“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” (W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hollywood Darling pt. vii-Montana Moon

Montana Moon
While Ryan and Sammy are enjoying their time together in LA, Jackie begins to experience troubles with the movie. There are budget issues and deadlines missed and some historical inaccuracies that need to be worked out. Despite Ryan’s help, it all gets to be too much for Jackie. He can feel it all slipping away from him and he turns back to his old friend, booze. Ryan comes to the office one day to find Jackie passed out on his desk and an empty bottle on the floor. After some cajoling, Ryan gets JC to admit himself back into his old rehab facility. What about my movie? JC asks. Don’t worry about that, I talked to Bobby and he said it’s been on hold for twenty years, it’ll keep a little longer. Ryan drives Jackie to New Mexico and drops him off at the Desert Sky Resort. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, JC, he says. Yeah, okay kid, see ya. Jackie says.
Two weeks later Ryan shows up at the resort with Sammy but is turned away when one of the counselors tells them that Jackie is in no shape for visitors, suggesting he needs a couple more weeks. They make the long drive back to LA with a side trip to the Grand Canyon, which neither had seen, despite Ryan’s proximity to the landmark. After a night in a cheap motel, spent making love, they hit the road again. He drops Sammy off at her new apartment and she invites him up. Some other time, he says. I should try to get some work done so we can jump right back in to it when JC gets back. Okay, talk to ya soon, she says, leaning in to kiss his cheek. Bye Sammy.
Two more weeks go by and Ryan heads back to New Mexico, this time alone. He is allowed to visit, but JC still seems despondent. Ryan tells him that he is here to take him back. They have a movie to work on. JC states that he doesn’t care about the movie or anything else anymore. He tells Ryan to go away and leave him alone. He goes on to say that he needs to be away from the madness of the outside world. Exasperated, Ryan leaves without Jackie.
With the extra time on his hands, Ryan finishes the script he started in Mississippi, which he is calling Dairy Queen Princess. The movie is based on a small town southern girl going to Chicago on a whim, and trying to make her way. He shops it around and is turned down by every studio in town. Usually because they see it as a low-budget, indie-type film and don’t want to stick money into something that won’t earn profits, not because of the quality of the work, he is assured. After some time has passed, a man comes to see Ryan, introducing himself as Monty Milsap. It seems he was contacted by someone at another studio who thought that Ryan’s script would be a good fit for his production company. He hands Ryan a business card with a blue chicken on it and the words Blue Rooster Film Co. scratched across the bottom, supposedly by this shabbily drawn fowl. He goes on to tell Ryan that his small company was struggling but had just gained entry to a new small film festival to be held in Montana this fall. Milsap assures the young filmmaker that he can keep all creative control in exchange for the right to produce and market the film under his company’s label. Ryan quickly agrees to this arrangement, mainly because he knows this is probably the only chance he has to cast Sammy in the lead role, which is how he always imagined it when he was writing the script. Ryan is excited to be working on something of his own and Sammy is excited to finally get a real role in a real movie and the lead, no less. Through a flurry of favors promised and cashed in with his many contacts in the biz, filming is completed with little trouble.
Monty, feeling very good about the film, charters a plane to fly him and Ryan and Sammy to Montana for the festival. Having never heard of Monty before meeting him at his apartment, Ryan is impressed by some of the people that Monty introduces them to, on the streets of the skiing town they walked. Actors, directors and writers of varying status were swarming the town, nearly doubling its population for the week they are there. The first two days are filled with workshops and meet and greet type of events. Monty tells everyone they see to keep an eye out for their film and to remember Ryan’s name because he was going to be a big star someday. The films are to be shown over the next three days. Dairy Queen Princess is being shown on the third day. Monty is excited about their film being shown on the last day, hoping that it would stick in the judge’s minds. Ryan became more and more nervous as they watched all the great films being displayed. He honestly could not say that he disliked any of them. Monty’s way of assuring him was to point out all the mistakes that the other filmmakers made. Sammy says, don’t worry babe, none of them got me in ’em.
The day after all the films are shown, there is a dinner and reception for all the guests of the festival. The next day is another dinner where the awards would be presented, three in total, the grand prize dubbed the Crescent is a silver crescent moon shaped trophy. At the first dinner, Ryan receives many congratulations and well wishes from the other guests for his film. One in particular that he relishes is from one of his favorite directors, who assures Ryan that he thinks his film will win. Ryan, gushing, can only say, thank you, shaking the director’s hand profusely. Buoyed by all the good cheer generated that night, Monty, Ryan and Sammy consume a lot of alcohol. Stumbling back to their rooms, Monty asks Ryan what his plans are moving forward. Ryan had to admit that the only plans he had at the moment were for sleep. Sammy interjects, saying, well, once I’m done with him. Laughing, Monty tells Ryan that he would like to work with him again. Not being in the mood to say no, to either of his cohorts, Ryan  says that sounds good to me. Alright, get some rest you two, big day tomorrow. Goodnight Monty, they sing in unison.
The next day they all meet up for lunch, having missed breakfast. After their meal, Sammy wants to do some shopping and drags Ryan along with her. Monty is meeting with some investors, so they make plans to meet up later for the awards dinner. Walking arm in arm down the streets gives Ryan a warm feeling. He starts to think that maybe he and Sammy can make something out of this “relationship.” The couple hit about twenty little boutiques in the quaint downtown before heading back to the hotel. Sensing Ryan’s nervousness over the upcoming awards ceremony, she decides to relieve his tension the best way she knows how. They fall asleep in each other’s arms after sex, waking only when hearing Monty knock on their door. You guys ready? He asks. Shit, Ryan says, scrambling out of bed. Just a minute. He opens the door, looking back to make sure Sammy is covered. How much time do we have, he asks. Not much.  Monty tells him. ’Bout half an hour. Okay, we’ll be right out, he says as he closes the door. They shower together to save some time. Sammy playfully keeps trying to reengage Ryan. We gotta go, he tells her. Okay, okay but later we’re doing this again, she makes him promise before she lets him go.
That night, Ryan barely eats anything due to his nerves. An hour after dinner is served the emcee takes the stage to get the ceremony started. They listen to the awards for shorts, documentaries and foreign films before finally getting to the main category. The tension has built up in Ryan’s stomach during all of this so that he feels like he has to throw up, luckily he hadn’t eaten much that day. The third and second place awards are handed out and Ryan figures that’s it, saying, oh well, we gave it a shot. Sammy punches his arm, saying, It ain’t over yet. Ryan, no longer paying attention to the stage, looks around the room, trying to figure who would win the Crescent when he hears, “Dairy Queen Princess” being shouted from the podium.  Shocked, he sits there dumbfounded as Sammy and Monty jump out of their seats, screaming. They each grab an arm, pulling Ryan up and the three of them walk onto the stage arm in arm in arm to accept the award. Monty gives a short speech, mostly lauding praises on Ryan and Sammy. Ryan only manages a thank you. As they start to walk off, Sammy leans into the mic and lets out a whoooohoooo!

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