Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Senior Week Part 4

Like the others, if you haven't been reading then you best start here.

Anyway, most of the week is a blur. Attending parties. I thought I was gonna get laid one night--a hispanic hottie and I were getting along great, and she asked me if I wanted to walk her back to her hotel. Sure I did.

You notice how much longer walks seem to be when you're drunk? We walked along the beach to her hotel, and I could have sworn it was ten miles. I don't remember much about getting to her hotel, but I'm pretty sure I didn't get laid. And I have no idea how I got back.

Somewhere around day four we ran out of money. We had plenty of liquor left, and we could always bum more, but food was a problem. We had some canned food in the car, but no cash for real food.

One day we found enough for the four of us to split an order of breadsticks from Pizza Hut. Another day we went into the 7-11 and cooked some food in their microwave and ate it, threw the wrappers in their trash can and left without paying for it.

And my stomach REALLY started hurting. I thought it was from the bong-fest--too much liquor. I called home for advice--they weren't happy about talking to me. They advised me to drink some milk. The next day I didn't even drink any alcohol--during senior week that's pretty much insane.

The next to last night is actually the most vivid. We got drunk and we got OUT OF CONTROL. We were loud, we were obnoxious, and we mildly trashed the room. The manager of the complex even came by because he'd received complaints--he saw what we'd done to the room, and he said he was gonna go call the police and kick us out.

He left--and that's when it really went nuts. I started it, but once it started it was like group hysteria. I took my knife and started stabbing it into the ceiling tiles, and punching them, ripping them, moving on the the next.

My pals started throwing lemonade mix everywhere(it's what we mixed with grain), and then proceeded to punch holes in the walls. They ripped the shower curtain down, then tore the shower rod out of the wall.

We destroyed that room. In roughly five minutes. Then we grabbed our stuff and ran to the car.

I was doing some quick thinking though--I asked Brooks who the room was registered to. He said his sister had gotten it. Since we'd come in Brooks' car, I figured if they wanted us bad enough they'd be able to get his make and license plate, so we probably shouldn't take off in the car.

I said--here's the plan: We split up. Go where ever--other parties, to the beach, to the boardwalk, anywhere but here. We'd meet up back at the car in the morning, and if the car was still there with no cops around it, it would probably be safe to go.

That's what we did. I spent the rest of the night roaming around with my knife, hiding in the dark--I spent the first hour watching the hotel. The cops showed up about a half an hour after we left. Three cop cars--the manager escorted them to the room and showed them the damage. They took notes.

Then they went around questioning people from our school, the ones in the neighboring rooms. I assumed someone gave them our descriptions, so I slipped out and ran to the beach, and spent a couple of hours in the shadow of a lifeguard chair.

I wandered for a while after that. Saw a buddy from the motel and asked him about the cops. He said they'd asked questions about who we were and got our names and stuff.

Around 5am I went back to the car, dead tired and starving to boot. No one was there. The sun was just beginning to come up. I figured, what the hell, and climbed into the backseat of the car and went to sleep, but it wasn't very restful. Too much noise and too light for me to sleep.

I was starving and I found a can of chicken noodle soup in the back of the car. This was before the pop-tops and I didn't have a can opener, so I used the survival knife to punch some big holes in it, then started slurping it out of the can.

That's what I was doing when my friends showed up--they laughed and thought I was nuts. I probably looked a little crazy.

We drove home--and I never heard another thing about it. We lost our security deposit--but I can't believe it could possibly have covered the damages we did, so I don't know.

But it was one crazy week.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Senior Week Part 3

Anyone who hasn't read the first two blogs--go HERE.

So anyway, I'm standing in kind of the back of this group with my hand near the handle of my survival knife. I wasn't thinking things like "Can I actually stab another person?" or "Will I be sickened at the thought of inserting a piece of steel into the flesh of another person or the ensuing leak of blood?"

No. I was thinking: "If someone sees me do this, there will be consequences. If it happens, I'll have to do it in the middle of the chaos so no one knows who did it--then take the knife to the beach, wipe it down, and toss it into the ocean."

But, sorry to let you down. No stabbing occurred. Be serious; If it had, do you think I'd be blogging about it?

There was a lot of the standard pre-fight jostling. Brooks was trying to do his diplomatic thing and talk them down. The guys weren't sure what the deal is, but they looked like they wanted to fight.

Until some of the guys from OUR football team showed up--we WERE in the motel that my school rented. The girl suddenly decided the money wasn't such a big deal, and she wasn't going to spend the night in our room.

It all kind of melted away. Afterward I pulled Brooks aside and told him I'd taken the money. He couldn't believe it. I showed it to him. Then he laughed, and was like, "Let's get some more beer!"

We got more beer--the downward spiral started.

Somehow or another we started doing beer-bongs. If you don't know what a beer bong is, what's wrong with you? But seriously, it's a funnel attached to a short length of plastic tubing. You dump a beer in while holding up the tube end. When the whole beer's in there, you kneel and put the tubing in your mouth, and in about two swallows the whole beer is gone.

I had always been a champ at it. So we started doing them, people thinking they could do as many as I could. And people started counting. I was at eleven when it started drawing a crowd.

People from other rooms were coming over to check it out. I was putting the competition behind me. I think Brooks lasted until somewhere around fourteen. Then it was just me.

At eighteen I was starting to slow down. To my recollection we'd been bonging for about two hours. I wasn't feeling great all of a sudden. But people kept cheering me on; new people would stop in to check the count.

So I kept drinking. At 20 beers I threw up--made it to the bathroom though. I came out and everybody cheered again, so I figured--I'd better keep going.

But we were out of beer. So I thought--fuck it, we've got grain alcohol. We mixed up some jungle juice(vodka and punch) and I started bonging that. We had some wine coolers, so I bonged one of those. I'm not sure how much of that stuff I did, but someone showed up with some more beers, so we continued the count.

I threw up again at 23--came out again and kept going. I'm not sure how many more I did, but my other buddy Wex said, "Dude, sit down for a couple of minutes, take a break."

Sounded like a good idea. I was wasted out of my mind. I sat down and promptly passed out.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Senior Week Part 2

If you haven't read part one, go TO THIS LINK now.

So. A couple of days into Senior Week. An earring(which I knew my parents would flip over), a lotta beer, a lotta lost memory.

I probably neglected to mention that I brought my survival knife with me. I can't tell you why. It was almost the exact one that you see in First Blood. Whenever we left the room to go drink elsewhere I carried it with me, slid into the back of my pants so no one knew.

I liked carrying it around. I always had. I sometimes took it to school with me--I never showed it to anyone.

We were in the room one evening, drinking and carrying on. A bunch of kids from another school came by the hotel and started drinking with us. Some of the girls were hot, so we didn't mind.

One of the girls said she didn't have a place to stay and she wanted to crash in our room. We didn't care, so we said sure. (We were all trying to figure out we could be the one to nail her...you know, boys will be boys)

A short while later her possessions were on our dresser in the midst of the chaos that was our room.

And at one point, no one was paying attention so I rifled through her possessions. (I may have mentioned that I was a sociopathic kleptomaniac, haven't I?) I found twenty bucks, and I was almost out of money, so I took it.

Yeah, yeah, I was a lowlife. I can only tell you that stealing her twenty dollars was one of the less-offensive things I ever did. Sue me.

A couple of hours later she noticed that she was missing her cash. She went nuts. She accused my best friend Brooks of stealing the money. He said he hadn't. She said one of us did. Brooks said no way, none of us had done it. He was pretty mad that, after offering to let this girl sleep in our room for the night, she would accuse one of us of stealing from her.

So he pulled us aside individually, and asked each and every one of us if we stole the money. We all said no.

Brooks then told the girl that none of us would lie to him. He was my best friend, but even he couldn't tell when I was lying.

The girl wigged and stormed out. But she came back. With four big football-player friends from her school. They were pissed.

And with the knife pressing against my back I wondered, not for the first time, whether this was the moment when I would get to kill someone.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Senior Week Part 1

Let's recount the Glory Days some more, why don't we?

Senior Week of 1988--the year I graduated high school. If you turned on the radio you were going to hear one of two songs battling for number one on the chart: "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Lepard or "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N Roses. Personally, I liked the Def Lepard song more. (Still do)

My buddies had reserved a room at a hotel that just about the entire school was renting out for the week. My problem: My parents forbade me to go.

Now I had been a pretty rebellious son, but I had never outright TOLD them I was going to break their rules. This time I did. I told them I was going and there was nothing they could do about it.

I guess they figured out that was true. But they were ominous. They said the consequences would be big if I did.

We hopped into my buddy's red '65 Mustang--total chick mobile. I think we each had about a hundred bucks and a couple of cases of beer, plus some assorted bottles of liquor.

Let me pause here to tell you--much of this recollection is vague. I was drunk during much of the weekend. The parts I recount vividly are what I remember--anything I loosely talk about is where things get hazy.

I don't remember the ride down or my buddy signing in with his fake ID. The first thing I remember is pounding beers in the room and looking out the window--the hotel was really two rectangular buildings whose sides faced each other, like the letter H without the middle bar. If we looked out our window we were seeing the other part of the hotel, all of its patios covered with classmates drinking and partying.

It was weird--it was like high school--but everyone was dressed in bathing suits and drinking. Everybody there was someone we knew.

Our boombox was cranked, and we were doing beer bongs and going nuts. People were coming in and out of rooms, just visiting everybody, so at any time there was a different ten people in our room. Some girl was standing on a one-legged coffee table, and the whole thing went crashing down amidst howls of laughter. Another guy would shotgun his beer, spewing it all over, and again--we just didn't care. The whole thing was hysterical.

I don't remember what we did during the day besides drink. I guess there had to be something. There was a Pizza Hut next to the hotel, so we just got pizza when we were hungry.

The second or third night there a bunch of us drunken idiots said "Hey, let's go get our ear pierced!", so we did. We had to act like we weren't drunk or they wouldn't do it, but we got it done. Out of the five of us who went, I'm the only one who still has an earring.

I know I'm meandering. The crazy stuff didn't happen until the last couple of nights. The beach and the girl. The theft. The knife. The police. The chase and the hiding.

I'll see if I can get it all into part 2.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Superman 3

Saw it tonight. I was thirteen the last time I saw it, and of course, I loved it.

Watching it this time, a few thoughts struck me, so I started a running commentary:

How does Margot Kidder rate the "And Margot Kidder as Lois Lane" credit in the beginning?(especially since she's in it for all of two minutes). And Robert Vaughn is like the eighth name or so...I figured he would have rated a little higher.

When Clark Kent blows out the burning penguin toy in the beginning--very cool low key effect.

When Superman flies...I mean, THAT'S the way to do it. To actually see him gliding above everyone...CGI can't touch that. I know CGI is easier than bringing a crane in and strapping in the actors, but just because it's easier doesn't mean it's better.

And in this case, it definitely isn't. To be fair, you can see the wires in a couple of places, but nowadays that would be a snap to take out. Frankly, I'm not sure why they didn't do it for the new dvd release...

Knowing what's coming in the film, it's funny--I think Superman's hair's looking a little discolored(ala evil Supes) the whole movie. Like maybe they shot the evil Supes stuff first, then tried to die Reeve hair back to black and couldn't get it right.

Funny seeing Annette O'Toole as Lana Lang, after she's been Mrs. Kent for so long on Smallville.

There really is something sad about seeing Christopher Reeve now that he's dead.

The sound wave effects as Clark hears the dog whimpering about the kid in the field--kind of stupid. I think we get it without them. Pretty cool panning behind-the-fence change into Superman though, and a very nice wide shot as Superman flies away. If you ask me, every second Reeve spent on wires suspended from a crane--totally worth it. Caught a glimpse of some more wires though--why wouldn't they remove them?

Ok, the movie jumps the shark when the walk/do not walk symbols begin to fight. I mean, why the hell is that in this movie?

That chick IS hotter than Miss Tessmocker. Except when she talks.

Nice stunt with Richard Pryor falling off the roof with skis--whoever that stunt man was fell a LOOOONG way. Kind of stupid attempt at getting a laugh though.

Lester makes a very interesting shot choice the first time Superman goes bad. When he sits down and makes a pass at Lana and the shots go to close ups, he doesn't frame them the way you typically do. It would be Lana--frame left, looking right and Superman--frame right, looking left. But Lester puts Lana on the right, almost off the screen, looking right. And he puts Superman on the left, almost off screen, looking left. Interesting choice--maybe trying to show Lana being uncomfortable at how close Superman is sitting.

Dude, Superman blowing out the Olympic torch as the guy is about to light it--that's funny.

Okay, most sexual shot in ANY Superman movie: The hot chick is sitting on top of the statue of liberty and Superman walks over to her and says, "What did you have in mind?" and she says, "Lots of things". And the only things in this frame are Superman's crotch and the girl, whose head is right at crotch level. Nice.

And holy crap--I guess I forgot about it, but Superman actually GETS SOME!

Dude, Reeve's acting in the junkyard as crazy Supes is excellent--when he breaks himself out of the tires actual SPIT flies from his mouth. He really was a much better actor than people gave him credit for.

Superman blowing oil back into a boat? Uh...yeah.

The whole super-computer ending is pretty bad--easily the weakest part of the flick. I'd bet some secondary, uncredited screenwriter came up with this section. Doesn't seem to fit in the movie--it's very, very campy.

Still, this movie isn't near as bad as people make it out to be.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Another Movie

One of my fondest movie memories--I think I mentioned it before. It took place at one of my favorite theaters, the one that's now a church. It was the summer of 1982, so I was only twelve.

I don't know how we heard about it, but there was a double feature being shown. The first was by "the guy who brought you 'Close Encounters'"--I didn't know who he was or anything about it, but it was called E.T.

The second was for "Conan The Barbarian". And it was rated R. I think I mentioned before about how we B.S.'ed my dad into taking us: we told him it was rated R for violence, not nudity. We had no idea; we only knew we HAD to see it.

I remember waiting out in the parking lot--we must have gotten there early. The line formed, and we made our way in. Yep--my dad got Jordan Almonds, and bought popcorn and Cokes for me and my brother.

E.T. turned out to be better than I expected. Want to hear something funny though? As big a Spielberg fan as I am, I haven't seen the film since that night--I don't know why.

But Conan! Holy crap, did that ever blow us away! And we knew without a doubt that we were gonna be in trouble by the time we left, because there was not just nudity in the movie, there was SEX. My dad was gonna give us hell, but it would be worth every ounce of it, because we had seen CONAN.

And from that day forward(or at least until 'Red Heat'), Arnold Schwarzenegger could do no wrong. We saw and loved every film he was in--even Conan The Destroyer and Red Sonja.

And I will never forget the way I felt, that sense of anticipation, as I stood in the parking lot with my father and my brother, waiting to behold the wonders the movie would bring me.

To a large extent, I think the reason I make movies is that I'd love to be able to make someone else feel not only the anticipation, but the actual escape I felt as I watched that movie.

Obviously, I'm not there yet. Even if I were, in today's market, the chance of me creating a film that would make it to the big screen is small.

But when I receive emails from people who enjoyed my movies and look forward to more, it makes me feel good, like maybe I'm getting there. Slowly but surely.

That's why I make movies.

Friday, February 02, 2007

More Movie Stuff

Sometimes people want to know why I want to make movies. I've already gone into some of the reasons. Here's some more.

Most of my favorite childhood memories are of being at the movies. Now that I see it in writing it looks kind of sad, but the only thing sad about it is that I rarely have those magic movie moments anymore.

But I'll tell you a couple:

Summer of '85. I'm fifteen. My brother and I were spending two weeks of the summer at our grandparents house in Florida, along with our cousins from Missouri.

We'd vacation there for a couple of weeks every summer, and I had a great time every year. We'd catch chameleons and explore the train tracks behind my grandma's house, where you could sometimes find wild watermelons to bring home. Sometimes we'd put shit on the tracks just to see the train cremate it. You put a penny on there and the train would flatten it into a razor.

One day we were in the house cooling off for a bit from the Florida humidity and we saw a trailer for a new movie that was out called "Back to the Future", starring Michael J. Fox, who was a popular guy because of his "Family Ties" television show.

The trailer looked good, so me, my brother Paul, and my cousin Kenny walked the mile to the theater. We walked along the train tracks and had to cross the trestle--where the train tracks crossed a two-hundred foot length over water.

Like in "Stand By Me", but not as long. Sometimes the train would stop on top of the trestle, and we'd debate whether to grab hold of the train as it started moving again and hold on, then drop off once we were on the other side.

None of us could figure out how fast the train would be going by the time it got there(would it be safe to drop?), so we always chickened out.

And at the theater--I love going to a movie in the blistering summer. Out of the oven and into the cold air. A box of Jordan Almonds, some popcorn and a soda. And then to get a movie as great as "Back To The Future", which is still one of my all-time favorites.

The following summer we saw "Aliens" at the same theater in Florida. (At least, for the first time--I saw it five times in the theater that summer)

I can't explain why these memories are so great for me. They probably sound pretty average to you. But to me...well, I'll explain a little more in the next post.