August 27, 2009

When Max Eggers Got A Wolf Suit: Media Dad And Gay Socrates Debate WTWTA

I didn't mention the excerpt of Dave Egger's novelization of his screenplay adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are which ran in the New Yorker last week, mostly because I barely managed to read the magazine's publicist's email "tip," never mind the piece itself.

Fortunately or, uh, not, "Max at Sea" is the subject of a fiercely awesome dialogue/IM transcript between The Awl's in-house clevergay Socrates Choire Sicha and media/lit crit/ed/dad Tom Scocca:

Choire Sicha: There is actually a significant difference between the Sendak book and this story, plotwise, also?

Tom Scocca: Besides that the latter rambles on forever?

Choire Sicha: They do have totally different endings.

Tom Scocca: Only because Eggers runs out of room after nine pages, which has gotten him as far as Maurice Sendak got in 184 words.

Tom Scocca: Sendak: "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start."

Tom Scocca: Eggers: Blah blah blah blah the beasts gathered around blah blah blah Max understood that he was supposed to say something blah blah blah "Let the wild rumpus begin!"

Tom Scocca: I would say that the difference between that crisp "start" and Eggers' flaccid "begin" defines everything that could be said about the literary gap between the two, except I am also fixated on "understood that he was supposed to say something," which is essentially the epigram and epitaph for the literary imagination of Dave Eggers.

After all their talk of Jim Carrey/Mike Myers and the cinematic desecration of Dr. Seuss, I'm getting nervous for the movie again, which is not to say it's not entertaining as hell.

The Shadow Editors: Hands Off That Rumpus, Dave Eggers! [theawl.com]
Fiction | "Max at Sea" by Dave Eggers [newyorker.com]

3 Comments

My husband & I have always read it,
"let the wild rumpus begin"- It doesn't sound flaccid to us- It sounds better.
We're also nervous for the movie.
Our copy was my husband's and as it is pre mid 80's= is sure to be lead tainted- YAY- It's kept away from the boy in the stack of lead books we can't seem to toss, but can't let our son touch either.

I'm not that nervous about the movie. I plan to ignore it. Should it wind up being fantastic and worthwhile, I'm sure we'll hear about it upon its release and will have the opportunity reconsider. Until then I will spend as much time thinking about Wild Things as I did Transformers and GI Joe -- other properties that are thoroughly enjoyable but have no place on the big screen.

Hollywood is impossible to understand. How does anyone with half a brain give the green light to something like this? Sendak, Seuss, etc. do not belong in expensive feature length movies. These books have delighted millions in large part due to their brevity and simplicity.

As a child, this was my favorite book. As an adult literature major, no other line has so seized my imagination as "let the wild rumpus begin." It was the tag line of my childhood and I cringe every time I hear the movie trailer and Max says "start". Start just falls short and is less dramatic-not nearly a kingly a word. Begin is more commanding. If I can get over this-the movie looks promising.

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