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Other Voices

By Other Voices

Because You Didn’t Ask at MCN: March 10, 2003

Good evening… I gestated in a sac of amniotic fluid.  When I was born, it was still filling my lungs, so the doctor slapped me.  That got the fluid out of my lungs, but the attention stopped after while.  So I cried again.  I got some food.  It was good.  It was not as good as the beating, but I would make up for that later.  I started pretending all the time.  I got toys, clothes and food.  I got the love that only possessions bring.  And now, crying to my producers gets me a bigger trailer than anyone else, a chef on the set and $17.9 million a picture.  If I could just be on a few more covers of a few more magazines that have stories about how emotionally secure and down to earth I am, I could be happy.  (pause) That’snot true.  I will never be happy.  I am proud to say that I am an actor.  Love me.

Don’t y’all love those Screen Actors Guild Awards?  I just cannot decide which was more impressive, Cathy Jones hiding that belly or Renee Zellweger (nee’ Rene Smith) hiding her skeleton.  On a good day I am more like seven month Cathy than seven pound Renee, so I thanked the Lord for both outfits.

I don’t know what to make of all of this luxury sailing while Washington pushes towards the brink of war.  At least Bushie has the good taste to schedule the war six weeks before television sweeps.  And they say he is not keeping an eye on the economy!

Did you notice that Marty Scorsese was not at the SAG Awards to cheer on Daniel Day Lewis?  Did you notice that the table was nearly empty, with the Chicago party going on halfway across the room?  Salma and The Hayeks were over there in the Gangs ghetto. Michael Caine was nowhere to be found.  “Pssst… do not get the scent of failure on the awards.”

I don’t know about y’all.  I cannot wait much longer for all of this to end!  I feel like I am in a junky movie that never ends.  I have run out of greasy popcorn and Mr. Pibb and I’m down to my last Ike & Mike and the boy is still trying to get the girl that we know he is going to get in the end.  What quivers my bow is knowing that the director is polluting the starlet and the boy star is doing it with his stand-in and the studio executive has video cameras in all of the bathrooms!  But we are still paying our $44, with candy and babysitting, just to sit there and wait for an uncomfortable kiss and a thanks for the memories at the last moment.

The stakes need to be higher!  How about a human sacrifice of the nominee who gets the least votes?  Y’all may think it would be funny to see Eminem singing to a room full of people who would put their hands over their wallets if he walked into an elevator with him. Would it not be even more interesting if we all knew that either he or Paul Simon would be dead by the end of the show?

Alec Baldwin would have to host the show.  The bulky pretty boy has never been more fun than when he was giving away a Cadillac, some knives and a bunch of pink slips.  It is okay for people to start talking about Lord of the Rings sweeping next year’s Oscars, but what if the producers weren’t alive to enjoy it?  Put that in your Alanis Morrisette and smoke it!

Imagine how exciting Best Make-Up would become!  One nominee wins.  The other one dies!  It makes being stuck with an Independent Spirit Award look pretty good, doesn’t it?

They could spice things up with live performances from each of the nominated films.  We have all seen the film clips.  I want to see Richard Gere tap dance.  I want to see AdrienBrody play piano.  I want to see Jack Nicholson with bags under his eyes and a matronly woman on his arm.  I want Kathy Bates and Salma Hayek and Diane Lanebare their bosoms in front of a worldwide television audience with an 800 number to pick the winner.  (A lot of women would be voting for my girl Kathy.) I want to see John C. Reilly get a word in edgewise.  I want to see Charlie and Donald Kaufman sing a duet and get shot by Meryl Streep.

I want to see Martin Scorsese talk so fast that the world goes into reverse and we all go back in time.  I want to see Stephen Daldry and Rob Marshall go out on the red carpet and see how long it takes for someone to recognize them.  I want to see Roman Polanski sneak into the ceremony with a Pedro Almodovar fright wig and have half ofHollywood try to speak to him in Spanish.  (Hide Natalie Portman!)

I want to see what Michael Moore will say if he wins and we are already at war in Iraq.  I want to see Celine Dion try to sing U2’s song so we can laugh at her and skip the finger-wagging from a foreigner in one step.  I want Ed Lachman to light the ceremony so the whole thing looks like a Douglas Sirk film.  I want to have hot steamy sex with Gael Garcia Bernal!  I want to see Ed Harris, Adrien Brody and Renee Zellweger eat.  I want Cathy Jones to give birth on stage followed by a close-up of Sharon Stone trying to figure out how she will top that.

No matter what I want, the sloppy third act is coming to a television near you.  The rapist makes his move and the women get within a nose, but the golden suppository is sure to head right for the asshole.  It  will look like true love up there on the screen.  Is the candy counter still open?  I need some chocolate.

POST SCRIPT: I don’t like to blow my own horn, but before I go, I have to give DavidKehr a few squeezes on his bulb.  He was gentleman enough to quote me in Sunday’sNew York Times.  He was then rude enough to come up with something funnier than I had.  A hero and a villain all in one very clever high profile package.  But it is nice to know that someone is paying attention out there. Honk, honk!

Ciao for now.

Email Patricia Vidal

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon