Suzanne Takes Your Hand

Intuitive currents made it clear a long time ago that I’ll probably be getting my hate-on for Gary Ross‘s The Hunger Games (Lionsgate, 3.23). This will obviously change if it’s any good, but somehow and some way I just “know” this film is trouble. A primitive, walloping Rollerball-meets-Girlfight youth-market flick — that’s what I’m seeing in my thought dreams. Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) could make it come out right…maybe. But any movie based on a book classified as “young adult science fiction” — that in itself is a stopper.

I also suspect that any movie that gets an early Entertainment Weekly cover is probably indicative of something that’ll be pandering to the not-so-bright. Plus I have issues with any book author named “Suzanne.” Yes, I know — I have to read the damn book and shut up until I do.

44 thoughts on “Suzanne Takes Your Hand

  1. This is EW’s second Hunger Games cover (see [url],,ewTax:1156,00.html[/url]) , and the movie won’t open for 8 months. Who are those actors again?

  2. While the target demographic for Hunger Games is essentially the same as that for Twilight, the two don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence. Oh, crap.

  3. I keep forgetting my damn movable type log in


    Just don’t to it man.

    The stars and the moon will fall out of the sky.

    When you read the book, I’ll look forward to your take. Because I found it perfect for a film adaptation. Visually, thematically. As long as the take the source material seriously and don’t crap out on the violence and the ending. It’s not happy one. It’s perfect.

    The middle book was my favorite and the best one of the series (Catching Fire).

    Wells, please give this a chance

  4. Hey Jeff. Long-time listener, first-time caller. Give the book a read first — it’s a lot deeper than Battle Royale meets Twilight. The main character isn’t your typical teen-lit type; she’s a damaged, resilient 16-year-old who lives in poverty under an oppressive Capitol that forces children from the 12 districts under its boot to fight to the death on live TV every year. Compelling book + great cast + quality director? Despite EW’s drool, I think this could be good.

  5. Remember when Jeff dissed Rob Pattinson and all the Twi-hards came down on him hard, calling him “sun-damaged quiff man”? That was a fun day. Let’s hope the Hungry Gamers are as entertaining.

  6. So it’s like a teen-centric version of Series 7? Daniel Minahan never got the credit he was due for that one.

  7. I read the book on a recommendation and found it derivative, poorly realized, and unforgivably sanitized for its subject matter. It’s BATTLE ROYALE for teen girls, adding a pronounced central romance, and mostly removing the gore, nastiness, and -worst of all- the trauma inherent to the central subject matter. Kids killing other kids is a horrifying concept and the book never confronts this in an intriguing or meaningful way. The one thing I feel it contributes to this little sub-genre started by THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME is the concept of ‘sponsors’ in the title event; while I found that to be a mildly interesting metaphor for stuff like modern celebrity and corporate influence, it doesn’t go anywhere. I’m also guessing that I am one of the very few who finds Katniss Everdeen to be an unforgivably lame central character, and with one of the worst names, ever.

  8. Having worked for Ross during Seabiscuit, it’s SO STRANGE to see him doing this Battle Royale-ish type thing, considering his family-man roots. So out of his range, so unlike anything he’s tackled before. Very curious…

  9. Intuitive currents made it clear a long time ago that I’ll probably be getting my hate-on for Gary Ross’s The Hunger Games (Lionsgate, 3.23). This will obviously change if it’s any good, but somehow and some way I just “know” this film is trouble.


  10. re: BATTLE ROYALE – my Spidey-sense tells me that some executive saw it and decided to commission a more teen-age girl-friendly rip-off…

  11. Big Black’s take on it mirrors my own. It’s better than Twilight but it’s still fairly stale, predictable material. By the standards of young adult novels it’s passable. If you think for some reason that the Harry Potter series is great literature it’s probably worth a read for you.

  12. Seriously, asked up-thread but: Who ARE those guys? I pride myself on knowing every working actor and low-rent celebrity in the world, and I have NO idea who those guys are, unless the guy on the right is Jamie Bell after a year at the gym, which I don’t think it is.

    Hate “Series 7.” It’s a superficial, illogical thing, but Brooke Smith’s face and mannerisms REEEEALLY bother me. One of the few performers I find genuinely off-putting.

  13. The “Your first look at…” is kind of hilarious. It’s the first EVER shot of…two generic dudes in t-shirts and pants. Try to contain your excitement now!

  14. Lex: Didn’t you see The Last Song? It’s Liam Hemsworth, Thor’s brother, on the left. And then surely you saw The Kids Are All Right, in which case you saw Josh Hutcherson as the kid with the stupid name and jaw.

  15. Hmm… Yeah, I saw Last Song and know the lesser Hemworth, but didn’t recognize him with his new Rob Lowe dark brown Beefaroni hair and Eric McCormack face transplant… Wouldn’t have figured that other douche was the Kids Are All Right kid in a zillion years.

  16. God, I loathe it when Entertainment Weekly gets a raging hard on for one of these fucking things. How many Twilight and Harry Potter covers have they put out over the years? As someone already pointed out, this is already the second Hunger Games cover and the movie doesn’t even open until next Spring. And there are two movies to come after that, probably garnering two cover stories apiece.

  17. “Having worked for Ross during Seabiscuit, it’s SO STRANGE to see him doing this Battle Royale-ish type thing, considering his family-man roots. So out of his range, so unlike anything he’s tackled before. Very curious…”

    I sure didn’t expect to see Bill Condon take on the latest TWILIGHT installment, either (although given his involvement with DREAMGIRLS it’s somewhat less of a bolt from the blue – but only somewhat.) It’s tough for a journeyman writer-director out there these days, I guess.

  18. DeafEars: “re: BATTLE ROYALE – my Spidey-sense tells me that some executive saw it and decided to commission a more teen-age girl-friendly rip-off…”

    No, that will be the official remake from New Line. Judging by the summary, Hunger Games is just a tween Running Man.

    cyanic: At least the new Conan is still Rated R.

    LexG: Yeah, they pretty much recycled the models from United Colors of Benetton for the movie. Lenny Kravitz is literally the biggest fucking name in the cast. Though apparently, Stanely Tucci, Donald Sutherland, and John C. Reilly also gotta eat.

  19. I’ve seen the first Twilight movie and, having read all three of these books, I think they COULD be as bad as that … but I have a hard time believing it. The Hunger Games books are about a lot less than its supporters would like to think, but they are at least about SOMETHING … which I couldn’t say about that first Twilight movie.

    I don’t know how they’re gonna make the second book work. It’s basically 100 pages recapping what you already read. It’s pretty dull until the last 1/3.

    I’m just glad Jennifer Lawrence is going to fit that David O. Russell movie in after this. She’s actually pretty much the best casting they could hope for (it’s basically her Winter’s Bone character), but she’s a good actress and the amount of disdain she shows for stupid interview questions (see David Poland’s interview) is amazing, so I’d hope she won’t Kristen Stewart herself into easy caricature (see Vampires Suck, or, better yet, don’t)

  20. Appalachia is the new Hollywood, baby! Between this and Justified, we are killing it boys!

    Seriously though, I haven’t read the books but the premise intrigues me. Appalachia makes a great setting for this kind of post-apocalyptic thing because – and I mean no offense by this because I live there – large sections of it look like the apocalypse already happened. Removed mountaintops, closed down textile mills and coal mines, coal slurry filled ponds, and ramshackle housing populated by self-sufficient, hearty people. I’ve still never seen a film capture the atmosphere of the most atmospheric part of the country half as well as a single Ralph Stanley song. Here’s hoping Ross is the man to pull it off. I just hope they let them go dark and don’t follow Twilight down the tweeny-bopper rabbit hole.

  21. The books are a slog, I didn’t make it through the entire trilogy, but it the sheer number of elements that Hunger Games shares with Battle Royal make it difficult to believe that BR was not the inspiration for the HG novels.

    Hunger Games tones the violence down to nothing, makes the story far more antiseptic, and focuses on the details of the futuristic dystopian setting. And of course a teen love story develops and unfortunately it’s not a satisfying one.

    I have more fond memories of that old chestnut The Challenge (good old Darren McGavin! Mako! Two Men! Both go an island! Only one can leave!) than I have of the Hunger Games books. And I’m not expecting much of these movies, except that the first one will probably have a good opening weekend due to more than a year of hype.

  22. Wow. Do you guys have another site where you score points for how cynical you are here? I’m 52 with a BA in English Lit and a bunch of credits from the NYU Dramatic writing MA program – same program Suzanne Collins graduated from. Favorite author is Dorothy Dunnett – try getting through the Lymond Chronicles and report back to me. THG books had me riveted and I’m really looking forward to the movie.

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