Cinemetal

CHUCK KLOSTERMAN’S FARGO ROCK CITY HEADED TO THE BIG SCREEN

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fargorockcity

Well, this makes me nervous.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Tom Ruprecht, a longtime writer on CBS’ ‘Late Show With David Letterman,’ and Craig Finn, frontman of the popular rock band the Hold Steady, are teaming to write and produce” an adaptation of Chuck Klosterman’s 2001 Fargo Rock City.

The book, a personal favorite of my Vince’s and myself, is basically, like everything Klosterman has ever written, a rambling dissection of pop culture (in this case, 80s hair metal)  interspersed with personal stories (in this case, about growing up in North Dakota).

So here’s the part that makes me nervous. The film version is described in the following manner:

“The 1980s-set screenplay will revolve around a group of high school seniors facing graduation as they try to find success with women and generally break out of their geeky cocoons.”

And:

“The pic will concentrate on particular portions of the book, including a chapter in which a faulty ATM dispenses excessive amounts of money to Klosterman, which both Finn and Ruprecht say they see as metaphors of the gilded age and easy credit of both the 1980’s and the past few years.”

And:

“While music is an important theme in the memoir, it won’t be featured quite as prominently as it is in Klosterman’s writing.”

So how is this going to be different from the two hundred other crappy coming of age movies that are released every year? Klosterman’s personal recollections are often amusing – the aforementioned ATM incident is particularly droll – but the real reason to read this book (or anything Klosterman has written) is his approach to pop-culture.

While there are some definite lapses in Klosterman’s metal education (at one point he describes Slayer as “death metal” and admits to having no understanding whatsoever as to what makes that band so popular), he takes hair metal very, very seriously, and his analysis of the bands and albums that made the genre so popular in the 80s isn’t just amazingly detailed and insightful, but it’s often laugh out loud hilarious. I have no idea how the hell you would adapt those musing into a feature film – maybe it would work best as a documentary, with Klosterman narrating? – but I know that I have zero interest in seeing either a) yet another Kevin Smithish movie where people are just sitting around talking about pop culture or b) yet another story about geeky high schoolers trying to deal with growing hair on the schmeckels. I just don’t give a shit.

Meanwhile, I’m not really a big Letterman fan so I don’t know anything about this Ruprecht guy, and while I don’t think The Hold Steady are a terrible band, their music really isn’t for me, and you’ll excuse me if I’m cynical about a lead singer declaring himself a screenwriter.

Sigh. Hopefully one of two things will happen:

  1. I’ll be proven completely wrong, the movie will be awesome and really capture the spirit of Klosterman’s writing, and I’ll hafta eat crow.
  2. The movie will get stuck in development hell alongside the ill-advised adaptation of Motley Crue’s The Dirt.

I guess we’ll see.

A film version of Killing Yourself to Live, Klosterman’s considerably more self-indulgent and less-interesting book about dead rock stars and ex-girlfriends, is also in the works. If anyone wants to try and turn MetalSucks into a terrible movie, you know how to reach us.

-AR

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