This is how the movie begins. The camera swerves nervously around an assembled crowd of shiny shirts with sleeves rolled up and low-cut blouses propped up by high-heeled shoes. Flicks of streaked hair glisten almost symphonically in a flirtation dance that, from a distance, must look like an errant power grid to those calling the shots. There is pointless drama percolating in the shallow pools of two-drink conversations, pointless drama offset by the golden swirls of tourist-Tuscan wall embellishment that make downtown's Ember feel less like a fire than the remains of a plastic space heater. Ties are loosening, lipstick smudging, home values plummeting, husbands cheating. I, fidgeting in the sickly glow of it all, am ready for my close-up. I light a fuse, or a cigarette, and wait for something to explode.
"I can't believe you're blowing smoke on us!" my assembled gaggle of ladyfingers recoils. "We haven't been smoking for three days!"
I suppose it's the best frictionless friction I can hope for at the moment. Orlando Weekly's shadow sister publication of codified inebriation, Drink, which is by all accounts "amazing," has chosen this set for the launch of its sophomore issue, which includes something about using a ladyfriend to pick up other ladies if you're a guy who wears glasses and only stares at asses, or something. So, basically, we're talking about a light romantic comedy here: a little Aniston, a little Hathaway, a dash of Rogen (Rogaine?) and a magic homo to fix everything. That, I suppose, would be me.
"I love your articles," a reasonably attractive man gives me the up-and-down while I'm ignored at the craft services table of free drinks. "Where are you from?"
"Oh, everywhere," I stare wistfully off into the fake hue of sunset romance.
Behind him is a wing woman of sorts, or "fag hag" as he charmingly refers to her, and she does hair and since my hair is done, she should do my hair and blah and blah and blah. She points at a copy of Drink, and charmingly refers to it as a "pamphlet"; he rattles off a romance CV that includes the term "sugar daddy" and then reveals, not too scandalously, that he is currently dating somebody with whom I might or might not share an office situation. Ack.
"This is clearly not the movie I signed up for!" my head quietly explodes on the inside while simultaneously speed-dialing my agent. "Also, bartender, I will not be ignored!"
A triplicate of libations and one cautious bite of a deep-fried mashed potato and cheese stick later and it's become painfully obvious to all parties involved that my contract negotiations for this straight-to-DVD feature have fallen through. I need more. I deserve more. "Don't pity me!" I Alex Forrest my way out of a fatal un-attraction, while nobody listens.
"Why? Because I won't allow you to treat me like some slut you can just bang a couple of times and throw in the garbage!" I go on a bit. "Where's the director? You wouldn't understand because you're so … so selfish! Have you ever done it in an elevator?"
I'll escort myself out, thank you.
Fortunately, I've booked a backup gig for the frazzle-fry of my '80s hair and the mischief it barely contains. The Florida Film Festival is coming to its loud, candy-unwrapping close at the Enzian this weekend, and tonight's special dab of celebrity intrusion includes the mother of all overprocessed hair anxiety, Glenn Close, and a screening of Fatal Attraction. I've packed a bag of miniature carrots (a la Jimmy Fallon), a dead rabbit and a trace of running-mascara nostalgia for how glamorous infidelity was in 1987. I'm not going to meet Alex Forrest, I'm going to be Alex Forrest, all drunk and kitchen-sink-fuckable in a faked bathtub drowning kind of way. Oh, I will be discreet.
"I'm with the media," I fake a credential at the door, dropping a carrot or two.
Unfortunately, the scene doesn't play out with the Adrian Lyne frame exploitation it deserves. Instead, I'm ushered into the Enzian, where menopause and gay and not-moving-on cloud any solid direction. There's only one seat left, and it's a couch up at the very front right.
"So, is this part where I jump onstage and become Glenn Close going to happen before the uncomfortable dirge of a movie I never want to see again?" I blink nervously at my friend Linda sitting behind me. "Or after?"
"After," she empathizes.
The movie starts, the sex happens, the screen is gritty with 20 years of scandal replay and I'm bored. Outside at the Eden Bar, I cozy up with some staffers who inform me that they already know what I drink and that Glenn isn't really going to talk to people because her rider makes her queen bitch who needs to get on a flight to New York pronto. Boo.
"I guess I'll go back in," I tuck my wraparound sash back between my legs. There isn't going to be any rodent-vegetable-hair drama tonight. Or is there?
Glenn Close will eventually come out and say batty-old-lady things like "Catharsis is really real" and "I can always make an asshole out of myself" while approximating celestial discomfort in front of her adoring crowd. But the real treat comes just before the movie's end.
Linda, like everybody else, is doing the "I love this part" whisper — because who hasn't seen this movie? — when a rodent-sized version of tight-assed Jeff Foxworthy comes barreling over from the front row and into her face. "Would you stop talking!" he constipates, and will not be ignored. "Everybody in this theater can hear you!" Then he huffs his way back over to his seat, opens up his camera and proceeds to video-record Close's interview, despite earlier admonitions that said act would not be allowed. That person, dear reader, was high-strung Sentinel film gnome Roger Moore.
"Should I go throw my drink on him?" I turn and ask Linda.
"Do it!" (I don't.) And that's how the movie firstname.lastname@example.org