Archive | Hollywood RSS for this section

Too Much Star Wars Business

When it rains it pours, and this latest Skywalker squall has left me soggy and aching. What can I say? Ball Droid, fetch me a mai tai.

The new Force Awakens trailer is cool (even though Han’s collar is a little too popped for my liking). The teaser for Rogue One is cool (even though it’s the five billionth spot that insists on lifting dialogue from the original trilogy). The new Battlefront vid-juh game looks like every other Star Wars blow-’em-up that came before it, except with better graphics (which is fine; I’ve always been more of a Lego Star Wars guy).

The Star Wars emojis are very cute and I forgive their creator/”maker” for not rendering some of the more obscure characters like Bossk or Yakface.

I don’t even know what to say about that medieval document they found with the drawing of Yoda on it. “Obviously it’s not Yoda,” they keep saying, but what if it is? What if Frank Oz is a highlander?

This fandom is exhausting. And you wonder why I occasionally retreat to the barren confines of a Skatetown, U.S.A. or a Grease 2.

Like Depeche Mode, I enjoy the silence.

Q: Do You Prefer “The Addams Family” Or “The Munsters?”

A: Oh, “The Addams Family.” Morticia and Gomez have such a beautiful relationship, full of respect and understanding and expression. Most of the time it seems they work together to solve their dilemmas. The Munsters are more typically sitcom; Lily tolerating Herman’s lunkheaded crap, even when it blows up their living room or puts him in traction. And Grandpa Munster is always egging Herman on…it’s like “Leave It To Beaver” with neck bolts. Herman and Grandpa need a goddamn babysitter.

Q: If You Could Go Back In Time Where Would You Go And Why?

A: Either 1960s California so I could try to tackle whatever that thing is in the Patterson film or 1990s Chicago so I could try to tackle that extra in Home Alone who is supposedly Elvis Presley. I’m all about the big issues.

Another Dumb Post About Some Dink Job I Had In College

I spent the summer of 1998 working at a video store. The place was called 16,000 Movies, a boastful moniker camouflaging a sad reality—the store only had around 15,500 movies and was rounding up. We weren’t supposed to let customers know that. 15,500 is still an impressive amount of movies, though. They definitely had a ton of stuff I’d never seen or heard of before, and this store was in an area one might colorfully refer to as “the sticks.” The only time I ever saw a physical copy of Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video was at that job. So I don’t know why they thought they needed to lie.

16,000 was an alright gig. The only lasting pain stems from management consistently shutting off any movie I picked to play on the in-store tv system just two or three minutes in, making a big show of my apparently awful taste. “Oh James, how could you? King Kong vs. Godzilla? You’re driving away customers. This is going back on the shelf now.”

Meanwhile, I had to work the night Titanic was released, and at the start of that shift one of our most loyal customers showed up with a VHS tape he edited himself containing a 40 minute super cut of the “My Heart Will Go On” music video. All evening my manager rotated between that and the infamous Partyin’ With Leo tape (which is just shaky footage of Leonardo DiCaprio entering and exiting night clubs). Garbage is in the eye of the beholder.

Vindication came the weekday morning I put on Cabin Boy to the chagrin of every other employee. I think the credits were still rolling when a customer looked up toward the nearest monitor and started freaking out, Christmas morning style. I’ll never forget the joy on his face.

“Is this Cabin Boy?! I love this movie! Where is it? You gotta let me have it!”

You’re welcome, video store. That’s $3 in your pocket courtesy of J Greene.

Related to all that is the one thing I think I learned at 16k: some actors are totally critic-proof. We couldn’t keep any Eddie Murphy in stock, especially the post-Coming to America stuff. Dr. Dolittle, Metro, and Nutty Professor were constantly absent and people would stream in every day just to inquire about their availability. John Cusack was like that as well. Midnight in The Garden of Good & Evil evaporated like the cure for cancer. Sandra Bullock, she’s another one. I got a pretty clear picture of which stars would slaughter if they ever ran for office. Sandy would take a swing state like Florida in a fucking heartbeat.

Was there an adult movie section at this store? Of course there was an adult movie section, a closet in the back marked by a pair of purple saloon doors, the kind you might see if Prince remade A Fist Full of Dollars. The only title I remember from that room is Last of The Muff Divers (parodying Last of The Mohicans). A friend of mine checked it out and never returned it.

Total Protonic Literary Reversal

The plan for my next book has always been a history of the Ghostbusters film franchise and its ancillary properties. Sadly, I must now abandon that idea. This week it was revealed (to me) that Sony, the company owning the rights to Ghostbusters, is publishing a historical volume of extremely similar parameters in September. The party delivering this news was the publishing house most interested in working with me on what I had tentatively titled A Convenient Parallel Dimension: Ghostbusters, 1974-2016. They’re open to hearing other ideas I’m sitting on; time to tear through old notebooks and ferret out potential ideas.

No need to invoke the wrath of the slor: we’re getting an officially licensed Ghostbusters history. I’m sure it’ll be wonderful. I’m actually surprised and somewhat ashamed the Sony tome slipped past my radar for so long. Turns out that Christmas leak didn’t give us everything. Also, I can admit I hadn’t exactly done mountains of work on my own GB project. Subconsciously I must have sensed this. I could feel the Twinkie expanding.

So, do you think the world needs a book about InnerSpace?

The Way He Felt

Though I liked to give this guy the business from time to time, I always admired him and was a big fan. He contributed a ton to the fabric of our culture, obviously, but what I tend to zero in on is his music. Specifically, his third album, 1968’s The Way I Feel. I have unabashed love for that record because Len just goes for it, breaking away from Spock totally, giving us pure unfiltered Nimoy. It’s soft, it’s reflective, it’s brimming with conviction no matter how closely it veers toward outright bonkers. Such a charming exercise. Definitely my favorite piece of folk. Such comfort in that famous milky voice.

Goodbye, Leonard. Thank you for letting us know the way you felt.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 102 other followers