Saturday, June 30, 2007

Blue Jet Down

I used to love JetBlue. It was affordable. Reliable. No "first-class" eliminated the social divide. The ability to channel-surf satellite tv at your seat went a long way toward letting you forget that you were hurtling through space in a tin can coffin.

And then—inevitably perhaps—their business started going to the the shitter.

My sister's not here this weekend because JetBlue has conveniently suffered another round of fuck-ups. They just flat-out canceled my sister's flight from Oregon. Refunded her, but couldn't manage to get her out here. (I guess with JetBlue, it's like buying a lottery ticket and just hoping you get what you want, against absurd odds.) She has to miss one of her best friends' wedding. My mom is severely disappointed she won't get to see her on Sunday. And I sister-proofed the Fortress of Solitude 2.0 for nothing!

Ain't it fun when companies start fucking up? I'm in the queue to get my XBOX 360 repaired for the second time. I just hope I don't end up with a story like this guy, who's somehow loyal to the XBOX brand after 11 broken 360s. Attention must be paid, people.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Quarterback is Toast

Like the restaurants say, Thank God It's Friday, y'all!

Actually, every day is exactly the same for me. There may be no love here, but there ain't no pain. (Well, there is some pain, but I'm sure it's nothing serious.)

My sister's in from Oregon today, crashing at the Fortress of Solitude 2.0 for 2.0 nights. I've cleared away a sleeping nook for her. I've given her ample warning about how small this overpriced dump is, but she's really intent on saving a few bucks. Isn't SHE in for a surprise!!

She's got a friend's wedding to go to. Jesus, I hate some of her friends. Well, one in particular. You know who I'm talking about. Yeah, her. Loopy fucking cunt. Er, I mean, c-word.

I might steal away in the afternoon and catch that new LIVE FREE OR DIE RETARDED movie.

This video makes me want to watch the new DIE HARD more than the commercials for the new DIE HARD...

You can't see a movie today, Malice—aren't you waiting on a phone call from the West Coast???

I am ALWAYS waiting on a phone call from the West Coast. My entire life is built around phone calls from the fucking West Coast. I just wanna see shit get blowed up on the big screen.

"SOMEBODY's sounding a wee bit testy today," sniffed the Gay Horse.

Nakatomi Shuffled 5:
1. "God (Interlude)", Outkast
2. "Oh Nelly", Nelly
3. "To Sheila", Smashing Pumpkins
4. "Planet Telex", Radiohead
5. "Remember the Name", Fort Minor
Bonnie Bedelia Bonus:
"Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle", Nirvana

TGIF Laugh Corner:

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Went to see a screening of 1408 sponsored by the WGAE. Weird that they would have a screening of it after it opened, without any Q&A attached (but I ain't complainin bout a free movie). Weirder still that they held it at the Regal E-Walk Theater @ 42nd Street, when the AMC across the street already had it playing.

Horror movies are a real challenge to construct because everyone's seen it all, and everyone knows so much about how movies are made that it's hard to get the audience into a "fight or flight" state where they feel like anything can happen.

I was familiar with "1408" as a short story. It was eventually included in one of Stephen King's short story compilations, but it debuted years earlier, as an exclusive audiobook compilation of stories read by the author—which is how I was introduced to it. Stephen King is not the best reader/actor, but he can be a good craftsman. And I liked the story.

But it's a wisp of a story. No big spoilers here, but in essence: hotel manager warns writer not to go into room 1408 for the first half, writer goes into room 1408 and crazy shit happens in the second half.

So, IMHO, 1408 was even more of a challenge to adapt. And it's a testament to the writers, the director and the cinematographer that they managed to carry it off so well. I was surprised at how much I liked this little motherfucker.

In other news, have I made the point here that I was unsatisfied with the ending of The Sopranos? Is the horse dead yet? Bueller?

I know how this dog feels.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Recently repaired XBOX 360 is now broken again! Hooray for bullshit.

Story developing...

Way Down in the Hole

THE WIRE is so good. After putting it off for too long, I finally raced through the first season. The writing is amazing. David Simon comes from HOMICIDE and he brings a lot of HOMICIDE vets into the fold here. The show may not be as sexy as THE SOPRANOS, but it is far superior.

Michael K. Williams is so great in it. I've seen him cameo in other things (ALIAS, TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET), and I've always thought, "That's that guy from that show I don't watch." I had no idea that his character in THE WIRE is gay. It's a fascinating character. And it's really interesting to read what the reaction has been in the African-American community.

It might take me a while to get through the other seasons, so relax on the spoilers, people-who've-seen-it. (You know who you fucking are!)

I know it may be daunting to try to get into a new series. And THE WIRE can be pretty dense. Here's something to whet your appetite:

Good Cop, Baby Cop

And now a word from our sponsors...

"Hi, I'm a Mac and I'm a fucking mess!"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

9mm Malice

One shot and the world gets smaller.

Listen, you fuckers, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the cunts, the dogs, the filth, the shit. Here is a man who stood up.

The Sopranos in Se7en minutes. (Minus the last half-season.)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Stopping Power

Went to Philly over the weekend, for my friend Erwin's bachelor party. Saturday night, we went to a Gentleman's Club where we enjoyed entertainment that caters to gentlemen. Erwin's bro, Brian, got us a special package deal that included food. We were in this VIP section and they brought out this massive fucking platter that was just absurdly, hyperbolically piled high with fried things: ravioli, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, chicken strips. The package included booze and we all got pretty well trashed by the end of the evening.

Sunday, hungover, we went to shoot guns.
The place looked scary from the outside. It looked like a place where problems are solved.
From the outside, it looked like something out of HOSTEL. A place where bad urges are sated.
I'll be honest, the promise of shooting guns was one of the biggest draws of the trip. Bachelor parties in general can be pretty routine. Strippers, donkeys, etceteras. (Yawn.) The idea of shooting some guns made it a little more thrilling. I've written about characters using guns in scripts, I've got a gun tattooed on my arm, it only seemed right to experience it firsthand.

And yet, when we got to this place Sunday afternoon, my skull still slightly ringing from a hangover, I started to get nervous. I guess I imagined the place would resemble some pristine law enforcement training facility. Or the neon-tinted gun range from Beverly Hills Cop 2. Or something out of Robocop or Lethal Weapon—any number of the 80s movies that taught a generation about how cool guns are.

This place, at the edge of town, did not scream out "fun". From the nondescript warehouse exterior to the faint popping sound that sporadically and matter-of-factly peppered the air, this place screamed out, "Run, you fools. Run for your fucking lives."

As soon as you walked in, there were buckets filled with spent bullet shells.

Up a narrow flight of stairs to a dimly-lit gun shop and firing range. Gun-lover propaganda plastered all over the walls.

Since we were basically all first-timers, the package we got included a lesson with an instructor who chaperoned us as we went at the guns, two at a time.

A 9mm and a hefty 40 caliber. Semi-automatic pistolas.

The instructor was this 50-year-old mustachioed man with an appropriately grave demeanor. Told us he'd been shooting guns since he was 18, and he had this booming voice as if he was just used to talking over the sound of gunfire.

The other guys in the party started taking pictures of each other posing with the empty guns, like that Virginia Tech kid. For some reason, the guns looked fake to me. Like the cheap plastic toy guns I could buy as a kid—before cops started shooting kids with cheap plastic toy guns. Regardless, as we all picked up earmuffs, I was a lot more nervous than I thought I'd be.

There were some people shooting as we entered the firing range. Even with the earmuffs, every shot made you jump a little, at first. Erwin said it made him think about those school shootings, and how those kids didn't have earmuffs to dull the sound.

It was warm and slightly humid in the room. All that firepower.

I was fairly skittish about touching the guns at first. Altogether, we went through 4 boxes of bullets—and I got to be more comfortable loading the bullets into the magazines. But it turns out, I'm a terrible fucking shot.

The recoil on those babies was jarring, even though I was bracing for it. It's a strong kick, especially the 40. Playstation rumble-controllers do not prepare you for it. And the spent shells just fly back at you. My first round, one of the shells hit me right in the face. Freaks you the fuck out. But you are surrounded by guys so you try to act like it doesn't phase you.

Even with the targets at a "minimum distance", I had trouble getting a shot. I certainly wasn't drawing smiley-faces on the target paper, like in Lethal Weapon. You're trying to line it up and your hands are trembling. Even when you get over the fact that the piece of metal you're wielding is designed to end lives—and you relax into the idea of just trying to hit the paper target somewhere identifiable—it's a whole lot trickier than you'd imagine.

In hindsight, it would have been cooler if we were shooting at something with more substance than paper targets. Like cans of baked beans or beer bottles or watermelons. Something to give a better sense of what the bullets can do to a target. A more palpable sense of cause-and-effect.

I may not be a gun nut convert, but I've got a whole new respect for people who have to use these tools. Me? I'll stick to knives and poison.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Roaches in the Mail

I'll spare you a photo here.

Since I've been living in the Fortress of Solitude 2.0, I've only spotted a cockroach once, over a year ago. I dealt with it and have been clear of them since. (At least I haven't seen the fuckbags.)

I went out of town yesterday, got back this evening, opened up the mailbox to retrieve Saturday's mail... and found a BIG FAT ROACH crawling over my new issue of AMERICAN THEATER.

Now, here's the question. I know of the common ways you can inadvertently bring roaches home: Hiding in paper bags and cardboard boxes. But do they hide in mail, too? Makes sense. Big bag of mail, lot of places to hide. Don't know how often those bags are washed.

Guess I'm wondering if the thing actually came in the mail, or if its kin are a problem hiding in the mailboxes downstairs. In any case, it creeps me way the fuck out.

Timex Social Club

I was at the supermarket recently and I heard this song playing. Anybody remember Timex Social Club? Hot shit back in the 80's, lemme tell you. This was the precursor to the East Coast vs. West Coast gangsta rap wars.

I remember hearing this as a kid and being shocked (SHOCKED!) at the suggestion that Michael Jackson could be gay.

I'm actually not sure who some of the other names are supposed to be. Tina = Tina Turner? Susan = Susan Seidelman?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Someday a real rain will come...

"You might argue that making a comedy about Noah's ark—one of the Bible's grimmest stories—is a bit like making a sex farce about the Rwandan genocide."

A funny article dismantling EVAN ALMIGHTY. With apologies to all the Tom Shadyac fans who read this blog.

(Yes, my new script is a Rwandan genocide sex farce.)

Night Falls Fast

A few weeks ago, I came across Spalding Gray's MONSTER IN A BOX, which was playing on IFC or Sundance. The monologue film chronicles his experience trying to write his first novel. The film really drew me in and reminded me about what I liked about Spalding Gray. He was a great storyteller.

I avoided his "performance films" for a while because they looked sort of annoying. He seemed like nothing more than a neurotic, Upper East Side grotesque. And that aspect does exist in his work. (GRAY'S ANATOMY suffers most from this, I think. In addition to be over-directed by Steven Soderbergh.)

But he knew how to tell a story. Using his voice and body with great economy.

When he vanished a few years ago, it had been a while since I'd even thought about him. I saw his movies on video years before, and I liked them, but I didn't keep them in my mind. I didn't realize that he'd been in a disfiguring car accident in 2001, and that had sent him into a deep depression that he never recovered from.

Which makes it more macabre watching MONSTER IN A BOX, wherein he talks about the experience of writing a book about his mother's suicide. Watching the film with the knowledge of what will happen to him definitely colors the experience. His neuroses don't seem as playful and cute. The monologue begins to resemble a cry for help.

Sad thing is, he was seeking help. He was in therapy, the whole magilla. And yet, even given all the warning signs... if a person really wants out, it's hard to stop them...

Fascinating character, worth looking into if you're not familiar with his work.

This has been a BUZZ-KILL ENTRY. Enjoy your Saturday, bitches!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Indiana Jones and the Quiet Afternoon

First image of Indiana Jones suited back up.

He looks a bit older than I remember him.

And less saturated.

Judging from this shot, I'd say we've all got an exciting summer adventure waiting for us at movie theaters in 2008!

Save me an aisle seat.

I'm all for squeezing another movie out of the franchise. All the movies are self-contained, so it's not like it'll fuck up any of the other ones. Indiana Jones has never depended on any real continuity between movies.

I'm just curious where they managed to take the script, after so many years and so many high-profile writers.

"I'm very little—YOU CHEAT VERY BIG," accused the Gay Horse.

Adventure has a Shuffled 5:
1. "Houses of the Holy", Led Zeppelin
2. "Catherine", PJ Harvey
3. "Sweetest Decline", Beth Orton
4. "Think About You", Guns N' Roses
5. "Ambulance", TV on the Radio
Throw Me the Idol Bonus:
"Hand Clap", Girl Talk

TGIF Laugh Corner:
Where to begin...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Always Bet on Malice


I'm learning shit as I go. The usual way these things work is: a writer will develop a script with a producer, and when it's ready the producer will bring the project to a studio in the hopes of selling it. A project will only get a chance at a "greenlight" once a production team is in place.

Well, I developed my script directly with the studio, which made it slightly unorthodox—but I was paired with a cool executive who enjoyed being involved in the creative process.

Of course, it reached a certain stage where we needed to get a producer attached to it.

Looks like we've got one now.

Platinum Dunes is Michael Bay's genre production company. They're responsible for all those high-end, glossy horror remakes, and it seems they're shifting gears to produce some original work. And, apparently, they really like my script for THE BUTCHERHOUSE CHRONICLES.

Suffice it to say, this is good. It adds a lot of weight to the project. It's a big step forward. They're enthusiastic about the material and I'll be flying out West in a few weeks, to meet with them and get some notes. Plus, my Paramount exec's giving my script to a few select agents, to get me sorted out in that department.

After I turned in my last draft, I experienced radio silence for the better of two and a half weeks. I was getting a little nervous, like maybe I'd fucked it up or it just wasn't as good as I thought it was. This is a huge vindication. I put a lot of hard work into that screenplay, and I think it stands on its own now, separate from the original stage play. (Which I also wrote! SUCK ON THAT!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Check it: a little sneak preview of the next big water cooler sensation...

Since Punk'd is over, television needs a new celebrity prank show.

My show's called "Rap'd". We get a van full of actors nobody really knows (it'd spoil the gag!), and we send them out to sexually assault different celebs...

Once the celebrity's thoroughly defiled, we send a camera crew racing in and our host—the inimitable Rip Torn—charges at them and screams our catchphrase:


Cut to:

Sheepish celebrity being forced to confess into the camera:

"I-I'm Tara Reid... a-and I just got Rap'd..."


"I'm Zach Braff and I just got... really badly Rap'd... can someone give me a ride home...?"


"I'm Tobey Maguire and I didn't believe it could happen to me but I just got f---ing RAP'D! I'm gonna get you back, Leo!"

I'm talking to HBO and SHOWTIME right now. Got a bulk order of baseball caps printing up as we speak.

In other news, HOLY SHIT!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Forever in Edwige

Not to get carried away here, but I thought I should have more images of Edwige Fenech up in here. (As always, keeping clear of the NOT-WORK-SAFE imagery, lest the children erupt in giggle-fits.)

Starred in all these sex romps before shifting to a career behind the camera. The woman's older than my mom, fer chrissake...

And yet, what does age really matter when you're in love?

(Because I love her.)

Do you love FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS, Malice?

No, because it's a hipster Kiwi shadow of TENACIOUS D that is *almost* funny, but never quite. There, I said it.

What else is on your mind, Malice?

I find that some people's idea of giving feedback is just throwing a lot of noise at you. Upchucking a bellyful of random ideas. With the assumption that you will scoop up their puke and bake a lovely cake with it. It gets a bit old. (And I'm not talking about the movie executives here.)

Anything else today, Malice?

I get to go to a free screening of "1408" next week. I love having access to all these free screenings of shit, through the WGA. It's like being in college again.

This just in: The Sopranos is having a yard sale! So, if you've got a brother who worked on the show who grabbed some shit before leaving and has been meaning to move it on eBAY, he might want to get that shit moving...

Eff David Chase.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Now Doesn't That Make You Feel Better?

[I know I'm pretty late calling attention to the cartoon skeleton art of Hyungkoo Lee, but what do yaz want from me here?]
I've got mixed feelings about the box office disappointment of HOSTEL: PART 2. On a personal level, the studio exec I've been working with has specifically advised me to steer clear of anything that resembled "torture porn" as I've developed my screenplay. For months, he's been saying he had a feeling that it was a box office phase that was going to taper out. So theoretically, we may be helped by having not gone in that direction.

It's a fickle business, though, and I don't want this thing of mine to get tainted by a general perception that horror as a whole is yesterday's news.

I saw Eli Roth on Conan last week. He came off sorta badly. A bit cocky and full of it. But I think he was trying to overcompensate for being nervous. His movie had already opened poorly and he was trying to get people to go see it. Plus, LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN isn't the Aint-It-Cool-News crowd: the audience doesn't automatically know Eli Roth, nor do they worship at his altar.

The kicker is, I *liked* HOSTEL 2. (Available online, thankyouverymuch.) I was on the fence with the first HOSTEL, but I genuinely liked HOSTEL 2. Roth knows how to tell a story. He explores different aspects of his original premise.

Not to mention the motherfucker managed to get a cameo in from giallo star Edwige Fenech. Madonn'! I discovered her body of work over a year ago. A smoking-hot 70's sexploitation star who is STILL a raging 10, IMHO. Jesus fucking Christ...

I saw her name in the opening credits and that alone got my blood pumping. If I'd know she was going to be in it, I mighta seen it opening weekend...

(Don't you touch her, Eli Roth!)

For all the hoopla, I would NOT mark this one as "torture porn". (For that, check out SAW III.) The gore is more restrained than in the first movie, and I think it's used effectively.

So, why did HOSTEL 2 tank? I think it came out at a bad time.

The first one came out in January—I went to see it on my birthday. There was no competition. It was marketed as something really intense and different.

They dropped this one in the middle of blockbuster season. Audiences already got unloaded on by SPIDER-MAN3/ PIRATES3/SHREK3: that's a lot of punishment to endure. The trailers for H2 made it look like just a retread of the first movie (which I don't think it is). And a lot of people just didn't like the first movie—which relied more heavily on excessive gross-outs.

Whatever, though. Eli Roth'll be fine. He's got his career rolling, and he's capable of a lot more than he's shown.

So fuck him in the ear. I want MY career to get moving... I want to cast some of MY childhood crushes in movies...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Pop-Eyed World

I loved the Popeye cartoons growing up. They taught me that the solution to any problem is horrifically cathartic ultraviolence. Augmented by what amounted to canned steroids.

Robert Altman's movie version was based more on the original comic strip version of Popeye. I loved that movie growing up, despite how different it seemed from the cartoons I knew and loved.

Now there's a compilation book documenting Popeye's funny pages origins: Popeye Volume 1: I Yam What I Yam. Popeye the Sailor Man was originally a bit character in a strip called "Thimble Theater", that had already been running 10 years with a robust cast of misfits before ol' squinty showed up and captured America's hearts & minds. In the comic strip, he didn't lean on spinach as a performance-enhancing crutch. He beat up most of his antagonizers on his own. He and Olive Oyl started off bickering. Altman took quite a few cues from the old Thimble Theater roots.

The book's cool and provides some great context for the character.

It's father's day, isn't it. Fuck you, Hallmark. You delight in generating holidays that highlight the worst blemishes of my life. A'right, I guess I should call the guy or sommat...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Polyphonic Spree-Killers

What the fuck happened to the Polyphonic Spree? Actually, they look less scary as secret-police than they did as Manson Family.

And just b'cause I know you're all dying to know, these are the Spree that Malice wants to hang out with:

I thought "Garden State" was firmly *okay*. I'm sorta appalled that it has any fanbase, because the whole affair is like Nora Ephron treacle. Which would be fine, except that Zach Braff seems to really get a lot of mileage out of that fucking thing. Let's make sure we're all on the same page here: Zach Braff is without worth.
Molto Mario going for the jugular.
I don't get the deal with coke, either. (Just doesn't do it for me, kids—can we still hang?)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Elephant in the Room

Thursday night, went to see an advance screening of PARAMOUNT VANTAGE's "A Mighty Heart", set up through the Writers Guild. Featuring a Q&A with actors Archie Panjabi, Irfan Khan, Dan Futterman... and one other actor from the film... oh, whatserface... it's on the tip of my tongue... oh yeah—Angelina Jolie.

It should be said that Jolie is almost grotesquely pretty in person. She looks like a caricature of what a pretty person would look like. On a scale of 1-10... it would be unfair to the scale to assign her a number because she ruins the fucking curve.

The screening was packed. Everyone who had a cell phone with a camera built-in had to CHECK it at a desk before going into the theater. You wouldn't be allowed to retrieve your phone till AFTER the Q&A. Obviously, this was done to prevent people from taking pictures of Dan Futterman.

(I hid my cell phone from them because I'm better than everyone.)

There was a geeky old dude sitting next to me who probably fell asleep for a good 20 minutes in the film—but boy howdy did he wake up for the Q&A. We were three rows from the front and he made it a point to laugh real loud at anything Jolie said that was remotely amusing...

Makes me think of the guy who sees a picture of a pretty girl on the internet and posts a comment that says, "I'd love even just to talk to her."

Here's my confession: I don't want to talk to Angelina Jolie. I wouldn't know what to say to her.


The Q&A was strange. People had to fill out question cards during the end credits—and it seems they collected just a handful of them and gave them to the moderator. Which spared us from the obnoxious INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO spectacle of people standing up and fawning over a movie star. But the audience questions the moderator deigned to read seemed pretty random and uninteresting.

But Angelina Jolie was clearly the elephant in the room during the Q&A. Everyone came to the circus to see that elephant. Everyone on stage was trying really hard to pretend as if everything was equal. Just four actors who shared the experience of shooting a movie together. Jolie came off well, I thought. For some reason, I thought she might have an affected accent, like Madonna—maybe it's because Jolie affects a lot of accents for her roles. But in person, she sounds just like an all-American suburban girl.

I should say, Archie Punjabi is hot as Hades too, and I'd like to... have a conversation with her. Get to know her. Buy her a coffee.

"You say one thing but you mean something else," observed the Gay Horse.

Celebrity Shuffled 5:
1. "Ziggy Stardust", David Bowie
2. "You or Your Memory", The Mountain Goats
3. "Complication", Nine Inch Nails
4. "Starfuckers Inc.", Nine Inch Nails
5. "Life in a Glass House", Radiohead
"Do-You-Have-Enough-NIN?" Bonus:
"Please", Nine Inch Nails

(The shuffle-function really fucks you sometimes.)

TGIF Laugh Corner:
I heart the Naked Cowgirl.
"LOST" promises not to go out like a bitch.
I have mixed feeling about the theater.
I want her.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Death of a Wizard

Don Herbert, alias "Mr. Wizard"
July 10, 1917—June 12, 2007

I know I'm two days late in reporting on this, which is an eternity in Internet time, but cut us some slack...

When I was a child, there was MR. WIZARD'S WORLD. What I liked about Mr. Wizard was that he never talked down to the kids. Aside from his fanciful moniker, there really wasn't a gimmick to him. He didn't dress up in stupid costumes. He didn't clown it up in a desperate attempt to make science fun. He didn't regard the audience as if they were attention-deficient retards.

In fact, the kids who assisted him on his tv show were remarkably intelligent. In stark contrast to the C+ specimens you saw on some other kids shows.

I don't firmly believe in an afterlife—but if there IS one, I'm certain that Don Herbert's got nothing better to do than GOOGLE himself. Cheers, Mr. Wizard.

(I was raised by television.)

P.S. David Chase gets Wiki-wacked! Oh, real mature, guys! (Snicker.)

P.P.S. Slash not much of a guitar-hero in this video. Axl should shanghai this kid.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Shit-Ass Pet-Fuckers

Watched the documentary "Maxed Out", from the Netflix library of films. Nothing inordinately revelatory. Credit card debt is bad. The debt industry is an evil empire. You should pay off your debt and not make more of it. (Easy, right?)

There are extreme cases. People who can't pay debts get bullied. Lives are ruined. People commit suicide.

But there are many levels of debt and many ways to amass it. It's not just spending sprees. Life throws you curve balls...

Nearly a decade ago, I was sharing an apartment in the West Village with my sister. Fresh out of college. My sister finds the man of her dreams and moves out, leaving me high and dry. I start paying the full rent myself, but the landlord decides to stockpile my checks instead of cashing them each month. And then my dog gets cancer. I'm STILL paying for that year...

[Unfortunately, getting ahead in the entertainment industry requires an element of "going for broke".]

Americans for Fairness in Lending is a watchdog group looking to establish fair credit policies and practices. Support them... and let's shop responsibly, America!

(YO JOE!!!)

Clips from Louis C.K.'s standup are used throughout "Maxed Out". He does a lot of great bits about being broke. Here's a bit they DIDN'T use... (though I bet they wanted to!)


Fuck Dane Cook *and* David Chase. Fuck em in the ear.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Men of Disrespect

I'm putting it to sleep, I swear. It's not worth bitching about. But I'm just gonna cut and paste some text from SLATE's comment box...

"apark" sez:
When the screen faded to black and the credits rolled, I went through a variety of emotions but mainly confusion and disappointment. The more I thought about the final scene, I started to see it in different ways: Tony getting whacked, "don't see or hear it coming"; another Chase building up of tension then suddenly relieving it; Tonys life going on without the viewer. Thinking about it in this way made me begin to appreciate it more but I was still unsatisfied. I guess the reason I was most disappointed is because it did not match the tone of the series.

The Sopranos was a sophisticated and artistic show, but ultimately had its roots in the low-brow gangster epic. We chuckled at humor among the violence, the tough guys acting out of character. The show spun wonderful riffs on a classic, cliched genre bringing it to a new level. I never felt it lost complete touch with its origins until last night. The ending was too art house for me. Sopranos is not a Merchant-Ivory production and I did not feel it deserved that sort of ending.
"randyg50" sez:
I didn't expect or want a neat finish. I didn't want or expect closure on any particular plot thread or character or theme. What I didn't expect was a cheap and arrogant trick that closed a long and wonderful drama.

The sudden stop was a slap at the audience, a community that was more than capable of dealing with ambiguity, mixed messages and metaphors. The abrupt ending was a final notice from Mr. Chase of who was in control and how bleakly he views life.

He could have achieved the same effect by slowly pulling the camera back from the table, perhaps with the bathroom door just opening. Everything could be left to our imagination, but without the vitriol.

Actually, the episode seemed over when Tony walked away from his babbling uncle. Tony calls out to Junior by alluding to the duties required by “This Thing of Ours”, the last thing Tony holds onto. Yet it is represented by a senile old man who manages to be selfish and resentful in his delirium. Some life, some future. Same point as the Holsten’s scene, but expressed with artistic grace and power. Thanks David.
But it's all right because guess what, kids? The story continues!

(On your shitty PS2.)

Artie Lange looks like his flesh is dripping off his body. He's so fat, he looks like he's wearing a fat-suit. He looks like Eddie Murphy in Rick Baker prosthetics. Little Steven thinks it's adorable.

A nation mourns.

Chase comes out of hiding.

Monday, June 11, 2007

(Don't) Stop Believin'

Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on...


It's official, SOPRANOS fans:

David Chase has had it with you! Good riddance.

He might hate the cable companies, too. I wonder how many complaints the cable companies are gonna get from customers thinking their cable went out at the end. It's almost as if David Chase pulled an Andy Kaufman stunt. Which almost makes it cool... but no, it's not cool.

I'm not even a big SOPRANOS fanatic. I've always thought it was unconscionably over-praised. I find it mind-boggling that some critics have claimed it's the best TV show in the history of television. That's crazy talk. It was a good show with some great elements, but flawed, Flawed, FLAWED!

And the ending is probably the biggest "fuck-you ending" ever. (Besting St. Elsewhere's infamous snow-globe ending, IMHO.)

Yes, you can talk through the final scene and make an argument for the meaning of it, and the game Chase is playing, with the music and the build-up of expectations...

But it's BULLSHIT. The thing's designed as a fuck-you. It's designed to deny. I imagine most regular, average-joe fans of the show hated this episode. And I know a bunch of people will praise it, in order to be contrary or in adoration of its subversive aspect. But I'm not buying any of it.

If the build-up to the final scene were different, maybe. But it wasn't. And I think David Chase figured, "Well, there's no way for me to please everyone, so why don't I just piss them off? I can DEFINITELY do that."

Here's the ending David Chase didn't want the public to see:

I wash my hands of the whole bloody affair...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Windy City Heat

The most elaborate mind-fuck I've ever seen.

Perry Caravello is an arrogant, gullible comedian/actor looking for a break. Don Barris and Tony Barbieri develop a "friendship" with him over the course of 11 years, culminating in having him cast in a fake action movie called "Windy City Heat", directed by Bobcat Goldthwait.

Everyone's in on the joke except for Perry. Perry totally believes that he's been cast as the lead in a major Hollywood action movie, beating out all these other A-list stars for the role.

The film covers the period from him being cast, to the film premiering to thunderous applause. A process of about 2-3 months.

There's no PUNK'D style reveal at the end of the film. The DVD contains video of Don and Tony trying to reveal the prank to Perry by showing him the actual movie, but he still doesn't seem to get it. Perry even records a video/audio commentary for the movie—but even there, it's not clear that he gets how he's been had...

As he watches the movie, he comments on all the action as if it really happened. He still seems to believe that he beat out all these other actors for the role. Throughout his commentary, he'll lapse into segments where he just repeats what he's saying in the film. "This is where I say this." Indeed, he seems utterly fascinated watching himself. Like a cat pawing at a mirror.

There are some skeptics who question how real this thing is, but Perry seems genuine to me. There is the lawsuit he just filed, sure—but watching the footage cinches it for me. Perry is completely delusional. He's in love with himself. He doesn't seem to understand anything that's not dangled 2 inches from his face.

Is it funny? It's sort of a BORAT paradigm. Except here, EVERYONE is Borat, and he's the one guy who doesn't get it. At one point, the homophobic Perry admits that one time, when he was just starting out in "the business", he let a guy blow him as he jerked the guy off. It's sort of a horrible revelation, but he's such a cocky, unsympathetic character, it's hard to feel bad for him.

But Don Barris and Tony Barbieri don't exactly come off well. They seem like frat boys torturing a retarded kid. Which, yes, IS funny. To a point. Beyond that, it's just fascinating to watch Perry's delusion.

Bobcat Goldthwait talks about the process here. He's actually the most understated player in this wily subterfuge. Aside from the puppet-master, Jimmy Kimmel, who shows up at the very end.

I guess this played on Comedy Central in 2003. I missed it completely. Worth Netflixing. Like yer old pal Malice just did. In this weird way, Perry Caravello comes across as the perfect poster-child for all the self-delusional naifs who try to breakthrough in the entertainment industry. A yippy lap dog who doesn't know when to quit.

Friday, June 08, 2007

God is an American

Judd Apatow: "[At first] I thought Knocked Up was about two people trying to decide if they liked each other. But people have such an affection for her that it became this movie about Seth Rogen trying to earn Katherine Heigl."

I think this is a strange and fascinating idea that addresses the old "Schlumpy-Man and his Hot-Wife" sitcom conceit that goes all the way back to The Honeymooners.


You see a couple on the street—you don't know them from Adam—and you think, "How did that person choose to settle for THAT person?"

I think it's great that KNOCKED UP doesn't shy away from addressing that issue. And it's bluntly addressed throughout the movie, as it is in the poster above. (I've gotta wonder what that poster does for Seth Rogen's self-esteem.)

And I will admit, I completely missed the fact that Haverchuck from FREAKS & GEEKS was the guy growing the beard in the movie.

I swear, when I watched F&G, I thought the only way Martin Starr would get more work would be if they made more REVENGE OF THE NERDS sequels. He was great in F&G, but I just couldn't see him as anything other than a super-geek.

I stand corrected, Mr. Starr. I stand corrected.

Watch out, Mr. Bowie!!!

Trent's a scary guy. Still running from Exotic Birds.

... and I'll see YOU this Sunday, SOPRANOS FINALE!

"Get ready for disappointment," whinnied the Gay Horse.

Dead Sopranos Shuffled 5:
1. "Running to Stand Still", U2
2. "Hosanna", Jesus Christ Superstar
3. "The Brouhaha", Beastie Boys
4. "Superhuman", Velvet Revolver
5. "Not Now James, We're Busy", Pop Will Eat Itself
Meadow Soprano Bonus:
"Love", John Lennon

TGIF Laugh Corner:

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Couch Trip

On Tuesday, I was at the FBI listening to them talk about the preposterous manner in which they're depicted on television. (John Miller made fun of most of CBS's primetime lineup, to be fair.) The purpose of setting up a workshop with the Writers Guild was to try to get more realistic depictions of the F.B.I. into the popular culture.

Now, it seems the shrinks are all squawking about the penultimate Sopranos episode...

I got some mixed feelings about psychotherapy. I'm not all anti-psychiatry like those wily Scientologists. I think therapy can be useful.

But in my personal experience, therapy can easily go on indefinitely. You go through some hard times, it can be helpful to talk to someone. But hard times pass. And some therapists are content to just keep it going forever.

And I guess that's fine for certain people. If you can afford it. (Psychiatry and Scientology both bleed you a bit...) But it seems like it turns into life coaching at some point. I don't see the purpose.

I did marriage counseling for the better part of a fucking year and I can say, in hindsight, it was a COMPLETE waste of time and money. I'll give most of the blame to my ex-wife, who was cowardly and inarticulate and hypocritical and just revolting. The therapist could have facilitated the process better—but it just went nowhere. And between the two of them, the counseling could have gone on indefinitely, had I not pulled my ex aside one day and said, "What are we doing?"

And I own the blame for not doing that earlier. My point is, some things shouldn't just go on indefinitely. At a certain point, you need to stop and ask, "Is this really helping?"

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Sorry, all. More of a note to myself than anything else. A calendar marker I won't lose.

My XBOX 360 was returned to me today, via UPS. I missed the guy in the morning—thought I was gonna have to stay shut-in waiting for the guy all tomorrow—but the sonuvagun actually CAME BACK IN THE EARLY EVENING to deliver this to me. *HE* knew it was a fuckin XBOX, too. All the UPS guys know what these XBOX return-boxes look like. Which is probably good coz they seem to look out for you more. Fellow gamers.

Played with it for a good stretch this eve. Seems all right. No compatibility issues with the hard drive, which means they actually fixed my machine instead of sending me some refurbished piece-o-shit.

Still. Here's the marker. 06.06.07. If this craps out on me again... TO THE MOON, MICROSOFT!

Vinyl Video

Nothing like a good format war. I've set up a tent in the Blu-ray camp, of course. Via the PS3. The videogame console I had the most to complain about—until my fucking XBOX 360 killed itself.

Don't take my word for it, though. There's this thorough, rational argument for why Blu-ray is likely to become the dominant format. Or at the very least, why HD-DVD won't win.

The world's seen a good format war before. They're good at dividing people because nobody wants to be stuck with an unsupported format. Everybody likes to draw parallels to the Betamax vs. VHS war in the early 80s. Of course, you can't make the comparison because the world was so different back then. And Betamax and VHS weren't the only formats vying for supremacy...

DA Pennebaker originally shot Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars for RCA's SelectaVision, a Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED) player. Basically a vinyl disc that could play video...

Note the ominous skipping partway through the presentation. Stick around for the very end, where you get to see the actual player in use.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


In a way, it's probably best I'm HERE instead of THERE. It might be best that I have a little distance from the cacophony, at this stage at least.

No big news to parcel out. More people reading the script means more notes. They're giving me a week to clear my head of it before we dive into the next round of notes, which they'll be giving me either Friday or next Monday.

Of course, I need all this spare time to crack my little pet-theater projects.

The upside is, I should be getting paid again soon. Always a relief.

The downside is, the future's no clearer. Not today, anyway.

No time to get bummed. Keeping it all in perspective. It's a complicated business—this is part of the process. It's part of working within the system. I know I'm good enough to be in the game. I can do whatever I need to do to that script. I've gotten it this far, I'll get it the rest of the way. Lesser people have gotten lesser scripts through to production. I can make it through, under a lesser god.

Just have to keep my focus.
I get to visit the F.B.I. in the morning. A free 3-hour interactive workshop to find out how the F.B.I. can assist me in writing my fanciful screen stories.

I've really got no excuse to go, except that it seems like such a strange opportunity and it'd be a shame to piss it away. (Even though it means I've got to wake up early.) Maybe it'll give me an idea for a play or screenplay.
I can't believe these commercials ever actually made it to the air.

... and how did they get George C. Scott to conduct the interviews?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Tears of Unfathomable Sadness

["Scott Tenorman Must Die", episode 65 of SOUTH PARK, Season 5. No spoilers here. Just find it and watch it. It's not even the funniest episode. But the ending's a scream.]

These Sunday nights.

Thinking about the call I'll get tomorrow, from the West Coast. To hear what the suits think of the latest draft I've turned in.

I like this script I've written. I think it stands on its own. Separate from the play. I think it has a life of its own. A unique voice. No matter what happens tomorrow, I'm proud of the work I've done to this point.

I think what makes me a bit woozy to think about is what a gamble I've taken to try to do this full-time. It's like I quit my day job to become a full-time gambler. The future is not guaranteed.

I've always played it safe. I know I needed to make this leap of faith.

It's been about 8 months since I walked away from the regular paycheck. The only way I've managed to avoid a nervous breakdown has been to not think about it too much.

I'm accustomed to regular day jobs where you go in every day and, unless you really fuck up or there's some bad turn in the business, you've got the job as long as you can stomach it.

Now, I need to get attached to projects. And honestly, I haven't ruled out relocating to the West Coast if/when I feel like I just need to, to get further.

All right. Well, I'll see what the West Coast has to say to me tomorrow...

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Bad Version

Clive Barker's NIGHTBREED aired on HBO HD recently. And I had to watch it. It's a movie I had such fond memories of, as an adolescent. I saw it years later, with a far more discriminating eye, and appreciated how it fails. And now I've come full circle and forgive its flaws.

It really starts to fall apart in its final act, where this crazy war seems to play out in fast forward and there are weird jumps in logic. And some cringe-worthy comedy. Barker's been trying to restore a full 25 minutes of footage back into the film for many years now, and I'm assuming some of that would at least help fill in some logic gaps.

But what really struck me watching Nightbreed again is how queer-themed it is...

I don't think I found out that Barker was gay till years after he'd come out. And I think he came out sometime AFTER Nightbreed/Cabal. But it's obvious that the Nightbreed are a metaphor for being in the closet. Several of the monsters actually read gay. (Not so subtly.) Barker even manages to get in some jabs at Catholicism, with a wacko zealot priest character.

And then there's David Cronenberg's memorable turn as Decker, the creepy, effete scarecrow-mask killer. He's trying to wipe out "the breeders", yet acts as the most vicious monster of the lot. I'm shocked at how clearly NIGHTBREED was about homophobia. Which makes me more curious about where he wanted to take it in sequels. It does have a first-in-a-trilogy vibe. The whole "Matrix", chosen-one prophesied song-and-dance...


I'm turning in the FOURTH DRAFT of my screenplay today.

Thanks to experience at my old job at a Presentation Center, I'm accustomed to making last minute changes. Give them five days or five weeks, the higher-ups will always request changes down to the wire.

I've been fielding a lot of executive notes the past few weeks. One of the terms you start to hear a lot is "the bad version". It's used to assist you in making changes.

"We're missing a beat in here. We should slip in a scare. Something throwaway. The bad version is, a clown jumps out of the garbage can. That's the bad version, don't use that—but something LIKE that..."

It's funny. This odd sort of beating-around-the-bush. Like a veiled line-reading. "Say it sorta like this, but be creative and make it your own." I ain't proud. I've actually found it curiously helpful. It's better than taking shots in the dark. I'll take all the help I can get up in here.

"Let's get fucking wasted," proffered the Gay Horse. "It's fucking JUNE already!"

Deadline Shuffled 5:
1. "Amazon", M.I.A.
2. "On the Road to Find Out", Cat Stevens
3. "Lolo (Intro)", Dr. Dre
4. "Papercut", Linkin Park
5. "Homecoming", Green Day
Revision Bonus:
"Man Ray", The Futureheads

TGIF Laugh Corner:
This Fox News lady can't keep the cocks out of her mouth!
(That statement works on AT LEAST two levels.)

What's amazing is that the internet's got tons of humorous videos like this!