Even when you've been around as long as I have, movie making isn't an exact science. A great deal of it relies on dumb luck and coincidence. The line between a masterpiece and an utter failure is thinner than many realize.
But that doesn't alleviate the raw misery that slams down when you're forced to confront the fact that your movie is a complete piece of shit. I've seen it happen a hundred times. The very best of us have faced that horror and never come back intact.
It's like when I made From Paris with Love. All throughout filming I had this sneaking suspicion that something wasn't right, and even with all my time-honed instinct and craftsmanship, I couldn't do anything as a director to guide my ship back to calmer, more familiar waters. And then when I finally saw the picture, it all came crashing down. I had made one of the greatest movies of all time. It only felt like a disaster making it because the two extremes are so similar.
From Paris with Love is pure cinema. It is everything I've ever learned about what people want to see on film, all collected and spread onto the screen like a peanut butter made out of mulched testicles. Real men love it. In fact, real men are the only people who can even watch it.
More than anything, From Paris in Love is about how big its own penis is, but if you need a plot, it has one of those too. We're introduced to our main character, played by a lithe, Adonis-like Jonathan Rhys Davies, as he's playing chess with an aged American diplomat he works for. Despite looking so, so, beautiful (I mean, he looks like he's already been fucked cross-eyed before you've even touched him), he's actually quite good at chess. As the old man notes, he's using Bobby Fischer's moves. All people who are really good at chess know who Bobby Fischer is because everyone at home knows who Bobby Fischer is because there was that movie with his name in the title (I forgot what it was called, but it had Joe Magneto in it).
While busy performing all the duties male secretaries tend to perform upon old white politicians, Jonathan Cameron Mitchell also works as a Jr. Secret Agent for some unknown secret agency. They call him at inopportune times and ask him to do stupid shit like switch random license plates or plant bugs in meeting rooms. He wants to move up to the really dangerous stuff, but they won't let him because boys so beautiful simply don't look like they can handle it (this film takes a long, hard look at the Twink glass ceiling and doesn't like what it sees).
Meanwhile at home, Jonathan Richmond Virginia has a really hot lady that he thinks he might marry because her interest in sex is very casual, and she's far more into staying up late eating snacks and watching bad TV shows. Because he's so young, he does not yet realize that all men are at war with all women and there's no such thing as a penile deficient friend.
But none of this shit matters because you are not supposed to care about Johnny Cash Nickels. He's only the star of this film because young hot studs have to be the focal point in movies where young hot studs learn to be old hot ironsides.
So, let's talk Travolta because he basically IS this film and he's worth several paragraphs of sorting out.
When I started getting ready for From Paris with Love, they told me it was impossible to do Blackface in 2010. Maybe they would have been right if I didn't have John Travolta on my side.
(Why I needed him to do Blackface is a long story. The movie was supposed to star Vin Diesel, but he dropped out. So Travolta is basically pretending to be Vin Diesel. But our society is so racist that when you paint a white guy dark to look like a mostly-white black guy, everyone calls it Blackface, when I can tell you for a fact that Travolta was way more Muslimface than Blackface as far as our make-up department spray paint canisters were concerned.)
See, Travolta used to be the fucking coolest guy on the planet. Then his inability to edit himself got in the way. Then his inability to edit himself made him a star again, and our inability to edit what we're entertained by allowed him to remain a star indefinitely.
Travolta represents the Baby Boomer Generation's horrid penchant for taking a promising start and mistaking it for a lifetime pass into coolville. As a result, they do stupid shit all the time, but never know it because self-editing is too much like Vietnam. Therefore, Travolta will do blackface without batting an eye because in his mind, we're all black. I mean, he literally made a movie in the 90s where all white people were black people.
When we first meet Travolta in this film it's a bit of a shock. Not only is he in Blackface, but he's also in Blackvoice and looks more like the human personification of a penis than anyone has ever attempted before. We wanted him to look uncircumcised, so he's always wearing this silk scarf that conceals the fact that he has a neck.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas has been assigned with babysitting Travolta, and the first thing he has to do is save him from customs agents who refuse to let Travolta enter Paris with an energy drink called "Rooster Cum". He could probably get through with the stuff, but he seems dead-set on being belligerent to French people because he's racist against French people.
Eventually, Jonathan Rhythm Nation smoothes things over and Travolta can enter Paris WITH his Rooster Cum drink, which turns out to be a handgun smuggling canister, even though he's an agent and can carry as many guns as he wants to shoot as many people as he wants. BUT WHAT'S THE FUN IN THAT!?
So the first thing Travolta wants to do is go kill Chinamen. Jonathan Rhys Brandis calls his superior to complain about Travolta's highly unconventional tactics, but they tell him he's the best and he needs to do everything the guys says, no matter how strange. So they go kill Chinamen.
While killing Chinamen, Travolta gets a lead on where more Chinamen might be. And these Chinamen have coke! So they go kill those Chinamen and fill a big vase with coke that's just raining from the ceiling.
Then they go on a gondola ride. It's pretty boring, so they do a bunch of coke and talk about how women think their tits are awesome, but when you get right down to it, they just don't know how to handle a wiener like another dude does. Travolta happens to be getting an HJ from a Frenchlady while having this conversation. She looks a lot like Keith Richards.
After that, they go to kill more Chinamen. But now the Chinamen are some kind of Muslimmen, except for Jonathan Rhys Ifans' girlfriend who is a Muslimwoman. After killing a lot of Muslimmen, Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Wise go home where his girlfriend (and a friend of hers that no one has ever met before) is waiting to feed them food.
Over the course of dinner everyone has a good time. Travolta makes a really funny joke where it looks like he's getting an erection but then reveals it was just a butter knife and that he doesn't get erections down there because his penis is his face.
At some point, the mysterious friend gets a phone call which promps her to say the secret badguy code word: "Hello?" Immediately, Travolta acts: "That's the call we've been waiting for," and shoots her in the head. At this point, the other girlfriend reveals that she's been a Muslimwoman all along, and her only mission in life is to blow up American politicians traveling to France. She gets away by running.
So now both boys have to stop this girl from blowing people up with her body. This is hard work for Travolta because instead of killing everyone he has to try and kill only one person. Ultimately, he doesn't need to. Jonathan Stephanie Meyers shoots her in the face before she can blow anything up. The world sees this on youtube and rallies to rid women from the planet completely. Unsurprisingly, the movement's biggest supporters are all women from the south.
With no girlfriend holding him back, Jonathan Rhys Frakes can finally be the super agent the world needs him to be. The film ends with him and Travolta playing chess together. The beginning of a long wonderful father/son relationship that will go on to survive two world wars and five miscarriages.