Friday, September 11, 2015

The only good video on the Internet

Don E. Russell, aka "DR Live," giving his Flower Power pitch.

Scientists now estimate that there are well over two dozen videos available for instantaneous viewing on the Internet. With that kind of volume, there are bound to be the occasional duds. I am happy to report, however, that I have discovered a clip that is well worth three and a half minutes of anyone's time. It is entitled "Flower Power," and it is a movie pitch by a Phoenix, Arizona resident named Don E. Russell, who also goes by the nickname "DR Live."

Information about the video is exceedingly difficult to come by, but judging from some of the then-topical references it contains, I'd say it dates back to the early 1990s. The Found Footage Fest, which posted the video to its website back in 2012, refers to it as "an oldie-but-goodie from the tape-trading days," suggesting that it first circulated as a VHS cassette that was then duplicated and re-duplicated by connoisseurs of oddball entertainment. The FFF clip is obviously just a condensed "highlight reel" of a much longer presentation, but I have been unable to find the full-length pitch.

Still, what's there is absolutely mesmeric and definitely leaves me wanting more. Mr. Russell, a middle-aged ex-hippie who seems like a first cousin to Jeff Bridges' "The Dude" from The Big Lebowski, has an idea for a "magical musical masterpiece" called Flower Power and wants to get some investors for his ambitious cinematic rock flick. He clearly put some time and effort into this presentation, and the concept art he shows us is fairly impressive. But it's Russell's salesmanship and enthusiasm that truly put this over the top.

You know what? As crazy as this may sound, I actually think Flower Power could work... as a comedy. This is not a total betrayal of Russell's original intentions, though, as his script obviously contains some intentionally comedic elements of its own, such as the sequence in "Satan's Bar and Grill" and the Bill and Hillary cameos. I'd cast Will Ferrell as David, John C. Reilly as Kalvin, Danny McBride as Lightning, Aubrey Plaza as the Bitch Demon, Jack Black as the Jealous Demon, and Bruno Ganz (reprising his role from Downfall) as Hitler.

Clearly, a big chunk of the film's budget would go towards music rights, since Russell's proposed scenario uses such definitely-not-public-domain tracks as "Smoke on the Water," "Popcorn," "We Are the Champions," and "Bad to the Bone." Maybe the cost could be offset by including, as Russell suggests, a full-length Pepsi ad from the early 1970s. Like this one, for instance:

As I said earlier, information about Don E. Russell and Flower Power is scarce, and I haven't yet located the full-length version of the movie pitch. What I can say, though, is that does list a Don E. Russell as living in Phoenix, AZ, and it's at the same address included in the video: 15421 N. 30th Ave. The phone number, which the website specifies is a land line, is the same, too.

And guess what else? Just on a lark, I decided to Google the phrase "Kalvin's Kool Klothes," and I discovered a listing for a defunct clothing manufacturer with that very same name. A site devoted to Arizona Companies lists it as "an inactive business incorporated in PHOENIX, Arizona, USA on January 17, 1990." And the business' address? Yep, it's 15421 N. 30th Ave. So in addition to trying to get this movie made, Russell was apparently running a clothing business out of his house. He seems like an interesting guy. 

Don E. Russell, if you're reading this, get in touch. Please.