The Rest: The Movies (and Shows) That Also Exist

The Man in the High Castle

Based on: The Man in the High Castle

Amazon turned Dick’s alternate history novel, where Germany and Japan won the Second World War, into this ongoing series. The series is well-produced but also growing more and more complicated, which may be a symptom of Dick’s prose. As the show enters season 3, the concept of alternate dimensions are starting to present themselves, which gives you the sense that the producers of Man in the High Castle are starting to lose the narrative thread. Dick’s story probably worked better self-contained rather than something spanning multiple seasons. 

The Adjustment Bureau

Based on: Adjustment Team

Dick’s short story Adjustment Team, about top secret, all-powerful individuals who control the course of our daily lives, was turned into this stylish but mostly forgettable 2011 film starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. While Dick’s story is told from the point of view of the adjusters, the film is more of a love story, about Damon and Blunt trying to be together while the universe doesn’t want them to. It’s not really a bad film, but it takes a rather intriguing idea from Dick and totally punts it. Oh well.

Radio Free Albemuth

Based on: Radio Free Albemuth

You’ve probably never heard of this film, and that’s because it’s not very good. Radio Free Albemuth was a newly discovered work of Dick’s that was published after his death. Like The Man in the High Castle, Dick’s novel is an alternate history, where a corrupt president takes office and completely throws out things like civil rights and civil liberties all with the help of a right-wing populist movement (hmm, sounds familiar). The low-budget film adaptation tells mostly the same story, but tries to spice it up a bit by referencing other Dick works and also including Philip K. Dick as a character himself, played by Boardwalk Empire’s Shea Whigham. Alanis Morissette is in the film, too! That doesn’t make it any better, sadly. It’s worth a curiosity watch, I suppose. But beyond that, don’t bother.

Confessions

Confessions d’un Barjo

Based on: Confessions of a Crap Artist

While Philip K. Dick primarily wrote sci-fi, he did occasionally dabble in non-science fiction novels as well. Only one was published during his lifetime, Confessions of a Crap Artist. The story follows an artist with crazy, paranoid ideas who is forced to go live with his sister and brother-in-law. Once there, though, he finds “normal” life is just as confusing, if not more so, than his previous secluded paranoid existence. The novel was turned into the 1992 French film Confessions d’un Barjo (or just Barjo in some versions), which transports Dick’s story to contemporary France. As for whether or not the film is any good, I sadly must confess I have no idea! It’s out of print, and not available anywhere. I’ve included it here for the sake of completion. If you’ve somehow seen this film, let me know if it’s any good! 

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