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.
Well, thanks very much for your cool note. And, thanks to your husband. You see, I’ve always felt that movies could be entertaining without making you feel like someone just cut off the top of your skull and took a dump in your brain.
For christ’s sake, look at The Wizard of Oz. One of my favorite films. Yet, you don’t feel sordid or stupid after watching it. You don’t feel like the filmmakers said, “None of this crap makes sense but that’s OK because the audience will never notice.”
No doubt he was also taken in by the quality of the writing and direction, without even knowing it!
Watched ‘Delerious’ tonight with my husband who usually only loves typical Hollywood trash movies. I persuaded him to watch it because I caught just a couple of minutes of the opening scenes, which really drew me in to the movie. It’s such a revalation to see movies outside of the trash Hollywood genre. I need to know more about your work. I also really enjoy the work of Robert Rodriquez, and yes, I know he’s now gone a little Hollywood, but I would just like to say that it’s so great to see a movie with such great performances, great writing, cinematography and the whole element of who the f**k knows what’s happening next – just because it’s not Hollywood. Sorry I’m so late to the party, but I’m glad to be here.
Thanks for writing. I appreciate your comments about my films. It is a tough time for most independent filmmakers–not just me. I think only a true revolution will burn this old system down and start a new one.
It is time, don’t you think?
Your support is meaningful to me and by no means ‘plain and dumb’. I will keep my spirits up and hope you will do the same.
It’s sad that you have such a hard time getting your movies done (at least compared to the mainstream filmmakers). I wish you made more movies because everytime I watch one I get this cheerful feeling I can’t explain. I’d regret not having watched any of them. I’m won’t try to say what I think is so good because, frankly, I’m not good at describing such things (and there are professional critics for that anyway).
I’d say a lot more but I’ll leave it as a plain and dumb ‘keep it up’.
Who is “this guy?” The links you sent are very impressive, both musically and politically. I’ve not been a big fan of some of the ‘disco-izations’ of the Doors hits but these two re-mixes are very well done. I’d love to get a hold of them. Any suggestions?
Thanks for opening my eyes/ears.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BcGeR40ees (The Doors, Not To Touch The Earth)
http://www.nolaaid.com (The Doors, Riders on the Storm, raised $250,000 for Katrina victims)
Great to hear from you. Sorry you’ve had trouble posting as well. I’m blogging through WordPress. I guess I’ll have to waste some hours figuring out how to contact them and correct this problem.
No, the saga does not continue. I haven’t had any contact with Gestation for over a year. From what I can glean they are parsing out small releases to individual European territories but with no real enthusiasm. They are allowing the European distributors to release the film without a theatrical opening–only on DVD. It is good to hear their booth at Cannes was swanky.
Yeah, it has been ages. I’ve been kinda busy. I have no idea where IMDB gets their info; probably from a bathroom stall in the offices of Access Hollywood. Lost In Blue is another feature script I wrote that I’m trying to raise the money for.
I’m in LA now for a couple of weeks to finish up the Doors film which is looking very good but at this date has no title.
Good to hear from you.