Tag: Catch-22

‘Catch-22’: Might Makes Right

I’ve been reading through Catch-22, and it’s by far one of the funniest novels I have ever read. With a wide cast of quirky and bizarre characters and witty (and most of the time nonsensical) dialogue, this satirical war novel by Joseph Heller perfectly illustrates the absurdity of, not only military life, but of bureaucracy all together.

For those of you who are unaware, the title of the novel Catch-22 comes from the military rule within the text of the same name, which states that any bomber pilot who willingly puts themself in danger is not of sound mind and therefore must be grounded, yet if they ask to be grounded, which is required in order to be deemed not of sound mind, then he has demonstrated that he is of sound mind and therefore must continue flying.

Confusing, right? That’s the point. Catch-22 is a paradoxical military rule of Heller’s creation that perfectly encapsulates how trapped the American soldiers we follow throughout the story truly are. There is a set number of missions that the pilots must fly before they’re allowed to return home, yet the number is always increased by Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the cap on required missions in order to impress his superiors and be promoted to general.

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The circular, illogical reasoning of Catch-22 is Heller’s way of criticizing a single aphorism: might makes right. Those in charge, the ones that make the rules, and those who are not in charge must follow them, so no matter how nonsensical those rules may be, those who had no say in making the rules are forced to act within their parameters.

For example, a corporation is looking for an employee to fill an entry-level position, yet they specify that they only want those with experience to apply. How can one obtain experience if experience is required for an entry-level position? The demand is absurd, yet because the corporation holds the power, the only way for us to get the job is to comply, even though it’s an impossible predicament.

Yet Heller isn’t making the claim that those in power are intentionally malicious, rather Catch-22 is simply the nature of human close-mindedness. When the few are granted the ability to make the rules for the many, Catch-22 situations are inevitable. The game of life is inherently rigged, which is why the only instances of progress that has ever been made was when the rules are no longer followed.

 

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George Clooney Reveals Why He Returned to the Small Screen for ‘Catch 22’

In an interview with the BBC, George Clooney reveals how he was lured back onto the small screen for Catch 22.

 

George Clooney

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The dark comedy, based on Joseph Heller’s beloved novel, appeared on Hulu as a miniseries, with Clooney directing two of the six episode, including the finale.

 

George Clooney, Hulu

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Heller’s 1961 novel  infamously coined the term ‘catch-22’, which refers to a situation that’s impossible to win. Clooney’s series currently holds an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes.

From a distance, Clooney’s name to the cast list wasn’t shocking at all. Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Jane Fonda, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon all had roles in the show….

 

Catch-22

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…but Clooney was unique,  because not only was he an executive producer and director on the show, but he was acting in the series as Scheisskopf.

There was a previous adaptation of the source material, a two-hour 1970 film directed by Mike Nichols, but it received a mixed response from audiences and critics with critic Lucia Bozzola writing “Paramount spent a great deal of money on Catch-22, but it wound up getting trumped by another 1970 antiwar farce: Robert Altman’s MASH.”

Since then there have been many film with the same Catch-22 name, but they have been unrelated. The only related media is a pilot episode for a Catch-22 series that aired on CBS in 1973, starring Richard Dreyfuss of Jaws fame, and now this six part miniseries.

It seems that Catch-22 is at home on the small screen, and thankfully Clooney had a better response to streaming services than many of his colleagues, noting “…it’s not such a bad thing to be able to do these kinds of stories on streaming services, so it’s great”.

 

George Clooney

Image Via Hollywood Reporter

This is an interesting response, considering while Clooney originally made his name in the 1990s medical drama ER, he had since been only involved the silver screen with box office smashes like Gravity and Ocean’s Eleven. But this show lured him back in….

“A lot of the type of stories that I like to tell don’t involve superheroes,” he told BBC News.

Why wouldn’t Clooney want to be involved in a superhero movie. His last one went swimmingly…

 

Batman!

Image Via CinemaBlend

Oh, yeah, that movie.

 

 

Featured Image Via IndieWire

George Clooney

Hulu Picks Up George Clooney ‘Catch-22’ Adaptation

We previously reported that George Clooney had signed on to star in a television adaptation of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. At the time of the article, the show had not yet found a network, but it’s been announced that Hulu has picked up the high-profile series. 

 

Clooney is set to star, direct, and produce the limited series, which was written by Luke Davies and David Michôd and co-directed by Grant Heslov. 

 

Catch-22 is set in Italy during World War II. As the book has transcended pop culture and entered the English language as an idiom, you probably know what the book and series is about already. Yossarian, a bombardier in the United States Air Force, struggles with a bureaucratic trap specifying who can and can not perform their duties – crazy people are not allowed to operate the heavy machinery, but anyone who applies to stop flying shows a rational concern for their own safety, and were then deemed sane enough to fly. Clooney will play the part of Colonel Cathcart. 

 

Filming will begin early this year, but no expected air date has been released yet. I, for one, am psyched. If the past year’s literary television adaptations are any hint as to the quality and entertainment value of what we can expect, I’ll be quite happy.

 

Featured Image Via The Daily Beast.

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What a Catch! George Clooney to Star and Direct New ‘Catch-22’ Series

It’s been nearly two decades since iconic Hollywood film actor George Clooney has graced television screens, leaving the small screen behind for cinema, working both in front of and behind the camera. 

 

Now, this Hollywood’s leading man will make a return, reportedly signing on to both star in and direct an adaptation of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.

 

The six-episode series is slated to begin production in the early months of 2018 in accordance with Paramount TV and Anonymous Content. Though the adaptation hasn’t found a network yet, with Clooney joining production we’re sure it won’t be too long. 

 

Based on Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel, Catch-22 is a story set in Italy during World War II and focuses on the war tale of Captain John Yossarian, a US Air Force bombardier. The story essentially explores the conundrum Yossarian faces, the bureaucratic rule referred to as Catch-22, in which the definition of insanity as opposed to sanity both heed undesirable results leaving the subject in a no win-situation.

 

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In other words, as Yossarian becomes troubled by his war experiences he finds himself both unable to leave and vulnerable if he stays. 

 

Clooney will play the role of Colonel Cathcart, Yossarian’s commander. He’ll transfer his ability to lead through his role as the director of the film, working alongside producer Grant Heslov, and co-writers and executive producers Luke Davies and David Michôd.

 

Though it’s been a while since Clooney left his last major role on the acclaimed medical series ER to focus on film, he is certainly a Hollywood veteran. Having been nominated for eight Academy awards spanning his work as a writer, director, and actor (he won two), we’re quite certain his return to the TV screen will be a breeze.

 

Featured Image Via ‘OTV’/’Amazon’

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10 Classic Books That Almost Had Different Titles

Book titles are important: along with the cover, they’re one of the first things we notice when we pick up a novel. We’ve grown so used to some famous book titles that we barely think about them anymore. Of course The Great Gatsby is called The Great Gatsby; why wouldn’t it be?

But the truth is, it almost wasn’t. And F. Scott Fitzgerald isn’t the only literary figure who switched up a famous title at the last minute. Here are 10 incredible examples of famous book titles that were almost completely different.

 

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Which number followed the “Catch-” in Catch-22 was debated by Heller and his publisher for a while. Heller considered 11 and 18 first, but they were discarded to avoid confusion with the film Ocean’s Eleven (the original 1960 version) and Leon Uris’ Mila 18, respectively. 22 was eventually picked simply because it was 11 (Heller’s original choice) doubled.

 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

We gave this one away in the introduction, but how crazy is it that Fitzgerald’s greatest work was almost called something else? In fact, Fitzgerald was considering several different titles, including Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; Gold-Hatted Gatsby; On the Road to West Egg; Trimalchio in West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; and our personal favorite, The High-Bouncing Lover.

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Rowling’s debut already had a title in the United Kingdom, of course, where it was known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But her publisher, convinced that an American audience wouldn’t know what the Philosopher’s Stone was, wanted to change the title to something more accessible. According to Philip W. Errington’s book on Rowling’s work, the publisher wanted Harry Potter and the School of Magic. That was lame, and Rowling knew it: she insisted on something more specific, and the “Sorcerer’s Stone” was born.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Harper Lee made a lot of changes as she worked on her famous novel (the recently published Go Set a Watchman is essentially a very early permutation of the work.) At some point, her working title was Atticus. It changed to To Kill a Mockingbird as Lee expanded the novel and made it less about Atticus Finch.

 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck wasn’t originally going to call his brief classic Of Mice and Men. Instead, he was going to go with Something That Happened. Maybe he thought the original title gave away too much of the plot?

 

1984 by George Orwell

Orwell’s original title was The Last Man in Europe, but his publisher thought 1984 was catchier. Orwell was a serial title changer: he also dropped the subtitle from his classic Animal Farm, which was originally going to be Animal Farm: A Fairy Story. He also considered A Satire and A Contemporary Satire as titles for Animal Farm, both of which seem rather obvious.

 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s original title for Pride and Prejudice was First Impressions. Not bad, but it doesn’t quite have the melodic ring that the famous chosen title has. Plus, it doesn’t pair nearly as neatly with Sense and Sensibility.

 

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Have you read Twilight? No, not that Twilight. We’re talking about William Faulkner’s greatest novel, The Sound and the Fury, which was originally supposed to be called Twilight. Really!

 

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s original title for The Sun Also Rises was Fiesta. That would certainly have given the cover a bit of a different tone! We can see why Fiesta would have been appropriate, but we think everyone’s glad that Hemingway stepped it up a bit in the title department.

 

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy’s magnum opus is a powerful volume, but we don’t think it would have been quite as powerful if Tolstoy had gone with the original idea for the title. Tolstoy’s original title translated to “All’s Well That Ends Well,” which doesn’t quite do justice to his epic novel. The chosen title, War and Peace, was a real upgrade.