Soul Searching in the Hollywood Waiting Room


courtesy of Halcyon Pictures

And Raving Over Wristcutters: A Love Story

Greetings and salutations
* cinephiles from the Fourth Concentric Circle of Dante’s Inferno also known as Studio City, California, where Poppa H has been tapping his toes for what seems like an eternity in the infernal waiting room of Satan’s Hollywood Production Office. That’s right, Satan’s into production. Are you at all surprised? 

Is MRF here to sell his soul over to the Tinsel Town Devil? Hell no! I mean, heck no … (whispering) It’s just, I need the work and my agent and Mr. Satan are old golfing buddies so, last week, after faxing over a 666-page lifetime contract I was to sign in the Rancid Blood of a Transylvanian Goat, (viola!) I got a call to appear in these offices for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes interview with the Big Guy himself … How rad is that! Now I’m writing a cover story on the dark side of celebrity suicide for the National Enquirer! I can’t wait to pitch this softball to the Prince of Darkness:

Hey Devil, say you’re a Big Time Rock-And-Roll Star who, after a hard night of autoerotic asphyxiation finds himself permanently slumped over the bathtub at the Ritz Carlton in Sydney, Australia. What happens to your soul? Are our most-depraved actors and rock musicians damned to eternal hellfire or are there some Groundhog Day-like loopholes celebrities should know about? Inquiring minds want to know!“

courtesy of Halcyon Pictures

Wristcutters: A Love Story
While I wait for The Great Satan to wheel his fat ass out here and answer a few questions, let this Thin Man shoot you the straight skinny on a new flick that’s lighting my existential F.I.R.E.* these days. Wristcutters: A Love Story is a hilarious romp through the outskirts of Purgatory with a group of suicide victims trapped on an eternal road to nowhere ... seriously. Written and directed by Goran Dukic and adapted from Etgar Keret's short story Kneller's Happy Campers, Wristcutters was a Sundance darling for two years before finally getting some major distribution love this fall. I say, it’s bloody well about time …

When wrist slashin’, lovelorn teen Zia (Patrick Fugit), awakens to an afterlife  “that’s kind of like real life but sucks more …” he meets a world sans stars, smiles and dreams. There’s only Kamikaze Pizza, where he passes eternity mired in regret for his forsaken love (Desiree). On his day off, while all the bars in Purgatory play New Order on an endless loop, Zia hangs out with a drunk Russian rocker (Shea Wigham) who “got to the party” by pouring beer all over his electric guitar during a live performance. “Iggy Pop was supposed to be at one of those shows” the Russian laments. Rock and Roll!

Once Zia finds out his true love Desiree’s joined the Suicidal Ranks of the Cosmic Undead and is out there somewhere* roaming the streets of Purgatory, the boys hit the open road to track her down. While rolling down the lost highway in a broken down jalopy that features a Malkovichian Black Hole under the passenger seat, the gang picks up a hot hitchhiker (Shannon Sossamon) and a gnarly Tom Waits who runs a hippie commune called Kneller's Happy Campers where people come from all over to perform minor miracles. When Zia has “insignificant miracle performance anxiety,” Waits says, "As long as you want it so bad, it's never going to happen. The only way it's gonna work is if it doesn't matter …”

courtesy of Halcyon Pictures

Don’t you just love dime-store hippie commune philosophy? Are you sold on the movie yet? No?? What do I have to do, slit my wrists? Wristcutters has “Cult Classic” potential written all over it with cinematic chocolate sauce so if you have any smoldering taste buds left on your scorched summer pallets, do yourself a solid and line up outside your nearest art house theater on October 19th and check out an unconventional love story with your most suicidal squeeze. If she still has a pulse, she’ll think you’re so f’in cool. 

But … if you’re one of the sheep who’d rather put another dime in Satan’s jukebox, by all means, go see Transformers for the 3rd time and stay so dead to me … Until next week, this is Poppa H. signing off.  Be bad and get into trouble baby*.

DVD Picks To Click

Groovy Suicide Movies
•    The Virgin Suicides
•    Romeo and Juliet
•    The Hours
•    Groundhog Day

Groovy Afterlife Movies
•    Wings of Desire
•    Heaven Can Wait
•    Defending Your Life
•    It’s A Wonderful Life

Groovy Tom Waits Movies
•    Down By Law (1986) Dir. Jarmusch
•    Short Cuts (1993) Dir. Altman
•    The Outsiders (1983) Dir. Coppola
•    In the Realms of the Unreal (2004) Dir. Yu

Happenings Round Town
•    Th. (8/30) – Barbarella (1968) – Dir. Vadim (Red Vic)
•    Fri. (8/24 to 8/30) – Metropolis (1927) – Dir. Lang (Castro)
•    Rescue Dawn (2007) Dir. Herzog – Opera Plaza
•    The Simpsons Movie (2007) Dir. Silverman – Everywhere
•    Rocket Science (2007) Dir. Blitz – Embarcadero
•    2 Days In Paris (2007) Dir. Delpy - Embarcadero

Volume 26 Footnotes*
•    “Greetings and salutations.” – Heathers (1991): Christian Slater doing his best Nicholson impersonation to a monacle-lovin’ Winona Ryder.
•     “He really knows how to light my F.I.R.E.” – Twin Peaks (1990): A drugged-out Laura Palmer coos into Dr. Jacoby’s tape-recorder.
•    “He’s out there somewhere.” – Raising Arizona (1987): Frantic Poppa Nathan Arizona tries to light a fire under the asses of the local authorities in the Coen Brothers classic.
•    “Let’s get into trouble baby.” – Tapeheads (1988): Soul Train host Don Cornelius (as Hollywood Producer Mo Fuzz) to upstart filmmakers Tim Robbins and John Cusack.
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