Jimmy and I have not spoken for several days. His Superman flick is really picking up steam. Penelope Cruz has signed on with the only condition being she and Starlett Johannson perform a pseudo-quasi-hardcore sex scene to be choreographed by their lawyers. Every time Jimmy walks by me in the apartment I feel like kicking him in the balls. Really, really hard.
Perhaps I am jealous. Yes, the thought has entered my mind. Hey, I'm happy for him. I once considered him my best friend. But, the question here--and I don't think I'm out of line--is why the fuck should all this great stuff be happening to him?
But, mainly, I think it's his attitude. He's got this this look on his face now like he's smarter than everyone else even though everyone else knows his brain is made of mouse turds and stale marshmallows. Actually, he's starting to look and smell like a Republican.
This morning he was sitting in my chair drinking out of my coffee cup when he finally broke the silence. "The limo's downstairs. I'm leaving in 10 minutes."
"Oh," I said, not looking up. "That's too bad."
"I see you're going to be a jerk all the way up to the last second."
When I said nothing Jimmy drained my coffee cup and set it down. "Fine," he stated. "Since I'm clearly a bigger man than you I'm going to swallow my pride, ignore your jealousy and turn you on to something before I split." He flicked the newspaper at me.
"Read that," he said, jabbing his finger at an article in the NY Times. It was one of 239 pieces that appeared this week lamenting the Sad and Sorry State of Independent Film.
"I read it already, " I snapped.
"Yeah?" Jimmy returned, pushing the paper in my face. "Did you read this paragraph?"
"I said I read it!" I said and shoved the paper back at him.
Jimmy's laugh again struck me as eerily McCainish--dry and scaly like an old, blind cockroach running up a wall. "I don't know why I bother," he said. "But I guess deep down inside I still care."
He leaned closer, tapping the paragraph with slow, steady importance. "Everyone wants to know what's happened to Independent Film. Well, here it is spelled out in black and white; tattoos, bangs and a vintage dress."
That made me sit up. "Wait a second. Real ones?"
Jimmy nodded. "Yeah, dude. Real tats."
"No, I meant the bangs."
"What about them?"
"They were real too?"
"Of course they were! See what I'm saying?! She wore bangs to the Oscars!"
Jimmy gazed back at the article, his smile broadening in clear admiration. "It's hip and Hollywood at the same time. That's the secret. She's got both games goin'. That's how you win. You morph; you adapt."
"Wow," I murmured. "You're talking about something like Hollydent, or Indiewood?"
"Now you're gettin' it," Jimmy grinned. "See that? It's the attraction of opposites; the yin and yang. And look; she wore a vintage dress too."
If I was getting it, it was only for a moment. "That's where I'm a little confused," I said. "It doesn't say 'vintage' dress. It says 'vintage-looking' dress."
Jimmy's eyes quickly hardened. "What's your point."
"Well, some vintage-looking dresses cost a lot of money. Would that still qualify Ms. Diabldoll as hip and indie?"
Jimmy's lip lifted in a tight sneer. "That's your problem right there, man."
"Hey, I'm serious. I saw a cool shirt in a vintage store in LA but it cost 450 bucks. I'd have to direct three Iron Mans to afford that kind of life style."
Jimmy got up. "Yeah, but you never would, would you? You're just just too damn stupid to play the game."
I stood too. "That's kind of a mean thing to say."
"Stupid," Jimmy repeated.
Things got a little crazy just then. Jimmy sort of accidentally knocked over my guitar and I sort of intentionally hit him in the teeth with my coffee cup. He fell to the floor. I helped him over to the couch, taking care to make sure his head was tilted so the blood dripped on his shirt instead of the cushions.
I sat down next to him. "You keep mentioning the word 'game', Jimmy. But, where's the joy in playing it? And what do you win?"
Jimmy didn't answer. I guess it wasn't fair to ask him questions since he wasn't quite conscious yet. So I just kept talking.
"See, independent film used to be just that--independent. Outside the system. That's where the joy was; making a film against all odds. Making a film that said 'fuck you' to all the restrictions of Hollywood. Making a film for no money because then you could make the film exactly the way you wanted. That's where the kick was. You were free. You weren't governed by anything except your lunatic obsession to make a film."
I peered closer at him. "Do you know what I mean, Jimmy?" I thought I saw his lip twitch which encouraged me to continue.
"That's why Hollywood and Independent don't go together. They don't morph. If it's really Hollywood, and it's really Independent they cancel each other out. In fact they poison each other. It's like Church and State; Britney and KFed--both are better off when they're legally separated. Otherwise everything gets very confused and reviews start appearing about the "indie edginess" of action figure flicks that gross 200 million dollars. Independent once meant free from the money; free from the System. Now, it means fighting like meth-freaks to get into the System. It means doing whatever it takes to win the approval of the Suits, to make them happy, to make them Money. The real joy was in breaking all the rules, not playing by them."
I smiled at Jimmy as memories came flooding back. "Remember when we first started? Remember that guy down in Alphabet City who sold raw film stock for nothing? It was damaged shit that studio films were throwing out but we bought it and every inch of film that ran through our camera was a fuckin' victory for us."
I nudged Jimmy's leg, catching him when he started to fall over. "Hey, remember that girl who projected her first feature on the wall in that bar down on St. Marks Place? It was all shot on super 8 but it was a feature and we were in awe. Remember that, Jimmy?"
Jimmy stared at me, a flicker of some emotion struggling in his eyes. Just then the intercom buzzed. We both stood.
"That's my driver," Jimmy said finally. "I'm lettin' him in. He used to work for Vin Diesel. He's gonna come in here and kick your ass."
I looked at Jimmy for a long moment and felt an immense heaviness weighing down on me. "Alright then," I said. And I kicked Jimmy in the balls. As hard as I could. But, as he fell his finger found the intercom button.
A moment later my front door opened and Dr. Owen walked in. He stood staring at me with a strained, wary smile.
"Hello, Tom," he said. "It's been quite a while."
"Yes, it has," I said. "It certainly has."
I was glad to see him. It was a good opportunity to finally introduce him to Jimmy. But when I turned Jimmy was no longer lying on the floor behind me. All that remained was the faint shadow of a tattoo, some bangs and a vintage-looking dress.
I guess it’s admirable. Sometimes the choice of path was not my choice at all. Just the way things are, the way things fell and an unfortunate inability on my part to deal with idiocity without resorting to violence.
Thanks for your comment.
Well, it was my choice. After much discussion and procrastination from a lot of people. See the explanation in the new post.
very innaresting. Let’s see what develops over the next month. It would be a shame considering how much support the festival has given the gay community almost from its beginnings. It just strengthens the argument that almost all problems in the world stem from Mormons.
No, I have not heard anything of this boy or girlcott. I am a little confused though by the butt you are scuttling. Are you saying the Mormons may boycott Sundance? How would they do this; keep all the wives in the minivan during the gay-themed films?
Some good titles are floating around. We’re close to finalizing one. I’m working like a crezcy dawg on finishing all the work. One of these days I’ll get a moment to update the blog.
And, I’m thinking it may be time to revamp the whole site now that Delirious is about 3 years old. I know you had some thoughts about that. I’m just finding it hard to find the time.
I hope your writing is going well.
Thanks for the film recommendation! It arrives via Netflix tomorrow. Will let you know my thoughts.
Good to hear from you.
Yeah, I did notice Delirious showed up on Showtime. There is some satisfaction that at least two or three more people will get to see it. You better get that remote fixed.
I hadn’t noticed that Double Whammy was on the Comedy Channel. I think that’s a good place for it. I think there is some very fine comic work from the cast, particularly the newcomers. I cast Melonie Diaz in her first film. I gave her the part after her 2nd audition. She broke into tears.
Prep is going well. Still much to do. And the dayz are flying by.
I’m glad to hear your writing is going well.
Did you ever see a French film that came out a few years ago called, The Beat That My Heart Skipped? I’ve seen it twice now. It’s a very impressive film. Your video store may have it. I think you might like it. It’s a rather intense story but has flashes of humor and especially fine writing and acting.
Thanks. I’m very excited about Sundance. There is a lot to do to get the film ready. I keep hoping to get a moment to write more about the film but the days keep jumping by.
I greatly enjoyed my extended stay in Noho. It has a character completely unique to itself. Memorable memories:
Thanks very much for writing. Your words of support are simple, to the point and 100% TRUE. Thank you for reminding me why I keep banging my head against the wall.
OK, at least some joik didn’t steal it. Yes, it is wonderful to be home. I was really gone a long time.
I’m glad the writing is going well. There is nothing like that feeling.
I will write a few posts on The Doors in a few days.
Thanks for writing. Yes, I’ve got some things planned, or in the works as they say, for after the Doors film.
I have two very different scripts I’ve written that I’m trying to find funding for. I’m sure you know it is a very tricky time now for independent film. Very few are being financed, even fewer are being distributed. So, the waters are murky.
One of my scripts could be made for very little money and I am focusing on that most. I have to say I hate the process of raising the money. I always have. You hear 100,000 “No’s” before you even get the slightest nibble of a “Yes,” and the nibble comes just as you are really, really this time about to give the whole thing up.
So, you get excited again. You get positive. And you keep going. Only a year later do you remember that the nibble disappeared into nothingness merely a week after it came in.
Great to hear from you. Yes, there is room in the manger for us at Sundance this year. Much to be done but I’m thrilled. My next post will be Doors specific. It’s about time.
I’m back in NY now. I do kind of miss the laid-back trauma of North Hollywood though.
Not sorry to leave the Loftes. Ran into Tregor on the way out.
Great to hear from you. Your observation on the blog was eye-opening. I’d really not thought of its connection to my films.
Thanks very much for your comment. I’m glad you liked Box of Moonlight. It holds a special place in my soul. It was actually one of the toughest films I’ve made. Capturing something carefree and beautiful on film takes a fuck of a lot of work.
I’m glad you liked Delirious too. You’re not the only one who was unaware the film had been released in Sweden. But if you go back into some of these blogs and follow the relationship between the distributor and me you might get a clearer understanding why.
I appreciated your comment on actors and writing. I developed a deep respect for writing early on but it wasn’t until I started studying acting that I realized the powerful potential a great actor brings to the party. You know of course Steve Buscemi is one of my favorite actors. His gift is so enormous that it was a pleasure to write the part of Les Galantine specifically for him.
In cases like that, as a director all I do is roll the camera, sit back and watch in wonder.
Thank you for your new “mission.” Believe it or not your efforts will be very helpful. The current financing situation for independent film in the US is horrible and many filmmakers are seeking funding from wherever they can; European sources will become more and more important.
As far as the description of Jimmy’s brain I just kept thinking, “Republican, Republican.” And that is what dialed up.
Aah, Jimmy is gone now too. Maybe he will run into Tregor one day and they both will bust me up.
I’m back home now. I’m girding up to start posting more details about the Doors film.
You never told me, did you send vodka? Cuz if you did and some joik stole I’mmona bust some ass my own self.
You keep going.