Psycomic - 10.27.01
So why are we bothering with 'VA5' if we're cocksure the critics are going to not only turn their backs on us, but also do so after having served up our entrails with pithy dismissals and half stars galore? It's quite simple, really.
We should be able to make any movie we want, stupid or not - so long as it doesn't cost too much, and is reasonably guaranteed to make its money back for our distributor. That, for the curious, is why we're allowed to keep making movies. Some cats (particularly the denizens of Internet movie chat boards) can't figure out why we're allowed to continue lensing flicks, when we never seem to grow as a visual story-tellers, or keep making - what's to them - the same movie. The answer is that we've never lost anybody money.
I'll say that again: we've never lost anybody money. Granted, we came close with Rats; but even that made a killing on video and, more recently, DVD. And even though we've never had a break-out, blockbuster, monstro-hit (our highest grossing effort was thirty one million bucks), we've never spent much money making said pictures (said flick only cost ten million bucks), so the return-per-investment usually pleases the suits (we earned three times what we spent; and that was just the theatrical release). If you can make some cats a little green without losing them any in the process, they'll let you shoot, shoot, shoot, like you're Oswald in the Book Depository.
It doesn't always work like that for some filmmakers. Some cats let their budgets escalate with every successive movie they make until they get to the point when it's tough to turn a profit, because their pictures cost a hundred plus million bucks. But while I'm a glutton at a $1.99 buffet, I'm incredibly responsible when it comes to spending other people's money. I don't need bigger budgets, because I make movies in which people talk at each other for an hour and a half, and shooting talk is cheap. Shooting explosions is expensive, so I tend to shy way from those, particularly because explosions have no place in a conversation about auto-fellatio or the like.
So because I work cheap and always turn a profit, I get to make whatever flick I want with my gaggle of friends. This time, it's a dumb comedy - partly because we all thought the script was funny (well, Affleck and Mewes did, anyway), and partly because the last time we made a picture, we got all manner of hate mail and a couple death threats. It wasn't a good time for most, to work their asses off on what they felt was an entertaining-yet-thoughtful pot-boiler about faith and spirituality, only to have so-called 'Christians' let us know that the Son of God had charged them with smiting us for our efforts. After dealing with that for two years, it just felt like it was time to do something light and airy, for which the only death threats we may receive won't be related to some jihad, but instead to the quality of the flick itself (i.e. "Your movie sucked so hard, I want to kill you."). And while the people who tend to intellectualize a medium as silly as motion pictures maintain that Amy and Dogma are highwater marks in our careers, you wouldn't believe the amount of people who'll come up to me and say "Mallrats is the bomb, yo. You should make another one of those." Granted, they may be twelve, but I'm no snob; a fan of my work is a fan of my work, regardless of whether he or she has sprouted pubes yet.
That being said, all these actors and actresses we're meeting with [See last column. -ed.] are under the impression we're doing what we like to call a "classy picture". Since we're not, and we know we're not but they don't, the meet-and-greets we're able to line up are really impressive. If some of these folks had any clue they were meeting on a flick that features a monkey in a prominent role, they might've held out for a meeting with a more visionary director. As they have no clue what the script's about, they deign to meet with me and Scooter.
One such cat who probably would've taken the meeting regardless of his foreknowledge of the flick's contents was Jay Mohr. You may know him as Bob Sugar, the asshole agent who back-stabs the title character in the sublime "Jerry Maguire". Or you may know him as the lead in the short-lived yet on-the-money Fox series "Action" (or, if you're an Opie and Anthony nut, you might recognize his name from his many appearances on their radio broadcast). Whatever you know him from, you don't know him unless you've spent some time with him in real life. He's a really, really funny motherfucker, with a head screwed so straight on his shoulders, that you're amazed he's able to navigate the waters of show business. He summed up meet-and-greets best when he broke them down to me and Scooter thusly: "You know and like my stuff, I know and like your stuff. We know this because we say 'no' to having lots of these meetings. But when we actually hook up for one, we don't really mention the mutual appreciation, because it's assumed. We really want to meet just to make sure we're not assholes."
While Mohr may not be right for the flick we're doing now, I will eventually find something to do with Mohr. Because life's too short to not work with a guy that smart.
The Next Article
Still Fucking Monday and Finally, Tuesday - 11.03.00
The Last Article
Monday - 10.27.00