UnBooks:My Pal Stanley Kubrick
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Tonight we honor one of the finest directors of the 20th Century, the late, great Stanley Kubrick. As President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences I want to give a warm Hollywood welcome to our keynote speaker, Father John Murphy. The Padre, who just flew in from the Vatican, knew Stanley for over 35 years, up until and including Stanley's untimely death in 1999. I'm sure he has a treasure trove of information to share. Without further ado, would you kindly welcome the Pope's right hand, the Keeper of the Keys, and the dizzy Dean of the College of Cardinals, Father John Murphy.
Ya, ya, thought you'd be gabbin' all day. Ya wanna get me a couple of dose brownies ya all been chowin' down? Hey, put it on a plate, not a fuckin napkin, ya raised in a barn? Yeah, dat's it. OK, listen up.
A quick introduction to my pal, Stanley Kubrick
I'm not gonna tells ya about da Stanley Kubrick ya think ya knows, but da real guy. The man himself.
I met Stanley when I was a young man while earning money as an extra in "Lolita", dat flick where the old guy falls for a young broad. Remember, da old bat mother likes da guy, and he has to marry da bat in order ta get ta da dish. Age old story. Well, Kubrick and the kid got it on at least twice a day, mostly in her trailer but sometimes on da set, pretty much always ended in doggie style.
Hey, hey nobody leaves. Stop dose guys, O'Malley. I told youse, I was gonna tells ya bout da real guy. Da one who dressed hookers up in space suits and banged 'em in slow motion up against dat monolith. But don't get me wrong, Stanley was a raging brainiac, gotta give him dat. He directed bout a dozen jawsdroppers dat ya jamokes seen at least twice. Except for Pauly Shore sittin' dere, IQ of a pineapple.
What the scholars say
First I'm gonna learns ya what da scholars at dat dere wicca paedia got ta say about Stanley. Just ta give Pauly Shore an introduction to a subject he knows nuttin about.
Da wiccans say dat Kubrick chose his subjects with scrupulouse care. They say dat he worked real slow - like some kind of snail - and dat he enjoyed making all kinds of films whenever da mood hit him. Science fiction, horror classics, period pieces, mysteries of da mind, antiwar rants, Stanley just made up whatever he wanted to. Then the wikipedes take a wild guess dat he was a technical perfectionism, so they start complaining about how Kubrick was a recluse and seldom talked about his films until ya got him stoned or drunk. Da wise intellecstools seem to think dat Stanley always maintained complete artistic control over his masterpieces. Sorta like if Pabble Picasso could afford a movie camera.
And then da esteemed professors go on to bitch dat Stan's films have a formal style and pay lots of attention ta detail. Dey think dat his later stuff is surrealistical and lacks structured linear narrative - whatever da hell dey mean by dat - and dat his movies are soooooo goddamned slow because he was diseased with some kind of anal obsessive perfectionism. Dey think Stan used recurring themes as a way to argue about man's inhumility to man. Got dat right. While Stanley's movies are often described as opionated stories doused in ironic pessimism, da 'pedia eggheads imagine dat Stanley's films contain a cautious optimism when viewed like dey like ta watch 'em.
Stanley's first good film and his last good film were his best films. "Lolita" and "Eyes Tight Shut". Hey, have ya guys ever seen "Lolita" with a couple of dese brownies in ya? Show of hands. Scorsese, ya, Coppala, of course, and over dere, Shyamalan and Affleck. Ya, see, see dat? Dat's one hell of a movie. Once ya get past da first dull half hour or so, den you gets to see James Mason come up on Lolita in a bikini and from then on, except for another dull half hour, Mason shows his acting range - the range of a bored middle-aged man living a boring life when alls'a sudden WHAM!!!!! he falls in total lust with a fifteen-year old boy or girl, depending on which director's cut you own, and da kid is game!
Den, right dere in da middle of dis shitstorm, youse get youse Peter Sellers thrown in at ya like a circus clown playing several different characters at once, an all da other actors, except for Shelly Winters who's crumpled up an dead by dat time, carry each scene into da next in ways Kubrick shot like he was Da Vinci paintin' da inside of dat church. One of da best movies ever made, except for most of it, and 'specially if ya on dose brownies.
So Stan and I got to hanging around on dat Lolita set, and on Lolita tells ya da God's honest truth - I seez ya laughin' O'Malley - and we started palling around off-set too. Dat was 1962, jeez, time flies on dose gossamer wings, don't it. Ya, I see Woody Allen flinching. Hey Woody, whatsa matter, ya worried 'bout dyin? Look at him, rolled up in da fetal position. Boo!!! Heh heh heh, it's too easy.
So before ya could say "Do unto udders", Stanley started callin' me his "lucky charm" and made me come to all of his shoots. Later, when I got to be an uppity-up in da holy mudder church, him knowin' me and vica verso cames in handy when my boys policed da sets and handled union trouble with da locals.
Well, lets move up and down some of da years here.
Good times remembered
One time da church had me go check some rumors dat Kubrick was makin a hippie movie. Dey didn't want none a dat. But when I got dere, Stanley wasn't doin' a hippie movie at all. He was filming dis god-awful slow trainwreck he nicknamed 2001. Every scene on dat film seemed to take a year to shoot, 'cause Kubrick kept diggin' deep into his noggin pretending to use spacetime to play in an' all.
Anyway, one night Stanley was co-making-up da screenplay for 2001 with dat Arthur Sea Clarke brainiac. Stan made da mistake of hiring dis fellow Clarke, who thought he was da pope's shit. All he really was was a floating egghead filled with godawful space visions and communicational satellites and whatnot. Must have been hell in dere. Hey, did you guys know dat da two of dem faked up da moon landings? Truth, sweat to god. I was dere, and when general Armstrong was supposed to be taking dat first moon walk he'd just come over from hanging just off stage with dese two hippie babes, Wildflower and Sunshine, who were getting ready to blow him.
Walkin' on da moon! Can ya believe it? Ya gonna break me up here. Never happened, swear on God's toenails.
Well, Clarke and Stanley, deys all hunched up over a desk like two frogs, busy writin' down da scene where dat loony-tunes talkin' computer whacks some guys. I happened to be walkin' by, minding my own self and da churches business, when Stanley calls me over. "Fadda. Fadda, tell me, how does a computer whack a guy, and then gets whacked itself?" he asked. "Jesus Christ, Stan," I say, "I dunno. Question's like dat always cut off da oxygen supply to my brain." And dats how they whacked dem. Made me think dey should've given me a taste.
So then dere came "Dr. Stangelove, or how blah blah blah da bomb". Dis was dat commie movie where Stanley made da American government and its boys in da military look like a bunch of fag horses on a rottin'-wood crippled merry-go-round. Where was I goin with dat? Ah, da brownies are startin' ta kick in, ain't dey O'Malley. Time slowin down an shit. Like watching one of his movies.
Yeah, da Stangeglove shoot was fun. Especially tryin' to get Peter Sellers to break character, which he wouldn't do for his own mudda. When he was pretending to be da gimp in a wheelchair I'd grab his legs and pull, and he'd fall on da floor an' it took him forever to crawl back up. And when he started in actin' like an uppity-up president I'd cover him with fish entrails and call dem blessed. Drove Sellers crazy, tryin' to keep up with my hyjinks and watchen out da corner of his eye, seein if I was sneakin' up ta mouse-slap him. Never broke character though, give him dat.
Da movie itself discusses man's inhumanity to man, as if dat ever stopped anyone. My contribution was da final scene, when Slim Pickens jumps outta da plane ridin' an atomic bomb like it was a bucking bronco. He wagged his cowboy hat back and forth around his head like he was on a bull or oxen, one of dose. Dat came bout when Stanley said to me "What the hell, Fadda, how am I gonna end dis fuckin thing?" and I gives him da scene right down to da swingin' hat. He loved it, dey filmed it, and dat's what most people remember about da film. Stanley wanted ta give me some of dat writer's credit, but I said "No way in hell".
Ya, ya, now I can see Woody Allen shakin' his head up and down and smilin'. Now ya like me, huh Wood man? Maybe you and I can play clarinet or trumpet or whatever it is ya blow sometime.
Ya, I missed Stanley's next pictures, spendin' most of my time learnin' da ropes at da Vatican. Shystering some a dose third-world Cardinals felt like burnin' da midnight oil at ten a.m.
During dat time Stan did a fag pic called "Barry Lyndon", 'bout nothin' in particular dat I can tell except dis guy dresses up and prances around. I dunno what it's about, and if I did I probably couldn't tell ya anyways without getting excommunicated. Ha! Ya like dat Eastwood? Bust a gut.
So da next time I showed up, Stanley was already filming "Da Shinin'" up dere in a vacant hulk of a hotel over in Colorado. I bunked with Jack Nicholsen. Da guy snores kinda like he talks, all smiley sinister with dat kill-ya-quick-as-look-at-ya drawl. He got buggier as da picture went on.
Da Shinin' tells ya da story about how metaphors are stretched. Ya stick a family of loons - ya notice Olive Oil tryin' ta act dere? - in a large building for a coupple a months and dey all turn around an kill each other and the black guy, or die tryin'. I jumped outta my skin when I saw da corpse woman in da bathtub try to move aroun', and if I wasn't pretending ta pray da rosary with a little boy as we screened it I'da screamed like a little girl.
Gonna tells ya somethin', an dis will scare ya, quarantine it, so hold on ta ya seats. Ya, Pitt, funny, holdin' onto Portman's seat. Angie's in da john, isn't she? Wise ass. Anyways, we was all alone, see, in dis giant motel, da crew and da actors and dem. Suddenly, for no parent reason at all, da lights went out an noises like skirts rustlin' were heard. Scotsman Crouthers an I were playin' drinkin' games in dat ballroom where da ghosts live, an just as we heard da skirts movin' around we both saw a bottle move. Maybe half an inch. It just edged over like it was travelin' on insect spooky wheels, like it had a railroad train track under it dere. Scotsman jumped a foot, funniest thing I've ever seen, except for old Woody dere again with da fetal position.
Dat was Da Shining.
Shut Da Eyes
Stanley went on ta make tings like Full Metta Jacket and other anti-war hogwash. I refused ta help him with any propaganda film. Da church's stand of "Send as many of dem to heaven as ya can" takin' precedence over my friendship dere.
Da last film I made with Stanley was da last film he made, "Eyes Wide Shut", a name dat doesn't mean anything starring dat couple who was always fighting about scientaloogy and such, dat midget and da tall lady. Anyways, Stanley made da movie for one purpose and one purpose only, to score LelLee Sobieski.
Man, he was so inta dat little girl. He'd launch his pants just thinkin' 'bout her. No, dis's true! I hear ya murmering out dere. And hey, Sobieski, don't even think of leaving. All Iz sayin' here is dat all da myths and smarty pants' wanten ya ta believe dat Stan loved da book, or dat he wanted ta tell a metaphoric story about how all long married couples have inner dreams of divorce - divorce from both dere spouse and dere structured lives dere - and dat it took him years to film and edit it because he wanted to get the film down ta perfection an all dat, dey waz all smoke-screens with Stanley holdin' a mirror. He just wanted to boff Sobieski.
And he did dat. Alot. Jeez, ya know dose masks in da film? They musta worn every one of dem with each other - hey, isn't dat right Leelee? Did I get da scorecard right? I dunno hear no denials dere. Anywaz, da film also reported like a damn newspaper about how da upper elites in Britain like ta go at it in front of each other with tall beautiful hookers. Hollywood's people like dat too. Humpin' like bunnies with da excuse of mystic occulty ceremonies all thrown in for da brain stretching. An wearin dose bird masks all metal and skull an glitter faced, dey do dat ta both put ya at ease over identity an' ta stir up da mystery gene. See, Kubrick just wanted to tell da truth, and knew dat by being honest Leelee would look at him like he was her daddy and she'd jump some rope. It was a hard movie ta make, because Kurbrick ordered da cast around like a concentration camp cook demanding "More livers!" An' dat midget and his tall lady, dey picked around der emotions pretty good and fought like jackals sometimes. But yeah, Sobrieski provided all da tension and has da central role in da movie, playing da sexually active 16-year old living in da costume shop who turns da midget on.
Lots of people liked dat movie. Problem is, Stanley died, right after finishing editing "Da Wide Eyes", and dey dropped Leelee's name to eleventh on da final credits to hide dat last time with her what really killed him. Last I saw of him we waz putting him in da ground. Lolita and Leelee were dere, all teary eyed and moanin' "boo hoo hoo", bless dere hearts. Artie See Clarke came in all da way from dere Shree Lankya to bid Stanley adieu. Some of us pissed on his grave, but dat was all in jest.
Alright, dunno why I'm tellin ya dis, must be da brownies talkin', and not many people other than da enforcers over at da U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops - oh, and O'Malley dere - know dat da next film Stanley was gonna make was a script I wrote inspired by da holy spirit. It was called Da Troublemakers and was all 'bout dose blabbermouthy choirboys and altar ornaments who led da priests onto da primrose path visa via dose seductions. I'd never seen Stanley more excited than when he and da polish papa took a meeting to finalize da deal. Stanley wanted to name it Roma's Pretty Boys but JohnPaul two told him "No, no, no, no, weze decided on da name."
My movie would have won all dose shiny statues of Little Oscar youse guys hand over to da best of dis and best of dat. Tells ya now so youse can tink about it. But when Stanley decided to die da project got shelved along with him.
OK, I'll take questions on the other side of a bathroom break. I gotta pee like Secretariat opening up 31 lengths.
Questions and answers
Alright, shoot. No, wait - wait O'Malley, holster it. Justa figure of speech. Okay, youse, da Munich hausfrau in the big dress.
Good evening Father, Meryl Streep here. Can you give us some insight as to why Stanley Kramer would arc each of his thirteen individual movies, as well as his entire body of work, along the clean lines of apes misusing the tools of power and biological bonding attraction intertwined with the concept of power-hungry authority figures, of males looking for bottom-feeder lust, and of entire classes of people hiding what they are doing from each other in order to fulfill their inner-demons? As you implied, much of that is well-symbolized in "Eyes Wide Shut", and is driven by the great actress. Leelee Siobeski. She pivots the film with her calculated arousal of Tom Cruise. Mr. Cruise, who in real life is as gay as a rose bush, is bewildered at Siobeski's age, energy, scarcely hidden need for off-screen pleasure, and the metaphor that she lives within the costume shop and can thus put on any persona while be able to truly see through the costumes of others. Cruise then leaves her to follow his compulsion to explore the occult mansion's mystery and its deeper multi-layered significance. Tell us, what was Mr. Kubricks' expressed thoughts on these arcs?
I didn't understand a word you said missy. Stanley don't need da likes of you tellin him which side da bread is buttered on. He buttered both sides of da bread, all 'round da edges too. Ah, next, here, you, da guy in da red cape.
You don't recognize your old roommate, Murphy? Jack. Jack Nicholson. Jeez John, you've been eating too many communion wafers judging by the girth of your gut. Anyway, what's all this I hear about Kubrick's movies being too slow? When I ran around throwing my talent all over the place in The Shining it was anything but slow, except at the end when I froze to death, which only slowed me down for a minute or so.
Nicky, I didn't recognize you from da old obese corpse-like structure standing before me. Ya, Stanley filmed his movies like da people watchin' dem had nuttin else better to do with their timing. 2001 is so slow it looks like it was made in space. And Da Shining, dat lollipop ya so gaga about, it goes on an' on an' on about nuttin, and then nobody ever understood it even when it's finally over. Something about living in da past, but it lost me while dey was driving up da road to get dere. And Jack, take dose donuts outta ya pocket.
Alright, you, in the yellow jump suit.
Father Murphy, blessings to you. I'm Hank, from the construction crew working outside. I just happened to wander in here on my break. But listen, I didn't hear you talk about Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange," maybe his most disturbing but supremely psychologically engrossing film. Did you have anything to do with that picture? Thank you.
Dat one was just goofy. It was 'bout a gang of jollywompers dressed to da nines in orange who'd come up and stomp bums to death. Da whole time dey got accompanied by classical music. What Stanley did dere was try ta break da violence barrier. To peel back da brain of a psychopath and show da deranged animal sittin' in dere inside. But it got some of England's youth in such a lather dat he pulled da picture outta circulation dere and he wouldn't allow it to be shown in England until after he died. And even den he didn't like it. I talked Stanley into letting it run in da rest of da world though. "Give da devil his due" I told him, and he did dat. Alright, you, da skin and bones hanging off ya dere.
My weight is the result of my being a nun of the Abstainian Order, which allows us one slice of bread a day. Due to this I am not long for this world. But in the time I have left there is one movie I want to see, Spartacus, and I would like your holy take on it.
Jesus, sister, chow down a chicken or something. I can see ya ribs poking up ya in da back dere. You're as retarded as my last blow job - the kid thought I said crow job and covered himself in black feathers, jumped up and down, and made me throw corn at him. It's a joke, a joke people! Touchy liberteans we got here in tinsel town, huh? But ya, Spartacus, dat was Kirk Douglas prancing around pretending he was a slave and den getting other slaves to revolt. Baloney! In real life da boys would have mowed dem down and hung dere heads on pikes leading into da city. Have ya seen Kirk Douglas lately? Looks like his head is already hung on a pike, and he's still moving around under it.
Thank you Father, for giving us your kind memories of a wonderful man and a great director, Stanley Kubrick.
Ya ain't heard a word I said, have ya? O'Malley, dese brownies is makin' me see double, or, wait, dats just dose Olson twins. Grab my coat, we're outta here.