HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—Last night, selected guests from both mainstream and adult were invited to the premiere of adult director Roy Karch's latest mainstream project, I'm Good at Freaky, a thinly-disguised send-up of the last moments of the life of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson at the hands of music producer Phil Spector.
The event took place at the Los Feliz 3 Cinema on North Hillcrest St., and the showing saw a standing-room-only crowd. Present for the event were Karch, camerapersons Jason and Deloras Sullivan, actors Solomon King and Monica Lee, editor Dave Boccuzzi, writer James Trivers and various crew members.
Styled much like an English drawing room comedy (though without the comedy), the short (61 minute) HD video opens with busty blonde Lee sitting on the couch in a spacious living room as a bewigged King descends the staircase, and the two begin to converse. Although the opening graphic assures the audience that any resemblance between the characters in the movie and any real person is coincidental, the complete lack of any early material establishing the "identities" of the players forces anyone familiar with the Spector/Clarkson affair—it front-paged L.A. newspapers and newscasts for months—to assume that those are the characters (and issues) at play in the film. And of course, as we find out later that the male protagonist is a "legendary" music producer and the female lead an aspiring actress/singer and waitress at the "House of Bayou," the puzzle (if there were one) is complete.
The performers struggle mightily with the material they've been given, delivering dialog too mannered to allow the audience to become submerged in the characters. What comes across is almost a "Waiting for Godot" scenario, where everyone knows something is going to happen—Lee's death by King's gun—and it's just a question of when... and what will be revealed of the moral (or other) implications of the death.
As to that last consideration: No such luck.
In the interim, however, King plays a Spector whose brain has become so addled by drugs and alcohol, not to mention the memories of his former fame, that he speaks lines better suited to an art film—all veiled references slopping over with "deep meaning" not vouched-safe for lesser mortals. Yet they seem to make a slight impression on the sometimes-vacuous Lee, whom King variously addresses as a "waitress," "singer" and "whore"—and the audience is left completely in the dark as to how exactly these two wound up in King's living room to begin with. Was it a simple pick-up? Did King's "high infidelity"—his term for "male intuition"—snag a vibe that said she wanted him? Was there an offer to trade sex for a recording contract? (That scenario does appear in the film, but Lee's production from her purse of a written contract seems more spontaneous than by prearrangement.) Or was there simply a promise of money for sex? Again, no answers.
Eventually, King does manage to trick Lee out of her blouse after appearing to collapse from a cocaine overdose, and later, he browbeats her into removing her skirt... but that's within the movie's final few minutes; hardly enough time to appreciate the very attractive eye candy.
Hopefully, Thursday night's premiere was of a rough-cut "work in progress," since there are clearly some technical issues that need tightening: Some awkward edits and some sound in need of sweetening. And it couldn't hurt to add some character-establishing material at the beginning, and perhaps a more satisfying ending than simply a muzzle flash. One thing that doesn't need more work, however, is the music, by King and others, which blends well with the visuals.
Rumor has it that what was shown was not the "director's cut"; that the project had been taken away from Karch toward the end and reedited—not for the better, from all appearances. Hopefully, more footage exists that can be used to improve the narrative and perhaps bring it up to movie length.
We look forward to seeing that cut.