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DID YOU READ

Adapt This: “An Elegy For Amelia Johnson”

an elegy for amelia johnson

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a new comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find thoughts from various comic creators and other industry experts about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: An Elegy For Amelia Johnson by Andrew Rostan, Dave Valeza, and Kate Kasenow (Archaia Entertainment)

The Premise: Two people embark on a cross-country trek as a last request for their dying friend, delivering messages to various people who meant something to her during her life. As the two strangers journey from one destination to the next, they learn more than they ever expected to about their friend, and each other — and begin to suspect the real reasons they’re each making the trip.

The Pitch: Equal parts cross-country travelogue and compelling drama about seeing your life through the eyes of others, An Elegy For Amelia Johnson is the sort of awards-friendly story that inspires its audience and wins over critics. In the hands of a capable screenwriter who can bring the story from page to screen, there’s a lot of potential for a film that’s more than just a tear-jerking farewell to the main characters’ cancer-stricken friend — there’s a story here about two people who couldn’t be more different, thrown together for an unfortunate reason, who learn as much about themselves during the journey as they do about their friend.

A movie based on Amelia Johnson would give a pair of talented lead actors lots of room to explore the full spectrum of emotions, and there’s ample opportunity for the supporting cast to shine, too. Of the two main characters, one is a successful filmmaker who brings along his crew to film their cross-country mission, so there’s a nice chance to develop those characters a little more than they were in the book.

And despite the serious nature of the story, there’s actually quite a bit of flexibility in how a potential adaptation could be played, too. It’s easy to envision an Amelia Johnson adaptation with a quirky, Wes Anderson-style approach to their journey, peppering the pathos with humor, or it could just as easily be a straight-up, serious drama about the nature of life and love.

Given the movie-within-a-movie storyline of An Elegy For Amelia Johnson, the option is there to give the film a unique feel by using scenes from the road-trip film being developed by the main character as segues between chapters of the actual movie. In fact, there are many different ways a director could use the movie being created within the movie to set an Amelia Johnson adaptation apart from other films with a similar theme.

The Closing Argument: An Elegy For Amelia Johnson writer Andrew Rostan has done a wonderful job of mixing humor, sobering drama, and an optimistic exploration of life and death in this graphic novel, and the right combination of screenwriter and director should find a strong foundation for a great film here. The plot encourages its characters to change and evolve in a short amount of time, which is one of the key ingredients of a good film — and a good story in a any medium, really. All of that means that it shouldn’t be too difficult to bring the story to life on the screen, and with careful attention paid to how it gets there, it wouldn’t be surprising to see an adaptation of An Elegy For Amelia Johnson earn a few awards along the way.


Would “An Elegy For Amelia Johnson” make a good movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.