Taking Liberties

Remember my adventures in the feature world with IP? You know, “intellectual property”. Everyone wanted to make movies based on true stories, preferably true stories that were published in Wired Magazine. Well, the feature world’s IP utopia has finally come to fruition with this year’s Oscar contenders.

And guess what? They all suck dick.

Not all of them. Just most of them. But there’s been a lot of push back about them, not just by audiences, but also by the actual subjects these movies are based on, for not being historically accurate.

Whoops. I guess there is a drawback to only doing movies about real life stuff. Especially when that real life stuff has a twitter account and screams that you fucked him over with your movie.

Most of the time I think these issues are bullshit. You can’t be totally accurate when you’re making a 2 hour movie about years of events. You just can’t. Two people will be condensed into one. A guy will become a girl. Three years go by but it’s portrayed as a month. A romance didn’t really happen. You have to do these things because life doesn’t work in movie form! This is obvious.

So when people start dissecting these things, I hate it.

The one, and maybe only one, “Oscar” film I really liked this year was The Imitation Game. Great story, great writing. And I went and checked wikipedia and was pleasantly surprised to see that the basic events shown in the movie were all true.


He did go work for the military. He did crack the code. He did have a friend named Christopher who died. He was gay. He was engaged to that girl. He did call it off. He did get arrested for being gay. He did do hormone therapy.


But amidst this “controversy” with these biopics, I came upon an article bemoaning the inaccuracies of The Imitation Game on slate.com.

Here is a real sentence that this person wrote:

And whether or not Turing liked sandwiches—a key plot point in The Imitation Game—goes unmentioned in Hodges’ biography.

Good fucking God, is this what it’s come to?!

Here is another one:

Several other details of their relationship are different in the movie than in Alan Turing: The Enigma. Although in the movie Christopher is taller than young Alan (Alex Lawther), in reality Turing had a growth spurt at 15, while Morcom was “surprisingly small for his form.”

That’s really crazy. Actually, it’s bat shit insane. If you’re going into a movie concerned about those kind of details, then I don’t think movies are for you. Stick to reading, or killing yourself.

Near the end, the writer notes:

As with other storylines, the skeleton of this narrative is true, even if the details are not.

That’s what you should strive for! That’s what you have to do to tell a compelling story. The details of real life are often mundane, and also, movies aren’t 10 hours long. Well, movies not named Boyhood and Inherent Vice aren’t.

So that really made me sick and obviously I disagree and have no problem with what The Imitation Game did. Or Unbreakable or American Sniper, for that matter. I mean, I had a problem with them sucking, but not with their creative liberties.

But that brings us to Foxcatcher. This, I have a real problem with. I don’t understand the point of what they did with this movie. It has almost no resemblance to what happened, except for the very end.

Mark Schultz was not in the shadow of his brother. He was better than his brother. Just read about his college career, it’s amazing. He wasn’t brought to Foxcatcher in that way. He went to coach at Villanova.

But again, those details, I can get over. You have to fib that stuff sometimes. However, the point of changing those details is my issue. It would make way more sense if John du Pont killed Mark. But he didn’t, it was Dave. 7 YEARS AFTER MARK LEFT.

Let me repeat, it was 7 years later!

So what are you trying to say with this film? You’re trying to invent a Mark/John storyline and weirdness, and then, in reality, Dave got killed. Why not make it about Dave and John? I’m confused. If it was at all about Mark, I’d think the shooting would’ve happened a smidge earlier than after 7 years went by.

Basically, from what I can tell, this du Pont guy was just a nut. A deranged weirdo. He was a paranoid schizophrenic who used cocaine. There wasn’t depth there. But to focus this story on Mark and John, and this whole father/son thing, and all this shit, it’s just all fabricated. Just make an original movie! Why the need for any of this real life stuff?

Is that how valued IP is? Even when it’s not needed, they stick it in? I don’t get it.

Anyway, watch The Imitation Game.

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