Today has been a rough day and it's not even 9 a.m. yet.
I sold my car today, for a very small amount of money. I was in a wreck a few months ago, the other driver admitted fault, but of course her insurance company has presented a contentious fight about paying me. So it has been sitting, slightly disassembled, for months.
Of course I am lawyered-up and we're taking the bastards to court. But the issue isn't the money.
This is the car I won 11 years ago, 11 years and an entire lifetime, on an MTV show. The competition: teams of 6 each push a car through a few miles of desert in California. My team pushed fastest, so we won cars. Hurrah. The rest of my team sold their cars right away, but I kept mine.
This car has driven me 150,000 miles around the country; I left this car in the care of various friends while I went off to film other silly shows and have fun. It drove me to theater rehearsals when I was in San Francisco, making an actual living as an actor in little theaters packed with laughing people who had read raving reviews of our shows in the local papers. It drove me around when I decided on whims where I was going to live next, as I could fit my entire life underneath the hatchback. It was my house for a month when I lived in self-induced homelessness, just to see if I could do it; I had money in the bank but didn't want to spend it, so I'd shower at the free showers on the beach. It then drove me to work when I decided to leave all the TV stuff behind and move on with life. But occasionally I could still look at the car and remember, I won it. The car is mine, it was free, once upon a time I used to be on TV.
I never attempted to claim any glory other than that. When people recognize me, I usually shrug and walk away. Life goes on. And it's a little annoying, actually, for people to interrupt my conversations to say I RECOGNIZE YOU, as if that is reason enough for my gratitude. So what? What do you want me to say? If I ever got "Hi, it's nice to meet you, I enjoyed watching you a million years ago," that would be lovely, but I never hear that.
So now in my little world, it's over. It's been "over" for years, that entire life is over and gone. The MTV shows are now so stupid, I don't recognize them as anything that I did. But this car served me well, it was the one thing I could always rely on being there, working, never breaking down or costing me any money, taking me around.
The person who took my car made the only offer with plans to buy and re-build it; everyone else offered to buy it just for junk. One low offer came from a dealer who quoted the poor market, and the low "cost of steel." I hung up on him, the thought was too awful. My poor car, melted down. No way.
So this morning I sat in the buyer's car, as he signed the necessary paperwork. And I began to tell him a story, "I won this car a long time ago..." He stopped, paused his pen, and listened for a minute. I don't think he cared. I think he just could feel the weight of the air.
And then a tow truck pulled up, pulled it onto the back, and drove away.
Someone was waiting on the street, to take the parking space. I almost ran over and stood in the spot, and yelled at him, Can't you give me just a minute? Don't you have any respect?!? But I don't think he would've understood.
I guess part of me is not "sad," I'm partly relieved to get this piece of junk off the street and not have to worry about it.
There is so much in my brain, so much stuff banging against the walls of my head, it was impossible to sleep with all that racket between my ears. Shh, I say to the noises, shh. But they don't listen. They're too busy making me think about things.
So much is happening this week, dear readers. My new term of classes begins Thursday. And that's also the day the hurricane is expected to hit Florida. So either way, my Thursday is going to be action-packed. Maybe the big storm won't happen, as is usually the case. But there's always the chance.
These are the times it is nice to have family around. I live a wild and crazy, zipping here-and-there, impulsive lifestyle; but then a hurricane comes and yep, I'm battening down the hatches by myself. And when the noise inside your head keeps you awake at night, it can be quieted by listening to the sound of someone breathe as he sleeps.
Do you want to hear a funny story? Well not "hear," you'd really just read it. Here we go: I worked with the guy in this news story. Actually we were more on the "friends" side of the equation; he told me he had cancer and he couldn't afford his chemotherapy treatments. I believed him, he was a good liar. Eventually he tried to fraud someone, I don't know the details, and he got caught and was arrested; now he's robbing banks, I guess.
Do you think I'll be able to sleep if I relax really hard? Just reeeeeally lay here and try my darndest to not be awake? I'm going to give it a shot.
This is the film--I say "film" instead of "movie" when the topic at hand is more artsy and story-driven instead of just entertainment--that Mel Gibson completed before his unfortunate public meltdown. I'd rather not re-hash all of that drunken nonsense.
Although his private mania may be relevant after all: "The Beaver" is about a man, suffering from a massive bout of medical depression, who loses the will to exist; his career and family suffer as a result. (Jodie Foster, who also directed, plays his panicked wife.) As he withers away, his psyche splits and partly surfaces as a beaver puppet, which he uses to communicate with the world around him, quite successfully actually. But of course things get a little bit complicated.
Mel Gibson, playing this crumbling, increasingly-crazy person, is absolutely brilliant. The script itself is a little silly, although it's not because of the beaver. It's just somewhat cliché at times, the more-realistic parts are actually harder to believe. Jodie Foster's character is an engineer who designs roller coasters...and every time something crazy is going to happen, you see her at work designing a roller coaster. Hmm, I wonder if that's symbolism? Gag.
But this guy walking around talking through a beaver puppet, it's totally believable and alternately funny and disturbing. With every twitch of his eye, you can see the mess of torment swirling around inside his head, as J.F. tries to dig it out of him and save her family. And obviously Mr. Mel is digging from his personal life and using some of his own demons to tell a great story.
I have a lot of patience for unusual films; I was a screener for the Austin Film Festival, and I had to watch a lot of crap before finding the one, single, solitary short film in my pile that was good enough to be included. One. Juuuuust one little 15-minute short film, after literally weeks of watching bad movies. I could lead a seminar on How To Make A Bad Movie. I'm getting on a tangent here--
So I have a lot of patience for films, I enjoy the work people put into what is on the screen and can look past the mistakes to appreciate the whole picture. This is a great example of needing a little bit of patience, to make it to the end.
I'm just saying, don't be lazy. There are 7 billion people on this planet, sometimes you have to dig through the raff to find the good stuff. Whether it's this movie or something in your own circle of life, you don't have to like everything you see to get something out of it.
I ask you, when filming your re-make of this movie (or a sequel or whatever it will be), please tread carefully.
This movie was instrumental in my childhood. To me, the entire world was a resort in a magic faraway land called The Catskills, where people danced and performed in talent shows. Dancing was a way of life. I was 13 at the time, and although I was no longer taking tap dancing lessons, I still spun around in my bedroom and sang in whispers.
"Baby," a.k.a. Jennifer Grey, was my hero. She got the hot guy, she stood up to everyone and fought to get him, and she finally found the courage to do The Big Lift at the end. And everyone got to clap for her when she did it.
"Dirty Dancing" is not about a weird dance style where guys and girls would grind against each other on a dance floor. I could take it or leave it. "Dirty Dancing" is a playbook on how to be strong and stand up to anyone who dares to put you in a corner and be a star. And when Johnny Castle pulls you front and center, he may be risking (gasp!) is job at the resort but in the end it makes him more of a man. So by helping you, he's also helping himself. We all win, together.
So please, don't make this some stupid hip-hop dancefest with a soundtrack by Katy Perry and M.I.A. or whoever. I don't want to see Jessica Alba mentioned ANYWHERE in the credits. This is not about dancing, it is about the Baby in all of us.
P.S. Please cast:
Lea Michelle as Baby Houseman
Channing Tatum as Johnny Castle
I guess Zach Efron could play Robbie, the waiter who gets Penny "in trouble", although Zach wouldn't take a supporting role that small
Vivian Pressman, the lady who gets Johnny fired, could be played by Jennifer Grey but that's just me dreaming big
I can't decide who should play Penny, but it better not be any of the "experts" on "Dancing With The Stars"
This is "Portrait of a Life Change," a.k.a., my grades from my first term back in college.
Yeah, that's straight A's you see there. I'm shaking things up, making things happen, setting fire to the rain.
The little yellow splotches are firework GIFs that burst in celebration next to the A's. And there is music. It's a joyous celebration on my computer screen.
I am glad I went to college when/where I did the first time around--I really think it made me smarter, and it was the first time I had been interested enough in school to actually be challenged by any of my work. But any way you look at it, there are various things you're better at when you hit 30. Let's make a list:
1) Being a college student
2) Having a credit card
3) Realizing that not everyone needs to wear tank tops
4) Remembering to change the oil in your car
5) Staying out of the sun, although by 30 it's kinda too late
3) You use big, fancy, incomprehensible words when you yell at people. And more importantly, you realize that yelling at people is not always confrontation, it's just communication.
2) Your guest-starring role on "Will & Grace," as Owen the heterosexual choir-lover, was totally their best episode ever. I wish I could find the whole episode online, but this clip of you singing is enough for now.
1) You co-founded the H2O Africa Foundation, to raise funds for providing clean water access to impoverished parts of the world, so little kids could go to school instead of walking 6 miles every day to get water. Very cool.
...oh and "The Bourne Identity" is one of my most-favorites, especially because you co-star with Franka Potente.