THE OBSERVER – synopsis
A recent college graduate, pressured to leave home, goes to the city to learn the paper business, and to learn how to survive on his own. He is initially unsuccessful with his job search, but he ultimately lands a job at a newspaper – The Observer – staffed by misfits and deadbeats, and run by a cantankerous old man by the name of Marty. Marty feels nothing but contempt for his virtually lifeless associate Todd, who silently endures this humiliation. Marty refuses to close the paper despite a virtually nonexistent readership; and the paper becomes nothing more than a telemarketing scam.
Oliver, despite his idealistic hopes, must learn to survive in a situation which threatens to undermine his belief that everything will work out; he can’t afford to consider the possibility of failure. Employees leave one by one, making room for Oliver to become indispensable to Marty. The authorities, however, are soon alerted to fire hazards on the premises and insist that Marty close down the paper. Marty refuses; but Todd attempts to persuade Marty of the pointlessness of maintaining the paper, which no longer deserves to be called a paper; but Marty merely orders Todd to leave. Marty won’t surrender without a fight.
Marty takes Oliver into his confidence and asks Oliver to pick up where Todd left off. Oliver, who has reached this position of trust almost overnight, doesn’t want to go the way of Todd; and, instead, he acceptsa low-paying position at a magazine. When Marty hears of this betrayal he kicks Oliver out. Oliver later hears that the Observer building burned to the ground and that Todd has disappeared. Todd’s body is found in what’s left of the building and authorities conclude he took his own life. An unstable employee later confesses to burning down the building but claims to have nothing to do with Todd’s death. Oliver meets Marty one last time and Marty wishes him luck but vows that he’s not beaten yet. Oliver must continue to struggle and he consoles himself with the hope that everything will eventually work out.
SOCIETY OF PROMETHEUS – a synopsis
THE SOCIETY OF PROMETHEUS tells the story of an insurance man who becomes involved with an underground organization devoted to making men free by eliminating their fears. It’s not long before his life crumbles apart around him, and he’s on the run for murder he may or may not have committed.
Nathan Friedman, an insurance company executive, receives a note from an organization by the name of the Society of Prometheus. He attends a meeting and discovers that the organization encourages its members to confront their fears and gain control of their lives. The speaker addresses Nathan, despite Nathan’s attempts not to be noticed, and warns him not to run from the truth. Nathan slips out.
We now see Nathan in the humdrum setting of the insurance offices; and he’s confronted by his secretary, Eve, who wants to discuss their relationship. Apparently, they’ve had an affair, but Nathan, put out by her emotional demands, explains that he’d rather not talk about it.They argue but Nathan still manages to avoid the issue.
Nathan speaks to his boss, Walter, who tells Nathan that he’s concerned about the imprudence of having an affair with a secretary. He also expresses concern that Nathan no longer cares about the work he does. Nathan knows this to be true.
We observe Nathan contemplating suicide before a bathroom mirror ; and we are soon transported back to the Society of Prometheus. Nathan is almost irresistably drawn to the organization; but he still feels comfortable in the role of the observer.The speaker officially inducts a young woman, Aurora, into the Society. When she’s asked to choose a partner for her journey, she points to Nathan, and he’s led toward the stage to join her. She draws him to the labyrinth of rooms behind the stage and explains to him that she wants to conceive a child who would become a god among men. Nathan runs away, pursued by Aurora. Aurora tells him he can’t run away anymore.
Eve doesn’t show up for work; so Nathan visits her at home. He then reveals his feelings and he explains that he doesn’t care that their co-workers might gossip about them. He confesses his fear of losing her; they embrace.
Later, a boy delivers Nathan a note from a man – Ariel – Nathan met at the Society. Ariel is the same man who has been following Nathan. The note is an invitation to his initiation into the organization. He tosses it aside. But, late in the evening, Ariel comes for him and persuades him to attend. At the Society, a mysterious man drugs him and he’s presented to the Speaker who initiates him. Aurora takes him to a back room and appears to engage in sexual intercourse with him.
Nathan arrives late to work only to find Aurora waiting for him in his office. He orders her to leave; which she does willingly. Eve is clearly upset by the betrayal. Walter urges Nathan to get his act together.
On the way home, Nathan confronts Ariel; but he learns relatively little from him. He finds Aurora at home and he can’t understand how she got inside. She tells him that they are linkedbut his refusal to have anything more to do with her has hurt her. He pursues her to the Society where she turns the tables on him and reveals to him that she’s underage. She suggests that she might go to the cops. She provokes him and he hits her head against the wall. She’s unconscious but it’s not clear if she’s dead or not.
Nathan receives anonymous phone calls from a man who accuses Nathan of murder; the man wants hush money but Nathan refuses. Nathan believes Ariel to be the caller and he confronts him about it. But Ariel claims innocence; but he promises to look into things.
A detective visits Nathan at work and asks him about his connection with Aurora. Nathan plays innocent and the detective leaves. Walter then notifies Nathan that he’s placing him on suspension considering recent events which don’t reflect well upon the organization. Nathan goes home only to discover he’s been followed by the detective who probes him with more questions. Nathan continues to play innocent. Nathan packs and has one of many fainting spells on the subway (due to claustrophobic condition); he’s been taken to Eve by a mystery man. When Nathan spots the detective outside of her home he escapes out back and looks for Ariel at the Society.He spots a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Aurora; he pursues her but he can’t find her.
Nathan meets the Speaker/Lucien who reveals to Nathan that Aurora is alive and well and consorting with one of their members by the name of Alfonso.They give him Alfonso’s address; there he finds Aurora and he confronts her about the treachery.She panics, explaining that Alfonso will get angry because he’ll think she lured Nathan to him and accuse her of sabotaging their plans to extort a little money from Nathan. Alfonso arrives; it’s the Detective. Upon sighting Nathan, Alfonso flees; Aurora becomes delirious and pleads with Nathan not to let Alfonso hurt her.
Alfonso confronts Nathan at Nathan’s apartment, which has been trashed by Alfonso while he was away. He reveals to Nathan that Aurora is dead but he transfers blame for her murder from himself to Nathan. Alfonso reveals his passionate feelings for Aurora and holds Nathan at gunpoint. He surprises Nathan by placing Nathan’s fingers over the trigger and holding the gun to his own head. There’s a struggle and the gun fires. Alfonso gets killed. Nathan drops the gun and runs.
Nathan tells Ariel what happened and Ariel offers to help him. Nathan flees to Eve’s home. The following morning Ariel and Lucien arrive to explain that the law enforcement are on their way and that if he wants to run that he’d better leave right away. Nathan decides to hold his ground and confront the inevitable, rather then spend the rest of his days living in fear. Eve wants to stay with him until the cops arrive.
A TINY DEATH – a synopsis
A TINY DEATH is an unconventional love story about two young people who spend far too much time hurting themselves to ever consummate their feelings for each other.The script features a cast of troubled twenty-somethings who struggle to come to terms with themselves; and I would describe this as more of a character piece about people who are by turns amusing and tragic.
We are first introduced to the main character, CLAIRE, a beautiful but eccentric painter who takes perverse pleasure in suffering pain. For her, to experience pain is to experience what it is to be alive. When we meet her, she is dating a young assistant agent by the name of REDMOND, a real go-getter who takes no pleasure in Claire’s sadomasochistic games.
We then meet our other main characters, CLAUDE and ELAINE. Claude is a photographer friend of Redmond who, upon meeting Claire, begins to obsess about her. Elaine is a bartender friend of Claire’s, a very practical young woman who doesn’t seem to have much luck with men. Claire, on the other hand, has altogether too much luck with men.
The screenplay begins as Redmond, unable to attend a party with Claire, asks Claude to accompany her. He doesn’t trust her with other men (considering her track record for sleeping around) and he wants Claude to keep an eye on her. Claude is all too willing to get to know Claire and he meets her at the party. The party in question is held by Paul, a Rastafarian who supplies Claire with drugs. Paul invites Claire and Claude to partake of some ecstasy with him; and Claude, who has had problems with drugs in the past, reluctantly agrees.
Claude falls ill and Claire nurses him back to health. As a result of her ministrations, Claude begins to fall in love with her. He thinks of her as an angel, though anyone else in their social circle might tell him that there’s nothing angelic about her. He takes drugs as a way of getting closer to her; but, in his mind, she is merely a vision just out of reach.
Claire has taken an interest in Claude, as they have much in common, including certain masochistic tendencies. But Claire refuses to acknowledge her feelings for him and encourages Elaine to spend time with him.She thinks that Claude and Elaine would make a lovely couple, but Claude and Elaine never seem to click. And whenever Claude is with Elaine, he devotes most of the conversation discussing Claire and her well-being. Elaine begins to feel tenderness towards Claude, but she worries that Claude feels nothing for her and everything for Claire.
Claude begins to spend much of his time with Paul, and he begins to explore the magical properties of angel dust (PCP). He loses any focus he might have had and dissolves into a self-loathing state of mind. He desires Claire as if she were some sort of salvation, as if only she could prevent him from hurting himself.
Claire dumps Redmond because he fails to satisfy her masochistic needs and she meets a peculiar young man, and a self-proclaimed vampire, by the name of THE COUNT. He takes Claire home with him and threatens to kill her; but it’s his perverse desire merely to dress up in women’s clothing for her.The proximity to death is intense for her, and its such experiences which make life exciting enough to be worth living. But the Count is another disappointment to her. Everyone and everything seems to bore her.
But Elaine sets Claire up with a mysterious musician by the name of Trent, a man who is involved with a possessive woman by the name of Vivian. Trent and Claire are fascinated by one another and for the first time in ages she finds herself a truly compatible sexual partner, one who takes as much pleasure in hurting as she does in being hurt.
Claude spends more time with Paul who, despite the fact that he’s involved with a quirky young woman by the name of SOPHIE, takes an interest in Claude. Paul prefers spending his time with Claude to spending it with anyone else; and he believes that Claude understands him and his need to be more affectionate with men. Claude falls deeper into what could become a drug dependency.
Elaine, frustrated that Claude prefers the company of Claire to her company, encourages Claire to spend more time with Claude. Always the matchmaker, Elaine arranges for Claire to paint Claude in the nude. Claire does so and agrees to let Claude take nude photos of her. During this time, Claude begins to reveal his feelings for her, but she dismisses them. Claire is too smitten with Trent to take an interest in anyone else; but she does have a definite affection for Claude. But she believes that they have too much in common to make a good match.
Vivian, jealous that Trent is spending so much time with Claire, attacks Claire and cuts Claire with a knife. Trent beats Vivian; and Vivian must eventually accept the loss of a man she would have willingly died for. Vivian reluctantly steps aside so that Trent and Claire can spend time together.
Elaine makes another attempt to get to know Claude, but Claude is too far-gone with drugs to pay her much heed. She is upset to learn that Claire revealed the truth about a sexual encounter Claire had with her; and she assumes that Claire is attempting to lure Claude away from her. Elaine confronts Claire and offers Claude to her.
Claude, after a bad trip, visits Claire to see her while she recovers from her run-in with Vivian. Trent becomes jealous and believes that Claire is seeing Claude behind his back. He beats Claire; but Claire says nothing about this to either Claude or Elaine. Claude becomes even more concerned for her well-being and can’t keep away from her. He visits again, only to incur the wrath of Trent who then beats Claude. Claire, always sympathetic to those who suffer, protects Claude from Trent and takes Claude away. She tells Trent that she can’t stay with him anymore. She doesn’t like the ides of Claude getting hurt. She feels protective towards him just as Claude feels protective towards her.
Claude and Claire spend time together and she finally admits to having feelings for him. Claude doesn’t ever want to leave her; and he wants to make her happy. But Claire has a perverse death-wish, and only Trent can help her to realize such a fate. She’s attracted to Trent because she doesn’t know what to expect from him; with Claude, she feels safe. But love is danger for her, and she, naturally, returns to Trent.
Claude returns once again to see her, and Trent, believing that Claude is bothering Claire, knocks Claude unconscious. Claire rushes to protect Claude and once she feels certain that Claude is fine, she begins to provoke Trent’s wrath. She does what ever she can to make Trent angry, as if in an attempt to secure this death-wish of hers. Trent beats her to death as Claude watches helplessly. Once he realizes what he’s done, Trent, now chastened, runs away. Claude embraces Claire as if she were still alive.
We last see Claude and Elaine finding comfort in each other’s company. They both knew Claire better than anyone else, and they miss her, but this is a new beginning for them.
CHINA BIRD – a synopsis
CHINA BIRD is an unconventional love story about two people – one a reserved and lonely bank manager, the other an amiable and care-free con-artist dealing in forged art works — brought together under very peculiar circumstances.
ANGIE DAWSON is a attractive, 42 year old woman who has given up on life. She works as an Assistant Bank Manager, but life has visited many a disappointment upon her.Furthermore, Angie has lost the capacity to trust others; and she suspects that her boyfriend PATRICK is seeing other women behind her back. Her job is tiresome and her companion at work, TRISHA,can’t understand why Angie maintains such an impenetrable reserve.
Enter MICHAEL FLYNN, a mysterious and attractive man of 28, who wants to place a bag of money in a safe deposit box at the bank. He claims to know her, but Angie finds his forward manner off putting.She would prefer a professional distance, particularly because the enormous value of the deposit arouses her mistrust.Before leaving, Flynn asserts that he chose to bring this matter to her because he doesn’t trust anyone else.
That evening, Angie watches passively form her window as a group of thugs mug a a club-footed neighbor of hers by the name of DANIEL.She has never spoken a word to Daniel, but his suffering arouses feelings of empathy.She wants to reach out but she can’t overcome her natural tendency to keep to herself. Angie and Daniel will cross paths a few times without saying a word to each other.
The following morning, Angie is accosted by a thug who attempts to steal her briefcase. Flynn and his sister, CHLOE HARPER, a gallery owner, intercede and return her briefcase to her. Flynn explains the coincidence of their arrivalby claiming to be apartment hunting.Furthermore, Chloe claims to be Flynn’s fiancee.Angie, feeling beholden to them for helping her, offers to be of assistance to them; and Chloe takes advantage of the offer to ask Angie to deliver a painting — The Lady of Shallot — for them. Angie agrees.
Angie makes the delivery to a man by the name of ARMSTRONG, and, in exchange, receives a package which Flynn later collects from her when he picks her up from work.Flynn, however, is shocked to learn that the package contains only a portion of the fee and that she has given Armstrong her address so that Armstrong might deliever the remainder upon authentication of the painting.Flynn walks her to her apartment only to find that someone has broken in and ransacked the place. Without admitting any wrongdoing, Flynn suggests that the painting might have been a fake, and that Armstrong might have been dissatisfied with the deal. Angie is shocked and wants nothing more to do with this shady business. She refuses to give Flynn the money which Armstrong had given to her until this can be cleared up. Flynn, genuinely apologetic for how things have turned out, offers to clear everything up. He invites her to Chloe’s gallery to discuss matters. Later, Daniel introduces himself and claims to have heard everything; he offers to let her stay with him.
Angie meets with Chloe and Flynn; but Chloe takes a dislike to Angie, mistaking Angie’s reserve for aloofness.She does not regard Angie as one of them; but Flynn wants to get Angie out of this. Angie learns that the mugging was staged to make her feel beholden enough to help them; apparently, they prefer to preserve their anonymity by using patsies to deliver the works of art. Angie also learns that the works of art are not always genuine; and that Chloe and Flynn are con-artists who make a living by duping their buyers into buying fakes. Angie is appalled, and still refuses to return the package which Armstrong had given her.Chloe offers to let her in on a deal to sell an exquisite porcelain figurine, called the China Bird, to a prospective buyer; but Angie’s refusal to get involved angers Chloe. Flynn can’t persuade her to return the package or to participate in the delivery, but she agrees to let him pick her up from work the following day. She returns home and takes Daniel up on his offer to let her stay with him. She doesn’t understand how forgiving he can be of those who hurt him, but Daniel has attained a state of peace which Angie aspires to attain herself.
Flynn picks her up from work, but he surprises her by making the deliveryof the China Bird before taking her home.Flynn meets with an unctuous buyer by the name of KALE, along with Kale’s laconic bodyguard, WINSTON. Flynn exchanges the figurine for a portion of the fee; but things go wrong when Armstrong shows up, revealing himself to be a proxy buyer for Kale. Flynn and Angie attempt to drive away before Armstrong can recognize Angie; but it’s too late when Winston begins firing a gun at their car.There’s no turning back for Angie.Flynn informs her that there is no such thing as the China Bird and that the figurine was a fake. But he insists that he will do whatever it takes to make things right.
Angie has given the money deposit to Daniel for safekeeping. But when Flynn and Angie arrive to pick up he package, they discover that Daniel had the ill-fortune of cleaning up Angie’s ransacked apartment when the men arrived to look for the second package. Daniel has been beaten, but he insists that he told the men nothing. Daniel concealed the package in his apartment, but Flynn can’t find it. Flynn presumes that the men have found it and taken it. Daniel refuses to leave his apartment, however, because he’s determined to hold his ground and to take his chances.Angie worries about Daniel.
Flynn agrees to take Angie to a motel; but when they meet with Chloe, Chloe rebukes Flynn for taking such an unprofessional interest in Angie. Chloe doesn’t trust her and she informs Flynn that she and her brother Flynn having done just fine together.Chloe takes the money which Kale had given Flynn; but Flynn and Angie are surprised to learn that there is a real China Bird and that Chloe might still try to sell it to Kale.
Flynn insists on helping Angie; but they argue at the motel. Flynn leaves to visit Kale in an attempt to strike a deal with him; but Kale strikes no bargain with Flynn and demands that Flynn return the money he stole. Flynn agrees to return it the following evening, and Kale shows he means business by having Winston dislocate Flynn’s arm.
Now temporarily crippled, Flynn returns to the motel because he needs Angie to help drive him to Chloe’s apartment. Once there, Flynn learns that Chloe has packed and taken the money with her. Flynn is upset that she could have abandoned him like this; but, before leaving, he grabs one of the duplicate birds.
Angie, desirous of checking up on Daniel, takes Flynn to see Daniel. Flynn, upset that everything has fallen apart, takes his anger out on Daniel and criticizes him for having quietly accepted the evil in this world.Despite Flynn’s harsh words, Daniel offers to reset Flynn’s dislocated arm; and Flynn is abashed. Daniel also produces the package containing the money which Flynn believed to have been taken. There’s a glimmer of hope for Flynn.
Flynn and Angie return to the motel where their feelings for one another come to a head. Angie overcomes her tendency towards mistrust and opens up towards Flynn; she has already become more comfortable with taking an active part in her life. Flynn needs Angie because he feels comfortable with her, and because he thinks he can trust her. They declare their feelings for each other. Angie’s life has changed irrevocably.
Regrettably, Flynn has chosen to meet with Kale at the appointed time; he refuses to run from his problems as he always has. Angie is concerned that this would be a mistake, considering he doesn’t have the money; but Flynn did promise to clear everything up and settle accounts for her. Flynn drops Angie off at her home to see Daniel while he, his arm now better, drives on to see Kale. Angie stumbles upon Daniel just as Winston and another thug by the name of MONKEY are torturing him in order to obtain her whereabouts.She bravely surrenders herself, but its too late to save Daniel who dies from their abuse. The thugs take Angie to Kale’s mansion.
Flynn arrives at Kale’s, only to discover that Chloe is there already in an attempt to arrange a deal. Chloe has brought the original China Bird, while Kale arrives with a second duplicate bird. Kale, upset to find two such China Birds, becomes enraged and destroys both of them. Chloe is in shock that Kale could have destroyed something so priceless, and when Kale demands justice, she offers her head.The thugs arrive with Angie just as Kale shoots Chloe in the leg. Flynn tussles with Kale only to be outnumbered by the thugs. Kale orders the three of them to leave and regards the matter settled. He wants them out of his hair.
Chloe and Flynn take Angie home; but Flynn explains that he and Chloe have to leave for a while until the dust settles. Angie is upset, but they must go their separate ways.Weeks later, Flynn, as promised, meets her at the bank, where she has attempted to resume her life as she’d been living it. Only with Flynn can Angie’s life truly begin again.
HIGH ASPIRATIONS – a synopsis
HIGH ASPIRATIONS is a comedy about sexual relationships; more specifically, about two young couples who satisfy their restlessness by swapping sexual partners. It’s also a comedy about the quest to achieve high aspirations, and about how these young people struggle in the hope of one day becoming successful.
We are introduced to two men and two women, all of them pushing thirty. First, we meet HERMAN FUCHS, a self-absorbed actor who imagines that he will one day be a household name. Despite his looks, Herman is a non-working actor — stage name Lysander — who embarks on a quest for modeling work. Regrettably, his encounter with a lecherous, shifty modeling agent by the name of GIL gets him nowhere.
We are then introduced to DAHLIA FERRANTE, a beautiful dominatrix by trade who prefers to spend her time writing.Â Domination has enabled her to vent her frustration at being regarded as something of a prostitute and at not being recognized as a writer. Dahlia’s attempt to supplement her income by interviewing with a shady strip club owner by the name of MAX does nothing but offer her another chance to vent her rage.
Next, we meet HUMPHREY FUCHS, Herman’s older brother, a bartender who labors away at a job he detests while he aspires to owning a bar of his own. Humphrey attends a seminar on network marketing in the hopes of means of earning the necessary funds to finance the bar, but he suspects that the promise of wealth is nothing more than just that: a promise. He answers a page by Dahlia, his girlfriend, who needs him to pick her up from the strip club.
Last, we meet MAGDALENE MADIGAN, a talent agent who has not had much luck venturing into the more lucrative realm of selling scripts to studios. She loses a deal, just as Herman, her boyfriend and client , arrives to argue with her. He’s upset that she doesn’t find him work, claiming that she has ceased to help him find work because of disappointment with their relationship.She, however, argues that she can’t find him work because he has no talent. They engage in a battle of wits which no one wins.
The two brothers, Herman and Humphrey, meet at a Hooters-type bar for drinks. There, the two of them discuss the disappointments in their lives, and Herman reveals his concern that Magdalene won’t find him work because she hates him.Â He wants to move out of Magdalene’s apartment and Humphrey reluctantly agrees to let him stay with him and to retrieve his personal belongings from Magdalene. Herman suggests swapping girlfriends after revealing his interest in meeting Dahlia, while Herman makes known his admiration for Magdalene when he offers to help Herman and Magdalene get on friendly terms again.
Humphrey later meets with Dahlia, but Dahlia reveals some dissatisfaction with not only her life and but with their relationship. Humphrey has always been submissive to her, but Dahlia wants Humphrey to be more dominant. He disappoints her by refusing to change something he doesn’t want changed; for her, their relationship is stagnant.
Humphrey meets with Magdalene to pick up Herman’s belongings, but Magdalene is surprised to learn of Herman’s plan to leave her. She warms to Humphrey and tells him she has always liked him.She wants to make an actor of him, even though he’d prefer working in a bar. Humphrey offers to make dinner for Herman and Magdalene at his apartment, but neither Magdalene nor Herman relish the prospect of meeting again.
Later, Dahlia drops by Humphrey’s apartment to see Humphrey but finds only Herman making himself at home there.Herman arranges to meet with her for asession.
The day of the dinner, Herman doesn’t show and so Humphrey finds himself alone with an amorous Magdalene who eventually makes her feelings for him known. Meanwhile, Herman meets Dahlia for the session butDahlia takes a shine to Herman who turns the tables on her.She wants to surrender herself to someone and Hermanaccepts the offer quite happily.Dahlia and Herman surprise themselves by sleeping together while Humphrey and Magdalene also surprise themselves by sleeping together.
The following day, Herman arrives atHumphrey’s, only to discover that Magdalene spent the night with Humphrey. The three of them argue but Herman shocks Humphrey by admitting to having just slept with Dahlia.Herman’s earlier proposal to swap girlfriends has actually transpired, though entirely by accident.
Humphrey, feeling guilty for having betrayed Dahlia, visits her, but Dahlia can’t understand why he isn’t angry with her. She wishes he were more jealous, but if Humphrey’s jealous, he doesn’t reveal it.She suggests that they spend some time apart to reconsider if they are even compatible. Humphrey can’t stand to lose her but she insists. She needs her space and time alone to work on her new script.
Herman meets with Magdalene and, once again, they trade insults. But Magdalene wins this hand by dropping Herman as a client and officially ending their relationship.
Humphrey runs to Magdalene as if by default, but Magdalene prefers the ever obliging Humphrey who who supports her in everything, though he refuses to replace Herman by becoming an actor.Unfortunately, Humphrey is miserable at work as the bar owner’s son, the MANAGER, dumps everything on Humphrey.
Now that Herman no longer has an agent, he tries his hand at nude photography but finds no satisfaction in it. Dahlia has lost interest in her work, and takes no relish in dominating her clients.But Dahlia and Herman are content with each other on a superficial level, and they have fun together; however, they never consider what they have a relationship.
One evening, Dahlia leaves a copy of her new script for Humphrey to read, but Magdalene finds it first and, curious about Dahlia, decides to read it. She loves it and meets with Dahlia for the first time, offering to become her agent. Though suspicious of Magdalene’s intentions, Dahlia agrees.
Humphrey and Magdalene begin to squabble as Humphrey begins to take issue with Magdalene’s lack of tenderness.He’s astonished when he learns that Magdalene stole a copy of Dahlia’s new script — Shoots and Ladders — from his apartment.They agree that the relationship is no longer working.
Humphrey meets with Herman again and they decide to let bygones be bygones. Herman suggests that that they once again swap girlfriends because the alteration hasn’t been enough of an improvement. Herman needs someone to argue with and Humphrey needs the comfort of Dahlia’s company.
As Dahlia never felt anything for Herman, she’s glad to have Humphrey back. They both realize that it was meant to be, especially now that Humphrey feels less inclined to accept her domination of him.
Herman returns to Magdalene who offers to send him on an audition. There is verbal sparring but it’s not long before the insults lead to reaffirming their sexual feelings for each other.
Six months later, the two couples –Dahlia and Humphrey, Herman and Magdalene — meet for dinner to celebrate Humphrey’s promotion to manager of the bar. Herman has also encountered some success with an appearance in a national underwear commercial. Meanwhile, Magdalene has been able to secure a profitable deal for Dahlia. Things are picking up for everyone.
But Herman expresses an interest in once again swapping girlfriends, for old times sake. Magdalene, still dissatisfied with her relationship with Herman, asks Dahlia if she’d considera shift in their sleeping arrangements. Despite their success, it would seem that these couples are doomed to playing sexual musical chairs.
MEDIOCRITY – a synopsis
Upon attending a play called Mediocrity with his agoraphobic/obsessive-compulsive wife Lenora, Garrett Koontz, a womanizing divorce lawyer, recognizes one of the actors as a former friend and roommate, Roland Legrand: a struggling playwright and novelist who refuses to compromise for anyone while avoiding relationships with women. Spending much of his time inhabiting the eighteenth-century world he’s creating for his first stab at a romance, it comes as a surprise when Garrett invites him to his office to discuss getting him published. Even more surprising is the fact that Garrett knows his former lover, Niki Quinn, a successful writer of romance novels; but when Garrett asks Roland to escort her to the party Niki’s publishers are having, Roland is less than enthused.
What with Niki’s disappointment with the affair and Lenora wanted to attend the party too, Garrett is a mess.Upon meeting Niki, Roland isn’t exactly well received. Their relationship ended badly and, since then, Niki has done well financially, well enough for a live-in girl-toy, the nudist Lief. Despite trading insults, the pair agree to meet up before the party. It seems their relationship had always been tempestuous. As the party turns out to be a dress party, Roland finds himself forced to wear a clown suit, much to Niki’s amusement. It’s yet another humiliation for Roland who bears up with his habitually acerbic wit.Niki’s publishes, Renato and his body-building wife Lastima, are an odd pair. In the midst of divorce proceedings, they barely manage to keep things amicable, but Renato takes it all in stride, flirting shamelessly even in front of Lastima. The party is awkward for the other characters and Lenora has another panic attack, but Roland finds solace in his fantasy world which now includes the woman he claims to detest: Niki. Niki befriends Leonora while distancing herself from an increasingly disconsolate Garrett who adores her but finds his wife a nuisance.
After the disastrous party, Garrett’s jealousy mounts while Roland confronts his own jealousy of Niki’s success. But while discussing Lief’s idea for a sperm donor themed romance screenplay, Roland finds his conversations with Niki less vitriolic and even remotely amicable. Not to mention, his fantasy life with Niki takes on an uncharacteristically romantic sheen.Meanwhile, Garrett arranges a meeting between Roland and Niki’s publisher Renato while Niki herself finds herself uncomfortably hemmed in by her success as a romance novelist. Roland reminds her of how open-ended her life had once been, and she longs for the past just as Roland does. Roland, however doesn’t meet with Renato but Renato’s dominant wife who takes a less-than professional interest in Roland and who invites him to work out with her at the gym.Things don’t go smoothly for Roland on the publishing front, nor do things work out between Garrett and Niki who refuses to see Garrett anymore.
But Niki has unwittingly attracted the interest of Renato who wants to whisk her away on a holiday getaway. It’s a tempting offer since she feels like she’s in a rut. Though she’s attracted enough to Roland to see him perform in the play he wrote. The pair connect once again, but fail to consummate their feelings for each other.Â Garrett, meanwhile, admits to Roland that he admired him once and even struggled with feelings for him, much to Roland’s surprise; but Garrett just needs to connect and the two of them embrace; though from the spying Lenora, who suspects her husband has been having an affair, it’s a bigger blow than she expected. Convinced that Garrett is gay, she confronts Roland who unwittingly admits that Garrett was having an affair with her new friend Niki. But Roland has other things on his mind, particularly the fact that Niki is planning on going away with the playboy Renato. Fortunately, things haven’t completely soured between Lenora and Niki and Lenora gets Niki to doubt her recent decision to run away with Renato.
Roland’s fantasies take a darker turn as he works with his feelings for Niki, but getting her to stay is one thing he can’t do alone, so he meets with her and they connect once again. Niki has no interest in leaving Roland and while Lastima, Renato and his lawyer Garrett bicker in court, Roland and Niki spend time alone struggling with their love/hate feelings for each other; though, in truth, it’s mostly unspoken love.Â Roland’s fantasy romance ends well too, and Roland concludes the battle of the sexes by discussing it in an epilogue, much as he does in his play, before stepping out of character and revealing that everything was a drama and that Roland is, in fact a unanimously despised director who only thinks he’s well-loved and who’s life is anything but idyllic. The woman playing Niki truly despises him. It becomes a play within a play until Roland claims he’s had enough of it all and ends the whole comic farce by imperiously yelling cut.