a bad dream
Unlike recent years, there have been a lot of great studio films released in 1999. From American Beauty, to Fight Club, to Election, to Three Kings. And I suspect there will be more. There have been many theories about this: former indie directors are lured to the studios, big budget movies are flopping, studios want to compete with the indies, or most convincing, the indies have mostly all been bought up by big studios and now have beaucoup DeNiro. Regardless, for some reason I still find myself watching a lot of Miramax films mostly on tape. Too many. Constantly. That little Miramax logo its everywhere. This all came to a head the other night when I dreamt in Miramax:
In my dream I was invited to a Halloween party at the Miramax West Coast offices. I spent days in panic, unable to make up my mind about my costume. I just couldnt decide whether to go as the gay priest from Priest, Julianna Margulies in A Price Above Rubies, or the dying Massimo Troisi from Il Postino, so I just settled on the old trombone player from Brassed Off!
At first I was rather nervous about attending the soiree and felt quite out of place. However, when Gwyneth finally arrived the party seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief at the very proximity of her, well, "freshness", and things loosened up, and after a bit I found myself doing shots with Michael Moore, Jeffrey Wright, Gretchen Mol, David Schwimmer, Joan Chen and the little boy from Koyla. Gretchen Mol began crying on my shoulder about her ill-fated Vanity Fair spread and the fact that her career since has not really panned out as she had hoped and about how Gwyneth is so damn "gamine". I nodded sympathetically but began to tune out when she started talking about her characters "complex web of motivations" in Rounders. Eventually I pawned the sobbing Gretchen off to a confused and quickly angry Embeth Davidtz and I made my way over to the bar to order a gin and tonic. Michael Caine tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to order him a Seven&7 as hed been cut off by the bartender. However, the bartender was on to him and ended up having Michael kicked out; but not before he handed him a script. I ran after Michael to hand him a script as well but he was already getting into a car with Colm Meaney.
Out on the front patio I saw the entire cast of Trainspotting clustered around Steve Zahn, who was singing the Judy Garland songs from Little Voice. And as the Trainspotting cast talked appreciatively in thick Scottish accents about the bridge to Somewhere Over the Rainbow, subtitles appeared in front of them. I got onto the elevator to go back up to the party. Also riding up was Geoffry Rush asking Julia Sweeney why she was there. Listening to Julia trying to prove her presence in at least two Miramax films was making me woozy, so I got off on an earlier floor and walked up the remaining flights. Along the way I ran into Minnie Driver holding a camera taking pictures of herself. She asked if I knew of any film premieres tonight, but I did not.
Back at the party, Kevin Smith was having a contest with party crasher Kevin Williamson to see who could write the longest and most awkwardly worded sentence. The contest was interrupted by a loud, strange sound: Harvey Keitel was naked in the corner, dancing and weeping. Hope Davis quickly tried to quiet him down but soon ran shrieking when he tried to masturbate on her head.
I couldnt take much more of this so I headed upstairs to look for some aspirin. I found some in the bathroom of a large office, and as I walked back out towards the hallway I heard a voice coming from the dark corner:
"Hello Stee. Ive been waiting for you." A soft light came on and I could see a huge man in an Armani suit sitting on a couch. He had a whole roasted chicken in one hand and a hunk of lasagna in the other.
"Jeez," I said. "Harvey
"I think I want to go home."
"Well, I liked the coverage I read.
Id like to option it from you."
"Fuck it. One million dollars."
"Gwyneth has to star in it."
"Oh. Well "
Harvey leaned forward. "What, you dont like our Gwynie?"
"No. Shes fine. Its just there really isnt a part for her."
"There isnt? What about the guy, there. That guy."
"Yeah, the guy."
"Uh, hes a 55 year-old man."
I stared at Harvey for five seconds. "OK."
He reached out his massive ham hand and as we were about to shake, I woke up, sweating. I put Sliding Doors in the VCR and drank my coffee and had this thought: she would be perfect as Wade.
The Larry King Happy