the “2-film” rule

So I was listening to some podcast while huffing glue and the two hosts introduced an interesting concept: if a film director makes two unquestionably great movies, then they belong in the canon of great directors.

It seemed like a sound enough argument. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a hundred more times: it is extraordinarily difficult to make ONE good film. If a filmmaker can make one good movie, then replicate that impact in a subsequent film, then it’s obvious that the director knows what he/she is doing.

But the more you think about it, you come across some problems: specifically what it means to be “great”, or even a “Director”. Because if this criterion were true, then we find that a few questionable directors would belong in this canon.

Some examples:

Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Stop Making Sense)

John McTiernan (Predator, Die Hard, Hunt For Red October)

George Lucas (Star Wars, American Graffiti, THX-1138)

Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator)

Robert Aldrich (Kiss Me Deadly, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, The Dirty Dozen)

William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist, Sorcerer)

Etc, etc, etc

While there are a bunch of notable films on those director’s resumes, would any of those directors be considered “great”? (IMHO, I would say “yes” for Friedkin, Aldrich, and McTiernan. “No” for the others.)

A “three film” criteria would fix this: Ford, Hitchcock, Wilder, Lean, Kubrick, Kurosawa, Coppola, Scorsese, Tarantino, and Spielberg would easily hurdle this barrier. But what about directors that made ONE unquestionably great film?

The Deer Hunter is arguably the greatest film ever made. And it was the only great movie that Michael Cimino directed.

But here’s another example: Orson Welles.

Citizen Kane IS unquestionably the greatest movie ever made. Now name another movie he made that had a similar impact? The Magnificent Ambersons? Touch of Evil? The Lady From Shanghai? Sure, they were good to VERY good. But were they Citizen Kane…or even Deer Hunter…great? Yet every cinephile would undoubtedly place Welles as one of the greats in film history.

And what about the niche directors…David Lynch, Paul Verhoeven, John Carpenter, Sergio Leone, and even Paul Schrader, etc etc? I’d argue that it’s these directors that have the greatest influence on younger audiences.

What about the directors that aren’t auteurs? Some operate more as “CEOs” in their craft. George Lucas is one of these guys. Ridley Scott is too (and Spielberg to some extent). My personal fav is John Sturges, who directed such bangers like The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Bad Day at Black Rock (a forgotten classic).

So I don’t know, the “two film” rule doesn’t seem to work (neither does the idea of a “canon”). It’s all too subjective.

As a side not, I didn’t mention very many European directors or auteurs of other nations. That’s obviously my American bias. Like it or not, cinema is the one (and only) contribution that the US has uniquely made to the arts. Nevertheless, these filmmakers deserve a shoutout. The Japanese, Korean, and Italian directors have a distinctiveness that I greatly appreciate and I regret not mentioning more of them. The Mexican film industry is criminally underrated. British directors, at least with their mainstream work, mimic their American counterparts. Tarkovsky, Costa-Garves, Wim Wenders Fellini, Herzog, and Pasolini are all incredible as well.

But the French New Wave sucked.

Assthetics

When it comes to the Star Trek vs Star Wars debate, I stand firmly on the Star Trek side (the Gene Roddenberry/Rick Berman era. Not the JJ Abrams/Alex Kurtzman era). I prefer my science fiction to be a bit more grounded. Star Wars, to me, is more Sci-fi/Fantasy.

The success rate of Star Wars, in terms of quality per production, is well below 50% (Star Trek hovers at around 50%). If you think about it, there are really only TWO really good Star Wars films: Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. The Mandalorian is alright, but it’s a bit too predictable. Nevertheless, I can appreciate George Lucas’ creation. Despite some of the terrible storytelling, when historians reflect on the artful impact of cinema, Star Wars will be to film what William Shakespeare was to the English language or Plato to philosophy.

Star Wars is so ubiquitous in modern culture that people don’t stop to appreciate how it really was a game changer. Watch a Hollywood film before 1977 and watch one after. You’ll see that film and pop culture entertainment was forever changed by it.

To be honest, I don’t think George Lucas’ screenplay (or direction) was that revolutionary. The revolutionary aspect was the production design, music, special effects, and editing (although I’d argue that the James Bond films were far more revolutionary in film editing). In this respect, Lucas was more of a CEO overseeing various departments in creating a lived-in universe. For Star Wars, the stories were always secondary. What grabbed everyone’s attention was the myths and scope: it was like watching an ancient epic being played out on the big screen in a way that films before weren’t able to capture.

So I don’t think that devout fans enjoy Star Wars because of their incredible stories and performances (unless they’re watching because of Harrison Ford). It’s purely an aesthetic experience. Make a Star Wars movie without storm troopers, Star Destroyers, light sabers, Boba Fetts, Jedis, Death Stars, etc. then you probably wouldn’t have a Star Wars movie.

You could make the argument that you can’t make a Star Trek movie/TV show without Starfleet. But fans of Trek have shown to be more open to bending its internal rules to further explore its universe.

But I don’t know dude, you like what you like.

But you know who my favorite Star Wars character is?

Admiral Piett

I hope he gets his own spin-off.

faith based (2020)

So I was watching Spalding Gray’s Terrors of Pleasure when I thought “I’d probably enjoy this if I was sober.” So then I searched for something on Amazon Prime.

I came across a comedy called Faith Based, about two buddies that try to make a Christian film. It had all the ingredients to make a good film, or at least a movie that I’d enjoy. But it serves as a good reminder of how difficult it is to make a good motion picture.

It’s a story that I’d otherwise enjoy: about mediocre, yet good natured, talent trying to break into the big leagues by making a movie to help save their father’s church. Naturally, they discover the business is populated by cynical assholes.

Some of the jokes land. When the lead characters explain that “no one wants to see a movie where they don’t recognize anybody” and the camera lingers on the two actors you don’t recognize, I chuckled a bit. The film could have used a bit more of that self-awareness.

But I really am like my lead character in A Shot at the Title: I rarely watch a movie that I don’t want to completely rewrite and redirect. I think the film could have been salvaged by jettisoning all the Office inspired interviews and extending the length. The movie couldn’t have been made for very much money, but the production quality is pretty good. Maybe lingering on some of the shots would have extended its impact.

Of course, it’s not my movie, but if I were making it, as the lead characters go through their trials and tribulations, I would have played with audience by getting the movie as close to a shitty Christian film as one could possibly go before pulling the rug out from under them. That would have accentuated one of the film’s themes: that all of our hopes and dreams are actually just a scheme to make some asshole more money.

But if you’re interested, despite its subject matter, it’s not an anti-Christian or anti-religious movie. At its heart, it’s a film about family, community, and belonging. Nothing we haven’t seen a hundred times before.

Anyways, now I’m sober. Back to Spalding Gray.

“Layer Cake”: Britain’s finest hour

Before his James Bond got blown to shit on some rooftop on a Japanese island in No Time To Die (sPoIlEr AlErT!), Daniel Craig was in what is perhaps the greatest British film ever made: Layer Cake.

While every actor (except Tom Hardy) acts their ass off and every line of dialogue is an absolute banger, the film is perhaps best known as a turning point in film history: introducing the world to Daniel Craig’s god-like body.

Daniel Craig was blessed with being able to make whatever he’s wearing look like it was tailored specifically for him. He spends much of the film wearing the same plain gray raglan t-shirt with Levi’s…an outfit that probably costs $50 total, but it looks like he’s modeling Brioni.

I couldn’t pull off that look. I tried.

Another thing Craig succeeds at is showing his “sex” gaze:

Sorry, this is the best screenshot I could find.

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m happily married now because I mastered that gaze. Now personally, I like to use the Sean Connery method of tilting my head forward, arching an eyebrow, and smiling with my eyes. But every man has to master the “sex” gaze, to knock em dead with one look, if they want to be successful with the ladies (or the fellas).

That haircut is pretty good too. It’s definitely a 60’s style throwback, echoing the aforementioned Sean Connery and his toupee during his James Bond tenure. Unfortunately I’m a balding man, have been since I was 13, so I was never able to pull off that style. But because I’m balding, I’m sort of an expert at spotting hair plugs. And Craig, in my humble opinion, probably has hair plugs. That being said, I’d pay good money to find out who his specialist is.

Another thing on Craig’s style is that pimpin purplish/maroon jacket he wears to start the film:

I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: no man has ever looked as good on film as Daniel Craig did in Layer Cake.

“We get it, you’re in love with Daniel Craig. But what about the film?”

Oh yeah, the film’s good too.

another shot @ the title (part vi)

“This proceeding has been a disgrace to the Los Angeles Superior Court, to the State of California, and to the justice system as a whole,” the judge ruled. “I have no choice but to rule in favor of the plaintiff. James ACHOO 🤧…excuse me, I sneezed…will get full credit for directing AND writing Like A Fart in the Wind. But do not count this as a victory James. With your reputation for belittling and suppressing governments and various newspapers around the globe, I deem you to be a menace to society. Unfortunately, this is a civil case and not a criminal one. But I have seen the final cut of this film. I am doing Dallas Howard Austin Antonio and Pee-Wee Weepee a favor for not giving them credit for this picture. I can’t think of anything worse than giving you, James, sole credit for this disaster.”

“Thank you for your ruling,” I said to the Judge. “But with all due respect, I believe you to be a bitch that wouldn’t know art if it bit her in the cunt. I believe this picture to be my finest work….far exceeding This Tastes Like Ass. Court stenographer, take note: Like a Fart in the Wind will be the greatest motion picture ever made. Thank you and good day.”

I walked outside the courtroom where Pablo greeted me with a cigar and bottle of brandy. “You were brilliant,” Pablo said. “With the attention that the case brought to the project, this movie is on pace for being the highest grossing film ever made.”

“Any publicity is good publicity,” I replied.

I lit up the cigar. “You know Pablo,” I continued, “I just want to thank you for bringing me back into the game. If I went on with retirement, I would have been dead in a year. Now I feel more alive than ever.”

Pablo cracked open the brandy and we began drinking at the courthouse. “James, you’re a rare talent,” he said. “After this film succeeds at the box office, I have the feeling that this will be the beginning of a beautiful partnership.”

We both patted each other on the back and shared a few laughs as we walked down the courthouse steps and into the beautiful California sunset.

****

From the Idaho Statesman

He Will Never Work in This Town Again“ says Steven Spielberg

By Dick Shaftsburg

“Hollywood is in a panic over the abysmal opening weekend of Like A Fart in a Windstorm. It grossed $1,500 against a $10 Billion budget.

Produced by Kathleen Kennedy of Trainwreck Productions, and directed by (name redacted due to ongoing legal disputes between the individual and the Idaho Statement. Henceforth, he will be referred to as the “Director”), the project was fraught with problems from the beginning…from various court cases to the death of its leading actor, Christian Bale.

Critics panned Like a Fart in a Windstorm from the beginning. Leonard Maltin stated that, “I’d rather have tweezers shoved up my pee hole than watch this shit again. Christian Bale deserved better.” Even Roger Ebert came back from the dead to ask, “Who was the leading character? Was it Christian Bale? Or was it his disgusting ass cheeks?”

After her firing from Trainwreck Productions, Kathleen Kennedy has become the first woman to have been exiled from the United States to Saskatchewan, Canada, often called the “hairy taint of North America.”

Meanwhile, the Director has gone missing. Given his obscene wealth, he’s likely in Namibia where Prime Minister Wesley Snipes has named him Finance and Defense Minister, as well as Attorney General.

Given the poor box office performance of Like a Fart in the Wind, it is unlikely the Director will return to Hollywood. In addition to his professional troubles, he is also under investigation by the EU, UN, and FBI for allegations regarding human trafficking, racketeering, and bribery of numerous foreign governments.

“If I had known that I was going to be in the same profession as him (the Director),” explained acclaimed Hollywood legend David Lynch, “I would have prostituted my asshole years ago.”

“He’s a disgrace,” said Martin Scorsese. “Just a total disaster, just like Shutter Island.”

THE END

another Shot at the Title (part v)

After Christian (Bale’s) funeral, I began lamenting some of my decisions at the production studio. “Maybe I shouldn’t have asked him to gain 150lbs,” I said.

“You’re one arrogant son of a bitch,” Jeffery Greco said.

“Don’t blame me for his death!” I replied. “Chris could’ve turned down the role!”

Kat was two sheets in the wind when she spoke up. “I’m finished in this town,” she said. “Because of you, I’ll never work again.”

“Lay off the sauce, Kat,” I said. “Now pour me a drink.”

“There’s no way we can release the film now,” Kat continued. “$7 billion down the toilet!”

“Now calm down!” I interrupted. “We’ll just have to do some reshoots. I’ll step in for Chris’s role. I’m an Academy Award-winning actor too, ya know?”

“Hold on there bucko,” Greco said. “There ain’t no way the studio will let you back on the set. Not after the lawsuit with Dallas and killing your leading man. That’s to say nothing about the numerous investigations into your international holdings!”

“If the film’s gonna be completed,” Kat said, “then your assistant, Pee-Wee, will finish production.”

“Well that Machiavellian son of a bitch,” I said. “I knew he had an ulterior motive.”

“Since we are 90% finished with filming, we’ll use CGI to complete Chris’s scenes,” explained Kat. “That will considerably jack up the budget, but we have no other choice.”

“Then I guess I’m fired,” I said as I stood up. “But I still want full credit for directing this picture.”

“Not happening,” Kat replied.

“Kat, you’ve crossed me for the last time,” I said. “I’m going to the Director’s Guild. If you want a court battle, you’ve got one sister!”

TO BE CONTINUED

Christian Bale (1974-2021) 😞

another shot at the Title (part iv)

“Are you sure you don’t want to do another take?” Christian (Bale) asked.

“Nope, one is enough,” I said.

Jimmy Del Greco spoke up. “Chris is right,” he said. “You need to do more takes. At the rate we’re going to be seven months ahead of schedule.”

“Hey Jimmy,” I replied, “the donuts are over there. Why don’t you manage the crew while I handle the directing, okay?”

“Do another fucking take,” Kat interrupted. “We’re already $3 billion over budget. We built sets, you rewrote the script, tore the sets down, and now we’re in Bidwell Park with a one-man cast, no sets , and a minimal crew. We could’ve shot this thing for $1 million! Let’s get our money’s worth out of this thing!”

“Kat,” I replied, “you’re the money person, I’m the artist. I know what I’m doing, mmmk? Trust the process.”

Pee-Wee the Production Assistant came running up to me. “Dallas San Antonio Houston is here to see you sir,” he said.

“Thank you Pee-Wee. You’re the only one that listens around here.”

I excused myself to the production trailer. Dallas was pacing back and forth. “What the hell is going on?” he asked.

“Relax Dallas,” I said. “Take a seat.”

I offered him a glass of brandy, which he declined. I drank both glasses myself.

Dallas was livid. “Why is a 350lb Christian Bale running around naked in Bidwell Park?” he asked. “This was supposed to be a courtroom drama. My magnum opus! You completely re-wrote the script!”

“So I took some creative liberties with the script,” I replied. “I might’ve changed it from a courtroom drama into a man-against-nature story a la The Naked Prey. But ask yourself this: what’s the difference between a story about truth and justice and a story about one man’s survival in the woods while his cock flops around? They’re the same thing thematically! It’s still your script.”

“I think you’re trying to abuse the system for your own gain.”

“Dallas, I have more money than I know what to do with. I own governments that I didn’t even know about. Did you know that the EU is investigating me for extorting the Russian government? Can you believe that shit? So what’s $2.5 billion to me?”

“I’ll go to the Guild about this.”

“Listen to me. You don’t want to do that. If you do, that will delay the release and a lot of people’s money and careers are dependent on the success of this film. I’ll tell you what, I’ll cut you a check for $500,000,000 right here. Or how about Trinidad and Tobago? I’m not offering you a trip there, I’m offering you the country of Trinidad and Tobago.”

“You’re disgusting. You think you can bribe me out of this?”

“Yes”

Before Dallas could respond, Pee-Wee ran into the trailer. “Christian (Bale) collapsed!” he yelled. “Call an ambulance!”

another shot at the title (part iiI)

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

Another shot at the title (part ii)

Pablo and I made the journey to Trainwreck Studios in Burbank. What a god-forsaken place. I swore to myself that I would never return.

“We’re here to see Kathleen Kennedy,” Pablo told the receptionist.

“And you are?”

“I’m Pablo Dunbar, the agent of James…”

The receptionist’s eyes widened when she saw my face. “You mean, James…”

“Yes, THAT James,” I interjected. “Tell Kat we’re here so that we can get this over with.”

“I thought you were retired…” she began to say as she stumbled through her words. “Anyway, she’s waiting for you. Fourth floor. The only way up there is through the air ducts. Elevator’s broken.”

So we climbed up the ducts into Kathleen’s office. “Damn it Kat,” I said, “when are you going to get that fucking elevator fixed?”

She turned around and was wearing sunglasses. She appeared to be somber over something.

“Hello James,” she said.

“Hello Kat.”

“Can I offer you gentlemen a glass of scotch?”

“I’ll take the bottle please.”

Kat sat down behind her desk and began to shuffle through some paperwork. Pablo and I plopped down in the leather chairs.

“So, what did you think of Antonio’s script?” she asked.

“To be honest Kat,” I said, “it needs some work. Too much talk. Film is a visual medium. ‘Show, don’t tell’ as they say. If I can do a second draft and clean up the dialogue…”

“James,” Kat interrupted, “Fart in a Windstorm is a court drama, there’s going to be a lot of dialogue. Besides, I already promised Antonio that he would get final say in the script.”

“Fine, whatever. But I need to put my stamp on it if this is going to be a film by James…”

“Look, I get what you’re saying,” Kat said. “But in agreement with the writer’s guild, he must get sole screenwriting credit. That’s going to put a limit on what you can do.”

I just stared at her.

“You don’t want to relinquish creative control to me,” I said. Out of my periphery, I could see Pablo getting uncomfortable.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Kat replied, “the studio is willing to put $1.5 billion into this project ONLY if YOU are signed on to direct. Once when this meeting is made public, Hollywood will be in a tizzy over the return of its most famous director.”

“Kat, you know I can’t make a small scale courtroom drama for anything less than $2 billion.”

She learned forward on her desk as she began rubbing her temples. She appeared as though she was about to be sick. I took a big gulp from the bottle of scotch.

“What’s with the sunglasses?” I asked her. “Did you have eye surgery? Did your husband beat you?”

Kat removed the glasses, revealing her puffy red eyes and makeup smeared from crying.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” I said.

“We haven’t had a hit since This Taste Like Ass,” she said as tears rolled down her face. “The board wants me out. I’ve become the laughingstock of this town.”

“It’s no fun when the rabbit has the gun, eh?”

“James,” Pablo said. “Mrs. Kennedy, James and I are both in agreement that this script is doable. Sure, there are problems that need ironing out, but we are committed to making this work. Right James?”

I just shrugged.

“Really?” Kat said.

“Absolutely, the gang’s back together. Let’s have a drink on it!”

We all stood up and Pablo forced a group hug. Kat’s spirits seemed to have been lifted slightly.

As we were climbing back down the air ducts, I grabbed Pablo by the ankle. “You better not fuck me out of this contract like you did last time!” I told him.

TO BE CONTINUED

Another shot at the title (part I)

“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