Theatre of the Mind ~ Hollywood A.D.
During Season 7, David Duchovny came to Frank Spotnitz and said he had an idea for an X-File episode. In the Season 7 episode guide, Spotnitz recalls they talked about it a bit, they gave DD the green light, and before he knew it, Duchovny had returned with the script. Double D was handed the directing reins as well, and "Hollywood A.D." was born. It's an episode with perhaps a few too many in-jokes, but one that still manages to showcase DD's clever way with words, his knowledge on a variety of subjects including theology, pop-culture, and the entertainment industry, and his incredible acting, writing, and directing skills. I'm one of those who believes that DD's long-range future will not be in front of the camera but behind it. Of course, I want him to stay in *front* of the camera for as long as possible ...
1. Nighttime. Graveyard. Running. Can an "Oh, sh..." be far behind?
2. Here lies Alan Smithee the name directors use when they don't want their own name attached to a film project.
3. Mulder & Scully? Shandling & Leoni? Is this some strange AU fanfic?
4. Cigarette-Smoking Mackerel Snapper? I confess - I don't get it. Maybe that's the point.
5. I think I missed The Lazarus Bowl on New Year's Day.
6. All Cigarette Smoking Men know what makes Mulder tick.
7. Shandling and Leoni seem to have that "communication - unspoken" too.
8. Death is a bummer, dude.
9. Mulder did always want to be the King.
10. Christ!Mulder would rather serve in Heaven than rule in Hell, as opposed to Satan in Milton's "Paradise Lost" who says, "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."
11. A "grave" situation!
12. Hey, *my* Mulder definitely has a bigger flashlight!
13. A movie about Moose & Squirrel? Who would pay money to see that? (NC-17 rating? I'm there.)
14. Chris Carter makes his second on-screen XF appearance. Don't quit your day job, Chris.
15. Minnie Driver, DAG ... what, Bonnie Hunt and Jim Belushi weren't available?
16. Another "I love you" and it *still* doesn't count!
17. If somebody knew what was happening right before Moose & Squirrel suffered Stinger Interruptus, then M&S are obviously making their reports *waaaaay* too detailed! (Oh, I forgot: They're watching!)
18. Directing your best friend and your wife gettin' it on? Is that some kinky male fantasy realized?
19. I think Scully looks kind of dreamy-eyed - like, she's thinking: It could happen!
20. TWC1: Finally Mulder in a tux and no Phoebe or Diana in sight! Only Scully!
21. Walter too! The gang's all here!
22. Eighteen months earlier. The usual seating arrangement. But who's that guy in CSM's seat?
23. The character of Scully was supposed to be a Clarice Starling knock-off.
24. Payless? Has he *seen* Scully's shoes?
25. Too bad DD didn't watch Harrison Ford's "Witness" before WWTBAM.
26. Let those whose cell phones have not interrupted important meetings cast the first stone.
27. TWC2: Can I just say in general that Mulder looks pretty darn faboo in this episode? The director certainly knows the best camera angles and lighting to make Mulder look his best! Tee-hee-hee!
29. Leave it to DD to make up a goofy name like Wayne Federman. Oh, that's his *real* name?
30. Wayne Federman is actually a comedian, actor, and writer who, aside from being a friend of DD's, also acts, does stand-up work, and a lot of voice overs. Among other things, he's the voice of the talking ham and cheese sandwich in the Florida orange juice commercials.
31. TOTMs are ridiculous slash exceedingly irritating.
32. *Love* the look when Mulder picks up that "Skinman" ammunition for later use!
33. Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German physicist and a founder of quantum mechanics, winning a Nobel Prize in 1932 for his uncertainty principle, which states, in effect, that it is impossible to observe something without changing it. Apparently, DD was quite fascinated by Heisenberg's principle in his younger days; and in fact, a chapter in the Unauthorized Biography of DD is titled "The Heisenberg Principle." The book speculates that the principle took on greater significance to DD after the XF made him famous, because he became the object observed and felt that being watched by fans and hounded by journalists was changing him. So actually when Wayne says he will be "strictly Heisenbergian - a hologram," he isn't using the metaphor correctly. Perhaps that's why Mulder gives Scully the pained expression ... definitely a hindrance slash pain in the ass.
34. "Written and directed by David Duchovny," just makes me go all verklempt!!
35. Just exactly what kind of "services" is Scully providing?
36. Mulder's line about pissing Skinner off would have been much funnier if we hadn't heard it a couple of weeks earlier in "Chimera."
37. In the scene where Mulder & Federman pull up in front of the church, Federman is saying, "I was just curious if she's more than your partner" to which Mulder says, "Enough, Wayne." But the Official Season 7 Guide says Mulder replies "firmly": "No, Wayne." Conspiracy?
38. I'm sure God's refrigerator is a G.E. cause they both bring good things to light.
39. *Everybody's* got a cell phone. That's cause the XF made 'em cool!
40. Return of the little ass flashlights! (But Mulder does have a bigger one; I've seen it!)
41. Doesn't the phone tell you who's *calling*? (Especially if you have crypt forwarding.)
42. The character of Micah Hoffman is based on Mark Hoffman, who was a master forger who created documents that cast doubt on the origin of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - the Mormons. Most famous of these was the Salamander Letter that described how the Golden Plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated were found. Mormon leaders bought the story detailed in the letter hook, line, and sinker, but some of Hoffman's accomplices threatened to expose him and so he made plans to eliminate them courtesy of his homemade bombs. Unfortunately for him, one of his bombs exploded prematurely injuring him in the process, and the subsequent investigation uncovered many of his forgeries, including the Salamander Letter, causing great embarrassment to the church.
43. One thing I found most interesting about this episode was DD's choice of three individuals (the "Holy Trinity") who might have influenced Fox Mulder, thereby helping to make him the man he is today. The choice of Frank Serpico seems pretty obvious - a renegade cop who risked everything and became an outcast among his peers because he sought to expose the truth. Willie Mays - the "Say Hey" Kid, perhaps chosen because Mulder would admire someone who not only played the game with enthusiasm and exuberance but who was also a great all-around player, mastering the five fundamentals of the game (though it's perhaps a bit unlikely that Yankee-loving Mulder would choose a Brooklyn Dodger blasphemy!). And why Micah Hoffman - a "60s radical"? Again, Mulder would probably admire someone who followed his own path - a brilliant scholar and accomplished athlete who wasn't afraid to toss aside "conventional wisdom" to explore extreme possibilities.
44. The "Weathermen" were a group of 60s radicals who wanted their people to get involved, demonstrate, get arrested, and force change down the throat of the establishment. They took their name from a line in the Bob Dylan song, "Subterranean Homesick Blues," (a line which Wayne quotes later in this episode): "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."
45. Altamont refers to the culmination of the Rolling Stones tour of 1969: a free concert at Altamont Speedway which turned into one of the largest rock disasters ever. If "Woodstock" denotes the flowering of one phase of the youth culture, "Altamont" has come to mean the end of it. Four people died in the violence that erupted there. (On a lighter note, and one that has another XF connection, the live album that was produced in conjunction with the Stones' 1969 tour was titled, "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out.")
46. Paperwork? (Love the look from Mulder to Wayne!)
47. Warrant? They don't need no stinking warrant!
48. "The Dharma Bums" is a book by Jack Kerouac published in 1958. "Dharma" is one of the most important words in the Hindu and Buddhist religions. It basically means "your spiritual duty," or "your place in the universe." A Dharma Bum is a bum because it is the right thing for him to be, because by being a bum he is fulfilling a spiritual duty greater than himself.
49. I think Mulder's just jealous cause someone else is getting all the good puns!
50. Scully knows the language for every occasion; but rusty? She calls that "rusty"?
51. About now I'm wondering how Skinner and Federman not only have remained friends all these years, but how they ever became friends in the first place.
52. Little Ass Flashlights for everybody!
53. Studio execs with guns. ROTF!
54. It's been a long time since anyone called Mulder by his nickname.
55. TWC3: Wow! I can think of worse places to stick your Little Ass Flashlight!
56. The Disney version of "The Lazarus Bowl," dancing skeletons and all!
57. TWC4: Let his fingers do the walking and his rolled up shirtsleeves do the talking. Hoo boy!
58. Goodbye, Wayne! Have your people call our people. We'll do lunch.
59. Mulder is glad Wayne's gone, cause now he can get all the one-liners and clever quips again!
60. "We're not gonna take it ..." Oh, I guess that's not the Twisted Sister Mulder meant, huh?
61. No wonder it's so hard for Scully to come to terms with her faith vs. science. (But I think she's really delighting in telling Mulder this "really cool" story of her scientific walk on the wild side!)
62. The return of Chuck! Yippee!
63. I seem to recall DD's original script had a line from Chuck to Scully something like, "I can see why Mulder digs you." So why wasn't that left in?????
64. "There's music in the air" was a popular catchphrase from "Twin Peaks," DD's first TV series.
65. TWC5: Oh, my! Seeing something like *that* in a church confirms the power of prayer!
66. "The Last Temptation of Christ" overtones.
67. Is being made a fool of a crime? "I'd be doing life if it were, sir." A little quoted Mulderism, but one of my favorites. Such a bittersweet commentary on what he feels he has accomplished.
68. Rain/Sunshine? Vancouver/L.A.? Just a guess.
69. But no doubt about the Richard Gere references, as DD was once labeled a "young Richard Gere" by the press when his popularity was just starting to take off.
70. "Town and Country," "What Planet Are You From?", "The Lazarus Bowl". Does anyone see a pattern developing here?
71. You know, Scully really does a fine job with those autopsies. It's time somebody sat up and took notice! (Well, I didn't mean right this minute!)
72. Hoffman's corpse says to Scully, "Noli me tangere, baby" which means "Touch me not ... baby." This is taken from John 20:17 and is what Jesus said to Mary Magdalene when he appeared to her at his tomb. "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my father."
73. Psychic!Scully brought out of her reverie by a prick ... on her finger.
74. TWC6: I think I'm seeing visions too! Holy .... moley but he looks good!
75. Now if *Mulder* doesn't stop with the puns, *I'm* gonna have to pull out my gun.
76. Let the Cardinal finish. The "O'Fallon" need all the prayers they can get. Now I'm doing it.
77. TWC7: I'm not really sure why Scully suddenly finds it necessary to say a little prayer, but perhaps she sees Mulder there leaning on the pillar looking absolutely gorgeous and she says Holy ... Mary Mother of God, please let me get some of that tonight!
78. Psychic!Scully returns; she wasn't gone long. Her vision of Micah Hoffman as Jesus on the cross says to her "Consummatum est," which means "It is finished" (John 19:30), Jesus' final words. And I don't understand why these visions still shake her up; you'd think she'd be used to them by now.
79. Gee, I thought Mulder was the only person on the X-Files who got resurrected on a regular basis.
80. Okay, I'm having trouble getting past the image of Skinner with Marilyn Monroe's purse dressed in that white dress from "Seven Year Itch."
81. Trigger-happy scalpel. Too funny.
82. Well, I guess John Lennon was right: the Beatles *are* more popular than Jesus Christ.
83. Christ's Greatest Hits has a good beat, but you can't dance to it.
84. Glad to see Moose & Squirrel took Skinner's "effective immediately" to heart.
85. Love the disciple allegory here as M&S sit at the feet of Hoffman Become Jesus Christ.
86. TWC8: The lower lip gets a workout when he is become skeptical. I am become smitten.
87. Kudos to Paul Lieber who does an outstanding job as Hoffman - just the right mixture of old hippie and new-age redeemer.
88. Somehow, I have the feeling that Mulder can recite the "dialog" from all his porn tapes as well.
89. Good to see that Mulder has followed Scully's lead in "all things" and just thrown home security caution to the wind by leaving the door unlocked in the middle of the night.
90. TWC9: There have been some nice moments throughout, but Holy Flaming Cow he looks fine in the low light and black tee.
91. The secret to Mulder's leaping abilities finally revealed! He owes it all to "Plan 9 From Outer Space."
92. Love those Conversation on the Couch (COTC) moments.
93. Mulder should know that you can get "Plan 9 From Outer Space" on DVD now. He definitely needs a DVD player for future conversations (and movie watching) on the couch.
94. Personally, I'd rather see Mulder's Bullwinkle J. Moose to Scully's Rocket J. Squirrel.
95. She's not making fun, she's just showing you she's open to extreme possibilities (at last).
96. Crazy people can be very persuasive. Don't we know it.
97. Must file away the fact about broken clocks - that'll come in handy on Millionaire one day!
98. Mulder lives in Apt. 42 and he's seen this movie 42 times. What's so significant about the number "42"? Why, you silly, it's The Answer to the Great Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Now, if you don't know what the answer means, then you obviously don't actually know what the question is. And once you actually know what the question is, you'll know what the answer means. In other words, I don't think Mulder lives in Apt. 42 by accident. If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, then you've never read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Doesn't that make you sad? It makes me sad.
99. Has anyone ever calculated exactly how much "probation vacation" Moose & Squirrel have amassed over the years?
100. Open up that Golden Gate ... they're comin' to Hollyweird.
101. Cute! Mulder gets a kiss, Scully gets a handshake!
102. ROTFLMAO. Good thing Mulder didn't have to lug that cross around every time Scully lost it.
103. Scully hasn't seen Mulder go ga-ga over anyone since he met his boyhood hero, Lt. Colonel Marcus Aurelias Belt, in "Space."
104. Tea, you call *those* heels? Scully could track down liver-eating mutants, kick down wooden doors, and run from killer bees in those shoes and never break a sweat.
105. To fully appreciate this scene, you have to watch the boys and the girls separately. Scully (actually GA's stand-in Arlene Pileggi) doing windsprints while Tea Leoni "studies" her (and talks on her cell phone) is hilarious. (And look for Blue Duchovny watching her "mom" in this scene too!)
106. Meanwhile, Shandling is taking an interest in Mulder's "package" well, haven't we all!
107. TWC10: If it's all about the rudder, remind me to sign up for sailing lessons.
108. After hours and hours of dedicated study and intense scrutiny, I would have to say ... yep. To the left. Mostly. Most of the time.
109. Okay, let's get the credits out of the way: The guy on the bike with the donut is Company Grip Richard Deats. The Production Assistant who leads M&S to meet Wayne is DD's assistant, Kevin Cooper. Second Assistant Cameraman Tim Roe is a zombie. The craft service lady is Tina Ameduri, who does craft service for the show. Assistant Director Barry K. Thomas plays a production assistant. Producer Paul Rabwin plays a producer chatting up a chorus girl. Director of photography Bill Roe plays the zombie with something against turkey. And visual effects coordinator Bill Millar plays the film's director. The official guide says that David's brother Daniel made an appearance as an assistant director, but I never spotted him. And Blue Duchovny as herself.
110. Every now and then I see tofurkey in the grocery store and start to laugh.
111. We know how Scully loves her baths. And Director DD highlights the woman behind the buttoned-up Federal Agent. Nice.
112. Love the "Pillow Talk" split screen homage. I guess this would be "Tub Talk."
113. "Well, that's because people can't really come back from the dead, Mulder." Sure. Fine. Whatever.
114. I like to think that Scully introduced Mulder to the joys of bubble baths. He's just embarrassed to say that he likes to take them alone now and then too.
115. Scully's talk about sexual fears and desires seems to have Mulder searching for his rudder.
116. Well, I bet you never thought you'd see a three-way on The X-Files.
117. Love DD's choice of beverage for each character too: Scully sipping red wine, Mulder with a bottle of beer, and Skinner with champagne.
118. Skinner proves that manly men aren't afraid to get friendly with Mr. Bubble.
119. I am a bit concerned, though, that even while talking to Skinner Mulder's hand hasn't surfaced ... and that Scully uses this valuable time to play with her nose. No wonder this odyssey has taken seven years.
120. But I love how Mulder can't wait to get back to Scully and share his gossip about Skinner's bathing preferences; and I love Scully dishing the dirt teasing Mulder about Tea and Garry having the hots for him. And in case I failed to mention it, I'd say that the whole Bathtub Scene is the Good Phone Moment (GPM) not only of this episode, but of the series.
121. As we rejoin the movie, I guess it would be nitpicking if I pointed out that the characters in the movie were supposed to be "an amalgamation loosely based on" Moose and Squirrel, and that it would seem to me that M&S would have had to sign some type of waiver to allow their names to be used in the film, so they might have wanted to be sure how they were going to be portrayed before they did that. Perhaps this is how Mulder learned the importance of "script approval."
122. FWIW, I think it says a lot, a lot, a lot that Mulder doesn't storm out of the theatre until he hears Movie!Scully's declaration of love for Assistant Director Walter Skinner.
123. Here's news for you Movie!Scully: It's not the size of the flashlight that matters, it's how you use it.
124. Nitpicking again, but I don't really think the graveyard set would still be assembled 16 months after the movie is shot. Of course, maybe this is where they're having the post-premiere "bash" and this is the decorating theme or something. We might see Joan Rivers popping up soon!
125. Just a coincidence that the Hoffman/O'Fallon murder/suicide happened on the same day as the movie premiere? If coincidences are just ... aw, you know the drill.
126. Through Mulder, we hear DD's concerns about the way Hollywood tells its stories and "immortalizes" those who can no longer speak for themselves. He takes a few swipes at the silliness known as The XF too, but he does so with love and respect. I know I'm reading too much into it, but I also wonder whether DD's words hint that he was concerned about how Mulder might be remembered when DD was no longer around to "tell Mulder's story" (and when this episode was filmed, DD had not made the decision to return for a portion of Season 8). Hmmm ....
127. MSRM: No matter. They're alive, they're relatively young, they have a Bureau credit card ... what's not to love? Forget your troubles, come on get happy. I love the way Scully giggles him out of his doldrums, the gentle teasing about loving A.P. Skinner, the relaxed stroll, and the way their hands slip together - neither one taking the lead, they just go together naturally. Just like their relationship. And even though it's definitely not DD in that final shot, I still like the image of them walking off together, hand-in-hand, ready for a night on the town, and then what? I think you know.
128. BTW, have you noticed that Scully only *really* giggles in episodes penned by David Duchovny?
129. I'll confess that I would have preferred that things end right there, M&S walking off into the special effects moonlight, but I understand what DD was going for in that last shot of the dancing non-tofurkey eating zombies, passionately embracing "life". Very stylish, and I did like the green screen changeover to the background with the full moon.
130. And as an example of Director Duchovny knowing exactly what he wanted, before filming was completed he went to Paul Rabwin and said he wanted to use a track of music from the film "The Buena Vista Social Club" for the dancing zombie sequence. Rabwin could not license the music, so Mark Snow created an original piece of music for the scene.
131. In comparing DD's efforts, I preferred "The Unnatural" mostly for its sweetness and charm. Where "The Unnatural's" humor was subtle and underplayed, "HAD" went for hip-ness and bigger laughs, and sometimes I felt like the "in-jokes" got in the way. There was more M&S interaction in this one, which was nice, but the limited scenes between those two in "TU" were a shipper's dream! I do think that "HAD" said a lot about DD's feelings about Mulder and Scully and the industry, and also perhaps a bit about his ambivalence about leaving the character of Mulder behind. But I still enjoyed "HAD" a lot, a lot, a lot and it made me wish that someday we might see DD sink his teeth into writing and directing a serious XF. His story ideas and contributions to the mytharc over seven seasons make me sure that he would do a bang-up job.
132. Above all, I sure hope Mulder learned something in this episode, and that when *he* came back from the dead, he did all the things he missed when he was alive. Like eating, and drinking, and dancing, and making love. I think once he got over that initial shock (and the first-stage urge to eat people, of course), that's exactly what he did. Maybe being dead was just the motivation that Mulder needed to move forward ... a little extreme perhaps, but it takes that with some people. After all, "God works in mysterious ways."
You know, I knew it was gonna be long when in the first draft I was on number 50 and I wasn't out of the teaser yet. Doesn't that make you sad? It makes me sad. Oh well. There was a lot to see. And a lot to translate from Mr. Smarty Pants who throws in all these references I have to look up and explain so that someday when I'm old and gray and watching this episode for the 942nd time I'll be able to understand it. And even though it's taken a while, I always had faith that I'd finish it someday. Maybe true faith is really a form of insanity. Well, if we weren't all crazy, we'd all go insane. So if you thought it was too long and you read it anyway, I apologize. And if you thought it was too long so you just decided to skip it, I have two words for you.
Yo, yo, yo. I don't want to eat your lunch. I'm just here to look for the rudder. Ahoy, matey!