Once upon a time, a young writer named Jonathan Safran Foer wrote a charming novel named Everything Is Illuminated. Across America, bubbes and zaydes read it in book club, and they passed it on to their grandchildren, who enjoyed it, too. Everyone was happy, and would have continued to be that way, had not Foer made a second attempt at genius. His Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was the worst kind of millennial novel: It attempted to co-opt September 11, 2001, while at the same time exploring a magical realism that hasn't successfully existed in New York City since Mark Halpern's Winter's Tale. In 2005, Everything Is Illuminated became a major motion picture, starring Elijah Wood — straight off of his Lord of the Rings spree. It didn't do too hot, but apparently Hollywood is still gambling on it to make movie magic: John Goodman, Tom Hanks, and Sandra Bullock are co-starring in the film version of Incredibly Close, and Stephen Daldry is directing. As of last October, they were still casting Caucasian white boys to fill classrooms and playgrounds. And in the ultimate insult, we learn today that instead of filming in Manhattan, where the book is centered, they're shooting on location in Brooklyn. Dumbo and Vinegar Hill are currently papered with warning signs. Because, really, Sandra Bullock doesn't want to see your jeggings. Seriously.
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