Sunday, May 29, 2011

James Frey co-wrote I am Number Four?

At first I thought the pseudonym he used was intentional, as a way to get around the criticism he'd gotten for A Million Little Pieces. It's not.

But then again, I didn't have an issue with that book.

My issue was with the publisher for marketing A Million Little Pieces as non-fiction, rather than fiction. Oh, wait, not non-fiction, I later discovered, faction: the blending of reality and fantasy based in reality. Whatever. Whoever came up with that name dismissed James Frey's claim he intended the book to be fiction. It wasn't an intersection of factual research and his imagination.

It was fiction. Fiction is super-altered reality, fantastical. Ever seen a few drunk people at a bar? Yeah, the drunker they are the funnier they can be. Behavior doesn't border on crazy, it's down right fantastical. Same with drugs. The drug scene. Recreational drug use. My opinions on drugs are for another post. Don't infer anything. If you care to read, I'll write it.

James Frey had to go on Oprah and apologize. Timbaland feat. One Republic put it nicely: It's too late to apologize. That was intended for the publisher.

A Million Little Pieces shouldn't even count as faction. Ask anyone who's been drunk or blazed and they'll tell you. They don't remember facts, only images and feelings. So how could James Frey be held accountable for his drug-induced experience, or getting himself admitted to a drug clinic? How much of his recollection could be counted as true to fact? Can't. Too many facts couldn't be corroborated. Therefore it's fiction. Like the man said.

Got me thinking after I watched I Am Number Four on DVD the other day.

James Frey co-wrote Four under a pseudonym. At first I thought this was intentional after the backlash. A picture I found online shows him sporting a Civil War beard. I wondered if he was trying to misdirect viewers from remembering him or that he'd gotten to a point in his life where a clean shaven face just didn't matter. Did he really give a flying million pieces of shit?

Probably not.

I wouldn't. Especially after being told that his break-out novel was a complete piece of crap. Nearly ruined him. And while on Oprah, he had to apologize for the publisher. Total crap. But Oprah's praise can bring about unwanted scrutiny. I think that's what go the attempted discredit ball rolling. James Frey bounced back, but under a pseudonym.

Is that what authors have to do to keep writing? It's not we don't know he co-wrote Four. A simple Google search pulls it up. That's how the discredit ball got momentum: a few people searching the Internet to fact check James Frey. Not sure why they had to, but Oprah is a powerful woman. Someone wanted to see her fall down a little bit. Didn't work. James Frey got a lot of publicity for his appearance. Got humiliated too.

What originally drew me to Four was its screenwriters, the duo behind Smallville's first seven seasons, Gough and Millar. Any fan of the series can instantly recognize their stamp. They helped Sam Raimi bring Spider-man to the big screen.

Many viewers complained Four just took too long to get into the action. Which is true. But that's Gough and Millar for you. The humanity in Four builds until it reaches superhumanity. The adaptation seems simplified and typical comic book fair but the script is so well grounded the dialogue and controlled action feel natural, on the verge of greatness. And that's Gough's and Millar's talent. Super heroes develop. They're not instantly born.

The film follows the book very closely. Slow to build and then everything comes together.

It wasn't hard to see why Gough and Millar joined the project. They like struggling young heroes. 

Too bad the movie wasn't a hit. It had a decent turnout, but not enough warm seats for a sequel. Maybe not. James Frey continues to write. Gough and Millar continue to adapt stories.

Kept me realizing James Frey had created an undeniable form of fiction.

Check that box; and put the eraser away. 

So, what now Patticus Lore? Where is Four headed?

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