Bryn Pryor

Welcome to my blog.

I’m Bryn Pryor, aka porn director Eli Cross

When Batman v Superman made far less than expected, there was a chorus of breast-beating from Warners execs that the 27% Rotten Tomatoes score was responsible (because the answer can never be, “Well, we released and utter pile of dogshit, so…”) When Suicide Squad did even less, the same complaints were heard. Other studios who also floated massive turds into theaters chimed in.

With Justice League, it’s plain that Warner Bros reached some kind of… accommodation… with Rotten Tomatoes. The site hid JL‘s score (currently at 40%) behind it’s own new, unwatchable film review show streaming on Facebook until this morning. Even more telling, despite the fact that reviews range from “Well, it sucks less that BvS,” on the good end to the Vanity Fair and Telegraph reviews on the bad end, the Rotten Tomatoes “capsule review” that was posted until the score became visible seemed to only be drawing from the better reviews.

Is it possible the people at RT don’t understand that continuing to do this will likely damage their (perhaps undeserved) brand beyond recognition? Guess we’ll find out.

No, not the Justice League reviews (which I’ve just been reading and which are, fascinatingly, worse than mine… whoulda thunk?).

This weekend marks the beginning of the next Big Writing Project. I would tell you what it is, but then… eh, you know. Just suffice to say, I’ve got hundreds of pages to crank out, rewrite, argue with the Unicorn over (since we’ll be co-scripting), etc. It’s plot-driven stuff, which makes a nice change from Diminuendo, but also means carefully keeping a lot of balls in the air.

Not those balls. Go wash out your brain with soap.

Geez…

There are days when I can motivate myself to do anything. I can write an entire script, direct, shoot and edit a film, act, create… I can move all the furniture in the massive space we’ve built from one side and back without complaining… paint, do electrical and put up drywall.

It’s cake.

Then there are the other days. I’m sure the balance is the same, but now I find I remember the latter more than the former.

I first became aware of The Room around 2006, when I realized I’d been seeing the same terrible billboard on Sunset for a while now. I did some digging, and found out it was a vanity film done by some weirdo foreign actor/director (how Tommy Wiseau never found NYFA is a mystery to me). I first had it described to me by one of the most aggressively hipsterish porn actors ever to work in adult, a guy who later gave me a burned DVD of the film.

When I finally sat down to watch it, I was, as many people are, mesmerized by how utterly, completely, perfectly terrible The Room is. At no point, not even for a second, is anything presented in it an acceptable approximation of filmmaking, a feat that is much harder to achieve than you’d imagine.

Look, I’m a film buff. I’ve seen a LOT of hysterically shitty movies… Plan 9 From Outer Space… The Creeping Terror… Batman v Superman… and I’ve seen a lot of attempts by people to make intentionally bad movies. Most of those fail because they miss the point: You can’t make a bad movie well. That might sound obvious, but just watch Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. In it, Johnny Depp, as the titular Wood, is a fast-talking used-car salesman of a filmmaker, utterly unconcerned about the merits of the movie he’s making.

I’ve talked at length about Ed to Bob Blackburn, the man responsible for managing the Ed Wood “estate.” The thing you must remember is Plan 9 was NOT  a throwaway film; that was Wood’s magnum opus. He put in the very best effort he could muster, and the result was one of the worst films ever made.

This leads us back to Tommy Wiseau. The Room is the best film Tommy is capable of making. The script, and his performance, are the pinnacle of his work. That’s how you get a magnificent apocalypse like The Room.

Fascinated, I later went to a screening at the Sunset 5. By this point, the weekly midnight shows had become a sold-out, Rocky Horror-style audience interaction cult phenomenon. Tommy was there, mumbled a few words before the show, and then sat in the back row to watch an entire audience mock his life’s work as if he was in on the joke. Tommy basked in the glow of thrown plastic spoons (it’s a thing… you had to be there…) as if they were accolades; as if he was in on the joke.

Of course, he wasn’t.

In a couple weeks, James Franco’s film, The Disaster Artist, which tells the story of The Room‘s creation, opens in theaters. It’s supposed to be great, but before I go watch a bunch of people — all of whom are much prettier, much more successful, and much more talented than the people they’re portraying — re-enact the great farce, I wanted to read the Greg Sestero book the film is based on.

Sestero is as talented an author as he is an actor, which is (to be kind) mediocre. In writing Tommy Wiseau’s unauthorized biography, the portrait Greg unwittingly paints of himself depicts a marginally talented, weak-willed, spineless, lazy and relatively unintelligent Hollywood pretty-boy. In other words, exactly the character he plays in the film. The events described, however, are every bit as chaotic, bizarre, and utterly flabbergasting as you’d imagine. The effect is a bit like reading a court transcript of testimony about the Hindenburg fire.

What really struck me, were the parallels to my life while working with Axel Braun. Now, I’ve often said that I never say anything about Axel behind his back that I wouldn’t say to his face. As proof, I offer the following screenshots:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I haven’t worked with Axel in years, so I have no clue how much his Wiseau-like tendencies have fared. I’d like to think I’ve stopped being anyone’s Greg Sestero.

We all have to grow up sometime.

 

A couple weeks ago, I got invited to a private screening of Justice League by some people I hope very much to be doing business with. I had no interest in the movie, but I went to schmooze. My overall response was… *shrug*

Justice League is nowhere near the level of utter comical unwatchability achieved by Batman v Superman, but it’s still not good. Wonder Woman, for it’s faults, is a much stronger film. Sadly, in JL, all they gave Gal Gadot to do was be Superman until Superman shows up.

Predictably, with two different directors, the movie is a stylistic hot mess. I’ve never seen such a schizophrenic film in my life. The stuff shot by Snyder looks NOTHING like the stuff done by Whedon (which is the majority of the movie).

The biggest problem is the characters. If you love the classic comic characters, these folks ain’t them. And if you love the characters in BvS (first of all, SHAME on you), you won’t be happy, either. These are the kid-friendly versions of Zack Snyder’s mass-murdering “heroes.”

A lot of people really enjoy Ezra Miller’s Flash; I found him incredibly annoying. He’s played as very young and immature and very spectrum-y in a way I HATED, even though it’s supposed to be charming. Cyborg is a pointless Iron Man clone who acts mostly as tech support and air evac.

Aquaman truly IS Super Bro! It’s like they gave powers to one of the guys from Jersey Shore. I kept expecting him to shout “GTL!” An entire film of this character is gonna be really hard to swallow.

Batman exists solely to make dire predictions, crack jokes (Hey! Batman is FUNNY!) and shoot things from his vehicles. Also, Affleck plainly had stopped giving a shit by the re-shoots; he’s like Harrison Ford in Return of the Jedi.

Wonder Woman is the plot exposition version of Sigourney Weaver’s Galaxy Quest crewmember. She just repeats things other people say so the audience gets it.

Of course the plot makes no sense. Doesn’t even try. The last half hour is just like the last 45 minutes of Man of Steel. It’s mindless action with no point whatsoever, and the resolution is both pointless and kinda dull.

That’s the thing that really surprised me. Overall, this movie is boring. Even at just over two hours, it drags, particularly in the middle.

Here’s the thing; as much as I loathe Zack Snyder’s murderverse (and I really, really do), Man of Steel and even moreso, Batman v Superman, are films of vision. Zack made choices. Setting aside for a moment that every one of those choices is laughably, disastrously wrong and ill-advised, he made them and then committedJustice League is a film of no choices whatsoever. It’s a corporate casserole cooked to be as bland as possible while selling the maximum number of toys.

The best part for me was getting to meet one of the cast members who was at the screening (not sayin’ who). I shook his hand and told him I admired his work. He nodded over his shoulder at the screen and said, “Not in this!”

Is it a terrible film? By no means. It’s just a superhero movie put together by committee. It’s loud and full of slow-mo and soulless and dumb. 8-year-olds will LOVE it.

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