This adds a spin to the phrase double feature. The new must-have dramatic device is the movie within a movie, or as Shakespeare called it, ”the Hamlet trick” (well, that was a play within a play). Currently, In & Out and Boogie Nights boast mini-productions, as do Scream 2 (opening Dec. 12) and Love & Death on Long Island (due in February). Here’s a tally of the four faux films and how they’d fare in real life.
Movie: Brock Landers 7: Oral Majesty (Boogie Nights’ skin flick) Synopsis: Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) plays the lady-killing Landers, who chases bad guys between bouts of lovin’. Critique: ”We really nailed it, I gotta say,” says writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson. Box office chances: A surprise hit — on video.
Movie: To Serve & Protect (In & Out’s Vietnam drama) Synopsis: Actor Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon) gives an Oscar-winning performance as a gay soldier who fights for his country and his wounded lover. Critique: It’s ”a combination of A Few Good Men, Born on the Fourth of July, and the Margarethe Cammermeyer story,” says In writer Paul Rudnick. Box office chances: Dismal. Serve would do better ”on HBO,” says Rudnick. ”It’s more Emmy than Oscar material.”
Movie: Stab (Scream 2’s slasher film, which resembles a little movie called Scream) Synopsis: Based on reporter Gale Weathers’ (Courteney Cox) book, it recounts a string of gruesome murders. Critique: Not only does Weathers fudge facts (”We have fun with the idea that she didn’t quite get it right,” says writer Kevin Williamson), the film plays ”like bad Hitchcock.” Box office chances: Our hunch: a Scream-like $103 million.
Movie: Hotpants College II (Love & Death’s schoolkid romp) Synopsis: Teen idol Ronnie Bostock (Jason Priestley) embarks on a quest to lose his virginity. Critique: While filming, says writer-director Richard Kwietniowski, ”I thought, ‘Oh, my God, we’re doing it too well. Am I looking at my future career?”’ Box office chances: Think Porky’s. ”Hotpants would do rather well,” the director says. ”It’s got a great title.”