The following is from the opening pages of a draft of “Down & Dirty Pictures,” a screenplay adaptation of Peter Biskind‘s book by Joshua James Craig and Dean Craig. The story is by Ken Bowser & Joshua James. I’m posting this excerpt because the late Bingham Ray appears as a character with some (for me) amusing dialogue. Here it is:
TITLE CARD ON BLACK:
“To fight the empire is to be infected by its derangement. This is a paradox: Whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies.” — Philip K. Dick, “Exegesis.”
FADE IN: EXT. MOVIE THEATER – DAY
The marquee reads: “DOWN & DIRTY PICTURES”. A truck pulls up. HANDS deposit two 35mm FILM CANS outside the door. The theater door opens. Two NEW HANDS pick up the cans.
INT. MOVIE THEATER – CONTINUOUS CLOSE:
Hands carry the FILM CANS into a projection room. Hands extract a reel of film and thread it through the gates of the projector. A hand flips switch and LIGHT splashes an image across a darkened theater onto the screen.
EXT. HOLLYWOOD HILLS – NIGHT
A CAR speeds through the winding roads.
INT. CAR (MOVING) – CONTINUOUS
BINGHAM RAY, forties, drives fast around the curves.
Caption: March 24, 1999.
Fuck the Academy Awards…FUCK ‘EM!
Bingham takes a swig and, his eyes off the road, LOSES CONTROL of the car. Enormous CRUNCH of metal as car meets tree.
INT. AMBULANCE (MOVING) – LATER
Bingham opens his eyes, covered in cuts and bruises, and flat on his back on a gurney in an ambulance.
Didn’t see that tree jump out in front of ya, I take it?
The PARAMEDIC, thirties, checks Bingham’s vital signs.
I’m pretty sure the tree won this one. Here, lean your head back.
No, not that. Who won Best Picture?
The AMBULANCE DRIVER chimes in.
Shakespeare In Love.
You have to forgive my partner. He’s crazy about movies.
So was mine. Fuck! FUCKING HARVEY! That’s it, I’m fucking done!
Paramedic adjusts the gurney and neck brace on Bingham.
Easy. What’d you do before you were done?
October? Never heard of ’em.
You’ve heard of Miramax?
(over his shoulder)
Pulp Fiction! And Good Will Hunting! And Sling Blade and The English Patient…
They also produced and directed Playing For Keeps, but no one remembers that.
Clerks! Fucking Clerks kicks ass!
Okay Jimmy, we got it. Yeah, Miramax. October was like Miramax?
Bingham notices an OBJECT hanging from the rear view mirror.
Kinda like Miramax. Just not as successful.
The OBJECT is a miniature version of the SCREAM mask.
The film on the screen freezes on the scene in the ambulance. Bingham, now older, sits in theatre seat, shaking his head.
You should be ashamed of yourself, that’s so fucking Hollywood.
Caption: BINGHAM RAY, cofounder, October Films.
So what we just saw didn’t happen?
We never see the DIRECTOR, safely behind the camera.
It did, but not like THAT. It was in the morning, not at night, I was drinking but within legal limits, and it happened over a year after that. I mean, I was fucked up, I did hit a tree, but there were much more tragic things …
INT. DOROTHY PAVILION – NIGHT
HARRISON FORD stands at a podium.
And the Academy Award for Best Picture goes to . . .
Oh, no. No, you can’t.
INT. SCREENING ROOM – DAY
JEFF LIPSKY, dressed in purple and without a hair on his body, shifts in his seat.
You can’t begin the movie there, that’s the end, not the beginning.
Caption: Jeff Lipsky, cofounder, October Films.
Some people would argue that Shakespeare was the end and the beginning.
Very funny. You don’t fuckin’ get it, do you? This was a battle, this was a fucking war to the death.
A war between . . .
Film and movies.
Art and populism.
Our battlefields were film festivals. Like Toronto.
You really want to show what happened, you’ve got to go back to the beginning. Up that damn hill to Sundance.