I ate mushrooms the other day. It was awesome. I’m not gonna go about this in an analytical, intellectually persuasive essay format because I’m just not smart enough to make a physiological/psychological case for psychedelics. And I’m too lazy to do the research. This is a fucking b-word – I’m just gonna try to not sound stupid in explaining why adults should take mushrooms every so often.
Adults should take mushrooms every so often. First reason being, you should probably revisit something you only did when the fear of going home to your Mom or Dad’s house (or both, but people whose folks stayed together in high school need much more psychotherapy than a belly full of fungus can provide) overrode any secrets the psilocybin was willing to share and then you’re just staring in the rearview of your buddy’s ’89 Corolla trying to figure out how to make your novelty shop eyes look half-normal and it’s 6 degrees out there so let’s just listen to Pinkerton again in the post office parking lot.
Other reasons? The first one was actually all you need. But. We’re here.
The entirety of my 20’s – and I’m 110% certain I’m not alone here – I fell victim to a trendy condition of self-loathing. And that conditioning became conditioned because it was such a forced, self-manufactured manifestation of hatred – I didn’t really hate myself. It just became my knee-jerk line at a bar: “I hate myself” got me out of a jam. It got a few laughs and another beer, but I really like drinking, and you say something enough times to your dimwitted self, that jerk-off’s gonna start to believe it.
Let’s take two steps back and be perfectly clear about one thing: I tolerate myself. I think I’m fine. There’s nobody in here sucking me off, compiling a backlog of superblessed, happytobeme hashtags for the dark times. These days, nine out of ten days my “You’re not the worst!” voice uses a megaphone and I can send some emails to nowhere, go for a run and maybe meet up with a friend to occupy my time between beds. Anyone who broadcasts that their life is great or loving yourself is the first step to shut the fuck up, you can suck my dick. They’re so obliviously sad, it bums me out. But I don’t wanna talk about them and I’m done talking about the tenth day because this is about psilocybin making all that shit moot. If only for an afternoon.
“If you label it this, it can’t be that” is a mantra I’ve tried to adhere to since my quests as a teenage Spincase. So I’m breaking Ken Kesey’s code (as told by Tom Wolfe) here, but only partly because I would never do the miracle that are mushrooms the disservice of trying to portray with words the secrets that they can uncover and cover right-the-fuck back up if they so choose. Partly out of respect for them and partly from a stunted vocab and mostly because that first sip seems to be chasing me and these b-word things you gotta do in one fell.
For me, mushrooms are a lot like a Dr. Dog show. I’ve seen those guys a ton of times, but after the first few shows I saw, when they’d come around, I’d always have a “Dude, I’ve done it, I’ve seen it, I saw them back in ’06 when they were super eager...I’m too old for this shit. Fuckers dancing everywhere – I’m too old for this shit.” But I’d always begrudgingly get up and go. And low–and-behold, there’d I’d be stomping and grinning and dancing my dick into the dirt and begging for somebody younger to spill a beer on me so I could show them how much no worries it was. So a few years ago, I accepted it, I made a pact as I recently did with mushrooms: if they pass through town, you get off your droned candy-ass and you go. You buy a ticket, no matter the venue. You put those mushrooms in your mind- belly. Every. Time. Because it’s fucking awesome.
Wait. Don’t eat mushrooms at a concert – you’re way too old for that shit. Two separate things, if you weren’t following. What you do is you grab a bag of mushrooms and get North of San Francisco and you get to a higher place and look down on the City and the Sea and you find an odd spot to sit and flop around on like a land fish until it’s time to start dumping beers down your throat and reflect on the day. Because during those few hours which seem like nobody’ll ever know, in between knowing damn well these days you don't show your family just how much you love them, missing your dog so much you realize your appendix has a job - all this whilst orbiting the moon...it’s the one time where it’s acceptable to accept a goddamned genuine brain-hug from yourself. In the frenzied quagmire that is a mushroom trip, you actually cut yourself a fucking break.
It was insane. And I remember the exact moment from the other day – one of those moments hurtling through Spain that are oft times impossible to throw a lasso around and tame – I remember amid the cacophonous spook parade in my mind, they all – and myself included – stopped and, in harmony in unison, laughed and agreed: I like hanging out with You. Even the real Fuckers. The Stalwarts of Doubt. Even they, in that moment, divulged that...they Like Being Me. And it wasn’t just relief to not be somebody else. It was just...because we’re Me.
...you gotta hoist yer flag and then’a beat yer drum...mmmhmmm.
Then I woke up in the morning and truly, without any effort at all, hated myself and knew that the road ahead, this path I put my dumbass on without even really asking, was going to be at best awful and at who-gives-a-shit impossible and the reason it’s like this is probably because I bludgeoned myself with psychotropic drugs when my mind was malleable and green. Here’s lookin’ at you, Kid.
This morning, Thompson sat down with good pal Dan Kirk, host of the morning radio show "Our Intent is All for your Delight" (on UVM's WRUV) to spin some tunes and talk about the movie and...nothing much at all. Click the link below to listen to the show. Not that Dan's portion isn't the best, but ours is a website for the movie, the website you are on right now...Thompson comes in at the 35 minute mark, spinning tunes and talking about the movie at some point around the 92 minute mark. But listen to the whole show. Below the link to today's show is the tumblr feed where you can sign up and receive the email(s).
Dan Kirk is one of the good ones and a dear friend and hosts a great show. Give him a listen.
I told my Sister & Scott that I’d write something.
Let’s keep it semi-relevant. Because this is on the website for the movie so it has to be about, in a roundabout way, the movie. Let’s think. Let me fuck-ing think…Los Angeles, writing, sadness, drinking, Lucinda Williams, Friday Night Lights, drinking, running, Felicity, detached intercourse, aloof, sadness, madness, Friday Night Lights, running, let downs, fuck everybody, movie, drinki….got it.
Okay. Let’s go back from whence we came, and if we’re gonna do that, let’s go sad because I don’t know about you, but I can’t laugh without the aftertaste of tears. So in 2009 my girlfriend at the time cheated on me with Moby. Fuck, that’s not sad it’s just funny and it’s not entirely true either. But it reads so well. So she cheated on me with Moby or split a lentil soup with him in Prague. Something about either -his lack of any discernible talent musically (don’t throw stones, Thompson) or the mealy texture of the old world soup – something made her realize that the Dude she was living with back across the pond (Me) was a bummer supreme. He was. I am/was. Was.
So, as an act of kindness, she provided me with a valid if vapid reason to go darrrrk. And dark I did go. Luckily, I was coaching a 7th and 8th grade Boys Lacrosse team at the time – a terrifyingly healthy combination. Having played lacrosse through College, I can say that no team in the history of lacrosse (be it high school or college) – or sports for that matter – has ever run as much as the 2009 Brentwood 7th & 8th grade boys lacrosse team. I had enough money to live on a steady diet of eggs and bananas and Bohemias and Seagrams 7. So I chose to run. And because I was fairly certain I was on the fast track to becoming a manic depressive sociopath, I ran every sprint with the team so as to make sure the human body could survive whatever it was my mind decided to test it with.
Kids were shitting tears and crying blood. But nothing can bring a group of people together like utter misery. And at that time, I needed friends who weren’t my friends, Man. I needed somebody to believe in me – to help me believe what I kept saying: that you have to sift through the darkness to absorb any kind of light. And I remember the morning I woke up from the night I got as sad as I’ll ever be. And that morning, I was bummed about it. I had reached the top of the bottom and I knew I’d never get that back. But I quickly shook that bummer – because you dip more than a toe into that black hole and Good Night, Irene –, bounced some stolen and soon-to-be lost script ideas off of Jerry, and went up to practice, knowing what needed to be done.
My love for Friday Night Lights is too vast and intense to try and explain in this medium. Well, maybe next week. What I will say is that I moved to Los Angeles to write because of that show. After my last collegiate lacrosse game, I swore I’d never touch another lacrosse stick for as long as I lived. But Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) inspired me to be a Molder of Men. That and upon my arrival in Southern California, I immediately came to the harsh realization that my skillset – well the one that could stimulate income – was stunted: I could paint houses and teach lacrosse. And I suppose give a decent Jerk-Job, but coaching the sport that provided daily anxiety and dread in my late teens and early 20’s seemed preferable to handling another man’s penis.
So I was Coach Taylor meets Robert Shaw from Jaws meets Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson meets Charlize Theron in Monster meets Paul Giamatti in Sideways meets my Mom (I just shuddered). The kids even gave me a Dillon Panthers Hat (this was before seasons 4 & 5) and the school gave me a restraining order but we’ll get to that in a bit. I really like Friday Night Lights.
So that day (the day I realized suicide was off the table because if I didn’t do it the night prior, sadly, I was in the clear), I went up to practice knowing what I needed to do for the fellas: I was gonna make the rest of their lives easier. I don’t even think we suited up. Running shoes. One of the kids pulled me aside and said “Coach…” - and we referred to our 30-45 minutes of daily conditioning as “going to the darkness” – “I don’t think we should…the guys aren’t…and we have a game in a few…maybe it’s too early…I just…do we have to go to the darkness?” I looked at the kid and said “Buddy. Where we’re going…well, we’re going to nothing.” He was wary, but hopeful. So I cut the Tim Leary laced act and said: “We’re going to a place where the Darkness is preferable. We’re going to a place where we get to laugh at the Darkness for the rest of our goddamned lives.” He started crying and we got on the line. I was in a Way.
And we ran. Hills, stairs, track, field, water, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. We cried. All of Us. One kid went blind for twenty minutes. This husky Black kid, Kamaal (I think), stripped down to his Rudds (compression shorts), just crying and running and trying to get close to the earth and clutching and giggling at me between sprints like I was his goddamned ayahuasca Shaman.
But we got through it. And I guarantee you that every day after that afternoon we learned to laugh at the darkness, physically, for those twenty-some-odd 11-13 year-olds, every day became easier.
From the beginning of the season, I knew that these kids weren’t gonna put in the work outside of practice to be able to hang, skill-wise, with the best team in our division. And if we weren’t gonna beat them with lacrosse dexterity and acumen, well, goddamnit, I would turn these little fuckers into misfit Machine Monkeys and we would run through over or around even ourselves until the final buzzer. Three times we played the best team in the league – Harvard Westlake. First time they mopped us. Second time, they beat us by three. Final time, by a last second goal. And fuck-my-buttcheeks, whatta you know but a few weeks later we find ourselves staring down a week of Championship Game preparation to square off against those rich, entitled pieces of…wait. I coached at Brentwood. My guys were grubby rich. Good kids, though.
Championship Week. And let me back track by making clear that I wasn’t our Athletic Director’s favorite coach. Sturdy limb and I’ll say I ended up being her least favorite person in Los Angeles or the greater Los Angeles area. She was (is…hopefully she’s not dead) a lesbian. Not that that has anything to do with her disliking me – I was an insubordinate shithead – but it’s just a fact that Lesbians, as a people, are angrier than regular people. (Thank God only Scott and Mare read this shit.)
I was in a hot bath on wafer thin ice with said Athletic Director because I had a running dialogue going with all the parents from the team, in electric form. An email chain, if you will. And, it was no secret that I was another sad sack trying to make a living writing for the screen in this dipshit town, and there were some heavy industry hitters (I just flicked myself in the balls for writing that) in this community of parents. So, like a green ass-rabbit, I tried to flex my prose in the thread, and in my defense, I more often than not, kinda killed. But, obviously, I got cocky and there’s always gonna be that one parent who forwards the email to the powers that be. I think the parent was Asian. Lost in comedic translation. Or I was actually a sociopath. Tomato, jizz.
Wafer thin bath-time and three days removed from the Championship game, I’m down at my day job, trapped in a spray booth spraying a black staircase to nowhere, crying and sing-screaming “Visions of Johanna” or “Sooner or Later (One of Us Must Know)” and my phone buzzes. The coach of the Brentwood High School Varsity team sends me a text. COCKS. Back story here: this guy who is now coaching the Varsity team, him and I were co-coaches the previous year on the 7th & 8th grade team. He had lofty goals to take over the program – which was fine by me: At any moment I was about to sell a dark, highly unmarketable script for a big bag of money and my fuckin’ worries were over – take over the program, you two-bit Jizz Clown, because this time next year My Man (me…I’ve been My Man for a while now) would be living on mushroom tea and cocaine hush puppies, shitting out million dollar scripts four times a year from up in Topanga Canyon while you’re setting up cones probably stealing my cheer which I stole from Friday Night Lights. Way Back story: when we were coaching together, on the first meet and greet night with the parents, he introduced himself, saying “My name is Cock Jockey Frederickson and I played at such-and-such Prep School and then played four years at University of Delaware.” (Only the bolds should be in quotes, but I’m no journalist.) His name is Brian. I hope he gets raped tonight. As a human who suffered through four years of Division I athletics (albeit on a mediocre team in a sub-par Conference…which makes it even harder because an unsuccessful college coach will make you eat pecker stew if he thinks you’ll shit out a W), it was my responsibility to say something. Because Brian, that cunt weasel, played Club Lacrosse. So I introduced myself and “…well, before we go any further, I just want to be clear: Brian played club.” So that made for a healthy coaching atmosphere.
So the phone buzzes. Brian – who is quite close with the Athletic Director, mind you (obvi – that’s what all manic depressive sociopaths think: the Dykes and the Dicks are all conspiring against me) - he says something to the effect of:
No more conditioning. I had a deep fried Laosian pecker sandwich for lunch today and all I’ve done for 30 years is give my Old Man ample reason to regret. And something about formations that we should be running.
I wrote back: Thanks, Bro. If you wanna come help at practice, cool. But don’t tell me how to coach my team, you spineless faggot.
Back to sob-singing: “Little Boy lost / takes himself so ser-ious-ly / He brags of his misery, he likes to live dangerously…”
Buzz. Seriously. The guys are in good enough shape. I have a dull mind and became a bad person somewhere back there but I’ll never know when so this isn’t even really me thinking that? Stop writing my texts. And stop running the kids. I had semen vinagrette on my salad today.
***side note – the Varsity team didn’t make the playoffs, so their season was over, hence his sudden interest in my misfit Monkey Machines.
Me: Dude. Just a thought: maybe if your team had been in better shape, you’d still be playing. Now bugger off. I can’t imagine you have a friend, because it would bum me out that two people could come together to create somebody that would like you. Your parents are an anomaly. You were created, and that’s a drag, but for somebody to be made and eventually like you, that would be heartbreak for a Man, heartbreaking for Mankind.
My phone rings a few minutes later – the AD: “Colin. This is _______________ - yes, that one: if Rugby and The Bride of Chucky conceived and gave birth at bizarro Lilith Fair where Slipknot headlined. Yesterday was your last day at Brentwood. Don’t come or you’ll be arrested.”
“Well, this is fucked up,” my Brain said. Soon thereafter, mayhem ensues. Parents calling me, calling the AD. Kids marching into the AD’s office demanding answers. Next day I have kids calling me in tears wondering what the fuck’s going on and the only answers they got from the AD or ShitLips McGee is “Coach Thompson lied. That’s all you need to know.” And the shitty thing about that answer was that it wasn’t wrong: I lie like a motherfucker and have for the better part of 27 years or whatthefuckever but that’s none of their business, because it certainly didn’t pertain to this situation. I was a great coach and a terrible employee, so everybody can jump in the fucking lake: We’re in the motherfucking Championship Game. Well, turns out there’s a lot of red tape when it comes to the 1% and their private school waitlist. So as cool as the parents and I were – we were friends, Man! I was 27 and single and had a dog and strife and VT plates! – rich people love Dudes like me (then Me). But that didn’t mean they were gonna ruffle any feathers or draw any attention when they were so close to their kids attending one of the more prestigious high schools in …who cares. In short: I was alone and I was fucked.
My Guys continue to call me. Making me promise that I’ll be at the game. Telling me that they asked Coach Club if they could get some conditioning in at the end of practice and he snapped at them, saying they were in fine shape. If I saw that gutless gut maggot right now I would tear that fucker’s Johnson off and make a Johnson Salad sandwich with it – on Russian Rye – and make him eat every goddamned bite. The AD and Dick Brisket promised me that there would be security there to escort me off campus (the game was away, at Harvard Westlake). When life gives you pickles, though, you smoke a Parliament light and think on it. I decided to go to the game.
The Fellas were ecstatic. Jerry and I camped out on the opposite sideline, holding a Duke, only there to support. At half-time, it was all tied up. And with each team gathered at their respective ends of the field, I see a gaggle of Fathers marching directly across the field toward me. I immediately thought “I think I might have thought I was a different person this whole time. My whole life.” But it was all Bro-Hugs and “Dude – my hands were tied…it’s fucked up”’s. Fred Durst of the Indigo Girls loved seeing that from across the field.
Second half starts, and I get a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and this schlubby Security Guard is literally trembling – and Fuck!, for all he knows, Jerry’s a fucking registered sex offender and I’m wearing woman skins on my back like fucking Buffalo Bill. “Dude,” I say, “I’m leaving. But please don’t look so nervous. You’re a 45-year-old Man. If this is about the Juice I stole from Whole Foods…”. The Fathers protested (a little late, fellas), and I went on my way. And let it be known, once I was outta sight from the field, in the parking lot with my dog and my Subaru, I heard the game go to shit and as I pulled out, we were a quick three goals in the hole. And they ended up losing by 7. Listen…I’m not saying I’m a great Coach (which I actually am). I’m just saying: That was my fucking Team.
Flash Forward three years. I’m coaching a High School team in the Valley. And we suck. Frankly, I didn’t like the kids as much. So maybe I’m not a great coach. Or maybe the drive to the Valley sucked the remainder of my swiss cheese soul or I just wasn’t sad enough. Whatever it was, we go to Brentwood to play my Moldings. We get off the bus and we’re walking onto the field and I’m swarmed by my monkeys who have become Young Men and they’re telling tales of the darkness and it felt great. On the playing field is a Middle School game between my new school and Brentwood. And, whatta you know, Cunt-Wrap Supreme got demoted back to the middle school level. So I’m watching him be terrible at everything and I rack the focus on my eyes because it’s still early and these Ray-Bans are dirty because that’s not who I think it is coaching along side him – my Brain is so weird to me sometimes. So I pull aside one of my Moldings, but I already knew the answer:
“What’s Peter Berg doing on the sideline?”
The kid looks down at his feet, because he knows exactly what’s going on. “He, ummm…his kid’s on the team and he helps out when he can.”
“Coach, you okay?”
I nod. And I laugh. And I keep laughing. Because you know why? Peter Berg created Friday Night Lights.
Don’t say anything, Thompson. But you’re going to. Aren’t you. “Yup.”
So the middle school game ends and I get our guys going and jog over to Berg, who’s walking off the field.
“Hey, Man. How you doin’?”
“Good, good. What’s up?” Peter Berg, Super wary.
“Oh, nothin’. Hey, I actually used to Coach your team.”
“Yeah. And Fuck Nuggets got me fired.”
“Brian? I think I heard about...Dude…I’m sorry. He's...I don’t—“
“No, no – it’s fine. It’s just funny: I moved to Los Angeles because of Friday Night Lights. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m trying. And I coached the team that your son is now on the team that you’re helping out with, so you and I…see: I shook the played “the world is fucking me” shoulder chipped mantra. But now I see. Now I finally see: it’s not fucking me. It’s just trying to get rid of me. But it doesn’t understand that I’ve seen nothing. And I laugh at the darkness. I gotta Lacrosse game to coach.”
And that was it.
And It was that moment that the seed sprouted and I didn’t even know it yet, but there was a change in the tide, and that’s what led us to making a movie (the first one which led to the second one). Because if you harvest enough darkness and spite and strip away the self-pity – go a la carte with that shit - you can turn it into a feature film that not a lot of people are gonna see and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get to scare the shit outta Peter Berg in broad daylight.
All fuckery aside, I got a call from one of my Moldings the other night, which is why I told this story. I ignored the call, obviously, but the kid left a message and it was from a group of them, now Freshmen in College on Winter Break – they were probably drunk on their parents ’89 Silver Oak – but they were reminiscing about those days, about the day, about Jerry and the Subaru and Clear Eyes and Full Hearts and I sat back and fucking wept because I don’t know what I’m doing or what’s gonna happen and it’s still as terrifying as ever but if part of the goal is to leave a mark, to affect some lives for the better, to make a story and a smile even if it’s borne out of heartache…if you can teach a kid to laugh at the Darkness…well, then you did good.
Colin Thompson has a way with his words. In today's outtakes, he describes a certain piece of anatomy on co-star Eliza Coupe. Enjoy!
I was gonna go for a run before I sat down to do this chore, but I figure I’d feel better about myself and where’s the fun in that? There’s no better time to talk about who you’d rather be than a Monday morning after you’ve been diligently stuffing anything and everything into your face for the past 72 hours (or 20 years). So obviously, I should have kids.
Fuck off; that was written with a straight face. There are two reasons to have kids (aside from the whole procreation thing, but that’s become kinda moot because the world needs less people and anybody that has more than two kids is an asshole). One reason being you can’t be scared anymore. Or, I should say, you can’t show it. And for a guy who outwardly celebrates his inner Pussy, this would be a big step toward being what I (on this terrifying Monday) want to become: less Paul Rudd, more Clive Owen.
*Men – real Men – never use two desirable actors as their Man Barometer.
I know my Father pretty well now. He’s not even remotely close to even a shadow of the Man he fronted back in the late 80’s/early 90’s – and he’ll be the goddamned first one to tell you that. I mean, he can still scare the Dick off me when his voice turns, but, the tree is close, and alas, Pussies are We.
In 1994 he took us to a Dead show in Highgate, VT, divorce papers filed soon thereafter. I guess I was in 4th grade – we took the boat up Lake Champlain and biked the rest of the way, flashlights duct taped to the handlebars. The show’s not the point here – sure, they played an “Althea” and “Uncle John’s-->Drums-->Space-->I Want to Tell You” – the point is what happened afterward, back at the boat, back ‘round midnight. Larry (that’s my Dad’s name, but the 15 people reading this know that) put the bikes on an inner-tube and swam them back to the boat, one by one. On the third trip (it could have been the first, but I’m scrapping for details), Lowell and I hear, high up in the White Pine above us (again, scrapping), some sort of mutant marsupial battle royale. Larry’s back in the water at this point, and one of the Juice Rats falls from forty fucking feet and lands close enough to halt any potential growth my Dick had planned on post ’94 and the motherfucker scurries right out into the water, swimming inches past the Old Man. Too scared to cry, Lowell and I are squealing like stuck pigs, and the Old Man gave a casual “We’re good,” probably even throwing in a reassuring chuckle of sorts. Now, you ask him today what was pumping through his brain and he’ll tell you simply: “terror”. Lord knows, Larry’s no thespian. But that’s what being a Father can do: force you into acting like the Man your kids can tell a story about.
There was another story in the holster for the first reason to have kids (being stop being comfortable seeming scared). It involved Larry taking the hook out of the mouth of an eel down on the Long Island Sound when that sumbitch reverse coiled up his arm and I don’t quite remember because I was, like, four or five and my vision went static with fear but (seemingly) nonplussed Larry just peeled the fucker off and threw it back into the water. I guess I just told the story.
The one other reason to have kids is so somebody in the world – if only for a few years - thinks you’re the Best.
It had to have been ’89 or ’90. Fuck me, that just doesn’t seem that long ago. I should go for a run. (Fuck you, embrace it.) And in those years and the ones immediately surrounding it, I measured everyone’s accomplishments and successes based on one criterion: Speed. If you were fast, you could probably provide. If you were fast, hell, you could probably cook, sing, draw and build a deck, too. Fuck Carl Lewis: Larry was faster. So, when Shane Kelly said at the bus stop one Fall morning “I’m faster than your Dad,” you can imagine that after a feeble attempt at laughing it off, I did what I’ve always done in the face of adversity: I cried.
Shane Kelly was probably three or four years my senior, and he was arguably the biggest piece of shit I’ve met in all of these 31 years. I’ve met some shitty people, but that fucking kid was so gross – some inbred future meth-head crawled through the sewers of Lebanon, NH and snuck his way into our pretty fine Vermont lives. Don’t get me started. Fuck, I can just end it here: I hope he’s dead.
So motherfucker keeps talking shit, every morning, and I keep crying, everyday. Pleading with the Old Man to just fucking smoke that greasy shit weasel – to put that scumbag in his place. But Larry chose not to run.
What was I gonna do? Fuck it. Fuck everybody. I walked out to the bus-stop that morning, accepting defeat on my Old Man’s behalf. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it was just time to fucking grow up and learn the hard way: There’s only one person you can count on in this world and that’s Yourse...and that’s when I heard our front door open from across the street and I knew: My Old Man was about to race a pretty quick nine-year-old.
I gotta give my Mom credit, because I think she gave the green light on the race. And then I gotta (begrudgingly) give Shane credit because that’s probably the last time my parents agreed on something. My brother says that I’m tripping when I insist that the Old Man had a coffee cup in his hand and actually took a sip halfway to the stop sign. But he did because he could because I say so because you make your parents what they are even if history or they themselves don’t remember ever feeling that Great.
Yeah, maybe a trust fund wouldn’t have sucked. But who am I to say anything? I sat on the couch all day yesterday humming a fucking Coldplay song and worrying about my hairline and the fact of the matter is: You can’t do that shit when you’re The Fastest Man in the World.
Happy Wednesday all! A fresh new (old) clip from writer / director Colin Thompson from the week preceding the filming of It's Us. He discusses his emotions, yells at Myles the "documentarian", talks about the compound at 184 Meadow Lane where the crew lived during filming, and his father Larry who is considered by most to be the "soccer mom" for the crew...
Jon Dishotsky (Producer)
I don’t know where to start because I don’t know what to say because I hate the B-word but I suppose where I am is as good a place as any: The airport. There’s no place like an airport to remind you just how inept, lonely and afraid you actually are. No, no: that’s a good thing. Airport meltdowns are important. Because it solidifies the notion that anybody who sold you on the reassuring myth that you start to accept Yourself in your 30’s is a shortsighted nitwit who probably started befriending people who insist that they themselves are super “blessed”.
Telling somebody in their 20’s that things get better is absurd on a number of levels. Mainly, because any self-respecting self-effacing person in their 30’s is aware enough to stop talking to people in their 20’s all together, as an entire people. They just don’t matter anymore.
I’m 31. And, speaking for my People: You don’t accept your place in the world, you just distract yourself enough, try to stay busy enough, to forget to remember to look in the mirror. And then your Mom drops you off at the airport and you’re still traveling in a fucking back-packing back-pack and you have so much shit in your pockets when you go through security and you stink like Popov and Winterland ‘73 and now you’re almost in tears and nobody’s fooled by your Filson computer bag (they know your successful friend got it for you) and the one airport activity that brought you solace – standing outside the Gordon Biersch and judging those with “job”-Jobs and Hilton Honors – that makes you feel worse. Maybe that’s always been the problem. Because the sad, cold truth is that you will and always will be exactly what you’ve been running from, trying to disguise or dismiss and lately desperately trying to forget…I’m sorry to say it, Pal: You’re You.
Now I’m on the plane and I had meant to take out the laptop earlier because I started to laugh at the mild meltdown back in terminal 3. But I had the brass Dick to have a moment of self back-patting, listening to the seldom-heard-from voice that said:
--“You’re going to San Francisco to see some good friends, to talk score on the movie we shot in October – shot two feature films in 2014?!? – I’m telling you, Man; you’re doing alright. Not that you want ‘em, because Theroux definitely wouldn’t, but if you did want another bag of Terra Blues…well, Buddy Boy, you fucking deserve ‘em. It’s been a pretty good year.”
And then it happened. I looked up and across the aisle at the seatback screen being watched by a Man probably a decade my senior and the DOW JONES (or whatever the fuck) channel is on. The cacophony commenced:
--“Hey, you fucking half-full half-wit: do you have the slightest fucking clue what any of those scrolling numbers mean?”
--“Those shit-chips are free, Motherfucker!! Maybe if you had an inkling as to what’s going on on 5A’s screen, We would have the financial stones to purchase something from the menu or a goddamned 10 dollar cold pressed from the CIBO back near the fucking Gate but that’s exactly the type of shit you can’t do when you don’t know about things.”
It wasn’t going well and it only got worse because I figured I should go to the bathroom before I take out my laptop because staring at a blank screen’s the fucking answer. So I get up and make a move but somebody cuts me off and I see in my immediate future an anxiety stroke because I never go to the front to go to the bathroom because I’ve never flown first class (which I’m fine with. Honest). But JetBlue doesn’t have first class and I’m too close to the front to go all the way to the back – imagine how that would look? - and now I’m standing in the aisle like an asshole, fake stretching--
--“Fuck. All eyes are on Us. This is the pits.”
--“Don’t flatter yourself, Faggot.”
And then I hear an ex-girlfriend’s voice saying some bullshit like “be assertive” or “can’t you just be decisive?” and that actually helps because I think Alone’s good, Man. Nobody tells me what to do, nobody wanting me to be the Man I never was and officially will never be - and that’s great. Having a partner, somebody expecting things from— (and they’re off):
--“You realize that that’s what the Loneliest Man in the World said not 20 years before he became the Loneliest Man in the World…”
-- “He’s not saying Alone forever. He’s saying it’s fine right now, given, you know, everything that’s happened. That’s all he’s saying. I think that’s all he’s saying. That’s all you’re saying, right?”
--“That’s how it starts, you fucking Dick Juggler. That’s how it fucking starts. I gotta get outta here before he brings us all down with him.”
--“It’s like a goddamned sewing circle in here. I need a fucking drink.”
I sit back down. Another woman comes out of the bathroom. I get up again, cut off (again), sit back down. This happens two more times, I shit you not, and the last time I try a knowing chuckle, like “Man, just my luck” which all Me’s agree makes me look like a complete fucking Wanker. I finally get to the bathroom and realize that all I wanted to do was wash my hands because the Chinese kid next to me coughed and I switched channels on my arm rest (albeit with my off-hand pinky) and handled a piece of gum…the same gum that’s in my stupid fucking mouth.
--“Wait. If that Chinese kid was Black would you be washing your hands?”
--“Well, given the State of our Union—“
That’s a silly question. Of course I would wash my fucking hands.
--“Bullshit. I don’t think you would. I honestly don’t think you would. And that makes you fucking ten times worse than those Cops.”
That’s fucking INSANE!!!
--“Wait, so does he hate Chinese people?”
--“This is like Bill Maher for Ass-Hats in here. I need a fucking drink.”
Suddenly the thought of anyone looking at me seems crazy because now I can’t even stand the sight of my maybe-racist-face in the mirror. And then it dawns on me: I put myself in a movie across from arguably the most beautiful Woman I’ve ever seen (I guess that’s completely up to me, but “arguably” softens the blow of pathetic – like a slap from an empty white glove) and I’m worried about a plane-full of weary travelers - most of whom are sleeping – simply looking at me?!? Clearly, we’re not cut out for this…this…whatever you wanna call it. Movies. Jesus. Clearly this has all been a big misunderstanding between Me’s.
So. I took a deep breath and looked in the mirror, slowly nodding, and We all agreed: 2015’s a wash. 2023. Let’s just get to our 40’s.
I guess the more apt question would be “Why the fuck do we do anything?” I can’t answer that for everyone, but what gets me out of bed in the morning is a queasy cocktail of insecurity and fear. I hear a lot of Men in entertainment – comics in particular – say they’ve always been motivated by trying to get Girls. For me, I just want people – Men and Women alike - to think I’m good at something. Even if I’ll never really be sure if I am or not.
For a guy who wrote, directed, starred in and helped produce a(nother) feature, playing the “I’ll never be sure if I’m good at anything” card seems pretty transparent. You’ll just have to believe me. And while you’re deciding on that, I should amend my motivation attributes: Fear and Insecurity AND the self awareness to accept that I’d never be able to hold a real, steady job.
Enough about me, though. Wait. I actually have to talk about me for another paragraph so we can get to what we wanna talk about, which is this movie called IT’S US. But we have to start in and around 2010 with the sad sack in his one bedroom apartment listening to Elvis Costello’s “Home is Anywhere You Hang Your Head” on repeat, running and drinking and feeling super sorry for himself. Ahhh, the Late-20’s Upper Middle Class Pretty Attractive Caucasian Blues. It’ll really getcha. Long story short, I wanted to write. That’s what sad people did, I figured. The directing and acting thing was never really on my radar because, well, there were people – friends of mine – who seemed better suited to do those things. But luckily, as 30 grabbed me by the Dick and convinced me that there were Better Days (also when I revisited late 80’s/early 90’s Bruce) ahead, Los Angeles opened itself up to me. No, no – not like that. I mean that I realized everybody is full of shit (90%, maybe) and nobody knows or does a damn thing (again, 90%). So I said “Fuck everybody. Let’s see what we can do.”
****What really happened was that I said “Dude. When you moved here, you said if nothing really good has happened by the time you turn 30, we gotta move back East and work for Octagon if they’ll have us.” Uncle Woody is Vice President at Octagon.
I’m doing this whole chronological who-gives-a-shit bio, and that’s not what this is. Goddamnit. Before I go any further, I have to say that I have the greatest fucking friends in the world. That’s where luck comes into play. I’m a lucky motherfucker because I can’t imagine that I’ve done enough karmic do-goodery here on this mortal coil to deserve the people I get to call friends. They made all of this possible. And that’s fucking more than enough gushing about those pricks for at least a few months.
So my friend Myles and I and a slew of those aforementioned friends made a movie called LOSER’S CROWN in January of 2014 for next to nothing. And that got us here. My Man Jon Dishotsky loved the “Fuck Everybody (in LA)” attitude and believed in the cause. So, instead of trying to perfect and edit LOSER’S CROWN into the 88 minute Fargo Gay & Lesbian Film Festival darling that it had every right to be had we entered it there, I figured I’d write another script to shoot in the Fall in Vermont (as opposed to the depths of January). We had the original gaggle of knuckleheads with a few clutch free agency signings, a lot more money (from the original nothing - thanks, Jon), Larry (my father, whose house the crew stays at) was gonna get a more efficient hot water heater and, whatta you know, the script basically wrote itself. Now all we had to do was find the Perfect Woman. “Come to Vermont and make a movie with us at my Dad’s house. I mean, you don’t have to stay there. All of my friends who are working on the movie stay there. It’s a good scene, though. Super not rapey. You gotta try this Switchback beer. We listen to a lot of Studio Dead.” That was more or less my pitch.
I have to put a governor on my want to empty out the contents of my heart in this next paragraph. Maybe I need a drink. Or some soup – Larry just made a turkey soup and I’ve always said that what he does well, he does really well. He never took a shine to that saying, but I like it. Ok, Fuck it: Eliza Coupe. I was just being nice when I said the “lucky motherfucker” thing in regards to having the friends that I have. They’re the lucky ones. Mostly kinda kidding about that, but I needed the transition, because the word “luck” doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of whatever cosmic miscommunication led to Kirsten Ames (Eliza’s manager and now dear Friend of mine...she loves Mars Hotel) responding to a cold email I sent. And THEN I’m guessing somebody straight up fell asleep in the Cosmos – and I’m certain subsequently lost their job as Secretary of Fate – when they (Kirsten and Eliza) both dug the material and wanted to meet. Or it could just simply be the centuries tested and repeatedly proven Elizabethan adage: Bitches be Cray.
I’m not a fucking actor. I should have said that a lot earlier. Eliza’ll scold me for saying that or accuse me of trying to be a contrived version of cool (and be 100% right), but I’m not. And now I’ve gotta play married? Thompson, you really fucked yourself this time. But thank God that Stoner in Space took that nitrous hit, because not only did the top Woman I wanted to do the movie want to do the movie, but it turned out to be the only Woman who could play the part, the only Woman who could make me the best I never thought I could be...”Perfect” isn’t the right word. She’s It. And I’ll say it right here, on this blog post nary 100 people will read this deep into: Hey. She took a chance and made this movie what it is. And for that, I’ll spend the rest of my days (my days leading up to taking the job at Octagon) trying to move mountains (albeit smaller mountains, but a lot of them...low weight, high reps) and kicking down Dicks because I’ll never be able to fully articulate how Grateful I am that she came into my life. Kirsten, too. From that day we met at Café Gratitude in Hollywood, we both....ahhhh, FUCK. There it is. There it fucking is. I always said that if I ever write “...day we met at Café Gratitude in Hollywood...” I’d have to excuse myself from the computer and go stand in the cold for a half hour.
Okay. It’s like 37 degrees, so it was fine. I’ll punish myself, though – don’t you worry. What else do you want me to say? I got lucky. Not to say that I didn’t work hard to get here. I worked my Dick off. But hell, it’s not like I’m laying brick here. My callouses are from tennis and playing Lucinda Williams songs on the guitar. And I’m not saying some shit like “with a lot of hard work and a little luck...” or whatever the fuck the saying is. I’m just saying I’m probably happy and something resembling proud and that’s because of the Friends that I have and the Woman who took a chance. I’m not gonna question it. I’m just gonna try and keep a straight face and hope nobody’s pulling the greatest prank there ever was.
- COLIN THOMPSON