August 18, 2010

Married To the Wrong Woman

Sometimes life is a cliche. One eager screenwriter in a convertible driving down Pacific Coast Highway on his way to pitch his script. Bright blue skies and not a cloud to be seen. Off to the right the surf continued to roll in and out. A healthy dose of nerves and an exceptionally long stoplight almost caused an accident.

The guy driving the black Hummer was none too happy about waiting for the light to change, let alone the extra five seconds that Jimmy Cox caused him to lose by sitting at the light. As the Hummer flew by the driver made a point of shouting some pleasantries at Jimmy regarding his mental capabilities. Not that Jimmy noticed. He was lost in thoughts about the coming meeting.

The opening scene of the movie was simple. The camera was going to zoom in on a pair of eyes. Jimmy didn't care what color they were. All that mattered to him was that they evoked sadness and longing. The model in a roundabout way came from a commercial that had run during his childhood.

The commercial was a PSA that was about littering. A proud Native American with a single tear running down his face. The cause of his tears? Litter.

This was different. This was about unfulfilled potential and lost opportunities for love. It is about trying to decide what kind of sacrifices a parent is willing to make for their children. Does a couple subjugate the chance to explore the greatest love of their lives for the good of their children or do they follow their hearts. Was there a middle ground that they could find or would they spend an eternity apart, filled with regret.

A small snort escaped from Jimmy's mouth. His script Married To the Wrong Woman wasn't anything special. He didn't break any new ground. There weren't any clever or innovative plot twists. It was just another love story. And if there was one thing that had been done a million times in a million different ways it was the love story.

Then again, Jimmy knew in his gut that Hollywood would never stop making love stories. As long as there were people, there would be those who would go to watch the love story. Some would go because they loved the drama. They got off on following the twist and turns. Others would go because they related to it. They could see themselves in the characters. They understood. They identified with the characters.

Love sold and love sells. That was the line he wanted to use. The question was how to present it. Married To the Wrong Woman was the story that was going to get him started. He loved the characters and he loved the story, but only because he had created it. It wasn't his story. It wasn't his personal experience. It was him and a million others he had cobbled together.

All that he really wanted to do was find a way to make a name for himself. He wanted the freedom to make any sort of picture he wanted and figured that the fastest way to do it was to come up with a hit movie. It wasn't totally far fetched. In an age of manufactured pop stars and reality television it was hard to believe that he couldn't fabricate his own fame. In spite of his nerves he reminded himself that innovation in Hollywood meant putting a modern spin on a remake of a sitcom or movie from the 1970s.

(originally published here)

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