and Hobbes documentary, permitted an interview.Mental Floss gets the great honor.
Indie Christian singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens writes a (probably) joking open letter to Miley Cyrus. Read the letter, which addresses the pressing issue of Miley's grammar, at Pitchfork.
There is an arm-wrestling show coming to AMC. It's called King of Arms, and you can find out more at Vulture.
And AMC jumps on the space bandwagon with The Astronaut Wives Club. The A.V. Club describes it as "Mad Men: In Space."
Madonna gets banned from a theater chain for texting. Find out the crazy details at Hollywood.com.
"I've never met anyone who doesn't like Calvin and Hobbes." This statement from the new trailer for Dear Mr. Watterson rings true, and it shows why this affectionate documentary about the famous comic strip is bound to strike a chord in the hearts of many. The film is about the creation and legacy of the comic, and it features everyone from those who worked on the strip to its most ardent fans. However, though the title addresses the famously reclusive creator of Calvin and Hobbes, it won't feature Bill Watterson himself.
"Our choice not to pursue Watterson for an interview was the right fit for our film," director Joel Allen Schroeder said in an interview with Salon. But any attempt would have probably been in vain anyway – Watterson has seldom spoken about his fantastic creation.
The documentary began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2009, and has since gathered steam, now beginning to appear at independent film festivals. On November 15th, the film will be released to the public at select theaters and as a digital download. What should we do in preparation for the film? Pre-order the film here, download some footage and a song from the gorgeously cheerful soundtrack, watch the two trailers below, and if it snows, make some snowmen, Calvin-style .
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After Sam Waterston Law and Ordered the hell out of NYC, he called upon some of his friends to go see if they could go Law and Order up Los Angeles, too. Fortunately enough for him, some of his comrades were available to take charge of the endeavor, which included teaching kids to “stop, drop and roll” and that you’ll have to teach a judge’s law class (which he’s confusingly teaching) if you need to wake up a judge in the middle of the night for him to sign a search warrant for you (which in Los Angeles, is going to the secret spot where he’s drag racing). Terrence Howard told Jay Leno last night about what it’s like to be one of Waterston's next generation, and one of the first pranks that’s been played on him on the show.
And Jillian Michaels told us more about how it’s possible to be really buff and really fit and capable of putting up resistance against a weeping 450 pound 64 year old, there’s really nothing she can do about her “haunted houseguest.”
Tom Selleck looked the look that people look like when they’re too big for their airplane seat. Things seemed a bit too snug for him between Jimmy Fallon's chair and his own mustache, but it’s weird because he’s had, like, 65 years to get acquainted with that space.
David Letterman spoke to Tony Blair about his relationships with Bill Clinton and George Bush. Tony continues to believe you don’t get to be President by being a fool, which means his desk is pretty boring because I’m pretty sure it doesn't have a Bushisms calendar on it.
Lewis Black appeared on The Daily Show and talked about the education crisis and how nobody knows how to fix a school. Black said he was in support of charter schools if getting into it was as hard as rushing the fraternity that makes you have sex with a girl on a statue that’s standing up. ON IT.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cBack in Black - Education Crisiswww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity
And Stephen Colbert took a peek into what the drug war in Mexico is like, and spoke to John Burnett about how drug cartels are giving journalists a really hard time for showing how they’re drug cartels. And they're surprised or something?
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30cGang Busters - John Burnettwww.colbertnation.comColbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive