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My Brush with Greatness

I'm pretty good friends with the author of "The Ice Harvest", Scott Phillips.
That is one mean-assed well-written kick of a book, with a GREAT ending you do not see coming.
His latest, "The Adjustment", is even better, in my opinion; grab a copy and read both of them.

"The Ice Harvest:" was so good, the film version was produced by Focus Features and released in 2005.
It starred John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Platt and Randy Quaid. It was written
by Pulitzer Prize-winner and Oscar winner . It was directed by the legendary Harold Ramis (he directed
Ground Hog Day, Analyze This, Caddyshack; he acted in and/or wrote Animal House, Ghostbusters,
Stripes, Meatballs, etc).

Harold came to town for a sneak preview of the movie.
A dinner was planned afterwards, attended by Scott and his wife, myself, and every
movie critic in town, and every Big Fish in our Little Film Pond--about fifteen people.

Scott really enjoyed a screenplay I'd written, and during dinner he brought it up, and mentioned
to Harold that it was set in St. Louis. Harold attended Washington University, and it's widely known
that the famous scene in the African American night club where the Animal House boys got the shit
scared out of them was inspired by Harold's occasional trips to East St. Louis.

I started into my pitch, and Harold IMMEDIATELY stopped me. "I'm working on something right now,
and I don't want any influence or ideas," he claimed. It's true that you can't steal a script, but you can
steal and be sued for stealing an IDEA, and he didn't want me telling him a good story to be the basis
for me claiming I told him about something HE'D created...either that, or he was forestalling yet another
pitch from a wannabe screenwriter.

The strangest thing about my dinner with Harold Ramis was what he ordered.
He said he was a Buddhist, but I think he meant a COMEDIC Buddhist;
he ordered a veal chop, and he loved it so much, he sucked the bone...

Later, Daddy-O!
 B. Tnik


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