A whole lot of people sent me the news yesterday that Zack Snyder — director of maybe three of the worst ten movies I’ve ever seen — is allegedly working on an adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead.
Let’s be clear: Zack Snyder is a terrible director, but he’s an even worse writer. The best thing you could say about his adaptation of Watchmen was that it occasionally did a good job of literally throwing comic book panels up on the screen. His DC superhero films are absolute messes, with nothing to recommend. And Sucker Punch is a misogynistic turd of a movie that I actively regret watching.
But while we’re talking honestly, Ayn Rand is a million times worse than Zack Snyder will ever be. Her books are a cancer on society; they’ve convinced a small army of young white men that they deserve every ounce of privilege they were born into. Her books created two of the worst political figures of our time — Paul Ryan and Rand Paul. And the legacy of her writing, if left unchecked, will result in nothing less than the complete destruction of society as we know it.
So, no. I’m not looking forward to this movie.
But it’s worse than that. Here’s a dirty little secret about The Fountainhead: it’s a terrible book. The Fountainhead opens with a graphic scene of sexual assault perpetrated by the “hero” of the book, and the narrative POV never once questions that hero’s intentions.
The plot, in its most basic terms, is about a young man who is always right about everything. Throughout the book, he deals with annoying people who are always wrong. Eventually, everyone realizes that he was right about everything, and then they give him everything he ever wanted. The end. There’s no conflict, no growth, no real drama to The Fountainhead.
If you don’t believe me, get a load of this climactic scene from the 1949 Fountainhead adaptation, in which the hero (Gary Cooper) explains patiently why he is a maker and everyone else in the world is a taker:
Of course, Snyder doesn’t really understand conflict, either. (I dare you to explain Lex Luthor’s plan in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice to me in 25 words or less.) So what we’ll likely see is a collection of slow-motion scenes and a single, lovingly shot explosion, strung together with a passel of monologues. What we’ll get is an adaptation of a book written by an asshole, adapted by an asshole, starring an asshole, for an audience of assholes.
All that said, this movie will probably do well at the box office. To tweak a cliche just a little bit, nobody in the year of our lord 2018 ever went broke underestimating the rampant assholery of the American public.