Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Film as Literature: "Killings" and "In The Bedroom"

Please respond to the following short answer questions:

1. First, refine and post your answers to the SMARTboard ("Killings") questions from Tuesday.

2. Which character differs most from story-to-film? How so? Defend your claim.

3. In order to generate a complete film, the screenwriter and filmmakers needed to expand or inflate the short story, which is relatively concise. How did they manage this expansion? Would you have handled it the same way? Explain.


Amanda Towne said...

1. I think Matt’s act of revenge was not a good idea. He should have shown Richard that he was a better person and didn’t have to get revenge. The guilt of killing someone will stay on your conscious for as long as you live. The thought of Richard dealing with the consequences of killing someone should have been enough revenge on him. Matt’s emotions changed as the story went on. Sometimes he was pleased thinking about how happy his son was. He was also terrified at the thought of being alone with Richard and the anger he has towards him taking his son’s life away.
2. The Fowler family was happy before the murder. They were a close loving family. They all played together and watched them grow up knowing they did well raising them. Matt and his wife were happy for their son when he found love and it devastated them when he died. They were angry after the murder.
3. I think after Matt murdered Richard, their family will find it hard to be happy. The guilt of killing someone will lay on their conscious for as long as they live. They sadness they felt after their son died will tear them apart. Essentially, I feel like it would be hard for the family to find happiness after the murders.

Arianna Heath said...

1.)1.)I feel that it was unjust. there was no real reason for him to take it to the level that he did. There are always other ways to deal with revenge and killing is not the only way to deal with it, thats extreme, you shouldn't give way to revenge you need to move past it.
2.)Killings is more appropriate that killers because it is not about the group who created the murders it is strictly about the events and how they came to the conclusion of murder.
9.) Killers could very well be described as being a love story as a murder story because the murder was sparked by the fulfilment of love and the promise of two being together once the obstacle was gone.
2.) Natalie in my opinion changed the most from the story to the film, in the film she seems very weak and not as put together as she did in the story, she seemed like a stronger woman and mother in the story.
3.)How they handled the expansion on the film is how they changed the order of events and added in scenes between characters that did not take place also adding characters that were not named previously. They also added a court scene to show the legal system which they never did in the short story. I would have probably done it the same way as the movie because the flow was better constructed that the short story.

Skylar Daley said...

1. 4. Before the murder of Matt’s son, the Fowler family was just like any other family. They had their issues of course, but for the most part they were happy and content, spending sunny days outside and cooking on the grill. The murder turns Matt into a whole new person. At first, he becomes withdrawn and distant, but then he turns into a killer.
6. In paragraph 76, Richard shooting Frank is described in a sadly concise way. The author does not over describe it. Frank was sitting with Mary Ann and her kids, peacefully on a Sunday night, when Richard stormed in and shot Frank twice.
7. Matt’s revenge is very carefully planned out; he makes sure to wear gloves during the crime and brings Richard far away to kill him and cover his tracks. I think it will affect the Fowler family because they will become very paranoid about someone finding out about Richard’s murder.
2. Natalie, played by Marissa Tomei in In the Bedroom, differs more from Mary Ann in “Killings” than any other characters from film-to-story. In the film she is more outspoken than in the story; if she has something to say then she says it, and stands up for herself and her kids. She also has a much closer relationship with Frank’s parents than she did in the story. “Killings” made Mary Ann seem like a gentle, perfect woman, and while Natalie is kind and sweet in the film she has flaws just like anyone else.
3. In order to stretch “Killings” into a two hour film, several things had to be changed and added. Many additional scenes were included that were not part of the story. Many more characters were added as well. This allowed for considerably more relationships in the film, and the audience watched them unfold. Many more interactions were included between the characters, making expanding the film further. I would probably not have done this had i been the director, for it makes the movie seem to drag on excessively. Many of the scenes that were added were not impactful to the general plot and at times it made it boring.

Amanda Towne said...

2. Matt differs most from the story-to-film. In the story, Matt is torn apart and has a lot of anger towards his son’s death. The way he is characterized is as a tough father who has no sympathy towards anyone else about losing Frank. In the movie, he is portrayed as a nice guy who has everything together. He always asks how everyone else is to make sure they are okay. He doesn’t ever express his anger in the movie which characterizes him differently from the story.
3. The screenwriters and filmmakers expanded the short story to generate a complete film by showing the whole story. In the story, they started out at Frank’s funeral and later explained what had happened. They included flashbacks of Frank and Natalie from when they were together and the happy times they had. To expand the story, the filmmakers started the story with Frank and Natalie together and led up to the death of Frank. They included scenes in the movie that were not included in the story either. I would have handled it the same way so viewers would get a feel at what Frank and Natalie were like. Also, it gives a general description to how Richard Strout was in story as well. Overall, you get a universal sense of what the characters and how they were before and after the death of Frank.

Anonymous said...

1. 5) We learn that Richard has been carrying a .38 just in case he ran into Matt. He believed that Matt might hurt him and he was very scared and he shies away from him whenever he sees them around town. It changes my opinion because he seems to be more skittish and fearful when before he was confident and brutal and masculine. 2) The story is called “Killings” because there are multiple killings not multiple killers, in order for them to be killers they would have to both kill more than just one person. Also the killings are both related and one was because of the other. 3) Matt’s act of revenge, although not necessary, understandable. He makes you feel sad and horrible towards him and Ruth, but you also feel resentment toward Strout and you want to do the same thing Matt did. At the end of the story I don’t know how I feel about Matt at the end, I have conflicting emotions about what happened to him.
2. In the story Ruth differs most in my opinion from the movie to the story. She is still upset but instead of being sad and upset she is angry with the people who do the trial and the bail hearing. Also the movie elaborates more on her character than in the short story. Ruth is hardly talked about in the story, but when she is talked about she is always crying and/or extremely upset about what had happened.
3. Because the story “Killings” was so short the story had to be expanded with added scenes into the story. They added scene of what would have been small things that weren’t explained in the story. In the movie they explain things that weren’t talked about in the story, also it goes into detail on several other things that the short story hadn’t gone into depth on, like how Strut got out on bail. I would have done the same thing with the story in order to make it longer and be able to expand it to a full length movie.
-Camden Cleathero

Gianna Larson said...

1.) I think that the title Killings is more appropriate than Killers. Killings occur in this story both physically and mentally. Physically, people are killed and descriptions of the killings are shown in the story. Mentally, Frank is having an affair, and in the long run he is killing Richard. Frank is getting himself into trouble that he would not have been able to get himself out of. Killers would not make sense as a title because the story is not just about killers. It is too generic of a title, the story has a lot of background to lead to the killings.
I think that the way the story was ordered is significant. It starts out with the death of Frank, particularly his funeral. The story starts off with no background information on how Frank could have died. The funeral leads into the start of why Frank could have ended up dead. Dubus slowly tells the whole story including the plot behind Frank’s actions. The story starts off with sorrow, and slowly builds to dramatic. It leaves the audience with mystery on why he was shot. The order of the story leads up to why he was shot, sharing important scenes and events that had occurred. This order adds to the fate that Frank and his family had got into.
Killings could be a love story for many reasons. Killings involves affairs, but that’s not all. There is this whole mystery behind this girl and who is she? Matt has such a love for Frank, he really cared about him and wanted Richard to deserve more of a fate than manslaughter. Frank also has such a love for MaryAnn, and his parents approve of his relationship. Frank wants to do everything he can to protect MaryAnn and her family from Richard. The plot of the story is of who is with who, and when they will see each other next. Killings could be perceived as a love story.
2.) The character that differs most from story-to-film is MaryAnn. First off, her name in the film is not MaryAnn, her name is Natalie. In the short story MaryAnn doesn’t have much dialogue, and is not as interactive in the plot as much as she is in the film. In the story MaryAnn does not go on trial like she does in the movie. MaryAnn does not speak out in the story, she stays quiet and to herself. In the film, Natalie voices her opinion, and fights for what she believes is best. MaryAnn differs in the story and in the film.
3.) The filmmakers expanded the film mainly by going in chronological order instead of starting with the funeral scene like the story did. The order in the movie made it longer and it developed the plot much more, where in the story it just cut right to the funeral without any background information on why Frank died. A lot more detail was put into the movie so viewers could better understand what was occurring. The filmmakers captured different emotions of all of the characters, which allowed the plot to develop more, unlike the story. I would have gone in chronological order just like the movie did. It develops a setting and leads up to the climax of the movie. It is more dramatic in the way the movie was organized, whereas the story started of dramatic and enveloped a sad tone to it.

Colleen Murphy said...

1a. I think Matt’s act of revenge is a little excessive. He takes his need to have this guy go away to an extreme. Although I can understand his anger for Richard killing his son and having to see him around town all the time, but he could have solved that more peacefully. As the plot unfolds, Matt is going back to the time when Frank was alive which only builds his anger and need for revenge. He imagines Frank happy and enjoying life and the fact that this man took that away from him, angers Matt the more he thinks about it and does not rethink the plan at all.

1b. The order of events told keeps the reader interested. It makes the reader wonder, who was the murderer? Or, why was he killed? This order of events makes the story more emotional because you are imagining with the characters memories of Frank while he was alive. Since there are flashbacks telling you the whole story, if keeps you reading and makes you wonder. If the story were to be told in chronological order, it would have made the death of Frank more shocking. You would not know it was happening and it would be more emotional because you know what the character is like before he dies. When they start off with his funeral, you are not as affected because you do not know who Frank is.

1c. Matt’s revenge was very well thought out. He planned everything from where they would take Richard’s car to making sure he wore gloves while opening and closing the car doors. He wanted to make him feel scared. Matt wanted Richard feel the way Frank felt when he saw him walking in the door with a gun. He planned everything so he would not get caught. His lie helped keep Richard from trying to escape. If he thought he was going to be alive in the end, Matt thought maybe he would be less likely to try and run away.
2. A character that differs most from story to film is Mary Ann. Mary Ann is not characterized a lot in the short story. She does not say anything, she is only described in flashbacks and memories. In the film, Mary Ann is a vulnerable, flawed girl. In the film, she is not as care free and loving as she was made out in the short story. Mary Ann was never blamed for the death of Frank in the short story, but in the film, Ruth and Matt are angry with her for many different reasons. Mary Ann does not seem like the loved and beautiful character she was in the book, her flaws are revealed.
3. To manage the expansion, they put the story in chronological order. They did not have flashbacks of memories as the plan unfolded. That was a good way to spread out the movie. Another way they expanded the movie was by showing Matt and Ruth’s anger. They fought about who was responsible and what they could have done. They drink away their sorrows and blame themselves and others for what happened. Also, they add a court system and the punishment Richard got. The story is more than just revenge, it becomes a fight over why Frank isn’t alive.

Emma Sudduth said...

1. 2. I believe “Killings” is a more appropriate title than “Killers” because the story is focused on the attackers also being victims. Matt Fowler and Richard Strout are innocent men before they kill someone and both feel justified in that murder. This makes it seems as if they are not “Killers” as much as they are vigilantes stopping the “bad guy” in their life. The story is focused on the deaths of Frank and Richard and how in different viewpoints those deaths were the right thing to do. 3. The effects of Dubus’s ordering of events in the story is that the audience is slowly caught up in the plot because they want to know why these chain of events unfolded. The first thing the reader sees is that a father buried his son and that the family wants to get revenge on his killer. Without the disjointed plot coming together as it did, the story would not have been as dramatic as it was when the full story came out. If the story was told in chronological order than Matt’s need to kill Richard would not have been as apparent because as he goes through with the plan to kill Richard all the reasons and memories to do it go through his head. The flashbacks pick out specific memories that boost Matt into shooting Richard. 9. “Killings” may be considered a love story as well as a murder plot because of the tragic love between Frank and Mary Ann and Matt and Frank. Frank did not care that Mary Ann had already been married or had kids, and he loved her for all her flaws. He had been beaten and harassed by Richard Strout before and yet Frank stayed with Mary Ann until Richard shot him. The other love story is between a father and his son, Matt and Frank. Richard thought he still loved Mary Ann, and he thought the only way to get her back would be to shoot Frank. Matt said he was always a cautious father and when Frank died because he did not protect him, he became insane. Matt loved his son so much that he could not let Richard get away with breaking his heart. The murders occurred because of the love that the characters had for each other.
2. The character which differs most from the story to the film was Ruth Fowler. In “Killings” Matt is trying to shelter Ruth from Strout because he sees her as a broken women. In “In the Bedroom” Ruth starts off as a strong and loving, but after the murder she is more angry than heartbroken. The story Ruth seemed weak and unable to do anything because her guilt had consumed her. The film Ruth is still wounded and shocked by Frank’s death, but she seems to want revenge for what happened. In the story Ruth seems to be hiding her feelings for Matt so he does not get hurt, but in the film Ruth is very vocal about her feelings towards Strout.
3. The filmmakers managed to expand the story by having the plot go in chronological order and giving all the characters back stories. In the story most of the events leading up to the murders are skipped over and only the very basic descriptions are given to the family dynamic. In the film all the random occurrences, fights, and grieving is brought into the plot so that the characters true feelings are expressed through their everyday actions. The court scene and the aftermath of it helps to explain the characters feelings for each other and why the ending had to happen. I think I would have handled the same way because the story is too short to be made into a movie. I believe are best told in chronological order because flashbacks are hard to piece together on film. The extra instances and fights allowed the audience to truly capture the characters dilemma and understand why Matt could not just leave Strout alone.

Anonymous said...

1) 2. The title describes exactly what happened in the book. In the story Matt did not murder Strout. He killed him because it was justified. Strout killed Frank and Matt took revenge. It did not follow killers, it just shower killings of a couple of people.
4. Before the murder of Frank, Matt had always been a worrisome person. He always worried for kids that they may hurt themselves. After Frank was murdered, Matt became more serious and vengeful.
8. At the end, after Matt dealt with Strout, he lays down in his bed and feels strange. He began to think about the pictures that he saw at Strouts place. He thought about how he took Strout’s life and how he had family as well. Matt pulling the sheets up to his neck showed the discomfort the Matt had and this can lead to the assumption that he feels bad.
2) In the film, Ruth is the most different character from herself in the book. In the book she is not much of a character, but in the movie she is a more prominent and main character. In the movie her mourning is much more elongated. The movie follows Ruth around a lot more than the book did and she had more of a personality in the film than the book.
3) The short story Killings by Andre Dubus had to be elongated in order to have enough content to be a full movie. The characters were more fleshed out in the movie by showing us their day jobs and what they were like on a day to day basis. More scenes were added to make the movie longer such as most of the mourning scenes. With the longer movie the writers were able to create some of their own scenes to add to the emotion. I would have handled it in the same way if I were writing the movie. The writers made the right decision to add these scenes because if they tried to extend the scenes already in the story than the story could become stale and boring.
Ryan Wheeler

Rachel Brunault said...

2) I feel the title “Killings” is more appropriate for the story than “Killers”. This is because I find that the concept of the story to be less about the people that are committing the crime then I do about the actual death of Frank himself and how they affect the characters who only end up continuing the cycle of death.
3) If they story had gone in chronological order, I feel it would not have been as interesting to read as if it remained as it is now. If the look at the story in its chronological order, it appears very predictable and ordinary. However, if you read the story beginning with it with a funeral and then reading to how we got there as it slowly unfolds between moments, it draws your attention in more and sparks greater curiosity to what has happened and what will. Rather than the story being clear all the way through, it starts out more ambiguous and then slowly grows clear.
6) The way that Frank’s death is described in paragraph 76 is very, well, frank. This description being so emotionally detached from the actions ultimately leads you to connect the dispassionate nature of the writing of a murder to the murderer himself, in a way characterizing Richard without even technically characterizing him at all.

The character I find to differ the most from story to film would be Ruth Fowler. In the story, Ruth was not mentioned much, but when she was, she was either worrying about her son in a flashback or grieving her son in the moment. She seemed depressed and distressed but nothing much more. In the film, however, Ruth was different with her anger over the loss of her son; she became colder and more aggressive in the way she acted. Ruth also had a very different relationship with her husband, they had a much more strained partnership in the film than they did in the book. Despite differences of opinion in Mary Ann (changed to Natalie in the movie), in the story the two still seemed to have a strong bond, whereas in the movie, it is alluded to how little they actually ever talk to one another.

There were a few parts to Killings that had been lengthened for its movie adaptation In The Bedroom. The parts of the story that had been expanded upon for the sake of the film was the inclination towards Frank’s death and his mourning. They did so by adding the added conflict of Frank and his choice of schooling or Natalie (Mary Ann), and overall just diving more into depth on the topic of losing a son to a free roaming killer and the grieving process as a whole. They also added a few additions to the events of killing Richard to slightly lengthen that scene as well. If I were to have made this movie myself, I probably would have done the same thing (minus changing the murder so much, I would have just slowed it down but kept all the detail work the same as the story) because I don’t think there is too many ways that you can tell this story in at least an hour and a half without changing it too drastically.

Anonymous said...

1. I personally fell that if I were put in Matt’s position I would take the same actions. Imagine if your son was murdered and the person who killed him was free to do whatever he wants. Now it takes a lot of rational thinking and deliberation to come to a conclusion that murder is the right option but in Matt’s case I think he was right. It is not fair for a murderer to walk freely while the victim’s family has to suffer.

I believe that the short story “killings” is a more appropriate title than killers for a few good reasons. First off I guess most would call both Matt and Richard killers, but I would not call Matt a killer even though he clearly killed. Now this may not make sense but I feel matt did the right thing even though it was murder which suits the title killings because there were more than one but not necessarily killers.

In the end of the story “killings” Matt has mixed emotions about the killing of Richard. He initially wanted to kill him because he murdered his son but as the story progresses and he actually kills Richard, Matt realizes the guilt that he feels from doing something that was an initial good idea but in the end was wrong.

2. I think that when comparing killings to In the Bedroom the character that differs most is Frank for one simple reason. The story doesn’t include his character at all while in the movie they create his character and his back story before he is killed off.
3. The film makers obviously did a good job of creating the plot for the gap it took to make the movie long enough. They did this by creating the character of Franks back story and not immediately killing him off like in the story. I would have used the same technique because it builds up the plot of the film giving it that send=se of being drawn into the film.

connor binegar

Eric Sanford said...

- 2. The significance of the title, "Killings" is that the story is focused on the events that transpire and the effect that these events have on the characters. Because of this, "Killings" is a more appropriate title than "Killers" would be because the story does not focus on the characters merely for the fact that they kill, but rather explores the impact of these murders, especially the psychological damage that was done to Matt and Ruth following the murder of their son, and how this leads to another murder, revenge for the first.
- 7. Matt's revenge is well planned and executed, as he and Willis are able to dispose of Richard's corpse and any evidence of the murder without incident, as well as providing alibis for each other if needed, while making it seem as if he had run away and somehow escaped without being caught, leaving no suspicion on Matt or Willis, because of the lack of evidence that a crime even occurred.
- 8. At the end of the story, Matt reveals to his wife that he has killed their son's murderer, and both of them feel relief that Richard cannot continue to roam the town freely while on bail, only to serve a seemingly inadequate term in prison as punishment, but rather, is now dead, which to them, is truer justice than the law could attain.

Kaleala KF said...

2. In the story, two people die. “Killings” sounds like a more appropriate title because a murderer is shot by the victim's father. These 2 men didn’t kill anyone else.

8. When he is with his wife at the end of the story, he is shaken up and still processing what he had done.

9. A father seeks revenge for his son. The father knows that he might be arrested for the crime he will commit but he kills the man anyway to avenge his son. The father follows through with the plan. That is true love. Also two people die, so its a murder story.

2. In my opinion Natalie in the film “In The Bedroom” and Mary-Ann in “Killings” differ from each other. Natalie was tougher than her story character in the movie. She knew how to handle a situation better than Mary-Ann did. Mary-Ann seemed shy and quiet.

3. In the film, the screenwriters included the fishing scenes and the family gatherings. They put great detail with introducing Frank to the audience and making the viewers root for him, only to have his demise grab a hold of him.

Jillian Blye said...

2. The story focuses more on the tragedy of the killings, not the way they were killed. It shows what love and hate will send people to do.

7. Matt planned out his revenge very well. He thought of everything, even the slightest details. With the help of Willis, he got the job done quicker. He lied many times to Richard so he would believe him at first. The lying got Richard as far away as possible before Richard started to see what was really happening. He knew he was going to die and when he tried to make a run for it, it was already too late.

9. Killings could be a love story because Frank did everything he could to protect Mary-Ann. Then Matt did everything he could, including killing Richard to protect Ruth and the rest of his family. The story focuses on love and is revolve around a love triangle.

Eric Sanford said...

Eric Sanford
Film as Lit
Blog: Killings/ In the Bedroom

- 2. The significance of the title, "Killings" is that the story is focused on the events that transpire and the effect that these events have on the characters. Because of this, "Killings" is a more appropriate title than "Killers" would be because the story does not focus on the characters merely for the fact that they kill, but rather explores the impact of these murders, especially the psychological damage that was done to Matt and Ruth following the murder of their son, and how this leads to another murder, revenge for the first.
- 7. Matt's revenge is well planned and executed, as he and Willis are able to dispose of Richard's corpse and any evidence of the murder without incident, as well as providing alibis for each other if needed, while making it seem as if he had run away and somehow escaped without being caught, leaving no suspicion on Matt or Willis, because of the lack of evidence that a crime even occurred.
- 8. At the end of the story, Matt reveals to his wife that he has killed their son's murderer, and both of them feel relief that Richard cannot continue to roam the town freely while on bail, only to serve a seemingly inadequate term in prison as punishment, but rather, is now dead, which to them, is truer justice than the law could attain.

The character of Frank is the most different from the short story to the film, as in the story, his character is fully developed through flashbacks from the point of view of Matt, giving this interpretation a layer of bias. However, in the film, Frank's character is depicted first hand, with the last events of his life seen before his death, in chronological order, rather than through the flashbacks of the story.

In order to inflate this short story into a feature length film, the filmmakers were forced to add more exposition at the beginning, showing the family's life with Frank before his murder, as well as further establish Matt's relationship with his friends in their poker games. Additions like these scenes add to the run time and help to adapt this concise short story into a full feature length film.