Monthly Archives: November 2010

It’s  4 a.m. and I just got home about 20 minutes ago. I left for work at 8:45 this morning. This is all in the nature of the business I’m in. In fact, it isn’t even unusual.

I started the day shooting camera on two scenes for Ben. The first was a young girl who’d done very few scenes who was sweet, but as boring as boring can be. The second girl was doing her first scene ever and, really, performed like a champ.

Afterwards, I went to shoot on Punk Rock Schoolgirls for Joanna Angel and James Deen. Joanna writes rally cute, funny scripts for her movies, but sometimes they’re a bit… overambitious. As the oldest warhorse on the set (I’ve got five years on the next oldest person, and 11 years more experience in porn), I had the unenviable task of pulling James & Joanna aside and suggesting that they weren’t going to make their day.

In the past, Joanna has always gotten lucky and pulled off the impossible. This time it just wasn’t going to happen. So, the plug got pulled with one incredibly intricate dialogue scene to be picked up at some later date.

For all that the populace at large things porn is an enormous fuck-off job, I often think there are no harder working people in the world than porn shooters.

Tomorrow I’m going to run errands and spend the evening with Mischief and some of her friends. It’s good because I’ve been feeling incredibly anti-social lately, I think as a reaction to being so overwhelmed by work and debt (strange combination). She forces me to get out in the world.

For my birthday she took me to a big cat preserve, ironically located right next door to the Tropic Desert Mine where we shot The 8th Day, so I was already aware of the place. It was a great day out, spent mostly in the company of animals (whom I largely prefer to people).

Rape of the Aboriginal Americans day and most of this coming weekend will be spent at the computer, working. Indulging my misanthropic nature.

My fingers are stiff from too many long days in a row, so for now let me just say eat some dead turkey in honor of a dead Indian and enjoy your Thanksgiving.

For my birthday I took myself out to see RED last night, and it was great. I haven’t read the comic, but you can see Warren Ellis’ fingerprints all over it. I’m a sucker for movies about old farts anyway, but RED is a terrifically entertaining amalgam of Sneakers+Ronin+Grumpy Old Men.

And let me just state, categorically, that at 65 Helen Mirren is still just about the goddamned sexiest thing I’ve ever seen in a movie, and I would bang the doors off that woman in a heartbeat.

I also had the treat of sitting through the worst trailer I have seen for a movie since Next of Kin. If you haven’t seen the trailer for Drive Angry, you owe it to yourself. It is absolutely ridiculous, and proves yet again Nicolas Cage’s insatiable urge to embarrass himself. This is the first trailer I’ve ever seen worthy of its own Rifftrax.

If the movie is half as bad as the trailer, it should be The Room of car/driver from Hell movies (and, yes, there’s a long precedent of precisely that; The Car, Christine, The Wraith… shall I continue?)

This morning I looked at the news and discovered that Dino De Laurentiis had died on my birthday. Despite being 5’ 4”, Dino was a giant in the film industry, and was a huge influence on my childhood. He was one of the last old-school independent producers. He never directed a film, and probably never wanted to, but he was the driving force behind hundreds.

Some – la Strada, Serpico, Ragtime – are brilliant films, true classics. Some – Maximum Overdrive, Red Sonja, Lipstick, place easily among the worst movies ever inflicted on an audience.

Many of the movies De Laurentiis produced are cultural icons, pieces of gaudy fluff that have become cool or camp or kitsch because of their shamelessness or over-the-top style. Movies like Danger: Diabolik, Barbarella, Flash Gordon, Dune or Mandingo. I personally dislike every one of these films, but each has its following.

Like many Italian filmmakers, De Laurentiis didn’t distinguish between the pomp and the circumstance. All art was opera, and all stories were to be told on the grandest, loudest, most gaudy scale possible. Every painting deserved a bigger canvas. If De Laurentiis had been a jacket, he would have been made from red velvet and gold lamé.

For me, De Laurentiis was Conan the Barbarian, Death Wish, The Shootist (the first time I cried in a movie), Three Days of the Condor, and his awful remake of King Kong that I watched in awe and disappointment at the age of 8 in the biggest theater in Phoenix.

Tycoon, shlockmeister, showman and crook, Dino De Laurentiis was a bastion of Golden-Age Hollywood bombast and we’ll never see his like again.

Being a huge Douglas Adams fan, I somehow imagined that 42 would be a great year. I thought, at the very least, I would come away a little wiser. Of course, I imagine Douglas himself thought his 50th birthday would be a pretty big celebration as well.

The truth, as always, was a bit more grounded in reality than my expectations. I had considered a bullet-point list of all the ways in which November ’09 – until today sucked donkey balls, but that just seems self-indulgent. Let me simply state, for the record, that it was the worst year of my adult life.

In fact, to even come close, you have to dig down into some of the major life trauma from my teen years, and I think I speak for all of us when I say we want to do that like we want to… well… suck donkey balls.

Of all Douglas Adams’ characters, I’ve always felt the strongest kinship with Marvin, both in outlook and demeanor. It was a satisfying moment in So Long and Thanks for All the Fish when Arthur and Fenchurch take the aging android to see God’s final message to His creation, written in fifty-foot-high letters of fire on the side of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains. The message reads, “We Apologize for the Inconvenience.”

Upon reading the words, Marvin utters his only positive sentiment in the entire series. “I think,” he says, “I feel good about it,” and he dies. When I read that, my reaction was, Yes. That’s it. That is the way life works.

So I’m not entirely unprepared, emotionally, for years like this.

However, while I’d rather watch Lost again than re-live the last year, there were some highlights. I met Mischief, and she’s flat-out terrific. I produced a movie, Kiss of the Strangler, which I’m very proud of (although it’s technically not finished yet, and hasn’t been released), and I, uh… well… I’ve got a lot more room in my closet!

In honor of saying goodbye to 42, there’s a brand new podcast from Rob Burnett and myself at our new site, Go. See.

I’m oh-so-cautiously optimistic that things are looking better for 43. Hot Video seems to want another movie. I’ve gone into business with an old nemesis, and so far that seems to be working well. I’m not starving. Today. And neither are the cats. And for the moment, we have a roof and a bed.

So 42 has come and gone.

And the rest is silence.

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