Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
3 Holes and a Smoking Gun: The Script that Dreams are Made of
there be a less auspicious start to a film than a trip on the 7 Train? Yet, in
this case it is rather apt. Like the desperate screenwriter character making
his way into the City, the film longs for Manhattan prestige, but is stuck out
in the outer boroughs. One script to die for might just change everything in
Hilarion Banks’ Three Holes and a Smoking
which opens this Friday in the Los Angeles it so bitterly resents.
Blue Day was once a Hollywood scribe who worked with the Spielberg-esque
Stephen Worthy, but now he is teaching a screenwriting night class in New York.
He is paying an unexpected early morning visit to John F. Kennedy Ariamehr, his
formerly least promising student, who just turned in a perfect screenplay.
Ariamehr has just spent the night with Sailor Stewart (seriously dude, what is up
with these names?) a fellow student who was recently involved with Day.
Fortunately, she is off to an audition, so Day and Ariamehr can get all thrillery
about his screenplay. Day might just kill to get his name on that screenplay,
but if he does, he won’t be the first.
we learn from a long, credibility challenged flashback, Ariamehr already lured
the true screenwriter, one Winston Mimsby (he’s British) to his death. In fact,
it was a rather prolonged death by poisoning. Frankly, it is hard to believe
the guileless Mimsby would write a script called Hijack, but not only did he do so, he cranked it out on an old
school Remington. Therefore, Ariamehr must rush out into the night on a hard
target search for his own vintage 1940s typewriter. At least, it provides us
with the film’s best scene: a slightly surreal encounter in Joey the Junkman’s
antique notions shop. Unfortunately, it is followed by a would-be mugging scene
that perversely neither Ariamehr nor his hemophiliac assailant want to walk
known as 3 Holes, 2 Brads, and a Smoking
Gun, the film’s title has wisely been shortened. Are the two Brads like the
two Jakes? Actually, they are both Brad Bradley, a nemesis from Day’s Hollywood
years met in yet another flashback. The three holes are probably metaphorical,
but the smoking gun is readily identifiable.
3 Holes et al is intended to be a
screenwriter’s riff on Ira Levin-Sidney Lumet’s Deathtrap, but it is way too overloaded with red herrings and
Pacino quotes. The film’s overwhelming MVP by far is Joaquim de Almeida (Desperado, 24) whose too brief
appearance as Joey the Junkman enlivens the film and hints at tantalizing
craziness that is sadly never realized. On the other hand, cult actor Richard
Edson (Joey Breaker) is largely
wasted as a third act copper.
Man, let’s hope nobody was killed over this
screenplay. James Wilder labors like a rented mule as Day, but he still can’t
make it work (he’s also an architect and a juggler, so we applaud his
versatility). It was obviously a labor of love, but either the severe budget
constraints forced some unduly harsh choices or the creative team lost their
perspective along the way. Now available on most VOD platforms, 3 Holes and a Smoking Gun opens this
Friday (3/27) at the Laemmle Music Hall 3.
Labels: Joaquim de Almeida, Richard Edson