Wednesday, October 30, 1996

Woody Allen's "Crash"

Woody Allen addresses the camera ...
WOODY: How's it going? I hope you enjoyed the banjo music and my signature use of the Windsor font in the title sequence. Before we start, I'd like to apologize to all you David Cronenberg fans. Uh ... Apparently he had some problems with the Canadian tax people and asked me to finish this picture for him. It's based on a novel about sex and car crashes by that kid in the Steven Spielberg movie who got bad advice from John Malcovich in a Japanese prison camp and grew up to be a writer. His name is James Ballard and that's the name of my character. It's "James" in the script but I changed it to "Jimmy." I like vowels. Other than that, I tried to stay true to Mr. Cronenberg's vision. I mean, I put my personal stamp on it, come on. Strictly speaking, the picture hasn't started yet. OK, now we're starting. One, two, three ...
Go to black --
Fade in on JIMMY against the same neutral background.
JIMMY: A relationship is an example of chaos theory in action. This one started by accident. I’d say "literally," but the expression is overused and often used incorrectly.
Tracking shot; side view of JIMMY driving a car. A BMW.
JIMMY: This is a German car. I should know better.
A car crashes into him, head on. The unseatbelted driver, a man, flies through the windshield, turning into so much human pizza on the crumpled hood of JIMMY’s car. The passenger, a woman, exposes her breast. JIMMY sees her through the windshield. They lock eyes.
JIMMY: (to her) Ah, displacement activity. Freud explained it succinctly in “Civilization and its Discontents.” Don’t get me wrong. It’s a very nice breast. A very, very nice breast. I’m sure the other one is too. I’d reciprocate but I appear to be somewhat pinned.
HELEN: La-di-da. Are you hurt?
JIMMY: (looks down) Well. I am experiencing some significant swelling. (looks at body on hood) Ohmigod, is that James Spader?
JIMMY's in a hospital bed, casts on both arms and both legs, and trussed up with pulleys like a Thanksgiving turkey.
JIMMY: Jesus. How am I going to pay for this?
HELEN: It's Canada, stupid.
He sees her standing there. Dressed in a white lab coat.
JIMMY: Thank God. (beat) What are you doing here?
HELEN: I'm a doctor. Your doctor.
JIMMY: Jesus, my doctor? You?
HELEN: La-di-da.
JIMMY: Jesus, I can't believe it. Look at you! Not even a scratch. I look like I’m auditioning for a Dalton Trumbo movie.
HELEN: How are you feeling?
JIMMY: Well, considering the fact they've pumped enough Morphine in my system to make Allen Ginsberg join the Republican party, pretty good.
HELEN: You look good.
JIMMY: I'm wounded.
HELEN: (stroking his hair) I like that in a man.
JIMMY, bandaged up and in crutches, is hobbling along next to TONY ROBERTS who’s jogging along in a jogging suit.
JIMMY: You're the actor, right? Not the self-help guru with the freakishly enormous jaw?
TONY: I'm the actor, Jimmy. The actor. What's this all about?
JIMMY: I’m in trouble, Tony. My life is starting to resemble one of those horrible driver’s ed movies with a porno subtext. “Sex on the Highway” is apparently the title.
TONY: What are you talking about?
JIMMY: I met a girl. Strictly speaking, a woman. She has two X chromosomes and a driver’s license.
TONY: That’s great.
JIMMY: No, it isn’t. I met her under extremely unusual circumstances. In terms of understatement, that’s on the level of saying Hitler had an anger management problem.
TONY: Where’d you meet her?
JIMMY: In a car –
TONY: Well that’s normal. Christ, Jimmy. That's all-American!
JIMMY: A car crash. We ran into each other in the Newtonian sense. And then she exposed her breast.
TONY: OK, that’s not normal.
JIMMY: You’re telling me. (snorts) I had an erection the size of a Buick. When does that happen?
TONY: Well, there was that embarrassing incident at the Shirley Temple film festival.
JIMMY: You want to know something? She likes my .. there’s has to be a nice way to put it…accoutrements of recuperation.
TONY: Uh… your wounds? Your casts?
JIMMY: Don’t forget the sutures. She thinks they’re erotic.
TONY: Stay away from her, Jimmy. She’s bad news.
JIMMY: Yeah, well. No news is good news. No sex is bad sex. Let me tell you something. Despite the limitations of the hospital environment, she is very good news. Anyway, she’s a doctor. My mother would be thrilled.
TONY: She’s sick, Jimmy.
JIMMY: Sick. (snorts) Sick? That's a value judgement. It happens to be right, but ... It’s completely understandable. If she’d pursued a career in accounting, her juices would start flowing at the sight of The Wall Street Journal. She deals in blood and tissue, naturally her erotic fixation attaches to car crashes.
TONY: Come on, Jimmy. There’s nothing erotic about car crashes.
A car runs him over.
JIMMY: You’re right. That wasn’t particularly erotic. Hey, you're lucky this isn’t a Cronenberg movie. You could turn into a fly or an evil gynecologist or something. Your death could take hours. His directorial style is essentially a two-hour gross out session.
CRONENBERG: Oh really? (O.S.)
David Cronenberg walks into the scene.
JIMMY: Christ, it’s director David Cronenberg.
CRONENBERG: I heard what you were saying! You know nothing of my work!
JIMMY: Jesus, what are the odds? Hey, I can’t even watch my own movies. I’d love to stay and talk, but I’m late for a meeting.
HELEN walks into scene.
JIMMY: With ... (turns around, sees her) Yeah, with her. Christ, where are my manners. Helen, David. David, Helen.
HELEN: La-di-da.
She exposes her breast.
JIMMY: I’ll drive.
Various wounded loonies sitting around in metal folding chairs. There's donuts and coffee.
VAUGHAN (played by Christopher Walken) welcomes JIMMY.
VAUGHAN: Welcome to our cult, Jimmy. Or may I call you James?
JIMMY: No. (to the group) Hi. My name is Jimmy Ballard and I'm an alcoholic.
VAUGHAN: Wrong meeting, asshole. We believe in auto-eroticism.
JIMMY: That’s hilarious. I suppose I should buckle my seat belt. There’s a bumpy road of comedy ahead.
VAUGHAN: Whatever, cupcake. Here, our lives revolve around two things. Violent car crashes and old Jean-Luc Goddard movies.
JIMMY: Which is more painful?
VAUGHAN: We’re still trying to decide.
JIMMY: Artistically, I have the same problem.
VAUGHAN: You’re an artist, huh?
JIMMY: Well ... Failed. Hack. But yeah.
VAUGHAN: Can I confess something? I tell you this as an artist, I think you'll understand. Sometimes when I'm driving... on the road at night... I see two headlights coming toward me. Fast. I have this sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly, head-on into the oncoming car. I can anticipate the explosion. The sound of shattering glass. The... flames rising out of the flowing gasoline.
JIMMY: This is all vaguely familiar. (to HELEN) What do you think?
HELEN exposes her breast.
VAUGHAN: I find your woman strangely alluring.
JIMMY: We're leaving.
Two-shot JIMMY and HELEN in car. He's driving.
HELEN: We need to take our relationship to the next level.
JIMMY: The next level? Relationships have levels?
HELEN: That’s what Vaughan says.
JIMMY: That’s what …If Vaughan said drive over a cliff would you ... Forget I asked.
HELEN: La-di-da. Can I drive?
HELEN: If you loved me, you’d let me drive.
JIMMY: Love is unconditional, sweetheart. (to us) Let’s see her get out of that one.
Jump cut to --
Two-shot JIMMY and HELEN in car.
HELEN is driving. Calm at first. Then she floors it and spins the steering wheel madly.
The car careens down the road.
JIMMY Ten o’clock and two o’clock! Ten o’clock and two o’clock!
The car slams through the railing of a freeway, flies through the air, crashes into an Aquarium and pins a large marine predator. Glass shatters. Water floods. People run screaming. JIMMY and HELEN sit there, contemplating the moment.
JIMMY: What we have here is a dead shark.
HELEN exposes her breast.
JIMMY: Jesus, always the left one.

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