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Hollywood. Ugh.

August 23, 2012 - Steve Murch
Hollywood just drives me nuts some times (I know, there are some people it drives nuts all the time). I'm not a big fan of all the blockbusters, but to each their own. However, filmmakers put very little effort to just tell stories. Yes, part of it is that people crave all the car crashes, gun fights, special effects, etc. But part of it is too many filmmakers are lazy. How else do you explain all the remakes, and the mediocre TV series made into movies? (When, oh when, do we get “The Love Boat — The Movie” starring Bruce Willis as the lovable Capt. Stubbing fighting bad guys on the high seas?)

Here's where real complaints will culminate in my rant, so bear with me:

What drives me crazier, however, is how much they make stupid mistakes, like changing plot lines of books, casting people way out of character, giving in to idiotic demands of stars just to have that name on the marquee (again, the public needs to not be so star driven), etc.

Now, to lead up to the rant I need to go off track just a hair. I'm a voracious reader, and have four characters I read as soon as a new book comes out, and in the interim I go back and find earlier books with them (and squeeze in other authors as well). Jack Reacher books written by Lee Child are one of my must-reads (the others are Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers written by John Sandford, and of course Spencer by Robert Parker; throw in Michael Conneley books and I'm busy all year).

OK, now everything comes to a head, I promise:

So there is a Jack Reacher movie coming out for the holidays. Reacher is former military police and while he is one of the good guys, he isn't a straight-by-the-books character; he's more than a little mysterious. He is 6-feet, 5-inches tall and weighs 250 pounds (that's important).

In Hollywood style Reacher is grossly miscast — Tom Cruise. For full disclosure, I'm not a big Tom Cruise fan because most of his characters are exactly the same, just the names have been changed to protect the innocent. There are exceptions, and those exceptions are the movies of his I've liked — “Collateral” being one of them, and surprising role in Tropic Thunder as another. And while I'm at it, is there really a need for a fifth Mission: Impossible movie?

Why is this a reach (pardon the pun)? For starters, Reacher — 6-5, 250. Cruise — 5-7, 175 (I'm guessing on that part).

Reacher gets in tussles, usually with large men. It is beyond a stretch to believe that Tom Cruise, all 5-7, 175 pounds of him, will be able to single-handedly bring down multiple musclemen at the same time. Tom Cruise passing as Jack Reacher is as plausible as me stepping in as Peyton Manning — and I probably have a better chance of hitting a receiver in stride 50 yards away than Cruise does of taking down three muscular guys all over 6-3 and 220 pounds.

Cruise is the person who was able to make plot changes to “The Firm,” changing the ending altogether. I haven't met many people who read the book who liked the movie, though people who hadn't read the book loved the movie. I know of one person who walked out of the movie as soon as the plot changes affected the yet-to-be-seen outcome. If memory serves me correctly, that movie prompted John Grisham to wanting more say over the way his books were made into movies.

I just happen to be reading the Reacher book the movie is based on while I'm waiting for the new one to come out next month, and I have a really hard time picturing Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. Rest assured, I won't be going to the movie because I won't let it ruin anymore of the books for me. I hope Lee Child was unaware that Tom Cruise was going to play Reacher.

I also didn't watch the TV movie based on Lucas Davenport starring Mark Harmon. He's about 12-13 years older than Davenport, so another miscasting.

Hollywood strikes again.


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