“Hi, bookie? I’d like to place a bet on the NCAA Miami game.”
“Ohio or Florida?” the bookie asks.
“Both are disgusting”
“Hi, bookie? I’d like to place a bet on the NCAA Miami game.”
“Ohio or Florida?” the bookie asks.
“Both are disgusting”
Now hear me out:
If you get REALLY high, then Moonraker can become a decent, but not a GREAT film instead of the cocaine-fueled nightmare that is now.
What I love about the James Bond franchise is that it’s pure spectacle. It doesn’t shy away from that. In fact, it full on embraces it…at least during the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
What people don’t realize about the Sean Connery through Timothy Dalton era is that the plot DOES NOT MATTER. At all. Not in the slightest. They’re all screenplays based on story beats: 1) Cold open 2) Titles 3) Moneypenny/Q/M 4)Intro to villain, etc etc. and it always ends with the villain lair exploding and Bond fucking the Bond Girl. The facade of a story is always in service to hitting those beats.
It’s like listening to a Phil Spector produced album where the sheer scale of the production covers up the limitations of the artist.
Now Moonraker crosses the line from being spectacle to straight up insanity. It’s obvious that the producers were just throwing shit up on the screen in a desperate attempt to compete with Star Wars. But underneath all that bullshit, there is a decent James Bond film.
The scene that is often cited as being the moment Bond jumps the shark is the gondola chase. But did you know that that scene is completely useless? It advances the plot in no way. Who’s chasing Bond? Why are they chasing him? It’s assumed to be the villain’s henchmen, but that’s never made clear. As far as Bond knows, it’s just random dudes. There are no consequences for the chase either. You can cut it out completely, and nothing in the story would have been missed. Not even a story beat. The very next scene is a fight with a henchmen where a shit ton of glass gets broken. There is literally no point in the gondola chase.
Honestly, half the shit that takes place in Venice could be cut. Only two important things happen there: you learn that the villain is using a chemical agent in his diabolical plot and the Bond girl is actually a CIA agent. The death of the first henchmen takes place there, which explains the appearance of Jaws later in the film, but I’d argue that this character could be cut completely and nothing would be missed.
Could Jaws be cut out? Probably not. Unlike most things in this film, Jaws actually advances the plot. But his character could be made less ridiculous by introducing him in the Rio Carnival sequence (who cares why he’s there? It should be obvious). Unfortunately that stupid ass love interest ends up becoming useful for Bond at a key point, so that shit has to stay in. BUT all that crap afterwards can be cut out.
Now the film goes completely off the rails after Bond escapes the ambulance, and not much can be done to fix that. 007 has to go into space 🤷♂️. But if roughly 1/4 of the movie gets edited out, you’d have a nice little spy film.
I wish someone would make a fan edit of this.
Why is it that whenever I take a picture of myself I’m always smoking?
I don’t even fucking smoke!
Life’s hard for a man that drives a pickup truck.
People make all kinds of assumptions about you. “Hey, what kind of engine you got in that thing?” they ask.
“I dunno,” I say. “I just put the keys in the ignition and it starts.”
I drive a pickup not only because I have a tiny penis and suffer from an inferiority complex, but they also last longer, usually easier to take care of, and no one bats an eye at a few dents and scratches.
In short, I only drive a truck because I’m lazy as fuck.
But every guy wants to get into a pissing contest on who’s got the bigger engine, who knows more about transmissions, which kind of car is easier to fuck in (it’s definitely an Oldsmobile Tornado btw), etc etc
Well listen here buddy, I read Immanuel Kant, Wordsworth, Melville, Jack London, and fucking Hegel, not because someone told me to, but because I love it! Do I look like a guy that gives a shit about your Dodge Ram?
Sure I wear camouflage, abuse dipping tobacco, store my retirement savings under the kitchen sink, sleep with a Glock 19, dabble in meth, store my own piss, steal from my grandmother, don’t pay child support, and argue with teenagers online. But I’m just not a car guy! Okay?
“This Tastes Like Ass is obviously a modern classic,” said Bryce Howard Dallas Antonio, the screenwriter, “but I think it lacks the nuances of some of the earlier postmodern classics from David Lynch and Martin Scorsese.”
Dallas showed up to the pre-production meetings wearing a tweed jacket, a derby, and a walking cane. I wanted to smash that cane right onto his dick.
Sets were going up. I had enough on my plate. But Dallas insisted on following me around.
“Do you like David Lean?” he asked.
“Yeah, he was hott.”
“What’s your biggest influence?”
“I don’t know. Alcohol?”
I was signing papers left and right. I was too busy to listen to this shit. After Dallas called Smokey and the Bandit the most overrated movie of the 70s, I grabbed him by the jacket.
“Listen here shitwad,” I said, “you’re right out of film school. You know who I am? Google my name. I may have diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, and a venereal disease that doesn’t have a name, but I can still kick your ass. So listen to my advice grasshopper, watch your ass!”
The executive in charge of production, Jimmy Greco, saw what was happening and rushed out of his office. He waddled his fat, Jerry Stiller-lookin ass right up to my face. “You can’t touch the screenwriter!” he screamed. “That’s against WGA rules!”
He then straightened out Dallas’ jacket and ran a hand through his hair. Afterwards, he pointed his finger at me. “Listen here buster,” Jimmy said, “if you pull a stunt like that again, I’ll have your ass!”
“Oh you want my ass?” I replied. I dropped my pants. “You want my cock too?” I turned around and started twirling my penis.
“You’re a fool,” Jimmy said.
“I’M the fool? The only fool here is that idiot screenwriter!”
Jimmy escorted Dallas away. The cast and crew stood around gawking.
“Everyone back to work!” I yelled and pulled up my pants.
I took out a cigarette and walked up to Pablo. “Take it easy, James,” he said.
I lit up the cigarette. “How did the contract negotiations go?” I asked.
“Great!” Pablo replied. “You’ll be pleased to know that you’ll move up the billionaire’s list.”
“I’m a billionaire?”
“James, you’re one of the richest men in the world. You have real estate holdings all across the globe. You even own the deed to the Kremlin for fuck’s sake!”
“Isn’t that a bar in Tallahassee?”
I was having brunch with Brett Ratner when Kat slapped down a newspaper. The article read “NOTORIOUS FILM DIRECTOR EXPOSES PENIS…AND ASS…TO CAST AND CREW.”
I looked up to Kat and she began speaking in a monotonous, scripted voice. “The board wanted me to tell you that if you do that again, they will remove you from the project. Please be more considerate of the crew,” she said.
She never made eye contact.
“Kat,” I replied, “as you know, I run my sets a little differently. Besides, per our agreement, I was allowed to change the script so that the entire jury would be nude throughout production. Bare cock will be all over the set. What difference does one more make?”
“This is the position of the board and the production team,” she said, still refusing to make eye contact.
I shrugged. “Very well, will that be all?”
“That is all,” Kat replied and began walking away. Then she stopped. “There is one other thing…”
She turned around and looked me in the eye.
“We are already running over budget,” she continued. “We are having trouble securing funds from the European market. Would you be considerate enough to loan $900,000,000 to help cover pre-production costs?”
I thought for a moment.
“Sure I’d be happy to give you nearly a billion dollars,” I said. “But in return, I want to make more changes to the script.”
TO BE CONTINUED
“Get the fuck out of my house,” I told Pablo.
“At least read the script!” he replied.
“Pablo, I have everything I want. I’m happily married to a Vietnamese hooker I met in Van Nuys. I’ve got a son and a house in the hills. I’ve got more money than god thanks to This Taste Like Ass. I’m done with Hollywood. Fuck Kathleen, fuck the studios. I’m retired.”
Pablo shook his head and looked down at his beer. “You know what they say about you?” he asked. “They say you’re a one-hit wonder. That you got lucky with This Tastes Like Ass, and lightening doesn’t strike twice.”
“And they’re right!” I replied.
“I can’t believe I’m hearing this,” Pablo said. “I remember when I first read your script years ago. I said ‘this guy is going places’ and I thought it was a privilege to represent you.”
He stood up and looked at my three Oscars mounted proudly behind a glass case. “When we first met, you told me that the worst fate someone could have in this town is to have a career like Michael Cimino,” Pablo continued. Then he turned around and looked me in the eye. “Do what Cimino couldn’t do. Prove Hollywood wrong: make another great film.”
I looked away. “Like I said: I’m retired,” I replied.
Pablo stood up straight and laid the script down on the coffee table. “I’ll leave this here with you,” he said then showed himself out the door.
I picked up the script.
“Like a Fart in a Windstorm by Dallas Austin Antonio,” it read.
Later that night, my son put on a film streaming on Amazonian Prime. I don’t remember what it was called. “Big Gay Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” or something. I was too drunk to care.
But my blood began to boil during the sex scenes. The action was not much better. Finally I had enough and in a drunken rage, I slammed my foot into the TV.
“What the fuck is this shit?!” I yelled.
“Dad you’re drunk! Go to bed!” my son, Slick Rick, said.
“Fuck you asshole! My creativity built this house! I own Hollywood! Back in my day, we showed rock hard cock, full frontal nudity, and absurdly graphic violence! Not this pussy shit! No tits, no penis? Why is there a plot? We never cared about that crap! What happened to kids these days!?Hollywood just ain’t the same anymore Slick Rick, I’m tellin ya.”
“Dad, you need to get a hobby,” he replied.
I sat down next to Rick and patted him on the knee. “You’re a good son,” I said. “Now go help your mother.”
I then wrapped my bottle of Evan Williams in a paper bag and began wondering the streets Laurel Canyon.
The next morning, when I woke up in my neighbor’s backyard, I began to ponder Pablo’s words. I took out my cellphone and called him up.
“James, where the hell have you been?” he said. “Your wife’s been frantically calling me, wondering if I knew where you were!”
“Nevermind that,” I replied. “Get me a meeting with Kathleen Kennedy (not THAT Kathleen Kennedy, the other one).”
“So you read the script?” Pablo asked.
“Yes, I took your advice. We’re back in business.”
TO BE CONTINUED
On the Mount Rushmore of cokeheads, Paul Schrader is between Dennis Hopper and Phil Specter (along with Stevie Nicks of course). Which is why I was excited to see Light Sleeper available to watch on Amazon Prime.
It’s definitely not a perfect film. Willem Dafoe plays an aging drug delivery boy employed by Susan Sarandon who runs into an ex flame which leads him to shoot up a hotel room (we’ve all been there). It’s a movie that should have been fleshed out more. The climax (the shooting up of a hotel room) didn’t quite pay off, and the sudden romantic interest between Sarandon and Dafoe in the end was odd, but there’s a lot of other things going for the film.
The sanitation strike, which played in the background and was often juxtaposed against the high class NYC lifestyle, was a nice touch. But the desperation of Dafoe’s character is absolutely heartbreaking.
I get what that’s about.
Dafoe is aimless. He wanted to be an actor, model, musician, and writer. His best years were spent strung out on drugs. Now he’s 40 and lacks focus.
Subtlety, Sarandon is in a similar position. She plays the boss but she knows the gravy train is about to leave the station. She thinks she’s some NYC hotshot, but by looking at her shitty apartment, she’s probably on the outside looking in.
Now that I type that out, suddenly Dafoe and Sarandon’s abrupt romantic interest becomes apparent: they’re both losers and now they have to settle for each other.
The soundtrack is incredible, for both good and bad reasons. The music itself is great. Where it goes off the rails is the damn singing. The visuals are powerful enough that you don’t need to be told how Dafoe’s character is feeling. Anybody could have written those lyrics. For example (in the style mimicking Bruce Springsteen):
I am walking down the street at night
I run into my ex girlfriend
We get into a little fight
I feel so sad that I just might
Stalk her at her mom’s funeral
Then she gets sad as well
Then we reconnect and start to kiss
She complements my erection
Then she tells me that she’s sopping wet
So we fuck all night then tells me to leave
Then I find out she’s back on drugs
Then she jumps out a window to her death
So I buy a gun from Puerto Rican man
Then I ride in limo with Susan Sarandon
Then I shoot up a hotel room
(Lyrics by Michael Been)
Despite all of that, this is a nice forgotten gem from the mind of Paul Schrader.
White Collar inspired me to come up with my own totally non-offensive crime procedural.
So Hollywood, if you’re reading, I present to you Fisher: Miami Cop, starring Rob Gronkowski as the Hawaiian shirt wearing, vaguely racist homicide detective with a penchant for hard drinking and always shooting first.
After coming off his suspension for domestic abuse and vehicular manslaughter, Fisher is given a partner: the saucy Latina Arianda Morales.
“But Chief,” Fisher says, “I don’t work with the Cubans OR the Chinese.”
But he quickly changes his mind when he sees that she’s hot.
Fisher and Morales come to a greater understanding of each other and their cultural differences. Every episode ends in playful banter, culminating in Fisher’s famous catchphrase: “get off my ass, bitch!”
Fisher: Miami Cop coming to CBS.
Charles Jackson was an author that kinda got lost in the shuffle of 20th century alcoholic writers.
His life was tragic. Naturally.
Jackson appeared to have lived a mostly closeted life. He suffered from tuberculosis, losing a lung, which led to alcohol and substance abuse. He died of apparent suicide in 1968.
Blake Bailey wrote a biography of Jackson titles Farther and Wilder: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson. Unlike every other book I talk about here, I might actually read that one.
The Lost Weekend is Jackson’s most famous work. Billy Wilder adapted it into a film in 1945. While the book was successful upon its release, it is now largely forgotten in the American canon.
The second chapter of the The Lost Weekend is probably the most harrowing description of being an alcoholic ever written. And while I thought the book was fantastic as a whole, I actually found Jackson’s second novel The Fall of Valor to be much more engrossing.
And unfortunately it’s been totally forgotten.
The Fall of Valor is about a man vacationing with his wife in Nantucket who suddenly becomes obsessed with a recently married Marine captain on leave from World War II. The blatant homosexual overtones were ahead of their time upon its release in 1946, but the novel is powerful in its exploration on the dissolution of relationships and masculinity.
Jackson’s style can get a little long winded at times, which bogged down The Lost Weekend at certain points. But it pays off in second novel. Jackson was an astute observer of human nature. He’s seen the dark side and knows what people are thinking even when they aren’t aware of it themselves. All of this comes together in a heartbreaking conclusion for The Fall of Valor.
Anywho, no jokes. That’s all I got.
It must be difficult being the greatest living actor.
From the time he recited the alphabet in Vampire’s Kiss, the world would never be the same.
Sure Nicholas Cage smashed box office records, won Academy Awards, and had sex with Patricia Arquette, but there was one thing he could never land: the role of Kal-El, aka Superman, in Tim Burton’s Superman Lives.
It’s a loss from which the world will never recover.
So our national treasure had to wonder the earth, forced to take whatever role was handed to him. But there was a gap in his soul the size of $6.5 million worth of unpaid back taxes.
But in his mind, he remains the invincible hero we all know him to be—thanks in part to prolonged cocaine use.
Nicholas Cage: The Movie.
A film by Nicholas Cage