Factotum vs Barfly: Which do you think is better? (1 Viewer)

That's right, I dare ask this question on the Bukowski fansite. I've asked this philosophical/cinematic question for years now. And I couldn't think of a better place to ask it than here. If this has already been asked, then I apologize. But for now, I'll pretend it hasn't. What is your favorite Bukowski movie?.... Is it Barfly? Or Factotum? Who is better at portraying Buk/Chinaski... Mickey Rourke? Or Matt Dilon? I'd like to hear your opinion on why which movie of yours is superior.

And my favorite in particular is Factotum. Simply because I think it better captures Hank Chinaski's desolate approach to finding anything that will sustain him. I think the mood is there, the atmosphere is there, and the hopelessness is there, something I think was lacking in Barfly. In Barfly, it almost seemed like "Yea! I'm a drunk! Lets fight! Lets party! Lets buy drinks FOR ALL MY FRIEEEEENNNNDDDS!" And don't even get me started on that. Anyway, I think the performance is better, I think the score is better (Kristin Absjoren--spelled wrong I know) wrote the entire Goddamn soundtrack to this movie. And she's a fantastic singer. For that alone, I think this movie is better. But that's just my humble opinion.

But don't let me be the final verdict. Tell me what you think, why I'm wrong? I wanna hear. And let the debate begin
@bospress.net You can't just say that and not expect to back it up. What do you mean smoky voice?
He can say whatever he wants to say.

You could find out for yourself what he's talking about if you searched the forum. That may be beneath you, to search like a commoner, but you should try it. It's not difficult. Even you can do it. Search for "Kristin." Go ahead. You might find it enlightening.
@Bukfan thanks for the link. I didn't know if that was an insult or what, but sure, smoky. I don't know, I just think she's a wonderful singer.

@mjp I was merely asking a question buddy, I didn't know what he meant by smoky voice. Nothing is beneath me, and I'd ask that you didn't assume searching like a commoner would be. No need to get hostile.
Nothing is beneath me...
Oh, see, I certainly do not get that impression from you. You seem -- the opposite of that.

Maybe I've just lost the ability to read people. That could be. What do they call it? Asperger's? I probably have that. Don't mind me. Seriously.
Barfly is better. imho.
I do agree on many levels. Barfly is an excellent film, and I'am not personally taking anything away from it. The casting is great, with Mickey Rourke (one of my favorite actors, like personally. I don't like many actors but I love Mick Rourke's story and his personality) and Fay Dunaway. It also holds a special place in my heart because Buk collaborated on the project, and he makes a cameo appearance, although I wished he talked during his cameo. However, I do distinguish it from Factotum simply from the perspective of theme and mood. I read Factotum before I saw both movies, and saw that the stories burrowed from one another in terms of the love interests involved. But all that aside, I think that when it comes to one being closer to Hank Chinaski's life in the books, Factotum is better. Its almost like a vignette, which the book is like, working one remedial job to the other. There is no glorious bar fights, there is no screaming and hollering and buying the next drink. This movie is merely about one man scrounging on small paychecks and not giving a shit about the future. I think in terms of cinema, that is what spoke to me more. The smoky voiced soundtrack also helps lol. But hey, that's just me.
Maybe I've just lost the ability to read people. That could be. What do they call it? Asperger's? I probably have that. Don't mind me. Seriously.
Alright. I won't.
Don't forget the Belgian movie about Bukowski's life, "Crazy Love", which Bukowski liked the best.
If you have'nt watched it, you can get it on Amazon.
As for Barfly and Factotum, I think they both have their good points and their bad points, and I like them both for different reasons. I did'nt like how bedraggled Bukowski (Rourke) looked in Barfly, and neither did Bukowski who said he never looked like that, and I think Factotum was a rather slow movie which disappointed me at first when I watched it at the cinema, but I came to like it much better when I later got the DVD and watched it on my TV. I don't think we'll ever get to see a "perfect" Bukowski movie, so I guess we'll just have to appreciate those parts the various movies got "right".
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Bukfan, that's the obvious gripe because Bukowski said it himself that Rourke really sort of missed. I personally like his performance. The only thing I disliked about Rourke and his role was how he thought about Bukowski himself. "He's okay, for a drunk," he said, or something along those lines. Mickey Rourke's career sort of went down the tubes.
As for Matt Dillion's portrayal of Henry Chinaski in Bent Hamer's film, I thought it was really generic. I saw Dillion on some late night show and he talked about the book and you could really tell that he didn't really know shit about Bukowski. My guess is, he read the book and thought he would capitalize on Bukowski's growing reputation. The only reason I bought the film was because I was intrigued because it's based on one of Buk's novels. I thought they should've stuck closer to the novel and I don't think he should've added the 'A poem is a city..." poem from The Days Run Away. There is enough good dialog throughout the book and they should've stuck with it more. I'm guessing because it's from a foreign director that maybe some of that gets lost in the translation. I dunno. 'Crazy Love' and 'Barfly' are for sure my favorites.
Bukfan, that's the obvious gripe because Bukowski said it himself that Rourke really sort of missed.

It is'nt because of what Bukowski said I did'nt like the bedraggled look. I already thought it was over the top when I saw the movie at the cinema when it came out. I think the dirty (piss-) stained pants was a bit too much, and the brown (!) wounds on his knuckles, which he kept throughout the movie together with the pants, did'nt look real to me. I don't think wounded knuckles from a fight looks like that, although I'm no expert on the subject. Apart from such details, i did like the movie and still do!
As for Matt Dillon, I was surprised he did'nt have his usual pretty boy look in "Factotum", but I guess the credit must go to the makeup artist. I think the scenes in the bonus material on the DVD should have been left in the movie. I hope they did'nt leave them out just so they could have some bonus material, which seems to be what people expect of a DVD movie nowadays.
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reading this thread makes me not want to see either movie. it burns me up what the media does to people. piss-stained pants. an actor who doesn't bother learning about the man he is to portray. burns me up.
I saw Barfly many years ago when it first came out and kinda liked it. I didn't even know who Bukowski was at the time. Then, much, much later on I began reading Bukowski, and I read Hollywood. I tried to watch Barfly again and I couldn't even make it halfway through it.

I didn't like the Factotum movie. I mostly just don't like Matt Dillon though.
Barfly by a long shot. Factotum left me stone cold. Barfly was a bit off the mark but entertaining, and it captured something of Bukowski. After seeing The Wrestler, I think the older Mickey Rourke would make a better Bukowski than the younger Mickey did.
While I enjoyed it I thought that Matt Dillon seemed to lack the soul needed to portray Chinaski properly in Factotum. It was like he studied Bukowski's interviews etc. and he'd picked up on the deadpan delivery but he'd somehow sucked the life out of it. I imagine the character with a cheeky glint in the eye when he's being humourous, but perhaps that's just me being overly romantic. While Barfly is flawed, to me at least, it just seemed more interesting. Rourke seems to capture something of the Bukowski / Chinaski drunken madness but also the humanity of the man. The latter certainly seemed to be lacking in Dillon's attempt at the role. It could've been worse I suppose (see Ask the Dust).
[...] Matt Dillon ... picked up on the deadpan delivery but he'd somehow sucked the life out of it. [...] Rourke seems to capture something of the Bukowski / Chinaski drunken madness but also the humanity of the man. [...] It could've been worse I suppose (see Ask the Dust).

Yes and Yes on Dillon and Rourke. Where Ask The Dust went astray is they foolishly decided to not use Fante's story and replaced it with a dumb story of their own that wasn't half as good. I liked the sets. As weak as I thought the film, when I found a copy on sale at $2, I bought it just so I could see how they recreated Los Angeles in the old days.
I think comparing Dillon and Rourke misses the point. To me the difference between the movies is Barfly has a gritty warmth where Factotum is detached and cool, and that is the work of the directors.

Imagine Rourke in Factotum. It would still be the same movie. I don't know if Dillon in Barfly would have been exactly the same, but I think Schroeder would have got a different performance out of him.
I agree, mjp. All the Bukowski adaptations (except, to some degree, Crazy Love) have fallen short of the mark because of the directors, not the actors. They just don't seem to get Bukowski, or if they do they want to "improve" upon his vision with their own, and it doesn't work. Dillon didn't seem to know what to do in Factotum and the director wasn't helping him figure it out, while Rourke knew what he was after in Barfly, but it was a bit goofy and off the mark, while still entertaining. Mickey got about 40% of Bukowski. Dillon got 10%. Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't all the adaptations been done by European directors? They bring a European sensibility to it, and it doesn't feel like genuine Bukowski.
I think Schroeder may have given Rourke too much freedom to interpret Buk as Rourke wanted to interpret him, including letting him incorporate scenes that weren't in Buk's manuscript such as the scene where he recites a poem in front of a mirror wearing red sunglasses.
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When I first saw Factotum I hated it. After some years and a few more viewings, I enjoy it for what it is. It's no Barfly. One part I thought Hamer & the actors nailed though, was the "love thy neighbor" scene. I love how it is a long static shot & that that part of the novel made it in. That's some of my favorite shit he's ever written.
I thought the dialogue in the scene scene in factotum were jans bandaging hanks burnt balls was wrong, when i read the book i thought it was B that says 'anyone ever tell you how funny u are' but in the film jan says it, in retrospect i may have misinterpretted it and the film might be right im nót sure. Factotum was actually my first brush with buk, i was up drinking all night and it came on tv and i thought it looked good so i watched it and was like Hey i like this guy i can relate. A year later i discovered henry chinaski was based on a guy called charles bukowski and then i discovered one of his books in our house and the love affair began lol i loved factotum as a film but i found it incredibly difficult to watch after reading the book and hard to enjoy which is a shame. Just watching it again now and Its terribly awkward the performances seem stunted like actors with hangovers trying to remember there lines ... Which is probably exactly what it was lol i felt the samé about older rourke after the wrestler when hes working that shit job he seems perfect for buk although to be honest i dont think any actor is capable of fully capturing bukowski. I havent seen barfly yet but want to although it doesnt sound very good.
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The question here is who would look better in a wrestling singlet and covered in oils, and that answer is obvious: MATT DILLON. The thought of Mickey Roarke in a singlet makes my NOTORIOUS SWAMP HOARD tighten up. It's a natural defense, though if I'm being honest, not a very good one.
rourkes chinaski was a demented psychopath with a wild look in his eye. that's not exactly accuarate. matt dillion had a much better understanding; silent, depressed and defeated. it seems like me and bruno dante's opinion are the complete opposite.
rourkes chinaski was a demented psychopath with a wild look in his eye.
I've seen that look. That's the look I get when I see a boy in a gasmask! Ooh, you don't even know.

I'll bet you're NOT a JERK! I'll bet you are very nice and smell soooo good.

Do you sweat under the gasmask (please say yes!)?
Dillon and Taylor are still acting while they're babbling about nothing.

When Charles Bukowski gets angry, he writes books - and ''Hollywood,'' he says, is a novel of outrage.

''I guess I never believed Hollywood - I heard it's a horrible place - but when I went there, I found out how really horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible it was, black and cutthroat,'' Mr. Bukowski said in a telephone interview from his home in San Pedro, Calif.

That was SO FUCKING rough to watch! Jesus! I thought I was going to have to start drilling screws into my toes to wake myself up.

Anyways... I'm a Barfly fan and just prefer it overall, despite the fact that Hank wasn't happy with the outcome of Rourke's acting. Bottom line, Faye Dunaway was just too amazing in that film to place it second to Factotum. Also, the directing. Another obvious reason to place it high and above Factotum. The cinematography, lighting and locations... think about it! The jukebox music that created the vibe throughout the entire movie. The guys with the rooster in the next door apartment? I don't think some of you are thinking this through.
Time to watch Barfly, once more. I have it on VHS. I remember buying it from a video store that was closing for a few buckskins.
"Barfly" is the ultimate Henry Chinaski movie. I feel like there needs to be more disconnect between Bukowski and his work, because he did write fiction. And let's not forget that his novels, unlike his poetry, were largely written when his 'seedy past' was already far behind him. I wouldn't even want to see another Chinaski movie so much as a TV series. It's pretty amazing to me that no one has thought of this before, but there is such a wealth of material to draw from, and judging from some of his newer scenes in Bored to Death, I believe that Ted Danson could make for a pretty good Bukowski in a few years, if he was to play the dirty old man version of Chinaski.
Seeing as this topic came up again...
It's easy to forget that "Barfly" was made in 1987, that's 27 years ago(? my maths isn't great) and any film viewer knows that realism and capturing moments in film has come a long way since then, just as it had from 1960 to 1987...
That said, Barfly was the only one made with Bukowski's screenplay and with the man himself involved during the production. Maybe because of that and it's the first one that most would have seen (other than "Crazy Love", which I doubt many english speaking fans would have seen in 1987...) that gives it the favour in my mind, even though it has the admittedly exaggerated Mickey Rourke/Schroeder direction and interpretation of Buk - again, I think largely due to the style of the era.

"Factotum" has the advantage of a more modern production, in an era that captures moments and scenes far more vividly and realistic than in the past...but there is something inherently fucked-up about casting a hollywood matinee idol like Dillon..yes Rourke was too, but at least he was made to look not so purty. Even Dillons confident old-time leading man upright swagger seems to me to be at odds with our protagonist - for my liking anyway.

I sometimes wonder if Rourke should just get that face truly fucked up - with all the plastic surgery help and age and hard times he's had up to this point, and get someone like Paul Thomas Anderson on board to do "Post Office" and do it right. I fucking love Barfly and Factotum is a good movie in it's own right too, but there's still a definitive Buk flick to made some day, I'm sure.

Once last point, I think Barfly captured the humour far better.
"Barfly" was made in 1987 [...] and any film viewer knows that realism and capturing moments in film has come a long way since then..."Factotum" has the advantage of a more modern production...
You really can't say that a movie made in 1987 doesn't benefit from "modern production," because with the exception of the clothes the crew are wearing, you couldn't tell the difference between a 1987 (or 1967) movie set and a 2014 movie set. I think you'd be hard pressed to find any real differences between the production of Barfly and Factotum.

Other than the introduction of good quality high speed film in the 60s and 70s that allowed for filming in low light conditions (and capturing the "realism" that you mention - think about it, the 70s were the heyday of that kind of "gritty" film making), and more recently digital production, the way people make movies and the "capturing of moments" hasn't changed since the days of silent films. The only thing that has improved technically is special effects (CGI), and Crazy Love, Barfly and Factotum aren't exactly brimming with CGI.
Well I beg to differ, just from my own observations of filmmaking. When I say "modern production", I'm talking more generally about movie making - I'm not just talking about CGI and special effects, but the whole style of directing, actors performances, fight scenes etc etc - which in my own opinion (and granted, that's all it is) continues to advance over the years. I still maintain that movies from the 80's in general are more overacted and almost camped up as opposed to now. Barfly was a product of that era and it shows in places. It's still one of favourites, along with 2001: A Space Odyssey, which again is definitely dated by todays standards, but it doesn't diminish it's quality and achievement as a great movie. And for the record, I wouldn't want to see either one be butchered by a remake. Good grief, there's a horrible thought that I wouldn't put past hollywood.
Barfly by a country mile for me. Bukowski was raw, gritty, a man of the streets. Dillon gave this sanitized version who you just couldn't really see as a drunk brawling street type. I recall seeing him wearing a yellow patterned shirt at one stage, just didn't feel or look like Bukowski to me.

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