Over the weekend, the New York Post published an “apology” from screenwriter J.D. Shapiro for his work on Battlefield Earth. Videogum, of course, has a personal relationship with this movie, as it was the first entrant in The Hunt for the Worst Movie of All Time. It is terrible, no duh, and an official apology is long overdue. But does it have to be THIS official apology? Of course, Mr. Shapiro offers some consolation, like:
The only time I saw the movie was at the premiere, which was one too many times.
Now, looking back at the movie with fresh eyes, I can’t help but be strangely proud of it. Because out of all the sucky movies, mine is the suckiest.
BING BONG. We all hate this thing LOL. But this letter is two pages long, and most of it is about Mr. Shapiro’s attempts to bang Scientologists? Gross, J.D. Shapiro. For example:
During my Scientology research, I met an employee who I instantly had a crush on. She was kind of a priestess, and had dedicated her life to working for the church by becoming a Sea Org member. She said that she signed a billion-year contract. I said, “What! Really?” She said she got paid a small stipend of $50 a week, to which I said, “Can you get an advance on the billion years, like say, a mere $500,000?” And then she said as a Sea Org member, you can’t have sex unless you’re married. I asked her if she was married. She said yes. So I said, “Great! That means we can have sex!”
Yikes. You should have rested your case earlier, Mr. Shapiro! Of course, it’s not JUST about his “Willy Wonker” (actual terrifying reference made to his own penis in Mr. Shapiro’s apology for Battlefield Earth), sometimes it is also hilarious anecdotes. Like this one:
I researched Scientology before signing on to the movie, to make sure I wasn’t making anything that would indoctrinate people. I took a few courses, including the Purification Rundown, or Purif. You go to CC every day, take vitamins and go in and out of a sauna so toxins are released from your body. You’re supposed to reach an “End Point.” I never did, but I was bored so I told them I had a vision of L. Ron. They said, “What did he say?” “Pull my finger,” was my response. They said I was done.
WOOOOOOF. (He also wrote Robin Hood: Men in Tights.)
The thing is, I know that everyone needs to put food on their families. I know that, you know I know that. But perhaps the best (not best) part of the entire letter of “apology” is how it doesn’t even really apologize. All Mr. Shapiro needs to say is that earning a living as a screenwriter is incredibly difficult and exceedingly rare, and sometimes you take jobs simply for the paycheck. To which we all would have said, “fair enough.” Instead, he says:
My script was very, VERY different than what ended up on the screen. My screenplay was darker, grittier and had a very compelling story with rich characters. What my screenplay didn’t have was slow motion at every turn, Dutch tilts, campy dialogue, aliens in KISS boots, and everyone wearing Bob Marley wigs.
HAHAHHA. I mean, either way, we are still talking about a hokey science fiction movie based on a novel written by the founder of a
make-believe religion very real cult starring John Travolta, right? DUTCH TILTS ASIDE? I’m pretty sure the screenplay was always beside the point. But Mr. Shapiro is an artist, and he wants us all to know that. In a perfect world, Battlefield Earth would have been Preciousfield Hurt Lockearth: Based on a Screenplay by Mr. Shapiro. Well, now we know, sir. Thank you for telling us. And good luck with your latest project! Looks great! You’re going to get so much pussy! (NOW I AM THE ONE WHO NEEDS TO APOLOGIZE.)