By Peter Colaner
As I’ve pumped up my movie intake, I’ve realized many of my favorites — “The Shawshank Redemption,” “American Psycho,” “L.A. Confidential” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” — evolved from novels.
When I found out books lay the foundation for my favorite films, it came as no surprise to see that seven out of the top 10 films in the American Film Institute’s Top 100 are book adaptations.
With my aspiration to someday take part in the movie-making process — be it as an agent or producer — I would love to see the following stories adapted into screenplays.
Philip Dick, the man behind blockbusters such as “Blade Runner,” “Minority Report” and “Total Recall,” has penned what I think is an exceptional short story: “Service Call.”
Dick cuts to the chase in “Service Call,” where character David Courtland discovers he inadvertently is in possession of a piece of biotechnology, called the swibble, that is in need of repair. In addition to finding out he owns a swibble, Courtland learns this universally owned product is designed to shift ideological perspectives, eradicate contrary opinions and ultimately prevent war.
After reading this short story, I couldn’t help but think of the current political climate and how consequential polarizing opinions can be, yet the opposite side of the paradigm is no less dire. “Service Call” provides the set up for what could be a great movie, revealing the ramifications from a lack of diverse beliefs.
And Courtland knows this, and that the creator of the swibble could easily manipulate his constituents under the guise of preventing war. However, preventing war may only cause a war if Courtland rounds up troops to take out the people behind the swibble.
“Service Call” is thrilling, but perhaps it needs a service call of its own to extract its suspense to the fullest potential.
Stories starting with the protagonist’s failure or hardship leave me with no choice but to root for them.
Novelist A. B. Yehoshua does just that with “The Tunnel.” In the first chapter, the protagonist Zvi Luria learns he has deterioration in his frontal lobe — a major sign that cognitive decline will quickly ensue.
To combat this, Luria desperately attempts to become the person he used to be by taking a job as an unpaid assistant to a young engineer at his former agency, where he begins working on a tunnel: a metaphor for his entrance into interior darkness.
However, his neurologist leaves him with a promising message that he can slow the decline with “how you fight back,” which leaves Luria thinking there might be light at the end of the tunnel — no pun intended.
As Luria’s fight with dementia grows, I envision “The Tunnel” transforming into a psychological project where the line between what he knows and forgets is blurred, leaving the audience having to ponder what is actually happening.
And now I am at the end of my blog post, writing and questioning whether I should actually submit this. Someone else could read this, take my movie ideas and run with them.
If that were the case, I’d hope to assume the role of Zvi Luria and forget all this happened.