Bryn Pryor

Welcome to my blog. I'm Bryn Pryor, aka porn director Eli Cross

The geek community has a preternatural ability to delude itself. To suspend not only disbelief, but actual awareness, effectively enough to cut anything even remotely genre-related all the slack it could ever possibly want. There are people out there who still explain the greatness of Lucas’ Star Wars prequels. Who defend Zack Snyder stealing virtually every shot in BvS from another, better film as homage rather than a total lack of imagination. Who tell me, when I criticize Next Generation, “Oh, that was just the first two seasons. It takes a while for a series to find it’s feet.” (THAT’S TWO GODDAMNED YEARS, PEOPLE!?!)

For a while, I was one of them. I tried hard to tell myself that Return of the Jedi was awesome (it wasn’t). That Temple of Doom was a worth sequel to Raiders (it isn’t). That Logan’s Run isn’t covered in cheese (it is; it’s still an awesome movie, but best when grilled, and served hot with tomato soup).

Unfortunately, as I was becoming a film-addled teen, I was also watching movies like The GodfatherLawrence of ArabiaFrench Connection. Films from the height of epic cinema and the depths of the anti-hero 70s that are powerful and visceral and unapologetically brilliant, and I realized we geeks were getting the short end of the stick.

We were gifted with occasional moments of true filmmaking brilliance – Raiders, which is a perfect film, or Empire Strikes Back – but mostly, we were ranting and raving about mediocrity. Movies that, viewed objectively, would get a 5 or 6 at best on a scale of 10. I kept thinking back to something William Windom said in his Starlog interview about his turn as Matt Decker in the TOS episode, Doomsday Machine. Windom reflected his own version of what’s known elsewhere in the geek world as “Sturgeon’s Law.”

That Star Trek episode was a piece of crap,” he said.

“whether it’s bagels you eat, clothes you wear, adults you meet when you’re little, plays you go to or are in, 90 percent is horsecrap. Five percent is just godawful and you wish you could forget it, five percent is memorable, so you better en­joy the horsecrap, because nine out of 10 hours in your life are gonna be spent in horsecrap. So fine, but don’t go around giv­ing it first prizes! The first prizes are too valuable — they’re really only for that five percent — of people, food, clothing, time, weather, age, whatever you want to name in your life.”

He was right. It took a while to sink in, but I slowly realized that not calling out the films, shows, books, comics, in the 90th percentile for being what they are — fine — is actually a disservice to the films, shows, books & comics that truly are excellent. It fucks up the bell curve.

Because I haven’t ceded my critical faculty, I often get called a hater. This drives me crazy for two reasons; 1 – it’s not a fucking word. 2 – it isn’t true in any respect. I simply refuse to love everything. I had a guy tell me, “I just choose to like things, and I think I’m happier.” My response was that I chose what I like, and therefore, I enjoy the things I enjoy much more passionately.

I have a friend I frequently tell that he needs a superlative filter. Whenever a piece of expensive marketing hits for the Next Big Thing, he is on social media exclaiming that this is THE GREATEST THING EVER! since the last GREATEST THING EVER! and I try to tell him that, no, it is mathematically unlikely that it is. Since this man prides himself as a film lover, I once explained that claiming Fast & Furious 4 is the GREATEST MOVIE HE’S EVER SEEN is pretty fucking insulting to, say, The Godfather, Part II. Right?

“Why can’t you just enjoy stuff?”

Because that “stuff” is the result of hundreds of millions of dollars, tens of thousands of hours of work, and is sold under the pretense of art, and I have too much respect for the labor, the money, the medium and myself to not hold that shit up to the highest possible standards. There’s no crying in baseball.

Also, there’s the obvious point that, by supporting the shit with our dollars, we tell the horse dropping it that we would please like more of it, and as soon as possible. This same friend loathes JJTrek as vehemently as I do, and yet he has seen every single film in the theater (some more than once), and owns all of them on blu-ray. It absolutely mystifies me.

I’m not a hater. I just care more than you do. Very few films will ever rise to the level of No Country For Old Men or fall to the depths of Watchmen. Most of them hover in between; like Derek Smalls, they are lukewarm water. Let them be.

We define the good by defining the bad. You cannot have one without the other. Shadows are only visible in the light; absent one, the other disappears. You might choose to swim in a flat artistic sea rendered in smooth shades of grey. I like my art with more swells, currents, riptides, eddies and vibrance. Suck it up.

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.


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.


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I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve. — J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring