Short stories and essays by Shaun Costello, as well as excerpts from manuscripts in progress.


I think Jimmy Toback sucks, and so should you.

By Shaun Costello



Every once in a great while, an opportunity presents itself to right a great wrong, to set the record straight, to win one for the Gipper. Permit me to give you an example of how I obnoxiously and joyfully behaved when I got the worst of all film directors accidentally in my cross hairs. Some time in 1983, I paid seven dollars to see, arguably, the worst film ever made. It was “Exposed”, starring Nastassia Kinsky (she of the snake pic) and Rudolph Nureyev (I’m not making this up). Anyway, about half way through this excruciatingly putrid film, and just before I walked out of the theater, Nureyev, who plays a violinist, approaches Nasty Kinsky from behind and, while fingering her face like frets on a fiddle, he begins to run his bow across her bare breasts, as she moans in ecstasy, “Oh yes, play me, play me”.

Well, that was just about my limit, and I swore to myself that if I ever ran across that talentless, gambling addicted, over-achiever Jimmy Toback, who directed this piece of drek, that vengeance would be mine.

OK, fast forward to about 1988. I’m sitting with a few friends watching a movie; I don’t remember which one, at the Ziegfeld Theater, which was then Manhattan’s best film venue. After the tail credits, the house lights come up and, as we’re putting on our coats, one of my friends say’s, “Hey, isn’t that Jimmy Toback?” It was one of those Marlon Brando diamond bullet in the forehead moments that come all too infrequently in a man’s life, but I was up to it. At just about the top of my lungs, I screamed across the crowded theater, “Hey Toback, I sat through half an hour of EXPOSED, and you owe me seven bucks, now pay up!” Toback, slime that he was (and I’m sure still is), bolted, running for one of the side doors of the theater, leaving behind the girl he was with. What a toad. Anyway, I’m sure everyone within earshot thought I was nuts, but I felt like a million bucks. Vengeance was finally mine, and the cowardly behavior of Toback just about made my year. The moral of this tale, if there is one, is the next time opportunity knocks – open the door.


 © 2007 Shaun Costello


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2 responses

  1. Alan Hoffman

    Ha! You didn’t expect him to give to you the money back, right? But his hasty exit implies that this was not the first time this had happened: Perhaps someone had pummeled him for making Love & Money…an incident which predicted his befriending of Mike Tyson…Sad admission here: I like Fingers. But I like the Audiard revamp better, come to think of it.

    PS: I tried to comment on this originally on Facebook, but you must have deleted it.

    January 29, 2011 at 11:01 am

  2. Jeff

    Good one!

    October 23, 2017 at 9:11 am

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