3 D’s – Definition – Disability – Drama

I am watching “Running With
Scissors” and reading Alan Rucker’s “The Best Seat in the House:  How I Woke Up One Tuesday and was Paralyzed
for Life.” Oh, and I am writing this blog entry! Multi-tasking, baby! Anyway I
have shared some thoughts on what it seems to be the Hollywood
definition of a drama that features a character with a disability.  I may have here in this blog but do not
remember as most of them are too long even though I try to stick to one or two
subjects at a time! But I feel I really need to further explain how I see it
and if anyone differs – please express it to me.

 

On the News page of my website I
talk a little about “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”, this year’s Oscar
nominated film – which despite being entirely in French doesn’t qualify for the
Best Foreign Language film – so the Academy decided to make it up to them by giving
the film 8 nominations in other categories as the best of American Cinema in
2007! Oh, yeah there is no conflict in Hollywood
– nor any confusions on definitions of what is and what is not as this example
proves that American companies using money they have or acquired from any
country makes any film not in the English language an American film and not a
Foreign Language film!  But there I go
again talking about a subplot to this drama. It does follow the topic though in
what Hollywood
considers, by their definition what is what and we are all at their mercy to
believe it as they never offer alternatives. More importantly is regardless of
how wonderful or great this film is – it is the stereotype. Even foreign films
cannot seem to break the damn mold!

 

Disability Roles Reserved for Oscar

 

This biopic, similar except for its
qualifications according to the Academy, to the 2005 Oscar winner of Best
Foreign Language film came from Spain,
“The Sea Inside.” And setting aside for a moment the most evident fact that
they are portrayed by the able bodied which as for the latter, I cannot stand how
everyone is stroking Javier Bardem this year for “No Country for Old Men.” I’m
sorry Javier, it isn’t personal and I have no idea why I resent your portrayal as
a quadriplegic in “The Sea Inside” and the fact that I DO NOT for other able bodied
actors, Tom Cruise, Eric Stoltz, Wesley Snipes, William Forsythe, Richard
Dreyfuss, Jon Voight, and others who have been in the featured role of a person
with a disAbility. Maybe it is because those others were done some years ago
and that this decade, this new century,
new millennium
; I have been trying so damn hard to end stereotypes and for
authentic voices and representation on the big and small screens. This reminds
me of how I was feeling about “Brokeback Mountain” and how a
forbidden love can be dramatized and praised for it being so bold as to …well,
dramatize it! What about love that is focused from the heart of someone with a
disAbility where society and most in our culture to this day rarely even
consider those with a disAbility as being in love, or capable of love for
numerous reasons such as we are freaks, or because we are so bitter at life and
what it has dealt us that we cannot love. And talk about forbidden, but the
expression of that love in the intimate touch in love making, or even the mere
pleasure of sex. Hell, most do not even consider those who are paralyzed or
with other disAbilities as sexually attractive because of their misconceptions
of what makes humans sexual beings so it rules out even the concept of a
disabled person as a sexual partner. The occasional exception is only between
two people with the same or similar disAbility.

 

A Bonus D – Dating

 

Come on! Because the stereotypes
perpetuated in Hollywood though the films that qualify to be made because of
those stereotypes – a guy in a chair – like myself – if I could attract the
attention of a single (I think they are and if I am wrong – leave it alone and
let my dream live on!) and beautiful woman like, Elle Macpherson, Eva Mendes,
Scarlett Johansson, Vanessa Marcil, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Aniston, and a host
of others that come to mind – the best would be a dinner date as a nice gesture
to a sweet guy who has a tough life. I do not want to characterize these women because
I do not know them but mention this as a very accepted, very general example of
what I am talking about. But maybe if there were some characters in some movies
that challenged this stereotype, show the truth as I have had in some amazing dates in the past 12 years which completely took them by surprise once I finally
got past the incredible barriers of this preconception, the stereotypes of
forbidden love with a person with a disAbility.

 

More Than Just A Problem

 

Unlike some of our politicians, I am
not just pointing out the problems but I have the solution. ONE PART of which
is the material and I was writing a new story about this love and sex
relationship with a character who falls for a woman who never “saw him like
that” all because of “being in a wheelchair” and instead gets involved in a relationship
with his best friend, but that one is on hold due to my support for the Writers’
strike. But visit the website and see the synopsis, or excerpts from those I
have already written – like my feature screenplay “Forever Yours” or my short film
script, “Glacial Breeze”, the short story on three vignettes about this very
subject in “Spinning Wheels”, or the angst of this kind of absence of the possibility
of love and sex in another short story I wrote titled, “Transaction Fee.”  I also touch on this in the romantic and
sexual relationship between Detective London and Marci Waters in my feature
screenplay, “London Time.”

 

So will someone tell me which coffee
shop in LA is where the Hollywood
intellectuals sip lattes and theorize on what is and what isn’t a worthy drama
or the use of non-authentic able bodied actors in roles of something as
insignificant as a person with a disAbility. Oh, wait we are not significant
enough to even have that discussion. I’m talking. I’m talking on what is and
more importantly not what should be but what could be the Hollywood
definition of drama and obviously what the entire global film community finds
worthy of when it features a character with a disAbility.

 

Purpose in Life

 

So through the Hollywood films of
the past and the foreign films Hollywood throws awards at as a substitute for
their own lacking in having any representation of those with a disAbility and
the current definition as the example by the feature films I described above, “The
Sea Inside” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” shows it has to be about
transcending the human condition and has to teach us more about our selves,
inspire us to live life to the fullest and what should be a good week to week
and a half reminder of the real reason why not to park in the disabled parking
spot regardless of how fast you’ll be or the bastard that lives inside you that
you will not see a psychologist to get rid because it is your only excuse not
to be responsible!

 

All this does is confirm in the
publics mind that those with a disAbility must have this purpose in life, and
if they do not inspire, or teach, even if only by example then they are at the
other end of the spectrum and not living up to expectations of our only purpose
in society. Anything less and there are no props just for waking up everyday to
the reality of the social and physical challenges forced upon those with a
disAbility to deal with and there is no weekends off or vacation days! And this
stereotypical definition of representation in movies is a Catch-22 as it
perpetuates the Hollywood attitude of what constitutes a worthy drama of those
that feature a character with a disAbility and therefore if the script doesn’t
do that – toss it because it will not even get past the studio script reader.

 

So even when that rare day in hell
when cubed ice for cocktails is delivered and someone dares to try something
different then the stereotype I applaud them for it, such as The Weinstein
Company but if it fails then it sets us all back to confinement of the stereotypes
because the bottom line proves it. As I mentioned on my commentary on this film,
“The Ex” on the News page of the website – this film had MORE problems that
caused it to miserably fail then just not being authentic. Still it produced another
great barrier to having anyone take a chance on another non-stereotypical
character with a disAbility, let alone an authentic voice and representation. Although
on the bright side and the one I will focus on is that an overwhelming amount
of the critic and fan reviews said that the non-stereotypical look at a
paraplegic was the best part of the film.

 

The Impact

 

In fact I have tried to contact The
Weinstein Company (Michael Cole have you checked your messages or the letter
that was sent via fax addressed to you and successfully transmitted on October 2,
2007?) about my Mission but as with most of Hollywood, they have not responded
and possibly hope I just go away! I think they are afraid of being quilted into
wasting money as it surely has no basis of being a commercially successful
film. BUT if they would give me a few minutes to present what I have, what I uncovered
and created on both the creative and business side – they would be sold!
Providing they have a good business sense and I know that all of those I have
attempted to contact do – otherwise I wouldn’t bother! This is just as
important to me, to the Mission, to American Cinema, to the 54+ million
Americans with a disAbility, all those with a disAbility trying to work in this
completely oppressive industry, and future generations of those with a
disAbility and society as a whole!

 

Cameron’s “Avatar”

 

So now that this is the case, it
also brings up the fact that James Cameron is daring enough to add a character
with a disAbility in his latest film and it appears that it is
non-stereotypical. After all this is James freakin’ Cameron and despite now
being a main cog in the Hollywood machine he has been and still is a maverick
and doing films that others say he is crazy for – until the box office tickets
shows he is crazy all the way to the bank! I just wish I could talk to him –
convince him of the importance of authentic voice and representation that also
deeply affects the discrimination of actors with a disAbility to be added to
the non-stereotypical role he has bravely created. No, I am not kissing ass – I
am just stating the facts as I see them and have experienced for more than 12
years!

 

Next Level

 

I’m
drawing a line in the sand about the definition of worthy dramas that feature a
character with a disAbility, but all I get is ignored. Non-responsive, which is
giving me the feeling that I am nothing more then a bug on the windshield. Well
I am coming to Hollywood and then we can be face-to-face and it could be that
the guts of that bug will get spread all over the windshield as they turn on
the wipers in an attempt to get rid of what started out as a small splatch on
the passenger side! Then we will see what happens! Spend a few minutes
attention to cleaning the windshield since the wipers failed and I can tell
you, you will see clearly then! Just a few minutes! 

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