Last night, a stone’s throw away from the crater where the Seville repertory theatre used to stand, I attended the opening night of a movie at the local AMC franchise, built where the Montreal Forum used to stand. Shifting the topic away from ruined Montreal landmarks for a moment, the movie in question was The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom. It was a big event. And not just because it was a Canadian movie showing in a real movie theatre and taking up an entire screen next to such worthy luminaries as The Green Hornet, No Strings Attached, and Big Mammas: Like Father Like Son. This was the unofficial world premiere of the new Rebecca Croll film, and all her friends and family turned out.
For me, Rebecca — Becky to her friends, Reba to no one, but I might start calling her that to be irritating — will always be that eight-year-old kid I once knew, eating spoonfuls of peanut butter straight out the jar. Disgusting. I mean, who the hell does that? Oh, right. An eight-year-old. Time flies.
Anyway, this was the second Rebecca Croll flick I had to drag my ass to this year. About a month ago I was watching her upstage my doppelganger, Paul Giamatti, in one line flat in Barney’s Version. It was her only line, but she didn’t need more than one to bury that pudgy, bald, bearded hack. It was like watching the two of us interact at movie night (only there, I’m the one playing the pudgy, bald, bearded hack). Specifically I was reminded of when Becky buries me with a line about how she hates the Coen Brothers, or how great a masterpiece Krull is.
The theatre was nearly sold out, full of well-wishers who confused the real patrons by hooting and cheering at Becky’s credit. I was having none of that rubbish. My job at these sorts of events is to show up and make a bunch of snide in-joke comments because I’m incapable of speaking in clichés like “congratulations” and “this is your moment” and “you’re so richly deserving.” I’m too cool for that, you see. Instead, I say a few funny things that make me seem like a detached asshole, when what I really want to say is something heartfelt along the lines of “You bitch I’m so insanely jealous you have a movie out and I’m going to do everything in my power to sabotage your career in a Phantom-of-the-Opera-esque way including but not limited to dropping a giant chandelier on your head ha ha ha you’ll never see it coming unless I let the cat out of the bag by writing about it on a blog or something oops.”
The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom is playing at various theatres near and far from you. Try to go see it, if only for the most bone-chillingly eerie recreation of the 1970s I’ve ever witnessed in a motion picture. I swear they must have built a time machine, travelled back to 1976, and raided my childhood home for all the tacky shit we used to own. Give it your support because should this movie prove successful at the box office, sequels are already planned, including The Year Barry Manilow Was My Dad, The Month Barbra Streisand Was My Second Cousin, The Weekend Karen Carpenter Was My Dietician and The Afternoon Tom Jones Was My Pool Cleaner-Slash-Gynecologist. Becky may be willing to reprise her role, and Tom Jones needs the work.
Good old Rich Johnston continued to tout my aging comic book work (indirectly this time) by submitting Andrew Goletz’s article about The Gathering anthology to Bleeding Cool. Turns out enduring the Eisner Awards with him was the best bit of schmoozing I ever did. It’s still paying dividends fifteen years later, which is more than I can say for any of the film and television gatherings I’ve gone to (though they do have better catering). Andrew Goletz, the actual author, is an old associate I used to deal with back in the glory days, when Dave Sim was the pied piper of do-it-and-publish-it-yourself comics. Yeah, yeah, I know, I should do some more comics. But I’m so comfortable resting on my laurels like they’re a Barcalounger, stuffing my face with Tostitos and watching Jersey Shore. Writing and drawing comics takes actual hard work and where’s the deliciously artificial spicy quesadilla reward in that, I ask you?