Sunday, June 11, 2006

Chapter Eleven - The Film Buff Investor

A friend of a friend set me up with his old boss. I was weary, due to the wash I had been taking with all my other friends connections. I chose to go because I knew of him. He occasionally invited us to his basement where he had built his own private screening room and I mean a swank screening room with digital sound. He had a vault closet full of 35mm and 16mm films from Rambo to Pulp Fiction and he owned every film ever made either on DVD or VHS. We shared some Hollywood stories. I had already heard the one where Tarantino had actually flown into Charlotte, drove to Lenoir and purchased his 35mm print of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and had actually brought a 35mm print of The Wild Bunch, to view in his screening room. This was a proven fact which I thought to be cool considering I was sitting right where Tarantino had roosted when he had been here two years earlier. I had no Hollywood stories, with the exception of arguing with Ed Norton about a Drivers License before settling on a difference of opinion and buying each other a drink, but I told it anyway. When I arrived he had the film schedule for the evening planned out. We were to watch a 16mm print of Cannibal Holocaust and then a 16mm print of Deep Throat. After the movies were over we would talk business. I had seen Cannibal Holocaust a couple of times before and I liked it for its Shock Cinema effect, but just didnt rank it very high on my Top 300 movie list. Deep Throat, I could deal with. I loved the story behind it and had not seen it in many years. Hell, I could have been forced to watch Meet the Deedles and Kazaam and would have been completely content just so long as the meeting about my movie took place.
He had worked at the local United Artist theatre since he was seventeen. He was promoted to Manager at the age of 21 and still now at the ripe age of 45 lived with his parents, so when he was twenty-eight, he acquired a loan and bought the United Artist theatre and became the proprietor of it, thus making him some real money, doing what he loved to do. I had to hand it to him, with the exception of still living with his parents and still not paying a dime for bills. With all the money Ive made in my lifetime, I could have funded the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise, had I never had to pay for rent, bills and groceries. Still, he had a plan and he followed through with it and was sitting pretty. His parents were in the upwards of eighty, so he was the soul heir to their paid house and was more than anxious to turn the whole place into his film shrine.

So I am getting a little uncomfortable half way through Deep Throat, because I cannot help but notice that this guy has been rubbing his unit very discreetly for the past ten minutes. Were in the middle of, one of the smaller scenes and Im thinking, Oh, God, hes a fucking dirty old man and hes gonna ask me to suck him off before hell cut me a check. I knew there was going to be catch.

The movie went off and he brought up the lights. Here it goes.

Step into my office, sir, he commanded in a cool and calm way. His office was just a desk behind the theatre seats. It was riddled with Voorhees, Leatherface, Mike Myers and Pinhead bobble heads. I wish I knew him better. With everything I had seen here, I wanted to be included in his will.

So Sean tells me you are making a movie.

I rattle off a different reply than normal, Thats the plan.

Why a porn? Why not a low budget horror or drama movie? Shoot it on HD?

I had an answer for that.

Well, I have a two year plan. The doors open quicker when you are talking Smut. It is also a lucrative business, so I figure, I shoot a year, year and half at about four to five movies in that frame of time, take the profits of mine, match them with an equally interested investor and shoot my mainstream.

You have a script, he asked.

I was not real sure how to answer that.

Uh, porns, well at least Gonzos dont really need one.

I mean for the mainstream, he clarified.

DuhIm an idiot.

Yeah, I have half of it done. My computer crashed and I managed to save it off my second internal, so Im just waiting for that time to get back into it. First thing is first you know.

He paused. Looked around. He took forever. I was ready for anything.

Im more interested in the mainstream movie. Id like to take a look at what you have.

I assured him, I would have it to him in a week. He paused again.

Alright, I tell you what.

Here it came. The catch. The shut out. The let me think about it.

Sean says youre good for it, so Im willing to give you five. Ill cut you a check, but you cannot touch it until youve raised the rest, he said almost too easily.

I assured him that I never would dream of touching it until I had all twelve.

You make me some money back on this, and well talk about that mainstream film.

I could not believe this. I was still waiting for the catch.

He continued on, You know, Ive written script upon script and just cannot seem to find that thing you need for a good one. Not to mention, I wouldnt have the foggiest idea how to put it together and get it shot. Sean says youve done it all.

I confirmed Seans compliment.

Im a film critic. A film watcher if you will, he explained. I assured him there was nothing wrong with that.

Thats the best thing to be. There are no headaches. Stress or insanityUnless of course you are watching a movie like Alone in the Dark.

He laughed for the first time the whole night.

Come down to the theatre tomorrow after noon. Ill have you a cashiers check. Are you interested in any of the movies at my theatre?

I thought about it and remembered, The Inside ManIm a huge Spike Lee fan, even if he does hate white people.

Its a great film. Come down grab your check, get a popcorn and soda and Ill let you check it out. That matinee starts at four.

I thanked him generously, still waiting on the catch.

If thats it. I gotta go cook my parents some dinner. You like meat loaf? Do you wanna stay for dinner, he asked sincerely.

I lied. The thought of eating with his family felt awkward to me considering I had just forgotten his last name.

Suit yourself. I wouldnt stay either. I cant cook meatloaf to save my life, but my father loves it.

He had seen right through me and didnt care.

I left his house and immediately jumped on the phone and called Sean. I praised and praised him for the hook-up.

GoodNow you can hook me up with a blow job from one of those bitches, he joked.

He was married. For once that request had been funny.

Take me and my wife out to dinner when YOU COME DOWN AND SEE ME, he sarcastically commanded.

I agreed. He lived in Myrtle Beach. I told him I would rearrange my schedule.

The next day, I showed up at his theatre. He was working the box office. I walked up, again ready for the rub.

One? He role-played.

One for the Inside Man, please, I role-played back.

He hit his button, popped out a ticket, slid it through the little hole with an envelope and a coupon for a free popcorn and drink.

I looked at him smiling. He winked at me.

Enjoy the show.

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