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S11E16 – Film Flam

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Welcome back to Hollywood Fletcherfans, where the magic happens and also murder because duh.

On a backlot at Monolith Pictures, a man called Daryl Harding is living on a disused soundstage. He hangs out on the couch drinking coffee when suddenly he hears noises.

Jim Caviezel is doing a sequel to The Passion of the Christ, but it’s not called 2 Jesus 2 Furious so frankly, it’s pointless.

He hides under a table while three men – Carson Robbins, Hank Duncan and some other dude come in to talk business, namely, they want to steal a print of a movie called ‘Cry of Destiny’ and pirate it before it’s in the cinemas. Oooh, topical. Carson is a producer on the film and doesn’t want to be a part of this business any more but Hank and the other guy tell him it’s too late.

Hank Duncan (being played by William O’Leary or as I know him, ‘hey it’s that guy!’ suddenly smells coffee and says the stage hasn’t been used in a month, that shouldn’t be. They fan out and search, but hear the studio door slam a short time later.

Meanwhile, Jess rolls on into town to meet with director Boyce Brown about adapting one of her books into a film but he’s busy trying to get Cry of Destiny done. She’s not the only one rolling up to the set though, Hank’s girlfriend Barbie Lippin is holding up the queue trying to get in, and Fritz Randall is trying to get to work.

YOU GUYS HARRY PIERCE HAS CLEARLY TURNED STATES EVIDENCE AND GONE INTO WITNESS PROTECTION IN HOLLYWOOD

There can be no other explanation.

Anyway, yes, JB is in town and isn’t fazed that Boyce Brown hasn’t had time to read her book. Through the wonders of exposition, we learn that Boyce’s daughter found the incomplete film made by the late director Austin Young right before he died of an accidental overdose 35 years ago. They are now filming the missing pieces at a cost of forty million and Austin Young’s assistant director Fritz Randall is helping them do it while writing a book about Austin Young.

Meanwhile, Boyce’s daughter Elaine is arguing with Fritz about shooting the scene that in the old script was the one Austin died before filming (me fail English that’s unpossible). They find Carson messing around with reels of Cry of Destiny and order him to leave them alone, no one is allowed to take the reels off set for any reason thanks to all the leaks that have been happening. Things get intense, but then Daryl Harding passes by and saves the day.

I should point out that Jim Caviezel has had a long and excellent career (HE WAS IN THE ROCK!), but every time I see him I shout Jesus because I am a strange and unusual plant.

Elaine is clearly on board to see more of the D-man, and tells him she tried to call him to invite him to the debut screening of Cry of Destiny but he was unlisted and the Screen Actors Guild hadn’t heard of him. He tells her he just moved and that SAG just got it wrong, but when Elaine turns to write down her number to give him he disappears.

DARYL IS JESUS A GHOST.

Spoiler alert, he isn’t though, he’s just nicked down the cafeteria for a bite to eat. He tells a friendly security guard that he left his badge in his jacket and bumps into Jessica and Boyce who are loading up on spare ribs. Carson Robbins appears with bad news – someone called Audrey Young has just surfaced claiming that she was adopted by Austin Young the year before he died and that everything, including the original copies of Cry of Destiny, belong to her. Boyce tells him he’ll need time to go over all these documents with the lawyers, but invites Audrey to the screening of Cry of Destiny. She tells him nope, and her lawyer hands over an injunction barring all screenings without Audrey’s consent.

Hank’s ladyfriend Bunny is waiting to audition and is telling former child star and current Do You Know Who I Am, Joan Kemp, all about it.

Joan doesn’t want to hear another word about your damn boyfriend Bunny.

While Darryl hides behind a copy of Variety, Hank turns up to wish Bunny good luck with her audition. He gets paged and can’t stay though, but has time to have a word to a security guard who tells him he was talking to a guy who said he was working on Set 25, even though there’s no construction over there. Hank wants names.

Boyce is having a bit of a time of it – New York is riding him about the budget, Elaine wants more money for some late shooting before the screening and Carson tells him that Audrey seems to be legit. The good news is Audrey has agreed to let them go ahead with the screening as planned. Audrey has other things on her mind – namely hanging out with Fritz and making out at his house (that used to be Austin’s house).

Weird.

The next day Hank and Carson plan to get the film copy off the set in two hours time, while Daryl explains to Elaine he’s not really in the guild, he couldn’t afford the dues. Elaine offers to help get him to work but he’s doing it on his own terms. He spots Hank and Carson and Hank spots him, but Daryl vanishes before they can approach.

Jess bumps into Boyce and gives him a copy of her book to read after the screening. Boyce tells her that between this business with Audrey and the piracy situation he’s starting to wonder if any of this is worth it.

A screengrab for our times. You’re welcome.

Jess reminds him of something he once told her: “People who don’t take risks protect themselves from the lows but they don’t get to experience the highs.” (Life Lesson #75) Boyce later takes some of his own advice when he has to tell Elaine that the studio bosses are withdrawing funds for the movie – he decides to hell with it, they’ll screen it anyway.

That night, Bunny springs Hank and his sidekick loading copies of the Cry of Destiny film into the back of a truck. Hank manages to get her to go away and orders the other guy to make sure that the negative gets onto the truck after the screening.

The gang all assemble for the screening and Jess has a chat to Joan Kemp former child star. It turns out Joan worked on the original Cry of Destiny movie – she wasn’t on set when it happened, but she remembers how awful it was and how things fell apart for everyone afterwards. Jess also bumps into her favourite LAPD detective Lieutenant Caceras, and Fritz, who is annoyed at how small his advance is for the tell-all book he’s writing about Austin Young. He offers to let JB see his collection of Youngerbelia and she agrees to pop round the next morning.

The screening is a raging success for everyone, except for that one guy who leaves early acting like he’s drunk out of his mind. Jess pops round to see Fritz the next morning and finds him dead on the floor. Gabe Caceras is on the case, and it is very quickly ruled a suicide. Jess isn’t having a bar of it though – no one saw Fritz after he left the film screening but given the success of the film and the fact he was working on a book – it just didn’t seem likely that Fritz would kill himself the same way Austin did. Also, there is one specific negative missing from the original sheet of Cry of Destiny.

*mentally checks out to consider a Murder She Wrote Game of Thrones cast because it’s Monday and why not)

Back at the lot, Daryl overhears Bunny chatting to Hank about his business dealings. Bunny might know some guys who’d be interested in what Hank’s selling if you know what I mean.

He knows when you’ve been bad or good, oh wait that’s Santa hold on.

Jessica meanwhile is doing a little sleuthing and finds Carson down the back of a couch. He’s mysteriously managed to find Fritz’s glasses which were missing at his house. Carson said he heard all this at the crime scene, but very quickly caves under pressure and admits to moving Fritz’s body, with Boyce’s permission. Fritz was the staggering drunk at the crime scene, Carson found him dead later on and then dragged his body out the side door and into his car.

The way she says WHAT? right here is frankly glorious.

Just then, Boyce gets a phone call from Elaine, who has been arrested for Fritz’s murder. Down at the precinct, Gabe is unapologetic about it, saying that Elaine admitted to having a tiff with Fritz. Not only that, they found sleeping pills on the floor under Fritz’s seat where the killer missed his glass. Jessica says it’s nonsense, Elaine was sitting with Jesus Daryl Harding but Gabe ain’t bothered.

Jess heads back to the lot where she runs into Joan Kemp, who’s just picked up some scenes in a movie. It’s going to be filmed in Studio 25, it will be just like going home. Jess immediately walks away, she’s got an idea.

Over at Studio 25, Jess tells the empty room that Elaine is in more trouble than he’ll be in if he doesn’t reveal himself. Daryl thinks that isn’t true, he knows about some illegal activity going on on the set and tells Jess all about Hank’s piracy.

Word up.

Hank, Carson, Bunni and That Other Guy to finalize their piracy arrangement when Gabe Carceras bursts in, presumably at the word of JB. It’s not good news though.

Plot twist! I wish I cared! (Hank is crushed)

Back at the precinct, Gabe’s not budging on Elaine being guilty. Some overdue parking tickets belonging to Audrey gives Jess an idea and she recruits Daryl to pick her up in his car. Meanwhile, Joan bumps into Boyce on set and there’s a weird conversation where Joan says Boyce was an assistant director to Austin Young but Boyce says he wasn’t.

At Fritz’s Jess and Daryl take a look at the contact sheet with the missing negative. Daryl finds a receipt for a film place where Fritz had apparently requested an enlargement of the missing negative. Jess tries to call the store but it’s closed. BUT WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT, there’s a man at the door wanting to deliver the blown up image but Fritz has to sign for it.

Nailed it

Photo acquired, Jess knows exactly who the killer is.

This I did not see coming.

That photo proved Joan lied about where she was at the time of Austin Young’s death, i.e she killed him in a jealous rage because he didn’t love her, and then killed Fritz when he worked it out.

Chalk up another win to Team JB. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to contemplate the 2 Jesus 2 Furious trailer.

Later gang!

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S08E13 – Incident in Lot 7

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We’re in Hollyweird this week Fletcherfans, where JB has just rolled up to Universal City Studios meet the people who want to turn her most recent book into a movie.

Side note, I love it when an actor name is also a subtitle.

AMAZING NAME

AMAZING NAME

Turns out that woman opening the car door to greet Our Heroine is the aforementioned parked Lincoln, today playing Carolyn Price, the secretary of the producer Daryl Heyward. She’s been sent to escort JB through the lot to a meeting.

b2

*violins intensify*

*violins intensify*

At the meeting, JB meets Daryl, his agent Willy Montego, and the writer hired to adapt the screenplay, John Cavershaw.

e2

*intense violin intensifies*

*intense violin intensifies*

JB tells Daryl her publisher was impressed with his persistence, and asks him whether he thinks there will be any creative problems adapting the book. He says that’s John’s purview and John tells her he’s got a few fixes to do…

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…fixes meaning, making things more visual for the screen.

Daryl’s watch beeps, he has to be somewhere in 20 minutes. He’s set up a lunch meeting between JB and John to discuss the script, which gives JB just enough time to check into the hotel. Willie tells her she hopes she will enjoy herself – on the lot they are just one big happy family.

Cut to a bottle being thrown at Daryl’s head by the movie’s star, Leonora Holt.

Shiny shirt is shiny.

Shiny shirt is shiny.

Seems fair.

Seems fair.

The reason for the bottle smashing is a report in the paper that says that Leonora’s creepy nemesis Kevin Maxwell is going to be in the movie, but Daryl swears it isn’t true, and that the actor probably planted the story himself to try and get on the cast. Leonora cautiously believes him, and promises to come to the set later that day to meet JB.

Across town, on the set of Baywatch…

No seriously, don't. (Did you guys know the Hoff once played Nick Fury? And I thought we were living in the upside down now...)

No seriously, don’t. (Did you guys know the Hoff once played Nick Fury? And I thought we were living in the Upside Down now…)

…Daryl is on the phone to his secretary to tell Kevin Maxwell’s agent that if his client opens his mouth again there will be trouble, he was only offered the role on the proviso he kept it quiet. Daryl also says he won’t be back in the office for a bit, he has an errand to run.

Over at the lot, JB and John Caversham are having lunch and discussing his plans for the movie, which is based on a true story. Caversham thinks they don’t need to do much, just add a couple of car chases, 2 or 3 more murders and they’ll have to change the ending, audiences won’t pay five dollars to go and see it if they’ve already read the book and know who the killer is.

*aggressively intense violins intensify*

*aggressively intense violins intensify*

FIVE DOLLARS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It costs 25 dollars to go see a movie! Damn I miss 90s prices.

l2

Tonight, on Plots, They Murdered...

Tonight, on Plots They Murdered…

Daryl, meanwhile, is about to do his errand.

Blergh,

Blergh,

Back at the lot though, a little old man is sneaking into a shrubbery in a truck.

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

Jess has given up on explaining to John what a nonce he is, so he has delivered her to the head of production, Ben Miller for a tour of the lot. As they walk, Ben asks JB if she thinks evil is a real thing. For example, say you spend a lot of money to convince the world that something is evil – does it then become evil?

JB thinks it depends on what it is.

“That,” says Ben, and points.

*aggressively intense violins get all up in your grill*

*aggressively intense violins get all up in your grill*

That, as I’m sure you know, is the Psycho house. Home of the originator of on-screen mummy issues, Norman Bates. Naturally JB wants to get in there and have a poke about, but alas it’s locked up tight. Ben promises to get the key tomorrow so they can go in and take a look around. As they leave JB sees a shadowy figure cross the window, but decides she’s imagining it.

Daryl has finished doing his errand (ERGH), and decides it’s the end of the line. She’s married to one of his biggest investors, she’s got kids, it’s all too complicated. He launches into a speech about Darwin’s theory of evolution and she points out he didn’t think it was complicated when she was convincing her husband to invest in Daryl’s company when it was about to go broke. Daryl tells her he’s grateful, they’ll do lunch.

Back at the lot, Carolyn introduces JB to Leonora Holt, who is thrilled when she discovers that the book is based on a true story and she will be playing JB (how she didn’t work this out until now is in fact a mystery). She can’t wait to spend all her time with JB picking her brain, finding out about her life and her work, how she investigates murders, how she dresses, she wants to make the role as true to life as she can. She’ll have to learn all those words like moxy and hood and how to put someone on ice. She wonders if she will have to learn to type…

Not thrilled about this development I think.

Not thrilled about this development I think.

Faced with the overwhelming omnishambles that this production is turning into, JB goes to Daryl and says she would rather withdraw her book from the deal rather than see it eviscerated. Daryl tells her sure, no problem, they’ll get rid of John Cavershaw, he never wanted him anyway (which is news to Leonora, she always thought Daryl liked him.) Daryl has a brainwave – JB should write the script and he’ll set up a brains trust of people to help her through the learning curve and then that way Leonora can spend more time learning about her character.

“Oh no, I really wouldn’t want to impose.” JB says through gritted teeth.

That night, as Carolyn and Daryl are leaving, Daryl’s errand rolls up. Turns out her name is Monica. She’s not thrilled with the way things ended, and when Daryl tells her right now isn’t the best time or place to be discussing it she suggests they go to his place, to see what his wife thinks about it all. Daryl sees no reason for her to know, but Monica thinks there’s plenty – so she can hurt him the way he hurt her. Daryl says it will happen over his dead body and Monica tells him that suits her down to the ground.

After a clearly bad nights sleep Daryl arrives at work and tells Ben Miller he’s being let go for cost cutting reasons. Ben swears he won’t leave and Daryl tells him he can either leave with dignity and a month’s pay or leave with security. Ben tells him this ain’t over. At lunch Jess runs into Daryl and Willie at the commissary and says she’s looking for Ben so they can finish the tour of the Bates House. Daryl says Ben’s not available just now, but he’d be delighted to finish the tour with her and arranges to meet her at the Bates Hotel at 3 o’clock. As Jess leaves, Roger the Shrubber peers up over a menu.

That afternoon Daryl lets himself into the Bates House. JB arrives a little while later and sees a figure move in front of one of the windows. She goes inside and finds Daryl dead on the floor.

*aggressively intense violins start throwing chairs around and swearing profusely*

*aggressively intense violins start throwing chairs around and swearing profusely*

The police rock up and…excuse me I have something in my eye…

He's so young in this!

He’s so young in this!

Lieutenant Hanrahan listens as JB points out a few details in the crime scene, like a weird blood smear, but they are soon interrupted by Carolyn who would like a private word with the lieutenant. JB politely leaves them too it and joins the rest of the staff in the office. Ben comes in with a shaken Willy, who collapses on the couch.

The shoes are a thing, I'll get back to them.

The shoes are a thing, I’ll get back to them.

Lieutenant Hanrahan arrives just in time to hear Ben Miller say he’s not sorry Daryl’s dead, and asks him to go into much greater detail. Afterwards, he goes to see Daryl’s errand Monica to find out more about this fight she and Daryl had that Carolyn overheard,  and Monica says she didn’t kill Daryl and Carolyn was probably making the whole thing up.

Back at the office, Jess is worried that Daryl was killed because of the movie, but Willy says he doesn’t know anything about anything. Leonora thinks this is the perfect time to practice her 1940s noir detective words she’s learnt and starts demanding information.

Leonora is like Daniel Day Lewis when it comes to method acting.

Leonora is like Daniel Day Lewis when it comes to method acting, probably.

Leonora takes her self off to practice more gangster words, and JB asks if Willy knew anyone else who would try and hurt Daryl. Willie says he gave the list of names to Lieutenant Hanrahan who told him to keep it confidential. JB understands, and says at least he got to see Daryl right before. He tells her they were in the commissary finishing the paperwork on his new agent contract, Willy was going to rep Daryl for another 2 years. Meanwhile, Carolyn is fielding calls and barely notices when Roger the Shrubber comes in to ask when Leonora will be in again. She tells him she won’t be back til the afternoon but the phone rings again and Roger says that’s okay, he can wait, and goes into the office.

Jess gets back to her hotel room, a bit tuckered out if I’m honest, and suddenly realises the news is on. She catches the tail end of the report and then starts channel surfing and wouldn’t you know, Psycho is playing on another channel. She watches on with interest as Detective Arbogast (played by Martin Balsam who was in these episodes of Murder She Wrote) gets stabbed by Mrs Bates and go tumbling down the stairs, before a knock at the door brings her back to reality. It’s John Cavershaw, who decided JB was right and has written up some new treatments for the movie. JB asks him if Daryl had said anything to him about the script and John says no. He also reveals that Daryl never wanted Leonora in the role, and so had hired Kevin Maxwell to be in the movie in the hope she would quit.

Back at the studio Leonora denies the rumour that she wasn’t first choice, or that she had any issue with Kevin Maxwell, but then JB is called away to the phone. While Leonora waits, she gets a visitor from Roger the Shrubber, who turns out to be her number 1 fan.

Poor Roger isn't playing with a full deck of cards.

Obvious shrubber.

After some deft work from JB Roger is contained and taken to the police station. The gun turns out to be a prop from Leonora’s first movie that he wanted to give her, possibly in exchange for dinner. But he knew nothing about Daryl’s death – he left his Bates House hideout to go and get food and when he came back there was a body on the floor and the house was talking to him.

Poor Roger

Poor Roger

(For the record Roger’s real name is Oliver, but whatever he’s Roger the Shrubber).

JB has one last question – did Roger notice any papers on the body when he went back? Roger tells her yes, a whole heap of blue pages. Hanrahan says they weren’t there when the police arrived and Jess no. She knows what’s going on now.

Later that Ben Miller goes to see Willie to beg him to tell JB not to go back to the Bates House that night. Willy asks him why she’s going and Ben says she told him she was going to make the house talk to her.

JB arrives at the dark deserted house and heads inside. A quick test of the pipes in the kitchen and the bathroom upstairs reveal all JB needed to know, just as the killer walks in.

Oh dear. (Also, not the first time there's been a willie of death it turns out.)

Oh dear. (Also, not the first time there’s been a willie of death it turns out.)

Turns out Ben Miller wasn’t the only person who got the boot that day. Willie was being let go too, so he bumped off Daryl, slipped in some blood, went all over the Bates House looking for water to clean his shoes and THAT’S WHY HIS SHOES ARE TWO DIFFERENT COLOURS LIKE THAT TIME UP THERE WHEN I SAID I’D GET BACK TO THE SHOES JOB DONE.

Case closed kids. Time for me to have a coffee.

*cue the violins*

*cue the violins*