As part of my ongoing mission to bring all of you the best in Hater reportage, this weekend I went to a screening of Chapter 27, aka Mark David Chapman Was Exactly This Fat, Insane, And Pathetic When He Shot John Lennon at the Angelika here in New York.
My reasons for going were twofold 1. I wanted to see what an "F" film looked like. and 2. I heard that Jared Leto was going to be doing a short Q & A after the movie, and I wanted to ask him how his band 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts was doing.
Sadly, only one of these goals was accomplished: I was able to look directly into the black, empty eyes of an "F" movie, but due to circumstances beyond my control (the guy with the microphone consistently ignoring my raised hand) I didn't get to ask Jared Leto any questions, which is a shame, because after sitting through that movie I only had more questions to ask Leto. Namely:
This was the obvious question, after watching a movie that was little more than a John Lennon snuff movie with the camera focused on the killer instead of the victim: there was no point, no insight other than "Mark David Chapman was very lonely and obviously crazy," and/or "People in NYC are very, very nice to obviously crazy people."
Surprisingly, though, no one asked this. Most of the questions were along the lines of "You're obviously great. How are you so great?" and "Oh my god. Sorry. I'm so nervous. Um, how did you gain all that weight?" I'm paraphrasing, of course, but not that much. The closest anyone came to asking "Why?" was the guy who asked (basically) "I don't think this, but some critics have said that this movie is exploitative. I definitely don't think that, but what do you think about critics saying that, which is something I personally would never ever say or think?" To which Leto ramblingly replied that art isn't meant to be polite, and it's the artist's duty to examine difficult things. It was then I noticed that Leto wasn't actually sitting in the chair the theater provided for him, but he was floating 3 feet above it, perched on a hard cushion of unbelievably thick pretension.
Which brings me to the next question I didn't get to ask:
Was it a conscious decision to make your Mark David Chapman sound like Forrest Gump on helium whispering, or just a happy accident?
My favorite part of Chapter 27, if one can have a favorite part of the slow droning whine that precedes death, was the part where Leto says "I've always loved the Beatles," in the exact same cadence as, "Life is like a box of chocolates." I'm not kidding.
Actually, someone did ask Leto about the (ridiculous) accent, and he said that he went down to the town in Georgia where Chapman was from and found a relative of Chapman's who sounded just like him, so Leto made a recording of the guy and listened to it day in and day out to get the accent just right. Judah Friedlander, who was also in the movie and at the Q&A;, then said that he did the same thing when he was studying his character, a photographer from New Jersey. "I went all the way to Jersey. I met a guy from Jersey and, you know, listened to him talk." Everyone laughed. Even Leto tried out some postures common with human laughter. In that moment, Judah Friedlander's awesome quotient increased tenfold.
How is this movie different from a John Lennon snuff film?
The correct answer to this would have been, "It's far more tedious than a snuff film." Unfortunately, though, we'll never find out if Leto would have guessed correctly.
But the question I'm most upset I didn't get to ask was the follow-up to my original 30-Odd-Foot-of-Grunts question:
Sorry. I must have gotten confused. So, any plans for a Chapter 28? Maybe you could get your band Dogstar to do the soundtrack.