Letter to...

Dear Hollywood, Goodbye

I finally realized that nothing I provide for the two of us can ever be enough

Dear Hollywood,

I know that you don't like to read, but I communicate best this way and felt I should give you my perspective on the breakup. At least try to skim it. Maybe thinking of it as "script coverage" will help.

I approached our last meeting with limited expectations, but I kept these things in mind: We've been partners for 30 years; we made over a billion dollars together; we've been through breakups before but always managed to make amends and move on, hand in hand. Our relationship has history and breadth. While we are opposites—you a power broker and me a craftsman—we established a mutual respect based on our abilities.

Given this history, I assumed our lunch at Le Club would include an amicable exchange about our future together. As you know, this is not how it went down.

Before I continue, I want you to know that I had vanquished any lingering bitterness about your recent infidelities. I have long known that you prefer younger men. Hell, I was that younger man once, the flavor of the month you repeatedly pleasured. Lately, I noted my inability to get you on the phone, your indifferent texts, the absence of your "likes" on my social media. Your body language made it clear that I was no longer the only screenwriter in your life, or even a fuck buddy. But I'm a big boy. I recognize that the heart is a fickle muscle, and that over the years our relationship has periodically been one of convenience. So I drove to Santa Monica clear of resentments and ready to engage anew.

The positive fizz I brought to Le Club flattened when the hipster maitre d' informed me that you were running late. Punctuality is not "no-talent behavior," as you so often claimed. Being late doesn't make you a brilliant, distracted artist, or even charmingly eccentric. It just makes you late. More to the point, you know that punctuality has been an issue with us, and yet, as always, you made me hurry up and wait.

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Hipster man hustled me to a conspiracy of mauve ottomans occupied by the nonchalant celebs and overeager executives, all sporting facial hair and/or very skinny legs. They spoke at "dig me" volume about kick-ass auditions and overall deals and parking spots. "Your people," you once called them. Agreeing on a place to eat was always difficult for us, but would it have been so terrible to meet at Junior's just once? Relationships require compromise, and sometimes compromise involves doing what you call "ugly people time" at non-industry venues. A reminder: Most great films are based on stories from and about non-industry people. And, by the way, you can't get pickled herring at Le Club.

Finally, you arrived, and it immediately became clear to me how far apart we've grown. First, there was the "why the fuck am I having lunch with my grandfather?" look you gave me as you swished across the bar, pausing to kiss various fame-oids. Then there was your sad apology for being late; you were stuck on a call with "Jaje," aka director J.J. Abrams. I thought this was a behavior we'd left behind in our thirties. Really? A name drop? With me? After all these years?

And then there was the clumsy way you attempted to be intimate; you sat close, cloaked me with Chanel and then, just before you asked me how I was doing, you checked your watch. Wow. I cling to your stingy bosom for decades and now I'm on the clock? I mean, I'm aware that, in your view, age and experience are not value adds, and that therefore meeting with me is "lunching down," but after all that we've been through, I don't get two minutes of small talk? Two minutes before you're looking over my shoulder, doing a celebrity scan?

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But this cluelessness wasn't the napalm. It was the call you took from your assistant. You screamed, "I don't want [name deleted], I want somebody like [name deleted] used to be!" Then you hung up, smiled as if nothing had happened, and asked, "What were we talking about?"

The clarity I felt in that moment was surprising. Suddenly, I saw in myself an unhealthy, ongoing need for your affirmation, and I saw in you a bottomless pit of need. I realized that nothing I provide for us can ever be enough. Or if it is enough, it will only be briefly enough, brightly lit on Friday night, lost in the dark on Sunday. And then you will demand the next thing, the new thing. And then the next. And the cycle will continue until I am spent, empty. And then you will want someone I used to be, a new flavor of the month.

There's no joy in that kind of relationship, no smiles. And at the core of every relationship, there must be a smile. For this reason most of all, it's over.

Sincerely,

Sam

Tags: movies
   
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