Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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Dream Come True? Oh, Thanks, Movie Gods

I don't do a good job of reporting movie news here, mostly because I just don't feel like it. But some things just have to be commented upon.

I am a Floridian, born and bred, and I grew up just north of Fort Lauderdale. My parents and grandparents are big readers, especially of mysteries and thrillers. John D. MacDonald was a household name. I can tell you without looking it up that Travis McGee docks his boat, the Busted Flush, at Slip F-18, Bahia Mar, Fort Lauderdale. I remember when the city designated an actual Slip F-18 in honor of MacDonald and his creation. I've read and re-read Carl Hiaasen's tribute that appears as a preface in the reprinted McGee series. And while I prefer the stand-alones like A Key to the Suite and The Deceivers, you really can't love MacDonald without loving McGee, too. It's just not possible.

Fortunately, we're not the only people who do.

If my eyes do not deceive me, Travis McGee may finally be getting his due on the Big Screen. I know: there was already an adaptation of Darker Than Amber starring Rod Taylor, followed by Sam Elliott in the TV movie Travis McGee. But this time, they're starting things off right, which is to begin at the beginning: The Deep Blue Good-by.

If my memory of the novel is correct, it involves a desperate girl, her abusive boyfriend, and a blue marble that Trav must get back. This is what he does: people come to him to salvage something of theirs, he takes a cut of what it's worth, and continues philosophizing on a changing Florida landscape. And, like James Bond, there's a girl for every novel, but Trav doesn't always sleep with them. They're damaged goods, he's damaged goods, and MacDonald was masterful at creating sad, sorry people who try to maintain their last bit of dignity.

Oh, and who is to play Travis McGee? Leonardo DiCaprio! We're talking three-time Oscar nominee, Hollmann Award nominated, model-dating Leo! He can do broody; let's just hope we can believe him sans facial hair -- Trav was clean-shaven, but Leo kind of looks baby-faced without something there.

This is so exciting! It's time for a re-reading, methinks.

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