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Archive for Sunday, April 28, 2002

Film foray creates fashion crisis

April 28, 2002

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Awhile back, I wrote a novel. It is not an important novel, the kind that explores, with nuance and subtlety, the complexities of the human condition. It's a novel where a guy falls face-first onto a toad, which squirts him with a chemical that causes him to believe his dog is Elizabeth Dole.

Incredibly, my novel got made into a movie. I'm still not sure how this happened. Maybe a studio executive fell onto a toad. All I know is, a vast army of movie people came from California to Miami and spent several months, and many millions of dollars, doing what people do when they make a movie, which is, most of the time, nothing.

Every time I went to the movie set, there'd be hundreds of people standing around, waiting, often for hours, while the director, Barry Sonnenfeld, made artistic decisions such as: Should the goat urinate NEAR the actor's shoe? Or actually ON the actor's shoe? (In addition to the toad, the plot involves goats.)

But eventually they finished the movie, and they invited me and my wife out to attend the premiere in Hollywood. This precipitated the biggest crisis the world has faced since the Cold War, which was: What should my wife wear? She was DEEPLY concerned about this. I, personally, consider my wife to be a hot babe, but SHE was afraid that, if there were glamorous Hollywood starlets at the premiere, and she wore the wrong dress, she would be mistaken for an escaped cow and taken into captivity. I am not exaggerating when I say that my wife asked my opinion on what she should wear to the premiere, with increasing frequency, for three straight weeks.

True anecdote: Late one night I was in bed, sound asleep, when the bedroom lights came on. I sat up, blinking, unable to see clearly because of the brightness and the fact that I am virtually blind without corrective lenses. There, floating in front of me, were two mysterious dark blobs, looking like twin demon spirits come to take my soul.

"Which dress do you think is better?" said my wife's voice.

"This one?" The left blob jiggled. "Or this one?" The right blob jiggled.

"I don't KNOW," I said.

"But just tell me what you THINK," she demanded.

"OK," I said, pointing at a blob, "that one."

"You don't think that's too conservative?" she said.

"OK," I said, pointing to the other blob. "That one."

"You don't think that's too flashy?" she said.

"I DON'T KNOW!" I said.

"Well just tell me what you THINK," she said.

And so it went, into the night, an insane woman demanding wardrobe advice from a blind man with the fashion sense of a doorstop.

Eventually, somehow, she chose a dress, and we flew to Los Angeles, heart of the film world, where every life form you encounter, including squirrels, is writing a screenplay. The studio sent a major limousine, which took us to a movie theater with a big red carpet outside and hundreds of screaming fans, who, when we emerged from the limousine, immediately stopped screaming. They resumed when some actual movie stars appeared, including Will Smith, who is not in the movie but who was accompanied by a bodyguard so large that every now and then he paused to brush commercial aircraft out of his hair.

FASHION NOTE: My wife looked very nice. On the other hand, I was the only male there wearing a suit. It turns out that, in the movie industry, males who wear suits are low-level subordinates, restroom attendants, etc. The greater the stature of a film-industry male, the less formal is his attire. I imagine Steven Spielberg goes to premieres in his bathrobe.

Anyway, after the red carpet we all went into the theater and watched the movie, which was well received by the audience. (Of course, most of the audience was in it.) I myself thought the movie came out fine, although it did tamper with my artistic vision in certain areas, the main one being that, instead of Elizabeth Dole, the dog turns into Martha Stewart.

Afterward they had a nice party where we met several stars. I got hugged by the actor and hip-hop artist Heavy D, who is in the movie. (I told my son about this, and he said, "Heavy D hugged YOU?" I took this to mean that he had either raised his opinion of me, or lowered his opinion of Heavy D.)

The next day, we flew back home and resumed normal life, at least until the next Academy Awards. Because if this movie doesn't win for Best Supporting Toad, those things are FIXED.




Dave Barry is a humor columnist for the Miami Herald.

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