this happens on occasion.
i don't know what's wrong with me. i even took the slow route down Glison Street just to go by the hospital where lisa (supposedly) works. not that i thought i might see her (or maybe i'd hoped she'd see me without my seeing her see me); but it's just one of those things no one ever admits to their friends that they do. ...christ almighty...
Actually, the whole day was like that. Going by old haunts. Not because I wanted to, or even meant to, but just because that's the way the day went.
I was back in my sister's office for the first time in a couple of weeks. they're finishing up - or starting a new phase of some project, and information packets had to be sent out to a gang of new people. Well, it costs more to send informational packets through the mail than it does to send a delivery driver out. Eight bucks against sixteen bucks.
One of the houses I went to was in a neighborhood that Karyn used to live in. Not very close to the exact house, but close enough that I was on the same roads - those rediculously twisty roads that snake through the West Hills of Portland and Hillsdale. There are almost fifty roads, streets and sideways in any given West Hills neighborhood, but only five or ten names. If ever I learned anything driving a van for the Post House, it was to pay attention to Court, Street, Lane, Circle, Avenue, Parkway, Drive and alley. Holy shit. I've decided that people who live in hills and suburbs simply do not want to be found. 638 Westcourt Lane could be a mile or two, or just down the wrong way of a one-way street. This is one way I've developed the notion that the traffic controlling paint on the street pavement does not actually rule the laws of physics. You can drive over it, you know.
I've not been very good with the writing lately. That's becuase I've been reading shitloads of material. This whole writing thing happens in spurts. After I've collected enough of my thoughts, then something comes out. Heh,heh...something.
So the President of the United States is in town. Geez. I'm glad that so many people are out to protest, but I really couldn't care less. I wish I had the interest to go protest with them. And maybe I will after I finish this. But if the weenie isn't going to interact with his people, then fuck him. I don't have time to go downtown and get clubbed by one - or four or Chief Kroker's stooges. More on this if I go down there and form an opinion. ...we'll see.
So yesturday was another day off for me. Not as enjoyable as it sounds. I'm sick of days off. Not that I'm short of things to do, but I need action; people; conversation and interaction. And on a day off, there's no better place to find all that than the thriving downtown bars.
The Ash Street Saloon is an interesting contrast to Captain Ankeny's next door. At Captain's you'll find the thrity-something professional - and starving professional - crowd, all looking fit and chic and quite proud of themselves. Despite the yuppie element, the random and spontaneous conversation is much more sophisticated and satisfying than you'd find ten yards down at the Ash Street.
I'd taken a friend's script with me for a couple of pints to see what kind of writer he is, and whether I should waste my time as part of his crew. It's been a few years since I read someone's amatuer screenplay. The last time I was in a reading mood, I couldn't have formed my own coherant plot if it came in a kit. So reading them wasn't much fun either, because all I could see was the self-indulgant garbage, the auto-erotic polishing of one's own knob, as it were. Dary's is the first amatuer script I didn't hate. Oh, it's laughable. Any geek can spot an amateur's influences right off the first ten pages. Dary just can't get enough of Quentin Tarantino's cock in his mouth. But to be fair - and Sean and I had a nice discussion of this a couple of weeks ago - Tarantino set the standard for indy films after Pulp Fiction. If you're going to create a story about contempory urban crime characters, Tarantino is the master you have to beat. And few can, so they imitate him instead. If you can't beat him, kiss him where it counts.
Dary's script isn't bad. It's actually mildly interesting. It needs polishing, of course. In fact, as I went over it a second time - yeah... what?! - I wrote all kinds of positive notes next to the negative ones I'd jotted down the first time. Just little suggestions that could turn this embarrassment of a screenplay into something that could actually be made. Even on our no-budget level of geurrilla DV.
The gyst of it is like this: Struggling Asian father owes money to big-time crooks; not quite "gangsters" in the Goodfellas/Casino sense, but bad guys who roll high. Father has the money but it gets stolen by another bad guy. Goons come to collect; no money to be found, and a violent tale of follow-the-briefcase through a humorous series of mistaken identity ensues. Like I said, it's not bad. Actually, if Dary has a carreer in mind, he could fix this up and sell it. Alas, he hasn't yet satisfied the struggles as a human being that would raise him to the considerable level of writer. Not, if he expects this script to bring him recognition. But who in Hollywood gives a shit.
The one thing I like most about it, something he seems to have intuitively written into the action then lost, is the daughter of the Asian father. In seeking out the stolen money which her father owes, she functions as a total outsider to the mythical American criminal underworld, leading the audience through something they think they know all about - at least in a cinematic sense. I picked up on Dary's intuition in this character, but he didn't follow through. She gets lost for fifty pages, then suddenly turns up, as if, "Oh, yeah.... Her."
It's a common device: the protaganist is an "ordinary" person caught up in extraordinary circumstances. What urks me most about Hollywood movies is losing the honesty in portraying the ordinary person, the one that audiences are supposed to identify with. Dary didn't lose the character quite so badly as mosty movies do. Instead, he just left her behind; totally forgot about her. At some point, she picks up a handgun off a dead body, a gun that is described huge, and instinctively knows how to use it.
Okay...now, we're the audience. All of you out there, raise your hands if you've ever touched a handgun. Yeah, maybe one of you. I've touched one, but I don't count. And niether do rifles. Somehow, it's more acceptable, thus more common, in polite company to have carried and fired a rifle than a handgun. I'm not making any judgements. I think we all ought to know how to handle a gun, though few of us should be allowed to use one. But that's niether here nor there. The point is, very few of us have the experience to know how to use a handgun at night in the city, rain pouring down. And if I'm expected to indentify with a character in a movie who leads me through the grotesque and violent world of criminality, she ought never to try using a handgun. Or, ought to suffer the consequences for trying if she does. Because I think I'd break my wrist if I ever picked up a gun on the street and tried using it.
Anywho...it's not a bad script. I'm sure the notes I made are as interesting and clever as the story Dary wrote. ...whatever that means. but I'm not going to say anything unless he asks. Or maybe I should say something, like, this script is totally doable, as long as you rewrite it to fit a budget.
Sorry, but none of us knows anything, or even know anyone who does know anything about Las Vegas gambling, or the murderous thugs who run it.
...but everyone's met a drug dealer, a restaurant owner, a cab driver, an independant grocery store operator, and a couple of yahoos who wear all the right designer shit but still don't realize their inherant idiocy. In there, somewhere, is an interesting story.
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