Thursday, April 30, 2009

Angel Unchained

Last night I saw the second part of the B-movie double feature, "Angel Unchained". Now, a title like that might make you think it's about some prostitute who got let out of prison, but no such luck--this was a 1969 biker film where an ex-biker-turned-hippie (yeah, let that sink in) is named "Angel" and has to protect a commune of hippies from some cowboys.

First, the guy's white--if you're a white guy and you're named "Angel" then you have much bigger problems than motorcycle sores. Step one, get a new name, like "Lance" or "Sarpedon" or "Clovis". Then you might have a chance!

So Angel joins a bunch of hippies on a commune in the southwest (one of the hippies is TV's Tyne Daly, who was Cagney or Lacey, not sure which one because in the '80s I only watched sitcoms), and learns that the town's cowboys are hassling them and trying to drive them off their hippie land. The movie--did I mention this was early Nixon years?--tries to get us to feel sympathy for these poor deluded hippies, though I've got to say I could see the cowboys' point--when has any neighborhood improved when the hippies moved in? The smell of patchouli alone was probably enough to get the rednecks ready for some good ole shootin'. Though violence isn't the answer--all they had to do was show up at the commune dressed as a job and that would have scared the hippies away.

So one of the head hippies tells Angel to get his biker gang to come and help protect them from the cowboys. Wow, what a great idea! Like that time the civil rights marchers hired the neo-Nazis to protect them from the Ku Kux Klan! Oh wait, they didn't do that because that would be pretty short-sighted. Despite Angel's objections, they bring the bikers in and hijinks ensue.

I guess they could do a sequel, where the hippies saw that their trust fund checks ran out and they had to enter the world of finance and sell out and become yuppies. Then Angel could try and save them from a corporate takeover!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cycle Savages

Last night's "B-picture" was Cycle Savages, featuring Bruce Dern (cult movie hero and Laura Dern's father) as an insane leader of a biker gang that terrorizes an artist who has been trying to draw pictures of the gang members. Eventually, Dern and his gang, upset that the drawings the artist is making of them will be shown to the police, try to maim the artist's hands, which makes little sense to me since then the guy can simply tell the police that they attacked him. Probably would have made more sense to just kill him, but then I'm not the leader of a biker gang. Of course, I have to also wonder why the artist was drawing pictures of the bikers in the first place--was there some sort of "Hell's Angels" exhibit coming up at the Met?

Poor Bruce Dern--it'd be another nine years before he'd get an Academy Award nomination for "Coming Home". But like they say, you gotta do a lot of Cycle Savages before you make the big time.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Titles, Folks

So yesterday I broke down and grabbed lunch at the KFC next to our office (you can see it from my office window, taunting me with it's Kentucky Fried Goodness) and sure it may have been an unhealthy meal but man those eleven herbs and spices did the trick. They were also giving out samples of their new grilled chicken, and that was pretty terrific as well. The hard part today will be going back to healthy eating.

Were you aware that Colonel Sanders wasn't a real Army colonel, but a "Kentucky Colonel" which is some sort of honorary title they hand out in the Bluegrass state? Elvis' manager Colonel Tom Parker--who was actually a Dutch immigrant and illegal alien--was another "Kentucky Colonel", as was "Colonel Homer Simpson" (when Homer was manager for country singer Lurleen Lumpkin). I think it's about time we other states had titles to hand out! Virginia could hand out titles of nobility, so I can be a "Virginia Viscount" and Maine could give out civil service titles, so the gang back in Maine could become "Maine Postmasters".

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up

Back from the NYC weekend. It began with a ride on the "Boltbus" which was a pretty high end bus for this rider of the Chinatown Express, though the driver took us on some excursion through southern Delaware that seemed rather out of the way. Using the iPhone GPS, I kept wondering "what in the hell is this dude doing" but ultimately we made it to NYC where I shivered my way across town (I was wearing shorts and expecting warmer weather). It did of course warm up the next day, and managed to meet the Beck for pizza at Lombardi's (home of the first pizza) in Little Italy and wandered through the parks on the way back uptown. Joined Andy and his crew for a dinner party, then back out to meet ole Chole on the town. Chole's gang of Mainers had "over-toured" themselves, so they were too wiped out for any partying. Weak! At least Chole found a bit of energy to stay out for a few drinks. Finally, before my ride back I met with Jer to discuss the company business, and had a nice blunch.

Now back in balmy DC, and back to work.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Now, in the middle of deciding casting for Road House 3, we came upon an epiphany (noun, Gr., meaning "thing that's totally neat")--what if we could get FRANK STALLONE in our film? Just think, the number of cult movie buffs who'd see our movie ironically would be enough to pay for the production!

It's part of one of the Golden Rules of Hollywood, as taught by old-style mogul Louis Mayer (one of MGM's founders)--"When in doubt, hire Frank Stallone."

NYC Weekend

After work today I head to NYC, for a weekend of taking care of business. This means my informal shareholder meeting with Jer, who hopefully will tell me something better than "we're broke dude", and working on the Road House 3 outline with Andy who is still obsessed with getting Sammy Hagar into the picture which would require a change of location for the film to Cabo San Lucas. Also hope to see the Beck, and Chole and her Maine Gang will be in town doing the touristy stuff that I'll happily skip and catch up with them after. We also supposedly have a dinner party Saturday (rumor is it'll feature fondue, and a fondue to you too) and I have to somehow fit a lot of pizza in there.

The question is can I avoid the usual NYC hangover? Time will tell! One can never predict what happens in NYC. And once I step on the isle of Manhattan, it is out of my hands.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More Road House 3 News

One of the issues we're dealing with in creating "Road House 3--Back to Basics" is that every young star or starlet wants to use a role in the film as their key to fame. Their "Oscar moment" as it were--and for some, maybe a comeback film (the way Pulp Fiction was for John Travolta, or Godfather was for Marlon Brando). Who is going to want the part as evil Brad Wesley's twin brother who doesn't look like Brad Wesley and may not actually be evil after all? (Mind you, this will be a complex role) I'm thinking we might have something for Harrison Ford here, since frankly his career has been in the toilet lately (no thanks to Spielberg and Lucas, two guys who created the suckfest that was the Indiana Jones sequel--of course, Lucas sucks period. He already destroyed one franchise!). Could Ford pull off the role of Enos Wesley?

Then of course there's Jeff Bridges, who has shown a great deal of range over the years, from Last Picture Show to Starman to Lebowski. He apparently played a villain in Ironman, though I didn't see it yet so I don't know how convincing he was.

John Goodman also needs a role, now that I have Lebowski on my mind.

Ah, the perils of being a Hollywood hotshot! Decisions, decisions.


You know what's more fun than not eating junk food? Eating junk food. V8 just doesn't do the trick (it's like drinking a can of bad gazpacho, for those of you Mexican can-drinkers out there) and with the cocoa machine in there making the sweet siren smells of choco goodness, it's hard for a guy without willpower to cope.

And of course I wake up with sore muscles--curse you, foul exercise! Last time I was this sore was last year's softball season, when my arms tired out from lifting pitchers of beer and plates of chicken wings. Those were the days! I can't imagine the team is having more fun this season, what with budget cuts and no longer having a coach who buys morale with food.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lazy Slob of a Man

Did some workout (can't call it "cardio" since that sounds foppish) last night for the first time in over a year. Yep, that should make up for a year of snacking and boozing! Part of the problem is that the office is stocked with delicious snacks, like potato chips and Coke and chocolates and sure they have V8 but get serious. Plus, I'm an incredibly lazy man. After a long day of....sitting at my desk....the last thing I want is to do anything exhaustive.

But pool season starts soon, and I can see myself at least using that for some relaxing exercise. Bring it on, summer heat!

Where's My Damn Parade???

Ah, Earth Day, a special day which . . . I can't pretend to be the slightest bit excited about. For me, every day that I don't dump sludge in the river is Earth Day. But am I asking for a parade?

Yes. I should have a parade, and it's about time. Think about the people who have had parades in their honor--

a) St. Patrick. The guy wasn't even Irish! He just tricked a bunch of pagans into becoming Christian. I could totally do that, except I'd do one thing different--change "Jesus" to "Weezie" so that centuries later tourists are wondering why they keep seeing bumper stickers in that country that read "You have a friend in Weezie" and "Weezie Saves". The American tourists would think the country was full of Jeffersons fans.

b) Columbus. He landed on an island that was already inhabited, and discovered it for another country. Guess what? I just did that--I "discovered" Virginia for the state of Maine. Hey Mainers! I am here in "New Maine" and setting up our colony. Bring beer.

c) Thanksgiving. Admittedly, this is just an excuse for Macy's to put up big floats. Surely they can do the same for the Parade du Brandeau (as they'll celebrate it in France, alongside Mickey Rourke and Jerry Lewis festivals).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Reasons for Road House 3

In working on the script for Road House 3, it has given me time to reflect on when the first one came out (in 1989) and I was a young, idealistic lad just starting high school. My meatheaded friend said "hey let's go see Road House, it looks awesome" and I was all "yeah watch how fast I go". I mean, I was no fan of the Swayze, and as much as I could appreciate a good action flick, even in the '80s I had a low tolerance for stupidity in films (though interestingly, a high tolerance for stupidity in everyday life). Road House? I don't think so!

At least a decade later, I was watching Spanish TV (seriously, there was NOTHING else on at that time slot) hoping to learn the language based on what was onscreen, and what should they be showing but Road House in Spanish! (Maybe that's "Casa de Calle"?) In all it's stupid glory, with gratuitous semi-nudity and pointless fistfights--where people take a haymaker to the chin and come back swinging--and I said "I gotta see this with English dialogue!" In the years since, I'd seen the movie in bits and pieces on cable, always enjoying how seriously it tried to take itself. Finally, I Netflixed it and saw this mindless cult classic in its full form. (I also Netflixed the sequel, which is so bad and not in an enjoyable way, that it's not worth mentioning further)

Also, for some reason I find Swayze likable, though I can't say I've ever enjoyed any of his movies (enjoying Road House is more of a "so bad it's good" enjoyment). Learning of the man's cancer, the idea here was to create Road House 3 as a swan song, a way for him to retire on top of his game, with a sequel that actually improves on the original. A great piece of film that leaves people saying "huh. That was a great piece of film and in no way a waste of celluloid."

In short, that was Road House 3.

More cornholing? Wasn't last time enough?

Well, this morning's visit to the dealer for a car inspection was inexpensive--not only was this the first time I've gone to a dealer for anything, but also the first time I've taken a car in for an inspection without needing all sorts of repairs due to mufflers dragging, brakes failing, and mysterious amounts of blood dripping from the undercarriage. The downside? Well, their "it may take as much as an hour" turned into more like an "hour" if we're using a very loose definition of "an hour" since it was more like two and a half hours. You know what's not a whole lot of fun? Trying to answer work e-mails on a hand-held device so everyone thinks you never mastered basic spelling.

Fortunately, they had a neat lounge to sit in with doughnuts and freezy pops (yeah, an odd combination) and comfy chairs. But rather than being slightly late to work, I rolled in just before lunchtime. Good thing I'm not an emergency room surgeon, or else I would have had to tell the dealership people that thanks to their misunderestimation of time, several people died, even little Johnny who had hopes of being the next Yo Yo Ma even though Johnny's not Chinese and doesn't like stringed instruments. But one can dream, dammit!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Guess who got spooged by the cell phone companies without having them buy him dinner first?

Well, looks like my latest cell phone bill was for $194 because of roaming charges--oh, good! Good thing the phone doesn't have a feature like a warning when you're going over your minutes, or anything better than a tiny squiggle that lets you know when you're roaming. After all, then the cell phone companies can't give you the old Sing Sing cornhole. Bunch of Sock Cucking Bastards!

The rage, it intensifies....

Road House 3 News

Began the script for Road House 3 this weekend, getting a couple scenes in. What's tricky is trying not to just replicate the first movie scene by scene. In some ways, sequels can be harder to write than the originals (just ask the acclaimed director of "Breakin' 2--Electric Boogaloo", whoever that is).

I did learn over the weekend that Patrick Swayze is gravely ill, so the chances of bringing him back for the sequel are nil (why oh why didn't we start this project a decade ago? Poor Swayze! This could have been the coda to his brilliant body of work over the years). So who on earth could we cast as Dalton if not the great Swayze?

1) Matthew McConnaughy--too laid back. We need the intensity of a tortured soul.

2) Ryan Reynolds--too much of a comic actor. We need a guy who can play this cheesy film straight. Like he doesn't know he's in on the joke.

3) Ben Affleck--after Gigli, no way in hell.

4) Russell Crowe--too difficult to work with. But seriously, he'd be perfect in this role! He can grow a mullet, do the American accent--he COULD BE DALTON.

Weakend Wrap Up

It was a pleasant weekend, getting out for some exercise in the sunny weather both days, and meeting up with the gang (Don Niccolo, Lady Erin and their spouses) for eats and drinks at a nice outdoor corner joint east of Dupont before heading to a party in SW. All was good until I agreed to crash and take the Metro back in the morning--and trying to time it perfectly to catch a train without much of a wait was hampered by having to wander around a few blocks until a cop told me where the damn Metro station was! D'oh! Amused myself on the ride back with some video blackjack (and yes, I'm even unlucky in the virtual world!) as well as some dude in the car who was having a very angry breakup with some girl over the phone. (The dude didn't care much about who heard his dirty laundry)

Caught up with AJB yesterday for lunch, then hit the gun range to try and make our penises feel bigger (didn't work! at least for me anyway). The .40 Berretta didn't have as much kick as I'd have expected, and of course the hot shells dropping was a bit of a hazard for my poor choice of footwear (flip flops--I hadn't expected a gun range trip on my way to lunch). I have a sneaking suspicion that AJB is trying to start a gang, particularly since in middle of the shooting I asked him "are you trying to start a gang? Is this training for street warfare?" and he said not to ask any more questions.

Today of course it is rainy and miserable out, which is fine since I'm indoors anyway. On to another work week!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Screenwriting for Geniuses

In writing a collaborative screenplay, the process usually goes through several stages:

1) Create outline.

2) Argue with co-writer about who forgot to brew the coffee.

3) Start writing first scene.

4) Argue with co-writer about who put in too many swear words and punches to the groin in the scene. Especially since it was a baptism scene.

5) Quit writing and watch another ten minutes of Lawrence of Arabia before passing out.

With a film like "Road House 3--Back to Basics" there's a lot of pressure to make the film great, since the original is such a part of our collective consciousness. Few sequels have been considered "great" as in "as good or better than the original". There's Godfather Part II, there's Empire Strikes Back. But mostly, they've been cheap attempts to cash in by the studio. Iron Eagle? Karate Kid? Rocky V???

What this film plans to add is a hook--something to advance the story line, show that Dalton has grown since the first one, and thrust him into a situation that has some similarities to the original but is genuinely unique. But to make the sequel truly great--as in, bring Swayze back to the mainstream great--it will need some clever twists and turns. Friends become hidden enemies! Love is found in unexpected places! Tragedy strikes! Essentially, situations to allow Swayze to emote properly for Academy Award consideration. Yeah, we're just that ambitious!

Back in Blogging Mode

After a hiatus from blogging, it's good to get started back up--new job, new city, new car--may as well get back to the blogging circuit. Highlights since the last posts:

1) Now in the DC area, and renting out the place in Portland (hopefully to sell it soon)

2) Finished the second novel, though it (as well as the first one) may need a bit of editing before I try and find publishers. The first novel, you might recall, was an alternative history drama taking place during WWII, while the Americans are trying to knock out a victorious Germany that is threatening a trans-Atlantic invasion. The second novel involves a gang war in Portland, Maine after a rift regarding a witness in police custody who may or may not be possessed by a demon.

3) Now embarking on a screenplay for a sequel to the cult classic film, "Road House". This will take the story in brave new directions, and provide the perfect comeback for Patrick Swayze (who has so far survived cancer and might be a cinch for Hollywood praise when all is said and done--he just needs the right script!).

4) The summer will also involve scuba training and survival training, as I plan to embark on some new adventures. Hijinks will ensue!

WTC Still a Hole

Looks like the WTC is going to be delayed being rebuilt for decades now. Apparently, what Bin Laden and company could do in knocking it down is nothing compared to typical NYC and government bureaucratic bungling (not that the real estate and financial slump helped). Keep in mind, the surrounding buildings that were destroyed were rebuilt years ago--entirely by the private sector. Granted, these are much smaller buildings compared to what they're trying to rebuild in the main spot, but the fact that it's still just an expensive hole in the ground after almost eight years is offensive.