Friday, December 5, 2014

Ask Me a Question: The Adventures of Ford Fairlane w/ Andrew Dice Clay

Renny Harlin December keeps on trucking as Thursday night in Los Angeles saw not one but two of his films being screened.  The Arclight in Sherman Oaks had a 35mm print of The Long Kiss Goodnight while The Egyptian in Hollywood had a fantastic looking archival print of The Adventures of Ford Fairlane complete with actor/comedian Andrew Dice Clay, screenwriter Daniel Waters and Fairlane creator Rex Weiner in attendance.  While walking up to The Egyptian, The Dice Man and his crew were outside the side door where his bodyguard stepped into my path, what, do I look like a groupie?  Get outta here!  Actually, I've met Mr. Clay before, a snafu with security at my old job had him waiting in the lobby and not very happy.  I'm sure he remembers it...A solid turnout was inside the theater as I chatted with a new friend, screenwriter and Variety contributor Matthew Chernov.  Know how we met?  Through the power of Jean-Claude Van Damme!  A few trailers played trumpeting upcoming events like the tribute to character actor Dick Miller ("You know your weapons, buddy...") and a restored copy of Monty Python and The Holy Grail.  Programmer and moderator extraordinaire Grant took the stage to introduce one Andrew Dice Clay who nearly went into a bit in his faux tough/funny guy New Jersey persona.

The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, what a crazy fucking movie.  The 20th Century Fox/Joel Silver production plays like a cartoon/comic book 50's detective movie.  After Black Plague singer Bobby Black (Motley Crue-ner Vince Neil) dies on stage, it's up to "Rock and Roll Detective" Ford Fairlane (Dice) to find out what happened.  With a pompadour of hair, leather jacket, a cherry 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner and an "Elvis meets New Jersey" attitude women love and men admire; Fairlane navigates the glamorous yet seedy world of artists, wannabes, floozies and producers from Malibu to Hollywood.  Old friends get electrocuted, a rich chick hires Fairlane to find a young woman connected to the murder, a crazy hitman/enforcer keeps trying to kill him and his dependable assistant has just about had enough of his shenanigans.  Oh yeah, there's a little kid sidekick and random ass koala bear thrown in as well.  The film breaks the 4th wall in the opening minutes and there's references to real life goings on making it meta before meta.  The script, credited to Daniel Waters, James Cappe and David Arnott makes room for impromptu music performances, exploding houses and cars, bar fights, sorority house fantasies and a car VS hearse chase through a cemetery while Renny Harlin's frenetic directing keeps things moving and Clay's brand of inappropriate, over the top machismo humor still holds up.  It's a very 90's movie, in the best way possible, with the cast, bad haircuts, fashion and freewheeling sensibility.  Lauren Holly, as the attractive yet demure and business minded assistant Jazz is a gem here, her angular haircut and curves made me wonder if Jim Lee had her in mind when he was creating Gen 13.  Tone Loc, Wayne Newton, Priscilla Pressley, Robert Englund, Morris Day, Ed O'Neil and David Patrick Kelly all show in memorable supporting roles.

After the film, our trio of guests took to the front for Q&A to reflect on the film and to hype Clay's book, The Filthy Truth:

- The film's premiere was pulled 2 weeks before it's release amidst death threats and protests to Fox and it's executives.  Dice had never seen it with a crowd before so tonight was like a premiere.
- Daniel Waters is an interesting guy, the writer of Heathers, Fairlane, Hudson Hawk and Demolition Man seems genuinely embarrassed to be discussing the film.  Made me wonder why he showed up if he was just going to be a fun sponge...
- Originally slated for a May 18th release opposite Bird On a Wire and Cadillac Man but pushed to July by Joe Roth.  Waters thinks if they would have come out in May, they would have had a bigger hit instead of "crawling to the 25th anniversary".  His words, not mine.  Luckily, Dice wouldn't let the negativity percolate.
- In the early 90's, Dice was huge, selling out 20,000 seat venues, making $500,000 to a million bucks a show 4 nights a week.  Was vilified as being misogynistic, homophobic, etc.  Says he became friends with Eminem because the rapper was subjected to the exact same attacks.
- Wanted to come off the road 6 months before movie opened but his family and their middle class upbringing just wanted to keep wringing out the cash.
- Eminem did a smart thing by staying off the road and out of headlines before 8 Mile was released, it made its money then he went back out on tour.
- Fox wanted to dump the movie and get past the bad press, Dice alludes to being paid out for an additional 2 films that as history has shown, were never made.
- Waters says his brother dropped out of medical school to become a director in a bid to save the world from Renny Harlin's directing.  Again, I don't know what his fucking problem is.  But I'll give a slight edge to Die Hard 2, Fairlane, Deep Blue Sea and Cliffhanger on Head Over Heels, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past which are fun movies but come on...
- Fairlane's Malibu movie home cost $400,000 to build then was blown up.
- Harlin understood Dice's character so director could direct and actor could act.
- Fairlane dailies got Harlin job of directing Die Hard 2, when Fairlane got pushed back and DH2 moved up, the two opened within one week of each other.
- Joel Silver hates precursor "Rock n' Roll fable" and his own movie Streets of Fire, was supposed to be Bruce Springsteen and Madonna and then bombed.
- Movie is huge in Australia, Hungary and England where everyone asks where the sequel is.
- Dice moved out to Los Angeles to become an actor, instead of taking classes, worked as a stand up comedian every night to learn new things and create his persona.
- Loving the comeback between Entourage, new Showtime special, Woody Allen movie, a new HBO show with Martin Scorsese and book.
- Bonded with Scorsese after telling the director, on stage he "didn't give a fuck" what people thought to which the legendary filmmaker responded, he felt the same way when making a movie.
- Dice wrote his book in all caps with a Sharpie back in the 2000's, original stories were all 30 pages long.
- No negativity in the book, performers have to get used to rejection.

Lots and lots more was talked about but I'm only one man.  Have a happy Friday!

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