DON'T WATCH THE FILM.
Well, that last statement has kind of given away the whole basis of this post, but we'll continue on regardless.
The film industry is an awful, mass market, awful, awful creature that has become the slave of Capitalism for Capitalism's sake. Did you need to butcher a beautiful, heart-rending novel so that idiots would not be hurt by the complicated feelings and things? No, you didn't, film industry. You absolutely didn't. You simplified a story that was the definition of complicated. I hate you for that. And also your Capitalism.
Yes, I am a leftie. Just like you should be, film industry! --grumbles about overall wrongness of 'creative' types being right-wing--
So, how do they simplify the story?
- Pat knows what he did to end up in the hospital.
- He knows how long he's been there, and it isn't three years.
- His dad is happy that he's home... wait a second. That's not simplifying, that's just down right rebuilding the father-son relationship (and Pat's father as a charcter) from the ground up. Why?
- Pat goes to one American football game. One.
- He doesn't have a gym, he just runs occasionally.
- He sends maybe one letter to his wife.
- His therapist isn't that big of an influence, and he puts the song on at their first meeting on purpose. Again, why?
- He dances at an actual dance competition.
- He doesn't win.
- He gets five points, which is enough for his father to win a bet he made against a friend that had basically all his money on it.
- Nikki turned up at the dance competition -- which of course means that there was none of that meeting Nikki, finding out it was all a lie, finding Danny's house. You know, the actual important end bits.
Annoyed book fan out!