Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Boner of a Lonely Heart

So, I think I've watched Paul von Stoetzel's short film Viscosity a half dozen times this week. It's some funny shit. I got the inevitable 'Did you really write that?' question from a slack-jawed co-worker, to which I reply - yes. No. Sort of. While there are several lines taken directly from my unattributed dialogue-only short story of the same name from Out of the Gutter #6, screen writer Richard Molby deserves credit for providing some structure to that thing (it's got - no shit - three acts like a proper film instead of just being a camera circling some degenerates around a table ala Reservoir Dogs) and the performers John Lilleberg, Shad Cooper, Sam L. Landman and Brian P. Loyce did a bang up job selling the fuzzy logic of my own juvenile misadventures with pleasure (yeah, most of that shit really happened kids - and the short story's got more - go read it) and looking at the credits - I gotta think even the PA Peter Dragovich musta contributed something to the translation. Thanks everybody. Can't wait for the world to get a crack at it, but Minneapolis first. If you're in the area March 22 you can catch the premier screening of Viscosity and many more short films at Z-Fest.

Julian Grant has slipped me a sneak peek at Fuckload of Scotch Tape too, and it's wild. Julian wrote the script for this one and took an interesting route off the reservation by blending the plot of two of my short stories (the titular one from Out of the Gutter #5 and Mahogany & Monogamy from Blood, Guts & Whiskey) which I wrote to run parallel tracks and intersect in calamitous ways. Calamity intact, but it's my very own bizarro world where characters I created are spliced, combined or squeezed together, or do things I never gave them permission to do - but that fit them perfectly (the kids are far from alright folks). The whole picture is a fucked-up dreamscape of horrors given a better, deeper level of surreality by the substantial contribution of Kevin Quain - whose songs Julian has laced this perverted pic with. Big kudos to Julian for finding such oddly complimentary elements to throw together. I think my favorite sequence in the film is the closest thing the pic has to a proper song and dance number to Quain's Catch You in the Rye with lyrics that reflect the inner monologue of the main character (You drink my last dollar - then you tell me that it's over - You swore you'd always love me tender - but you'll forget me when you're sober - and when you ditched me in the desert - I was a million miles from nowhere - and when I passed out I was thinking - it must be happy hour somewhere), while the bouncy tune - think Tom Waits in full jaunty mode along the lines of Tango 'Till They're Sore - captures the physicality of the moment. Really nice work. 

You wanna see a trailer For F*ckload of S*octch Tape? Make with the clicky right here.

Over the weekend, I caught up with two critically dogpiled movies that I really enjoyed. First, William Monahan's London Boulevard adapted from the Ken Bruen novel of the same name (which was inspired by the classic Billy Wilder film Sunset Blvd. in turn). I think I read Bruen's book while I was binging on his stuff nearly ten years ago and frankly - I don't recall much of the plot, so I'm not going to get into the things I did notice that don't mirror the book (cause the movie is the movie is the movie and must stand or fall on its own), but I will only comment on the fact that Bruen is such a prose powerhouse that nothing on film is going to quite feel like his books read. Monahan idn't no slouch with the talkies neither. He's best known for writing Martin Scorsese's The Departed (itself an occidentalization of Wai-keung Lau and Alan Mak'Infernal Affairs) which was hardly tight - slack and bloated were the script, but me-thinks the blame for that falls on Marty for letting Jack Nicholson have whatever he wanted and not on Billy's shoulders - but tight or not, it was always... fun, or at least amusing. Monahan also scripted the adaptation of David Ignatius's Body of Lies which was forgotten as soon as it hit screens, but is one of my favorite Ridley Scott flicks of the last fifteen years, easily. London Boulevard was a long way from knocking my socks off, but it was a well executed genre film that I suspect will be looked upon more betterer in the futures. Great supporting cast including fine work from Ben Chaplin, David Thewlis, Eddie Marsan, Anna Friel, Stephen Graham and the always begging to be nearer the center of the picture Ray Winstone. If anything it whet my appetite for Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths also starring Colin Farrell.

Second - I watched Bruce Robinson's The Rum Diary adapted from Hunter S. Thompson's novel, and never got tired of the variations on baffled indignation Johnny Depp ran through, but found Michael Rispoli to be the best thing on screen. Was there much to the picture? No. Was Depp's

Jeremiah Tolbert's electronic crime magazine The Big Click is one more thing I'm gonna have to pay attention to now, dammit. When your first issue has fiction from Ken Bruen and Anonymous-9 I gotta have a looksee. Also Cullen Gallagher is now publishing a hardboiled and noir-ish Western fiction site Fires on the Plain that I'm sure will burn more gray matter than I have to spare, but there ya go. Go. Read it.

Finally, Robb Olson and Livius Nedin at the Booked Podcast have started a long slog of episodes which I will find embarrassingly self-congratulatory to promote. But that won't stop me. In this episode they review Elmore Leonard's Raylan and then get to their wrap up of the AWP conference and their St. Louis trip including N@B. For the next few weeks they'll be releasing bits of their recorded uh records of N@B and The Wrong Kind of Reading. Sounds like neither were familiar with Leonard's books outside of a few movies and of course Justified, which is too bad as he laced Raylan with nods to previous work (my favorite being a throwaway line 'Valdez is coming' which was the title of one his early westerns - and became a film too starring Burt Lancaster). And I love the movie poster and book cover equally so I'm posting both. 

Over at Ransom Notes I go on a bit about Joe R. Lansdale's latest Edge of Dark Water as well as Owen Laukkanen's debut The Professionals right here.

6 comments:

Ben said...

Goddamn you, Jedediah Ayres and your blog titles that crack me up at work!

Kieran Shea said...

Valdez Is Coming. Man, been pushing that gem for years.....

Dyer Wilk said...

Thank you. I've had a western story of mine collecting dust for a while now and Fires on the Plain looks like a great place to submit it. Always nice to discover a new publication. Much appreciated.

Burt Lancaster may have kicked more ass in Valdez is Coming than in all his other films, an impressive feat for that late in his career. Then again, he kicked a lot of ass in Scorpio as well.

jedidiah ayres said...

I'll look for your story, D. Burt was pretty badass.

Paul von Stoetzel said...

Jed, I'm pleased as all hell that you think so much of Viscosity. You're a tough critic and I am curious as hell in regards to what the hell audiences are going to think of this. I guess I'll find out next week.

Btw I checked out RUM DIARIES on your recommendation. Not bad. As a Thompson nerd (and who isn't) I'm glad I watched it.

jedidiah ayres said...

well, I aint a Thompson nerd - which is perhaps why I enjoyed where others did not.