As some of you may be aware, I recently posted my maiden post on Balloon Juice, in which I described my quick visit to see that nice Mr Cole and his lovely pets while I was on my way to New York on Gloria Vanderbilt's private plane. I'm not going to go into that in detail here as well, so if you are interested you may wish to wander over there and read that post before proceeding any further.
When I got to New York, Gloria’s driver, Fred, met me at the airport in the town car, handed me a martini and whisked me off to Gloria’s little apartment on the Upper East Side before I’d even managed to finish it.
Dear Gloria was very well and looking more fabulous than ever. After we had caught up, we were driven to East 86th street to see “Atlas Shrugged”. Now, it might seem odd, on my first night back in the big city, to go see a film which we all know stinks more than Rush Limbaugh’s feet after he’s eaten a cheeseburger. However, given the amount of whining Ayn subjected her friends to in life, it’s only fitting we attend to witness her final humiliation now she’s dead.
Fred went and bought the tickets for us and then took the car home. Takings were obviously pretty grim, so the movie had been shunted to the smallest cinema they had. We had to walk through the foyer, out the back, past the toilet, down an alleyway where some rats were dancing in a circle chanting “Kill the pig. Spill his blood,” in Spanish, and round two more corners, until we reached a dingy screening room somewhere in Queens that had all of six seats in it.
We sat at the back, but we were still so close to the screen that every time that bloody train went through a tunnel I felt like I was back watching a porno at one of those old cinemas on Times Square.
We were the only ones in the cinema, except for a fat young man with green sweaty skin, who was staring fervently at the screen and clutching at his bag of cheetos like they were the bones of St. Therese of Avila. When the titles began, both of us cackled and Gloria hooted like a monkey, to the young man’s evident dismay. He kept turning around to ask us to stop, his yellow-flecked lips quivering at the injustice.
Now, I have to admit that we didn’t really throw subsidized cancer medication at the screen. That would have been in the nature of a joke, Joyce. However, we had both stocked up on several pounds of peanut M&Ms and whenever Dagny’s cheap blond bob appeared on screen, we’d subject her to a fusillade of chocolate that made it sound like there was a hailstorm.
Slowly, the young man’s protests decreased and he slumped down in his seat, as it became more and more apparent that we were in the presence of true mediocrity.
Making a movie from the rancid scribblings of that vile and termagant shrew – a woman who never met a circumlocution she didn’t like and whose idea of character development was to have someone rape someone else – was never going to be a great idea.
However, to make this kind of complete stinker, it takes both true ideological single-mindedness and the kind of directorial genius that thinks that mise-en-scène is something to do with having rodents on set. Let’s just say that Paul Johansson thinks it is acceptable to put Grant Bowler on screen for 97 minutes without once making him take his shirt off, and as such is obviously truly artistically bereft.
The movie is cheap, amateurish and seems to have been stitched together from offcuts from “Weekend at Bernie’s” and the final season of “The Colbys”. The production values hit a height of crapulence that is exceeded only by the poverty of the script. No one ever shuts up. They just talk and rant and declaim, often simultaneously. This might be ok if the actors playing the “good” characters weren’t engaging in the most wooden acting since William Wyler cast Charlton Heston as a piece of petrified timber in Ben Hur, and the actors playing the “bad” characters weren’t chewing more scenery than Bette Davis and Joan Crawford on crack.
Ayn Rand may have been an evil old ferret with a heart of frozen poison and the morals of a tapeworm – in person, she may have made your palms itch with the urge to strike her and keep on striking her until she fell down – but at least she wasn’t boring.
This movie, on the other hand, is the only experience I have ever had which is more tedious than actually reading Atlas Shrugged. I haven’t been that bored since Andy Warhol asked Joe Dellasandro to hock up a loogie on the ground, filmed it for three hours and then made all of us at the Factory watch it in slow motion.
I’ve been to funerals that had a better script, livelier action and a happier ending.
Finally it was too much for both of us to bear any more, so we decided to leave. The young man was snoring, so as we walked out, Gloria shook him by the shoulder. He grunted awake and staggered after us.
When we were on the footpath, I turned to him and said, “Old Ayn used to say that evil requires the sanction of the victim. And you, sir, just got screwed royally by a dead bitch and her no-talent followers.”
Then I handed him fifty bucks and told him to use it to get a haircut.
And in doing so, I managed to do more good in five minutes than Ayn Fucking Rand did in her entire miserable fucking life.
Then we went and got very very drunk.
Please feel free to visit me at Sarah, Proud and Tall.