Archive for January, 2003
Why is it impossible to go to a movie theatre these days without being in the company of people who incessantly talk, or kick the back of your seat? My own personal theory is because all traces of movie etiquette have been killed by the home video/ DVD generation. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a part of this generation and a card carrying renter. Hell I belong to Netflix (which totally kicks ass by the way; I encourage you to go check it out now) and the wife and I watch an average of 3-4 DVD’s a week. However we realize that a movie theatre is a different environment. Apparently many other people do not. They’ve been so spoiled by watching movies in the comfort of their own home that they think they can just carry on conversations as if we were all in their living room (not that it would be any less annoying there). I’m surprised they don’t shout at the projectionist “Hey! Could you pause the film? I need to pee!”. If I feel the need to make a comment to the person I’m with then I whisper it in their ear. In fact I whisper it so quietly that sometimes they have to ask me to repeat it.
Then there’s the seat kicking. This isn’t always actual kicking of the seat. Sometimes it’s that very subtle nudging. They have their legs crossed, which results in one of their feet pressing against the back of your seat, thus causing you to feel every shift of their annoying flesh vessel. Sadly I find the majority of my theatre trips involve one if not both of these annoyances. Sometimes I shoot angry glances in their direction hoping they’ll get the hint. They never do. If only I had laser beams I could shoot out of my eyes, that would solve much.
I often see those signs for “Laser Vision Correction” and wonder if these are clinics for super heroes to come and have their laser vision corrected. You know, maybe it’s out of alignment or something.
My goal is to eventually start my own chain of theatres with a very strict regime. There will be ushers/bouncers in every theatre at all times. If you talk, you’re out. If someone is kicking your seat or annoying you, you can push a silent alarm button on your hand rest and the ushers will remove that person. It will be a theatre where you know you can go and have a pleasant cinema experience, unless you’re one of the offenders. Perhaps I’ll call it “Cinemarcus Aurelius”. I don’t know if that’s really appropriate, but it was the only pun I could think of that might possibly work.
So yesterday, Jess and I were planning to go see “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”. While looking at movie times, I noticed there was a “sneak” of “Chicago”, which we wanted to see, but it hadn’t come here yet. There was also a “sneak” of “Shanghai Knights” which we also wanted to see. The times just happened to coincide perfectly so we decided to have a marathon. We saw all three in a row. We were in the cinema from 2:00 to 9:30. All three were very good. “Confessions” was very well done with some real original artistic style. “Chicago” was very entertaining also. “Shanghai Knights” was pretty much more of the same as “Shanghai Noon” so if you liked the first one, you’ll probably like this one.
However all this movie going obviously messed with my head. I had a dream that me, my cousin, and my friend Andy were going to a 3 movie marathon. We went home after the second movie and just watched some TV, napped a bit and just generally lazed about. I realized that it was 8:00 and the movie started at 8 so I was suddenly rushing everyone around saying “Hurry up! If we leave now we can get there at 8:15, and with all the previews and stuff we’ll be fine!” Everyone kind of took their time waffling about whether to go and such and by the time we finally left we were now going to be 30 minutes late and I was annoyed. For some reason it was really important to me to get in the third movie of the marathon because I’d already seen 2 movies in a day before and I wanted to break my record (that fact was true in real life too). When we got there I was waiting to use the little kiosk where you can just swipe your credit card and buy tickets quickly (which I also use in real life) but there was a huge line. Since we were already way late I was annoyed again. Then I bought like 10 tickets because I was confused and thought I was buying tickets for everyone. Strangely the tickets were square crackers that were slightly convex and about 3 inches square, and I now had a stack of 10. Well it turns out they had bought their own tickets so now I had like 9 tickets too many. I decided to go to the ticket window and see if I could explain that I had messed up and pushed the wrong key or some other excuse to get my money back, when real life crept into my dream and I realized Jess and I had indeed already seen 3 movies in a row, so getting to this one in the dream was no big deal.Then I woke up. Crazy.
So I seem to have gotten back into writing my screenplay. It’s only been a year or 2 of laziness. I feel a lot better since I’ve been writing. I feel like I’m doing something. Making some kind of progress in at least a small way towards getting somewhere. I’ve already started entertaining fantastical thoughts such as some Hollywood studio being interested my script, and what I will do then. I’m definitely writing it for me to star in and direct, but what if some studio offers to buy it for scads of money, but doesn’t want me to star or direct? Do I stick by my guns and say “nope, that’s part of the deal” or take the money and be happy that I just got paid for a screenplay and get to see it made? Yes, I’m way ahead of myself, but like I said, I’m a dreamer. I was going through a conversation in my head yesterday, pitching this to a studio executive. I figure it’s a good deal for both sides. I would get to have my movie made, and they could make the movie for far less money since I am an unknown star/director. They would save millions, or tens of millions even by letting me star and direct. Yes I often have imaginary conversations in my head. This is one of the reasons I think I’m a good writer. My brain is constant inventing imaginary scenes and such.
When I’m done with the first draft I will need feedback on it. The first draft will need lots of re-working I’m sure, but if anyone would like to read the first rough draft when I’m done (which won’t be for a while yet, I’m only a little under 2/3 done) let me know and I’ll be happy to let you critique it. I’d like as wide a range of feedback as possible since 10 people can give 10 different opinions of the same movie.
However, on an up note, I started working on my screenplay again. The one I started in 2000, quickly wrote half of, then got lazy. I have so many dreams and such, but I’m a dreamer at heart, and not someone who does everything they should or could be doing to get where they want to go. I often feel guilty that I’m not recording my songs, or writing on my screenplay. It’s a vicious circle too. Everyday, I think “I should write on my screenplay”, but just don’t feel like it, then I feel guilty, and then I feel even less like doing it. I was thinking about this the other day, and realized that I think acting is the most suited to me. Writing (screenplays or songs or whatever), getting a band together, recording songs, all these things take much more motivation, at least for me. Acting is something that comes naturally to me, and seems more suited to my lazy nature. Sure you have to prepare, have headshots, find and go to auditions and such, but somehow this all seems easy to me. You get handed something written by someone else, and then you just do it. You act. You emote. I’m not saying it actually IS easier than anything else, but for me personally it is. It’s what I think I’m best suited for since it *seems* so easy to me, while the rest feel like effort (though very rewarding effort when I actually do them). I feel like I have so much potential, and yet do nothing with it. I feel age creeping up on me everyday, and wonder if I’ve wasted too much of my life already. I think about all the years I had when I was younger that I could have really been busting my ass for what I want with much more ease than I can now. Yet, I can’t go down that road mentally. The doubt road. I have to believe that I can achieve my dreams. The dreams I’ve had for as long as I can remember. The dreams that make me feel like I have a purpose, and drive the very being of my soul. I can’t believe that it’s too late, or that what I want to do is impossible, or else suddenly everything seems very gray, lifeless, and zombie-like, like the world stops in a color snapshot and all the color slowly drains from it. Sometimes what I want seems so unattainable, and yet I must. I can see my destination, I just have no idea how to reach it. It as if I can see the start (me) and the finish but can’t see anything in between. It sucks to be a dreamer. I’ve always been an “idea” person who needs to work with others who are better at the actual getting stuff done portion. Well, enough rambling for the moment.
Overall this movie didn’t do a whole lot for me, but yet I feel a strange dichotomy towards it because it definitely scores points for originality, brilliance and bravery. Bravery because I think a great majority of people who see it probably won’t “get it” and will think it’s just a waffling, struggling, boring movie that cops out and goes Hollywood in the end. Those people are missing the entire brilliance, and point of this movie, and yet even though I tout it’s great concept and originality, it still was just kind of ok to me. Not something I would want to see again. I’m not sure how to reconcile these two feelings, but that’s just how it is. For a full and detailed analysis of this movie (which naturally is nothing but big nasty spoilers, so don’t go here until you’ve seen it if you don’t care about being spoiled) check out this site.
So I saw something in the book store that absolutely amused me. You’ve all probably heard of “Everquest”, arguably the most successfull online role playing game ever. It took the concept of old pen and paper role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, and put put them into cyberspace. Well now there’s The Everquest Roleplaying Game. That’s right kiddies! Now you can play Everquest in a new exciting way! With pencils and paper and Dice! Crazy! Now all we really need is a computer version of the Everquest Roleplaying Game. Soon this will be like the old chicken and egg quandry.
This movie belongs to a genre my wife and I have made up, called “mind fuck movies”. It really should be a genre. This movie is right up there with the best of them. It will most likely leave you with your jaw agape, scratching your head after the first viewing. The more you think about it, the closer your head will come to exploding. However, upon my second viewing I believe it all came clear to me. Suffice it to say, if you like mysterious movies that totally mess with your head, check it out. Now onto the spoilers and my analysis…
AHOY! THAR BE SPOILERS AHEAD! YE BE WARNED!
So upon my second viewing I noticed one shot that I hadn’t noticed before which locked a lot of things in place for me. The opening shot in fact. I guess without knowing the story, this little shot just flew by me unnoticed the first time, or I just attributed it to Lynch’s weird, artistic randomness. The opening shot is a blurry shot, from a first person perspective, of someone lying down on a pillow. Fast forward 2 hours and Diane Selwyn wakes up on this same pillow. The first 2 hours of the movie is Diane Selwyn’s final dream. The last part of the movie is a combination of flashbacks to what really happened, mixed with “current” shots of Diane dealing with her guilt and coming unglued as her world falls apart. Diane (who is Betty in the dream) won a jitterbug contest and came to L.A. to try and be an actress. Unfortunately she found this much harder than she expected. She got involved with Camilla Rhodes (Rita in the dream), who later left her and got together with a director (Adam). This crushed Diane, and was the beginning of the end for her. Camilla invites Diane to a party, where, it turns out, she and Adam announce that they’re getting married. This is the final breaking point for Diane. Diane hired a thug to kill Camilla. The thug told her that when the job was done, he would leave the blue key in a pre determined location. What the key went to, I’m not sure. We see the key on Diane’s table meaning that Camilla has been killed. We also see one of Diane’s friends come by for her stuff (I believe this to be Diane’s ex from the tense vibe between them, and the general feel of the situation). She also mentions that 2 detectives were looking for Diane. Most likely because they suspect some involvement in Camilla’s murder, I think. Diane, now dealing with the guilt added to her unraveling mental state, goes over the edge and kills herself.
The dream portion of the movie is incredible to me in that it actually does an incredible job of exemplifying something that’s fairly intangible; the strange ways in which our minds concoct dreams. Many of the characters and elements are merely things that were on her mind, but twisted and put into some other role in her dream. I’m sure most of us have experienced this. Your mind places some random person you saw that day into a seemingly random role, or takes some concept that you were thinking about earlier, and applies that theme somewhere else. Everyone she saw at the dinner party takes on some role in her dream, because her mind needs to put faces on these players, and these faces were the ones most recently on her mind. A random cowboy becomes head of some conspiracy. “Rita” has people attempting to kill her, drawn from the fact that Diane has put a hit on Camilla. “Rita” has a purse full of money, just like Diane had in the real world to pay of the thug. All the various facts stored in Diane’s mind are twisted and re-applied in this dreamland. Diane overheard Adam saying that in his recent divorce, he got the pool and his wife got the pool man, and thus this is manifested in the dream.
The dream is also sort of a “perfect world” in Diane’s mind too. She has an awesome audition that impresses casting directors. She is together with “Rita” who has no memory and therefore it’s like a fresh new adventure where they are both starting anew, and “Rita” can be whoever she wants her to be. Adam has an absolute crap day, which you have to wonder if that’s Diane’s mind wreaking some vengeance. In the real world we hear that Diane lost a leading role to Camilla, but in the dream the only reason “Bettie” loses the role is due to a vast conspiracy. Then there’s the blue key. The blue key, in the real world, symbolizes Camilla’s death to Diane. She sees that key, and knows Camilla is dead. In the dream, once Rita is about to insert the blue key into the box to find out what’s inside, Bettie is suddenly gone. Perhaps Diane was starting to come out of the dream at this stage or couldn’t bear to be there when Rita found out what the blue key unlocked; her own death. Rita turns the key, the camera zooms into the box as if sucked in, then the box drops to the ground. Just as the key was symbolic of Camilla’s death in the real world, it also brought an end to Rita.
Diane wakes up. That was the last dream she’d ever have.