Monday, 15 September 2008

The Case of the Livid Lee

My office was located on the 13th floor of the Hassenpeffer Building on the edge of Hollywood. An old art-deco behemoth built during the days when Hollywood made money by making movies. The morning sun was shining as usual as SUVs driven by intoxicated starlets swerved wildly on the street that went from the nightclub to the rehab clinic.

I checked my answering machine. Nothing but the usual raging, screaming message left by Alec Baldwin, this time it was something about Republicans and ocelots, but I didn't pay much attention.

There was a rap on my door.

"Go away MC Hammer," I said, "this isn't your fan club!"

"Then why are you wearing the puffy parachute pants?" asked MC Hammer.

"It's a comfort thing," I said, shooing the rapper away. Then came the sound of trumpets. Sprightly nymphs, dressed in gold-chain-mail bikinis danced down the hall, sprinkling rose petals as they went by. Then four heralds, dressed in silvery and gold thread livery, entered, they blew on their trumpets.

"Hear ye! Hear ye!" said the chief herald, whose name was Harold, by coincidence, "all bow down to the great and profitable glory of Judd Apatow!"

"Judd Nelson?" I asked.

"Judd Apatow," repeated Harold the herald.

"Bud Flatow?" I asked.

"JUDD APATOW!" yelled Harold the herald.

"I know," I said, "I was just messing with you."

The heralds blew their trumpets one more time and in came a sedan chair made from compressed $100 bills, and it was carried by Seth Rogen, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and John C. Reilly. On top of that sedan chair was Judd Apatow.

"Greetings commoner," said Judd Apatow from his lofty height.

"Why don't you come down and you can tell me your problem," I asked.

"Great idea," said Seth Rogen, "My shoulder's killing me, and I've got a bad case of the munchies."

"Quiet you," snapped Apatow as he climbed off his sedan chair, "without me you'll be stuck playing a wacky neighbour on a sitcom on the CW!"

"Yes master," said Rogen.

"Now go wait for me in the parking lot," said Apatow, "I have important business to discuss."

The minions bowed and backed out as I guided Apatow into my office.

"Now that we have the exagerrated mockery of your commercial success done with," I said, "why don't you tell me your problem?"

"I think Spike Lee doesn't like me," said Apatow. "Word's going around that Spike Lee didn't want a poster for his new movie hanging next to a poster for one of my movies!"

"And by word going around you mean Nikki Finke," I said.

"I want you to find out why Spike Lee doesn't like me," said Apatow.

"I don't think he likes anybody," I replied.

"But I'm the closest thing to loveable you can get in this town," said Apatow, "my films are cheap, most make buckets of money, and I think the fact that so many come back to work with me, means I'm easy to get along with. That's why I need a dick."

"A private dick?"

"Let's not flog a dick joke," said Apatow.

"You do in your movies."

"Just find out why he doesn't like me," said Apatow, plunking a bucket of money on my desk, "I got eight movies coming out today, I don't have time for this!"


I found Spike Lee at his home in New York City.

"How did you get here from Hollywood so fast?" asked Lee.

"Editing," I answered. "I've been hired by a guy named Apatow."

"I know who he is," said Lee.

"He wants to know why it's being reported that you don't like him," I said.

"Well," said Spike with a shrug, "It's simple really. I want to keep working."

"What do you mean?"

"My output's been uneven at best," said Lee, "and my public image has hurt my ability to sell to the general audience. So I need to be in a feud with someone more successful than me to keep work coming."

"That's why you picked the fight with Clint Eastwood last year?"

Spike Lee nodded. "Sure there weren't any black soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima, but I had to jump in, so I could get my own war movie, Miracle At St. Anna, made."

"But the film's done, and it's coming out soon," I said, "why start another feud?"

"Because the film is overlong, slow moving, and most critics are saying it lacks a cohesive narrative," said Lee. "I need a distraction. It was either pick a fight with Judd Apatow or let my films stand on their own merits, and that takes a lot of work and the risk that Hollywood may forget about me."

"So it's nothing personal?"

"Just business."


1 comment:

  1. There's a scene in Malcolm X where a white student approaches X on a campus and she says she wants to help african americans have a voice. What can she do?

    Malcolm X simply says "nothing."

    I kind of feel like that's what it would be like talking to Spike Lee. Only I don't think he's really like that.

    My guess is that if you got the dude in a strip club, he might be different. The guy has a thing for sex.