Wednesday, May 8, 2013
PORFLE: BIG HOLLYWOOD MOVIE MOGUL
I was sitting in front of the TV one day, watching some DVDs that I'd rented such as DOCTOR ZHIVAGO and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, when suddenly a thought occurred to me. "Why, I could make movies that are ten times better than these!" I said to nobody in particular. Glorious visions of me as a famous and beloved Hollywood movie mogul began to dance through my head. I could see myself sitting in one of those director's chairs with a megaphone, wearing a beret and sunglasses, smoking a big cigar, and ordering people around on the set of my latest colossal hit movie.
"I'll do it!" I resolved. "I'll become a legendary film auteur and make really big blockbuster movies that will sweep the Oscars!"
Bounding out of my chair, I ran into my bedroom to get dressed but discovered that all of my clothes were in the washing machine, soaked. I'd forgotten to put them in the dryer! Thinking fast, I flung open the closet door and whipped out the only thing left hanging on the rod--a Godzilla costume that I'd worn the previous Halloween. Putting it on, I coolly appraised myself in the mirror.
Except for the head and the tail, it looked pretty much like regular clothes--at least, the "regular" kind of stuff those screwballs in the fashion industry are coming up with these days, ha ha! But just to make sure, I hastily scrawled a sign that read "DON'T BE AFRAID--I AM NOT REALLY GODZILLA" and pinned it to my chest. This sort of quick problem-solving ability would serve me well in the film industry!
I was so happy that I positively skipped out the front door, my large Godzilla tail waggling jauntily. I was halfway down the street before I realized that I would need some kind of a plan for becoming a successful filmmaker, and that simply leaving my house and skipping happily down the street would only suffice as "phase one." The second phase, I reasoned, would involve getting enough millions of dollars to pay for my movie and all the state-of-the-art special effects and big-name stars that I wanted to pack into it. So, with a renewed resolve, I veered onto Wilton Boulevard and skipped merrily to the First National Bank of Howdyville.
Both the customers and bank tellers began to scream when I entered, which reminded me that I was wearing a Godzilla costume. In order to allay their fears, I skipped even harder and more merrily while pointing to my sign. My tail swung around and knocked over an old lady with a walker, sending her crashing into a potted plant, and then took out some displays loaded with pamphlets which drifted around the room like a blizzard of big rectangular snowflakes.
Spotting the office of the bank's president, a distinguished older gentleman named Mr. Barrymore, I made my way past a swarm of people who were scrambling over the furniture and each other in a blind panic trying to get away. "Read the sign, read the sign!" I screamed, pointing furiously with both claws, but the thick Godzilla head only muffled my loud exclamations and made them sound like "RAAAAR!!! RRRAAAAARRRR!!!"
Mr. Barrymore's office was enclosed by thick, sparkling glass walls, which offered him a panoramic view of the bank while still allowing him some privacy. He looked up from some papers and, with a sudden expression of alarm, saw me skipping inexorably toward him. In my haste to get into his office and begin the process of securing a loan towards the production of my grand film debut, I tripped over an errant baby carriage and, with a hearty scream, crashed through the glass wall of Mr. Barrymore's office in a deafening explosion of jagged crystalline shards. The terrified man threw himself into the farthest corner and shrank into a trembling ball as I lumbered to my feet. "RAAAAAAR!!! RRRRAAAAARRRR!!!" I exclaimed, waving my arms and jabbing my claws at my chest, unaware that the sign had fallen off several minutes earlier.
Well, to make a long story short, a few minutes later Mr. Barrymore and I were seated comfortably on either side of his handsome mahogany desk, discussing the terms of my loan. It had taken a bit of explaining of course, but he soon understood the logical reason for my Godzilla costume and gathered that my business with him was both important and historic, seeing that the town of Howdyville had never produced a world-famous Oscar-winning filmmaker before. After washing down a couple of prescription pills, Mr. Barrymore nervously asked me how much money I would need.
Rubbing a claw under my chin, I thought about it for a moment. Considering the huge epic I had in mind, it would have to be a lot! Speaking very loudly and enunciating my words carefully in order to be fully understood, I said, "I'm going to need about a hundred million dollars, Mr. Barrymore." He began to protest, but I silenced him with a raised claw. "I know, I know. That's an unrealistic amount. Ridiculous, even. I just realized it myself as I was saying it." Mr. Barrymore nodded, grateful that I had come to my senses and saved him the trouble of explaining my foolishness to me.
"Yes," I continued, "considering the enormous scale of my project, and the fact that I'm going to be competing with spend-crazy bozos like James Cameron, it would be foolish not to ask for at least 200 million dollars--perhaps even 300 or 400 hundred million dollars."
After a prolonged coughing spell and some more pills, Mr. Barrymore carefully explained to me that, with both my house and automobile as collateral, the most he would be able to loan me would be roughly in the neighborhood of thirty dollars. This, of course, forced me to recalculate the scale of my project considerably. Why, a budget that low would be exhausted almost by half simply from paying Jack Nicholson's salary! And I obviously wouldn't be able to afford the entire Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for the musical score which must now be composed by someone other than John Williams. Most likely, I mused, by my neighbor Biff, who had a marginal working knowledge of the wax flute.
"Well, Mr. Barrymore," I said importantly, rising to my feet and shaking his hand, "it has been a pleasure doing business with you. And, in return for bestowing upon me this relatively generous loan, I'd like to offer you a small part in my movie."
He brightened a bit, flattered. "Oh? That sounds very interesting. What is it going to be about?"
"It is going to be about giant, radioactive roosters," I announced proudly. "With terminal flatulence. In fact, I was thinking of offering you the role of the main rooster--the one with the most terminal flatulence. If you don't object to auditioning, of course."
Later, as I skipped home with my twenty dollars (Mr. Barrymore had knocked another ten off my loan for some unexplained reason) I passed an Arby's and realized that I hadn't eaten all day since breakfast and lunch. At first I only planned to sacrifice a miniscule amount of my movie budget, but my growling stomach demanded more and more until I had eaten my way through the entire amount. Which in these inflationary times came to only four or five regular roast beef sandwiches with as much free Horsey Sauce as I could squeeze onto them. Plus a small drink.
When I got home, I just sat there in my Godzilla suit for a few hours, lacking the motivation to take it off, and watched THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. As Charlton Heston's "Moses" thrust his staff toward the Red Sea and the mighty breath of God blew the swirling, churning waters apart, the urge to make a movie that was ten times better than that returned in full force. I didn't have any money, so I dug around in the bottom of my closet until I found my old video camera from the early 80s.
Then I went outside and taped my dog Buddy walking around the yard for awhile, hoping that she would have some kind of fascinating adventure that millions of people would pay ten or fifteen dollars apiece to see. But all she did was bark at a squirrel and take a whiz on some daffodils. Maybe, with the right marketing, I could sell it as one of those art films.