BECAUSE WHEN YOU THINK GOODFELLAS, YOU THINK WARRANT
I don’t mean to be rude because who the fuck am I, but seriously, who the fucking fuck is Jeff Dandurand? He’s apparently a comedian and “radio personality,” and, clearly, he’s setting the world on fire, because when you Google his name, the first thing that comes up is a deleted Wikipedia page for “Jeff Duran,” and the second thing that comes up is a LinkedIn profile, which, as we all know, is the true sign of someone’s professional value. (In the words of Ruxin on The League: “Don’t invite me to LinkedIn. it just smells of men with cell phone holsters.”)
ANYWAY, whomever this guy is, he’s planning to direct and star in a film called Cherry Pie Guy about late Warrant vocalist Jani Lane. And while there’s no reason that anyone shouldn’t make a movie about Jani Lane, they certainly shouldn’t treat it like Goodfellas or Walk the Line, which Dandurand says will be the flick’s key influences.
Here’s Dandurand talking about his plans for the movie, via Paparazzi Daily, the world’s foremost website I had never heard of before today and will probably never visit again unless they cull more inadvertently hilarious stories like this one:
“I want people to know how serious Lane was as a songwriter and also see how out of control he got when he used alcohol and drugs… Artists like Lane were treated like scum and paid a terrible price for their fame. ‘Cherry Pie Guy’ will astonish those who can’t see beyond cliche hair metal nostalgia and open their eyes to an amazing songwriter and front-man.”
This is wrongheaded in so many ways that it’s hard for me to know where to even begin. Let’s just make a list:
- I love the first two Warrant albums, but assuming Dandurand means “serious” as synonym for “intellectual” and not “sophisticated in its technique,” than his movie isn’t going to hold any water. It’s well known that Lane wanted the album Cherry Pie be named after a different track on the record, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” for the very reason that it was more “serious” than a song about getting caught by some dude while fucking his daughter. Which is all well and good in theory, except that the song completely bastardizes the phrase “Uncle Tom” and has absolutely nothing to do with Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel. I mean, THE SONG IS LITERALLY ABOUT A CABIN OWNED BY HIS UNCLE, WHO IS NAMED “TOM.” (And yes I know there’s a character named Tom who has a cabin in the novel; still not quite the same thing, is it?) “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” is catchy as hell — get some booze in me and I will happily karaoke the fuck outta this thing — but it has to be one of the most egregiously vapid songs of the 80s, which is really saying something. Which leads me to —
- You can’t make a movie about Jani Lane that’s tonally similar to Walk the Line because Lane’s cultural impact was never, and will never be, as great as that of Johnny Cash.
- You can’t make a movie about Jani Lane that’s tonally similar to Goodfellas because while the stakes of being in the mafia are ALWAYS life-and-death and you could quite literally be killed at almost any moment just for looking at someone the wrong way, the stakes of being in Warrant were NEVER life-and-death, even if Lane met with a tragic end. I’m sorry, but that kind of tone just ain’t gonna fly when there was never any danger of Erik Turner shooting Joey Allen over a guitar solo or whatever. A shocking number of filmmakers overlook the importance of tone when telling their stories, and it seems like Dandurand is gonna add his name to the list.
- Speaking of bizarre tonal fluctuation, if you want your movie to be taken seriously, you probably should not call it Cherry Pie Guy. That sounds like the title of a horrible new Kevin James comedy about a fat guy who becomes determined to lose weight so he can pay for afterschool programs/bang Salma Hayek/mend his broken relationship with his children/whatever, not a treatise on “serious songwriting” and the dangers of drugs and alcohol. This is like writing a song that has nothing to do with race relations and calling it “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Words and phrases mean things, and they invoke certain reactions within people. There’s no getting around that.
- The very nature of Warrant’s image DEMANDS a light touch. I have never, ever heard anyone say that their favorite part of The Dirt is when Vince Neil’s daughter is tragically stricken with cancer; what people remember about that story is the ridiculous and often hilarious things the band did, and it’s because of those things that author Neil Strauss succeeds in creating any emotional connection between the reader and the band. In other words, if the book opened with Nikki Sixx overdosing instead of Neil describing Tommy Lee’s ugly squirter girlfriend, I’m guessing it would it would have had a far lesser impact on readers. In fact, I know I’m right. You can’t avoid the “cliché hair metal nostalgia” when Lane is famous for being a part of hair metal — to even attempt such a thing is wholly ludicrous. You need to embrace that nostalgia.
I know what I’m saying is partially unfair, given that I haven’t even so much as read the script for this thing (although I’d be happy to do so if anyone wants to send it to me). I just don’t see Jeff Dandurand winning an Oscar anytime soon.