I tried finding out what the real Owen Wilson situation might be from sources after I heard the reports around 9:15 pm, but I started too late in the evening. When Joe Leydon called to ask what I knew (not knowing himself what had or hadn’t happened), my first reaction was “oh, God.” I’m very sorry if it’s true, and may the worst of it (whatever “it” might be) be over. A little recovery, and then on to Darjeeling Limited press duties, making Justice League, etc. Life isn’t perfect but you have to live it anyway.
Gustin Nash‘s 125-page screenplay based on C.D. Payne‘s Youth in Revolt. The film will star Michael Cera (the wry, moralistic, level-headed thin guy with the I’m-only-partially-here personality in Superbad — I’m explaining because he’s not a household name) as “Nick Twist” when it goes before the camera sometime…I don’t know when it’s going before the cameras.
The drive and industriousness in getting hold of this script is equally matched by my laziness in having failed to read it despite it being on my dining-room table for neary two weeks
Shaky-cam Bourne vomiting has been brought up by Roger Ebert by way of a letter forwarded by David Bordwell (“the most respected film academic,” Ebert says) that was posted on movies.com a while back by “sfjockdawg,” to wit:
“We went to see The Bourne Ultimatum on the IMAX in San Francisco. Near the end, when Webb is having the flashback to when he [was] forced to show his commitment to the project, the lady next to me spontaneously unleashes a huge amount of vomit all over my leg and all over the floor in front of her! I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life! All the action sequences, the nauseating use of moving cameras and the relentless score were enough to make anyone dizzy, but to throw up?”
Like Jason Bourne himself, this item triggered a repressed memory in the brain of yours truly — a vomit-splatter that happened during an early-ish screening of The Bourne Supremacy on 7.12.04.
Sometime during the third act of a showing at the Writers Guild theatre, an older woman sitting on the left side spewed on the floor. It was kind of alphabet soup-y mixed with pumpkin puree and chopped Spanish peanuts. A few people got up and moved away. A guy who was sitting nearby told me later it smelled pretty awful in that section of the room.
The next day I mentioned the episode to a Universal publicist in an e-mail, not as something that was necessarily caused by Paul Greengrass shaky-cam but as something funny that had merely “happened.” I was chuckling the way a fifth- grader would chuckle with his friends if the really smart girl with the freckles and the pigtails had vomited in arithmetic class, but the publicist wasn’t in fifth grade — she was coming from the office of Roy Cohn during the Army-McCarthy hearings.
Her voice shrill and agitated, she read the riot act in order to dissuade me from mentioning the incident in the column. I felt so overwhelmed with bludgeonings and bad vibes that I caved (wimp that I am deep down) and said, “Okay, all right…good God.”
Only now, three years and 40 days later, can the story be told.
I’m wondering if Roger Ebert would have gotten the same phone call and had to deal with the same agitation from this very willful publicist if he were based in Los Angeles and had been in the Writers Guild auditorium on Doheny that fateful night.
True story, no names, happened a few years ago: A big-name actor is being driven out to a location shoot in a rural area with a producer, a p.a. and someone else. The actor has a styrofoam cup with steaming black coffee in his hand. The producer, sitting next to the actor in the back seat, reminds that they’ll be driving on a dirt road filled with big potholes, and that he needs to put a plastic top on the cup or else.
The actor says nothing, but it would be putting it mildly to describe the look he gives the producer as “hostile.” The producer drops it, turns away…whatever.
Ten minutes later they’re into the potholes and sure enough they hit a big one and almost half of the actor’s coffee spills on his lap. Right on his balls. Big dark stain. You can almost see the steam coming off his pants, but the actor just sits there, looking out the window and sipping what remains of the coffee — not a yelp, not a word. Because admitting he was wrong in ignoring the producer’s advice would be totally unthinkable.
Somewhere to the east of San Ysidro Road in Montecito, just east of Santa Barbara, on the way back from a birthday party for Santa Barbara Film Festival director Roger Durling — Saturday, 8.25.07, 7:25 pm; whenever people over the age of 30 start in with the orgiastic dancing and going “whoo-whoo!” at a party I always get depressed and want to leave.
We’re approaching the four-year anniversary of the final collapse of the Matrix theology that came with the 10.27.03 release of The Matrix Revolutions. Too bad it’s not the fifth anniversary or I could tap out a stock-taking piece. It was a pretty amazing meltdown; hard to believe it all happened the way it did.
Are the second and third Matrix films still the most despised and discredited franchise films ever made? Is there anyone in the world except for the 300 or 400 remaining Wachowski geeks out there who’s even watched Matrix Reloaded or Matrix Revolutions on DVD over the past three or four years?
I wrote a piece called “Neo Schmeo” that summed it all up back in October 2003:
“I never would have guessed after getting my first look at The Matrix — a movie that freed my heart and made me levitate — that the sequels-to-come would turn out as badly as they have.
“Now the word is spreading like a huge fart and it’s all over but the revenues. This franchise went spiritually belly-up after the release of The Matrix Reloaded last summer, and now here’s The Matrix Revolutions to drive the final stake in and kill it for good. The legend, the faith, the magic…dead.
“You may be able to figure out most of what’s going on in Revolutions…or not. Point is, if your experience is anything like mine you’re going to stop caring anyway because you’re going to find yourself realizing with a jolt you’re totally done with looking at Carrie Ann Moss and fat Larry Fishburne doing that deadpan superhero thing in those shades and leather outfits.
“It hit me around 25 minutes in. I said to myself, ‘I’m done. I don’t want to watch this shit any more…ever.” I see the Matrix Reloaded DVD on the shelves at my local DVD store and a thought never even occurs to me about renting it. I don’t want to look at a scene, a snippet…nothing.
“I could go on for six or seven paragraphs trying to pick through what made sense to me and what I’m still trying to figure out, but why should I write anything in this column that will pay even an oblique tribute to something I believe everyone should wash their hands of?
“I saw Keanu Reeves in Nancy Meyers‘ Something’s Gotta Give last night (i.e., Monday) and I was so grateful he wasn’t wearing his leather Neo outfit I almost teared up. He looked so normal and natural and regular guy-ish. Considering the metaphorical implications made me feel light in the head.
“It doesn’t matter what Revolutions makes. Either it gets people where they live (like The Matrix did) or it doesn’t. Millions are going to go this weekend and what of it? Ticket sales don’t mean anything. Not with big-studio tentpolers.
“The Matrix Revolutions is like a bowl of narrative spaghetti, meant to be savored (I presume) for being a wonderful tangle that geek boys can dive into and try to put together in some fashion. But there is no one strand that leads to any kind of thematic core or foundation that seems to support the whole thing. The story hasn’t been told — it’s been heaped upon us like some kind of bizarre attack of live pasta and CGI squid.
“The big attack sequence on Zion is too overwhelming to make much of an impact. Too many millions of sentinels, no way of keeping score, and I don’t want or need this in my life.
“”I know this: When inquiring minds feel they need to compare notes in order to get their heads straight about what may or may not have happened story-wise, which I was doing with friends in front of the Fox Village last Thursday night and then on the phone and internet after that, the movie hasn’t done its job.. Journo after journo raised their eyebrows and gave me that ‘look’ after the all-media screening.
“One guy said, ‘Oh, well…!’ Another said, ‘I hated it!’ Another said, ‘Who was that big Wizard of Oz guy with the big deep voice at the end? Where was he during the last two installments…?’
“The single best bit in the whole thing is when Neo tries running on foot out of the train station, and finds himself right back where he started a second later.
“The second best scenes in the film both belong to Hugo Weaving. His scene with the Oracle, and his scene at the end when he talks about the meaninglessness of it all, blah, blah. That was great.
“They should have left it alone with the original The Matrix, and been proud of that triumph, and gone on to something new and fresh. But no — Joel and the boys and Keanu Reeves wanted to make all that money. And money’s all they’re going to get.”