Satirical Shallow

Shul of Rock

shulofrock.jpgAccording to ScriptSales, Tina Fey and her agency, Endeavor, have just sold Curly Oxide and Vic Thrill for mid-six against seven. (Which anyone who’s seen Adaptation. knows is ‘industry speak’ for “I know industry speak.”) The story of “[a] Hasidic Jew and a grizzled rock musician [who] form a band,” was inspired by a report on NPR and will inevitably star Adrien Brody (in a furry hat) and Colin Firth (in a name tag, since no one knows who the fuck he is). And the best part? While delivering some scripts upstairs, we heard that Brett Ratner might direct it!
As that last sentence hinted, we just started our new day jobs in the mailroom of the mailroom at Endeavor. (We couldn’t get into the mailroom proper without M.B.A.’s.) It’s a little thing called workin’ your way up the old fashioned way, by being abused, and humiliated – and urinated upon – for years. It’s awesome, and a great use of our combined $245,000 educations. (How’s that for a mid-six against seven, huh, boss?). And, we actually managed to scoop a copy of Curly Oxide and Vic Thrill‘s first-act outline from the main fax machine before Hector, one of the senior mailroom guys, busted us. We’re gonna do our best to score the other two acts when Hector goes on his 3 PM Jamba Juice run, and, yes, that’s Pacific Standard Time, for all of you who think anything of note happens in New York.
In the meantime, check out this exclusive Tina Fey comedic buzz…

Tina Fey
We are introduced to Mendel, the son of an Orthodox rabbi. Mendel is in every way the model of a good Jewish boy, except for one thing: he loves Rock ‘n’ Roll, and he knows deep in his heart that even if he follows his father’s example and goes to rabbinical school, his true passion is rock. When we see Mendel, he is 8, wearing a yarmulke and over-sized 70s headphones, listening to the hard rock sound of England’s hardest band, The Rip-Roar Boys.
We are introduced to Vic Thrill of The Rip-Roar Boys, that era’s loudest, most debauched band. He’s the drummer for the band that has spent more time on the police blotter than the Billboard charts, and Vic is the naughtiest of the bunch. When we see him, he is face-down in his hotel room, two groupies sneaking out after taking everything in his wallet.
Mendel is now in his early 30s, an unhappy Jewish scholar. Any trace of his inner Rip-Roar Boys fan is gone. As he rides to shul on the subway, he spots someone reading the New York Post, which has a headline “RIPPED AGAIN” and a photo of Vic Thrill. When Mendel gets to school, he goes to a computer and looks up Vic on Google. He discovers that not only is his idol alive, but he’s been living in New York in a state of semi-seclusion. He also discovers that Vic was busted for buying weed in Washington Square Park, and that his hearing is today.
Vic is being brought before the judge. The judge recites his rap-sheet and his reputation. Vic, who is now old and bloated, can barely defend himself. The judge asks him if he can think of any reason he shouldn’t be shipped off to prison and if there’s anyone out there who cares about a washed-up has-been. Just then, Mendel stands up and, lying, says he’s a rabbi and that he will take Vic into his care. When the judge asks why, Mendel says he’s enlisting the rocker for a benefit concert. The judge agrees and releases Vic to Mendel.
Outside the court, Vic thanks Mendel and then tries to walk away. Mendel insists that Vic remain with him. The two argue, with Vic asking why Mendel cares (“Oi, are you a poofter, mate?”) and Mendel reveals himself to be the Rip-Roar Boys’ biggest fan. Vic says he’ll send him an autograph and hops into a cab, speeding off. Mendel looks on, dejected.
Back at his hovel, Vic absentmindedly beats on some empty pans with drumsticks. Something is bothering him. He goes to his old stereo and flips through his records. He finds one of Rip-Roar Boy’s old LPs and puts it on. It still sounds pretty good, and he begins drumming on every surface in the house. As he’s rocking out and almost feels like a star again. Just then, we hear his neighbor banging on the floor from below. He’s still a loser.
Mendel listening to the same album, same cut on his walkman. He’s getting into it, too, when one of the older rabbis comes in and interrupts him. “Why do you listen to this noise?” the rabbi asks. Mendel explains how the music is not noise, how the lyrics have actual meaning and even apply to the Talmud. He then says that he met one of the members of the band and he’s a very sick man in need of help. “Then help him, Mendel,” the rabbi says, wisely.
Vic is at the liquor store buying cheap booze when, out of nowhere, Mendel comes in. Vic initially doesn’t recognize him, but Mendel explains the court released him into his care and Vic must honor that. Vic again asks if Mendel is gay, and Mendel says, “Of course not. I’m a man of god.” “That’s what Father O’Malley told me when I was an altar boy,” Vic jokes.
Mendel and Vic having lunch. We learn than Mendel keeps Kosher, but he secretly loves cheeseburgers. We also learn that Vic used to be a strict vegetarian when he was into gurus and meditation, but he too would sneak a cheeseburger every so often. The two men fall into a rapport. Mendel proposes that they try to reform the Rip-Roar Boys. Vic says the other members have moved on: one’s a math teacher in Kent, another’s a piano player in Vegas, another is M.I.A. “Then we should form our own band!” Mendel blurts out. “Ah, you’re out of your mind, mate,” Vic says. “Am I?” says Mendel, producing some print-outs from the internet that show there is a rabid fan community for Vic’s music. “Oi, it just might work,” Vic says as he peruses the prints. “Oy, it might,” Mendel agrees.

And now, of course, we’re going to have to stay late until midnight. Fucking Hector.

11 replies on “Shul of Rock

Brett Ratner is an idiot. Between sleeping with Bob Evans and getting lucky with a GREAT crew, something sublimely comic like this should not be put in his hands.

Ugh. What a waste of material. The actual story as told on This American Life is much funnier than Ms. Fey’s proposal.

Agreed. The This American Life story was captivating. It had real tension. Curly was a reluctant rock star. He was real. there wass insight into the Hassidsche world. This doesn’t fly so far. Sounds more like an Adam Sandler scriopt, and the real story is much much better.

I didn’t hear the story on NPR, but I’ve followed Vic Thrill (and previous incarnations) for almost 10 years. This is so not his story. Yes, he went through serious drug/alcohol problems, but when he kicked it and started the new project (years ago), he’s become this crazy prophet, better than ever, with a seriously rabid, if smallish, following. You can’t just take a celebrity’s name and invent a totally fictional backstory for them. (British?? Why British? Dude’s from Long Island! Please tell me it’s not just for the “oi” “oy” joke. That’s sad.)

God, I hope this piece of shit isn’t for real. I heard The NPR broadcast about Vic & Curly Oxide, and this cheapens it so. It takes a beautiful, true story and ruins it.
Worse, it’s insulting to Orthodox Judiasm, and portrays the Chasidic lifestyle negatively. The scene where he “secretly eats cheeseburgers” is especially moronic. As a Modern Orthodox Jew myself, the story loses all credibility. No Chasidic Jew would ever eat a cheeseburger – especially in a Diner.
If you’re gonna tell the story, then tell it. Don’t tu8rn it into a mockery of what what it was. And be honest: The truth is, Chaim chose Judiasm over Rock & Roll. He was torn between two loves: his music and his religion. And, as I’ve been told, he’s very happy with that choice.
As someone who values Judiasm and enjoys the secular world as well, I think he made the right choice, and I hope the message of the movie will affirm this.

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