The Midnight News
Hey Hi-8. Its my birthday. Bummed there is no column. Been reading for a LONG time - think Mop Ups - and I know we have corresponded before. Just for me, is there gonna be a post today?
Come on, Detroit deserves most of the lumps it gets pounded on it, but it is not worse than Compton. Only remotely gangsta type movie ever made about Detroit starred a white rapper for Christ sakes.
Compton is only dangerous in Hollywood movies... in real life its just a bunch of poor people who just want to buy/sell guns and/or drugs. You avoid Compton after midnight (when all the O'G's are just getting out of bed, yo) and you'll be all right.
Detroit, on the other hand, is a depressing, decaying, EVIL joint 24/7... daylight included. Third world, baby... scarier than ANYTHING the Middle East has to offer.
Hyatte, I've been a big fan for a long time. I always see you bashing Dave Scherer and the rest of PWI in your columns and while it's funny, I think is a little over the top.
Scherer can complain all he wants about ads generating money. People can just visit the site with Mozilla Firefox along with NoScript, Adblock Plus, and Adblock G-Filter extensions installed... the entire process takes about 5-15 minutes depending on your connection and you can visit the free site without any worries.
Not only do you block the pop-ups but you can block all the banner ads as well giving an extra fuck you to Scherer.
Thanks... but it's not the point. The POINT is that dickface Dave can't figure out how to make his stupid PW Elite section, the paying customer section, appealing enough so that people would want in WITHOUT using DESTRUCTIVE Spyware and viral worms ready to rip into your Mac or PC and turn it into the world's most expensive paperweight on his free site. You shouldn't HAVE TO download Mozilla Firefox and a whole bunch of ad blockers... other than porn sites, you shouldn't have to worry about ANYTHING while surfing the web...
And THEN the asshole occasionally posts a piece of bullshit explaining WHY he lets these ads bury the reader's screen... and plays it like he has no choice in the matter. Don't blame me, I'm just hard-working Dave looking out for YOU.
He's a shyster. A shady, transparent con-man without a shred of true imagination. As obvious as a virgin at a whorehouse.
Where's the column, you SLACKER?? That bat story had me laughing out loud real bad. It was THE GREATEST
Same place your love for me is, baby... mostly hidden but occasionally coming out to play.
Thanks, I know it rocked.
Hello Dorks. I'm Chris and this is the Midnight News. Not much to dig into news-wise... but I tried, Lord knows I tried.
I tried last week too, and failed... I had nothing. Stared at my screen for a good three hours trying to cobble something together. Didn't work. Gave up. It happens. The muse went away. Had to retrieve it.
THE CM(PLE) TRUTH
Ooph... these titles used to be, like, really witty...
Well, Meltzer broke the news that the Big Show, who's back is completely wrecked, is looking to take a long, LONG, like... maybe forever break from wrestling MAYBE in February and definitely after Wrestlemania...
So he's out... and Kurt Angle has pretty much burnt his bridges with the WWE... so he's out.
And Rob Van Dam was caught with pot and pills while holding TWO title belts... embarrassing the company just as they were taking a chance with him as the top player in ECW.
And Sabu... well, he's getting old and beat up and he was with RVD and had pills on him too. Vince likes his moxy, but can't trust him.
Who else is in ECW? Sandman is exposed as a shitty worker every week... he's only there because he tries real hard to impress the management. Dreamer is Dreamer. Heyman is employed so TNA can't get him to book their company. Balls Mahony is a total one trick pony. Thorn is a gimmick. Bob Holly is a boring tough guy. Mike Knox is bland.
Test is... well shit on toast... Test is an average worker who excels at two things: providing clean urine and fucking Divas..
No, really... fucking Andrew Martin has banged Trish, Stephanie, Stacy Keibler, AND is now boning Kelly Kelly... and that's just the ones we know of...
He fucked Trish... NO ONE fucks Trish... just him and the Rock... amazing.
And I thought CM Punk is the one who is supposed to be banging every chick who gets in his face.
Ah yes, CM Punk... he's the one who's supposed to LEAD ECW... he's the FUTURE... he's the next STAR... everyone says he has "It"...
Well, I've been watching him in ECW... (sort of... been skiping it in favor of Boston Legal)... and I see him show up every week, wrestle his match, win, get cheered like crazy, and the whole Internet is like, "OMGPUNK ROOLSLOLOLOLOLOL"
I don't see it...
Here's what I see with CM Punk:
-Luggage under his eyes
-a lip ring that is DYING to be ripped off.
-That dumb wrist twirling gimmick that looks fruity
-Slow motion kicks and that spinning backhand punch.
-A Rock Bottom/Bookend finisher
-and a GIANT addiction to pain killers once he spends loing enough time on the road.
"But asshole", you snarl, "you should've seen him in ROH! He had three one hour matches with Samoa Joe that ROCKED! Punk RULES!!"
I've you tubed two of those matches. What I saw was twenty minutes of storytelling buried and surrounded by 40 minutes of Punk and Joe throwing out Japanese and X-Division-like spots with a minimum of selling or points. I saw two long matches of backyard-like clowning around wrapped up as a blood feud playing to a die-hard audience who would go insane for Punk putting a pillow in a headlock for 15 minutes and find a reason to generate heat for it.
WWE management sees this too. You think they had Orton pin Punk in Japan (in a 9 minute match which was 8:45 seconds of Punk getting tuned on) because they are HIGH ON THE GUY?
He's not that great... and he's been under WWE employ for a year now... if he's learing, he's doing sdo very slowly.
And his girlfriend, Maria... I know she's, like, the current fan boy dream... but why does she always looks like she's taking a faceful of wet farts?
So... there's your ECW line-up... with all the big names either gone, going, or on the permenent shit list... and the leftovers being not that great...
And now they are off the road.
I only hope they keep Chris Masters around long enough to get Punk in the Master Lock and watch him flail.
I ain't seeing nothing on Tuesdays that's better than my man Jimmy Spader and the mighty DENNY CRANE!!
You fans better thank God ALMIGHTY Vince has too much of an ego to admit that ECW seems to be failing. He can't handle another defeat like that.
THIS IS HYATT
And now let me officially welcome original wrestling Diva, Missy Hyatt to DOI! Welcome, Missy! My Name is Chris Hyatte. I attached the "E" at the end specifically so people would annoy you by accidentally doing the same!
Maybe you've heard of me, maybe not... maybe you can't be bothered... maybe you can... I don't know. What I DO know is that you're being lazy. You've done... three columns for the site so far and all of them combined MIGHT look like a true effort to write something solid. Is it that you're so BUSY? Doing what?
I mean... it seems easy to me, writjng a column. All it takes is one, solid block of time... a few hours... maybe because I spend my week thinking of things to put in here. Maybe its because I put together a body of work over the years so I have stuff to fall back on. Maybe I'm just really good at this. Sure, I phone it in from time to time, but at least I don't slap together something lazy in 30 minutes and act like I'm doing the audience a favor.
Big tits and being a wet dream 20 years ago doesn't give you a free pass, superstar. And being that your last TV appearence was being ignored by Gene Simmons on Howard Stern's old "E channel's show" doesn't make you famous anymore.
And OF COURSE, I still would fuck you... I have a penis and a fetish for sleaze. Can't preomise to show you anything new... except maybe respect.
I don't expect Missy to last anyway. "Celebrity" writers tend to have a short shelf life here at DOI. Jasmine St Clair lasted.... 3 columns? That idiot referee Pee Wee seems to have gotten tired of HIS 4 paragraph columns. Missy already seems like its too much work. And Frank Goodman ain't no celebrity.
But ah well...while she's around... and since now she just answers questions... I have a few for her. Oooh, maybe she'll ANSWER... and maybe she'll call me a MARK!!
So Missy... if you have a moment from your very busy life...
-What does crack taste like?
-Why are you still in school after about 7 years?
-How many guys have you fucked?
-How many girls have you fucked?
-Who won that "Win a trip to Reno with Missy Hyatt" contest from 5 years ago and what happened?
-Is EVERYONE a Jabronie?
-Do you call people "Jabronie" because it's carny talk or because you are unaware that the Rock made it a cliche that no one uses back in 1999?
-What's the most number of guys you fucked in a day?
-Why not just go and do a porno?
-Are you proud that the last time anyone saw you on TV was you pimping some chick's tits to Gene Simmons?
-Would you let someone shit in your mouth for the right price?
-Did you kill Elizabeth?
-How come you weren't allowed into the funeral of... which sleazy wrestler was it again? Ahh fuck it, every sleazy wrestler who died. Pick one.
-Can you list all your diseases.
-Can you do one column without plugging your website?
-Why would anyone join a 40 year old's website?
-You know its over, right?
-Are you REALLY this arrogant?
-What's your major?
-Shouldn't you take... maybe... ONE bump if you plan on working the Indys?
-What's your REAL age?
-How was Tod Gordon in the sack? Is it true he likes t have his bald head lubed with pussy juice?
-Can I finger you?
That's enough. Spread them out and you have enough material for 10 columns! WELCOME ABOARD!!
WADING THROUGH LIFE
Meanwhile, while I've been ripping the crap out of Dave Scherer, I've been woefully ignoring the other big time news reporters...
Well, Dave Meltzer... err... seems pretty normal and hasn't done or said anything worth goofing on... nothing on him...
But Wade Keller... on the other hand...
Wade Keller... I've always had my suspicions about Wade Keller. He's got issues... he's got problems... I'll slit my fucking throat if he doesn't have at least 5 giant skeletons in his closet...
But I have nothing concrete on him, other than he's CLEARLY a world class Geek.
No... really.... the man has such a SHELTERED FUCKING EXISTENCE... I mean, not that he really talks about his life, what he does when he isn't Torching it up... and you MIGHT chalk it up to him being a private man... but recently, he displayed a VERY strong hin that his ENTIRE LIFE revolves around wrestling... his only friends are fellow wrestling fans... he's never mentioned a girlfriend, or even a date... seems inordinately close to his mother... doesn't know what a dumbell feels like... talks NOTHING but wrestling... reads NOTHING but wrestling... applies EVERYTHING he sees in life or on TV to wrestling... OBSESSED with wrestling...
Theory? Maybe... but recently, he made a fucking fool out of himself by trying to have an intelligent conversation about drug addiction with... well...
Three weeks ago, after Kurt Angle jumped to TNA and declared himself clean and sober, Wade Keller invited known addict- amateur porn star- all around douchebag, Sean "X-Pac" Waltman to do an audio-chat about drug use and wrestling. Despite his penchant for saying "ummm" and "errrr" a lot, Waltman was pretty coherent and informative about what's going on in the locker room. Then he started talking about withdrawals...
And Wade decided that he had a BRILLIANT analogy...
The following is 95% word for word... transcribed from an October 17th audio chat:
Waltman: ... that particular type of medication... uhh... the Benzyls... if you have a... high level of those in your system and have been on them a'while... uh... that kind of withdrawl can be deadly. Uhh, there's like a two week period... umm... if you go cold turkey off of those things
Waltman: uhh.... you can go into a grand seizure and die. Uhh... it's very... it's... it's very similar to ahh... umm.... to a severe alcoholic.... who uhh... who... err... who stops taking... uhhh who stops drinking cold turkey... and uhh
Keller: Hey, a simple.... mmm.... something more people might be able to relate to is if you're drinking eight cups of coffee a day and try to get off all at once.
Waltman: ...... ummm..... (pause)... yeah but that's like comparing apples and oranges because that's not going TO KILL YOU!!
Keller: No, no but the average person might undertsnd what you mean in terms of needing to wean yourself off....
Keller: ... because when you go cold turkey on caffeine the headaches are INCREDIBLE you may need to get by with a Tylenol!
Waltman: ....... ummmm
Keller: you're right it's not deadly but on a much... smaller scale people might... might understand what you mean when yiou do go cold turkey... a body to many degrees can react,,,
Waltman: .......... umm... that sounds like you have a personal expoerience with that
Keller: (nervously) Heh... a couple of times... heh
Waltman: ..... yeah.... umm... I can't... I can't really relate to that... the caffeine thing because... uhh.... never really... you know...
Keller: (thoroughly embarrassed) OKAY FAIR ENOUGH
Waltman: I've used stuff that's so much stronger than.... ummm... caffeine... that uhh... I can't...
Keller: (defeated) Yeah
Waltman: I can't really relate... but like I said about the benzyls...
Coffee... the man actually compared drug withdrawal with getting off coffee...
And Waltman was STUNNED... you can practically HEAR him roll his eyes.
What... the... HELL....
I am now convinced that Wade Keller has never been drunk, never built a fort in his life, never pulled a fire alarm, never had a fistfight, never stolen a candy bar, never egged a house, never smoked a joint, never fucked a girl, never drove over the speed limit, and never went to a strip club and never ordered the Spice channel.
And this is a man to respect?? Someone who has NEVER tried to live a dangerous life? Never stepped over the line?
I am scarily thinking that Wade Keller... has lived his entire life, vicariously through wrestling...
And that makes him creepier than me at my most Stratus obsessed... at least I VENT... at least I cut LOOSE... at least I am not afraid to make an ass out of myself INTENTIONALLY...
What a fucking tool. Hey!! I QUIT COFFEE AND WAS SUCKING DOWN A TAB OF TYLENOL A DAY!! I SHOULD GO TO REHAB WITH THE OTHER HEROIN ADDICTS!!!
Fuckin'... leave your home Wade... go get a handjob in some alley one night... go get shitfaced and start a fight with some black guy... fucking turn off your wrestling and your DVD player for a week and CHILL... wrestling will be here when you get back! Go fucking have ONE life experience so you won't embarrass yourself again by talking about how tough it is to kick Maxwell House.
And eat something... my God, you look like an Aids patient.
Loser. Get a life.
Kurt Angle doesn't know fiending until he finds himself waiting for Dunkin' Donuts to open... "Yo man, I'm hurting... give me a large French Vanilla... EXTRA EXTRA!
Every stereotype you think of with geeky fan boys was just totally represented by Wade Keller... in full view.
Oh, and after Wade goes out and lives JUST A LITTLE... when he gets back... how about he hires (ha, as if they get paid) and few Torch writers who DON'T have heavy lisps. I swear, my computer almost shorted out from the spittle that flew out of the mouths of James Caldwell and Mike Roe during their TNA Impact recap. Both of them sound like their tongues weigh about 5 pounds each. And Pat McNeill can't complete a 4 word sentence without gasping for air.
What a scary crew over there. No wonder Meltzer has never missed a wink of sleep due to his news reporting "competition"
Speaking of geeking it up.. I've got something at the end of this column for ANOTHER set of nerds... stay tuned
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO FLEA
Whenever we talk, I can always count on Flea to give his opinions on just about anything.
So, I decided to grab a pen and paper and start jotting down his thoughts. Everyone likes Flea.
The following is 100% true... more or less:
WHERE DOES FLEA STAND ON...
Ha! He was in the company right up until he got sober and realized what that asshole Freebird got him into. He stopped being drunk and ran out of there! Ha!
Flea: I'm on his short list
A FUN FACT THAT WILL MAKE YOU LOOK SMARTER
*In New York, on average, 311 people are bitten by rats in a year. 1,519 residents are bitten annually by other New Yorkers*
And just like that, you're smarter than you were three seconds ago
Hyatte LIVES to inform.
KEVIN NASH IS BETTER THAN YOU
Since day one, Kevin Nash has been shat on by Internet marks everywhere. Well.... enough is ENOUGH!
This isn't going to change a damn thing, but I'm doing it anyway. Someone has to point out the obvious, SOMEONE has to defend the big guy, SOMEONE has to show the WRESTLING WORLD that Kevin Nash... maybe the greediest, laziest, sneakiest wrestler who ever lived, deserves a HEARTY round of applause... not for thumbing his nose at those who actually WORKED in the ring, but for doing it and getting rich at the same time. He IS the American dream... all 7 feet of him.
But is he better than YOU, John Q. Workrate? Bet'cha ASS he is... Why?
Kevin Nash Is Better Than You Because...
He reads the websites, he sees what you write. He doesn't care. He is looking you in the face and he's saying, "You know, I'm not putting anyone over, I'm not giving anyone the rub, I'm only going to get myself over. I'll do this time and time again as blatantly as possible but by God I am STILL going to be THE HIGHLIGHT OF EVERY IMPACT SHOW AND YOU WILL END UP LOVING ME!!
THIS HAS BEEN "KEVIN NASH IS BETTER THAN YOU" STARRING KEVIN NASH, WRITTEN, DIRECTED, AND PRODUCED BY CHRIS HYATTE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
THE IMPACT MOP-UP
I keep missing it... and I LOVE Kurt Angle too... I'll hit this next week... I SWEAR... and it'll be funny as HELL... but instead... I'll give you a one/two punch...
THE DOI BOOK-OF-THE-WHEN-I-GET-TO-IT-CLUB
Flea: Only three writers in the world have ever meant anything, Hi-Weight
Hyatte: Oh yeah, which ones?
Flea: Stephen King, George Orwell…
Flea: (takes a long, drawn-out, desperate pull from his bong – followed by a nice, generous sip from his glass) and… whoever.
Hyatte: Who the fuck is whoever?
Flea: When you know, then you’ll know
I'm going non-fiction, this time out... in honor of Eric Bischoff's sorta-a-decent-seller Controversy Creates Ca$h with A DIFFERENT book NOT ABOUT WRESTLING... but about the movies...
About one particular, very distinct movie franchise written by one of the most iconic celebrities of our time.
Has there ever been a fabulously BAD actor who squeezed so much juice out of his popularity and natural charm that he managed to hang around long enough to go from being a decent young actor, to a legendary ham, to a wig wearing self-involved goofball, to a older, seasoned, decent aqctor who knows not to take himself so seriously anymore than William Shatner? Maybe Burt Reynolds, but probably not.
Bill Shatner has been around so long, he's become lovable to a whoile new generation of fans. I mean, he has FINALLY... and I mean FINALLY created a character, Boston Legal's "Denny Crane" that has been embraced by the public and could finally let him get rid of being just Captain Kirk. And God bless him for it.
However, before David E. Kelly restored his career, and after a long period where Shatner avoided all things Star Trek other than the high paying movie roles, he decided to parlay his notoriety and cash in on his character by writing a ton of books - both fictional Trek tales and non-fiction overviews of the TV series and movie franchises. Roughly ten years ago, he put these two books out. This week's selection is about the movies.
Star Trek Movie Memories is William Shatner's (and Chris Kreski's) fond and fairly detailed story of how a little TV series that hardly lasted 2 and a half seasons became a monster movie franchise chugging out 6 flicks with the original cast and 1 featuring the Next Generation crew (the three more Next Gen flicks that followed were produced after this books publication... DUH... in other news, the grass is green and the sky is blue and water is usually wet). Shatner devotes a chapter, a long chapter to each film... telling its individual story with pretty good attention to specifics. Every film was an adventure, with peaks and valleys and egos (and Shatner doesn't shy away from his own ego-stomping history... although he tends to act surprised that everyone considered him a fussbucket at times). It's the sort of book that gives you nice insight into the business of making movies, focusing more on the preproduction. Shatner likes to explain how each film was started, how scripts were handled, how ideas became fleshed out, how the franchise grew and grew from a lousy first flick to the incredible second, third, and fourth flick to the iffy fifth flick and to the well-done final sixth flick. After all that, pretty even-handed, self-aware history, Shatner sits back and talks about the seventh flick, being the first movie with the Next Generation cast with a bit of the old Shatner ego. He doesn't hide his pride with being the lynchpin of the last Trek movie, and he spends serious time boasting about how he played Kirk's death scene (which didn't evoke a single tear from anyone watching, but according to him, it was Shakespearian!)
Again, it's a fun look into the Trek movie franchise, and Shatner also addresses the turmoil that went down in the 90's when most of his castmates kept putting out biographies of their own where he was portrayed as an arrogant, narcissistic boob... to which Shatner basically writes, "Huh? I don't understand what they mean?" Good stuff, written in a tone that sort of charms you into liking him. He plays innocent, and you want to believe him.
The only problem with the book is something Stephen King bitches about frequently... and that is Shatner just abuses the SHIT out of adverbs. As a writer (and I've only read this book and his TV show overview), Bill Shatner's motto seems to be: "Why use five words when you can stretch it out to TEN!". He overwrites like crazy... making him a natural message board poster but a so-so writer. The excerpt I'm using this week is a good example.
As lovable as he is, Shatner does have an ego, so I thought I would use an excerpt from the chapter concerning his favorite Trek film... Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Why is it his favorite film? Because he directed the damn thing, that's why. It's his baby, his first time directorial effort, and if Bill Shatner is anything like his legend, you KNOW his goal was to out-direct his co-star, Leonard Nimoy, who did the previous two. Well, Lord knows Shatner tried... but many things got in his way.
So, in this excerpt... which is about 8 pages but only 5 and 1/2 if you get rid of the over-writing, Shatner talks about how he had this great idea about the Trek crew meeting God, and how many, many forces worked to stop him... read as Bill Shatner fights for his vision against a cranky Gene Roddenberry, Harve Bennett (his producer), his co-stars (Nimoy and De Forest Kelley... the only two who count), a writer's strike, "Indiana Jones", Paramount Accountants, and the most dreaded villians this side of the Klingons.... the Teamsters:
As David began writing our first-draft script, the twists and turns of real life were also conspiring to put us in a bind. First, Gene Roddenberry, upon hearing our proposed storyline, was adamantly opposed to almost every bit of the idea. He was opposed to the idea of the Enterprise crew meeting God, and even more opposed to our representation of God in the familiar western form. In Gene's mind, there would most likely be hundreds, even thousands of God images throughout the galaxy. He also objected to the idea that McCoy and Spock could actually become followers of Sybok. Richard Arnold, who was working in Roddenberry's office throughout all this, sheds some light on Gene's specific objections:
"Gene would have preferred avoiding the theme of God and man altogether, because he had already written it with The God Thing. And the studio had said, 'You just can't make a movie this controversial. Absolutely not.' Y'know, back in 1975, there was just no way they were going to let him tackle that subject matter. So when you came along, though it was years later, with very similiar themes, and the studio gave you a green light, Gene was really hurt. I think it hurt Gene's ego that you were finally going to tell the story that he had wanted to tell ten years earlier. You were about to succeed where he had failed.
At the same time, Gene's secretary, Susan, was making matters worse by walking around the office saying things like, 'I can't believe it! He stole your idea. Bill's an asshole, Bill's a bastard.' So that didn't help, and additionally, I know there was a fairly legitmate concern on Gene's part that your sense of humor was a little different than had ever been visualized before. His perception was that you were using the lesser characters for comic relief. Y'know, Chekov and Sulu lost in the woods, Scotty banging his head on a pipe, the lesser characters were to be laughed at, not with.
But most of all, Gene was bothered by the fact that nowhere in this script did anyone bother to question the very existence of God. What about alien races that have no religion? What about atheists? What about people with Eastern concepts of religion who don't believe in a god per se?
Finally, I can remember him saying, 'Why, all of a sudden, is every single person on this ship betraying Captain Kirk to follow this Christ figure> There's gotto be somebody on the ship who'd hold back: someone who'd say, wait just a minute. Obviously, his concern was that people in the audience would ask, 'Are we being told that in Star Trek's future everybody is Christian?' Ultimately you guys smoothed over that point by having God say, 'I have many faces.' But Gene still wasn't happy, and I think a lot of it stemmed from the very basic fact that this was a story that he wanted to tell and hadn't been allowed to."
At about the same time, a pair of entirely unrelated events teamed up to delay this film's start date by about a year. First, the Writer's Guild of America went on strike, forcing David to log out of his computer for the foreseeable future. And second, about a month into that strike, Leonard Nimoy accepted a job directing a film entitled The Good Mother. It was a duty that would keep him occupied for the next five months. At that point, well aware of the fact that even when the strike was over we still faced several months of script revisions, it became unavoidable that our front-burnered project was going to be delayed by about twelve months. "Hurry up, we've only got a year" became the newest catchphrase around the office, and throughout the ensuing months, while I relieved the boredom by writing a novel entitled TekWar, I also got together rather frequently with Harve, poking through our suspended story, looking for whatever ideas might need to be reworked.
First and foremost, it began to hit me that Zar (soon to officially become Sybok) was perhaps a bit too intense in his quest, a bit too close to the similarly driven Khan Noonian Singh. With that in mind, we softened the character significantly, making him less ruthless, less evil, more of a tortured soul. Shortly thereafter, as the Writers Guild setled their strike, David Loughery came back to work, and he ultimately redrafted our script rather quickly.
Quite pleased with the results, I did the logical thing and flew off to the Himilayas for a couple of weeks. Fulfilling a contractual obligation to a project entitled Voice of the Planet, I was gone just long enough to get stabbed in the back.
When I returned home from the shoot, late one Friday afternoon, I visited my office and was told by Harve that he and David had just revised the script and I was going to absolutely love it. "Terrific," I replied, "I'll read it tonight." I went home, sat down in my favorite corner of the sofa with the latest in a long line of Dobermans flopped over my lap, and began reading. I couldn't believe my eyes.
This script had almost nothing to do with anything that had preceeded it. Now, instead of searching for God, the crew of the Enterprise was being led by Sybok to a land of great peace and contentment, a land where no one ever grows old. In short, Harve and David had revistited Lost Horizon, with Shangri-La now being beneath the cheesy pseudonym of Sha Ka Ree (a bastardization of "Sean Connery", who we all hoped might play Sybok).
The whole thing came as an unpleasant surprise to me, and as I sat there reading, I actually had tears in my eyes. I was that hurt. Harve and David and I had worked together for months, banging out a screenplay that dealt with my idea of searching for God, and now, at their first unsupervised opportunity, my fellow creatives were conspiring to yank that entire concept out from under me. I called a meeting for Monday morning, and spent the rest of the weekend guzzling Alka-Seltzer.
When the new work week finally dawned, I marched into Harve's office, sat down with him and David Loughery, and spent the better part of the next forty-eight hours truing to convince them that their new idea wasn't very good. It wasn't easy. Finally, I got Harve alone and asked him, "Why would Kirk, the great warrior of the galaxy, ever want to go to a place like Sha Ka Ree? Y'know, Star Trek was never about running away, or about finding peace, in fact it's always been about the exact opposite. These characters have now spent the better part of two decades fighting, standing up for what's right in the face of oppression, and trying to effect a positive change in the universe. We've never run away from anything!"
Finally, after a mind-numbingly lengthy exchange, Harve began to soften, and at that point, with the pair now effectively divided, I moved in to conquer. Cornering David and shotgunning him with the same argument, I ultimately won that battle, and we quickly returned to our original God concept. In a world where you've got to choose your headaches wisely, this truly meritied the thumping skull.
Still, once all the arguing and the oppositional posturing had subsided, we did hang onto the notion of Sha Ka Ree. Transforming it from a place of ultimate peace into a land of ultimate knowledge, Sha Ka Ree now became the place Sybok was looking for, the subject of his vision from God, his Holy Grail. It actually made his quest a lot more understandable, much more clearly defined.
With that in place, we set about making our characters work better. First and foremost on our list was trying to find some dramatically believable reason why Spock would not shoot the mutineering Sybok when he had the chance, ultimately siding with him in traveling to Sha Ka Ree. From the very beginning, we had established Spock and Syboik had become aquainted in the seminary, but that just didn't seem to be enough. This pair had to somehow be bonded to the point where Spock would believably betray Kirk to follow Sybok. Finally, just when it wads beginning to appear that we'd all written ourselves into an inescapable corner, Harve lit up and yelled, "Ahhhhh, I've got it. There's only one way out of this, and that's to make Sybok Spock's brother."
I wadded up the sheet of paper I'd been making notes on and winged it off of Harve's forehead. I just didn't like the idea at all. To me, it seemed too easy, cheap, the kind of plot twist you'd find on a soap opera, but when Harve explained that such a strong relationship could immediately and believably translate to the big screen without a lot of clunky exposition, I skeptically challenged him to write it up and make it work. Three days later, he did just that.
I was convinced, David Loughery loved the idea, and when we sent our latest round of revisions to Roddenberry's office, he, too, was beginning to grow noticeably fonder of our show, However, just as we were beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel, it turned out to be the headlamp of the onrushing Leonard Nimoy express.
Having now completed his stint behind the cameras on The Good Mother, Leonard was beginning to concentrate on Star Trek V, and upon studying his script he had decided that Spock simply would not, under any circumstances, betray his good friend Kirk, especially in the light of the sacrifices the captain had made for him in Star Trek III. That same day, we found out that De Kelly felt similarly about Bones. Finally, that same awful weekday marked the beginning of what would become a prolonged series of budgetary battles with the studio.
In reading our story, it seemed that the bean counters had poked away at their calculators and decided that as written, our film would most likely come in at slightly over our approved budgetary drop-dead figure of $31 million. We were told to make cuts right away, so harve and I got out our red pencils and began chopping at a few of our favorite (and most costly) ideas. We lost the river of fire, cut down on our supply of gargoyles, and by the time I slunk out of my office, this awful weekday had forevermore become known as Black Thursday.
After dinner, a gutful of agita, and a fitful couple hours of sleep, I ventured back into the office and met with Leonard, determined that I could convince him to change his mind. He arrived just before lunch, and by the time the sun was setting, I was begging, pleading, cajoling, massaging and going through whatever histrionics I thought might prove helpful to my cause. However, in the end I was thoroughly defeated. No matter what reasoning I could muster, Leonard simply refused to budge, because in his mind, Spock would never, ever, brother or no brother, pain or no pain, betray Captain Kirk.
In a situation like that, I simply could not win. I certainly couldn't pretend to understand Spock any better than leonard, and I couldn't demand that Leonard perform the role as written. My only real option was to schmoose like hell, my only tools being passion and salesmanship. Turns out what I really needed was a pickax. Leonard held firm. Days later, DeKelley proved similarly unmovable.
With the clock now ticking away, I had no time to fight it out, and with that in mind, I caved, twice. I had to. Arguing with two guys whom I love, whom I have tremendous respect for, and who've been beside me throughout so many previous battles, I ended up trying to please everyone. I should also note that in discussing the script, I didn't entirely disagree with Leonard and De, and with their prodding, I came to realize that if Kirk were ever penciled into betraying Bones and Spock, I too would most likely raise the roof. Fully cognizant of the fact that film is perhaps the most collaborative of all art forms, I had David rewrite the script. Right? Wrong? better? Worse? I still don't know, although I would have loved to have seen the original scenario on-screen.
I think it would have been fascinating to watch Kirk, Spock, and Bones going at each other, enduring their first real falling-out in the history of Star Trek. However, in appeasing the studio, my co-stars, my producer, my screenwriter and our all-powerful ledger sheets, I'd slowly but surely allowed my original story to become significantly diminished. God and the devil were gone, replaced by a mere cosmic pretender to the throne, and much of the inherent dramatic tension that would have crackled between our main characters throughout the second half of the film was now similarly diluted. No longer would there be any dissension among the ranks, and instead, the three of us would ultimately join hands, venturing down to Sha Ka Ree at film's end mostly out of curiousity. In retrospect, and twetny-twenty hindsight, that story solution weakened the dramatic tension of the film's climatic moments while flattering the buildup of tension thoughout out story. For now, though, having accepted the compromises all around, I was busy accentuating the positive.
Determined to enjoy my moment at the point position on a thirty million dollar movie, I threw myself wholeheartedly into the revised storyline. Peering over David Loughery's shoulder as he reworked the script, I invoked some self-imposed spin control, and found myself feeling that even though this new version of the script had bwegun to stray wildly from the course I'd originally concieved, it was still good, and full of soliud dramatic moments. Within a week, Loughery handed in his revised script, and at that point, Gene Roddenberry, Leonard, and De all gave it their offical thumbs-up. The only folks who remained unhappy with our progress were the studio pencil-pushers.
Combing through our latest version of the script, they'd now upgraded their suspicions and become convinced that Star Trek V, as written, was still going to come in significantly over budget. More cuts were ordered, and the first place to take a hit was our special-effects laden climax, basically the film's final ten minutes. With erasers and red pencils flying at warp factor eight, I lost my band of angels, lost the resultant horde of gargoyles, and in their place, we concocted a mere handful of monsters, made of solid stone, which would become animate upon "God's" command, rising up out of the planet's rocky surface. It certainly was a notch less amazing then transforming packs of cherubim, but we could have done a lot worse. By afternoon's end, I had ordered up six Rockmen.
However, as the days passed and our costume designers began formulating a plan as to how they might actually create believable men of rock, we got back the horrifying news that our half dozen Rockmen would run us just a shade over $300,000. Moments later, as I lifted my jaw back up from the carpet, I amended my order and figured that maybe three hulking Rockmen could seem just as menacing and terrifying as six.
"No way," said the stusio, "you're not spending one hundred and fifty grand on three costumes that will be seen on-screen for only a couple of minutes. Not a chance. You can have one Rockman... no more." Crossing my fingers that my lone Rockman would ultimately prove up to the task, I was now beginning to build up a tolerance to aspirin.
With our square peg of a script, hammered upon for months, now beginning to squeeze down its round hole, I could finally begin thinking about a million other details: casting, production, scheduling, special effect, costumes, music. First and foremost, however, came the look of the new film.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted this picture to have a real epic stature, large and impressive, and I had planned on visualizing that through a series of unusually broad, sweeping camera shots. For example, in the first scene of the film, I wanted viewers to find Sybok laughing, at which point we'd tilt up into the sun, widening out, continueing to stretch our perspective almost exponentially, until the sun was far off in the galaxy. At that point, I wanted the camera to turn slowly toward a small planet in the distance and begin magnifying its focus, each time by a power of ten, until the planet became recognizable as Earth. As the zoom continued, we'd have seen America, then California, then a giant mountain with a small speck of a being on it, then a hand grasping the side of that mountain, which of course would have ultimately revealed itself as Kirk's.
I had planned similarly grand visuals in several other spots throughout the film, and in further cementing our epic status, I desperately wanted large Lawrence of Arabia-sized bands of soldiers/extras to come sweeping in from the desert and storm our Paradise City. However, with our production already treading shaky budgetary ground, those shots were now hanging by a thread. When we began finalizing our special effects work, that thread got cut... fast.
Having begun our search for magic at ILM, we were dismayed to find that most of that firm's best technicians, the A team, were already hard at work on the Spielberg/Lucas collaboration Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. At the same time, a good portion of the B guys were putting together the effects for Ghostbusters II. We knew that the best ILM could offer us simply wasn't their best, and for that reason, we tested the water by asking a number of companies all over Hollywood to audition for the job on Star Trek V, fronting each of them $10,000 and asking that they do their best to create a striking and unusual image of God. We found our winner in... Hoboken, New Jersey.
The birthplace of Frank Sinatra and the best homemade mozzarella on the planet Earth, Hoboken is about as far removed from Hollywood as you can possibly get. Still, tucked away in a grubby little corner of the Mile Square City, we found the special effects shop of a man named Bran Ferren, who'd done some rather remarkable effects work on a large number of television commercials. A bit of a long shot coming into the festivities, Ferren nonetheless beat out the more formidable competition, winning himself the job from inside a fish tank.
Traveling to Ferren's studio, he almost immediately dispensed with the small tank and dragged us into his workshop. Once inside, he showed us that without complicated opticals, lenses, or computer-generated graphics, he could conjure up effects that were truly magical. With a small centrifuge whooshing amid a large, aquarium-style tank, a whirlpool quickly developed, ultimately running almost perpendicularly through the center of the redesigned guppy house. Now adding a few chemicals to the tank while smiling broadly, not unlike the Sorcerer's Apprentice, Ferren clicked on a few lights, creating a blinding column of light, and held us enthralled in his low-tech wizardry. We signed him on the spot.
In the days that followed, Ferren took a closer look at our script, worked up some preliminary figures, sent them in, and forced us all to realize that once again, we were going to be over-budget. At that point, I officially lost my "powers of ten" shot as well as several other more ambitious visions, my longed-for hordes of ravaging desert planet invaders soon became mere handfuls, and my shooting time on location in the desert was shortened rather significantly. Again, I bit the bullet. Again I was the team player, and again I forced myself to keep smiling, but I also couldn't help feeling as if my movie was now rapidly evolving into something... ordinary. I dredged all that up again with Harve Bennett, and he surprised me by stating that throughout this period of relentless cutbacks, he wasn't bothered at all. In fact, he was actually a bit relieved. Harve explains:
"I will tell you in friendship and candor that the biggest problem I had during the early stages of this picture had to do with your appetite. You were coming into a situation, as a first time director, determined that you were going to reinvent the wheel and make a real directorial statement. In other words, you had directed, on stage and on TVm but you were now in the same position I was in Star Trek II, saying to yourself, 'Wow! This is a feature picture!'
When that happens, the tendency is for the director to start biting off more than he'll be able to chew. You start thinking too big, B-I-G, big. Leonard was the same way on III, as was Nicholas, who was a little bit more experienced when he first came in on II. It was like you were all thinking, 'I must reinvent the art of directing in this movie.'
You wanted big, complex shots, you wanted big things, you wanted stuff that would cost money, you wanted stuff that would take time. My job was to keep your enthusiasm and your appetities from going over the line of practicality.
You were coming up with idea after idea and I was into circuit overload. And the ideas were, in and of themselves, fantastic, but strung out as a necklace of ideas, they would've become Intolerance or Greed, some eight hour movie. So I think I conned you a lot about the specifics, making up stories and talking you out of the things I could see looming as potential problems. So when we started cutting back on the budget, it didn't bother me at all to see some of those things go away."
As the scope of my script atrophied, our cast got bigger. I had found my Sybok. When Sean Connery proved unavailable (he'd signed on to play Indiana Jone's father in The Last Crusade), Harve and I drew up a long list of candidates for the role, loaded with solid, talented actors. We ultimately avoided them althogether, in favor of a man I just happened to catch on PBS that evening. Flopping down in my living room and piloting the remote, I channeled surfed into a one man play entitled L.B.J. Obviously about Lyndon Baines Johnson, the play itself was rather ordinary, but elevated significantly by the captivating performance of its leading man, heavily made up for the role, so I had no idea who I was watching. However, he had an exuberance and vitality that cut right though a cathode tube, and I knew that I'd found our Sybok. At play's end, squinting at the credits, I found that I'd been so thoroughly imprssed by a man named Larry Luckinbill. I called him and offered him the role, he accepted, and we moved forward. I may have marked the last truly easy task on the film.
By week's end we'd begun searching out many of the desert locations that we'd be using in the film, and almost immediately I was simultaneously thrilled and horrified by what we'd found. In the Ridgecrest section of Yosemite National Park, we found several ideal locations. There was Owens Lake, actually a dry lake bed, which laid itself out beautifully to become our Paradise City; Trona Peaks, full of gnarled, jutting rock formations that would be absolutely perfect for Sha Ka Ree; and in a place called Cuddy Bank, we found the dry desert hellhole uninhabitable enough to form the basis of our film's opening shots in which Sybok makes his entrance, riding triumphantly through the desert.
However, despite the beauty of the locations, it was immediately obvious that the high desert heat and hardships could very well drive us all nuts. We knew that, but at the same time, our only realistic alternative would be to fake virtually everything, squeezing the film into soundstages, where we would have greater comfort but a lot less to look at. As we sat down to eat at one of the only restaurants for miles around, the idea of wimping out on a soundstage garnered only a moment's discussion, with Harve and I united in our assertion that we'd be more than happy to stick it out for the good of the picture. We then spent the better part of our meal discussing the weirder aspects of the local landscape, and as it turned out, one of them was sitting at the next table.
With my mouth full of the local cuisine, I was less than thrilled to feel an inordinately large hand grasping my left shoulder blade. "Mr. Shatner?" gasped the inordinately large voice attached to the hand. "Can I have your autograph?"
Not wanting to offend the Sasquatch, I simply smiled and replied, "Uh sure, do you have a piece of paper?"
Now he was rustling around in his overalls, digging through grimy pockets and pulling out all sorts of trash. Finally, in the chest front pocket, he pulls out a business card and hands it over, "Thanks," I reply, glancing down at the card, reading his name, and noticing that underneath that name was the word sawyer.
"What's a sawyer?" I asked him.
"Lemme show you," he replied, heading back over to his table and digging through a green army surplus duffle bag fopr what seemed like an eterinty. Finally, he pulled out a handsaw and strode back toward the table. Fearing the worst, I was ready to hit the deck, until I noticed that in his other hand he was cradling the tip of a long violin-type bow. "You see," he chimed merrily, "a sawyer is a guy who plays the saw." At that point, looking not unlike one of those big, furry animatronic bears that sing and dance for patrons at Disnery World's Country bear Jamboree, this big moose sat down on the nearest stool, closed his eyes, and, as a look of overwhelming peace tranformed and softened his face, proceeded to play a bit of Chopin so stuningly beautifully that we all just sat there, enrapturedm unable to divert our eyes from his musical mastery. Grime-covered and sweat-soaked in a greasy-spoon diner miles from the nearest paved road, we all forgot, we all forgot about our own discomfort and were swept away. It was quite a welcome.
In the weeks that followed, while we tweaked at our script amid the air-conditioned luxury of the Paramount lot, large crews of carpenters began descending upon our harsh Yosemite location, erecting our sets at a feverish pace. Polaroids, Fed-Exed from the locations each afternoon kept us up to date on their progress, and we were never less than thrilled. At the same time, scattered about the Paramount lot, Star Trek V's constumes, makeup effects, props, and casting were all just about nearing completion. I was beginning to get really excited.
Star Trek V offically began production on October 11, 1988, amid a mixture of of enthusiam, excitement and nausea. Sitting aboard a small aircraft bound for Yosemite, I couldn't help but notice a steady ridge of black clouds along the horizon and the turbulence they'd left in their wake. As we continued forward, with visions of rainstorms and mudslides washing away everything we'd work for, I just crossed my fingers, crossed my toes, and hoped like hell we might get lucky. Meanwhile, down on the ground, things were getting rather tense as well.
Less than a month before we were to begin our location shooting, Hollywood's Teamsters' union had gone out on strike, These guys, despite their reputation for standing around all day reading the paper while guzzling coffee, smoking Camel unfiltereds and sucking down bagels by the dozen, are actually quite indispensible in the grand scheme of moviemaking, especially on location. Basically, they are your ride, responsible for the loading, transportation and care of all production vehicles to and from any and all locations. Without them, in theory, your cameras, lights, actors, and props would never even make it to the show. Your entire production would grind to a dead stop.
However, with the union on strike and the start of our principal photography approaching rather rapidly, we had no other option than to assemble a nonunion crew of drivers to take the Teamsters' place. As you might expect, this did not sit well with the temsters', a union not known to be particularly gentlemanly in their protestations.
While our associate producers tried their best to round up any number of able-bodies drivers willing to cross a picket line and drive our caravan of production vehicles to location, we had begun hearing rumors that the union might start playing hardball at any moment. The feeling around our offices was that violent retribution might be a possibility: They might sabotage our equipment or threaten the safety of our substitute drivers, Another possibility, sporadically employed by several Hollywood unions in the past, would have found the strikers hiring a few small airplanes to simply fly over our location in circles all day long, effectively negating our ability to record any sound at all. Helicopters too have been known to rise up unexpectedly out of the horizon and then sit contentedly over a disputed production site for hours at a time, blades chopping loudly, wind whipping madly, successfully shutting down any sort of film shoot.
And then, two days before we were to head out, one of the camera trucks earmarked for our trip mysteriously blew up in the studio parking lot. It was empty at the time, but it shook all of us to the point where several of our substitute drivers hastily backed away from the project, and we ultimately ordered our entire fleet of drivers to begin their trek toward Yosemtite in the middle of the night, sneaking them off the lot in an effort to get on the road as quickly and as unnoticed as humanly possible. Still, even with all these precautions, our drivers were almost immediately tailgated along the highway by cars full of masked men shouting threats. Only when our production manager orchestrated a full police escort did the harrassment stop. And while we never actually confirmed the source of the harrassment, it certainly made for a less than auspicious beginning.
The man loved his adverbs. Lord knows how many thesauruses he wore out writing this book.
I got to note that the person who took the biggest beating in Shatner's history is Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek who, until his death, pretty much pissed on every flick and kept screaming about a movie where Kirk and crew go back in time to stop JFK's assasination. The ol' Great Bird of the Galaxy is portrayed as a bitchy, nutty, grump obessed with using Trek for his own inclinations.
But you know, adverbs aside, Star Trek Movie Memories provides a nifty look back at a legendary franchise and how each movie came to be from the eyes of its biggest star. Bill Shatner, by the very fact that he has lasted this long and has won over millions of fans even as Jim Kirk gets colder and colder, has earned his place in the Hall of celebrity fame. And in this book, he lets anyone who had a problem with him have their say. At times he's as cocky as ever, but he also shows humbleness and a gratitude to everyone who helped make him so filthy rich and well-loved. Plus, you get to learn about how movies are made. All in all, not a bad book.
My name is Chris Hyatte and I will not rest until ever Indy Wrestler LEARNS HOW TO READ!!!
HOT ASS CELEBRITY GOSSIP
While we're on the topic of movies and such... how about some gossip about famous people? Why not.
I used to go to this AWESOME site that updated 3-4 times a year and POUNDED out the juice of famous people, but the guy who ran it shut it down. Now that homo Perez Hilton does gossip and mudslinging, but he only focuses on easy targets like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Tara Reid. I like to post shit about people who you don't hear much about...
John Travolta: John Travolta did have a blonde surfer guy named Brad that he was spotted with quite a bit in the 1980s. Someone who worked the front desk at a hotel reported that they checked into in Universal City during that time. It was a one bed room. When Travolta was asked if he and Brad would like a cot, he claimed it was not necessary. Later that evening, security came down to the front desk bitching to staff about Travolta and "his boyfriend!" Seems that they had a fight. Brad locked Travolta out of the room. Security had to be called on the scene to open the door. When they did, Travolta embraced a sobbing Brad stating he was sorry and he loved him. It was the buzz of the hotel at the time.
Denzel Washington: Denzel Washington: philanderer; arrogant; banged BET host Julissa Marquez and gave her designer hand bags. You cannot believe the Denzel Washington stories over at Universal. One executive expressed concern and fear about his implied requirement that he gets to bed the last remaining candidates for costarring roles. He actually reasoned that he felt his acting abilities would be jeopardized if he didn't have a "connection" to the leading lady and that the camera would pick that up. The executive was flabbergasted and speechless.
Ryan Seacrest: Ryan Seacrest got his start courtesy of Merv Griffen who is known for loving hot young male talent. Well known that he has hit on, and successfully seduced, any number of young asian/island guys. He might have a girlfriend, but he definitely likes guys. He's not necessarily "out" to his close knit group of friends, but it's not a secret, either.
Alyssa Milano: has actually eaten shit; on one movie set in Canada, she infuriated a propmaster and after bitching him out, she ordered him to get her something off the craft services table (food bar). He got her a hot dog, but before giving it to her, shoved his shit in it using a pen's inkwell. Dates/fucks pretty much any famous guy with a pulse
David Copperfield: Claudia Schiffer 'dated' him in exchange for a fat paycheck. A fucking dick. A complete DICK. A cheap bastard, doesn't talk to the little people; he speaks to an assistant who then speaks to you (while sitting 2 feet from you). He's tiny too; about 5'4" and that's with lifts. Gives off a very gay vibe. He's creepy too. A fake tanner and has hair plugs.
Britney Spears: 4:20 fan, allegedly been to rehab twice in secret; Kevin Federline is her ex-dealer; father is a drunk; parents filed for bankruptcy back in 1999
Corey Haim: long time drug addict, currently is broke and living in Toronto; so desperate for cash, he had sex with a fan for a few hundred $$$; is currently selling personal items on Ebay for a few dollars; once applied to work at Toronto video store and instead of filling out the application, he submitted a headshot
David Letterman: forget the dorky persona, he likes to visit NYC brothels on a regular basis and the girls like him
Bill Gates: huge nerd; his Dad uses has Netscape not Internet Explorer on his laptop; considered slightly autistic because he often rocks back and forth in his chair during meetings. He is not gay, but not totally "straight." An old hairdresser, (a girl) who also worked as a dominatrix and a stripper in San Francisco, was hired, along with several other strippers, for a kinky Bay cruise on a yacht. Apparently, Bill was quite into the bondage... His marriage isn't all it seems either - rumors went around Microsoft HQ for years how he has old girlfriends he still sees from time to time, even takes on annual planned vacations, with the wife's full knowledge and permission.
Ray Liotta: Asshole. He likes hetero, rough sex. He routinely bangs strippers (and escorts NYC brothels) and treats all women like garbage, except for his wife Michelle. All the strippers in LA and NY HATE him, as he's a horrible tipper and aggressive and mean, which is why he has to bang strippers in small towns now, because they don't know how rude and cheap he is.
Well Jesus... who doesn't like rough sex??
And, what the hell... the following celebrities have HERPES:
Tawny Kitaen (per her prescriptions list on SmokingGun.com)
Britney Spears (seen buying Zovirax while in Kentwood)
Katie Holmes (nasty sores seen on lips, wonder where else she has them?)
Trish Stratus's husband
Janet Jackson (per her prescriptions list on SmokingGun.com)
So there you are...
I'm all done now... Next week... I guess there's a PPV and other stuff that may or may not involve wrestling.
This is Hyatte