Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mark Your Calendars

We just got the dates for Infectious Opportunity. It's a very limited run (only four performances, folks), so once the tickets are available (they aren't yet, so don't worry), I strongly suggest you buy them IMMEDIATELY.

Nosedive Productions Presents

Infectious Opportunity

Written by James Comtois

Directed by Pete Boisvert

Renowned screenwriter Wes Farley realizes that
having AIDS would solve a whole lot of his problems...

Sunday, June 7 @ 5 p.m.

Tuesday, June 9 @ 8 p.m.

Wednesday July 1 @ 9 p.m.

Friday, July 3 @ 7 p.m.

At the Brick Theater on 575 Metropolitan Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Now onto casting this bitch...

Infecting your minds,

James "Happy Gospel Bringer" Comtois

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Writin' All Damn Weekend

With the exception of seeing the very fun and satisfying final chapter of Penny Dreadful at the Brick Theater on Sunday afternoon and watching the atrocious-but-hilarious Wicker Man remake with the folks at Nosedive Central on Friday night, I spent the bulk of this past weekend working on finishing and polishing the rough draft of Anton Craven's Ghastly Scheme and working on my entry for this with Flux.

Seth from Gods of Fire gave me some very helpful feedback on the pages of Anton Craven that I sent him on Friday. Fortunately, we both appear to very much be on the same page with this project. I gotta say, even though this is the first musical I've ever worked on (which means I'm way, way, WAY out of my comfort zone), I'm having a blast with this. Let's hope the band members like the improved version when I send it out.

With a little bit of luck, I can finish both projects this week. Well, luck doesn't factor into the Flux project: I need to send them my script by Wednesday. It shall be done. It shall be done.

Listening to the Darkness and Dragonforce while writing,

James "That Asshole Sporting a Vest Without a Shirt" Comtois


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Antidepressent Festival...Happening

We here at Nosedive Central are waiting to find out the specific dates that Infectious Opportunity will be playing at the Brick's Antidepressant Festival while I continue to write Anton Craven's Ghastly Scheme (zoinks!) in the hopes that I can send the folks in the Gods of Fire a draft that's at least 75% completed (with the remaining 25% of the story mapped out so they can see where I'm going with this silliness). It's my first musical, so we'll see how this goes (although, Seth did say they were looking for someone who had no experience — or interest, really — in writing musical theatre).

And on an unrelated note, I was finally able to see the magnificent batshit retardation that is M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening last night (featuring, oddly enough, Nosedive vet Don Castro as the dead cop you see on the back of the DVD and in all the trailers). There were a number of times where I needed assurances from my sister that I was indeed seeing what I thought I was seeing. ("Are...are they really running from the wind?" "Is...Marky Mark talking to a plastic plant?" "Am I hallucinating this crazy old woman they're staying with?") It's truly amazing: if you haven't seen it, it feels like it's made by someone who's a.) never made a movie, b.) never seen a movie, and c.) never spoken to another human being in 20 years. For a group of people facing what could be a series of terrorist attacks happening...

(Seriously, folks, don't make a drinking game out of every time someone in the movie says, "Happening." You'll need to be checked into the hospital for alcohol poisoning before the end of the second reel.)

...everyone seems pretty placid. It's as if Shyamalan kept going, "Less...less!" to the actors after every take, until their line readings were no more than half-hearted mumbled whispers, then went, "Perfect! Print that shit!"

What's also amazing is that even his typically good filming abilities are absent here. Even his shittier movies are at least shot well (although the big reveal of the aliens in Signs is a huge letdown, that shot where Mel Gibson drags the television into the living room and you see the alien in the reflection of the TV screen is pretty kick-ass). Not this. There isn't a single moment of suspense or tension (in a movie billed as a thriller!).

What the hell is going on with Shyamalan? I mean, this guy used to make good movies (I'll even go on the record as owning, and being a big fan of, Unbreakable). Has he just teetered off into the brink of madness, never to return? It's looking like the thoroughly toxic receptions from public and critics alike towards The Village and The Lady in the Water have only strengthened his resolve. Is he even aware that he's gone from revered A-list director to walking punch line?

Anyway, if you're in the mood for having a huge laugh at one of the most surreal wastes of time and money committed to celluloid in modern film history, you could do well to check out The Happening.

Running from the wind,

James "Plant Whisperer" Comtois

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

By Way of The Onion AV Club: Musings on Meticulous Mediocrity

Nathan Rabin's brilliant and hysterical My Year of Flops column in The Onion AV Club got me to thinking about actors that are almost meticulous in choosing bad film roles (or roles in bad films, to be more precise). Now, I'm not just talking about an actor taking a shitty role in a shitty movie; that's almost one of the rules of the game (if you're a Hollywood actor, you're bound to be in more than just a couple dogs). I'm talking about actively making poor choices when you have better options lined up for you, and making said poor choices after long and hard deliberations.

As Mr. Rabin pointed out with his entry on Town & Country, why did Warren Beatty, who passed on such roles as the eponymous Bill in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, Jack Horner in P.T. Anderson's Boogie Nights and Paul Sheldon in Rob Reiner's Misery decide to say yes to a film that went into production without a finished script? (And let's not forget this is a man who said yes to his role in Ishtar.)

As Rabin succinctly put it: "Beatty's like a guy who goes to an ice cream shop, spends an hour and a half sampling all the different flavors, then goes home and eats a cup of generic, freezer-burned vanilla."

Katie Holmes passing on reprising her role of Rachel Dawes for The Dark Knight in order to shoot Mad Money is another example of this that immediately springs to mind, as does Kiefer Sutherland's decision to shoot Mirrors in his down-time from working on the uber-successful 24. In his article on the movie, Josh Modell directly addresses Mr. Sutherland:

"Surely you have a million scripts crossing your desk every day, and you don't need the money. Why not pick something to stretch your acting chops, something 'dangerously' indie? Better yet, why not just go on a fucking vacation?"

Tangentially, this also brings me to Mike Meyers spending years meticulously writing and workshopping (and by "workshopping," I mean, trying the titular character out for test drives in various New York theatres) The Love Guru.

I'm fascinated by this. I mean, you're an actor with a good (or rather, "insane") amount of money, a good amount of prestige and a very limited amount of free time. You must have too many offers to count coming your way. Why on earth would you go out of your way to choose something that's clearly a steaming turdwich (that doesn't even spell "guaranteed box office hit")?

Again, I'm not fascinated with Hollywood actors making bad movies, or bad movies being made: I'm fascinated when great care and consideration is made to act in or make said steaming turdwich.

What compels this behavior? Is it just based on momentary lapses of reason? Poor decision-making connected to weird things going on in their personal lives? Willful career self-destruction? What?

Waiting for his big break to write a re-imagining of Porky's,

James "The Kubrick of Poop" Comtois


Monday, March 23, 2009

I Think...

...the working title for the metal musical I'm writing the book for will be Anton Craven's Ghastly Scheme. Gods of Fire bandmate Seth pointed out that it treads quite close to Scooby-Doo territory, but hastened to add that that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

Regardless of whether or not it changes or stays, I'm tired of having it labeled as Gods of Fire Musical on my desktop and am relieved to have at least some sort of working title.

Happy over miniscule victories,

James "Pettiness Incarnate" Comtois


My First (And Most Likely Only) Blog Entry About Battlestar Galactica

I was hoping to write about the finale of Battlestar, but I've realized that every time I sit down to write something about the show, I end up writing about five or six pages on what I find wrong about the show before I can even begin to explain that I do in fact like Battlestar and think it's, y'know, good.

So I'll try to make it as brief as possible before getting into an exhaustive and rambling rant about all the reasons why the show frustrated the living hell out of me.

Okay, no fuck it. I think I can explain my two main problems with it:

1. The series was structured for HBO-style 12-13 episode season arcs, not 22+ episode arcs, and

2. The writers were clearly making shit up as they went along.

I mean, when a show like Arrested Development (which was a network sitcom, for frak's sake) clearly maps things out several episodes in advanced, why couldn't Ronald Moore, David Eick & Co. do the same (especially when they saw they had a huge hit on their hands)?

When the show was good, it was very good. When it wasn't, it was spinning its wheels and dragging its feet (which became incredibly frustrating for a show that was designed around making the viewer really want to know what happened next).

So, did I like the final episode? Ssssssssort of.

It did what the rest of the series did for me: simultaneously delivered on many things and failed to do so on many others. So here are some scattershot thoughts (all chock-full of spoiler material):

The big showdown between Cavil and Galactica?

Cavil blowing his brains out?

Landing on Earth (or "Earth")?
Rock on.

Roslin's death?
Sad and bittersweet and fitting.

That they didn't use the final episode as a back door pilot for its upcoming spinoffs?
Thank Gods.

Finding out the deal with the imaginary Caprica 6 and imaginary Baltar?
Not so sure, but I'm glad they at least resolved that shit.

The resolution of the whole "final five in the opera house?"
See above.

That them landing on "Earth" resulted in the formation of our civilization?
Yyyyyyeah, okay, that's...kinda cool, I guess.

Lee suggesting they just become savages (and apparently managing to get 30K+ people to agree)?

Hera turning out to be important just because she's ostensibly "Eve" (not even just the first person, just the first person modern-day humanity found)?

Kara just disappearing?
Go fuck yourself.

Feel free to offer your thoughts below. Again, I realize whenever I start writing about the show I make it seem like I'm not too wild about it, which isn't accurate at all. Hell, just the fact that its creators took a pretty cheesy sci-fi show from the late-70s that was an allegory for Mormonism and revamped it into one of the coolest television shows since, well, ever, is quite an impressive feat. I'm glad this is a show I followed, even if I do have reservations.

Still wanting to know the deal with Daniel,

James "Watchtower-Peddler" Comtois


Friday, March 20, 2009

It's the First Day of Spring!

And, of course, it's snowing.

[Insert Heavy Sigh Here.]

Regardless, it's nice to have you back, spring (sort of). Have a good weekend, folks. When we come back, perhaps we can all blather about the finale of Battlestar Galactica?

Or, you know, something theatre-related, if you really want to.

But I'm thinking Galactica, more likely.

Keeping it haughty,

James "Captain Haughtpants" Comtois


Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Quiet Before the Storm

We here at Nosedive Central are currently awaiting the specific dates that Infectious Opportunity will play at the Brick's Antidepressant Festival, which should arrive in the next week or two. Once we get those, we can begin casting and start rehearsals in late April/early May.

As it stands now, the script runs about an hour and thirty-five minutes. I'm hoping to trim it down by about 10 minutes or so. Fortunately, since my characters tend to ramble, I suspect cutting things down won't be too big a challenge.

In the meantime, my "Writing To-Do" list seems to keep getting longer and longer. This isn't a complaint, mind you. I'm just hoping I can tackle it all in time. As always, we shall see.

Cherry-picking his priorities,

James "Turd Miner" Comtois

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Infectious Opportunity Teaser Image

Hot off the presses, as the kids say...

Infectious Opportunity

A new play by James Comtois

Directed by Pete Boisvert

Renowned screenwriter Wes Farley realizes that
having AIDS would solve a whole lot of his problems…

Coming this June to
The Antidepressant Festival

Already feeling dirty,

James "Pig Pen" Comtois

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kissin Yer Blarney Stone

Despite finding this holiday insufferable (nothing against the Irish or green-colored food and drink, but plenty against all the bars being crammed to the gills with belligerently drunk frat boy jackasses who are already vomiting on strangers by three in the afternoon*), I hope everybody has a good St. Patrick’s Day today.

I believe I'll be working to avoid any sort of bars at all costs this evening.

Within the next week or two, we should be getting the schedule for the Brick’s Antidepressant Festival, at which Nosedive's latest, Infectious Opportunity will be staged (apparently along with Mr. Matthew Freeman’s latest, Glee Club).

Once we have the dates down, we can start preproduction work in earnest on what’s being called my "AIDS Play." Though, honestly, that moniker is a little disingenuous. It's more my "Guy Who Fakes Being HIV-Positive To Boost His Career Play." But that's a bit of a mouthful.

Having your mouths full of Nosedive aside, once we get more details about our latest show, we'll pass them along to you, dear reader. Just like we passed along that other unfortunate gift last St. Patrick's Day. Seriously, how many times can we say we're sorry?

Belligerent with or without booze,

James "Vomalicious" Comtois

* When everyone knows the proper time for vomiting on strangers is 10 at night.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Infectious Opportunity in June

Before I announce Nosedive's latest, I wanted to offer a note of congratulations to the Vampire Cowboys for their uber-successful run of Soul Samurai. I really look forward to seeing this again if and when it gets remounted (and I'm pretty sure it's much more a matter of "when" than "if").

So yes. It looks as though Nosedive Productions will be unveiling our latest play, Infectious Opportunity, at the Antidepressant Festival this June at the Brick Theater.


James "Dusted" Comtois

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Come On, Hollywood!

Now we all realize that this isn't just a remake, but a remake of a remake?

Come on, Hollywood. I know we're in the habit of recycling here, but give us a freakin' break!

Adapting a remake of a sequel,

James "Son of the Original" Comtois

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Still Buzzing

I just wanted to give a huge thank you to the performers in last night's Nosedive Disturbing Burlesque — Bastard Keith, Nasty Canasta, Madame Rosebud, Marlo Marquise and Sapphire Jones — and everyone who came out to attend. This was one of our most successful fundraisers in years, and it was a whole hell of a lot of fun to boot. Ladies, you brought the sexy and creepy. Keith, you brought the laughs and inappropriate hugs.

Seriously, guys, this was great. Thank you so much. I'm still buzzing. We may do something like this again in the not-too-distant future.

The whole evening was set up to raise money for our upcoming play, Infectious Opportunity, a show about how one can use HIV/AIDS to one's advantage. Yes, we're going there. We are Nosedive, after all. It was really only a matter of time.

Anyway, we'll be making an announcement soon about the future of this latest Nosedive caper very, very soon.

Using Nudity to Finance an AIDS Comedy,

James "Despicable Human Being" Comtois

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gearing Up: Nosedive's Disturbing Burlesque This Wednesday!

After seeing a good number of plays last week and the week before, I’ve had to take this week off to get ready for our fundraising show that goes up tomorrow, Nosedive’s Disturbing Burlesque, which I’m really looking forward to. Having seen these performers before (and being what the kids would call a fan), this is sure to be a really kick-ass night of offbeat burlesque and Nosedive goodness.

Anyfuckingway, hope to see you tomorrow!

The best stage cougar in town,

James "Raaawr" Comtois

* * *

Nosedive Productions presents

Nosedive's Disturbing Burlesque

Lovely Ladies. Bastard Host. Disturbing Company.

Featuring Unwholesome Performances by

Dirty Diva — Madame Rosebud — Nasty Canasta — Sapphire Jones

Hosted by Bastard Keith

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Doors open at 9 pm — Show at 10 pm

$20 Admission

Under St Marks Theatre

94 St. Marks Place, between 1st Ave. & Avenue A

Proceeds from this fundraiser go toward staging Nosedive's spring play, Infectious Opportunity.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Samurais and Burlesque Dancers

I went to go see Soul Samurai for the second time on Friday and man, am I glad I did that. So much freakin' fun. Seriously, folks, if you haven't seen it for your first time yet, shame on you. Shame!

Well, gang, to raise money for our upcoming show, Infectious Opportunity, Nosedive's Disturbing Burlesque is just around the corner and is looking to be a real fun evening of icky hotness. Featuring the lovely talents of Dirty Diva, Madame Rosebud, Nasty Canasta and Sapphire Jones and hosted by the incorrigible Bastard Keith.

The whole thing starts at 10 p.m. on Wednesday night at UNDER St. Mark's Theatre. Admission is $20. See you there.

Equal Opportunity Plugger,

James "Um...Buttplug?" Comtois

Nosedive Productions presents

Nosedive's Disturbing Burlesque

Lovely Ladies. Bastard Host. Disturbing Company.

Featuring Unwholesome Performances by

Dirty Diva - Madame Rosebud - Nasty Canasta - Sapphire Jones

Hosted by Bastard Keith

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Doors open at 9 pm - Show at 10 pm

$20 Admission

Under St Marks Theatre

94 St. Marks Place, between 1st Ave. & Avenue A

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Scattershot Thoughts on the Watchmen Film

Few scattershot thoughts on the Watchmen film (anyone who doesn't want spoilers should not read):

Overall, I think it's the best feature film that could be made on its source material, and the best adaptation of an Alan Moore work (though that's saying next to nothing). But I also think it's proof that an HBO-style miniseries would be the best format to adapt Alan Moore and David Gibbons' seminal epic graphic novel about retired and disgraced costumed crimefighters in an alternate New York in 1985.

Director Zack Snyder and writers David Hayter and Alex Tse made smart cuts (for the most part) to make such a dense book a two and a half hour film, but they couldn't circumvent an inherent problem with a feature film based on this material: you don't have time to reflect on anything you're watching. It feels simultaneously overstuffed, yet thin. Neither the story nor characters have room to "breathe." The characters (with some exceptions) seem very two-dimensional, and some of the acting (again, with exceptions) is pretty gosh-darned terrible, though that may be the fault of the direction rather than the acting.

The casting/acting: Jackie Earle Haley and Patrick Wilson as Rorschach and Nite Owl, respectively (who, coincidentally, were both in Todd Field's 2006 film, Little Children) are really the only two actors that seem to be playing real people. Everyone else, unfortunately, seem like talking action figures/props. I'm not gonna lie, Billy Crudup is particularly lame as Dr. Manhattan, and I think the filmmakers made a huge error with Ozymandias (Matthew Goode is horribly miscast, and the film's overall take on the character is misguided: he comes across as a sinister creep right out of the gate, which takes away any weight to the revelation that he's behind the Comedian's murder and Dr. Manhattan's exile).

Consider the scene where a Vietnamese woman has just sliced open the Comedian's face. The Comedian, face dripping with blood, stoically telling Dr. Manhattan he's lost touch. Nothing in his voice or body language indicates that he's even aware that, y'know, his face has been horribly cut by a broken beer bottle. When the Comedian's finished with his monologue, he then calls out, "Medic! Gimme a goddamn medic!" as if it just occurred to him after his mini-monologue he needs medical attention.

Weird incongruous scenes like that happen throughout, where the actors seem to forget what exactly they're doing.

And, the violence: the film's excessively violent, and all the Matrix-style violence and action sequences are horribly inappropriate. The irony is that the Watchmen comic book didn't have comic book-style violence, whereas the violence in the film is simultaneously excessive and cartoonish. The fight sequences constantly took me out of the movie. And I know this is supposed to be a hard-R superhero movie, and I know this is supposed to be gritty and all that, but was Silk Spectre ripping a knot-top attacker's bone out of his arm really necessary?

Okay, enough shitting on the movie. Here's what it gets right:

Yes, they change the ending. It's better. Don't look at me like that. You know I'm right. It makes more sense and is less silly. (I mean, we're all friends here, we all love the book, but come on: a giant fake alien squid monster? Little silly.) It ties into the concept of Dr. Manhattan better and makes his decision to leave earth after getting a renewed interest in humans make more sense.

Notwithstanding my dislike of the fight sequences, the overall production value is great. It looks amazing, and captures the feel of Dave Gibbons' original artwork.

Again, they actually made very smart cuts to fit the sprawling story into a feature-length film. My gut instinct is that this may be incoherent to anyone who doesn't know the book (not unlike this rambling post), but according to some rave reviews from Roger Ebert and Salon (from critics that are unfamiliar with the source material), I may stand to be corrected. I'm not being glib when I say this really is the best film that could be made based on the graphic novel.

I found the opening credits sequence interesting. It's scattered with nods to scenes implied and referred to in the comic (the death of certain costumed crimefighters, the Comedian killing JFK), all played to Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A Changing," but aren't really referred to again in the film (except obliquely). For someone who's read the book, I enjoyed the hell out of this. For someone who hasn't, I really can't imagine it would make any sense at all.

I may be in the minority on this concept, but if it's a choice to make a slavish adaptation or an adaptation that makes lazy disrespectful changes to cater to the lowest common denominator, give me slavish. I'll take Snyder's Watchmen over the Hughes Brothers' From Hell any day. Though there are several changes throughout, you can tell Watchmen has been made by a director that has read, reread, and re-reread the source material backwards and front.

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts on the film. Feel free to discuss.

Sharpening his ears

James "Moloch" Comtois

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Seeing This Tonight

Catching this at midnight tonight. Am very curious to see how it goes.

Watching the Watchmen,

James "Nite Owl II" Comtois

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Wednesday, March 11: Nosedive's Disturbing Burlesque

Well, gang. As the old saying goes, "There's no such thing as a free erection in this town" (yes, it’s a saying, I'm sure of it, don't look at me like that). At 10 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11 at UNDER St. Mark’s Theatre, we here at Nosedive Central are working under that paradigm with our latest spectacular fundraising show, Nosedive’s Disturbing Burlesque.

Sexy with a capital "creepy," Nosedive’s latest fundraising caper offers an evening of lovely ladies performing unnerving burlesque acts guaranteed to make your pulse quicken and skin crawl. Hosted by that loveable rapscallion, Bastard Keith.

Proceeds from the show go towards funding Nosedive Productions' spring show, Infectious Opportunity.

And if for some insane reason you are unable to attend (seriously? You’re gonna miss out on a night of drinking and disturbing nudity?), you can always mitigate your guilt by donating to Nosedive Productions here.

Disturbing the performers,

James "Handsy-Pants" Comtois

Nosedive Productions presents

Nosedive's Disturbing Burlesque

Lovely Ladies. Bastard Host. Disturbing Company.

Featuring Unwholesome Performances by

Dirty Diva — Madame Rosebud — Nasty Canasta — Sapphire Jones

Hosted by Bastard Keith

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Doors open at 9 pm — Show at 10 pm

$20 Admission

Under St Marks Theatre

94 St. Marks Place, between 1st Ave. & Avenue A

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