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12:09 pm - Tues 8/10/04
A Whore At The Capitalist Gangbang
Tues 8/10/04 (10:50 a.m.)

A Whore At The Capitalist Gang Bang

How's this for good timing?--Right after I finished yesterday's post ("There must be ways to earn extra money that I'm not considering, beyond becoming a male prostitute or a crack dealer"), I went out to my mailbox, and there was the check from Time-Warner I'd been waiting for (I received my session fees for the two-day shoot some time back; this was the "buyout" money, which is the one-time fee you get, instead of residuals, when you do non-union stuff).

And under the heading of "The Good News Just Got Better"...

A short time ago, I was checking my voicemail on the way out to move my car, and there was a message from JS–Sometime between this Thursday and early next week, the Time-Warner folks want me back to record some radio spots!

This is happy news on two fronts–There's the money, of course (Always a good thing), but there's also the happy feeling that comes from knowing I was successful; I don't know the ins and outs of the commercial biz, but I'm pretty sure they don't invite you back to do more work if you sucked the first time out.

(Quick note: I'm the kind of performer who usually thinks he's doing pretty well as the work is happening, then second-guesses himself afterwards. And when I see the finished product, I'm almost always disappointed when it's not nearly as good as I thought it was.)

Oh, I just thought of a third front that makes this happy news–The gigs I've booked have been so far apart that it's been hard to see the makings of a career there. But work leading to more work...well, that means something to me.

And now, back to the entry I was working on before I got today's news...

Here's a quote from the late comedian Bill Hicks on people who act in commercials:

Here's the deal folks. You do a commercial, you're off the artistic roll call forever. End of story. Okay? You're another corporate shill, you're another whore at the capitalist gang bang, and if you do a commercial there is a price on your head, everything you say is suspect and every word that comes out of your mouth is like a turd falling into my drink. You don't have enough money, you fuckin' whore?

(Did I mention Bill was a pretty angry guy...?)

(All the italics in the quote are Mr Hicks's. As a guy who uses, and sometimes over-uses, italics, I would have put the emphasis in that last sentence on the words "enough", "money", or "whore"; "fuckin'", in my opinion, seems pretty well able to fend for itself.)

Bad language aside, the sentiment contained in that quote seems positively quaint today. Now, huge stars line up to hawk Coca-Cola in Japan, Bob Dylan is selling women's underwear, and your favorite songs growing up are now the soundtrack for toothpaste and deodorant commercials.

While I'm not as angry as Mr Hicks was about the situation, I'm not completely unsympathetic to where he's coming from. I sometimes find myself weary and depressed over the fact that everything, and everyone, is for sale in America. How we're not really so much "citizens" as we are "consumers".

And I feel every-so-slightly conflicted over my participation in that process. I don't exactly feel like a whore for doing commercials, but I don't think I'd be doing them if I were making millions from doing movies and television. Commercials are how the majority of actors make a living, and right now, my goal is to be in the in that relatively select club of actors who are making a living.

And that's that with that.

(The following is an excerpt from one of my other journals)

Amnesiac Spies and Intergalactic Assholes

Saw The Bourne Supremacy last week.

I like Matt Damon. It's become clear, in my mind, that he's "the real deal" as an actor, as opposed to Ben Affleck, who between Armaggedon, Daredevil, Gigli,and J-Lo, has allowed himself to become a joke (But that said, I always enjoy Affleck on talk shows. He's an intelligent, funny, personable guy, who does surprisingly good impressions of Denzel Washington and Morgan Freedman).

But back to Bourne...

I didn't see The Bourne Identity for some reason. I don't know why exactly, because the premise sounds like the kind of thing that's right up my alley (I think maybe I allowed some lukewarm reviews to scare me away). But now I want to go back and rent it; I imagine there will be at least one more sequel in this franchise, and I want to see how things got started.

An interesting thing about The Bourne Supremacy is how I felt about the action sequences; typically, if action scenes are edited in a way that I can't tell what's going on, with a zillion cuts and hand held camera work, I get frustrated, and will probably write the movie off as a dud.

But this time out, I was of two minds about what I was watching; I still found myself frustrated over not knowing exactly what was happening, but all the cutting and shaky hand-held camera work did acheive the effect of making me feel like I was not watching the action, but was instead right in the middle of it.

I was a little disappointed Julia Stiles wasn't in more of the movie, since I like her a lot. But there wasn't really much of a place for her--The guy's basically a loner, and just lost his girlfriend besides, so it wasn't like he was going to immediately hook up with Miss S. (I think that would have lost the character a great deal of sympathy, and not have made much emotional sense, since his whole motivation is to get the people who fucked with him by killing his girl).

I felt guilty going to Bourne when there are better movies out there right now, or at least more "serious" movies, but what are ya gonna do? That was what I was in the mood to see. And the last thing I saw before Bourne was Before Sunset, so it's not like I'm not "mixing it up" this summer between "popcorn movies" and "real movies"

(I think I was hoping to avoid getting "bummed out" by too thought-provoking a movie, like I did after seeing Before Sunset. But even The Bourne Identity had me feeling sorry for myself afterwards--"Gee, I wish I were a killing machine with amnesia like Jason Bourne...". I guess when you have a gift for self-pity, you can find reasons to feel sorry for yourself after any movie.)

I didn't actually do it last weekend, but I told myself the way I should plan my "weekend" from now on--Said "weekend" being Wednesday and Thursday--is to plan on seeing a movie on Wednesday, then do "something else", whatever "something else" might be, on Thursday. Otherwise, if I don't see something on Wednesday, then I have an audition Thursday afternoon, I won't end up getting to see a movie at all.

(I both enjoy movies and think, as an actor, that it's important I see a lot of movies. But I also think I need to figure out how to get myself "out in the world" on my days off, by doing something other than seeing a movie.)

For awhile there, I was thinking I was going to get through the summer, after Spiderman II, without there being anything else I wanted to see. But all of a sudden there were any number of movies out that I thought I might enjoy–Door In The Floor, Maria Full Of Grace, Napoleon Dynamite, Garden State, Some Kind of Monster, and The Manchurian Candidate.

Collateral opens this weekend, and has been getting mostly very positive reviews (I think Michael Mann is always worth a look).

I can totally see Tom Cruise as a bad guy. I think it would be interesting to see the intensity he has in "good guy" parts turned towards "the dark side" (Which we've already sort of seen, in Taps, Interview With A Vampire, and Magnolia).

But if it's just one movie this weekend, I think I want to see Garden State.

From what I've seen and read, it sounds like the kind of movie I'd like (And it's about an actor. I'd kind of like to be an actor when I grow up).

I've seen Natalie Portman on a couple talk shows, promoting the movie, and I just really like her. She's beautiful, of course, but she also seems poised and intelligent--not to mention talented--and like Matt Damon, I just have a feeling she's "the real deal". I expect she's going to be around for a long time.

I think Alien Vs. Predator opens this weekend.

Pretty uncertain about "AVP"; out of the six movies made featuring the creatures in question, I've only really liked three of them (The first two Aliens and the first Predator. And I thought Predator was only "okay", even though the creature itself is a pretty cool creation).

And in the movies we've seen already, the humans are way overmatched by the monsters, so how the hell are the humans going to have any kind of impact when we're dealing with "Aliens" and "Predators"?

I guess the title of the movie makes it clear that nobody's interested in the humans in the story anyway, but in a movie called Alien Vs. Predator, who do you root for, the "Alien" or the "Predator"?

I've been thinking about it, and I think I have to go with the "Alien". After all, an "Alien" can't help that it's a relentless killing machine. That's just what it is, after all (Much like Yours Truly).

But the "Predator" is just a big-game hunter on safari--In other words, an intergalactic asshole.

I'll probably see it at some point, unless the reviews are so bad it scares me away.

Well, I feel just full of stuff to write about, but I'll save it for another time.

So long, fellow travellers...

 

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