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Being John Malkovich
4.23.2003 by Dan Beirne, every Wednesday.

Nathan Lane comes over every Wednesday to the house to watch a movie, or just chat with Dan. Dan found these little chats so interesting, he decided to tape-record them and tell the world all the neat things Nathan had to say about movies and stuff.

Wednesday, April 16th, cloudy three hours early

Being John Malkovich (1999): A bumbling file clerk stumbles across a portal that leads literally inside the head of movie star John Malkovich. Starring John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, and John Malkovich. Written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze.

(lights up on a pair of gentlemen. Playing an ambiguous card game, with real cards, sitting in front of a computer)

Nathan: Do you have any four's?

Me: I have to write an essay on this movie.

Nathan: On what?

Me: I don't have a topic, I just have to pick one.

Nathan: Can't help you. You have to discard first.

Me: Oh, right. Well, what did you think?

Nathan: Ante up.

Me: What?

Nathan: I liked it. A gorgeous idea. You remember Cynthia?

Me: Um, no. Are we on the same team this round?

Nathan: Yeah. You remember her. Remember? At the fairgrounds.

Me: Oh, the fairgrounds. I got sick there. Has hearts been broken?

Nathan: I'm thinking about calling it quits with her.

Me: Oh no!

Nathan: Yeah.

Me: How come?

Nathan: She's a....


Nathan: ...no, no, that's mean, I wish her well...

(lights return to almost their full capacity)

Nathan: ...It's not working out.

Me: Well, that's too bad. Is this a full house?

Nathan: Yes it is. So how can I do it?

Me: Break up with her?

Nathan: Of course.

Me: Give me an essay topic.

Nathan: Discard first!

Me: Sorry.

Nathan: Write about the camera's treatment of separate characters. Malkovich gets a 'realistic' camera, where Craig gets a 'classical' camera.

Me: Is that true?

Nathan: I don't know. (beat) I don't know.

Me: Tell her you can't see her anymore because your career is taking off and she's holding you back.

Nathan: That's the most awful thing I've ever heard. I'm going alone on this hand.

Me: I saw Nickelby on a plane.

Nathan: Oh, really? Will you have the chicken or the fish?

Me: The fish.

Nathan: That bad, eh?

Me: It was kind of cold.

Nathan: A cold fish. You can be harsh, Dan.

Me: You were good, though.

Nathan: Right.

Me: I'm sorry.

Nathan: Woah, wait. Take that back. Don't you have any diamonds?

Me: Oh, yes, I do.

Nathan: You have to follow suit, Dan!

Me: Forgive me. Good luck with Cynthia.

Nathan: Good luck with your paper. And, gin.

(a car horn sounds)

Nathan: That's me. I'll be seeing you.

Me: Yeah, later.

(at this point, a gentleman, either one, handcuffs themselves to the other. they remain seated)

as always, you can e-mail Nathan to talk about movies or just chat about whatever.


In an earlier version of this scene, there is a lengthy dialogue concerning the return of a book to Dan by Nathan's lover Cynthia. For disk space purposes, this was removed, but will be re-added in the forthcoming hardcover collection of Nathan's articles.

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