Movie Review 360 (or don’t plan drunk)


Like many of you, I hang with a group of friends who watch movies and then argue in a bar afterwards. And like many of you, all of my friends are “visionaries”.

Over beers, one of my friends said “We should record this”…but whereas the rest of us sobered up, he kept pushing this idea, adding a 360-degree camera to the alcoholic mix.

This past week, Movie Review 360 was born.

Watch two goofballs and a guest (balled, bald or otherwise) talk about the latest releases from Hollywood and Netflix while drinking to excess on a limited budget (we are nothing, if not Canadian).

This week–ably assisted by documentarian Liza Vespi–our thoughts on:

  • Ron Howard’s Inferno
  • Man vs Snake (on Netflix)

Our thanks to Ginger & Russ for hosting us at The Edmund Burke in Toronto.

See also:

Inferno(t) – a review

Man vs Snake – a review

Slaughter Nick for President (trailer for Liza Vespi doc)

Irish Eyes


A few weeks back, I wrote a stupid opening line to a story that was never written. A friend of mine was intrigued and suggested that each of us should write a story based on that opening line. Below is my version.


That human semen would curdle when added to a pint of Guinness was not a fact that Jeffrey ever thought he would learn.

“Well, are you going to drink it or do you give up?” Tom asks, a shit-eating grin halving his face.

Jeffrey just stared at the glass, watching small white chunks rise and drop beneath the head. Impossible, he knew, but he swore he could see the individual sperm, wriggling through the darkness in drunken ecstasy.

“That’s nasty,” Jeffrey mutters under his breath. “And it’s a shitty way to treat a Guinness.”

“What did you think was in an Irish Blowjob?” Tom retorts.

“Baileys! Whipped cream! Something normal,” Jeffrey decries.

“So, you’re not going to drink it?”

Jeffrey swirls the glass a couple of times before sliding it away and flopping back in his chair.

“That can’t be legal,” he fumes. “It’s got to be a health hazard.

Tom shakes his head as he takes another long draw of his own pint.

“I don’t even know whose spunk it is,” Jeffrey adds.

“Would it help if I told you?”


“Then what does it matter?”

Jeffrey runs a fork through the glass, trying to scoop out the floaters, but all he does is break them into smaller pieces that quickly dissipate in the murky fluid.

“What if he had hepatitis or AIDS?”

“Then you’ve already been infected from the five other drinks you’ve ordered.”

Jeffrey’s eyes widen and his chin drops.

Tom simply nods, as Jeffrey turns to the bar tended by a bronzed Adonis.

“Luis?” Jeffrey says to himself, his tone a church-like hush.

“I guess if you want to get technical about it, it’s an Irish-Costa Rican Blowjob,” Tom smiles, adding a raised eyebrow. “Mui caliente!”

Jeffrey wrinkles his nose in disgust but continues to stare at Luis.

“Look, if you’re not going to drink it, I will,” Tom snaps, grabbing the glass as Jeffrey wheels about.

“Throw it out!”

“Fuck that,” Tom responds. “Cum or no cum, it’s a Guinness.”

And with that, he tilts his head back and practically pours the pint down his throat. Jeffrey is mesmerized despite his revulsion.

Tom slams the empty glass on the table, running his tongue across his foamy lips.

“The man knows how to pull a pint,” Tom says appreciatively. “A little salty, but nice and thick.”

He smiles at Jeffrey and then rolls his eyes.

“Oh would you fucking grow up,” he yells. “It tasted like a Guinness. Everything in Guinness tastes like Guinness.”

Jeffrey turns back to the bar, staring without staring.

“How do you think he does it?”

“Going out on a limb here, but I assume the same way you do it,” Tom whispers conspiratorially, motioning with his wrist. “You do do it, don’t you?”

“No, I… Yes, I do it,” Jeffrey blusters. “I meant, how do you think he preps the drink? Not exactly a ton of privacy back there.”

As his words dissipate, he sees Luis pressed against the bar, smiling at a customer.

A movement catches Jeffrey’s eye, as Donna, the bar’s chef, suddenly appears from beneath the counter, sliding up Luis’s leg.

She puts a can of Clamato on the bar.

“You suck,” Jeffrey complains, rounding on Tom. “You have totally ruined this bar for me.”

“I didn’t tell you to order that drink,” Tom protests his innocence.

“But you knew what was it in when I ordered it,” Jeffrey presses.

“Maybe you wanted to explore your latent homosexual tendencies.”

“I don’t have any latent homosexual tendencies,” Jeffrey responds. “I’m gay. All of my homosexual tendencies are the opposite of latent.”

“Active?” Tom offers. “Flagrant? Flamboyant?”

“Okay, now you’re just being an asshole,” Jeffrey snarls, rising to his feet and pocketing his phone.

Tom jumps up and puts a hand on Jeffrey’s shoulder.

“C’mon. We’re just having a bit of fun,” he placates. “I’m sorry. I should have said something. I just thought…”

Jeffrey raises his eyebrows as if to ask “really?”

Tom throws his hands up.

“You’re right, I didn’t think at all.”

Tom plunks back into his chair and points to the one across from him.

“Please sit. I’ll buy the next round and I promise, no novelty drinks.”

Jeffrey reluctantly drops his coat on his chair and sits, as the waitress arrives.

“Another round?” she asks.

“Dos Dos Equis,” Tom says, looking for a nod from Jeffrey, who does.

“You guys ordering food, as well?”

Tom waits for Jeffrey, who considers the menu.

His face lights up.

“Hey, Donna’s egg drop soup!”

Tom slowly raises a hand in protest.

(Image is property of owner and is used here without permission because I’ve had too much Guinness.)

Another year, another AFF Second Rounder

20th AFF poster

So, it would seem that rewrites work.

Last year, I entered my screenplay Tank’s into the Austin Film Festival screenplay competition and other than some amazing notes, it went nowhere in the competition. (My spec teleplay of The Big Bang Theory, however, reached the second round before bowing out.)

Fast-forward a year and four rounds of revisions, I just learned that the same screenplay made it to the second round of the competition before bowing out…Tank’s made it to the top 10% of its category, which feels pretty good considering the AFF received more than 8,600 screen- and teleplays this year, its highest submission rate ever.

Aside from the $200+ refund on my registration fee, what makes this really awesome is the esteem in which Second Rounders and higher are held at the screenwriting conference portion of the film festival. You see, the Austin Film Festival is more than just a whack of movie screens and Hollywood A-listers (like my own Toronto International Film Festival; on now). The AFF is also a 4-day screenwriters’ conference and love-fest, as 400+ introverts try to get just drunk enough to come out of their shells and commune with Hollywood screenwriters and film-makers.

If you are a screenwriter and have never been to the AFF, GO! It is worth the money.

Sure, some of the sessions amount to little more than hero-worship where you’ll hear questions like: “Remember that scene in X-Files when Mulder gave Scully that look? Did you write that, because that was awesome?” But most of the sessions are actually helpful discussions and learning opportunities with the film and television world’s elite writers…and best of all, these Gods not only stick around, but they’ll actually talk to you at the BBQ or in the bars. It’s like they give a shit about your shit.

Last year was my first AFF, and I was the introvert amongst introverts looking for the closest corner in which to nurse my beer or G&T. This year will be different. This year, I will move out of the corner and occupy the middle of the room…who knows, I may even talk to someone. (God, I need a drink!)

Oh, the Austin Film Festival runs October 24-31 from the Driskill Hotel.

PS If you think I’m bragging, my prowess is kept in check by a friend I met at AFF who had two Second Rounders and one Semifinalist screenplay in last year’s competition alone.