Reach and Pull

Musings on Infinite Jest

Some obvious and not-so-obvious potential movie scenes

with one comment

I’ve only read the book once (started in late May and finished in mid July) (it was and remains the only novel I’ve read in the past three years or so) with the obligatory re-read of the first chapter.  I didn’t begin writing marginalia and underlining and whatnot in my copy until about page 145.  Sometime thereafter, whenever there was a moment I felt would be especially good to have visualized in a potential movie, I drew an eye in the margin next to it (looks like the first one of those was page 289, before that I just wrote “LOL” and “WTF”).  Here are some of those (I finally have my copy at hand, yay), and it goes without saying these are merely a fraction of the possibilities:

  • Orin gazing at Joelle in the sprinklers
  • A slo-mo side-by-side comparison of Orin’s kick serve and kick
  • AFR’s highway “prank”…duh
  • The unfolding physical hideousness of Mario…every inch of Mario Incandenza, lol
  • Mario’s photographs on Comm Ave walls
  • ESCHATON…duh (at certain points, an overlapping double exposure of the game and real war)
  • Nell Gunther’s eye, and the general average-day milieu at Ennet
  • (One eye I quickly struck:  The ‘base-head in Southie…[shudders]…some of IJ is unfilmable)
  • A montage of “Live Silence”
  • Lyle illuminated by lightning
  • Clipperton climbing the umpire’s chair
  • The legend of the night Subsidized Time was conceived
  • NoCoat commercials
  • What happens when people get “homicidally tired” of Happy Days
  • (Not because it’d make good film…but someone please draw Marathe’s wife’s head, still baffles me)
  • Rusk at work
  • Gately as Sir Osis
  • Warrior-esque dawn drills
  • ATHSCME logistics and Mario’s puppet show…duh
  • Pat’s dog, and Pat’s driving
  • The AFR/Antitoi scene…duh (except, a touch too violent in the end, no…still, need the call to arms)
  • Roy and Ken share a tender moment
  • CT self-consciously lurking, self-consciously
  • The blind kid at ETA (WTF)
  • Lord’s, um, box
  • (Jesus, no one needs to see Lenz in action, right?)
  • Glimpses of Infinite Jest the movie, as they are revealed…duh
  • Pemulis dressing up for Rusk, exploring Alice’s desk
  • Errr, the Wayne/Avril scene
  • Randy’s mom on the bus
  • Dial-a-Prayer
  • Gately’s apotheosis…duh
  • AFR slalom on the Common
  • Mr. Bouncety-Bounce
  • Wayne’s brother, trains, and the Kissers
  • “Meet Those Needs!”
  • (However one can depict JOI via CGI)
  • A focus on Cheers, including Norm and the figurants
  • Stice’s real face
  • The anti-entertainment ads by Viney and Veals
  • Sixty years’ worth of chicken fillets
  • The weinie reciting Howl
  • Oh shit, I forgot:  “Help!” + “HELP WANTED”, lol
  • Gately flicking Hoffman-Jeep awake
  • The Yale-Brown football game
  • Gately’s cubist dreams (paging Gondry!)
  • Gately vs. floor
  • JOI shouting Eureka at Watt (btw, JOI = Will Ferrell and CT = John C. Reilly?  Meh?)
  • Barry’s challenge
  • The “end”…duh
  • A montage of every single JOI film, especially those described in the main body
  • The “ugly” MGM rallies
  • Orin’s impression of Avril
  • The 12 meter pie

Wow, so…if it took me about a half hour to flip breezily through the pages and barely scan each page in about 1.5 seconds…how in the holy fuck is a film director going to make a remotely adequate version, even if massively abridged.  I think the only possible way to do Infinite Jest any kind of cinematic justice would be to present it as a four part mini-series or even as a year-long weekly series on some cable subscriber channel.  Even then, it’s going to be maybe the most difficult page-to-screen adaption in history, especially if the director(s) understand the core of the book.  Worth a shot, though.


Written by reachandpull

October 1, 2008 at 8:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. “I’ve only read the book once (started in late May and finished in mid July) (it was and remains the only novel I’ve read in the past three years or so)…”

    Still only read the book once, plus the obligatory re-reading of the first chapter.

    Wanna know the only other fiction I have read since…oh, going on about 10+ years now…? Tom Kratman novels. Namely, these: A State of Disobedience, Watch on the Rhine, and Caliphate. I understand those pretty well, too. Well enough to say that Kratman, too, has been pathetically, hilariously misunderstood.



    November 20, 2016 at 9:30 pm

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