Atlas Shrugged and So Did I

I want to start off by saying you’ll understand this rant on Atlas Shrugged even if you haven’t read the book. If you plan on reading the book, cancel those plans.

Honestly I could end the review with just that clip, but instead I’ll pull a feather out of Ayn Rand’s writing style and continue to waste your time with my long-winded writing.

Ayn Rand has written 2 very popular books, the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I haven’t read the former and only read Atlas Shrugged once because I am a mere mortal man. I legitimately believe it’s mentally impossible to read that book twice without dying of old age. Have trouble sleeping? A few pages of Ayn Bland’s book and insomnia cured!!

Realistic dialogue is not her strength and I felt her book was just her platform to shove her political philosophy down your throat. And I’d be okay with that if it weren’t so boring. Characters speak uninterrupted for pages (one character goes on a 58 page rant), most of the time the dialogue doesn’t even advance the plot, instead it’s a seemingly endless repeat of the same tired point. We get it Rand, you’re an educated lady with a prolific vocabulary, but have you heard the prose of brevity! If you asked Rand to describe a blank piece of paper she’d could fill a library with her proliferations.

atlas-shrugged-sg-amazonYou remember in high school when you have a 5 page essay due and you type anything, mostly nonsensical garbage, just so you feel like you’ve accomplished something? And then you keep it in there even though it’s garbage because the deadline’s tomorrow morning and you need all the words you can muster. Ayn Rand does this on a professional level. Atlas Shrugged is a 1000 plus page juggernaut because Rand couldn’t delete a few hundred words. This could have worked as a 100 page short story, I would have been fine with that because you can’t get mad at a short story for being dull, but it’s not. And I’m mad.

There’s no climax. 1084 pages, then it ends. I could write Atlas Shrugged right now, “going on strike is an effective method to get our way! Government control sure does suck!” Done. The book would be the movie equivalent of Jaws if it didn’t have a giant shark killing people and instead focused on people talking at the beach for 1084 minutes.

I don’t think it’s possible to like the book if you’ve actually read it, I really don’t. If anyone tells you they liked the book they haven’t read it and they’re just trying to sound smart. Rand’s message embellishes greed and selfishness, but Gordon Gekko can deliver her message in a tight minute speech while entertaining me. Watch that instead.

This book is like 50 Shades of Grey for rich entrepreneurs. There’s a love story subplot in the book as well, but it’s worse than her political agenda. Twilight had a better love story than this book. Rand writes romance like a monkey performs brain surgery, you’d rather have anyone else do it. And much like the artist Haddaway, Rand doesn’t know what is love or at least she doesn’t know how to portray it in writing. The main character is drawn to characters in the book based solely on ability to succeed in business.

Basically besides the main characters everyone else in the world is a pompous idiot. That’s where all the conflict comes from, human stupidity and stubbornness…and the government. That’s not how a good book is written, but that’s how this one is. Rand may have introduced the lamest death ray in the history of science fiction novels, something I can’t forgive her for.

sea cucumbersThings I’d rather do instead of read Atlas Shrugged again
1. Live with the cast of Jersey Shore forever
2. Become the B piece in the human centipede
3. Be forced to interact with Comcast customer service
4. Get captured by Kathy Bates in Misery
5. Get struck by lightning and not get super speed
6. Eat sea cucumbers for the rest of my life…maybe not that, just look at them, I swear they’re the turds of the sea.

Besides South Park, I’ve noticed Atlas Shrugged mentioned in in other television shows.
Ayn Rand is mentioned in the Parks and Rec episode Swing Vote.
Chris: “This is it. Ron leads by one. If he hits the ball into the dragon’s mouth he gets Jamm’s vote.”
Leslie: “Uh, bean sprouts. Tofu. Ralph Nader. Ayn Rand is a terrible writer. Don’t mess up, don’t mess up, don’t mess up.”
As much as I want this to be a knock on Ayn Rand, I think Leslie says this because the character she’s trying to distract enjoys Ayn Rand (because he hates the government and so does she.)

It’s also mentioned in the Futurama episode I Second That Emotion.
Mutant: [giving a tour of the underground mutant city in the sewer] This is our library.
Bender: Nothing but crumpled porno and Ayn Rand.
I don’t think the writers think too highly of her in this show.

And Last Week Tonight tackles Ayn Rand pretty harshly. All solid points.

Ayn Rand’s books seemed like an inside joke among TV writers and I wanted to know why firsthand. I think reading the book is an accomplish and the writers give a nod to the people that were able to get through the journey that is Atlas Shrugged as well. People that suffer together bond together.

They made 3 terrible movies based off the book. I know a lot of people disliked the Hobbit being expanded into a trilogy, but this is the real travesty. They all bombed. The first one cost ~20 million to make and it only made ~4 million, yet they still made 2 more thanks to some charitable donations from wealthy businessmen and the producer shelling out his own money. I wouldn’t trust any of the men who invested in this movie with my money. They had to recast every character for each movie, despite all the movies being made in a 3 year span, because the movies were so toxic the actors wouldn’t come back for the next edition. Here’s the trailer for the first movie.

Yup, that’s the girl from Orange is the New Black, luckily for her the producers of the show didn’t see this movie. I think the trailer is pretty well done, but I’m sure the movie is terrible because I read the source material.

Rotten Tomatoes gave the first movie a 11%, the second movie a 5%, and the third movie a rare 0% (I didn’t know this was possible.) Overall it received overwhelming negative reviews. Few people defended the movie, but those who did pointed to the budget. Even if you put diamonds in dog shit, it’ll still be dog shit. Even if any of these movies had all the money in the to produce, it’ll still be dog shit. The AV Club ranked Atlas Shrugged Part II the second worst movie of the year, but it wouldn’t have surprised me to see it last.

The making of the movie is probably the most entertaining part of the whole ordeal. I only really have 2 sources to go from, wikipedia and the atlas shrugged movie website, but they could make a short documentary on the movies long journey to film. First off the book is not movie friendly; it’s almost all dialogue and it’s boring. Rand herself couldn’t turn her book into a movie when she was alive.  Multiple screenwriters tried turning it into a movie and couldn’t do it. Eventually millionaire  John Aglialoro bought the rights in 1992 with plans to turn his favorite book into a movie/mini series right away. After 15 years of having the project failing to getting any traction, Aglialoro’s only option was to make the movie himself; and thanks to the Tea Party movement and his rich friends he “succeeded.” Even after losing millions on the first movie he still made 2 more because he wanted to see his dream realized and consequently ruined, people didn’t like the movies as much as he enjoyed the books.

John Agilialoro doesn’t seem like the smartest millionaire, that is if he still is after investing millions into these awful movies, but there’s no way a guy who spent 15 years trying to make this movie didn’t remain faithful to the books. The movies were bad because the book was bad. People may not have liked the movie because saying out loud the events in the book unveils the mask it hid behind in the written form. The libertarians who embellished Rand’s ideals failed to make a profit with her work, an ironic ending for Rand’s biggest fans.

Just a terrible book and movie all around.

atlas shrugged 2

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