The Aviator

By Mark Ramsey | 2004/12/12

The following was received in a handwritten note by The Hollywood Reporter last week. Although its accuracy cannot be verified, the penmanship suggests the author’s last manicure was in a speakeasy, and chemical tests reveal the envelope had been rinsed in Listerine.

Dear Hollywood Reporter:

I had a good thing going.

Like Ernest Borgnine and that guy who played Chekov in Star Trek, everybody thought I was dead when in fact I was simply turning down all requests to guest on Will & Grace.

And then, Martin Scorsese and Leo Dicaprio go and make The Aviator. It has been quite a while since we’ve had a thrilling bi-plane yarn, so The Aviator comes not a moment too soon.


When I first heard Scorsese was going to do a movie about me I wondered at what point in my life was Joe Pesci my sidekick? Yes, that’s what my story needs: More sadistic whacking!

Okay, I was a maverick filmmaker whose movies have largely been forgotten, I crashed almost every plane I ever flew, I spent huge sums of money on a spruce behemoth that flew at an altitude of seventy feet for sixty seconds one time only, and I dated the only woman in Hollywood who never wore a skirt. Why don’t you just wrap several ply of toilet paper around my head and thrust it otherwise unprotected into a bowl of germ-laden beer nuts at the local saloon?!

Yes, I store my urine in milk bottles. So what? Where do you store your urine, anyway? Just the other day I popped the cork on a vintage bottle from 1946: Full bodied, aromatic, with a hint of apple – a very good year!

aviator_rivets.jpgAnd it’s true, I wear Kleenex boxes as shoes, but can I help it that Kleenex is a perfect size 10? At least it used to be before they made those “boutique” boxes like little squares. Now I prance around on my tiptoes. How do I do that with toenails which can peer around corners? Very carefully indeed.

Back in my day, you know, tissues didn’t come loaded with Vitamin E. We used the stuff to blow our noses not to neutralize free radicals. Now if only they can manufacture a box with a heel.

By the way, did you know Kleenex now has “three germ-blocking layers”? But if a layer really blocks germs, why do you need more than one? These are the thoughts which occupy my mind nowadays, and it’s why you’ll never see the sequel: Aviator II: Obsessive Compulsive and Obsessive Compulsiver.

Leo DiCaprio as me? To a world who now knows me as “Howard Who?” Leo is really playing Leo. On the scale of familiar historical figures, I rank somewhere between William McKinley and Gretchen Mol.

According to The Aviator, my interests during this era were focused on two things: aerials and areolas, but certainly not in that order. The Aviator correctly portrays me as a pioneer in the cinematic display of mammaries. I say if a prominent fuselage isn’t worthy of celebration, by God, I don’t know what is!

Cate Blanchett did a crack imitation of Miss Jane Hathaway from The Beverly Hillbillies doing a crack imitation of Katharine Hepburn. Hey Cate, let me see your Schwarzenegger!

One of the characteristics of OCD is that I have to repeat certain phrases – I have to repeat certain phrases – a specified number of times in order to prevent Earth-shattering consequences. When I do it, I’m off my rocker, but when Fox News does it in their rolling ticker, it’s considered both balanced and fair. I don’t get it.

There’s Leo, obsessively washing his hands. All I know is, OCD or no OCD, if I were sleeping with Gisele Bundchen I’d never wash my hands again.

Here I am thinking I’ll finally be able to enjoy a movie without Jude Law – when up pops Jude! For Chrissake! He’s like a cinematic Whack-a-Mole! This man is Hollywood’s answer to the cockroach! Hey Jude, don’t make it bad. Take a sad song and make it better – but not every single bloody one! One word, two syllables: VACATION!

Overall, I think The Aviator is good, but I wouldn’t call it great. Then again, If I have to accept an Oscar for this picture, I just hope that little golden man is hypo-allergenic. I’ll put on a pair of my good Kleenex boxes and off I’ll go.

Where’s my bottle of pee for the road? Now if someone can just show me how to do a Saran Wrap bow tie.

- H. Hughes

Photos Copyright ©2004 Miramax Films


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