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Even Bad Dreams End

Everyday chaos slips closer: a scream, a senior center closing, gunshot lead-in on the five o'clock news. Outside construction workers tear up the street while mean little women let their mean little dogs piss on the sacks of garbage waiting to be hauled away. Occasionally I can open my window fast enough to shout, “You're in trouble!” before the evil-doers escape to their cement hi-rise tombs, but mostly I stand in my own overpriced cell in a slow burn, and marveling at how ugly and selfish America has become. New York City right now is all elbows and knees and sirens and layoffs. Everyday brings news of labor strife, rising housing and subway costs, teacher layoffs, closing zoos, and that despicable fraud Governor Pataki repeating his opposition to “job-killing taxes.” The rate things are going there will be beautiful black-masked anarchy by the time of the Republican National Convention, which the chickenhawk patriots have pushed to September, 2004, in order to milk the World Trade Center attack. Gentlemen, start your riots.

Outside the 28th/Park subway stop a woman yelling into a cellphone: “Where are you? Do you have any idea whatsoever how much pressure I'm under? I'm planning your fucking wedding! Not my big day, oh no, not my golden hour to be toasted and roasted and handed fat packets of cash, but your fucking wedding! I even quit my job for you, for fucking you, Sheila, and now you disappear for days. You're out god knows where fucking cabana boys while I'm arguing with Hungarian grocers about the price of cantaloupes and fighting off your fucking in-laws who, by the way, are the most despicable, horrible, disgusting people I've ever met in my life, so good luck at Christmas and Hanukkah! He's probably gay anyway! Oh really, then why do his sweaters match his shoes, huh!”

My friend T. informs me he was secretly married for two years, then divorced before he got around to telling anyone. The ceremony was performed by his accountant, an Irishman named Max, on a bluff overlooking a San Diego beach. T. says that Max is also a chiropractor specializing in Reiki, which is “a form of mental body work.” I burst out laughing, assuming T. is joking; he's not. I order another beer while T. has his second double martini. His ritual is to down a brace of martinis on the way to Grand Central Station, where he meets with a marriage counselor every Wednesday. The therapy was a last-ditch effort to save the secret marriage, which ended several months ago. T. says it's expensive, but he's “really bonded with the counselor.” I add “cult leader” to my ever-growing list of get-rich quick schemes.

I couldn't sleep at all last night. So I got up at four in the morning, then went right back to bed ten minutes later. I woke up at 1:30 feeling refreshed, if not invigorated. I also had a wonderful dream where I was a king on a hill and, because I was the boss, I never had to listen to some schmuck describe her dream to me ever again. In my dream I sat on a director's chair six stories high and told my grateful and obedient masses: “Your dreams are boring and meaningless. My dreams are interesting and, quite likely, a private communication channel to the divine. Never mention your dreams to me, nor how cute your kids are. I don't care. Your tediousness will only end in tragedy and tears. Now bring me gold and canned peaches with real whipped cream.” Then I woke up wishing I could get right back into the dream. Does that ever happen to you?

Despite vowing to never believe another word that pompous lying sack of shit S.F. Chronicle movie reviewer Mick LaSalle says, these are desperate times, so I went to see “Dark Blue,” the Kurt Russell star vehicle about a violent L.A. cop. It didn't seem horrible, and LaSalle had said: “…while 'Dark Blue' may not be easy to watch, it's exceptionally well made. Unmistakably authentic — and all the more disturbing for that reason — it presents violence not with the usual movie-style theatricality but with the graphic abruptness of real life as captured on a surveillance video. Likewise, while many movies strive to imitate the gutter bonhomie of cops and crooks, the dialogue in this film's screenplay — written by David Ayer, from a story by James Ellroy — hits the ear as real.”

Maybe an Ellroy-penned script would have pulled this turd out of the sewer and into the gutter, but I doubt it. The movie's as about as authentic as the A-Team or Bonanza; actually, Hoss and Little Joe saving a little lady in a gingham dress from a one-eyed gambler in a black hat is MacBeth compared to this Hollywood schlock. Besides the decent job Russell does, the rest of the movie and actors are complete b-grade vomit. Don't see it, don't rent it, don't do anything but put LaSalle right at the top of your special list.

The only thing that made the movie even bearable was the fact that the couple in front of me ate half a chicken, a slab of spare ribs, a bag of candy corn, a giant snickers bar and a burrito; curiously, all items were carefully wrapped in tin foil. They had an entire picnic, plus several full-volume conversations about napkins and soda and chicken wings, during the movie, and I don't blame them.

Son of Over-Rated: I was looking forward to “A Mighty Wind” as much as anyone in the solar system. “This Is Spinal Tap” has had a seminal effect on my adolescent mind. I have Spinal Tap paraphernalia, I've seen them in concert, and I've memorized entire scenes not due to malignant obsession but from a sweet, chaste love. But after kindred mockumentaries “Waiting For Guffman” and “Best In Show,” the flower is losing its intoxicating stink. “A Mighty Wind” entertains but also disappoints. Eugene Levy's drug-addled musician act is annoying after the first 60 seconds; suffering through it the whole movie and I wanted to send him to that special place reserved for Mick LaSalle and the official who made that bogus pass interference call on Ronnie Lott in the 1983 NFC Championship Game against the Redskins. Another big problem with “Wind” is that the big three — Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer — play insultingly small parts. Perhaps Guest as director and writer likes to share the limelight, a noble idea in this depraved and egotistical age. But when the money's on the line, I want to see the big boys at the plate, not rubbing grass stains from some rookie's jockstrap.

One Comment

  1. Boont December 15, 2019

    Pull back on the Hunter S. Thompson stuff, it’s not working.

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