My friend Jimmy is back in town. He told me he’s been out in LA for 6 months, which surprised me because he never once tried to contact me the whole time I was out there working on The Doors film.
“What were you doing in Hollywood?” I asked the first night he crashed in my apartment.
“Oh, this ‘n that,” Jimmy replied quietly. He opened up a box of pills and downed a handful like they were sunflower seeds. I took a closer look at the box.
“Prescription?” I asked.
“Prescribed,” Jimmy replied. “Try a couple.”
“What do they do?”
“Oh, this ‘n that,” Jimmy said.”
“Why do you keep saying that?”
Jimmy stared at me. “It’s comin’ up on the Anniversary, you know.”
“The release of your film. It’s been a year. How do you feel?”
Now I stared at him. “How do I feel? Here’s how I feel: Independent film is dead. It is not suffering a temporary setback or hanging by a thread. It is officially, undeniably Extinct.”
“Good,” Jimmy said, popping 6 more pills in his mouth.
“What do you mean ‘good’?” I blurted. “It’s fucked up. The established career trajectory for an independent director is now this: first earn your indie cred by making a quirky film for almost nothing then move on to direct the next multi-million dollar installment of the man with little pointy rubber ears.”
“Like I said,” Jimmy stated, “good. I’m sick of independent film. A bunch of sappy losers standing around with frosted goatees and backwards baseball caps. You know who watches independent films? No one. Correction: middle-aged, divorced women whose big night out is a mixed-meat pizza, a Bud Light and an ‘art’ movie showing on a screen the size of a toaster oven.”
I blinked at him. “I can’t believe these words are coming out of your mouth. You’ve been a committed independent filmmaker for 25 years.”
Jimmy crunched two more pills under his molars. “And I’d direct the next Batman in a second,” he said. ”
I shook out a single pill and swallowed it. “Well, you are right about the size of the screens,” I said. “And the film’s are getting smaller too. Now they’re bite-sized so they can fit on a website. Anything over 2 minutes is too long and no one clicks on it. That’s the new movie; a one minute film clip on MeToobe. And there’s millions and millions of them.”
“And one day some studio exec will be surfing porn on his lunch hour and he’ll click on one by accident,” Jimmy said.
“Right,” I laughed. “One about a guy who shaves his balls and superglues a frog to his nutsack.”
Jimmy smiled. “And then the exec will hire him to direct the next Superman.”
“I swear, it’s going to happen, ” I said.
“It already has happened,” Jimmy stated. He chuckled at my bewilderment. “What do you think I was doing in LA? That was my clip.”
“You glued a frog to your balls?”
Jimmy’s head dipped in a proud nod. “Got me the Superman gig. And I’m writing the script too. Here’s the pitch that blew their minds: Superman is pregnant–he’s the first pregnant superhero. He’s carrying Batman’s baby. And when the baby’s born he’s got the powers of Batman and Superman combined.”
It took me a moment to realize he was serious. “How’d he get pregnant?” I demanded.
“Batman screwed him.”
“Men don’t get pregnant,” I informed him.
“One just did.”
“That was a woman who had a sex-change operation.”
“Exactly,” Jimmy said. “Superman is really Supergirl turned into a guy.”
I stared at him in silence. Finally I asked, “Does that make Batman gay?”
“No,” Jimmy stated. “It makes him funky.”
I tossed down 7 of Jimmy’s pills and suddenly felt better than I had in 20 years. “That’s not bad,” I said.
“I know it,” Jimmy asserted.
“It’s pretty good actually.”
“I know it,” Jimmy said.