Kudos to Billy Bob Thornton and the Polish brothers (a biological brother directing duo, not black people from Poland [although, kudos to them as well for representing what brown can do for you in Warszawa]) for making The Astronaut Farmer, which could have easily been a disaster in the wrong hands, an entertaining and uplifting filmgoing experience, as well as a life lesson for those on the wrong side of the tracks in the crazy versus eccentric argument. Your loco locomotive schedule is below with the complete itinerary of your trip on the 3:10 to Eccentricity departing Crazy Town. All aboard. This train waits for no man, so you best walk up those ten steps, and take your seat, or risk being left behind with only Kirk Cameron to comfort you.
Step one: Be prepared. Crazy people have their logic challenged constantly. Never be left speechless. Remember you’re trying to gain credibility, not lose it. Prepare an airtight defense, and then prepare to keep your cool when that defense gets completely discredited by coming up with a series of stock platitude comebacks designed to talk you out of any situation before it gets beyond damage control. Think, “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit” and, “We’re just taking it one game at a time.”
Step two: Get focussed. Even if it’s just appearing to make progress, you must make others believe you’re moving in the right direction. Empty action beats empty talk any day of the week. For instance, the Macarena didn’t catch on because people talked about it, but because they actually went out and did it…in public (and then later blocked it out).
Step three: Get money. More money equals less crazy. It’s as simple as that. You don’t believe me? What would you think of Donald Trump if he made twelve dollars an hour and still tried to pull the kind of women he’s been with as a millionaire, billionaire, chamillionaire, or whatever? Does it rhyme with hazy? That’s what I thought.
Step four: Get famous. See step three. It’s the same difference.
Step five: Embrace the media. Have you ever heard the expression, Don’t kill the messenger? Well, in this case, don’t give the messenger a reason to kill you. Think of it as if you’re being mugged by Katie Couric. Just give her what she wants without a fight and maybe she’ll let you live. Maybe.
Step six: Establish a fan base. If the movie Gladiator taught us nothing else, it’s this: if you win the crowd, you win your freedom (and that frost sometimes makes the blade stick, if you know what I mean). The crowd made a slave more powerful than the emperor of Rome. Marinate on that.
Step seven: Make them laugh with you. Laughter cures a lot of ills (for everything else there’s alcohol, both the rubbing and imbibing kinds). I mean, if Patch Adams had actually been funny, it would’ve almost been a bearable viewing experience. And if Will Ferrell pulled the stuff Tom Cruise has the last few years, we’d totally let it slide.
Step eight: Appear unyielding. If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. Think of yourself as a semi-truck that’s brakes have gone out and is speeding out of control down a steep mountain road. Do you think anyone’s going to get in your way or challenge you? Me neither.
Step nine: Appear to yield. I scratch your back. You scratch mine. Think of yourself as a semi-truck th– What? I did? Um… I got nothing.
Step ten: Accomplish something. As crazy as it sounds, at some point someone believed making a film starring Rob Schneider would be a good idea, and as mediocre as the finished products have turned out to be, people still go to see them, leaving the makers to laugh all the way to the bank. And hey, call me eccentric, but if Rob Schneider can do it, then, I say, you can do it.