Anyhow, no shame in this game - you just go right on comparing me to Alejandro Jodorowsky any day of the week and I will always be proud. Now, if I can only get...lucky.
"The Tabernacle of Hedonism screenplay is my El Topo."
Comedy, Dark Comedy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Comedy
A performance artist who cannot manage his life builds a supportive community of outsiders around a weekly variety show in Florida.
The community that Tom and Reverend Angeldust create for other fringe artists and outsiders gives the script a powerful emotional core that clearly demonstrates the value of his mission. This is particularly well illustrated through Lady Lace, who finds acceptance and dignity among the performers at Undertown. There is a certain dedication to antagonistic, non-commercial art that is reflected in both the author’s approach and Tom’s subjective experience of reality, deliberately seeming to make choices that alienate the audience and push back against opportunities that might make the work more commercial. This challenging philosophical and thematic point serves to make the value of Tom’s show within his community even more profound, highlighting how unique it is to have a space where art can be created entirely separate from financial concerns.
The script’s focus can drift down tangents that lack sufficient stakes or consequences for Tom. One of the most prominent examples is the subplot about the marijuana festivals and legalization movement, which is of little personal importance to Tom, giving him minimal stakes in one of the script’s largest storylines. The pacing of the action is quite slow through long portions of the script. Tom’s fragmented perception of reality and time already make it difficult to build momentum, as the action can be quite disjointed, and lingering in scenes where Tom is slow to react, like Revered Angeldust’s discussion of his mother’s caretaker, make them substantially less effective. The story’s jumps between time periods and the hallucinatory nature of the reality is a fair choice, but clarity can suffer as the base reality is warped and questions arise about whether anachronisms and character choices are purposeful, making them less effective.
This script presents and develops a reality that is deliberately fragmented, with a broad thematic focus on the value of artistic work without commercial considerations. The result is a story that appears to intentionally reject mainstream-friendly choices, greatly limiting the potential pathways toward production. There are certainly artists who have succeeded with this approach, Alejandro Jodorowsky comes to mind, but an attempt to model one’s career after his depends on some extraordinary luck. The value of the community that grows out of Tom’s show suggests an emotional core that could help this project stand out within fringe cinema, but even capturing that audience, the commercial prospects are limited.
Professional Evaluation #1Overall Rating