Nicole Lobbies Hollywood For More Films Like BLACK SWAN
Nicole: Hi Hollywood, got a second?
Hollywood: Who the (bleep) are you? I’m busy. This is one of the most hectic weekends of the year for me. ‘Tis the season to get butts in seats!
Nicole: I swear, this will only take a few minutes.
Hollywood: Give me a good reason why I should even give you that long?
Nicole: Because I get paid to tell stories. I love stories. I care about stories.
Hollywood: Oh, another hipster emo crybaby artiste, eh? (scrutinizing) Aren’t you a little old for that shtick?
Nicole: Okay, I was going to be subtle; but since subtlety doesn’t seem to come easily to you, I’ll just take the low road, like you did, and launch in with a crass ad hominem…
Hollywood (confused,interrupting): Homo ads? We love the (bleep)in’ homos! We buy ads on LOGO all the time!
Nicole (sighing): You suck!
Hollywood (exasperated): Hey! We’re a multi-billion dollar industry and you’re a new author that’s only made two pro sales.
Nicole: So far.
Hollywood (nodding, condescending): Okay, “so far”. Big deal. Give me another reason I should give a (bleep)?
Nicole: Because I’m one of those movie-goers you lost a long time ago. I’m a customer that you should try to get back. You’re a numbers guy. Didn’t you read that film attendance is decreasing? Do you think that might have something to do with how predictable and formulaic your stories have become? Don’t you think a lack of creativity is to blame?
Hollywood: But America’s getting less creative each year! The average movie-goer’s mind can’t handle storytelling without all the predictable conventions!
Nicole: Honestly, at some point I think you just gave up on story altogether and instead shined the spotlight on CGI. Then on 3D.
Hollywood (looking at the ground, appearing suddenly despondent): Yeah? And?
Nicole: Then you just seemed to trot out old franchises for remakes and sequels. The last straw for me was when you had Indiana Jones survive a direct hit from a nuclear explosion.
Hollywood: Well (running hands nervously through receding hairline) a nuclear explosion really isn’t that different from a big boulder booby trap in an ancient temple. Both can kill ya!
Nicole (glaring): As Yoda might say, search your feelings, and you’ll find that I’m right. Well, he’d say it back-asswards because that’s how he rolls. But you get the drift.
Hollywood (now sobbing, contrite): Jesus Christ, you’re right, kid. I’ve seen the error of my ways. I do suck!
Nicole (now distraught that she’s brought Hollywood to tears): Well, you don’t suck all the time. I really dug Black Swan.
Hollywood (in-between sobs): R-really?
Nicole: Yeah, I did. I mean, I was a little worried when the theater showed a trailer for this movie called Sucker Punch. Boy, did that look like a big, expensive, turd of a film. The whole audience laughed at it. But Black Swan, itself, rocked. In fact, that’s the reason I flew out here all the way from Indiana to talk to you. I saw it last night and I can’t stop thinking about it.
Hollywood: You saw Black Swan in Indiana?
Nicole: No, it gets even better. I saw Black Swan in Kentucky!
Hollywood: They show art films in Kentucky?
Nicole: Is it really an art film? It reminded me of a feminist mash up of Hitchcock, The Twilight Zone, and All About Eve, with a pinch of Looking For Mr. Goodbar. It’s sad that any type of good storytelling gets put in the “art house” ghetto. It makes me wonder…if Vertigo was released now, would it be an art house film?
Hollywood (daydreaming): A Vertigo remake. That’s just what we need!
Hollywood: Hehe…just kidding! I gotcha, didn’t I?
Nicole: Well, after that Psycho remake…
Hollywood (interrupting): Okay. You made your point, Little Ms. “I’m A Smart Redneck”. Still, you have to agree that Black Swan is a film that has art house appeal; so it made sense to start distributing it there before branching off into mainstream theaters.
Nicole: Well…fair enough. I can see how it might have been seen as an Oscar ™ vehicle for Natalie Portman. And it did remind me a little of the Ingmar Bergman film, Persona.
Nicole: But it’s laced with enough erotic scenes to bring in curiosity-seekers. When I went last night, a group of four teenage boys were in the audience. I think they just wanted to see Queen Amidala’s boobies.
Hollywood: Teen boys came to see this picture? Really? (salivating over hitting a core demographic)
Nicole: Well, yeah. There were a lot of younger people in the audience. One or two struck me as a little too young. There was that 12 year old girl with her grandmother who sat across from me. I’m pretty sure they were expecting a nice, sweet ballet picture.
Hollywood: Sheesh, that kid’s gonna need therapy!
Nicole: True. But for an older audience, the movie was like therapy. It was a cautionary tale about the good old “Madonna/Whore” dichotomy, about self-acceptance, about the all-consuming passion involved in all creative projects, and the dangers of losing yourself to your art.
(Hollywood ignores Nicole and begins instant messaging on his iPhone.)
Nicole: See? You’re not even listening to me! And you wonder why I stopped watching movies.
Hollywood: Au contraire, I listened to what you said about the teenage boys coming to the theater, and I’m pushing for the development of a movie tie-in video game!
Nicole (eyebrow raised): Black Swan: The Video Game?
Hollywood: Maybe even a sequel!
Nicole (sarcastically): Why don’t you just heavily edit and re-release Black Swan as a superhero film. She could be the female sidekick of Black Panther.
Hollywood: Holy shit, kid! That’s brilliant! What are you doing wasting your time story telling when you could work for a studio? We could use a bright young, idea woman like you!
Nicole: No thanks, Mr. Hollywood. You sit around here and you spin your little webs and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money. Well, it doesn’t, Mr. Hollywood. In the whole vast configuration of things, I’d say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider.
Hollywood: Is that how you really feel?
Nicole: Well, no. But it sounded cool when George Bailey said it to Mr. Potter. That’s the thing. Movies used to be built on strong dialogue. Memorable characters. Unpredictable stories with a satisfying (but not always happy) ending. Okay, here’s the real truth. I want to love you again. I want things to be like they used to. If I didn’t care so much, I wouldn’t have come all this way. Look at what you’ve done to yourself.
God (taking the form of Andy Kaufman, levitating while sitting lotus): Nicole? This is God.
Nicole: God? What are you doing here? You look a lot like…
God: I’ve taken the form of someone you admire, so that maybe you’d listen to what I had to say. Step away from Hollywood. Let him go. Enjoy the rare treat that makes it out of the studios (like the one you just saw). Take in a few indie films when you can. But most of all, read. You know books don’t let you down the way movies do.
Nicole: But wait! Doesn’t Black Swan prove that I should give Hollywood another chance?
(Hollywood continues instant messaging on his iPhone)
God: Hon, he’s just not that into you.