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April 15, 2011

My friend Mike was curious what Roger Ebert had to say about the upcoming film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I have no experience with Ayn Rand, except knowing that the book is massively long, and explains her philosophy while also telling the story.  I hoped Ebert’s review would flesh out my understanding of Ayn Rand.

What I found was a series of delightfully turned phrases. One in particular nearly undid me. (More about that later.)

I was primed to review “Atlas Shrugged.” I figured it might provide a parable of Ayn Rand’s philosophy that I could discuss. For me, that philosophy reduces itself to: “I’m on board; pull up the lifeline.”

Hm. Understanding still pretty vague. I get the gist of the story, thanks to Mr. Ebert… Trains, lots of trains, steel, a female CEO of a giant company. Everybody drinks.

I suspect only someone very familiar with Rand’s 1957 novel could understand the film at all, and I doubt they will be happy with it. For the rest of us, it involves a series of business meetings in luxurious retro leather-and-brass board rooms…

As someone firmly in Ebert’s camp of “the rest of us,” the movie doesn’t sound like much fun. And the book is… pretty far down on my list of Very Large Books And Classics I Should Read. I’m not very good at reading classics. New books keep happening to me!

Toward the end of the review, I found the following:

There is also a love scene, which is shown not merely from the waist up but from the ears up. The man keeps his shirt on. This may be disappointing for libertarians, who I believe enjoy rumpy-pumpy as much as anyone.

Thank you, Mr. Ebert. I laughed so hard at the phrase “libertarian rumpy-pumpy” that I nearly fell off the couch.

Still trying to figure out what a love scene “from the ears up” looks like.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 15, 2011 10:03 pm

    The classic case of the cinematographer thinking, we’ve got to do this different. I want a crane shot. Zoom in tight. I want to see that sweaty bald spot as they go in for the clinch. That’s romance people.

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