In an earlier post, I spent some time ranting about the influence of Fight Club, Tyler Durden, and their creator Chuck Palahniuk. Those who watch "The END of FUN" with a knowledge of "Run Lola Run" (originally "Lola Rennt"--in German, by Tom Tykwer) and a critical eye will notice its influences on me as a writer and movie-maker, as well.
I saw this movie around the same time as FIGHT CLUB, and was introduced to it by the same guy who forced me to watch that one, Dan Koven, our Senior Executive Producer and BritPop pusher. One of the first things Dan said as we popped it into the DVD player (ask your grandmother, she'll explain "DVD Player"), was "Turn up the volume as loud as you are allowed or as loud as your speakers can stand."
I offer any of you who watch the same advice. The soundtrack is integral to the movie and simply phenomenal.
As with Palahniuk (and Fincher-- never even gave him the props he earned on FIGHT CLUB that led me to see and enjoy every movie he's made since), RUN LOLA RUN turned me onto another artist, this time German auteur Tom Tykwer. This artistic genius wrote and directed the movie as well as providing amazing music for it.
His auteur-nature is one thing that draws me to Tykwer's work in a strong way. His commitment to his RUN LOLA RUN is so absolute and complete, that you simply understand (as an artist) when you watch it that there was NOTHING that would have stopped the man from making this movie.
I can relate to that. And, it seems, so can several others. Something magical and transformative has happened each time I have allowed anyone to read this story (The END of FUN) from beginning to end. The reactions with which I am met, simply fill me with energy and life in a way I can only compare to flowers opening before the morning sun. I. Feel. Reborn.
Each time someone reads this, the look on their face, the questions they ask, the comments they make fill me with more than encouragement. It fills me with the drive I may only IMAGINE Tykwer had going into the early stages of RUN LOLA RUN... and that is?
NOTHING WILL STOP THIS MOVIE. Nothing.
The Trailer for RUN LOLA RUN gives you the smallest glimpse of the strange beauty contained in its compact sub-90 minute running time.
He has gone on since then to make several other very good movies, and to collaborate with The Wachowskis on a very divisive movie that I truly loved, "Cloud Atlas" (sometimes I feel like I am the ONLY one who loved the movie so much! But love it I do! Visually, tonally, structurally, philosophically, narratively, etc. ad infinitum). Many of the things I love about Tykwer as a filmmaker are born in RUN LOLA RUN and then evolve, like it or not, throughout the rest of his filmography.
The trailer for Cloud Atlas, for better or worse, gives you an idea of the wonderfully complex plot, but in no way prepares you for the trip you take. AGAIN-- maybe that's just me?
RUN LOLA RUN begins, like FIGHT CLUB, with perhaps the most inventive, awesome, and just plain cool opening credit sequences ever. Rather than spoil it, I will simply invite you to take my word for it, rent the movie (BEWARE, AMERICAN FANS: The movie is in German-- I suggest listening in German and reading the subtitles, but that is up to you--- just WATCH IT, for god's sake!), watch and experience for yourself. Or if you are really antsy go searching around on YouTube--I'm sure it's out there somewhere!
One of the other simply amazing things that called down my love like lightning for Fight Club was the TWIST that occurs near the end of the movie. In RUN LOLA RUN, you do not wait anywhere near as long for "the twist" (I put that in quotes because you soon realize that this was not THE twist, simply one of many that are deftly dovetailed together to deliver an emotionally charged mindtrip!). Once this first twist occurs another follows, then another. Then another. Then another. The movie grabs you and simply has its way with you, leaving you fascinated but completely unsure what to think the first time you watch it. By the end, though? By the end, it all comes crashing together in a way that is touching, unexpected, yet exactly right. (WATCH IT, OK?)
Almost more than anything else, I love the plain old non-standard story-telling structure of RUN LOLA RUN and that Tykwer is able to still work with this and create a linear experience of story that makes sense and is only enhanced by its deviation from the expected. It is possibly the most romantic story I have ever seen.
After watching, if you analyze movies, you will be asking yourself-- just as I did: "Was that a LOVE STORY that just looked like a CRIME STORY?...or Was that a CRIME STORY that just kind of looked like a love story?" It is both and it is neither. It could not exist without both, and yet rises above either. (JUST WATCH IT, OK?). While not similar in plot, AT ALL, that basic idea floated around in my head, especially as a lover of noir, pulp, and the "Femme Fatale" concept in general. While writing THE END OF FUN, I was sure I wanted a story that dealt very realistically with the dating issues of the single 40-something male.
But as a fairly avid hater of most "romantic" (quotes are "romantic for romantic's sake) movies, and LOVER of crime stories, I knew which direction I would ultimately steer mine. While I think viewers will see the romantic elements of the plot, when the final credits roll, I think viewers of The END of FUN will feel pretty certain they have just watched a crime movie (a pretty brutal one, at that!).
RUN LOLA RUN regularly throws text up onto the screen. Not OVER the images, but in lieu of them. entirely. This is very important to the movie overall. My movie making began in 2010, a full decade after seeing RUN LOLA RUN. As obsessed as I am with movies and making movies, it is also always VERY IMPORTANT to me to make my viewers read something important during the experience. (At the beginning of SPIDER-- my faithful adaptation of a Charles Bukowski Story-- I actually ADMONISH my audience for watching too much stuff an not reading enough. YIKES!) I cannot imagine NOT putting text on the screen of every project at some point (although it has happened and will again).
This is PART 1 (PART 2 is below/follows) of "spider", my adaptation of one of my favorite stories by Charles Bukowski.) This movie has gotten a bit of attention because it was filmed for about $10, shot, edited and posted in a single 24 hour period.
PART 2 of "spider" (original story by Charles Bukowski--adapted and directed by me: Robert Christopher Smith)
FINALLY AND MOSTLY, the biggest impact from Tykwer, particularly RUN LOLA RUN is its unapologetic embrace of strangeness as a means of advancing the story. The plot, characters, and story of RUN LOLA RUN are elevated by the courage Tykwer exhibits in his ability to allow some fairly risky scenes, that are completely non-linear, to become the strongest support for those uplifted, elevated elements.
This is particularly important to my development of the plot for The END of FUN. Over the past year, I had nearly every plot and character beat fairly sketched out in my head (or drunkenly scrawled as you may want to read here and see scans of my actual notes! http://theendoffun.blogspot.com/2016/06/drunk-reporting-1-mr-blank-and-masks.html or here http://theendoffun.blogspot.com/2016/06/drunk-reporting-2-flying-off-tracks.html ). But it wasn't until I was able to take the break, following being laid off from a teaching assignment that my TWIST occurred to me. Not just a twist, but a full embrace of the type of weirdness Tykwer and a few others like David Lynch, have become so masterful at weaving into and throughout their works-- or occasionally even allowing the weirdness to be the point itself!
There is a very strange, very creepy, very violent scene in The END OF FUN that I feel like could be "the" scene people walk out discussing. It is not there simply for the sake of weirdness though, or violence or creepiness. It is there to move the plot much further than would have been able otherwise. (I NEED TO JUST SHUT UP NOW before I eff up and spoil this entirely....). ANYWAY, I owe Tykwer. I owe Palahniuk. I owe Fincher. I owe David Lynch too (Oh boy, do I owe David Lynch-- but we'll leave that for another time).
I OWE ALL MY INFLUENCES. I never want to, never aim to, never attempt to out and out APE anything by my heroes. However, if I am ever so blessed that one of these ICONS actually watches and enjoys something I have produced, I WANT them to see that "easter egg" and know that it is a love-note of creativity from my soul to theirs, and this is the deepest form of appreciation or respect that I could possibly muster for them.
Thanks for hanging in until the end! I hope you are getting excited about "The END of FUN". I am!!! Can you tell?!?
I would love to hear from you in our comments section.
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