We Can Remember It For You Wholesale?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Caedus, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. Caedus

    Caedus Registered User

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    I randomly read this Phillip K Dick short story yesterday, and today morning I saw a commercial for a new movie based on it. I searched it online and apparently there's been other older movies that were based on it (Total Recall anyone?)


    (I never watched it .. )


    Anyways, what is exactly special about this story that has made it so commercially viable for Hollywood? :confused:

    Matter of fact why are Phillip K Dick's works so popular in Hollywood? I just checked Wikipedia and almost all of the big sci fi movies of recent times have been based on his stuff .. (Blade Runner, Minority Report). I'm not being a hater, I'm just wondering ... it's a bit weird. Did he have any special relationship with some big guy in Cali?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  2. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Fishbowl Helmet

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    No, there was no connection to some big Hollywood mogul or anything like that. But, it depends on who you ask, really.

    The most fun conspiracy theory is that because Dick's fiction is all mind-bending and down endings, Hollywood is attracted to them as edgy. However, because Hollywood is so rigid--always happy ending, need to make money, appeal to the biggest possible audience--that by the time the thing is actually written as a script, filmed, edited, and released, all the non-Hollywood bits are ground out--except for the initial mind-bending concept that is. This is my favorite. And most likely.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2012
  3. phil_geo

    phil_geo Rat Thing

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    Well, Dick was furious over the treatment of his first story, Blade Runner. He thought they removed all subtlety and nuance (Hollywood? Really??). However, he was living at the poverty level almost his whole life, so he was not about to turn down money. Dick died right before Blade Runner came out, but he did sell the rights for Total Recall just before he died.

    Then, short story is that Total Recall was the biggest hit of the year when it came out, and everyone realized that dozens of PKD stories had the same quality and potential. His estate was in probate for 11 years, hence the big gap, but right after that was resolved Hollywood optioned a bunch of his movies (A Scanner Darkly, Paycheck, etc.) and has been churning them out ever since.
     
  4. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    Really, Phil? :)

    THIS LINK might suggest different, although it is possible, I guess, that he was just schmoozing up to corporate big business...

    Ridley Scott seems to think Philip was impressed too, having seen a cut of the film just before he died, I thought.

    Mark
     
  5. Gkarlives

    Gkarlives Mystic and Misfit

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    Yes and No

    :DHaving seen Ridley talk about Blade Runner, Philip was initially upset with the screenplay but when he saw a clip of the special effects for making the urban sprall, he was happy.
     
  6. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for clearing that up. Guess we're both right: result!

    Mark
     
  7. phil_geo

    phil_geo Rat Thing

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    I based my comment on the final interview with PKD where he says
    He does imply he's over it later, but it's pretty strong stuff!
     
  8. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    I don't understand it either.

    The liberal arts perspective of science fiction is kind of peculiar. Style is very important to them.

    Watch the very first Star Trek pilot, "The Cage". Then ask yourself why the studio said it was "too cerebral" and ordered another one.

    psik
     
  9. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    I don't understand why they just mess them up so comprehensively. I would love to know the chain of thought, story conferences, and rewrites that took his 30 page short story The Golden Man about a post-nuclear war world in which genetic mutations are ruthlessly suppressed and the first Homo Superior is discovered: a lion-maned, golden-furred, totally silent creature that appears to have the ability to see into the future - and turn it into a modern day action thriller with French terrorists planting a nuclear bomb in LA.

    How? I mean How?
     
  10. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    ...and is anyone else here feeling really old as you realise that Total Recall has, apparently, been forgotten?
     
  11. Caedus

    Caedus Registered User

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    It came out in 1990, 22 years ago, which is pretty old to me. I've seen it pop up on cable a couple of times but I've never really watched it. I didn't know A Scanner Darkly was based on a novel of his either. I only watched the movie, it was pretty cool, ensemble cast, dug the visuals. It's crazy that so many movies are based on his stuff. Sad that the man didn't live long enough to see blade runner because from what I've read online it looks like he was basically living like a pauper for most of his life (all in the name of advancing the genre).
     
  12. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    I wasn't getting at you, Caedus, I was just boggling at the way time flies as you get older. 22 years ago I was, I suspect, older than you are now. I think of Total Recall as a recent film - as opposed to a 'modern' film or even a 'new' film.

    Forbidden Planet is an 'older' film to me. :) which was based on a Shakespeare play but despite it's transmogrification from 17th C mystical island to 23 C alien planet still manages to be more faithful to its source than most PKD adaptations.
     
  13. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    It should be forgotten. However, the remake comes out this year, so I'm guessing it will get renewed attention.

    My favorite is The Adjustment Bureau, which they basically completely changed into a romantic thriller. It was a cute movie, but I suspect Dick would have hated it.

    One of the reasons that Dick is popular in Hollywood is that he wrote near future dystopias, which are the easiest, cheapest sort of SF setting for them to do on film. Another is because Bladerunner developed a huge cult following after initially not doing so well and because Dick is studied in universities. So there's an audience built-in that will come to see a movie based on Dick's work. Anything with a guaranteed audience is attractive to Hollywood -- it's often why they bother to do book adaptations, and it's thus also easier to get a greenlight on a project. Since Dick wrote a lot of short stories with good plot concepts, and since directors love his stuff, he became a go-to guy, especially when some of the movies were hits.
     
  14. Awesomov

    Awesomov Man in the High Castle

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    I'm sure of that as well. Philip K. Dick had a more deterministic philosophy in his works, and the films based on his work tend to deviate from that perspective; The Adjustment Bureau and The Minority Report are prime examples.

    He also tended to be satirical in his implications, much like Total Recall was, but he was more subtle in his comedic aspects (if situations were outrageous, they still had a serious air to them, and were treated as serious by the characters). For instance, he wrote stories in which, for example, some government leaders attempt to kill one man by bombing a whole mountain range, another which involved people thinking they were plants, and another about sentient gumballs taking over by breeding like rabbits. The same is the case for this short story as well.

    Anyway, I figure Hollywood likes him because he usually came up with unique and interesting ideas (Hollywood, after all, generally seems to be in a creative rut these days), and that's one of the reasons I like him as well. This story in particular was the first of his that I read, and it's been heavily inspiring to me in a variety of ways.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  15. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    I think there is more to it than just the time. It is the amount of media material that is produced and how it has been steadily increasing for I don't know how long. I remember 5 channels on TV when I was a kid and nothing being good on Sunday afternoons. Who can watch golf? I couldn't even stand to watch baseball.

    I don't even know how many channels there are now. So everything gets lost in the clutter, no matter how good or bad. How much stuff are kids bombarded with today? No wonder they get ADHD.

    psik
     
  16. Danogzilla

    Danogzilla Couch Commander

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    Definitely. I saw it in the theater when I was 13, and still think of it as a relatively recent movie. I guess that means Spaceballs is pretty old too.

    Ugh!
     
  17. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    Total Recall made a lot of money because it's where you could see Arnold kill large masses of people in ridiculous ways, video game style. But Arnold is better remembered for Terminator and Predator, and then he stopped acting for awhile to do that other thing. Total Recall does get remembered for its multi-breasted mutant woman. Arnold made several SF films that are a lot like Total Recall and consequently, even though it was a success, it gets a bit lost. And there's a bit of a backlash against Verhoeven, the director. But it's still considered an iconic (awful) movie, enough that the remake kept the title and talks about how they love the first movie but they're "different" from and "more faithful to the original story" than Arnold's movie. Having seen the trailer, though, it doesn't look particularly different except for them not going to Mars.

    But the real mangling will probably be from the Bladerunner sequel, part of Scott's campaign to revisit his past successes and destroy them. There have been a lot of SF novels optioned lately, some classics, some newer, and a lot of films in the works. So I think in a few years Dick will be less prominent, but at this point, he's reliable, so they'll keep doing him. Like, say, Walt Disney planning to come out with the 3-D animated "King of the Elves" based on Dick's short story of the same name, due out next year. That ought to freak out some Dick fans. And an adaptation of Ubik is in the works, I gather. I haven't read that one. I'm not a big fan of religious, trippy Dick.
     
  18. Michigan

    Michigan Registered User

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    Yes. I remember seeing there was a remake coming out and my first thought was "already?"
     
  19. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Monthâ„¢

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    Hehe, me too :) Total Recall is not bad but as with most Arnie films, it has a comedy factor that lessens the impact of the SF element. Besides, everyone really remembers it for the bodily disfigurements (mutants, three-breasted woman, popping eyes when exposed to the Martian elements :rolleyes:) and I don't remember that being the major theme in the short story.

    BTW, We Can Remember it for You, Wholesale is a brilliant collection, and one of the best story titles I can think of.
     
  20. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    Don't recall Ubik being particularly 'religious'. Trippy yes, but not in a druggy-druggy way, more in a WTF is going on? van Vogtian way.

    Just for the record, I don't think I got to the end of Total Recall. I seem to remember abandoning it at the moment I realised our hero had an entry-phone camera that allowed the audience to see the bad guys coming up the stairs about four levels down and the other side of a public concourse.

    I may be misremembering details but I do remember thinking, 'this is sh**!'.