We all know what Hollywood style love is, don't we? Botox, prenups, messy divorces... but before all that-- ROMANCE! Romance between a hot blonde and a hunky hippie director in front of a giant director's chair while a shadowy figure in a background trailer thought balloons cattily. ROMANCE!
The caption box assures us this story is exciting from the word "Go", a claim I'm not sure I swallow, since it starts with the heroine copying recipes until she's told to go watch a movie. Maybe the excitement comes from her boss, per her instructions, watching her as she flies (in a taxi, presumably not yet getting stoned) to her destination.
The excitement builds as a hippie, sorry, "hippy", must be those child-birthing hips of his, cuts off the taxi in traffic with his hastily-drawn motorcycle. Phew, what a little punk that guy must be. Well, I'm sure this is just a random encounter and we won't be seeing this free-wheeling speed demon again. Back to the story!
Look, lady, this is the 70s, so you better get used to cinéma vérité. True, some directors wield it better than others. They can't all be Robert Altman you know! Hell, they can't all be John Cassavetes.
HUHHH??? WHAAAAAA??? That crazy motorcycle hippie wasn't just a random nobody but is actually the talentless hack who directed the film she just watched? That totally throws me off, what a plot twist.
I do like that he's an rude, abusive dickhole on top of being a shitty filmmaker though. Clearly based on a real person, though I can't imagine who, since Uwe Boll was, like, 7 when this comic came out. (Just kidding, most movie directors are exactly like this. He could be literally anyone.)
Seriously, though, this is fucking hilarious. He shows up to his own movie premiere just to angrily call everyone who came out to watch it names, and refuses to answer questions. When I think about it, it kind of rules. Like, he could've just not gone to the premiere but he made sure to show up -- rushing through traffic to get there on time!-- and patiently waited until his film was over so he could tell everyone to go fuck themselves. Now I want to go to Hollywood and become a film director, just so I can do this.
Bad manners and a reputation built on being a nut you say? But enough about Lars Von Trier. Just kidding, this could apply to any number of movie directors.
Gotta say, as a fan of bad movies, this is making me wish I could see this Len Summit joint, it sounds like a humdinger. Do you suppose it's of the aforementioned cinéma vérité school, full of ragged, handheld zooms and pans documenting the pointless lives of monotonous dullards? Or is it an ultra-violent tale of revenge that inspires revulsion and disgust but little of the catharsis that genre normally brings? The possibilities abound!
Anyway, if she's gonna get a job working for him, she should probably play something other than an undercover reporter. He'd probably figure it out if that's her job title on set. Maybe something like...
Yeah, like that.
The infant terrible... sorry, I mean, "enfant terrible" auteur, cosplaying as Jim Morrison for some reason, is now ready to show his true colours! Now Phyllis can write that hit piece that'll be sure to take down his career, in maybe a couple of decades, depending on his alliance with Harvey Weinstein. Wonder what horrifying tantrum Len will throw over this newbie gaffe?
Oh I see. Guess the cocaine... wore off? Kicked in?
Put-on! What does it mean in this context? Why is there an exclamation mark mid-sentence? Put-on!
Anyway, here's Phyllis in her underwear.
So... it's pretty much the common definition of the phrase "Put-on" but with an exclamation point for emphasis? Put-on!
Leave it to Valerie Vance, daughter of esteemed character actress Vivian Vance, to ruin their date with Phyllis's own negative review of Len's shitty movie. "Phil B. Slackly" seems like a pretty obvious fake name but as we all know, Hollywood actresses never play word games so Joe the editor's clever anagram should be safe!
100% can confirm the best way to put a movie director at ease is to assure him critics don't know what they're talking about. After all, why can't more critics make their own movies, like how Roger Ebert wrote "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls"? In fact, why can't we have 50 more movies like "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls"?? Both Ebert and Russ Meyer being dead notwithstanding.
It's tearing you apart... would you go so far as to say... IT'S TEARING ME APART LISAAAA
Huh? Get it? Bad movies? Awful directors? Huh? Huh? I'm good at comedy.
HAWWHHHHH?? Has my previously-stated notion that actresses never do word games come back to haunt me?!?!? How could I have been so wrong!!?
See? That's called a "callback". I'm very, very good at comedy.
Yes, Phyllis, he'd still be playing a game with you if not for Valerie... A WORD GAME, which apparently is all the rage in Hollywood! Who knew??
That bottom panel 100% looks like attempted sexual assault if you were looking at it without any context or word balloons. Anyway, back to the story.
Hey now, some of the finest directors in film history have been sociopaths. That isn't Len's problem. He's just a shitty director.
Well Len, she's still a better Gofer than you are a director!
I do love how hurt she is by this. Like, it's not actually your job; you write for a newspaper.
Having realized that sleeping with the subject of your journalistic expose is considered "gauche" and possibly "unethical" Phyllis tries to take her mind off her hit piece by sleeping with a bunch of other dudes, none of whom are shitty, talentless hacks so naturally she has no interest in them. Sorry, young Francis Ford Coppola! You obviously have a couple good movies in you, so no way you're getting it on with ol Phil B. Slackly here.
Phew, what a slave driver. Most newspaper editors in comic books just want pictures of Spiderman on their desk PARKER, but this guy insists on sending Phyllis to nothing but movies destined to be future episodes of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Is he the canonical grandfather of Dr. Forrester or what?
And just think how awkward episodes of MST3K would've been if every movie Mike/Joel/Jonah and the bots were forced to watch were made by people they'd previously slept with? OOF
If only Len had thought of plagiarism before, his last film could've been so much better! Now to get my ass down to the copyright lawyer.
Well, that's a relief, I'd be awfully upset if he'd stopped using what has become his signature move.
Len rushes to Phyllis in her office to make sure she isn't presently reading up on plagiarism law as it relates to spoken, rather than written, words. Their love won't be all laughter, but you can be assured that there will be at least SOME games, because apparently word games are a thing in Hollywood! Sheesh!
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