For this recurring column, we at Awards Radar will usually strive to implore Hollywood to greenlight books or spec scripts we have genuine affection for into a film. Editor Joey Magidson wants to see a film version of Honeymoon With Harry because the novel connected to him on a positive, personal level. But sometimes, an adaptation holds incredible promise for the opposite reasons. Sometimes, a piece of writing is so detached from anything even vaguely relatable to us mere mortals that a film version must be produced to properly frame it as the masterpiece of self-centered obliviousness that it truly is.
Much like how Ron Howard did us all a favor by faithfully adapting millionaire venture capitalist J.D. Vance’s contemptuous memoir Hillbilly Elegy into Oscar-bait pabulum, inadvertently exposing the U.S. Senate candidate’s veiled classism and deep-seated resentment of his Appalachian working-class family, I believe I have found a moral vacuum of writing that will similarly blow away audiences who possess a functioning moral compass if given the film treatment.
Read the entire article. Savor it. Take your time with the subtle layers of awe-inspiring dreadfulness in every sentence, each somehow managing to be better/worse than the last one. Wonderful, isn’t it? You almost have to take a step back and catch your breath after you’re done reading it. This is apparently an excerpt from a true story written voluntarily by author Amanda Trenfield to sell to us. For money. No, this was not a confession she had to write to get ahead of a blackmail scheme she was caught up in. She didn’t have to say any of this under duress. No, she wants people to be aware of how she destroyed her marriage and abandoned her two kids because she spent one night flirting with a good-looking dude at a party. Here are some of my favorite parts of this glorious trainwreck:
“When our eyes met there was an instant familiarity that ran deeper than water-cooler chat.”
“Throughout the dinner, I was my usual animated and conversational self. I was, after all, in sales.”
“We enjoyed a body-hugging embrace where I whispered into his ear, ‘This isn’t over, I need to see you again.’ He put his hands tightly on my waist and pulled me close. ‘Yes,’ he replied. It was all I needed to hear.”
“I didn’t understand the energy. It was like an out-of-body, or perhaps an ‘in-body,’ experience.”
“The woman who had always been so careful, so planned, so organised and so clear about the path her life would take, had just made the most dramatic decision of her life, one affecting those dearest to her – her family.”
And the best part? The title of the book is called When a Soulmate Says No. Shockingly, Prince Charming decided it wasn’t a good idea to commit to a long-term relationship with a woman who would make such a psychotically impulsive decision. I can only imagine what was racing through his mind as this woman was spilling her guts to him about the profound, soul-shattering experience she felt as he was feeding her pudding. This book is about how someone picked up the pieces of her life after she willingly shattered it, and assumes the reader will sympathize with that person!
Oh, and also, she is a life coach! You can pay her money to give you advice on how to better yourself! I. Am. Deceased.
For those of you who’ve been following some of us since the Awards Circuit years, you may remember that Joey doesn’t often openly trash movies. He reserves his bile only for the most morally objectionable films he’s ever seen, one of them infamously being the Julia Roberts vehicle Eat, Pray, Love. He criticized that as a sickeningly romanticized ode to selfishness and unexamined privilege, and he’s definitely not wrong. But! I believe I have found the text with the potential to make that movie look like Stella Dallas; a film with the potential to epitomize “What Is This White Nonsense?” for this new generation of moviegoers.
Simply put, I need to see this movie. We need to see this movie. And it needs to be written, directed, and produced by people who honestly believe in it. I don’t want anyone striving to make a “so bad it’s good” whiff. No, this needs to be brought into being by people who have no idea how galling this entire journey of “self-discovery” is. With that in mind, I would love to see a director who specializes in clumsy, misguided earnestness, like Michael Showalter or Destin Daniel Cretton. I’m a little more nervous about suggesting the ideal actresses to play Amanda, though. She has to be talented enough to sell a person with zero self-awareness or maturity whatsoever, but delivering too good of a performance might run the risk of having audiences associate her with this person forever. Well, I suppose that’s a risk other great actors have had to make in the past, so for me, only a few select thespians like Gaby Hoffmann, Jenny Slate, and Dagmara Domińczyk possess the prickly talent and the boldness to assume a role this imposing and really sell it as a real-life adult woman who has presumably spent some amount on time interacting with other functioning human beings on planet Earth.
Look, I know it can be annoying to see films produced with the intent to become an internet meme. Those are nearly always try-hard nothings that make us all die a little inside, like when Netflix tried to make that stupid “I’m Ed Sheeran, bitch!” scene from Red Notice “iconic.” But sometimes, the universe is kind enough to align the stars and give us an organic moment of pure social media viral bliss. ‘Less than a month after I met my soulmate, I ended my 14-year marriage,’ and the book it’s meant to promote, is that moment. Come on, Hollywood, the iron is hot on this thing… strike it now!