George Clooney’s 2019 adaptation for Hulu was faithful to Joseph Heller’s novel until it missed the mark. He condemned Yossarian to a Sisyphean hell rather than set him free and off into the world. Clooney’s deviation probably comes from a weariness of the industrial-military complex—placing America forever in that bombardier bubble with a naked and shivering Yossarian. Mike Nichols’ 1970 adaptation of the book hews closer to Heller’s intent, running its motor on humor rather than coasting on resignation. Alan Arkin plays Captain John Yossarian, and Bob Newhart steps into the shoes of Maj. Major Major—it’s a hoot. Streaming on Pluto TV.
The above blurb first appeared in the pages of Boulder Weekly Vol. 27, No. 45, “Home Viewing: Satire Streams.”
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