My latest genius idea: to write a screenplay. I’m not much on films—I see maybe 2 American films a year—the demographic of the living dead—but how hard can it be? The Problem of the Awesome Waves is my working title and here’s the tie in, actually the inspiration: an article in the New Yorker about Ben Stiller. Those are the first words: The Problem of the Awesome Waves. (With italics, I indicate what I borrowed from the article; I’m not trying to hide the fact.) I’m not an über fan of Ben Stiller and not not an über fan. I would recognize Ben Stiller everywhere and I do recognize him everywhere, especially in the elevator, though I have not seen any of his movies, not even “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria”, thanks to which he became a person of global personal stardom, as did his semen.
(Note to Self: find out how much you can lift before they sic lawyers.)
The screenplay is not about Ben Stiller in any case, but a sort of META–BS, a moral whetstone who lives in the same Manhattan brownstone that the hero does, a situation based on the real brownstone in which Ben Stiller and I actually live. Guess who lives next door in a concrete aerie that used to be a hair salon? Attila the Hun. The META-BS character is hard to pin down as to whose side he’s on, the hero’s or Attila the Hun. That’s the suspense. Why am I enemies with Attila the Hun? he questions. You already know the hero will shoot Attila in the dick. He is that suave.
(The real Ben Stiller, sorry to say, is the antonym of suave with his Atlas burden of anxiety. I told him to remember when Tom Cruise sent two hundred cupcakes but I don’t know if it helped. He would like to be omnipresent yet invisible, like God. Like God. Sometimes I feel sorry for him. When I tried spitballing movie ideas in the elevator yesterday, he stood slightly self-consciously in a short-sleeved green shirt, smiled unrepentantly, then adopted his iconic heroic archer’s pose, a pose that Levy had glorified, his right side showing to best advantage his pearly teeth and bedroom eyes. I live on the 2nd floor but I rode all the way to UP, ultra-penthouse. I was afraid to leave him alone in the elevator. As soon as the doors parted he zoomed off in a cloud of glamour, muttering, “Too many chefs over-egging the pudding.” (Note to Self: caterer)
The film will be bloody in a tasteful way. You don’t want the audience grossed out in a pussy way. It will definitely cover the four quadrants, blood, semen, fireballs and sensitivity to others’ foibles which makes our eyes go to him [our hero] onscreen. I am confident it will be special enough to have a chance to get the teenager off the couch. For sure it will have a whiz-bang ending, one that sends audiences out of the theatres texting in rapture, which I will not divulge here, neither what they text nor what the ending is.
America, be prepared to get off your couch.
I’m psyched, but realistically, I know the odds are long. Even my cat is writing a screenplay : – ) I have a fallback genius idea: to become an editor at the New Yorker. That looks easier yet.