Excluding the guy who made Inception, every filmmaker I know is pissed off about Inception. This is our livelihood. Letting the golden cat out of the bag like that makes no sense. It undermines the entire profession. But worse than that, it destroys the public’s faith in us. Movies used to be fun. They used to let people escape into other worlds. That’s all over now. Thanks to Inception, everybody out there knows that their favorite movie, that film that really spoke to them on a personal level, was nothing more than an intensive therapy session for some rich asshole. “Hey Dad, you wanna have a catch?” just won’t be the same ever again.

But now that you know, I can at least let loose some of my better Inception stories. They aren’t as exciting and action packed as the actual Inception movie, but that flick was exaggerated for entertainment’s sake. The real deal is much more workman-like and boring.

It’s hard, though. And sometimes weird stuff happens. The strangest story I have involves this guy Axl Rose (Real Name: Hacksel Rosenbaum). When Axl came to us he was leader of an struggling local Rock n Roll band called Guns n Roses. Axl felt destined to rock stardom, but some unhappiness deep in his subconscious kept this fate out of reach.

“So Mr. Rose, please tell us what IDEA you want us to Incept in your brain and how many tickets you think it will sell.”

“I dunno. I just wanna be a rock guy.”

“Do you know how hard it is to Incept someone? An IDEA like that is far too broad. You’ll have to think of something more specific.”

“That’s the best I can do. Here’s two billion dollars.” (Axl was super rich because his dad had been an extra in Pump Up the Volume.)

So with almost nothing to work with we jumped in for a preliminary look.

Everything in Axl’s world was Rock n Roll, that kind of Tenacious D Rock n Roll but without irony or humor. The doctors in Axl’s world have torn jeans and long luscious hair. The first woman inducted into the Supreme Court in Axl’s world will totally blow you if your tatts are wicked enough. The only thing they care about is Rock and the only way to get it is Guns N Roses.

But shit was fucked up. Axl’s subconscious was far too strong for us to manipulate. My architect got so frustrated by his stubbornness that she had a roadie give her AIDS just so she could leave. My actor guy got AIDS from that roadie too but that was on accident. My sharp-dressed producer was murdered for being a narc. I was all alone.

Unlike other cases, we could only set up Axl’s plot and see where he took it. In this first try we gave him a girlfriend. He did the rest himself…


Rundown and Commentary

*Axl is born. Don’t cry, motherfucker.
*Elf Axl stumbles through a frozen wasteland with a gun in his hand. This never comes up again, but it told me right away that I was in a music video and not a real movie.
*At a house in Axl’s “real world,” Axl’s fights with the girl we invented. Normally a confrontation like this has build-up or basic narrative. Not in this case. Within seconds, he’s about to use the gun on himself. She stops him.
*The scene shifts. He and his girl are enjoying a happy picnic in a graveyard (Rock n Roll). Little do they know, a dead, Gollum Axl is hanging out in a Grave Cave beneath them. Suddenly a funeral procession goes by. Axl’s lip shakes, so it must be his funeral because that’s what happens to me when that happens to me.
*That makes four Axl’s so far: Frozen Axl, Funeral Axl, Gollum Axl, and Troubled Axl. Five, if you count Baby Axl. Axl has Axl on the mind.
*We see the girl dragging an Axl to a watery death. Of course, he’s only drowning for the other Axl’s’s attention. Otherwise he would have woken up.
*At this point it seemed obvious to me that A Bitch was #1 of Axl’s 99 problems. This sort of thing happens all the time. I just needed to go down further and awaken love for his mother. Easy.
*But then something weird happens and the magnitude of my task finally presented itself. Axl has a snake in his soul. That snake’s name is Slash.
*For no reason, Axl’s narrative stops long enough for Slash to take an anonymous, nagging blonde out to the desert and drive her over a cliff. He survives due to the power of shirtless guitar.
*Axl can’t find happiness alone. But he can’t have a relationship while under the influence of Slash’s Rock n Roll hedonism. To save Axl, I had to convince him to let go of Slash, his demon. But there’s the rub. Axl may be the heart of Rock n Roll, but Slash is the fire. And you can’t have Rock without Fire. It’s like trying to imagine a Democracy take hold in China.
*After dying, Axl limps to his own grave. Still willing to get back on that horse, he totally wills his own rebirth.

With the information gathered on this dry run, I felt ready to take Axl down to the next level…


So this time my goal was to subdue, but not eradicate, Slash. I also needed to present Axl’s with a more mature palette. To do this I escalated his rock career to his overblown pretension era. He took to the orchestrated, nine-minute epic song idea very well and even supplied his own Elton John costume. This focused Axl on his own awesomeness while also limiting Slash’s ability to steal the show.

Next, I promoted his girlfriend to wife and made their wedding the main setting. This way, if Slash tried to start any shit, everyone would get offended and kick him out.

Rundown and Commentary

*Axl is so Rock n Roll that he actually needs to dream-dramatize himself entering his own dream-dream to ensure he’s not following someone else’s authority. For those paying attention, this means Axl, in the first moment of his dream, brought himself into a deeper dream level without my permission. What an asshole.
*The song begins. Axl’s rebellious Rock n Roll attitude has successfully been neutered by illusions of brainduer, kind of like when Sylvester Stallone made Tango & Cash and started wearing suits and glasses to interviews.
*We see a church. The inside features no bathrooms, but it does have one piano and an Axl. So far, so good. We’re very nearly in REM’s “Losing My Religion” territory, and that’s what I was hoping for.
*Slash lurks on stage. He knows he’s been taken out of his element, but at this point all he can do about it is smoke…and plot.
*Jesus Christ weeps a blood tear either for Axl’s pain or his piano playing. Probably the pain.
*The wedding begins. I was surprised to find that guests at a Guns n Roses wedding are all either A) Guns n Roses or B) old people in suits.
*Sgt. Pepper Axl meets his bride. He looks very happy and hair-conditioned.
*Uh-oh. We suddenly re-enter the Rainbow Bar, which is exactly where Slash took over last time with that blonde girl. Everything here is too smoky and Bud Light poster-girl dirty for Axl’s happiness.
*But the song and Axl’s happiness is simply too much for Slash’s cigarette lighting to overcome.
*Weakened by Axl’s weakness, Slash resorts to stopping the wedding through childish means, like pretending he can’t find the ring.
*Too bad, Slash. The knot is tied. Axl tongue-kisses his wife so hard.
*A defeated Slash takes his frustration outside for one final shirtless guitar wail while a murderous helicopter repeatedly tries to land on him (Rock n Roll).
*And that’s what does it. The solo is just too fucking good. Suddenly, before heading to the reception, my bride lady looks sad and forlorn. Slash, you motherfucker, what did you do!?
*Axl walks down the street of an old western town. I have no idea why. Maybe Western Axl and Frozen Elf Axl are Rock n Roll brothers, like Kevin and Jimmie-Dean Bacon.
*Slash’s plan goes into effect. Basically he brings down a Rock n Roll rain, which is highly acidic from all the whiskey-soaked bile. This is why everyone at the reception freaks out and that guy jumps through the wedding cake like he’s Jason Bourne.
*Axl’s bride gets too much November rain on her face and dies.
*Triumphantly, Slash mounts Axl’s pussy piano and makes sure 2 of this song’s 9 minutes kick ass.

We failed again. But the good news was I no longer gave a shit because that’s how I confront failure. Just for kicks I let Axl have one more go around in his dream world. No guidance, no girlfriend, no Slash-defense, just pure Axl-ego. Ultimately, this freedom was what it took to save Axl’s soul…


Rundown and Commentary

*Axl has given his overblown pretension era its own overblown pretension era. Wow.
*This dream, I guess to help guide me if I got lost, offers a definition for the word “Illusion.” You can’t really read it though, because Axl put up the entire EOD entry instead of just picking a line or two more pertinent to his point. This is because he doesn’t have a point. He just likes the word.
*I don’t know why, but an entire SWAT team breaks into Axl’s house. I don’t know why, but he’s sleeping in a nook above the closet. I don’t know why, but they don’t find him there. I don’t know why, but they leave. Maybe Axl is so rich and eccentric now that this is his new alarm clock service.
*Axl cuts to pictures of himself as a kid. Jesus Christ, this fucking guy.
*We get some “real life” cuts of Guns n Roses fame, including a couple shots of Axl Rose holding his own clone.
*Axl has a harem of women sitting on the sidelines, watching his concert on TV. It suddenly became clear to me how stupid it was to try and give this guy a wife. All he wants is himself. But if that’s true, women aren’t his problem. This was the point where I started rethinking Slash’s role in all this.
*While Axl thinks about being Axl, another Axl floats out of him to take an all-clothes shower and think about being Axl.
*At this point, Slash leaves, and we’re left with soft piano and three definitions of the word “Estranged.” I was surprised he didn’t add “4. Best Guns n Roses song ever” to the list.
*So Axl has some kind of cult and he’s kicking all his whores, friends, nannies, and black kids off the compound. Also, just in case you didn’t know this shit was emotionally deep, Axl walks around with a t-shirt that says “deep.”
*Bummed-out Axl gets into a limo which features a prominent dolphin on the trunk. A fucking dolphin, I said.
*In the limo, Axl nods his head solemnly as though listening to a really deep song. I think he’s listening to either “Estranged” by Guns n Roses or “Stay” by Lisa Loeb.
*Axl and The Guns n Roses try to get on their tour plane, but they can’t because it’s filled with fucking dolphins. Fucking dolphins, I said.
*Axl’s harem is still watching TV while breast-feeding his babies. But instead of watching a Guns n Roses concert, they’re now enthralled by a show about fucking dolphins. Seriously, I’m not kidding about these fucking dolphins.
*Axl smokes a sad cigarette in front of a TV store. The display TV’s are airing that same dolphin show his ho’s are watching back home.
*Axl walks down the sidewalk alongside Fucking Dolphin Ave.
*Oh shit, the Rainbow Bar! Fucking dolphins got in there too.
*Slash glides around the Rainbow Bar trying to find Axl because he wants to hang out. But Axl’s not a Rainbow Bar kind of guy anymore. He’s far too estranged. Slash is sad that he can’t find his Rock n Roll buddy and wonders what’s wrong.
*Axl is now on a Rock n Roll oil tanker. He tries to commit suicide by jumping off.
*A Rock n Roll oil worker throws him a life preserver. Axl’s like “No thanks. Too estranged. Trying to kill myself.”
*A Rock n Roll fisherman tries to save him too, but Axl still won’t accept aid.
*So Axl goes under. But just when he’s about to drown, those fucking dolphins come along to teach him that life is beautiful. He grabs hold of one, and decides to live.
*This is where the magic happens. This is where it all finally comes together. Once the dolphins save Axl, Slash rises from the waves and guitar-wails on water just like Jesus used to.
*Oh, NOW I get it! Slash was never the snake trying to lure Axl away! He was the dolphin trying to keep Axl focused and alive! Slash knew a women would kill Axl’s ability to Rock n Roll! And I almost drove him away!
*In the end, Axl and Slash finally absolve their conflicts and can now rebuild a new, stronger relationship. In the last moment of Axl’s Inception, we see them hanging out together, having a laugh. Slash is fully a dolphin now, but that’s okay. Axl tells us to lose our illusions. I don’t really know what this means because it’s been over 9 minutes since he gave us that word’s definition. I’m sure it’s a positive message.


When Axl woke up, he was in a really good mood, totally ready to take on the world. His band immediately put out an album, but since we Incepted inner-peace rather than songwriting skills, it was only a cover-album, and it didn’t do very well. I don’t know what Axl’s doing now, but as long as he keeps hold of his inner-dolphin, I’m sure he’s doing it with dignity.

(three stars)