a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Thursday, October 20, 2005

When Careers Go To the Dark Side

So I'm leafing through the L.A. Times Calendar section this morning, when I come across an ad for a movie I've never heard of before. "National Lampoon Presents BARELY LEGAL". A closer examination reveals a really cheesy-looking R-rated teen comedy, apparently about a bunch of young men directing their own porn movie. It's opening in only a handful of theaters in the L.A. area.

(Aside -- remember when National Lampoon's name on a movie meant it was funny? Neither do I. Animal House, Vacation, and then the toilet).

Anyhow, I was about to turn the page, when I noticed who the director of Barely Legal is. David Mickey Evans.

Oh, hell.

For those of you who don't recognize the name, David Mickey Evans wrote RADIO FLYER, which is one of the first scripts I ever read, when I was first learning what a screenplay was. The script is a dark story about two unhappy little kids who build a rocketship out of a red wagon so that they can escape their abusive homelife.

It was a very good read, and even though when the movie ultimately came out (directed by Evans), it didn't quite work, it was still nice to see that Hollywood was willing to take a shot on a tale that never seemed all that commercial anyway.

I knew Evans then went on to write and direct THE SANDLOT, which certainly wasn't a disaster. And then he pretty much disappeared.

A quick imdb check reveals that he has done a lot of straight-to-video stuff, including The Sandlot 2, Beethoven 3 and Beethoven 4. And BARELY LEGAL, which turns out to actually be a 2003 movie called "After School Special", which may have even had a video release already (and which Evans didn't write).

I know that I'd be thrilled if anyone bought one of my scripts. But I have to think that Evans' is the kind of career trajectory that no one really wants when they start out in the business. I mean, where do you go after BARELY LEGAL?

I'm sure there's a great story behind all of this. But I'm pretty sure it's not a very happy one.


At 12:17 PM, Blogger PJ McIlvaine said...

Maybe you should ask David H. Steinberg at his Hollywhooped column at Done Deal. He wrote it.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Scoopy said...

You never know why someone has vanished from the scene. Some very talented people aren't good at navigating the politics intrinsic to a long directorial career.

Some people enjoy the drugs a little too much, or just can't get that next feature launched. When too much time goes by, suddenly they're not able to convince people that they're a good bet, just like actors who become stale and can't get another gig.

Sometimes there's no one good reason. It's ugly. Another reason to avoid the directing path.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger writebrother said...

He's got 8 writing credits, which is 8 more than most people will ever have. Everyone can't be the man in Hollywood, but he's still getting paid to do movies so he's doing just fine in my book.

I do agree that the National Lampoon brand has lost it's luster, although I enjoyed Van Wilder for what it was.

At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Annabel said...

I think I would rather not have a career in movies than to have one that was embarrassing. Maybe that is just me . . .

At 3:06 PM, Blogger CharlieDontSurf said...

Even Shane Black vanished for almost a decade.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger The Gambino Crime Family said...

Actually, he got yanked off Radio Flyer in the middle of shooting and replaced by Richard Donner. And you've got to remember this was at Columbia during the Peters/Guber regime. After that, I bet hanging out with half-naked 18-year-olds probably didn't seem all that bad.

At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just finished reading a book of screenwriter interviews and they discuss Radio Flyer, how it had that abuse story running through stuff (the writing I mean, not the abuse)

At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Leif Smart said...

After Barely Legal, surely the only way is up? Please god, let it be the only way!

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Matt Waggoner said...

Well, everyone* wants a career in the Hollywood big time, but if you really love making movies (or TV), then as long as you're working at some level and making a decent living, eh. I certainly want to be, you know, writing the next War of the Worlds or whatever, but I won't be crushed if I end up writing the sequel to Plan 9 From Outer Space. As long as I get paid for it.

* Not everyone.

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