Isn't It Interesting
"Hey, you know, I've got this cousin who was in the Marines, and you won't believe his story. He was this spoiled rich kid who pissed off his parents one too many times and got himself into trouble and instead of sending him to jail when any other poor slob of a kid would have been the judge sent him to the Marines. This was like 1980 something."
Anyone who writes and identifies oneself to others as a writer will invariably face this situation one day: A distant relation or a slightly annoying coworker or the guy sitting next to you on the plane who won't shut up will insist that his life (or that of his uncle or grandmother or best friend's dogwalker) is simply fascinating, and here's the deal: He will tell you the story and you, the writer, will write it up, and you'll both split the profits. Everyone thinks their life (or that of their uncle, etc.) is the riveting stuff of bestsellers and Oscar-
"But before he goes to the Marine camp or whatever they call it he meets this kinda crazy pop star and it's like love at first sight or something. And like he can't stop thinking about her while he's away at training and he writes to her all the time. She's schizophrenic or something and he meets her cuz, get this, she's roommates at the nuthouse with a friend of his from school who he almost killed in a car wreck, and yet she's the one committed to a mental institution. Is that something or what?"
And yet, here we have Stateside, based upon one of those true stories that isn't really very dramatic or compelling or even a story, in the plot- or character-
"So she ends up working on getting well and he's doing his Marine thing, getting whipped into shape, and sometimes he uses his leave to see her. And they really like each other and isn't it just kinda interesting how they met?"
There's no real conflict in the timeline of Mark's and Dori's lives, together or separate, at least not that we see onscreen. Marine training is tough -- SDI Skeer (Val Kilmer: Spartan, Wonderland) is a pain in the ass, but fair and dedicated and an okay guy -- and halfway houses for the mentally ill are no piece of cake -- counselor Mrs. Hengen (Diane Venora: Heartbreak Hospital, The Insider) is a pain in the ass, but fair and dedicated and an okay gal -- and the friend Mark almost killed in the car accident that got him Marined up (Agnes Bruckner: Murder by Numbers, Home Room) holds no grudges, nor does the sainted priest (Ed Begley Jr.: A Mighty Wind, Best in Show) Mark put in a wheelchair for life, and Dori's just so gosh-
"Well, no, no one really kept them apart. He got blown up in that bombing in Beirut in '83 or whenever, but he got better and he's just fine. And she's doing really well on her meds. But isn't it interesting how opposite they were? Like he's turning into this hardass Marine all straight-
As a portrait of an unlikely relationship, there might have been something to be had in Mark and Dori's "tale," but writer/
"But, like, he was a Marine and she was a wacky pop star? Isn't that interesting?"
Mon May 24 04, 1:42AM
by MaryAnn Johanson
MPAA: rated R for language, some sexuality/nudity and underage drinking
viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics
Rhinoceros Eyes (review)
My Mother Likes Women (review)