Long Time Coming

Yesterday afternoon I spoke with novelist-screenwriter Roger Simon, who wrote the early versions of A Better Life (he ended up with a “story by” credit) before being rewritten by Eric Eason. But the basic bones of the screenplay are his. We did about 20 minutes in the offices of IDPR on Hollywood Boulevard.

Simon is CEO of Pajamas Media. He’s the author of ten novels, including the Moses Wine detective series, and six screenplays including Enemies, a Love Story, Bustin’ Loose, My Man Adam and Scenes from a Mall. His first non-fiction book, Blacklisting Myself: Memoir of a Hollywood Apostate in the Age of Terror, was published by Encounter Books in February 2009.

  • Robert Hunt

    Jeez , Tom. You couldn’t just say “First!” and leave it at that?

  • Marty Melville

    Wells goes face to face with conservative convert Simon.

    The earth (or at least Hollywood Boulevard) should have moved but instead we get blow up dolls, polo shirts and a good joke from Robert Hunt.

    Simon is so affable and intelligent and with such a sturdy resume (Enemies: A Love Story is nothing to sneeze at) that I wish Wells had the time to get into the particulars of Simon’s shift in political temperament.

    The guy seems to understand and embrace nuance (a dirty word to his brethren).

  • filmsofdusts

    Yes, from some of Jeff’s comments you would think he would never walk into the same room with a guy with this frame of mind and if he did immediately slap him.

  • DuluozGray

    Marty, you imply the Democrats DO have nuance. Where do you get that idea from? They see everything in pure, stark, black and white terms.

    “If you’re against gay marriage, you’re a Nazi.”

    “If you doubt anthropogenic global warming, you’re a Nazi.”

    “If you criticize Obama, you’re a Nazi, and also racist.”

    Yeah, lots of nuance there.

    See, if any of you brain dead Libs actually talked to real life conservatives, you’d see a lot of them are just like Mr. Simon, and not like the caricatures portrayed on MSNBC and HuffPo. A conservative can be friends with a Liberal very easily, not so much the other way around. Again, a lack of nuance.

  • lazarus

    It’s always funny when someone tries to dispel generalizations with more generalizations lobbed the other way.

  • George Prager

    Others have said it better:

    LexG says …

    Duluoz Gray, always a veritable ray of sunshine.

    Posted by LexG Author Profile Page at April 1, 2011 4:39 PM

  • George Prager

    Aging guys like Roger Simon become “conservatives” (he’s not really a conservative. He and George Will would disagree on most things) when they realize that the comely young baristas at Starbucks are just humoring them when they try to chat them up.

  • Buk94


    I feel bad if you spent more than 30 seconds writing that gibberish.

    Nothing but generalizations, lies, and hypocrisy.

  • The Big Snake

    I was always very fond of Simon’s “The Big Fix” (1978) with Dreyfuss and Lithgow.

  • LexG

    Yeah, to bring it back to this guy’s work:

    BUSTIN’ LOOSE POWER. A 1982-83 HBO immortal classic that to this DAY I still have the theme song stuck in my head and images of Pryor getting caught by the guard dog Doberman and handing him a candy bar going, “Shit. There goes my goddamn dinner.”

    BIG FIX: I have related this story before, but I saw this at age 11 or 12, and didn’t know what a bong was. But I did know what freebasing was, because the Pryor fire had been all over the news and in his standup. So in this movie, Richard Dreyfuss plays some lovable groover detective. And at one point, someone busts in on him in his apartment, and he’s smoking his bong, but as a kid I think he’s freebasing cocaine, and for the rest of the movie I wonder why they had the good-natured hero FREEBASING and nobody commented on that.

  • MechanicalShark

    Duluoz, I’m sorry you feel that way. My gut reaction to your post was to mock you and call you names, but then, that’s what you do, isn’t it, mock and name-call? Nuance is something nobody in the political spectrum has a monopoly on. I think some conservatives have valid points that are worth discussing, and the left wing has its own nut jobs. The thing is though, the nut jobs in the right wing currently have a disturbing amount of political capital, something I’d hope you’d be as worried about as I am. It shouldn’t be about this dumb sectarian in-fighting, go team rahrahrah political party nonsense that turns important policy decisions into inane sporting events. I know real-life conservatives that are perfectly sensible. Their flaw is not stupidity or insanity or being a “Nazi”, but rather it’s being unable to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, or to think beyond their own concerns. Which, granted, is very difficult to do, but if we are to extricate ourselves from the mess we’re in and build towards a better future for our children and their children, it must be done. I think you’re a fairly intelligent guy, Duluoz, but you’re wasting your capacity coming up with insults. Liberals are not supposed to be your enemy. I get uncomfortable with my fellow liberals when they put down Tea Party people as “mongrels” or “hicks”. Some of them might be selfish and base in their political motives, but I think a lot of them are just frustrated and upset at the way things are going, and looking for someone to blame. The Republicans have done an excellent job of directing their anger, and turning it into paranoia and hatred. And the Democrats have done a great job of being totally unsympathetic to them, making partisan viciousness the path of least-resistance.

  • qdpsteve

    MechanicalShark: seriously, GREAT comment. Two thumbs up.

    Also: I AM AMAZED. TWO BREAKTHROUGHS from Jeff Wells in the past week. Geez.

    First: he went to Walmart for the ‘Big Country’ blu-ray (although it was a bust); and now, it turns out he DOES have at least one conservative (or perhaps more accurately, conservative-leaning/sympathizing) friend.

    What’s next? Perhaps an appreciative piece from Jeff on the Fifth Anniversary blu-ray edition of An American Carol? (But seriously folks, that’s trictly a joke… I’m a center-right guy and even *I* thought AAC was dreck.)

  • Marty Melville

    On the same track, Hitchens reviews Mamet’s own Right-Wing Conversion

  • George Prager

    Like Dennis Miller, Simon went from attention-getter to attention-seeker. How many of these how-I-became-a -conservative-after 9/11-because-I-couldn’t-get-it-up- anymore books exist? Too many. You could fill a racetrack with them.

    Loved THE BIG FIX. My brother rented MY MAN ADAM from 7-11 once. I guess it wasn’t released and went straight to video. A real head-scratcher with Dave Thomas, Veronica Cartwritght, the kid who boffed Hendrix and Lamar Latrell. It’s nothing if not original. It does, though, expose Simon’s problematic relationship with black people. In terms of ambitious and interesting misfires, I put it in the same category as THE EXPERTS (direced by Dave Thomas and starring John Travolta).

  • SpinDozer

    ‘Roger Simon become “conservatives” (he’s not really a conservative. He and George Will would disagree on most things) ‘

    “Obama’s administration has been an amalgamation of the worst of fuddy-duddy old line liberalism with payoffs in the form of czar appointments to reactionary leftists with ideologies out of the 1930s. The results have been catastrophic.”

    -a guy who is not really a Conservative

  • George Prager

    That bit of reverie is not conservative.

  • DuluozGray


  • SpinDozer

    ‘That bit of reverie is not conservative. ‘

    Do tell. Such an intriguing premise, one wonders what the fuck it could be?

  • George Prager

    “Obama’s administration has been an amalgamation of the worst of fuddy-duddy old line liberalism with payoffs in the form of czar appointments to reactionary leftists with ideologies out of the 1930s. The results have been catastrophic.”

    That is not a fact-based argument. Paul Volcker is a “reactionary leftist”? Simon is a screenwriter and novelist. Fiction is what he does best.

  • SpinDozer

    “Fiction is what he does best.”

    hmmm, I see the wisdom of your words.

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