An ultra-rare screening of “Triple Fisher” is happening at BV Cinemas at 611 N. Alvarado St. in Los Angeles, California. A very, very special top-secret guest is going to attend!!! (schedule permitting).
Graham Williamson’s review:
Firstly, massive props to Julius Kassendorf of The Other Films for alerting me to the existence of this film, which will surely go down in history as a thing.
Dan Kapelovitz’s video mash-up is based on one of the odder back alleys of American television history, which is that over the New Year’s week of 1992/3, three American networks aired three separate TV movies about the case of Amy Fisher, an underage girl whose affair with a married garage mechanic in his thirties led to her making a botched attempt at killing his wife. The story is pure James M Cain, and the trial, as you would expect, became a crucible for anxieties about gender, sexuality and childhood.
Neither of those aspects interest Kapelovitz. Triple Fisher is about the presentation to the public of three versions of Amy Fisher; a damaged, punkish innocent manipulated by a predatory older man (Noelle Parker for NBC), a scheming, promiscuous psychopath who wanted nothing but money and constant sex (Alyssa Milano for CBS) and something in between (Drew Barrymore, in one of her first adult leads, for ABC).
Due to my very 90s-kid affection for Barrymore, I was aware of the latter but had never seen it. It looks, for better or worse, like an early ’90s TV movie, but avoids the sheer weirdness of the others, which were based directly on accounts from the protagonists and as such are amazingly partisan. The CBS one never convinces you that Amy’s lover Joey Buttafuoco was the upstanding naif Buttafuoco paints himself as, but his portrayal from Amy’s point of view in the NBC film is pure Homer S: Portrait of an Ass-Grabber.
By splicing these films together into one cast-shifting narrative, Kapelovitz raises interesting questions about how everything in cinema is potentially manipulative. Simple things, like Joey’s facial hair and apparent age, differ across the films depending on how creepy they want him to look; likewise, it’s telling that the bulk of the sexual scenes come from movies that want to show Fisher as being at least partially culpable in what happened. Like Orson Welles in F for Fake, he finds disquieting things lurking in between the holes of a montage – an insult thrown by an unsympathetic version of Joey, for instance, feels very different in tone depending on whether it cuts to Parker’s innocent Fisher, Barrymore’s flawed Fisher or Milano’s tyrannical Fisher afterwards.
One thing that I do like about dabbling in ‘difficult’ cultural areas like video art is that the artists sometimes feel more empowered to indulge their sense of humour. Unlike, say, the average Hollywood blockbuster, video artists don’t have to strain to be taken seriously, because they’re already taken seriously. There really is some very silly stuff in Triple Fisher that I thoroughly approved of; going into slow motion to highlight the performance of a particularly unnatural extra, for example, or looping Parker’s Amy correcting her friend on the pronunciation of Joey’s name (not even his surname!) has a nice Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker feel. Elsewhere the jokes can be dizzyingly conceptual – the Buttafuocos channel-hopping and catching a clip of another Amy Fisher TV movie to the one they’re in, for example – or just inherent in the material, like the way Amy’s accomplice in the shooting changes race.
As with Todd Solondz’s conceptually similar Palindromes, even a short feature length can feel a little too long for a work that is deliberately trying to break your engagement with the narrative, but I’m not sure how you’d cut this down without nullifying its coup of telling the entire story in this bizarre fashion. At the end of it I didn’t feel like I knew anything more about Amy Fisher, but I did feel I’d learned a bit about film.
This review from The Other Films was posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. For some reason, we are just now learning of it.
Triple Fisher: The Lethal Lolitas of Long Island (2012): “Based” on a true story…the supercut
Triple Fisher: The Lethal Lolitas of Long Island (2012)
dir: Dan Kapelovitz
“Only they know what happened.” – Disclaimer at the beginning of Amy Fisher: My Story.
In 1996, Schizopolis presented a world where everybody’s point of view was considered to be valid and just part of the story. It was educating the world in the lesson of “there are three sides to every story” using just one single movie. But, right around the new year of 1993, American audiences were given their own crash course in viewpoints through three movies of the week.
Starting on December 28, 1992, television networks released a series of movies based on the notorious yet relatively inconsequential story of Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco. For those who may not know, Amy Fisher was a 16-year-old girl who started having an affair with a married, much older man, Joey Buttafuoco. When she was 17, she went to Buttafuoco’s home, and shot Joey Buttafuoco’s wife in the head. While those are the basic facts to the story, there are many different ways to tell the story, and tell them they did.
The first movie to come out was NBC’s Amy Fisher: My Story (eventually retitled Lethal Lolita) on December 28, 1992. Starring Noelle Parker as Amy Fisher, and Ed Marinaro as Joey Buttafuoco, My Story focused on Fisher’s point of view, showing her as a minorly rebellious but altogether more innocent character involved in the shooting.
The second and third movies both came out the next Sunday. One was The Amy Fisher Story, airing on ABC, starring Drew Barrymore and Anthony Dennison. The final movie was CBS’ Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story, starring Alyssa Milano and Jack Scalia. The Amy Fisher Story was supposed to be a third party retelling based on both sides, whileCasualties of Love was completely out of the Buttafuoco’s side of the story.
Just to reiterate: Noelle Parker (with punky hair) was from Amy Fisher’s side. Drew Barrymore was the “neutral” side, and Alyssa Milano was the Buttafuoco’s story.
In My Story, Amy Fisher was an innocent but damaged and rebellious girl who fell head over heels in love with a Joey Buttafuoco who was just as infatuated with her. In The Amy Fisher Story, Amy was a sleazy girl who was having a sleazy affair with a down-and-dirty sleazy Joey Buttafuoco who may or may not be taking advantage of her. In Casualties of Love, Joey Buttafuoco was an innocent man who was rampantly seduced by a wanton selfish slut named Amy Fisher, even though he resisted the whole time.
When American audiences were watching this all fall down around them on national television, they were given the choice of whose view they wanted to watch. And, at least with the neutral and Buttafuoco movies, American audiences were able to flip between channels and get different takes on the exact same events. Where Schizopolis was cramming it all sequentially, many American families were doing the same thing with their remotes.
20 years later, Dan Kapelovitz, still obsessed with the Amy Fisher movies, if not the whole Fisher/Buttafuoco saga, assembled all three movies into one tight supercut. It presents the three movies intercutting and weaving between each other in order to capture all of the events, and to try to get closer to the global truth, while also commenting on the ways that value changes can effect the way a movie is made.
An example of how the three can show the same scene in a completely different waw is in the shirt where Amy attains a t-shirt from the Buttafuoco auto repair shop. In one, Buttafuoco gives Amy a shirt in a passionate manner. In another, Amy hounds Joey to give it to her until he gives in. But, all three versions are presented to let the audience decide how it might have gone down. Some scenes are intercut as they go. Some movies had scenes that weren’t in others. Many scenes were deleted altogether.
Triple Fisher does also blows the lid off the world of “based on a true story” that used to be the hallmark of movies of the week, and are now the calling card of oscar bait and horror films. Everything nowadays seems to be based on a true story. A butler version of Forrest Gump? True story, they cry! A movie about a girl with a demon? True Story!! A homeless man who is a violin prodigy? True story, they say. A seal dressed up in beach clothes? Truth! They can get away with claiming truth by hiding behind “based on” or “inspired by.” And, the words become completely meaningless and trite.
Triple Fisher pulls back the curtain on these disclaimers, showing that “based on a true story” is one-sided at best, and a complete fabrication at worst. It shows that everybody could come up with a different way of telling the same story without having the same take on it. Giving the characters different implications and motivations, each movie causes the viewer to have a different perspective.
This year, we are getting at least two major Steve Jobs movies: jOBS and a currently untitled Aaron Sorkin movie (presumably where Steve Jobs stands in for Aaron Sorkin as a monomaniacal asshole who talks and talks and talks). They won’t depict the same events, as of now. They will have different perspectives. But, they have to deal with the same person, and will be different takes on the character. Triple Fisher prepares us for these competitors, and entertains us at the same time.
We are pleased to announce that “Triple Fisher” has been chosen by the LA Ciné Salon as the third installment of its Screening Room series. Here is the LA Ciné Salon’s description of the film:
LA Ciné Salon’s third installment in the Screening Room series sends it reeling in an altogether different direction. Whereas Ian Clark’s MMXIII and Brandon Colvin’s FRAMES are both films that burn extra slow in that beautifully avant-garde way to a most thoughtful and thought-provoking cumulative effect, Dan Kapelovitz‘s TRIPLE FISHER: THE LETHAL LOLITAS OF LONG ISLAND is the gut-busting, feature-length Frankenstein’s monster resultant from a mad cinephile’s Final Cut tinkering. By splicing together the three made-for-TV movies following the Amy Fisher / Joey Buttafuoco media hubbub of the early nineties, Kapelovitz humorously digests, remixes, and reconstitutes otherwise opportunistic schlock into delightfully self-conscious, post-modern art.
By day, Kapelovitz is a criminal defense lawyer. By night, he is a not-so-starving artist whose performance medium is cultural sieve. Inevitably, His work draws comparisons to Everything is Terrible! and the sort of technologically-forward, culturally-backward work that is the center of RIP: A Remix Manifesto (and in both cases, this is a profoundly good thing). Perhaps rightly or perhaps wrongly, it is my stubborn impression that TRIPLE FISHER was created in some subterranean lair where made-for-TV movies are kept (quite possibly against their will), should the psychotic urge arise to translate / recontextualize them for a wider audience.
TRIPLE FISHER is three films gloriously smashed together, a kind of 80-minute trilogy sandwich wherein each of its component parts cruelly tells the same story, with both variously slight and glaring differences (presumably due to the source texts / accounts on which each is based – i.e. who got paid). TRIPLE FISHER is one of a kind.
Kapelovitz’s TRIPLE FISHER is available to watch on LA Ciné Salon from now until June 8th, 2014, at 10pm (Pac).
His next project, currently a work-in-progress, is 48 HRS. (LITERALLY) - a 48-hour version of Walter Hill’s film.
- Samuel B. Prime, Founder, LA Ciné Salon
From the psychedelic masterminds who brought you “Triple Fisher: The Lethal Lolitas of Long Island,” comes their most ambitious project to date, a 48-hour film based on the 1982 action-comedy classic “48 Hrs.”
The film will be known to the masses as “48 Hrs. Literally.”
Here is a clip of the work in progress:
How A Porn Magazine Editor Became A Criminal Law Attorney
Dan Kapelovitz left Hustler for law.
When I met Dan Kapelovitz years ago, he was an editor for Hustler magazine. Recently, he reached out to me on LinkedIn, and I noticed he’d become a criminal law attorney. How does one go from editing an adult magazine to practicing law?
How did you get into the adult magazine business?
A friend of mine from college was the Features Editor of Hustler Magazine. He bought a few articles from me, and when he resigned, I was offered the job. Interestingly, we sent him to Afghanistan for six months to cover the war when Larry Flynt was suing the Pentagon for the right to embed reporters with the military.
What was the job like?
The job was great. Because the magazine’s readers are primarily interested in the pictorials, we could write about whatever interested us. We wrote about alien sex cults, politics, music, the porn industry, the Barbi Twins, and much more. Two of the highlights were winning the Project Censored Award for a story on depleted uranium, and getting to interview Anna Nicole Smith right after she directed a photo shoot for the magazine. That gives you a pretty good idea of the diverse subject matter we covered. People are surprised to learn that the atmosphere at the Hustler headquarters is very corporate. There’s a strict dress code, and we were only allowed to dress casually on pay-day Fridays, so only one day every two weeks.
What was working for Flynt like?
Larry Flynt is much more hands-on than most people might imagine. He comes to work every day, and approves all of the pictorials, all of the covers, and even all of the cartoons. The articles were the only part of the magazine that we didn’t have to run by Larry. I only met Larry a couple of times. I interviewed him once for the magazine. He held a meeting with all of the editors to explain why he fired Allan MacDonell, the Editorial Director. Soon after, Allan — who is a comic genius — wrote an instant classic on his experiences at the magazine called Prisoner of X: 20 Years in the Hole at Hustler Magazine.
I was surprised to find you’ve since become a criminal law attorney. Why did you become a lawyer?
When I left Hustler, I worked as a freelance journalist for a year. As a freelancer, you spend more time pitching ideas to editors and trying to collect money from deadbeat publishers than actually researching and writing articles, so it was time to move on. At Hustler, I wrote a lot about criminal law, and each month, I would speak to our attorneys about any legal issues raised by that month’s magazine, which I always enjoyed. I have always been interested in law, but I swore I’d never go back to school. It turned out that I loved law school. And the writing and editing training I received at Hustler was extremely helpful. However, having Hustler on my résumé wasn’t always appreciated by legal employers.
What sort of work do you do?
I do criminal trials now, which is a million times more exciting than working at a law firm sitting behind a computer all day or reviewing a room full of documents. I spent my first summer during law school working for two legal legends on the opposite sides of criminal law. Half of the summer, I did criminal defense work for Art Goldberg of the Working People’s Law Center. He was one of the leaders of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in the 1960s. He was denied his law license at first because he had been arrested so many times during protests. And for the other half of the summer, I worked for Bob Ferber who created and ran the Animal Protection Unit, the first of its kind in the nation.
Then, my second summer in law school, I made the worst decision of my legal career. I turned down a job with the Public Defender, and took a job with a corporate law firm. After law school, I went back to work for the corporate law firm, and it was by far the worst year of my life. If any law student out there is thinking of working for a big law firm, please contact me so I can try to talk you out of it. Fortunately, I was able to land a job as a judicial law clerk to a federal judge, which is probably the best job one can get at the beginning of a legal career. I’m probably the only person on Earth who has worked for both Larry Flynt and a federal judge.
During my clerkship, I took a trial advocacy program at night, which qualified me to try misdemeanor cases for the Los Angeles City Attorney, an incredible experience. Now, I’m doing criminal defense work, which is why I went to law school in the first place. It’s a great feeling to fight for people who may have never had anyone fight for them before. These people are often either completely innocent or are facing prison sentences that are greatly disproportionate to the crimes alleged. I’m in the process of opening my own law firm called the Radical Law Center, which focuses on criminal defense. I also plan on doing some animal rights legal work. I’d also love to defend appropriation artists and filmmakers who are falsely accused of copyright infringement. In fact, I recently completed a film called “Triple Fisher: The Lethal Lolitas of Long Island,” in which I splice together the three made-for-TV movies based on the Amy Fisher story. The film is basically a cinematic law review article on copyright law’s Fair Use doctrine.
What’s the difference between being a porn magazine editor and being a criminal law attorney?
Not much. As I noted before, the dress code is pretty much the same. And in both jobs, you spend hours and hours researching and writing something that very few people are going to actually read. I guess one difference is that, in our society, lawyers are treated with a little bit more respect than porn magazine editors — but only a little. — Susannah Breslin, Forbes
Triple Fisher: The Lethal Lolitas of Long Island
Maybe this mash-up of three (!) different fact-based TV movies about spurned lover/would-be murderess Amy Fisher is a cogent examination of how little the American public’s appetite for titillation has changed in the last 20 years. Then again, it could be a fascinating glimpse at a couple of former child stars (Drew Barrymore and Alyssa Milano) attempting to find their thespian voices. Or maybe it’s just a wallow in the greasy potato-chip bag of tabloid culture. One thing’s for sure: It ain’t gonna be dull. — City Arts
On March 2, A Movie I’ve Been Waiting My Whole Life to See Screens at the Grand Illusion
As every fan of trash TV knows, the Amy Fisher saga spawned three different made-for-TV movies, not one of which is as much fun as it should be. But on March 2, the Grand Illusion aims to right this wrong by screening TRIPLE FISHER: THE LETHAL LOLITAS OF LONG ISLAND, a feature-length mashup of all three Amy Fisher films. — David Schmader, The Stranger
“Triple Fisher” Screening and Q&A w/ Director Dan Kapelovitz
Back in the early 1990s, 17-year-old Amy Fisher found herself in a bizarre love triangle with her lover Joey Buttafuoco and his wife, Mary Jo, in a case that would redefine post-Reagan-Era tabloid culture. A barely-legal teen, Fisher found infamy after she shot poor Mary in the face, catapulting her to a dubious form of stardom when the media quickly dubbed her the “Long Island Lolita.” Long before her stint on “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew” (along with a few adult films), Amy Fisher was the inspiration behind three network specials; “Beyond Control: The Amy Fisher Story” on ABC starred Drew Barrymore, while Alyssa Milano took the reins in “Casualty of Love” on CBS. Meanwhile, Fisher’s own account was adapted for the small screen in “Treachery in the Suburbs: The Amy Fisher Story” on NBC. Now, director Dan Kapelovitz (“Threee Geniuses”) tackles another triad when he mashes up all three of the crazy made-for-TV movies in “Triple Fisher.” Join the director for a Q&A following the world-premiere screening of the director’s cut of “Triple Fisher” at the Downtown Independent Theater. — Tanja M. Laden, Flavorpill