The “beautiful plastic bag” scene from American Beauty has become one of those cultural moments with which we post-millennial cynics bludgeon the bloated corpse of our (former) zest for life. I suspect we mock it not because it has some essentially childlike earnestness in it, but because we sense in it the same kind of calculated self-mockery we all so love to wallow in. It’s an infinitely recursive, intentionally unfunny in-joke. It’s the cultural equivalent of a self-loathing fat kid puking upon his own myriad reflections in a funhouse full of shattered mirrors.
You might consider this to be my “Director’s statement.” Let me start with the simple hope that you might consider it.
The Glass Slipper will not titillate you. I showed Hell Is Other People to a festival programmer whose tastes, judgments, and feedback I respect, despite how what follows might sound. He felt disappointed not to have seen crusty cocks, because crusty cocks were mentioned in the dialogue. I refrained from showing you crusty cocks because the dialogue and situations were smarter than an image of a crusty cock. Picture your own crusty cock. If I picture the crusty cock for you, I’m making porn. And then what are you doing? There was no more need to see a crusty cock in that film than there was need to see a Jew’s guts in Shoah.
I tell stories. Stories without cynical hooks. If I needed to “buy” your viewership, these days, I admit, it would take more than titties or crusty cocks. I’d need Paris Hilton boinking Kim Kardashian with a metal dildo while dancing the tango with Gary Coleman’s corpse atop a masturbating Kanye. And that might, if anything, get me on ABC at 10:30.
I’m going to be a grown-up, no matter how unfashionable that might be. And I expect you to be a grown-up, no matter how unfashionable a respect for your intelligence might be.
You see, people go through things. Hard things. Nuanced things. We are idiots, but we’re also savants.
I like you, and that’s why there are no crusty cocks in my films.