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Let Love Follow You Home (Treatment for a short film that will never be made)

13 Jan

Fade In:

 

EXT. Someone’s Backyard- Evening

 

There is a wedding in the backyard. Seated in the audience are various stuffed animals, and a homeless man drinking booze out of a paper bag.

“Here comes the bride” plays in the background. Waiting nervously at a podium is the groom DAVID, a nondescript brown man with beard stubble and an untucked shirt. His brow is sweaty and every 3 seconds he looks to sky in a nervous, furtive manner. He coughs and fidgets as the officiator, a tall gaunt Irishman is standing next to him trying to calm him down.

“Here Comes the Bride” abruptly changes to the “Imperial Death March” from Star Wars. The father of the bride, a tall burly white man, marches down the aisle in full military attire. He is dressed as a general from the Death Star Fleet. He leads the bride–whose face is covered—down the aisle as the music stops. David lifts her veil to discover it’s Darth Vader– breathing heavily. A light saber suddenly appears in her hand and she strikes down the officiator, knocking him and his clipboard to the ground.

The bride destroys the stuffed animal audience members in a tizzy; knocking over chairs in the process. Groom and homeless man look on in silence, horror, and awe. The light saber disappears and the bride walks up to groom. Both stare at each other; breathing heavily in silence. The bride pulls off her Vader mask, revealing her face. They start making out heavily. The homeless man puts down the 40 oz.  and gives a standing applause.
Dissolve to:

 

INT. Bedroom-dawn

 

David wakes up in his own bed sweating and breathing heavily. He looks at his alarm clock then turns his body to face a sleeping woman. He turns his eyes to the ceiling, slowly closes his eyes and takes a deep breath.

 

Fade Out

 

 

INT. Coffee Shop- Daytime

 

David sits in a coffee shop with an older dark gentleman—probably of Peruvian descent. The gentleman is well manicured with a fresh haircut. He is dressed in a suit and tie. David is dressed in torn jeans and a ratty t-shirt and an old pair of converse. They are playing chess at the table, drinking coffee and eating pastries. David eyes the board before he makes a move. He pushes a pawn forward.
GENTLEMAN
David how’s the story coming?

DAVID

It isn’t.

GENTLEMAN

What do you mean? (moves a piece) Isn’t it due in a couple of weeks?

DAVID

Yeah. I still can’t get past the first scene.

GENTLEMAN

Writer’s block?

DAVID

You can call it that. (Runs his hand through his hair while he looks at the board) Fuck!! I dunno…… It is harder than it looks to write a love story that doesn’t turn out sappy and predictable.

 

A light flickers off then on again then off. They are now playing in candlelight.

GENTLEMAN

(sits thoughtfully for a few seconds) Does this have to do with you never being in a relationship for longer than a few months?
DAVID

(laughs) I dunno man. I’d say the thing with Kathryn was real. I dated her for almost a year.

GENTLEMAN

You two broke up once a week if I recall correctly. And you were miserable.

David stares at the board for a few minutes while man moves piece on the board. Lights to coffee shop come back on. Candles disappear.

DAVID

(smiling wistfully) You might be right. Maybe I just want to create this perfect scenario to offset my misadventures in dating.

GENTLEMAN

(smiling) I’m glad you were the one to say that.

They exchange moves as Opera music is playing softly in the background.

GENTLEMAN

Check.

DAVID

Fuck!

Candles go out.

Dissolves to:

INT-Café-daytime

 

Dave and the gentleman play chess while a ballet class is held just a few feet away from their table. being held in the coffee shop. Dancers are stretching against the backs of their chairs and against the table. The teacher is shouting out instructions to the class, but everything comes out sounding like German.

GENTLEMAN

How’s our little story coming?

DAVID

I figured you would ask. (Pauses) It’s a mess. It’s a fucking mess. It’s cheesy. It’s predictable. It’s trite. I’m a hack. I’m washed up at the ripe old age of 22. I should just quit school and get a job at Wendy’s. My degree is worthless. (Moves a piece then winces while gentleman takes one of his pieces)

GENTLEMAN

(laughs) A bit melodramatic don’t you think? What’s really bothering you David? (takes hard look at Dave) You irritated about sleeping with Rena the other night?

DAVID

(incredulously) How did you know about that? I didn’t tell anyone that happened.

GENTLEMAN

(Smiling): You tell on yourself bub… She has a boyfriend, that she lives with, doesn’t she?

DAVID

Yeahhhhhhhh……I’m a moron. I ran into her at the bar and we were talking, laughing, and getting along. She had some pot on her and we went to my house to smoke some of it. We were listening to records and it got late, and she was getting ready to leave and we hugged……..(shrugging) yadda yadda yadda I made her waffles for breakfast.

DAVID

It just happened man what can I say?

A dancer comes from behind him and puts her hands over his eyes. Dave doesn’t seem to notice. Old man moves two pieces. Dancer flutters away.

GENTLEMAN

You going to try and get back together with her?

DAVID

(Looking down at the board confused) And how would that work out?

GENTLEMAN

I’m going to give you some free advice David. Two crazy people should never ever date. This is how people get hot grits poured on them while they are taking a shower. Someone usually ends up dead or in jail. The odds are against you son.

DAVID

(moves his piece) I know. You’re right. But the sex is pretty good. Why do you think we stayed together so long?

GENTLEMAN

If I remember correctly, you said she was dull, boring, and a little psycho.

DAVID

Not in the sack.

GENTLEMAN

Someone once told me that psychotic and sexual are usually next-door neighbors. Besides you said she was stupid.

DAVID

But she’s been reading the books I gave her and listening to the CDs I gave her for her birthday. She’s not as dumb as she used to be. Besides, dumb is a relative term. Isn’t it?

GENTLEMAN

Get back with her. She’ll bore and annoy you until you break up with her. Then you’ll feel guilty and get back with her and then you’ll break up with her again. Just leave her alone man. For both of your sakes. There is a reason you broke up the first time.

DAVID

But it’s so easy with her. She already knows my fucked-up quirks and still she loves me. That counts for something right? I don’t have to go through all that “getting to know you shit” again. I can just be. I’m too lazy to start all over again.

GENTLEMAN

Ahhhh. This is a benefit concert and not a reunion tour?

DAVID

Exactly.

The Instructor shouts out instructions as the class begins. Rommstein starts playing ever so softly in the background.

GENTLEMAN

Think of it this way David. Sex with the ex is comfortable. It’s like going to a city you’ve been to dozens of times. You know the high traffic spots and one-way streets and it’s easy to navigate without getting lost. But what is left for you to do once you’ve eaten at all the best restaurants and you’ve done the touristy stuff. Sure, it feels comfortable, but if you were going to settle down there it would have happened already. (Moves piece)

DAVID

I’m picking up what you’re putting down but it’s just not that easy.

Instructor’s volume gets louder as music gets louder.

GENTLEMAN

It’s not? (moves piece) Check!!!

Music becomes deafening.

Dissolves to

 

 

INT.Cafe-Evening

David and a co-ed are studying for their linguistics exam at café. She is tall and long limbed with big breasts and brown hair. They pack their books into their bags as they prepare to walk outside.

 

DAVID

Well that about covers it. I think we’ll both do fine on that exam tomorrow. Time to go      home and blow off some steam.

COED

Oh yeah? What do you normally do to blow off steam? I usually go to 80’s night at the Groovy Mule on Thursdays, but other than that I don’t get out much.

DAVID

I usually smoke weed and listen to records on my turntable. But I could be talked into doing something else.

COED

(eyelids perk up) You have weed?

DAVID

(Smiling) And a turntable. Want to come over and get high and listen to some P-Funk?

COED

I think I would David.

Dissolve to:

 

INT. Bedroom-Night

Dave is shirtless and lying on his back. Funky jazz is playing in the background. Woman is in bra and panties wearing workman’s goggles. She straddles his stomach. She produces an egg from her cleavage and cracks it in half, letting the yolk fall onto Dave’s chest. Then she produces an egg beater and spins the stirs on his chest, splattering it everywhere. The camera pans over to the corner of the bedroom where an actual jazz band is playing music.

Dissolve to:

 

 

INT. Bedroom-Night

David wakes up. The alarm clock reads 3 AM. The coed lies next to him; fast asleep.

 

 

INT. Cafe-Daytime

David and the Gentleman are playing chess again.

GENTLEMAN

Maybe you’d play better chess if you weren’t stressing out about your story. It’s due next week isn’t it? Why aren’t you working on it? (makes a move on the board)

DAVID

Yep. (studies his next move) Doesn’t matter I’m already fucked. I need this break though. Gives my brain time to breathe.

GENTLEMAN

Speaking of much needed breaks. How did your date go?

DAVID

It was nice. Sarah is fun. Intelligent, beautiful, and super cool.

GENTLEMAN

Then why do you look so unhappy?

DAVID

I’m not. She’s fabulous. She’s just a little too fabulous. She’ll find out how warped I am and not want to see me anymore. I’m afraid she might be a little too nice if you know what I mean.

GENTLEMAN

You don’t have to pee on every chick you meet.
DAVID

(laughs) No what I mean to say is that eventually she’ll get tired of my jokes, and I won’t be as entertaining after a while. She’ll get bored. I can tell. I already feel like I’m a Cutco salesman trying to sell her on all the reasons why she should sleep with me.

GENTLEMAN

Aha!! (moves piece)

DAVID

(looking exasperated) Don’t tell me you have checkmate.

GENTLEMAN

No. Not yet……..but I think  I have you figured out. You’re intimidated by her.

DAVID

Yes……. No….. Maybe….probably so.

GENTLEMAN

You’ve found someone who can match your intellect and it scares you. You can’t manipulate her with your mind games. You’re worried that she’ll see through your shit, and she might actually get to know you and not like you….or worse…she’ll get to know you and still like you.

DAVID

(stares ahead silently)

GENTLEMAN

If you aren’t careful, you just might have a relationship on your hands.

DAVID

What makes you think I don’t want one?

GENTLEMAN

What makes you think you do?

DAVID

(Rolls eyes) This motherfucker thinks he is Carl Jung.

GENTLEMAN

Why do you date girls who have all this emotional baggage David, or tolerate girls who don’t quite measure up in intellect? It’s not just for sex. You and I both know that the juice ain’t worth the squeeze with half these young ladies. You ever wonder if maybe you just want someone to kiss your ass?

DAVID

(Moves piece and sighs) I quit dating Kathryn cuz she was too ditzy, and Rena was overwhelming. Both were high maintenance in their own ways. Can we just play chess for a while please?

They look at each other. The gentleman shrugs and then studies the board

GENTLEMAN

(smiles and looks up from board. Moves piece.) Checkmate.
Dissolves to:

INT- Dark Basement
David is tied to a chair with a gag in his mouth.
In walks tall dominatrix woman holding bubble wrap in her hand. She slaps him then removes gag from his mouth.

DOMINATRIX

Are you going to give me what I want?

DAVID

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

DOMINATRIX

Maybe. Maybe not. But we’ll see where you stand in just a minute.

She shows him the bubble wrap. Then starts popping them slowly—one at a time.

DAVID

No not the bubbles! Anything but the bubbles!!!

DOMINATRIX

You want to pop it don’t you?

DAVID

Yes! Oh God yes. Yes, you bitch. I want to pop those fucking bubbles. (He starts squirming to avert his eyes)

DOMINATRIX

I bet you’d do anything for me to let you pop it wouldn’t you?

DAVID

(Shaking head affirmatively) I would, but I don’t have it in me to do what you are asking me to do.

DOMINATRIX

(She starts popping more bubbles) Oh come on. It’d be a shame to pop all these bubbles by myself. Where is the fun in that?

DAVID

(Yelling) Please! I will do anything you want but that. Just stop popping the bubbles. For the love of God stop popping those bubbles in front of me like that! Have you no empathy?

DOMINATRIX

One word. David. Just say it.

DAVID

No! I can’t please. I’m begging you. You don’t know what you’re asking.

DOMINATRIX

Alright. You leave me with no choice. (Starts stepping on bubbles)

DAVID

(sobbing by now) Okay! Okay! I’ll do it. Just don’t pop anymore. Please. I’ll give you whatever you want.

DOMINATRIX

Give me what I want David.

He spits out ring. She picks it up and wipes it off. Pushes it onto her finger and walks out the room. David finds himself magically unbound and he tears into the packing bubbles; rolling around in it, and popping the bubbles in a loving caress.

Dissolves to:

 

 

 

 

INT. Café-Daytime

 

David and the Gentleman play chess at a table.

 

GENTLEMAN

So how was coffee with Kathryn? Did you find it…..healing?

 

DAVID

Not particularly. Wasn’t sure if I needed to throw up or cry. When she told me she was seeing someone else it felt like she’d kicked me in the balls.

 

GENTLEMAN

Well what did you expect?

DAVID

Closure I guess. It seemed very apropos to meet up at the same coffee shop we’d had our first date, but things went south from the moment we’d sat down together.

 

GENTLEMAN

Like how?

DAVID

She’s become so….cold. It felt like it was back to square one again—as if we’d never known each other.

 

GENTLEMAN

 

Let’s be honest for a second. It’s not like you were going to marry her, and that is what she wants…..from someone.

DAVID

Even if she wasn’t right for me, it doesn’t change how I feel about her. What hurts the most was how cold she was about the whole thing. You know what she said? She said “Yea we had us some good times, but I’m much happier now.

 

GENTLEMAN

(winces) Yea brother. Cold blooded. So what now? You gonna give it another go with Rena?

DAVID

Nah. I need some time off from the ladies. My creative writing project is a week late and I need to use what little brain I have left on that.

GENTLEMAN

That’s good David. You should do that. And Kathryn, think you’ll talk to her again?

 

DAVID

Eh. I’m sure I’ll see her around, but I don’t need to expose myself to that again. That just made it easier to let go.

GENTLEMAN

Hey I’m proud of you. I’d hug you but for some reason I can’t seem to stand up.

 

DAVID

Yea me neither. For some reason my legs feel like they are strapped to my chair.

GENTLEMAN

Chess then?

DAVID

Sure. Set them up.

 

GENTLEMAN

But they are already set up. (points to the table where a chess board appears out of thin air.)

DAVID

Okay who gets first move?

 

GENTLEMAN

You be white for once.

DAVID

I appreciate that. Who knows maybe I’ll even take some of your pieces this game.

GENTLEMAN

Don’t get too ambitious now.

 

Camera pulls away from scene as David, the gentleman and the table get smaller.
Dissolve to:

 

EXT.Backyard-daytime
“When a Man loves a Woman” plays in the background as David and his veil-less bride walk down the aisle together. The bride is wearing sunglasses and holding a walking cane. Her free arm runs through Dave’s arm and as rests her hand on his bicep. A homeless man throws rice into air and catches it in his mouth.

Dissolve to:

INT. Living Room-Nighttime

 

David is fast asleep on the couch, wearing just his boxers. The television plays loudly in the background. The camera pans closer and closer to David until only his face is in the shot. His eyes are closed but his face breaks into a smile.

 

Fade Out
FIN

 

 

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

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Much Delayed Thoughts on the Television Series Treme

15 Dec

 

Anyone attempting to watch the HBO show Treme without having visited New Orleans might mistake it for being too slow to enjoy. The pacing of the show is very similar in how things roll out in real life down in the “Big Easy”. Upon my first visit to New Orleans, it took a couple of days for my mind to downshift. Until that happened, I was irritated with how rapidly I became bored with every activity that my host suggested. Looking back on things, I can honestly say that I was a bad guest. Unfortunately for me it wasn’t until my final night in town that I synced up with the rest of the city.

I learned my lesson and did everything the right way during my second visit to New Orleans. I took my longboard with me to get around town, and I hit all my favorite restaurant spots (I’d put Parasol’s up against any other restaurant down there) and then some during Mardi Gras weekend. The visit was thorough enough that I decided that I never needed to go back, but it did make me want to watch David Simon and Eric Overmyer’s project about post-Katrina New Orleans.

Treme first premiered back in 2010, and ran for roughly 3 and a half seasons. The show’s name is based on a neighborhood in New Orleans; where a lot of the artists and musicians lived until the tragic flooding that resulted from Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2006. The story’s backdrop takes place post flood, approximately 3 months after the storm. Citizens who left before the storm hit are coming back to their homes, while those who stayed and survived, are picking up the pieces in their own ways.

Although The Wire has received a great deal of critical acclaim, and Simon’s most recent production,The Deuce is currently getting all the buzz, Treme in my opinion is the best written work of any of the David Simon projects. Though generally respected for his work on The Wire, in 2010, Simon still wasn’t the media darling that he is today. The Wire had reached a cult status, but a large segment of the television watching population had yet to brave the terrain that was laid out in that five season project. It was a little too rough around the edges for some people. I’d even heard people honestly admit that it was just “too real” for them. It is not a show for everyone, and Simon embraced his outside agitator status and continued to make projects that interested him.

The beauty in the show Treme‘s writing is that the writers aren’t concerned with pace or glandular titillation. The backbone of the show is the stories of the characters, and how they are connected (even divided) by the tragedies and turmoil that resulted from the storm. It is an extremely rich and ambitious pursuit. Each episode is rife with tender moments, anger inducing conversations, and moments of levity that have stuck with me since.

All the elements of a David Simon show are here in Treme. The use of music throughout the show is at times thoroughly subtle and precise (anyone remember that one bar scene from The Wire where the jukebox played Gram Parsons’ Streets of Baltimore?), but also inescapable. A song request at a Bar Mitzvah may tie in with the theme of that particular episode,  and may very well appear again in a different incantation at the very end of the show during a “Second Line” funeral march. Sometimes the show would brilliantly cut from a scene that was filmed inside the studio of a radio session, then bleed out from the speakers of a radio in the next scene. The transitions on these occasions are beautiful and seamless.

As I’ve said earlier, the characters are the most compelling part of the show. They have depth and warmth to them, and are written as well-rounded people. The twists and turns with the main characters are occasionally frustrating, often times surprising and sometimes even shocking. Unlike The Wire, where we only get small sliver of insight into the lives of each character, in Treme we are allowed to swim in their minds and breathe, eat, and sleep in the character’s psyches. Each scene lingers a beat or two longer for the viewer to reflect in real-time along with the people in the scene.

There is a good mix of fresh and familiar faces on this project–and plenty of cameos by real life artists (both from New Orleans and abroad) who you’ll recognize. Those of you Simon fans who go all the way back to his days as a writer on the 90’s NBC show, Homicide, will recognize Melissa Leo (who was adorable in her role as Detective Kay) as public defender and civil rights lawyer Toni Bernette. John Seda even shows up in later seasons as Nelson Hidalgo, a developer and venture capitalist who graduated from the University of Texas.

Wire alumni Clark Peters (Lester Freamon) and Wendell Pierce (Bunk Moreland) show up as central characters in the show, Peters as Big Chief Lambreaux, and Pierce as trombonist, Antoine Batiste. Both put on excellent performances of two complicated, but lovable men dealing with their new lives as best as they can.

Steve Zahn is one of the newcomers to the David Simon Mafia.  He plays DJ Davis, a spoiled trust fund hipster who grew up in New Orleans, but embraces the city’s historic jazz culture as much as a white man can without getting written out of his inheritance. Another one of the side stories is that of Sonny and Annie, a musician couple from New York and Amsterdam (another canal city built on indulging in one’s vices) who moved to New Orleans before the storm and decided to ride out the flood.

Simon and Overmyer do a great job of casting strong female leads in Khandi Alexander and the aforementioned Leo, who find a balance within their roles as women dealing with tragedy, through grace, anger, and sadness. It is impossible to not feel for their characters, but somehow you know they will push on despite their circumstances.

The show even has manages to soften the biting criticism of culture vultures and uptight New Yorkers, showing rather than telling the viewer why people from outside New Orleans often times just don’t get it.

Despite the lack of any major rising action, Treme is an extremely beautiful show that runs the gamut of human emotion. It is fun. It is boisterous and celebratory. It is funny. It will piss you off. It will make you dance and sing out loud. You will get frustrated by the city’s bureaucracy, and the by self-destructive impulses of some of its main characters. You may also find yourself shedding tears where you least expect to (there is one beautifully unforgettable scene in particular where a Japanese jazz enthusiast buys Pierce’s character a new trombone and Pierce tests it out for the guy in the middle of a public space by playing a song. For some reason the room got real dusty during that scene).

I love New Orleans for the same reason I love New York City, both are cultural landmarks where a black art form originated (New York birthed hip hop and of course jazz music started down in New Orelans’ Congo Square), but I didn’t realize how much I appreciated New Orleans until I watched this show a second time. David Simon gives us a poignant look into the racial and cultural politics that contributed to the misfortune that befell New Orleans; in addition to how those same politics were involved in the rebuilding (and re-branding) of the city. You won’t have to have visited New Orleans to get the show, but it certainly helps.

Almost 12 years removed from Hurricane Katrina, places like Houston, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are today facing the same questions and difficulties that inhabitants of the Gulf of Mexico faced back then. How does a place remain unique and lively when the people and elements that made it so are removed? What is the personal definition of home, and what does a person do when that home no longer exists?

In a way, it feels very appropriate to revisit this television series. It sort of slid under the radar, but it is no less important than anything else that has come out since 2010. The writing in Treme proves that often times the best part of a well written story is not the chaos itself, but the things that result from it. 

 

BM

profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @goodassgame. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

“Take Me With U” : A Screening of Purple Rain

5 May

prince-purple-rain

 

Going through Prince’s catalog on Tidal (I finally broke down and got the free trial–you already know I’m canceling that shit on the 29th day) evokes the feeling of going through my mom’s photo albums when I visit her on the holidays.

It is hard not to think of the outrageous leather pants and fish net shirts that my mom and aunt used to wear back in the 80’s. My uncle was a guitar playing, motorcycle riding, martial arts freak, so naturally he was a Prince fan. There weren’t many people in my family who didn’t at least own a copy of Purple Rain on vinyl or cassette.

When I was academically ineligible for high school baseball my sophomore year, I would come home from school, fix a sandwich, and listen to the A side of the 1999 album (Let’s Pretend We’re Married and Delirious were my jams).

What I remember most about going to see the first installment of the “Batman” series (directed by Tim Burton), was stopping at Sam Goody (remember those?) and grabbing the soundtrack on cassette.

My parents were never shy about exposing me to anything as a young child (refer to my write-up on American Werewolf of London), and revisiting all these old songs from my childhood is like hearing them for the first time. As an 11-year-old, I listened to what felt and sounded good–things like lyrics and production meant very little to me. Listening to the man’s music now as an adult , it is so easy to pick up on the influences he had on

a) light-skinned dudes (I can see why the 80’s were ruled by light skinned bruthas–with the emergence of Drake and Steph Curry, there may be a resurgence of that era)

b) hipster bands like Wild Nothing, Of Montreal, and Toro Y Moi

and c) Beck (Midnight Vultures was pretty much a Prince homage).

It was really easy to take his contribution for granted because I grew up listening to him.Every member of my family actively followed his career. Let’s be honest, unless you were a hard-core fan, or a music scholar (which I’m not) it was easy to sleep on his stuff after the mid 90’s–by that point he was making music for himself. To be even more honest, by the time I was in my late teens, there were a lot of males like me who thought he was a little strange (harmless–but it wasn’t like all the homies piled up in the car and drove downtown jamming Prince).

His death shook me up so much, because I happened to take off from work because of a bad dream I’d had the night before. I’d dreamt I was in a two seated plane with a friend who’d never flown before, and we were crashing. I was frantically trying to unbuckle my seat and jump out of the plane. The dream itself was so unsettling that I went online and requested a substitute teacher for the day. Then I  went back to sleep.

It was only after a few hours of running errands, that I’d come home to have lunch, had checked twitter to see my timeline flooded with tweets mired in disbelief. I wasn’t the biggest Prince fan. I don’t own a single CD of his, and it has been years since I’ve watched or listened anything by him that wasn’t played at the club or on the radio. The “Prince” sketch on The Chappelle Show isn’t even in my top 10 of his sketches. But I have to admit that the news stung a little.

I immediately wanted to call my aunts and uncles, and I even picked up the phone to shoot a  few texts, but for some reason decided not to do so. I wasn’t even planning on writing anything about him, having been removed from anything he’d been doing for so long. A phenomenal thing happened after his death though, throughout the country, movie theaters began screening  his first feature film, “Purple Rain” in his honor.

There was a showing of it at the local art house cinema here in town, and I made sure to get a nap so I would be able to stay up late enough for the 10 pm show. I’d seen the movie as a kid of course on Beta Max and VHS,of  course, but seeing it on the big screen seemed like the way to go.

It didn’t disappoint either. Don’t get me wrong, some of the dialogue was definitely corny and overdone, but how many 80’s movies aren’t guilty of this? It was pretty crazy seeing Clarence Williams III (Sampson from Half Baked) in the movie, playing his father. There is a sense of self-awareness at times– like it knows that a bit may fail, but they go for it anyway (a fearlessness that many 80’s movies share) . The close up shots (evocative of fans from David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust tour) during the opening montage are dynamite and hilarious.

purple-rain_still8

There were some uncomfortable moments for sure. The scenes where groupies are getting smacked around or thrown in dumpster are hard to watch. But there are plenty of redeeming moments. Morris Day and his flunky Jerome, bring a much-needed levity to the movie with their tongue in cheek interactions (there is even a nod to Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” bit written into a scene). “Let’s have some asses wigglin’ I want some perfection!” was easily the funniest line of the movie (“Don’t get my seat wet” may be the next funniest). I died laughing,and guiltily giggled well into the next scene.

let-s-go-crazy-and-obsessively-re-watch-prince-s-purple-rain

The hypnotic scene of the movie may have been,  when the Revolution took the stage to perform “The Beautiful Ones.” It was mesmerizing watching Prince sing this to Apollonia as Morris Day is trying to wine and dine her. It clearly unnerves her as the song climaxes with Prince screaming emphatically,”Do you want him? Or do you want me? Cuz I want you!”

It seems counterintuitive to think that Prince, who has been known for so long as “that dude” could ever be in a place to write such a vulnerable song. Even at such a young age, Prince understood how beautifully attractive people allowed themselves to become callous and careless.

The movie of course ends on a high note. After a series of heavy events in the film, the final performance, a medley of Purple Rain, I would Die 4 U, and Baby I’m a Star had people in the theatre dancing in their seats.

Seeing this movie put in perspective just how big he was (at the time) and how big he would become. The end of the movie is his Chuck Berry moment. He was the Jimi Hendrix of my parents generation. He was to black people what David Bowie and Elvis were to whites.

The sad thing is, that he was such a semi-recluse for so long, that I’d forgotten how much of a pioneer he was. The man was a true artist. He wasn’t afraid to stir the pot, and he didn’t burn out. He lived his life according to his own terms. Although it is sad that the world lost one its brightest and most enigmatic artists, on the bright side, he has left us so much to consider about life, art, and music.

I’ll be in Minneapolis this summer, and my buddy doesn’t know this, but he and I are taking the unofficial tour that we should have taken during my visit last summer. I’m not even one-tenth of a fan as many die hards out there, and I’ve never had the desire to see him live, or meet him. But I can’t think of a more appropriate way to pay homage to the Artist Formerly (and Forever) Known as Prince, than going to see Purple Rain. It was a pretty unique experience.

 

BM

An American Werewolf Screening in Tulsa

16 Mar

When I texted my mother that I’d be taking in a screening of the 1981 classic, “An American Werewolf in London”, she texted me to “stick to the roads, be aware of the moon, and stay off the Moors.” No I’m just kidding. She told me that it was the first movie she and my dad had ever taken me to.

This text revealed to me what all the sessions of therapy had not, and I finally understood why shadows and werewolves scared me so much growing up. I still to this day can’t be in the same room if the Thriller video is on television (the Vincent Price part especially creeps me out).

I hadn’t seen “Werewolf” since I was a kid, and hadn’t even thought about it, until I saw an advertisement for it on Facebook somewhere (Actually thats a lie. This chick and I rented it from Blockbuster one night after our shift at Red lobster. But she thought it was cheesy, so we mugged down instead of watching it.). I figured if there was a movie that was made to be seen on the big screen, then this was it.

If you ever have the chance to see it at the theaters, you should do it. It is hilarious, it is spooky, and it is in a way sad.

For those of you who’ve never seen it, it is about two American college students from New York, Jack and David, who are  backpacking across Europe. They start in England with the intention of finishing up in Italy.

Jack starts the movie off stating his reservations about being in a cold, and spooky part of England, when they could be in warmer weather with better chances of meeting women. Jack,a smart aleck, with a typical New York sense of humor is both easy to like and loathe. His inability to pick up on social cues indirectly causes the two of them to be forced out into the moors, on a wet and chilly night.

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It is only after they hear the howling of a wild animal, that they realize that they didn’t heed the advice of the local townspeople, and see they did not keep to the road, and that there is a full moon.

The results are disastrous and David wakes up to find that he was in a coma for 3 weeks, his best friend Jack was “killed by a madman” (as David may or may not have been running away from–leaving Jack behind), and that he is in London, having bad dreams about Nazi monsters killing his Jewish family (scenes which are both terrifying and darkly humorous)

There is a heartbreaking scene of the main character, David going into a phone booth, and calling his little sister in New York to tell her that he loves her before he tries to unsuccessfully off himself. It sets up an epicly weird scene that turns into an unforgettable 25 minutes of cinema.

For such a hokie movie, it really forces the audience to feel an assortment of emotions. The gags are really dark, but extremely funny. The dialogue is loaded with Jewish humor that can be easy to miss if you know nothing about the culture. There is even a classic Knock Knock joke sprinkled in the script for good measure.

I don’t think a movie like this would see the light of day in this era. The 80’s were a riskier time for movie making. People were not afraid of making bad movies where the mistakes could be just as fun as the highlights. Gore and humor aren’t exactly synonymous in this day and age. There is a self awareness about this film that isn’t around in a lot of “scary” movies.

The final scene in the movie is the biggest payoff, and when the credits roll, you don’t really know what to feel like. It was so good, I went back the next night; knowing I wouldn’t have a chance to sit in a theater and see it on the big screen again. Believe it or not, it was just as good the second time around.

Thanks Mom and Dad for hipping me to this film so early in life. The therapy, high electric bills, and sleepless nights finally paid off. This might be my new favorite movie. Now if I can somehow talk the Circle Cinema into screening the Warriors movie…..