Factotum vs. Barfly/Best Actor to Play an Older Buk

I never really thought of comparing these two movies until I saw the scene both movies share, where Henry meets Wanda and they go to the liquor store, get a couple of six packs... etc.

How well do you feel Factotum translated Buk's writing style to film? And how does that compare to what Schroeder did with Barfly?

Also, how does the fact that Buk wrote the script for Barfly, but not for Factotum, affect the films?

Here are some positive and negative reviews of Factotum-

Positive:
http://entertainment.ie/movie_reviews/Factotum/4198.htm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2005/11/08/factotum_2005_review.shtml
http://www.channel4.com/film/reviews/film.jsp?id=152735
http://www.futuremovies.co.uk/review.asp?ID=403

Negative:
http://www.rte.ie/arts/2005/1117/factotum.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/filmandmusic/story/0,,1644735,00.html
 

hank solo

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I don't think you can watch those two movies without comparing them. They are fundamentally about the same period of Bukowski/Chinaski's life and to my mind share several scenes.
grahamcooke said:
[H]ow does the fact that Buk wrote the script for Barfly, but not for Factotum, affect the films?
I was very disappointed by Factotum (the movie) and that's mostly down to the (I feel) lack-lustre script. In fact when I watched it for the first time, I was livid, posting complaints on iMDB (and smog.net) moaning about what a wasted opportunity it was. I still feel it was a waste but I've mellowed out now - well slightly ;)

I thought Matt Dillon's performance was okay, as was Lili Taylor, but I was very disappointed by Marisa Tomei, who I've always liked in more popcorny films like 'My Cousin Vinny'.

But my main gripe is the number of great scenes that are in the book but missing from the movie. The transient theme of the book is completely absent - everything taking place in one city.

Incidentally, those Negative reviews listed above - I'd say the RTE one pretty much sums up how I feel, while the Guardian one is actually a Positive Review of this film, if a negative one of Bukowski generally...

I know this film still hasn't had a general release in the US, and it will be interesting to see what all you stateside folks think later in the year...
 
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cirerita

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pretty mediocre motion pictures :D, both of them.
methinks they have no spark at all.
but I've been known to be wrong before.
 
hank solo said:
I know this film still hasn?t had a general release in the US...
For anyone who wants so see it, Factotum will be released on DVD in Europe on April 3rd. It's region 2, but if you're in the US you can try to make your player multiregion with the following site:

http://www.dvd.reviewer.co.uk/info/multiregion/hackable.asp

The cheapest place to buy it is Play.com. ?21 and delivery is free worldwide:

http://www.play.com/play247.asp?page=search&r=R2&title=0&searchstring=factotum&searchtype=r2title&id=0&p=57&g=72&adudisc=y&who=&cpage=1&pa=cart&Cur=257

I definitely need to watch it again to make up my mind.
 

hank solo

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cirerita said:
...no spark at all...
Are you sure you saw Barfly??? :p

I love that movie!

Maybe it isn't as magical as the printed work but it had sparks oh yes...

Of course, I have been wrong before also... :D
 

Brother Schenker

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It's impossible for you to be wrong with regards to your opinion & feelings at the moment. Could you tell us what you loved about Barfly?

I fucken hated it and felt ripped off for renting it.

Roarke played a mumbling, farting, slovenly, drunkard--and sometimes poet--
and that weren't Buk by a longshot.

Faye Dunaway over-acted and just somehow didn't really belong there.

The story was dumb, dumb, dumb. I could've closed my eyes and picked a story or 2 or 3 from South of No North (or any of his collection of stories) and weaved a more interesting screenplay. Any of us could've.

I was glad to find out that Buk regarded it as a piece of shit, too. It was that stupid drunken Schroeder wanting to play director & producer in a big time Hollywood sandbox. Elevating or exposing Bukowski to the world at large was clearly not his primary motivating factor. If it had been, he would not have landed Roarke & Dunaway as a means to secure funding for the film. Bringing them in pretty much shot the whole deal in the head from the get go. Them big stars can't handle subtlety & low key character studies. They gotta turn the role into a starring vehicle so they can shine, shine, shine. In this case the story should've shone brighter than the performers and yet both sucked.

Just received a copy of Factotum on DVD today from Father Luke.
I've usually enjoyed watching Matt Dillon perform...but a pretty face like that playing Buk?? I think I'll wait until I'm in a real easy & forgiving mood before I watch it.
 

mjp

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Barfly certainly isn't an awful movie. It has light and color and actors and whatnot. ;)

But Roarke - I can't hang with that awful fucking portrayal. I didn't think Dunaway was a bad choice though. She dirtied up okay. Roarke just looked like a bad acting school jerkoff during the whole thing.

Haven't seen factotum. Those are all good actors though, Dillon, Tomei and Taylor. Whether they're right for this, seems unlikely, but they've all been very good in other things.

This is a tough audience though. Heh.
 
I guess it's quite easy to be critical of a movie written posthumously from a book. And it's very difficult to make such a movie and please fans. Another example is last year's "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy". The book itself is brilliant and clever and funny, and contains a lot of play on language. This is difficulty to convey in a film. Also it was Disneyised. The producers added an unnecessary love story and removed a great joke about proof of the non-existence of God, so as not to offend the Disney-happy religious right. More than anything in the world right now, the religious right represent a step back in our development.

The movie was good though, but it could have been a lot better.

Was really looking forward to Fante's "Ask The Dust" this year until I read the reviews blasting it. Pity.
 

hank solo

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mjp said:
This is a tough audience though. Heh.
You are so right there.

It seems a long time since I first saw Barfly. I think I had only read Factotum, Love Is A Dog From Hell and Women when I watched it, but I liked it right off.

I like the feel of the film. The run down bars. The real barflies. I think the only thing that bothered me on first viewing was the bad stunt doubling in the alley fight scenes. The dialogue is classic Bukowski. Maybe Rourke plays it up a bit; 'All of a sudden I'm popular - MAYBE I OUGHT TO RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL!' - but the character (I think) benefits for it. I always read Chinaski as being a sonovabitch. He has bravado and guts. Playing this line low key, perhaps even just to himself might have been more how Bukowski would have done it, but in print, Chinaski would be more fuck-you about it. Mr Vanbilderass.

There's lots of quotes from Bukowski about his feelings towards Rourke, Schroeder, Dunaway and the Movie. My overall impression is that he was happy enough with his script, and the movie but found the whole hell of the movie business pure and unnecessary bullshit. He seems to have like Rourke a lot more than Dunaway which surely says something of the Chinaski he portrayed in the movie. I disagree with Brother Schenker about Schroeder and his motives. He may not be the best director, but with the camera work of Robby Müller and terrific soundtrack, this is (my opinion) probably his best work. He seems to have been thoroughly committed to getting Bukowski's script, whatever it might be, onto celluloid and into cinemas. I like the novel Hollywood. It give you a lot of insight into the 10 year history of Barfly, from meeting Schroeder to the film release.

Of course the hub of the film, location-wise is the Golden Horn, which seems to be modelled very closely on the Philadelphian bar of Factotum's Chapter 22... a place that really encompasses a time that Bukowski seemed to frequently reminisce about with the utmost fondness. This fondness comes through in the writing, and I can't say that Rourke and Dunaway ruined the charm and subtlety of the dialogue because they didn't for me. They're both big name Hollywood stars - at least at the time Rourke was a very name to bring to the project - and consequently they both may have been trying to usurp every frame of the film. But you also have to wonder if anyone would really want to go and play a beat up, down on his luck, unknown and unpublished wannabe writer in order to promote themselves within Hollywood? It's a strange choice isn't it?

When Brother Schenker says that Rourke "played a mumbling, farting, slovenly, drunkard - and sometimes poet - and that weren't Buk by a longshot" he's mostly right. But think about the period of Bukowski's life that is the inspiration for this Chinaski. Barfly - like Factotum -takes place within "a few days out of a ten year period . . ." the lost years - where Bukowski was almost not writing at all. Before Jane died. Before his own admission to the Charity ward and his 'near death' experience that seems to have helped rekindle his ambition to nail down the word. So isn't it correct - at least according to myth - that we should be presented with a slovenly drunkard, and maybe never poet? If you read Factotum and don't see some fire in the youthful yet work-shy Chinaski then you've read a different book.

Again, its probably just his myth getting the better of him, but in Barfly, Bukowski has written a story about a bum who might have some spark of writing ambition but mostly he wants to drink, fight and fuck his time away. To complain as Bukowski did that Rourke was too dirty is surely just his pride confusing his life with his art?
CB: "but it's supposed to be fictional anyway, right?"

I'm not saying that there aren't more interesting tales that might translate better to the screen, but I find the Chinaski played by Mickey Rourke a very interesting creation. Barfly benefits from the direct involvement from Bukowski, throughout its production.
Perhaps if they hadn't opened with Booker T and the MGs, I'd feel different...

Have become incoherent? :cool:
 
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mjp

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Well look at the letterhead; CANNON PUBLICITY DEPARTMENT.

It was in Bukowski's interest to write glowingly about the film and it's stars before it came out, because if it was a hit movie, he stood to make a serious amount of money from it. As it was, the movie wasn't a hit, and later on you got more of his real opinion.

I think what Linda said is as close to his real opinion as we'll get. She would know his true feelings. Feelings he might not write down (if he had any such thing ;)).
 

Erik

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grahamcooke said:
How well do you feel Factotum translated Buk's writing style to film?
This sentence is all wrong. Movie-making is NOT about translating a writing style. It?s about making your own style, on the screen. A weak director just translates ? maybe this is Barfly?s weakness? Take Hitchcock, when he made a book into a movie you could barely recognize the book afterwards. And many of Hitch?s best films weren?t hits in their time. What I like about the movie Factotum is that it?s more like a collection of poems than a translation of the novel. Buk was, first and foremost (in my opinion) a poet, and Factotum catches this side of him. I think you have to watch the movie as a series of poems rather than as a film with a plot. Look at the scenes as a collection of poems. Like the scene were the old-timer cracks an egg into his beer and says

"feelin' bad, kid? ? I?ve slept longer than you?ve lived."

That?s from the poem ?too soon? in ?What matters most??
This scene gives the poem new life. The way the camera slowly follows the egg in the beer ? that?s style.

Barfly had few/none of these touches. Although Barfly was ok, in its own loudmouthed way? It?s a long time since I saw it, but I remember the line about angels in it: ?Those fuckers better come out of hiding soon!? and immediately after this an old bum comes up and lights Wanda's smoke? nice touch.

A second topic for this thread could be: ?What poems did you recognize in scenes from Factotum?? But maybe we should wait until everbody sees the film...
 

hoochmonkey9

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These films aren't documentaries. They are fictional accounts. Sure, they are closely related to Bukowski, Chinaski/Bukowski are pretty much interchangeble, but we have to remember that filmmakers, actors, etc. have to be true to their own vision, given the freedom to bring what they think is the closest to the truth of their art. Whether it works or not, that's another story.
Full disclosure: I like Barfly, but can see why others don't. I haven't seen Factotum yet.
 

Brother Schenker

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If only someone would simply direct the stories as written...
They could create a series...

Buk wrote actual fiction, y'know? It wasn't all autobiographical or semi.

He wrote one where he learned to fly without any contraptions.
Wrote another involving a tiny person that could fit in his hand.

Wrote an exciting one involving telling this stripper to yell out things like PURPLE ONIONS! ---or something like that. I think it was from Notes, the "Open City" ones...many of those were quite killer...

It's all well & good to have a vision as a film maker...I just wish it was some one's vision to pick out his exciting stories and shoot 'em true. Don't fucken mix 'em and do this goddamn mutherrrrrfucking avante garde anti-Bukowski nonsense of pastiches & so forth. Just write a logical screenplay of the stories--it would be mostly directorial scripting: camera shots & cattle directions and some dialogue (where needed). And that's it.

Well, you also have to find someone who looks, not necessarily like Buk's face, but someone's face who has also seen many a dark night and many hangovers, yet has some wisdom, some inner knowing that this mortal life is clearly a spiritual joke, an ultimately harmless con---and, that actor would also have to "get" Buk's poetry & letters; he would need to relate to those times of pulling down the shades, and getting into bed and pulling the covers up to your chin and just laying there wishing to die...I don't know, maybe not.

Film people still treat Bukowski like a clown and some sort of literary joke. Too much play-up on the skidrow gimmick. He wasn't always on the skids,that was a relatively tiny episode in his life & ouvre. I know it had a huge impact on him as a person, but he was a working class dude---a fucken workaholic to boot. That dude wrote whether he had anything to say or not. Never one to wait around for inspiration he nonetheless did have to sometimes "wait for the well to fill up" or 'wait for the bug to get down the wall within swatting distance'...

Good old Buk...
 

mjp

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Brother Schenker said:
Well, you also have to find someone who looks, not necessarily like Buk's face, but someone's face who has also seen many a dark night and many hangovers, yet has some wisdom, some inner knowing that this mortal life is clearly a spiritual joke, an ultimately harmless con---and, that actor would also have to "get" Buk's poetry & letters; he would need to relate to those times of pulling down the shades, and getting into bed and pulling the covers up to your chin and just laying there wishing to die...
That's easy; Harry Dean Stanton. He's an older guy, but no young actors have the look or the experience (or the talent to fake the experience), and that's been the main problem with people playing him so far. They did try an older guy, a smug, self satisfied Ben Gazzara, and the results were awful.

You might have to kill Sean Penn to get to Stanton with a Bukowski-esque role though.
 

Charlie

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Yeah, Harry Dean would be great, except he's so thin. Great actor, though. Maybe he could pull a DeNiro and gain some weight. But the only book he could really fit into would be Hollywood. I mean, he's in his mid sixties, 65-66 I think, and Stanton is in his early 70's.

I think that'd be kind of interesting, really. I'd be game for a Hollywood film.
 

Bukfan

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I saw "Factotum" at a film festival and both Bent Hamer and Jim Stark were present. They presented the movie before it was shown and answered questions from the audience afterward.I remember they said that the movie did?nt have a plot as such. And right they were! It was so boring to watch and a real disapointment!
The book Factotum has so many funny scenes in it but in the movie they are not very funny. This is of course the directors fault. In my opinion he has done a bad job transplanting the book into a movie. "Tales of ordinary madness" starring Ben Gazzara, is an exstremely good movie in comparison!
So to those of you who haven?t seen it - don?t despair. You haven?t missed much - if anything at all!
Barfly was a good movie, I think( although Mickey Rourke over-played the role as Chinaski). A mayor reason for that was that Buk wrote the script himself!
What I would really like to see though, is an adaptation of "Post office"...
 

hoochmonkey9

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Just watched Factotum, slow & plotless, but effective in its' way. the monotony of job after job and the attempt to be rid of it with drink was well portrayed. excellent performances by all concerned. dillon too handsome? maybe...
bleak, but still sprinkled with bukowski's black humour. a good contrast to the over the top stomping of Barfly...
alright, I think that's 2 cents worth...
 
Best Actor to Play an Older Buk

I searched the forums for a similar post and could have missed something, so if this has been discussed elsewhere forgive me.

Anyhow, with Gazzara, Rourke and Dillon now having had a crack at it, who could take up the role of an older Buk?

One great option is Philip Baker Hall.

bukbakerhall.JPG
Even if he is older now than Buk was when he died, he has the look and the voice, not to mention the acting ability to do the part justice.

I also think that a fabulous choice is Brian Cox - an actor that I love. Again, he's got the experience and the chops to nail a part like this.

cox.JPG
I know nothing about these two guys in real life, but they seem like they smoke and/or drink quite a bit which isn't a necessity, but does certainly lend some natural gruffness to the character.

Others have said Ron Perlman of Hellboy fame, but I can't really see it. Although, he does have the mouth and eyes... hard to say.
 
Oh yeah,

I forgot to include potentials for the role of Nick Belane in an adaptation of "Pulp." I'm not really an advocate of any more of Buk's material making its way to the big screen, but in the case that it does, I like to consider the options.

Unlike some others, I enjoyed "Pulp" for what it was and I think it's very filmable, with the potential of being hilarious. In fact I think it's more filmable than any of the other Buk novels - which I would prefer were left alone.

I think some of the supernatural elements would have to be omitted or somehow passed off as hallucinations - which is what they could have been anyway.

Of course the look of the main character doesn't matter as much as it would with a Chinaski story, but it is essential that the actor can pull off a putzy, goofy kinda guy. I think two people are perfect for such a part: Paul Giamatti or Steve Buscemi.

giamatti.jpg buscemi.jpg
 
I've read many books and viewed many films, and the one maxim I find is if you liked the book you won't enjoy the film as much. I can't think of but a few than come close.
 

zoom man

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I love (and vote for) Nic Cage,
Well, I love most of his portrayals.
I thought Leaving Las Vegas was phenomenol...
Him and Elisabeth Shue were great together.

He was awesome in that movie with Cher, the title of which escapes me right now,
(had Moon in the title)
 

Melissa Sue

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el23 said:
Unlike some others, I enjoyed "Pulp" for what it was and I think it's very filmable, with the potential of being hilarious. In fact I think it's more filmable than any of the other Buk novels - which I would prefer were left alone.
I suppose I have to disagree. While I got a good chuckle out of certain lines in Pulp, I think filming it as a comedy would be ... not insulting but perhaps insensitive / inappropriate... but considering the Man maybe that's not really important.
For me, Pulp came accross more sad than anything else.

el23 said:
I think some of the supernatural elements would have to be omitted or somehow passed off as hallucinations - which is what they could have been anyway.
Metaphors.


el23 said:
I think two people are perfect for such a part: Paul Giamatti or Steve Buscemi.
The only thing i've seen Giamatti in is that ridiculous wine movie, which i refused to watch (on a 4-hour plane ride no less) after the first 20 mins, but in general i dont see him as the kind of guy who fidgits with his hemmoroids. And that pic of Buscemi is either very old, or the old wirey bastard cleans up real nice. I adore Buscemi, but he's too scary and too thin.
Not that i have a suggestion, but you know, it's the internet and i had to pipe up. :D

Not that I would mind *seeing* a Pulp movie, but i think it would have to be a little darker, a little more desperate, and a little deathier.
 

hank solo

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you'll all think i'm nuts, but i saw this guy in a movie or tv thing a couple of years ago,and i thought - my god - he should play Bukowski...

Ready?

PM Glaser.jpg


Yes its PAUL MICHAEL "STARSKY" GLASER! He's 63 now.

Too crazy. Bukowski in a bright red Gran Torino with a white swoooosh... :D

I also had an idea that Billy Bob Thornton might be good in Pulp. But this might be because of his performance in 'The Man who wasn't there' which has a film noir atmosphere, and i think Pulp would have to be filmed in this way too...

if you liked the book you won't enjoy the film as much
i think you hit the nail there, OLD MAN
 

bmcg

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Steve Buscemi has already done his Chinaski role "“ well kinda "“ anyone else caught Trees Lounge? "“ think he wrote this himself, I thought it was pretty good "“ may give you an idea as to what Buscemi would/could have been like playing Chinaski.
 
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mjp

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Was that the one with Chloë Sevigny in the ice cream truck? That definitely had a Bukowski vibe throughout.
 
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bmcg

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mjp said:
Was that the one with Chlo? Sevigny in the ice cream truck? That definitely had a Bukowski vibe throughout.
That's the one - as you say definite Bukowski feel - would say to anyone to check this out.
 
Trees Lounge, an alcoholic auto mechanic, realizing life has passed him by. Other than the booze, it doesn't seem very much like Bukowski.
 
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