QUESTIONING GREATNESS with ADAM RIFKIN:
EARTH’S PREMIERE STORYTELLER
We (Bob Rose, me, I?) at the OPINION IN A HAYSTACK DEPARTMENT are proud to announce that I (we?) were (was?) given the chance to pick the brain bucket of Hollywood’s supreme philosopher and film-creationist, Sir Adam Rifkin (facebook, twitter, myspace.) He’s the filmmaker responsible for Detroit Rock City, The Chase, The Dark Backward, and, more recently, the award winning Look. I was able to sit down with Mr. Rifkin, in front of our respective computers, and interview him, via email, about a plethora of assorted, varied, diverse, sundry, indiscriminate, and heavily kaleidoscopic ideas.
I originally sent Mr. Rifkin over 3,000 questions, most of which involved very uncomfortable queries about his family lineage, sexual fears, and Laserdisc-replica collection. He answered all of them in full detail, thus passing the interview-qualification-process, which allowed me to send him the 16 questions you will find below.
This interview brought to you by BLUMP’S WEASELRONI: “Bring Variety Back into Your Mealtimes!”
BOB ROSE: First, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. From what I can tell you’ve been interviewed by Movie Poop Shoot/Quick Stop/FRED at least three times by now, covering almost every subject of your career imaginable, so I hope it’s ok if I ask some rather unconventional questions and get some unconventional answers? If not, let me know, I will write conventional questions I promise! I swear!!!
ADAM RIFKIN: Great. No problem, ask whatever you like. I’d also love to schedule a live interview at your convenience. That said, evenings are better for me. Either Wednesday or Thursday. Because of my crazy schedule I’m only free from precisely 11:32pm and 15 seconds to 11:32pm and 22 seconds. Hopefully we can get everything we need to discuss covered in those 7 seconds. If we can possibly cover everything in 4 seconds it’d actually be a little better for me because I could really use those 3 extra seconds to do my laundry, feed my cat, jerk off, pay my bookie, paint my house, eat some cheese, bake a cake, shave my balls, pop my zits, tweeze my eyebrows, kneed some bread, pluck my chickens, write a novel, sue my landlord, lipo my love handles, fuck my girlfriend, do an Iron Man, rehearse an opera, condemn an innocent man, ponder the sound of one hand clapping, blink The Bible in Morse Code, club some baby white harp seals, use my powers of hypnosis to pick up chicks, pretend I’m a robot, scratch my ass, swallow my tongue, make Star Trek door noises, stare at an image for a really long time and then close my eyes and study the after image that lingers behind my eyelids, make myself throw up, make prank phone calls to 911, burn ants with a magnifying glass, have a water gargling contest with a midget, fart in an elevator, provoke an unstable hobo, secure my pant legs with rubber bands and fill my jeans with chili, yawn on an immigrant, return my Christmas presents, carve a life size statue of Marv Albert out of chopped liver, calk my crack with creamed herring, commit acts of heresy, bang a gong, loiter outside a 7-11, obsess on obscure JFK conspiracy theories, fondle the penal code of the habeas corpus, ipso facto, e, pluribus unim, e tu, Brute, odds bodkins, ad absurdum, infinitum, and so forth and so on until we’ll all die a horrible, wretched and miserable death. Other than that, I’m pretty open. Cool?
BOB: I’m a studio executive, drunk on power, with cash flowing out of every orifice. I walk up to you, dressed in velvet, and say “Mr. Rifkin, I’ll give you $500 MILLION for your next film, all I ask is that at some point a character must say the phrase: “Gee, this sauce is rather tart, here’s your money.” What film would you make?
ADAM: Easy choice! I’d make a film entitled SUGAR TITS. It’s a long time passion project of mine about a drunken, anti-Semitic movie star who, after being pulled over by the cops for DUI, goes on a vicious cross country killing spree in the name of religion. The film will star Mel Gibson as himself and will open with the all too familiar dashboard video of Mel Gibson being pulled over by Malibu police for driving erratically. The two cops yank him out of the car and soon surmise that the famous actor/director is plastered beyond cognition and attempt to arrest him. After going on a biblically charged, nonsensical tirade to Officer Shlomo Finkelstien, about the fact that the Jews of the world are responsible for all the wars throughout history, he looks amorously to the beautiful and buxom Officer Tootsie Weems and exclaims the now infamous line, “What are you looking at Sugar Tits?”, (which has since become a staple pick-up line on college campuses across the country). While being handcuffed, Mel recites the Good Sheppard Psalm in a mocking Yiddish accent, then breaks free of the cuffs, (thanks to having prepped for a Dick Donner version of a Houdini movie that never materialized).
He then steals Officer Finkelstien’s gun and kills him, execution style, with a single bullet to the taint. He quickly subdues Officer Weems with his mad Jew-Jitsu skills, hog ties her and throws her into the back seat of the police cruiser. Thirsty for as much camera time as humanly possible, Gibson decapitates Officer Finkelstien with the Bowie knife that’s strapped to his ankle, and uses the officer’s disembodied head as a theatrical prop for what he drunkenly believes will be his greatest performance. He then sloppily slurs his way through the “Alas, poor Yorick” speech from his film version of Franco Zeffirelli’s Hamlet, taking awkward breaks between the Iambic Pentameter to suck on whip cream gas from a can of Tippy-Top Topping. Satisfied with his performance, he grabs his balls and screams “Suck on that A. O. Scott!” into the dash cam before stealing the cop car with Officer Weems still hogtied in the back, as his prisoner and sex slave.
Strangely, A. O. Scott, not only, never reviewed the Zeffirelli version of Hamlet, but Hamlet was released in 1990 and Scott didn’t start reviewing for the New York Times until 2000. But go argue with a drunk. Gibson then proceeds to head across the country drinking to excess, preaching the gospel and massacring anyone who dare question his fire, brimstone and beer nuts approach to the Good Book. Along the way he’ll have many adventures and encounter a plethora of obstacles while assassinating as many innocent people as possible. The deaths will be highly stylized and extremely creative. For example, he’ll meet up with Purvis Nimblestroid, a nose hair clipper salesman from Des Moines Iowa who lives with his 78 year old mother, a sufferer of an odd form of dementia resulting in her being convinced she’s Britney Spears. Gibson and Weems, (now lobotomized and completely under Gibson’s control,) rent a room in the Nimblestroid’s home posing as a married couple from South Bend. One night while Mrs. Nimblestroid is performing “Oops, I Did It Again” in the living room after a home made supper of turtle chops and egg soup, Mel takes it upon himself to roll play and pretends to be a member of the paparazzi. He uses an empty box of Kraft Mac N’ Cheese as a camera and starts snapping away, but when Old Lady Nimblestroid horrifically recreates the “no underwear” incident that set the internet on its ear,
Mel is driven into a fit of blind rage. Furious at her ungodly behavior, Gibson ties up both mother and son and kills them slowly with a melon baller. Scoop by scoop he reduces them to a pile of bloody orbs, then Gibson forces Weems to eat the super ball sized remains while sitting in a kiddie pool filled with bible pages and sour cream . As Mel and Tootsie continue East, and as the bodies continue to pile up, FBI agent Zack Craggs is always just one step behind the illusive mass murdering movie star. Conflicted about spearheading the case to catch Gibson, Craggs grew up a massive Mel fan and has a hard time coming to terms with the fact that his child hood hero is a ferocious and fanatical monster. He continually questions his loyalty to the bureau versus the star of his all time favorite film, Bird On A Wire.
Ultimately the story lines all converge at SedaKon, the world’s largest Neil Sedaka convention, when Craggs, in a heart pounding action sequence, chases Gibson through the rafters of the Albuquerque Convention center during Neil’s show stopping performance of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do hundreds of feet below. There’s also a subplot involving Mel smuggling illegal artificial sweeteners into Mexico in Officer Weems fake breasts and them exploding at the border. There is also an elaborate fantasy sequence where Mel rides a giant flying mongoose into the past. The time traveling marsupial takes him into ancient Judea where Mel and Jesus star in a buddy movie together, Jesus playing a loose cannon cop who’s ability to rise from the dead causes him to continually take unnecessary risks, and Mel as his beleaguered sweater-less partner who always says, “I’m gettin’ too cold for this shit.” (kind of a twist on the familiar), but I won’t bore you with all those details. Anyway, the film ends with Mel appearing on Larry King, miraculously having convinced authorities and the public at large that it was actually Agent Craggs who was the killer and that Mel was actually the hero who stopped him from his murderous rampage.
The whole film is to be an indictment of the fact that we let celebrities get away with anything, including murder, because they’re charming, funny and oh so engaging in a quick sound bite. What Larry King doesn’t know however, is that Mel’s new “Gibson’s Own” brand of tomato sauce is actually made (in part) from the brains of all his victims, and when Larry agrees to plug Mel’s new product, buys some and taste it on live TV, he says; “Gee, this sauce is rather tart, here’s your money”. But I don’t want to give away too much (in case this really happens.)
BOB: Your film, The Chase, has quite possibly the most dangerously-elegant sex scene ever conceived. Was the scene inspired by true events?
ADAM: Well, the inspiration behind Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson having sex in a speeding car in THE CHASE was the fact that, that is precisely how I was conceived. I never really wanted to know the details beyond the basic facts, I mean, who wants to think about their parents doing the horizontal mambo? Burying the weasel? Doing the tube steak fandango? Filling the cream Doughnut? Getting some stank on the hang low? Having a bit of pork pot pie? Puttin’ sour cream in the Burrito? Running the naked Wheel Barrow Race? Etc… But that was the kernel of truth that inspired the whole movie. Unlike in the film however, my parents actually crashed during the act. My father blindly barreled into an old age retirement community and regrettable killed 27 senior citizens and two staff workers before plowing head long into the swimming pool. He did make it out of prison just in time to be able to come to the premiere. The way I was conceived just may account for my fierce daredevil nature though. I love sky diving, bungee jumping, base jumping and extreme sports of any kind, including extreme digesting. I’ve also invented a new extreme sport, I’ve taken the rush associated with hang gliding and the confidence associated with having an enormous penis. I call it Hung Gliding.
And speaking of penises, what many people don’t know is that THE CHASE was not originally funded by 20th Century Fox, but by a porn company called Jack In The Crack Productions. They agreed to finance 100% of the movie as long as a hardcore version was simultaneously shot for the European release. Surprisingly, Sheen and Swanson both agreed and so we actually shot two completely different versions of THE CHASE, one where Sheen kidnaps Swanson and they’re chased by cops from Newport Beach down to Tijuana, and one version where Charlie shows up to Kristy’s dorm room dressed like a pizza delivery man. Unfortunately Fox bought the PG-13 version and buried the XXX version before the release. It’s a shame too; the alternate version had quite a climactic conclusion.
BOB: I’ve been a huge fan of The Chase since it was released, often thinking of it as kind of the comedic answer to Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers in relation to how the media’s absolute power corrupts absolutely. Is there any truth to my observation, or am I just a kook?
BOB: You played the lead in your film The Stoned Age in tribute to legends like Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. Is this something you could see yourself doing again in a future project?
ADAM: Yes, I wrote, directed and starred in HOMO ERECTUS (AKA National Lampoon’s STONED AGE), a comedy about a philosophical caveman who can’t get the girl (Ali Larter). I love acting and not only would I be interested in performing in more films of my own, but I’m actually starring in a slew of upcoming big studio releases. Now that the deals are signed and the release dates set, I can finally tell you about what I have in the hopper. I just signed on to play the lead in James Cameron’s new Avatar spin off. It’s a heart warming story about a mentally-challenged alien who helps inspire his tribe to be more tolerant to those with special needs, it’s called AVATARD. I’m also starring in Peter Jackson’s new film where I play a little boy who’s murdered and while my father tries desperately to solve my killing I’m accosted in the “in between place” by a group of NAMBLA members who also all died when their tour bus drove off a cliff coming home from a Jonas Brothers concert, it’s called THE LOVELY BONERS. I’ll also be appearing in Quentin Tarantino’s MALODOROUS ASS-TURDS and acclaimed porno director Fartin Squirtspraysee’s SHITTER ISLAND.
BOB: Detroit Rock City is one of my personal favorite comedies ever, as well as a rather touching coming-of-age tale. Did you listen to Kiss growing up?
ADAM: Yes I did listen to KISS when I was a kid, but I was a much bigger fan of Gene Simmons’ first band called OWL TURD HOOTENANNY. Similar to KISS but much more country sounding and a lot more songs about mouse eating. I also listened to my uncle Yortis who told me that urine was liquid sunshine.
BOB: In what warehouse does that enormous Gene Simmons POV-tongue lay dormant waiting for me to steal?
ADAM: It’s in the Smithsonian. You can find it in the same isle as Clarence Thomas’ pubic hair, Wilbur Wright’s nipple clamps and Benjamin Franklin’s peenee pants. (In addition to being one of the Founding Fathers, having invented the lightning rod and bifocals, he also invented a popular style of pants of the day called Peenee Pants, which enabled the wearer to expose his entire genital region with the unfastening of one strategically designed button-flap.)
BOB: Do you truly believe that “Disco Sucks!”?
ADAM: Disco does suck. But never on the first date. You might be lucky enough to get a peck on the lips. Date two might involve some genuine tongue kissing and possibly some boob squeezing outside the shirt, but only if the dinner and conversation before hand was comfortable and intellectually stimulating. The third date might involve some moderate petting but don’t push it because date four is definitely when Disco gets oral. And Disco has the biggest, fattest, softest, wettest, lips around, so it’s worth the wait!
BOB: You work with many of the same talented people over and over again such as Miles Dougal, Natasha Lyonne, Ron Jeremy and Giuseppe Andrews. Do you write with them in mind, or do you just cast all your friends who also happen to be very talented?
ADAM: First of all let’s clear something up right here and now. The words “Ron Jeremy” and “talented” are never to be uttered in the same sentence together again. Ron’s so fat, he doesn’t have an hour glass figure, he’s got a 24 hour glass figure. Ron’s so fat, when the judge said “order”, Ron jumped up and screamed “two chili cheeseburgers and a Cherry Coke!” Ron’s so fat, when he wears a yellow rain coat people yell, “Taxi!” Ron’s so fat, when he lays on the beach Greenpeace shows up and drags him back in the water. Ron’s so fat, it beeps when he backs up…
As far as the others, I use the people I feel are talented and that I know I can rely on. And yes, when I know someone is good, I’ll often write roles with them in mind. Miles Dougal, for example, not only is a classically trained Shakespearean actor with degrees from both Juilliard and Yale School Of Drama, but he’s also the only actor to ever win an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Grammy, a Tony, and the Triple Crown all in the same year. We went to high school together so I know his strengths and weaknesses and I can tailor roles to the aspects of his talent that others may be unaware of. Like his ability to be able to fart the song Wipe Out. But you’ll learn all these tid-bits about Miles and so many more when the Ken Burns documentary series about him airs on PBS this fall.
…Ron’s so fat, his high school photo was a helicopter shot. Ron’s so fat, the animals at the zoo feed HIM. Ron’s so fat, they found Jimmy Hoffa stuck in his crack. Ron’s so fat, when he farts on Tuesday the sound doesn’t come out until Friday. Ron’s so fat, when the weatherman said it was chilly out he ran outside with a spoon…
BOB: >Can we ever hope to see a flick based on the Shmobots?
ADAM: Yes. Since the graphic novel has done so well and gotten so many fantastic reviews, we are currently prepping a host of ways to capitalize on those lovable pot smoking slacker robots called SHMOBOTS. There’s a Broadway musical in the works as well as a $200 million epic movie that will star Will Smith as the cantankerous Rusty and Ben Kingsley as the nerdily efficient Eyeballs The Robot. Though controversial, we’re also developing an extensive SHMOBOTS weapons program with the United States Military that will be funneled through the Boeing munitions contract. I’m not at liberty to discuss that one in any more detail than I’ve already divulged.
BOB: Night At The Golden Eagle seemed to be a big change of pace for you, and a very artistically successful one at that. Did you get a lot of pleasantly confused reactions from those that normally view you as a comedy filmmaker?
ADAM: The reactions were varied, but interesting. Here is a selection of some of the reviews we got at the time of the film’s release:
“NIGHT AT THE GOLDEN EAGLE, by the usually very funny filmmaker Adam Rifkin, delved so deeply and so effectively into the pits of human despair and emotional darkness, that my penis literally wrapped itself around my own testicles and squeezed them like an anaconda, so hard, cutting off all circulation for the duration of the brilliant film, I was left not only emotionally drained from the movie, but sterile.”
- A. O. Scott, NEW YORK TIMES
“NIGHT AT THE GOLDEN EAGLE is such a powerful and captivating exploration into the sinister side of the human condition that after seeing it I sold all of my worldly possessions and moved to Addis Ababa where I now live as an Ethiopian street mime.”
- Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE
“Adam Rifkin’s inspired NIGHT AT THE GOLDEN EAGLE may very well be the greatest movie ever made. I foolishly walked into the screening thinking Rifkin was only capable of comedy, I now realize he is not only capable of drama as well, but he’s a master of it. I also feel it imperative to mention that my farts smell suspiciously like Chinese food, which is odd because I haven’t eaten Chinese food for at least 3 months.”
- Roger Ebert, CHICAGO SUN TIMES
“NIGHT AT THE GOLDEN EAGLE is that rare once in a lifetime movie that makes you want to fill your underpants with ants!”
- Gene Shalit, TODAY
BOB: Your film LOOK deals with a subject made possible by this new era of digital photography. As a filmmaker do you have a stance on the Digital vs. Film debate, or has it just come down to another factor where budget is concerned?
ADAM: Dandruff. Browdruff. Lashdruff. Burndruff. Bearddruff. Stachdruff. Pitdruff. Pubedruff. Backdruff. Now there’s a Head N Shoulders for each!
BOB: With your cult classic The Dark Backward in mind: What if Adam Rifkin wakes up tomorrow morning and finds an arm growing out the center of his back? What is his next move? Will this discovery ruin his breakfast?
ADAM: I try not to deal in hypotheticals, only facts. And here are 9 facts that you may find interesting:
1. All Norwegians smear pudding on their genitals before taking a driving test.
2. Every time an angel farts a hobo gets his wings. It’s rare, but it does happen. Have you ever heard an angel fart? It’s the most indescribably beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. To fart without sin is the purest form of love.
3. If you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.
4. Moses had a gay brother named Homoses.
5. The American West had a famous gay Indian chief named Geronihomo.
6. One of the most famous gay books on whaling was Homoby Dick.
7. Che Guevara’s gay exploits were explored in The Homotorcycle Diaries.
8. The Gay Three stooges are Homoe, Fairy and Shirley.
9. 1960’s Black music underwent a gay Renaissance when Fairy Gordy founded Homotown Records.
10. Supposedly Jesus’ farts smelled like rainbows – a fact suppressed by Vatican procto-theologians for centuries because it could be misconstrued as “too gay” (*see: the lost book of Homoses).
BOB: You’ve worked with personal heroes of mine, legendary directors John Landis and Joe Dante. Was their early work influential on you in your youth or when first becoming a director yourself?
ADAM: Yes, but interestingly enough, their films are only part of the reason I find them inspiring. What many people may not know is that John Landis, in addition to being a renowned filmmaker, is also the world champion in Extreme Origami. He’s the only Westerner to ever win the Gamibowl twelve years in a row. The thousand’s year old competition is held annually in Osaka Japan and is the most popular sporting event in the Eastern Hemisphere. This year he again took home the coveted Saikaku award for his incredibly intricate and staggeringly accurate Origami interpretation of the Peloponnesian Wars.
Additionally, Joe Dante is much more than just a popular filmmaker; he’s the guy who invented tweezers.
BOB: As a lover of quality family comedies I am a fan of both Mouse Hunt and Small Soldiers. Who would win in a cage-match between Chip Hazard and The Mouse?
ADAM: When Ben Kingsley asked me that very same question on the set of GHANDI 2: ELECTRIC HUNDU POO, I told him to kindly tickle my balls with a cat whisker and recite the “Trench Coat Crappletree” speech from William Shakespeare’s THE UNDERPANTALOON GANG DOTH GO BANANAS. He then promptly slit his throat with one of his own pubic hairs and bled out all over my brand new Chuck Taylor Negrons.
BOB: I’ve read about your upcoming LOOK television series, Perhaps you could tell our readers a little bit about the show and also let us know if there are any other future projects you have in the pipeline that you would like to unleash on the world at this moment?
ADAM: LOOK The Series is based on the critically acclaimed and multi award winning motion picture I made of the same name that came out in 2008. It explores the conceit that the average American is captured on surveillance camera over 200 times a day. The film (and now the series) follows multiple story lines, but what hopefully makes LOOK unique is that it’s shot entirely with surveillance cameras. It’s a show about voyeurism, privacy and the things that people do when they don’t think they’re being watched. “Look” for LOOK The Series later this year on Showtime.
I also wrote a comedy that comes out later this year called KNUCKLEHEAD and I’m currently writing a big kid’s movie for Disney.
Oh, and I’ve been sewing body parts together in my basement for the last several months in an attempt to create a special friend who will never yell at me, never judge me and always wanna play when I wanna play and what I wanna play. I’ve named him Erwin and whenever he does something funny I always say, “Oh Erwin!”.
BOB: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, it’s very much appreciated. One last question: How many MYSTERY shirts do you own and where can I get one?
ADAM: No problem. Anytime. And yeah, I do own a lot of MYSTERY shirts. They’re made by a skate wear company in San Diego called Black Box. They really loved DETROIT ROCK CITY so they took the logo from the garage band that the kids had in the movie. As you know I wear MYSTERY shirts all the time. So does my girlfriend. I don’t know if you guys noticed but she has enormous natural breasts. Huge pendulous 19 year old udders that defy gravity. Giant fun bags that bounce when she walks, jiggle when she laughs and sway with a jello-like spring when she’s getting plowed from behind. Her cup size is double-D but grow to E during certain glorious times of the month. They’re extremely sensitive to the touch and she can practically be brought to orgasm just by licking her number 2 pencil eraser-like nipples. Sometimes I just curl up in her lap and suckle those commodious honkers of hers like a starving Ethiopian baby, “Mama”, I’ll squeak, my dewy eyes just staring up at her with innocent awe. I mean, I’m not kidding when I say this girl has capacious hooters, voluminous melons, walloping whoppers, humongous bazookas, Herculean bikini babies, immense amounts of sweater meat, colossal, thundering mammarial mountains, massively mammoth tatas, a Goliathly, monolithic dairy section…seriously dude, she got some big ol’ titties! And she’s really sweet too. Gotta run now but next time I’ll tell you a little about her ass.
That’s the end folks. Thank you to Adam Rifkin for his “spirited” interview. If you would like to read, hear, see (or feel?) more from Mr. Rifkin check out the links throughout the interview and the ones that follow this sentence…this one…yes, the one you’re reading…here comes the period.
Thanks for reading!
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