My name is Holden Caulfield and I just watched this movie that’s supposed to be inspired by this book I wrote, “The Catcher in the Rye”. I mean, it was supposedly written by this other guy, J.D. Salinger. But it’s not true. I wrote it. I really did. Who this Salinger is, he’s a kook. I mean it. I mean, at one point Terrence Malick wanted to make a goddam movie out of the book, and Salinger said: “No”. If that’s not saying he’s a kook, I don’t know what is. Anyway, some hack came up with this funny way of going around the book. The movie is called Chasing Holden (2001) and it’s not really about me. It’s about this guy, Neil (DJ Qualls), who is supposed to be like me. That killed me. I mean, I guess the idea is quite clever and all. But the way this director, Malcolm Clarke, made the whole thing… Boy, that’s another story. I felt like I went to a goddam Bette Davis tearjerker. I really did. Only this movie was in color. And there was no Bette Davis. And it was on DVD. I guess the people that came up with DVD were thinking of ways to make more crap available to more morons, even without them leaving home. I mean, it was enough when the movies were all over the place in the movie houses. But now they’re everywhere. People even watch them on their iPhones in the subway. That kills me.
To be honest, the movie depressed the hell out of me. It was so predictable, I was thinking: “So that’s what I am? That’s the way people read my book?”. It made me blue as hell.
Mainly, it was this Neil who annoyed the hell out of me. They wanted to make him so clever, those writers. Each line he says is like from some goodam book with “100 Smartest Things to Say”. And besides, this guy Neil seems pretty violent and all. For example, when he finally gets into school after leaving the madhouse, some other kids nag him about his brother. They say he was a flit, only they don’t use the word “flit”, ‘cause it’s no longer the Fifties. It’s the Nineties, so they say “fag”, just to break Neil’s balls. But Neil won’t have any of this, so he grabs the main guy’s testicles – I mean his testicles, for gawdsakes – and he squeezes them, hard and all, and he says: “I hate bullies!”. That killed me. It really did. I mean, if the guy was supposed to be like me, like Holden Caulfield for gawdsakes, he should be afraid of getting into a fight. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a sissy or anything. It’s just that I don’t go around squeezing people’s testicles. There would be a million other things I would do, hell, I would’ve even punched the guy in the face, but I wouldn’t do that. But I guess the movie people thought this will make Neil seem like this really cool guy, because he can squeeze a bully’s balls if he feels like it. Like some Schwarzenegger, or someone like him. It killed me.
I mean, I don’t know what you are supposed to make of a movie that says to you: “OK, I’m this really cool movie, I hate clichés, I will show you real people with real problems”. And then what the movie gives you, is one goddam cliché after another. I’m not kidding. Like, when Neil meets this girl, T.J. (Rachel Blanchard), some kind of phony syrupy music starts playing immediately on the soundtrack. It’s playing just in case someone doesn’t get that Neil will get the hots for T.J. I mean, it’s like the goddam director was telling you what to feel, and when to feel it, and how long. I don’t know, maybe some people who go to the movies like that. But me, I always feel like puking when I see that happening. I seriously do.
Besides, this guy Neil doesn’t look like he’s young at all. His teacher looks like he’s the same age as him, or helluva older, if you ask me. It was all so phony, it depressed me a lot. Will there ever be a decent movie out of my book…? I seriously doubt that, and that really kills me.