FILM-BASED FACE-OFF: JAMES LEER VS. THE 12TH DOCTOR
there’s this movie my favorite movie is the best movie ever is Wonderboys. (I’ll whup any soul what says different.) This was the 2000 cinematic adaptation of Michael Chabon’s novel set at a small college over the course of a weekend in which the lives of pot-smoking professor Grady Tripp (played by Michael Douglas), still working on the follow-up to a hugely successful novel seven years later, and his very brilliant, but very odd, writing student James Leer (played by Tobey Maguire), are turned upside down.
I’ve watched this movie, um… *counts on fingers* *takes off shoes for additional counting space* Let’s see…
Seven billion times.
Okay, not really, but I do watch it at least once a year. It’s an annual event like Christmas. Or underwear rotation. I don’t get tired of it. The characters are still interesting. the dialogue sparkles. The plot sustains. And, bonus: After so many viewings, the things you loved at first are still there, but other things emerge from the background. There’s always something new to appreciate.
I recently had this year’s Wonderboys viewing. (My shorts are doing fine, too. Thanks.) And here’s the startling revelation that jumped out me.
James Leer is a timelord.
Like from Gallifrey. Doctor Who, anyone? The most obvious first indicator is how James dresses. Dark pants, long dark coat, white shirt buttoned up to the collar. To whit:
Okay, now check out this guy:
Eerie, isn’t it? Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor dresses a lot like James Leer. The prosecution rests.
Consider also, each man is never without a particular item which gives him his power. James has an ugly, green knapsack with books and videos and his precious, completed first novel manuscript; the thing that unlocks his future. The Doctor has his sonic screwdriver; the thing that unlocks doors. Unless they’re wood.
James is a brilliant writer. The Doctor is brilliant at everything else. I’ve never actually seen him write, though. It’d be weird if it turned out he was illiterate, wouldn’t it?
James knows all about what’s happened in the past, mostly as the past pertains to suicides of famous actors, but still…The Doctor, a time traveler, knows all about history too; and may have married Marilyn Monroe.
James has socialization issues. He’s arrogant, laughs at inappropriate times, thinks nothing of helping himself to a stranger’s bourbon and smoking a doobie in the person’s living room. The Doctor has trouble remembering faces from one minute to the next and is fond of telling people to “shut up, shut up, shut up, shut-ity up up up.”
So the question is: Is James Leer the Doctor, or some other time lord? He’s not really evil, so probably not the Master or the Rani. He could be some other time lord like the meddling monk or Professor Chronitis. Or he could be yet another surprise, formerly unknown, incarnation of the Doctor himself (we’ve had a lot of those the last couple years).
I think this is a pretty air-tight case. Go ahead. Prove me wrong. Just try.