Monday, April 17, 2006

Running With Scissors - The Story and The Movie

Just finished reading the book Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. This best seller is a memoir that was published in 2003.

Part of my interest in reading this book was that it was a memoir, it sounded interesting, I knew some people who spoke highly of it (namely students at my school), and I knew they were making a movie of this memoir.

The book basically outlines the chaotic life of Augusten from 12 to 17 (mainly focusing on when he was 13 & 14). The chaos begins to spiral out of control with Augusten's family when his psychotic mother ends up leaving Augusten for a week at her psychiatrist's (Dr. Finch's) house for a week, yet with his mothers instability even after a week, the crazy doctor's house becomes his second home.

The book has horrific moments in it including his mother's psychotic meltdowns, and the horrific events which Augusten experiences at Dr. Finch's house, a place where everyone is free to do whatever they want and his patients (current and former) visit the pink house falling in shambles of chaos. Yet by far the most disturbing and graphic moments of the book deal with the molestation of sexual exploits with Augusten and Neil Bookman who begins a sordid love affair with Augusten when Bookman is 34 and Augusten is 13, the homosexual molestation relationship they form lasts for years.

Augusten Burroughs writes this memoir with a sense of humor, but it is certainly one of those books where everything is so bizarre you can hardly believe it. While at the same time the details are so specific you feel as though you have no choice.

This will be a very interesting movie because of the high caliber cast involved in the film. Annette Bening plays Augusten's psychotic mother, while Alec Baldwin plays his distant alcholic father. Brian Cox (L.I.E. and Stryker in X2) plays Dr. Finch, and two of his daughters are played by Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen) and Gwyneth Paltrow. Joseph Fiennes plays Neil Bookman, and Gabriel Union (Love and Basketball) and Kristin Chenoweth (Tony award winner and Annabeth Schott on the West Wing).

And who's to play Augusten? His name is Joseph Cross. The only thing I know him from his main child in the movie Jack Frost, with Michael Keaton and Kelly Preston. (Interestingly, Joseph Cross will also have a part in Flags of our Fathers this summer.)

The film is directed and adapted by Ryan Murphy, the creator, director and head-writer of the television show Nip/Tuck.

Early Film Thoughts: This film set to be releases September 22nd, seems like it could go a lot of ways. If they try to draw out the comedy, it would remind me of Wes Anderson's film The Royal Tenenbaums, largely because of it's randomness and bizarre ensamble characters that quality actors will be playing. I imagine Running with Scissors has a good chance of being a top film for a number of critics and fans, but not to be a big movie among the average movie goer. I also could see it scoring some acting nominations and maybe a writing nomination, for Murphy.

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Anonymous said...

I very much enjoyed this book because the detail gave it an air of humor that seemed to make it ok to read the story. Horrifying is just the right word. If the book were written any other way, I would feel as if I were intruding (does that make sense?).
Did you read Dry? Again, written very well...however, it was emotionally draining!

Mike K said...

I can't believe it is coming out this year. Oddly enough, the real life "Finches" are trying to sue Augusten claiming that the book is fictional.