I’ve been crossing paths with The Shining lately. As you can imagine, it’s been somewhat disconcerting. I was looking for examples of artists subverting other’s work for their own purposes and hit the motherlode. There are no less than five major theories surrounding Stanley Kubrick’s contentious re-envisioning of Steven King’s classic (wait, they are both “SK”, make that six). After all, creatives generally have a “day job”, so why not put your own spin on it? Or in Kubrick’s case, potentially hide some of the most shocking revelation(s) in the history of film.
I had mixed feelings about Drive. Maybe that’s bound to happen with an ultra-violent existential B-movie heist film set in L.A. that’s directed by a Danish unicorn. However, then I saw this very-spoilery (a warning, not a criticism) animated tribute and I reconsidered the source material. It’s awesomeness made me think of how deliberate Gosling’s minimal performance, the anachronistic 80s vibe and the unapologetically blunt story were. This, in turn, made me ponder the art of writing films that are-not-quite-what-they-seem (more on that in an upcoming post). Now I’m considering buying a silk scorpion jacket or maybe not.
F**k Twilight! Now that I have that out of the way, Let the Right One In is probably the best film I’ve seen this year. A subtle, elegant and evocative movie is a rarity, let alone one in the WTF Swedish romantic vampire genre. Plus any pic that can keep me enraptured on my iPod Touch on a crowded flight to nowhere is doing something right. LTROI worked on so many levels – thematic, allegorical, character study, sexually-ambiguous love – but I won’t muddy/bloody the waters with a review. I think that the true measure of a great film is how it challenges me to up my own game. Wanna know how this one did? Read on.
As geeks so often love to remind us, movies and TV shows have accurately predicted a lot of our current technology. Yes, a Star Trek communicator pre-dates a Motorola Razr by 40 years, and the non-holographic version of Minority Report’s touch screens are now on your iPhone. But really, who gives a f**k? All that proves is that the nerdy industrial designers of today used to all be sci-fi loving ‘indoor kids’ who had their first wet dream after watching Barbarella on late-night Cinemax. As a screenwriter, I’m less interested in guessing the next neato gadget, than predicting, or even shaping, the very culture we live in. As a result, I’ve compiled a list of films that did just that, albeit in really annoying ways.
I’ll admit it, maybe I was tripping balls a bit inebriated. Actually, I’m admitting nothing, NOTHING. But, despite the fact that the first movie was superior in every regard, Silent P and I were blown away by The Matrix Reloaded. We couldn’t stop talking about the Zion Burning Man Rave scene, the dead heat of Bellucci as Persephone, that sick car chase (come on, you know it), even the stupid babbling architect. What did it mean, how would the series end, what were the philosophical ramifications? It was too much. Then, as we slid down the twinkling streets and I gazed into pulsating clouds, it hit me – we had been tricked. Not by Keanu’s “acting” but by what could be most important secret to making movies…whoa.
It’s a high school movie (not High School Musical, cause that’s bullsh*t). The unsung hero likes the abnormally pretty girl with character who is generally saddled with the handsome, mean-spirited Alpha…you know, captain of the football team, leader of the pack, etc. of the etc. The protagonist has a beautiful soul, some extraordinary talent and is actually kinda cute himself come-to-think-of-it. It’s just that the object of desire can’t see the hero because of the shadows cast by her radiance. But we know better and root for him. Why? Because he is us. More accurately, he is our perspective since we all experience life as the hero. Too bad in any story there can really only be one (f**king) protagonist and, let’s face facts, it most likely ain’t you.
I was somewhere and I was about to leave (you will understand my vagueness momentarily). But I heard someone on a call that sounded so deliberately on the up-and-up it had to be on the down-n-dirty. So I lingered. For a second I thought it was a bad idea. I wasn’t going to buy anything, what if he thought I was a narc? Then I remembered I was too stone-cold badass to be pegged as a cop (except maybe for the sex police). Before I had a chance to get all paranoid he arrived, didn’t give a shit that I was there and quickly produced a metal briefcase. Before he even cracked it open we all knew – it was on.
My hands are where they alway are – home position. I wish I was being pervy, but I ain’t. I’m at work, typing. It’s 1PM. In seven hours I’ll be home, on the computer again IMing with Silent P about the second mid-act climax (again, not a euphemism). Maybe, I’ll take a break, go for a thug workout (4 real). At midnight, my hands will be where they always are as I research a scene idea. I’m not complaining mind you, just wondering if anyone else finds life on a computer as f*cked-up disorienting as I do??
I’d make a sh*tty father. Okay, make that my creative partner and I would make horrible parents. Not with kids or anything, we’d be great at that. Of course, I’ve never even considered the idea, I mean, he’s a dude. Well, I guess there was that one time – we’d been working all night, he went out and got me a hot chocolate (how sweet is that?) and I thought for a second if only the laws were different…Pretend you didn’t read that, okay?
Halloween in NY is full on. A year or two ago, I went to no less than six parties in one week, the highlight was being a zombie tourist on a Gravehound bus blaring skull-splitting techno in the massive Greenwich Village Parade. So by the weekend I was running a bit thin on costumes and party number four was in a few hours. That’s when inspiration silently struck. I dressed up as a mime (as best I could) and made a cartoony cardboard clock that showed the time moving back from 2AM to 1AM. I even taped “fall” and “back” on my knuckles. I was (perhaps) the world’s first DAYLIGHT SAVINGS MIME. What I failed to realize is that the costume I thought was so clever would come to be a metaphor for one of my creative failings.
I’ve been digging the Olympics. Not so much rooting for the underdog (other than my celebrity doppelganger who just unseated I – bet – he’s – actually – gay Federer), but watching ruthless domination. Michael Phelps IS an aquatic killing machine. He’s simply sick. As of this post he has six golds (all world records), so I’m beating the rush with a matching number of can’t miss feature ideas.
My mind gets f*cked up changes when I fly. I can feel it. Probably a bit more optimistic, definitely reflective. Kinda spacey, expanding. Synapses fire with a distinct (bluish) spark. So, of course, I try to…write. Which is a bit hard when they have on-demand movies (right now I’m half-watching Charlie Wilson’s War). But I soldier on. And since I can’t quite focus on our next screenplay, my altitudinally shifted mind is somewhat fascinated by its own (sorry) state. So the question of the moment is, is it beneficial to write high?
Wow! Brother did it. Maybe this nation will be pulled back from the brink by the power of ChangeTM after all? I’m pretty confident Obama can manhandle McCain. Getting by the GOP’s Satan-powered voter fraud machine – an entirely different matter. Nonetheless, I’ll leave that in Barack’s capable (fingers crossed) big black hands, cause I have scripts to pitch. After all, when was the last time we had a charismatic, smart Democrat with a colorful backstory in the Oval Office…who didn’t defile his portly intern with a Cohiba.
Silent P and I wrote and directed an indie feature a looooong time ago. It had to do with a ragtag group of comedic rebels in a world where humor was forbidden. If you want to see it, simply dig up the tapes, edit the film and post it somewhere so I can watch it too. Other than the raw sh*t questionable production value, making a comedy proved to be harder than we imagined. Okay, it reamed our asses silly. So now that we seem to find ourselves working on (supposedly) comedic scripts, I have to wonder what we’ve gotten ourselves into…
I’m a world champion, two-time defending actually (until this summer). However, that’s another story. But speaking of the Truth, I was elated to watch Boston beat the f*ck out of LA. Believe it or not I have a stupidly indirect connection to a few ballers, including Ray “He Got Game” Allen. So last night, while watching Mr. Shuttlesworth and his teammates in the ecstatic throes of victory, I couldn’t help but think two things:
1/ Why didn’t the press make more of the fact that his early playoff shooting slump was probably caused by the distraction of the trial of hired killer who had caused his step parents to be placed in witness protection for two years?
2/ When I would be hoisting my own gosh durn trophy?
Despite a major risk of impaled expectations – like one of those skeletons on the booby trapped gate in Raiders – I’m stoked for the new Indy movie (I can’t abbreviate it “Indi” as I’m pretty sure that’s what TomKat is naming its next Suri). Plus it stars my former Celebrity Crush (face it, fascists are hawt). However, on Digg alone I’ve seen two front-page posts of essentially the same Indy trivia (which are all on IMDb anyhow). This just doesn’t cut sh*t the mustard so, like everyone’s fave unlikable archaeologist / adventurer / pathological killer, I’m taking matters into my own hands.
Over a threeway dinner awhile back, my current roommate was saying how she doesn’t believe in happenstance. So our former roommate told this story. She was visiting her hometown in Florida and rear-ended the car in front of her while watching a sexy boy walk by. The damage was minimal, but the driver she ass-tapped wanted to exchange information, since she was on vacation and it was a rental. Then came considerable confusion, which blossomed into amazement when they discovered THEY HAD THE EXACT SAME FIRST AND LAST NAMES. The incident was freaky on a number of levels: it was the first and only car accident my roommate had been in, her name isn’t a common one and the other driver had never been to Florida before. Now while it all makes for a good story, would you base a movie on it???
As good/great/amazing as Palme d’Or-winning Romanian 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days was, maybe it wasn’t the best choice for a date movie. My gut was literally wrenching when the manipulative abortionist explained in blunt detail exactly what he was about to do – and that was before he demanded ‘fair payment’. At this point I realized that my companion probably would leave the theater wanting absolutely nothing to do with me, or any man, for the foreseeable future. In fact neither did I. We’re bad news f**king pigs.
We had both written for magazines. It wasn’t that hard (really!). So how tough could throwing together a screenplay be? Since we knew sweet f**k all nothing about the form we decided the easiest thing to do would be to rape seek inspiration from something familiar, something well known. In fact what could be more universal than the galaxy…one far, far away (if you’re not gagging like Jabba yet, hold onto your light saber)? The “wrinkle” would be that our Star Wars film would be set in the world of..wait for it…RAVES!!
WTF?!! That stands for WHAT THE F**K?!! As in when a proof reader turned stripper turned blogger turned author turns screenwriter and gets her first script produced, wins a bunch of awards, scores a buttload more work, is nominated for, and probably nabs, an Oscar, wins the Nobel Peace Prize and will most likely steal my next girlfriend (’cause she invariably eats beev better than me too). Ms Cody, in a pole-dancing final-drafting nutshell is the reason I stand whimper before you today.