RED

It took me a minute to figure it out. Normally, I’m not prone to prolonged bouts of wallowing in self pity. I’m guilty of it on occasion (who isn’t?), sometimes even for a few days at a stretch, but I feel like I’ve been feeling sorry for myself for about two years straight now. Fact is, somewhere along the way, I seem to have become a whiny bitch.

I’m finally having my midlife crisis. A little late, but it’s here.

Luckily, with that realization came a feverish desire to shake it off, and… I hesitate to say it… I’m winning. Believe me, I’m more shocked than anyone.

Yeah, I have some personal man/woman type shit going down; a girl I very badly want doesn’t want me… I don’t want another girl who wants me very badly… a girl I get along with great is in a relationship… another girl completely freaked out on me and we’re barely speaking… and the girl I’ve been crazy about for years still lives on the other side of the country.

Blah. Blah. Blah. ad infinitum, ad naseum. Join the fucking club, right? Right.

The great thing is, once I cribbed to the bullshit my brain and age and hormones were trying to pull on me, I was able to start thinking around it. And for a therapy-averse mammal like myself, that’s how it all starts turning. Is it gone? Hell, no, but I’m fighting it back. I still have bouts of “woe is me,” but they’re brief, I’m able to recover quickly, and largely keep them to myself. Hopefully, I will be a significantly less miserable fuck to be around than I have been. I’ve barely got any friends as it is, I figure I should make a little effort to keep them.

So, here’s the game; when I start rolling around in a puddle of “my life sucks,” I focus on the fact that I have work, (for now, which is the best any of us can hope for at the moment). I have at least two projects coming up that I care very deeply about, so no moaning about being “creatively unsatisfied.” I have a great place that’s going to get better as I pull my head out of my ass and continue to work on it. There are still hot, filthy chicks who want to fuck me (I can’t overstate the importance of this; I know it’s shallow, but feeling unwanted and rejected wasn’t helping the situation at all). And, while I have to admit that I seriously doubt I’ll luck into a real relationship again (which means I probably will die alone), I’m coming to terms with that realization, too, and I think I’m okay with it.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll be wrong. Bob knows it’s happened once or twice before.

For those who don’t get the reference, it’s from Star Trek. A “dunsel” is a part which serves no useful purpose.

As I near the end of my interminable, self-imposed exile in the wilds of Alabama, I’ve been reflecting on my life. Being on the wrong side of forty, this tends to happen more often than it should. Contemplating the accumulated consequence of my life’s work to date, the words “insignificant,” “trivial,” and “irrelevant” come to mind.

As a filmmaker, my career consists of bad, unfinished, or embarrassing mainstream films, and a laundry list of inconsequential porn films. My career as an actor stalled years ago. As a writer, well… I write a lot of porn scripts. Case closed.

As a person, I’m not doing much better. I recently had another girl I was banging (that’s five in two years for those of you playing the home game) decide to stop seeing me because she was falling for me. In this particular girl’s case, I would never have dated her. But the two previous girls who made this same decision were absolutely girls I would date, so it isn’t a commitment issue, at least on my part. Apparently, the consensus is I’m just unworthy of affection. It’s like a scarlet letter, but in reverse.

That might be the worst analogy ever coined in the English language. But you take my point.

To make matters worse, lately I’ve been a truly miserable fuck. Yes, I’m always bitter and angry, but this has been bad. I’ve been avoiding contact with my friends as much as possible because I don’t want to inflict myself on them. Alice has made a creditable attempt at reaching out, but I know I’ve been driving her insane. And Mischief, if she understood me better, would do anything to make me happy, but I would never let her because she’s supposed to be gaining distance from me.

Until very recently I was actually formulating a plan to simply vanish when the Alabama job was finished, starting a new life under a new name (don’t ask how… I have my ways) and beginning again. Except for cats, and several girls who don’t want to fuck me lest they catch a bad case of the Bryn, there is very little tying me to L.A.

I think the idea sprouted out of the hurt stemming from this (seemingly) constant rejection of me as both a worthy companion (whether I want to be or not), and the more recent, implicit, rejection of my worth on a professional level. I got replaced as the DP on two porn gigs a few weeks ago, and not only did the shoots go smoothly, several people were genuinely relieved to be rid of me.

Given my current mindset, it was an easy leap to make from there to just removing myself from the entire equation, because the fact is, I really wouldn’t be missed. Not for long. I’m not being melodramatic, I’m being logical. People adapt, and move on.

K has her own life and a budding career as an artist. Hollywood, like me, is a pragmatist, and after some initial angst, would conclude it was my decision to make. Alice would feel obligated to miss me, but it would pass pretty quickly (I’d like to think her feelings wouldn’t become actual relief, but it’s possible). Red recently told me to go fuck myself. Blue and D and the rest would mentally shrug and get on with life, as would my old friends and exes. Mischief would be more crushed by my disappearance than anyone, but frankly, my absence would be the best thing for her.

But I can’t. As tantalizing as the notion of running away from home is, I can’t bring myself to do it. It’s cowardly. It also wouldn’t solve anything; as I said to Alice, my biggest problem is myself, and I’d just be schlepping that around with me.

So, instead, I’m going to not give up.

Here’s the new plan: Unpack in my “new” apartment and make a fucking life there. Focus on the steampunk short, Cowboys & Engines, I’m going to be doing at the end of the summer with CM50 (a moviemaking colleague) producing, which is something I’m really excited about. I’ve got lines on getting both The Blood of Virgins and Director’s Cut off the ground that I’m going to pursue. I’m hoping REDACTED, the micro-budget horror film I shot last November, will open some mainstream doors. I’m going to start submitting to auditions again. And I’m going to re-establish myself as a porn director, because that chapter of my life has been pretty good to me, and I need to begin respecting it.

In short, I’m going to try… try… to be happy. It’s not my best talent, but I’m gonna have a lash at it anyway.

And maybe, along the way, I’ll find some filthy little hooker who likes dirty old men. And maybe she’ll want to hang around for a while.

Just a thought.

To Captain Dunsel.

I keep telling myself I haven’t backslid. I just finished day 4 of a three-week gig working as an electrician on an independent movie in Alabama. I needed the money, and my friend Hollywood made this happen for me.

Yours Truly On Set in Alabama

But here’s the thing; I haven’t worked as a juicer (movie slang) in years. A lot of them. And when I did, it was on much smaller movies, with much smaller lighting packages, than this one. So, essentially, I’ve got training wheels on for a lot of this shit… and I really hate feeling like I’m not pulling my weight.

Also, though, I had forgotten how tedious it is to work on a movie in a non-creative capacity. I’m simply manual labor; a remote-controlled pair of hands realizing someone else’s ideas. It beats digging ditches, but creatively, it’s just as satisfying. The fact that we drive past Dykes Road every morning on the way to set helps only slightly.

Not that I would want my name attached in a position of authority to this pile of shit. We’re working on a Christian movie (no, they don’t know they have an award-winning pornographer in their midst) with a horrible script, written by the spoiled-rotten executive producer, who wrangled the money out of the owner of a Christian camp, which is our primary location.

The director is an utter hack who did a lot of bad television, the DP is a nice-enough steadicam operator who frames shots as if he’s still on a steadicam (i.e., sloppy and too bright), and the aforementioned EP is doing everything he can to direct the movie himself. It’s a fucking disaster in the making. As of today, we’re a day-and-a-half behind schedule.

I’m also fighting off the malaise I mentioned in the previous post. I think it simply stems from the fact I haven’t worked a gig like this that took me away from home for such a stretch in a long time, and I just miss my people. Other than texting and the occasional phone call, I’m completely out of touch. I want to see K&A, Alice, Red (even though she’s being a cunt right now), Mischief, John & Brusta, my MTG group, my cats…

This weekend, I have several things I have to write; proposals for movies and websites, script breakdowns, etc. And it will be difficult, because I’m very unmotivated.

I’m dissolute and disconnected. But I’m working, and that’s not nothing.

Where to begin? A few months ago, I was seeing four girls. As of yesterday, I’m seeing… wait, let me count…

Zero.

Given the way my life has gone over the past few… well, hell, years, really… it isn’t surprising.

LL and I decided to take a run at actually “dating,” but the distance, and her prior preoccupation with another guy, one whom she eventually got, derailed that.

Red is on a whole other path that only includes me as a friend and confidant.

Blue became very distant, and when she again contacted me, seemed to have redfined our relationship in her head, as one that consist of texting pleasantries, and never actually making contact.

D has been on hiatus for a while; she fell in love with a guy she was banging on the side, and isn’t ready to play the field yet.

And then there’s Alice. She’s young, incredibly cute, very hot. Smart, a lot smarter than she initially lets on around people.

We first met over the internet, exchanged a lot of frustrating texts and pics and e-mails. Then she moved to LA to get into the business proper, and we started doing just a few of the things we talked about. She’s the first girl in ages who is a match for what I want. She’s completely fearless (well, except for germs and intimacy), incredibly dirty, and likes a lot of the same extreme things I do.

But there’s a problem; I like her. And she knows it. And it freaks her out. Or maybe she likes me, and that freaks her out worse. Whichever it is, yesterday I got word that she “needs a break from all the sex stuff.” Wants to just be friends… this, despite the fact that she admitted — in her sleep, ironically — that she thinks I’m boring. I had assumed she didn’t mean in bed, but perhaps that isn’t the case.

It’s true that our relationship was never supposed to be anything but sexual; she hasn’t violated any trust, or been anything but very straight with me. I cannot be angry at her. But I’m very confused about the why of it, and the timing. And, yes, I tried to get her to discuss, but she doesn’t want to. I think she doesn’t want to lie to me, and doesn’t want to hurt me. So there’s that.

The problem is, she only needs a break from sex with me. She’s currently enamored with a friend of mine, and flirting with everyone else. I have no problem sharing, but I think this is the first time I’ve been sexually rejected, and I’d be lying if I said my ego hadn’t taken a pretty severe hit. Now I’m awash in feeling as if I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life. Again.

My self-esteem is pretty fragile at the best of times, but I thought my sexual persona was pretty invulnerable. Guess it took a girl half my age to prove just how wrong I could be.

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.

Subscribe to the Tango

Get an email whenever I blather.

Archives

Posts by Category

Posts by Date

November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

From Twitter

Random Quote

The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. — Hegel