[fig 1: The IMDb doesn't know what Dante looks like]
by J J Cohen
So John Filardi, an alumnus of the GW English Department, is here teaching a course on screenwriting, focused upon comedy. By all accounts it has been a terrific class.
Today he invited Emmanuella Chiriqui (Sloan from Entourage) to his class to talk about ... well I don't even know. When I accidentally by happenstance and without forethought chanced to be lurking by the door as the class ended, she and I struck up a conversation (as celebrities and their stalkers oft will do). I asked her what movies she has appeared in recently. She mentioned Saint John of Las Vegas and I nodded sagely ... then ran to my office to look it up on the IMDb. Seems Chiriqui is playing a stripper named "Tasty D. Lite" in the film. But that isn't the odd part -- or, at least, the oddest part: listed as one of the writers of Saint John is Dante Alighieri.
Probing deeper (I am a tireless researcher), I discovered that this vaguely familiar Dante fellow has not only composed many a medieval text used to beat into intellectual submission the youth of our high schools, he has also been the writer of many films. Many of these works are, of course, adaptations of The Inferno. Dante also has a movie called (naturally) Beatrice. Most surprisingly, he is credited with the soundtrack to La Double vie de Véronique. Among his genres? "Drama | Fantasy | Comedy | Adventure more." Among his keywords? "Hell | Female Nudity | Dante | Inferno more." So says the IMDb, which also offers that his "STARmeter: 8% since last week." I'm sure it's always nice when your STARmeter is up -- but what is a STARmeter, and what is its unit of measurement, and how far up is too far up? Can you explode if your STARmeter rises too quickly?
And I still couldn't figure out why Saint John of Las Vegas should be credited to the great poet of Florence. Here's its synopsis: "a buddy comedy in the vein of Raising Arizona meets Sideways, that chronicles the subtle, life-changing journey of JOHN [Steve Buscemi], a former Vegas blackjack player, who, as a result of circumstance and forces beyond his control, is inevitably drawn back closer and closer to Sin City." Sure, one character is named Virgil (played by Romany Malco) (yet another buddy movie in which the white guy learns life's lessons from the chap with more skin pigmentation). There is nothing in the plot that could be called Dantean ... but then I found this declaration: "A loose adaptation of Dante's Inferno."
Very loose, I am guessing. But then again my STARmeter is down 22% since last week, so what do I know?