Last night, Mischief & I ordered Chinese and watched Corruption. It was her idea, not mine, so don’t imagine I’m forcing the girl to sit through my oeuvre and tell me how brilliant I am. In fact, I have no idea what she thought. There was a lot of heavy silence, so my guess is she was less than impressed.

I’m not surprised. A few days ago, I showed her – without telling her I was responsible – a Cock Diesel music video I directed as a cross-promotion for ICON, and she hated it. Not knowing it for what it was, not being able to recognize the location or the roof or Kylie or Hillary (largely because we were watching it in Ultra-Shitty-Scope on YouTube) gave her permission to express, and boy did she.

I don’t mind. Her opinion was so heartfelt and honestly delivered, I can’t take it personally. Besides, there’s a lot going on; the age difference, the different cultural references, the fact that she was, to an extent, comparing a video shot for free in 4 hours to a $460,000 Fatboy Slim video (Weapon of Choice directed by Spike Jonze) that was shot over six days, the incredibly bad YouTube encoding, etc.

None of which changes the fact that she hated it, and I’m okay with that. Doesn’t change the fact that I’m proud of it, either. We’re learning that we have very different taste in media. But it was useful to compare her reaction to Corruption and gauge her distaste by all she didn’t say.

I suspect she hated it as well. And that’s okay, too.

The most curious part of the evening was how it brought crashing back into my consciousness something I know, but often forget. A subtle reminder of why it’s so often pointless to put real effort into porn films.

No one takes a critical eye towards a cheesy Brady Bunch parody. But for those who care, no matter how hard we try, no matter how hard we work, we just can’t compete. To the average viewer, movies like Corruption that come close to looking and feeling like “real” movies get compared to those same mainstream films, and that’s a contest we simply cannot win.

Compare my little political drama with its crew of 11 and its 10-day shooting schedule to even a single episode of West Wing, whose catering cost more than my entire budget, and we’re just not going to shine very brightly. Like Icarus (in my new favorite poem), having flown too close to the sun, we come to the end of our triumph. I suppose that’s the very definition of hubris.

But, like a proud parent ignoring his child’s faults, it is so very easy to forget. I don’t take it to heart, but I have to admit, the whole enterprise has made me somewhat melancholy and reflective about the hopelessness of my life’s ambition.

I have a close friend who is in his final weeks of pre-production on a mainstream film. At one time, I was to have a small role in it, essentially playing Helms from Corruption. When that looked untenable I asked if I could at least audition for the part, simply to be seen by a real casting director. I asked for a job on the movie, even as a P.A., just to get back on a real set, just to get the taste for blood, the hunger back in my mouth.

I have essentially offered to work for free. Apparently, I am too tainted by my current career to pursue my vocation even as an avocation. Free, it seems, is too high a price for a broken-down old pornographer to venture back into mainstream.

2 Responses to It’s So Easy to Forget

  • Freiherr Karza von Karnstein says:

    I have to disagree with your statement that your films do not shine compared to Hollywood. “Corruption” is a superb movie which presents a profound theme in a manner whose intricacy is exquisite. It is a film that cogently condemns back-stabbing and mindless, unceasing self-promotion. In this regard, “Corruption” is, essentially, a latter-day re-telling of “Macbeth.” Similarly, “Upload” is reminiscent of the “Doctor Who” episodes that take place on Gallifrey, except that, thanks to your masterful story-telling, the viewer does not perceive who the equivalents of the Doctor and the Gallifreyan Castellan are until the resolution of the plot. “Upload” is virtually the film version of Machiavelli.

    As a viewer, I can say unequivocally that the craftsmanship of your films is superior to 99% of what Hollywood puts out these years. There is a tonne of plot recycling in Hollywood, and it is overwhelming undigestible to anyone with a minimum of electrical activity between the ears. This summer, Angelina Jolie is coming out with a film wherein she plays…Angelina Jolie, as she has in about every film she made in the last decade. To be sure, the theatres will be jam-packed with the denizens of every proctology clinic within spitting distance on opening night, but that does not mean that the film will have any artistic merit or even a minimum of likeability.

    When I go to a movie theatre, I expect to be disappointed. When I buy an Eli Cross film, I know for a fact that I will be entertained and impressed. Sadly, we live in an era overpopulated with reality TV-addled simians who think “The Jersey Shore” constitutes “good entertainment.”

    On a lighter note and on the subject of plot, did you know that “plotte” is the French word for the dildo input port of the female anatomy?

  • stagetwo says:

    this is was extremely interesting to read.

    why do you try to make mainstream movies when you don’t have a mainstream budget? no one likes an imitation for how close it comes to the real thing. in this case the ‘real thing’ is unattainably perfect in one sense and severely limited and boring in another. from your writing it seems that you might have ideas too original for the mainstream.

Whatcha think?

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The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. — Flannery O’Connor