Stranger in a Strange Land – casting the film

I am listening to Heinlan’s ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’.  Wish I could tell you I was reading it, but I don’t have the time.  Well… I guess I don’t make the time.  I am a little more than halfway through it.  It isn’t just very well written, it is very well narrated.  This then becomes a total ‘theater of the mind’ experience as I drive.  Because it is so well told, and on so many levels… I am casting the movie in my head.  I don’t do this with every book, just the extraordinary ones (like Christopher Moore stuff).  The book is a story about a Martian on Earth, and the oddness that comes with it. The first name that came to mind was Giovanni Ribisi.  Not even sure what role he would play. I just think he is the best actor around, and so I would see anything he works in. Even though… dude is a Scientologist.   Then, I thought “wait, this is a movie about Martians. Wouldn’t Scientologists be perfect?” But then, their thought lawyers sent my thoughts a cease and desist.

There are a lot of Scientologist actors.  So why not? Let’s cast the movie using nothing but Scientologists.  First, a quick primer on Scientology and why it’s pertinent to aliens.

Scientology is ironically very well grounded in Freudian psychology.  They believe that traumatic experiences and repressed emotions are fucking you up and keeping you from being happy.  I say it’s ‘ironic’ because Scientologists are militantly against psychology. True story. This is so odd because up to this point, their stuff is based on very sound psychology. They (Scientologists) also believe the answer to these issues is through therapy.  This is where we diverge. In order to purge yourself of these repressed issues, you need to take a series of incredibly expensive classes to reach enlightenment. It’s called ‘going up the Bridge’ and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

The end goal is their version of enlightenment (or… Nirvana)… it is called ‘going Clear’.  To attend these classes is to ‘audit’ them. I find that an amusing term, since ‘auditing’ a class in college is when you don’t pay, but you also don’t get credit.  Nothing I said above is controversial, or secret. And it isn’t weird… yet.

Here is where it gets weird, and why Scientologists are so roundly mocked.  I am going to try and sum up thousands of pages of content into a few sentences.  They believe that the true root of your issues and unhappiness come from outer space.  A 100 million years ago, there was this horrible immortal volcano ghost/god/monster named Xenu.

 Think of a whole box of Satans together, all imbued with power of god. He took all the people on Earth, and threw them all in a volcano.  However, many of their souls escaped the volcano and their mortal forms. These poor innocent souls escaped the Xenu’s volcano of doom by hiding in 747s.  I know you are thinking that maybe 747s didn’ exist until about 60 years ago, right? Shut up. Because it is about get dumber.

They believe that these escaped souls are still around, and have seeped into your soul.  When they do this, they plant negative thoughts and emotions deep inside you. These self doubt moments are called ‘Engrams’.  You may not be surprised to find out that only Scientologists have the cure/answer to these pesky things. They identify them off you using a very very crude homemade lie detector thing called an ‘e meter’.  It is said that L Ron Hubbard was an OT (operating Thetan, it is the rank system in Scientology) 13.  The highest known OT level of a living man is Tom Cruise.  It is believed he is an OT7.   Know how people who play roll playing fantasy games say things like “I am an orc leader, with plus 25 charisma”.   That is your Scientology OT levels to the rest of us.

Anyhow… see why I may as well cast the whole movie about a benevolent Martian with nothing but Scientologists.  Bonus self imposed challenge? Not using Tom Cruise, the world’s most famous Scientologist.

This book is very influential in the sci-fi cannon.  But according to my thorough research (Rotten Tomatoes & IMDB, no one has made a movie. Let’s make one together, by Xenu!  Do you grok that, crackers?

Characters:

Michael Valentine Smith Ryan Gosling.  He is beautiful to look at, can help carry the box office, and seems super capable of being creepy and staring into space for no reason.

Jill – Laura Prepon.  I am just in love with her.  OH… and I am going to write a scene, for artistic reasons only, that will have Laura Prepon topless. Click here, NSFW

Jubal HarshawIssac Hayes – the character is old and cranky and mean.  Yet, incredibly resourceful and tough as barbwire.  He takes shit from no one.  He also has major contempt for any societal conventions and govt rule.  Who better than a super successful black actor?  Really, it should be Morgan Freeman, but the Scientologist haven’t gotten their hands on him… yet.

Ben Caxton Giovanni Ribisi – just because Ribisi is brilliant in everything?  Remember his breakout role in Friends?  He is Phoebe’s little brother.  “What are your interests?” – (Ribisi’s character – “well, I like things that melt.  and I… uh.. dislike things that don’t melt.”  

Secretary General Joseph DouglasJohn Travolta – perfect for a presidential role  He looks like a president:  handsome, carries himself with confidence, is white, and about the right age.  I know people love to make fun of him, but his acting chops are absolutely top notch.

Ann, Miriam, & DorcasLeah Remini, Elisabeth Moss, and Erika Christensen  These ladies are the very attractive personal assistants to Jubel Hershaw.   Leah is there, also, to rescue them all from the cult.  She is an SP, you know!

Danny Masterson – doesn’t he get a part?  No, fuck him.  He is a rapist.

Soundtrack and musical director – Beck – Beck is awesome.  He is a musical genius, and a great and innovative songwriter.  and of course, is a Scientologist.

 

I have done the hard work, now get out there and raise some capital so we can do this.  This isn’t my first movie rodeo, either.  I wrote about the Dougherty Gang years ago, and now its being made into a movie.

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Friday Fives- smells and memories edition

sorry, that is a crappy title.  I get the questions from my editor.  The titles, though, I make up myself.  These questions can only be summed up by my editors deep hatred of me.   and fish.

What is your favorite underrated TV show that everyone should know about?

nothing I can think of.  I watch the same shows you do, and they aren’t exactly underground:  duck dynasty, dexter, breaking bad.   OOOHHH WAIT.  I thought of one;  CNN has a show called ‘Inside Man’ by Morgan Spurlock.  He is the guy from Supersize Me.  He is a genius, and I love all of his work.  If you have seen any of his movies or shows… this new show is exactly like those.  That is ok, though, because I love Morgan.

Speaking of CNN and new shows, Anthony Bourdain has a new show on CNN, too.  Here is where it gets weird, though.  Ever seen his other shows:  a cooks tour, kitchen confidential, no reservations, the layover?  Well, this new show is EXACTLY like those  shows.  I love Bourdain.  Read his book and I follow his writings.  However, his tv shows are identical.  Freakishly so.  I don’t know if I blame Bourdain for that, or CNN. If I were a good journalist… or journalist at all, I would likely google the name of the new Bourdain show for you.  My articles, as you can see, and impeccably well researched. I am not researching Bourdain’s show as a matter of principle.  Just called it ‘No Reservations 5’.  It is the 5 iteration of that show.

Hell, Bourdain travels the world and gets paid to eat and be a snarky hipster who makes his bones being snarky about hipsters.  So, he has the last laugh.

That got a little tangenty, so I will sum up here.  Big yes to ‘Inside Man’ from Morgan Spurlock, and a meh to whatever the hell they are calling the Bourdain show.  Skip the Bourdain show and read his amazing book.

Also, since we are talking about what TV shows everyone is watching, I have to say this.  I don’t watch ‘Game of Thrones’.  Apparently, I am the only person on Earth not watching it.  Every time someone asks me about it, which is literally daily, it makes me not want to watch it all the more.  Ok?  Shut the fuck up about Game of Thrones.  I have zero bandwidth for new shows right now.  In a month, I will have plenty of time.  Dexter, Breaking Bad, and Under the Dome will all be over.  So, I will use that time to watch even more West Wing.  I know I am late to the party on that, but I just started watching from scratch about a month ago and i LOVE it.

Then, if I am going to go back and pick up a new show, it would be Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men, or the Wire.

What would your sixteen year old self say if they could see you now?

Oh man, I have actually written a lot about this.  I hate to re-write that story, so lemme see if I can find a link to one of them.  I am so often so correct that there is no need to repeat myself. FOUND IT.  It’s right here.  Here is the fun part about this, I wrote it almost ten years ago.  Let’s see if it still holds up.  Well, read it first.  Did you read it?  Ok, some changes 10 years later.  Don’t much go to parties or concerts.  Well, I do, but not like I used to.  I can’t sleep 12 hours in a row anymore, which is sad.  I still love love love sleep, but now I sleep like a regular person.

I still have the wife and the truck, and life is still grand.  I have gone farther with that dream of ten years ago.  I said something about not having a camper.  Well, now I have two campers!  Plus, I live on my own ranch now.  So, it’s like going on vacation every day when I come home.

Ok, here is my big lesson.  Ashton Kutcher said it here, and so did Thomas Jefferson.  Opportunity looks a lot like hard work – Kutcher said that. I am sure millions have.  But, I super respect an actor/model receiving a teen choice award standing up and saying it out loud for a new generation. Thomas Jefferson said “the harder I work, the more luck I have seem to have”.  My dad had another one “you cay pay now, and play later… or play now and pay later”.  My step dad, Roj, taught me even more by example.  Hard work is the key.  Oh, and monotonous work.  That is a big part of it.  You go in every day, always.  Be there before they get in, and after they are gone.

Oh, and I would say this to my 16 year old self “cool beard, huh?”  See, I always wanted a beard but could never grown one.  Oh, and I would point out to 16 year old self I am a in a rock band now.  So, growing up and old isn’t so bad.  I am living the life I always dreamed of, just with less hair.  Speaking of that, here is a picture of me at 16.

What is the most horrid smell you’ve smelled?

bacon coffee syrup.  I was at this nice little independent coffee place here in Parker on Main Street.  As I was walking out with my coffee, I saw all their flavors.  They had the usuals – hazelnut, vanilla, french cream, chocolate, caramel, and bacon.  Bacon?  Bacon!  I told the lady I just had to smell the bacon syrup.  Why?  Because I love bacon.  Like every guy, and maybe a bit more, I love bacon. so, I smelled it.  I was ripe with confidence that I may have discovered the new greatest thing.  My two passions > coffee and bacon.  So, I smelled it.

It was disgusting.  It smelled like bacon alright, but super duper concentrated.  It smelled like 1000 slices of bacon distilled down to one liquid.  It was SO strong that after that whiff I did not touch bacon again for three months.  I looked online, and found it.  Here is proof!  try it, I dare you.  It’s like super hot wings.  I will pay for them just to watch you sweat.  We are doing that at work today.  We are going to see if we can break Suchocki.

Who is the one actor/actress that you can never like?

I have really tried to dislike the Scientology.  Problem is, they are all great actors, and incredibly nice people.  Besides their totally absurd beliefs about secret volcano gods, there is nothing wrong with these people.  Jason Lee, Tom Cruise, Mimi Rogers, Giovanni Ribisi, that guy who played Hide on that 70s show.  Oh, and Beck.  All cool and interesting people.  Oh well, who am I to judge?  Just kidding, I AM the judge.  Scientology is bullshit and I can prove it.  See, I don’t care about the mythology.  Its not much dumber than the Mormons.  No, what is wack about Scientology is they charge you for the knowledge.  So, it takes years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to be told the truth.

back to the question – actors I hate.  Well, the late Dennis Farina was one.  Why?  For 30 years he played the exact same character every time.  Drives me nuts.  It’s not acting at that point.  Just reading lines and collecting checks.  Not exactly high art.

What are your go-to karaoke songs?

I don’t do karaoke.  Not because I am above it, but because I can’t sing.  i know, I know.  I am in singer in a rock band.  Trust me, I am always working on my singing, but its in band practice.  Plus, when you go, you have to hear ‘Black Velvet ‘ and ‘Friends in Low Places’ so many times it makes me want to stab my eyes out.  Wait, no.  That would be dumb and then i couldn’t play guitar.  So… amendment,  It makes me want to stab your eyes out.

oh, and I tried it once.  I won’t tell you what song it was, just that it went horrible.  I can sing in D.  Small problem, though, its the only key I can sing in.  It literally took me forty years to figure that out.  So, anything that isn’t in D does not go well for me.