Questions & Answers

 

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Name:             Jonathan Moody
E-mail:            sickflickproductions@gmail.com
Date:               8/30/15

Dear Josh:

I saw you mention Brando earlier. I just saw a documentary called "Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau". If you haven't seen it, it's an excellent Doc. Fairuza Balk mentioned when she worked with Brando she wanted to discuss their characters when he had some time and he said, "No. My dear you're getting paid. I'm getting paid. The scripts are all terrible. Let's just have fun with this". Which I think is the wrong kind of attitude to have personally but I heard a lot of war stories about Brando. Lost Soul is on Netflix. Another fun doc I saw is "Casting By". Have you seen these? Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

I haven't seen either one, but I put them both on my Netflix list.

Josh

Name:             Dylan
E-mail:           
Date:               8/29/15

Dear Josh:

What have you been up to lately? Any new projects (films, books) on the horizon or anything you might be able to hint at? Hope you've been well.

Dear Dylan:

I'm just rewriting the books I wrote over the past few years. I may have some interest in one of them, but we'll just have to wait and see about that.

Josh

Name:             Jonathan A. Moody
E-mail:            sickflickproductions@gmail.com
Date:               8/29/15

Dear Josh:

Long time no email. I am re-reading "Adventures in the Screen Trade" by William Goldman. I remember you recommended this book before and it's been a while since I read it. I'm reading about "A Bridge Too Far" and noticed it was not on your Favorite Films list. Was just wondering why it was not. I'm watching a bunch of William's films that I haven't seen yet. One of which was believe it or not "Marathon Man" which I liked except for the ending. And not just because Mr. Goldman didn't write that ending but because it wasn't nearly as good as his script which I've read. Anyway I wanted to know what are your favorite William Goldman movies he's written? Also what have you been up to? How's Spine Chillers coming? Thanks and hope you're well, Jonathan

Dear Jonathan:

Good to hear from you. No, "A Bridge Too Far" isn't on my favorites list. I think it's a plain old bad movie. The allies get to a bridge, it gets blown up; the allies get to a bridge, it gets blown up, etc. It's just one more boring Richard Attenborough movie. Regarding William Goldman, I like: "Harper," "No Way to Treat a Lady (to an extent), "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Marathon Man," "All the President's Men," "The Princess Bride," and "Misery." I also liked a number of his novels, like: "Temple of Gold," "Boys and Girls Together," "Your Turn to Curtsy, My Turn to Bow," "Soldier in the Rain" (which became a bad movie), "Father's Day," "Marathon Man" and "Magic" (another bad Attenborough movie).

Josh

Name:             McP
E-mail:           
Date:               8/29/15

Dear Josh:

What's the worst miscasting you've ever seen in a movie? My vote goes to John Wayne in "The Conqueror".

Dear McP:

That's an enormous list. Mickey Rooney in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," Marlon Brando in "Teahouse for the August Moon" (any Caucasian cast as an Asian or, most egregiously, James Whitmore as a black man in "Black Like Me") and "Julius Caesar" (Brando can't do Shakespeare to save his life), Robert DeNiro in "Cape Fear," "This Boy's Life," and anything else that called for an accent, Charlton Heston in "Khartoum" and "Julius Caesar" (he couldn't do accents or Shakespeare), Bette Davis as a plain old Italian mother and Ernest Borgnine's wife in "A Catered Affair," Karen Black in "Day of the Locust" as a gorgeous teenager, Barbra Streisand as a teenaged boy in "Yentl," Gwyneth Paltrow as a boy in "Shakespeare in Love," Dustin Hoffman as a woman in "Tootsie"--let's face it, damn near any man as a woman or woman as a man I"ll skip "Some Like it Hot" because it's a joke)--Clark Gable as Rhett Butler from Savannah, although he pulls it off anyway, Anthony Hopkins as "Nixon" and "Hitchcock," Will Smith as "Ali"--good god, this list is endless. Anyone else have any suggestions?

Josh

Name:             August
E-mail:            joxerfan@hotmail.com
Date:               8/29/15

Dear Josh:

Just a quick note to wish you a very happy birthday - hoping that your day is filled with visions of dancing Angie Dotchins and Renee O'Connors. I was interested to see that you enjoyed "Birdman." Visually it was certainly done very proficiently, and the acting was definitely top-notch. It would be fascinating to know if the director was familiar with "Running Time" - sadly, I bet he's just familiar with the Janet Jackson video for "When I Think of You," that used that same technique. (Shot Stooges-style on the set of "Big Trouble in Little China.") And there's absolutely a theme about the nature of art and expression, although I fear there's a pretty slender audience demographic who might get the point. But love to hear more of your thoughts about what you liked about it. Like you, I enjoyed it, but wouldn't want to see it again. Regards, August

Dear August:

Always a pleasure to hear from you. It amazes me that for a film that won Best Picture, I haven't met almost anyone who's seen it. Not many movies touch on the concept of aesthetics and what is the meaning of art, which what "Birdman" is all about. Just because you're a big-shot Hollywood movie star who has been in moneymaking blockbusters doesn't mean you know a damn thing about art or what's actually meaningful. And just because you take some Raymond Carver stories, adapt them into a play and perform it on Broadway doesn't mean you know a damn thing about being a theater actor, or, once again, what has any impact or meaning. I certainly don't think it's a great movie, or even necessarily a really good movie, but I do think it knows what it's talking about. And I just have to believe that the director must have seen "Running Time," it's just too similar.

Josh

Name:             Keith Ward
E-mail:            Alwayslikethis@gmail.com
Date:               8/29/15

Dear Josh:

Do you identify more as an introvert or an extrovert? You are both a writer and a director, two fields that require very different social stances. Writing involves spending a lot of time alone focusing on a task. Directing is all about interacting with many other people on a fairly constant basis.

Dear Keith:

I'm most definitely an extrovert, and I truly enjoy talking to people. I'll strike up a conversation with most anyone. A lot of writing, particularly screenwriting, is having conversations in your head, and sometimes even out loud by yourself just to hear what they sound like. But directing is most definitely interacting with the actors, and it astounds me (as it did Marlon Brando in his autobiography) that so few directors have anything to say to the actors. Brando felt that most directors would rather talk to the DP or the camera operator. As I've said before, I'm interested in everything an actor has to say about their part, and I'm pretty much not interested in what the DP or the camera operator have to say at all--I just want them to do what I tell them to do.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               8/29/15

Dear Josh:

1) What other movies can you think of that, like "Whiplash", crescendo then end on a climax, with little dialogue and/or mostly music at the finale ? 2) Also one of my favorite scenes in the film was the quiet one where he breaks up with the girl, because it was done with the camera mainly focused on the reaction of actress Melissa Benoit to Mile Tellers break up speech. What is another scene you like of an actor doing a reaction shot, where the performance is on the face and not in lines of dialogue ? Thanks.

Dear Paul:

Going backward with your questions, two of the great reaction shots (one has dialog) are in "Marty." First, when he calls the girl for a date he met in the movie theater and she turns him down, and the second is at the end when everybody is asking, "What do you want to do tonight?" In both shots Marty closes his eyes and looks pained. Another terrific reaction shot that I've always admired is of Candice Bergen in "Carnal Knowledge," when she's at a table with Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkle, both of whom are doing all of the talking, and she's just laughing--it never cuts to the two guys. Another great reaction shot is of Humphrey Bogart at the end of "The African Queen" when the German officer (Theodore Bikel, who just died) is telling him that he is going to be executed. And let's not forget Marlon Brando in "The Godfather" in the first scene when the mortician is asking for a favor, but has never shown him respect or called him Godfather. He says, "God-a-father, be my friend," and Brando simply lifts an eyebrow, which gets a huge laugh with an audience. Bette Davis has a number of them in "All About Eve." Regarding your first question, nothing comes to mind. Have you got an example?

Josh

Name:             Daniel
E-mail:            nografia@gmail.com
Date:               8/29/15

Dear Josh:

What's going on Josh? your health it's ok? Greetings from Argentina

Dear Daniel:

My health is fine, thank you for asking. I just took a vacation, but now I'm back. Have a movie question?

Josh

Name:             Brian
E-mail:           
Date:               7/28/15

Dear Josh:

Just for the hell of it...did you think Harry did the right thing by torturing Scorpio on the football field?

Dear Brian:

No, but it's a good scene. As I've said, cops shouldn't act like Dirty Harry, but it was a novelty at the time and Clint is perfectly cast. But that was 45 years ago.

Josh

Name:             Will
E-mail:            wdodson52@hotmail.com
Date:               7/24/15

Dear Josh:

I'm glad you're a part of the "Mosquito" Blu ray. Back to Eastwood, you're sure right about the stinkers. "Unforgiven" distills Siegel's storytelling and Leone's visual style perfectly. Nothing else he's done as a director gets near it. What's your take on Leone? I thing "The Good, the Bad & the Ugly" and "Once Upon a Time in the West" are terrific, if a bit too long. I recently saw the unfortunately titled "Duck, You Sucker" for the first time really liked Coburn in it.

Dear Will:

With all due respect, I must disagree with you. Eastwood has none of Leone's visual style; he's entirely in the no-bullshit Siegel mode. Sergio Leone could make a whole opera out of waiting for a train, or a single gunfight, with kooky camera moves and a lot of extreme close-ups. Neither Eastwood nor Siegel ever did anything like that. I enjoy Leone's style and several of his films, but "a bit too long" is an enormous understatement. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "Once Upon a Time in the West" are both an hour too long. After "A Fistful of Dollars," which is 100 minutes long, his editing went more and more to hell, and his films grew needlessly longer and longer. Sitting straight through most of his films now is impossible for me; I have to take numerous breaks. I remember as kid sitting through "The Good . . ." at the theater and thinking, "This film is never going to end."

Josh

Name:             Will
E-mail:            wdodson52@hotmail.com
Date:               7/22/15

Dear Josh:

I'm sure you're already aware, but just in case you're not, Synapse is releasing a 20th Anniversary Blu-ray of "Mosquito." Josh Becker bare ass in high def? Some would say this is what the format was expressly made for. Back to more serious topics, since you bring up Eastwood. A while back I got a set of "35 Years, 35 Films," which compiles his Warner Bros. movies, all of 'em, good, bad, and ugly. I really liked "A Perfect World," which had a weird mix of humor and drama that worked for me. Of course, the real gems are "Unforgiven" and "The Outlaw Josey Wales," both of which are terrific. "Unforgiven" will likely be remembered many years from now as the final Western masterpiece. Any other Eastwood-directed and/or starring films that you dig?

Dear Will:

I just did an interview for the re-release of "Mosquito," which will be on the disc.

I just reviewed Clint's filmography, and man oh man, there are a lot of stinkers there, and very few that I liked. I thought "Changeling" was pretty good, but, other than "Unforgiven" and "The Outlaw Josey Wales," there wasn't much on the long list that I'd recommend. "A Perfect World" was OK, as was "Bird," his Charlie Parker documentary, "Straight No Chaser" (if you like Parker, and I'm not a fan), and "Play Misty For Me." That's about it. I'd never even heard of "Hereafter" until I looked at the list. When everything is said and done, "Unforgiven" is a miracle. I never expected a great film out of him, and I daresay there won't be anymore.

Josh

Name:             Brian
E-mail:           
Date:               7/22/15

Dear Josh:

What did you think of Pauline Kael calling Dirty Harry 'fascist?' I have a hard time believing the police bureaucracy would deal with Scorpio in the same exact way...though maybe im wrong

Dear Brian:

We're not only used to, but bored with, the cop who shoots everybody, but it was extremely novel in 1971. I completely understood where Pauline Kael was coming from, but I really enjoyed the movie and have seen it many times. Kael was already too old and too intellectual for such violent shenanigans, but I wasn't. I was, however, bored with it by the second one, "Magnum Force." But I'm a big fan of Don Siegel and I love his no-nonsense direction. Just BTW, the first scene Clint Eastwood ever directed was the scene in "Dirty Harry" where the guy is going to jump off the building. Siegel got sick and told Clint to just direct it, which he was hesitant to do. If you watch the film again, that scene has more coverage than any other scene in the film--Clint made absolutely sure he didn't screw it up.

Josh

Name:             Bob
E-mail:           
Date:               7/22/15

Dear Josh:

I just watched The Beguiled with Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page. I thought the movie was ahead of its time in terms of the issues it tackled. It reminded me of Night Gallery - American International movies - the An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge short subject - even the Sterile Cuckoo with Lisa Minnelli. Geraldine Page was in a notable Night Gallery episode with some similarities in the way she approaches the roles. I thought the movie was a little odd. There aren't a lot of online reviews about The Beguiled. Do you like the film?

Dear Bob:

It's certainly an offbeat Clint Eastwood/Don Siegel film, particularly coming right after "Dirty Harry." It reminds me a bit of a Night Gallery episode with Rudy Vallee and Robert Morse. I just re-watched for the I don't know how many times, "The Shootist," which was also directed by Don Siegel. It's a great movie and a perfect final film for John Wayne. It doesn't have a wrong moment in it, and the cast is perfect. Siegel, BTW, taught Clint how to direct, then Clint cast him as the bartender in his first directorial effort, "Play Misty For Me."

Josh

Name:             Danielle
E-mail:           
Date:               7/19/15

Dear Josh:

“… whatever the man wants or loves to do, the wife is against and is constantly disappointed and bitching ... I feel like this lonely, solitary voice on a distant hilltop hollering about an issue that, for the most part, no one gives a damn about.” // I’m so fed up with the “nagging wife" cliche, which manages to spoil countless movies with its laziness, immaturity and staleness. As a female viewer who loves movies, it's particularly dispiriting to be constantly confronted with women who are nothing more than bitching or simpering annoyances and just another obstacle with which the male hero must contend. Fortunately, a few people are starting to speak up. Emma Thompson, in a recent interview, remarked, “There was a patch of time when I was in my 30s and just started [being offered] a whole string of roles that basically involved saying to a man, 'Please don't go and do that brave thing. Don't! No, no, no, no, no!' That's a trope, the stock woman who says, 'Don't do the brave thing.' I said no to all of them. I'm so proud." And director Paul Feig, lamenting the current state of comedies, said "All these really funny women I know would pop up in movies, in male-driven movies, and have nothing to do. They weren't allowed to be funny. They were allowed to be mean and shrewish, but not funny." // Actresses often complain about the dearth of "good roles" on offer, but I wish they'd be more specific. I wish more of them would refuse to play the boring wife/girlfriend wet blankets and explain to Hollywood that the roles they desire do not necessarily have to be bigger (i.e. a female protagonist), but simply better.

Dear Danielle:

It's very difficult for almost anyone to turn down paying jobs, particularly in the arts. Besides, it's not up to the actors to create better parts, it's up to the writers, and of course, the producers and the executives who choose what to shoot. I admire Emma Thompson--I just saw her and she was very good in "Saving Mr. Banks"--but she's lucky to have been in a position to be able to turn parts down, and it seems like she disappeared off the screen for a long time due to it. But it's not like male parts are much better. The wife's part in "American Sniper" is miserable, but Bradley Cooper's part ain't much better. Why does he like to shoot Iraqis more than attend to his family? I don't know. To make the world safer? It's not like he says much about it, he just keeps shooting people, then not saying anything at home.

Meanwhile, if you haven't seen "Happy-Go-Lucky," you should. Mike Leigh knows how to write good parts for both men and women, and Sally hawkins is great.

Josh

Name:             Nikolay Yeriomin
E-mail:            nikolayyeriomin@gmail.com
Date:               7/19/15

Dear Josh:

Just wonder - what is your opinion on FX and Coen Brothers casting Bruce Campbell as Ronald Reagan in the Season 2 of "Fargo"? While I'm sure that Campbell will be great as usual, I think that was one of the weirdest casting choices in years... Yours sincerely, Nikolay Yeriomin.

Dear Nikolay:

I know nothing of FX, but casting Bruce as Ronald Reagan seems inspired to me. Both of them are (or were) tall, broad-chested, square-jawed B-movie stars. In my opinion, when casting a known, famous person, it's better to go with someone who is sort of like them, but can act like them, as opposed to someone who actually looks like them. Bruce doesn't really look like Elvis, but he can do Elvis perfectly--and he's been doing it since we were about fourteen. He always does a line from one of Elvis' very few serious parts, "Flaming Star," where Elvis, as an Indian, says, "I don't want no trouble, mister." I don't recall Bruce's imitation of Reagan, but I'll just bet he can do him--he's a great mimic-- and he'll be funny. A number of the imitations that I do are actually me imitating Bruce imitating, say, Sean Connery. He had everybody on the set of "Running Time" screaming with laughter as he imitated Sean Connery, were he cast as Xena's father--"Xena, come here. Sit on daddy's lap." Anyway, I'd pay a dollar to see Bruce as Reagan.

Josh

Name:             Keith
E-mail:            alwayslikethis882@gmail.com
Date:               7/14/15

Dear Josh:

Reading your essay, "Charleston and the Confederacy", you have some pretty harsh things to say about the old southern culture: "The south the Confederacy did not endure any outrages or humiliations; they took an immoral, illegal position, and they got what they deserved: destruction." I tend to agree with you on this subject. The confederate cause holds no romance for me, although I still enjoy movies like "The General" and "Gone With the Wind". My question for you is, what is your feeling about the Reconstruction movement that took place after the Civil War? Looking back, I think the Norther government should have continued it until they had more fundamentally changed the culture of the Deep South.

Dear Keith:

You can't force a culture to change, it has to change on its own, which the south is clearly still doing. The confederacy didn't lose the Civil War by mistake--they had a much better commanding general for most of the war--but they were fighting for a lost cause, with far less soldiers, weapons and munitions. The tide of history had completely turned against them. The civilized countries of Europe had all outlawed slavery thirty years earlier. Reconstruction was moving along at too rapid of a pace for most southerners, to the extent that President Grant had to send in Federal troops in an attempt to enforce it. Once many black politicians got into office--too many, as far as southern whites were concerned--it all came crashing down. The Jim Crow laws came into effect, and didn't even start to erode until the 1950s. The fact that the civil rights laws didn't come into effect until the 1960s shows how backward this country really is. Still, things are certainly changing, and will continue to change. It seems to take awful events like Charleston and Furgeson to get the idea across, but slowly and surely it does.

Josh

Name:             Pete
E-mail:           
Date:               7/13/15

Dear Josh:

Have you been following the controversy and release of Harper Lee's new novel, "Go Set a Watchman"? Apparently it is set 20 years after "To Kill a Mockingbird", although was written before that novel. Atticus is now older and has turned into a bigot and a racist?!

Dear Pete:

It is interesting how "Watchman" metamorphosed into "Mockingbird." What's always interested me is how any writer could write one book when they were young--like Margaret Mitchell with "Gone With the Wind"--then never write another one. Well, I suspect Ms. Lee, at 89, has no more in her. Writing is a weird occupation.

Josh

Name:             DS
E-mail:           
Date:               7/11/15

Dear Josh:

The discussion of "Whiplash" leads me to a question for you - what are your favorite narrative 'jazz films?' They don't really make them anymore, at least in America, which made "Whiplash" quite refreshing. For the most part, we don't get jazz films or jazz scores in American films these days, and their heyday seemed to the 1940s and 1950s, but what are some of your favorites?

Dear DS:

It's not like there are all that many jazz movies anyway. I like "Young Man With a Horn" with Kirk Douglas as sort of a Bix Beiderbeck character. I'm not crazy about "Paris Blues" with Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier, nor John Cassavetes' "Too Late Blues. "St. Louis Blues" starring Nat King Cole as W.C. Handy isn't very good, either, but it does have young Billy Preston playing Handy as a youth. "Jazz On a Summer's Day" is OK, and Anita O'Day is very good, but there's way too many shots of sailboats. Here's a great, though edited, clip of Benny Goodman playing "Sing, Sing, Sing" from the movie "Hollywood Hotel" -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9J5Zt2Obko

Josh

Name:             Fred
E-mail:           
Date:               7/7/15

To Paul,

The director of "Whiplash" shouldn't suffer from a sophomore slump, since "Whiplash" is his second film. His first feature film is titled " Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench", which is "Presented by" Stanley Tucci. I haven't seen it yet, but it is on my Netflix DVD list.

Dear Fred:

That's on my Netflix list too, but I don't think it matters whether it's his first or second or third film. "Whiplash" may as well be his first film because the actual first film got him no notoriety. Damien Chazelle's next film, as listed on IMDB, is "La La Land," about a jazz musician's relationship with an actress (I believe) in L.A., which, if I may be so bold, sounds like a jerk-off story from a young man who just arrived in Hollywood. The first film is also about a jazz musician. He pulled off the jazz musician story once, but I have grave doubts if he can do it again, and I'm a jazz fan. I could be wrong, of course, but we'll see.

Josh

Name:             Scott
E-mail:           
Date:               7/6/15

Dear Josh:

I enjoyed Whiplash too and agree that it was the best film of 2014. In addition to it having a solid script I was also impressed by how it was crafted. It was executed in a very mature manner which surprised me because the director is so young. Here's hoping he doesn't endure a sophomore slump. In terms of movies in general I read this great article that lamented the fact that the phrase "What did you expect...Citizen Kane?" is overused as a defense mechanism to excuse bad film making. In other words the bar has been lowered to the point where our culture doesn't have standards anymore. It stated that when someone works on your car or house you demand a more than satisfactory job, yet when you complain that a film has no story, characterization and is just a 2 hour bombardment of CGI you're deemed a snob. I'll send the article as it was a good wake-up call, and as well all know the saying "What did you expect...Citizen Kane?" Really means is "What did you expect...a good movie? "Yes I did." should be everyone's answer and they should be upset about the state of cinema, music, and art because it's all a reflection of our culture.

Dear Scott:

This has all come crashing back on me because now I have all the premium channels and I'm attempting to watch more new movies. As I click through what's showing--and there are an enormous amount of ridiculously undistinguished films being made that go straight to cable, with decent casts and reasonably high budgets--the one sentence blurbs are so similar and uninteresting, mainly about cops, hit men and drug lords, or dysfunctional families, or two high school or college kids hijinks, often involving some asinine supernatural element, that I don't even bother to record them. The ones I do record, nine times out of ten I bail out in 5-10 minutes. What does this all indicate? So I ended up watching Ron Howard's "The Paper" (bad title) from 1994, which was at least watchable, with a very good cast, but didn't have a new or interesting idea anywhere in it. What particularly got me down, as it just did with the utterly run-of-the-mill, "American Sniper," is the painful dreariness of how marriage is constantly depicted--whatever the man wants or loves to do, the wife is against and is constantly disappointed and bitching, "we're not making enough money, you're never home, and what about the kids?" I feel like this lonely, solitary voice on a distant hilltop hollering about an issue that, for the most part, no one gives a damn about.

Josh

Name:             Will
E-mail:            wdodson52@hotmail.com
Date:               7/6/15

Dear Josh:

My oldest girl (13) watches grownup movies with me, but the other two girls (8 and 2 1/2) are a work in progress. My youngest is fascinated by Georges Melies, so I'm trying to work her up to silent Expressionist stuff. The 8-year old just wants talking ponies, though you'll be pleased to know I've gotten her into Xena. As for me, I'd say about 4,094 of the now 4,594 movies I've seen are movies for grownups. No one can say I've wasted my life, if I may paraphrase. I just watched for the fifth or sixth time Andre de Toth's "Day of the Outlaw," with Robert Ryan and Burl Ives. One of my favorite Westerns, stark and beautifully shot.

Dear Will:

I put "Day of the Outlaw" on my Netflix list. There's a film from 1951 called "You Never Can Tell" about a murdered dog who returns to earth as a human, played by Dick Powell, who ends up teaming up with a woman who used to be a horse. I haven't seen it in a long time, but it seemed pretty amusing.

Josh

Name:             Will
E-mail:            wdodson52@hotmail.com
Date:               7/1/15

Dear Josh:

I'll be very interested to read your take on "Into the Abyss." Herzog was criticized by some for leaving out one of the key witnesses (probably purposefully since he never mentions her). But since guilt was never in doubt, I don't think that mattered for what he was going for. You asked me what I thought the best movie of 2014 was, and I can't say. I saw only five movies in the theater, all of them chosen by my wife or kids. So I saw "Grand Budapest Hotel." I don't like Wes Anderson, whose films are beautifully shot but whose stories are incredibly adolescent. I saw "The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies," which was awful, and "Big Hero 6" with the kids. "Big Hero 6" was interesting until the end, when it gets trite. I saw "Guardians of the Galaxy," which was stupid. "The Babadook" was all right but kind of fell apart at the end. It's a pretty depressing list. I'll check out "Whiplash" since you recommend it. I think the best movie I saw in 2014 was one I wrote you about, Don Siegel's "The Gun Runners," the third adaptation of "To Have and Have Not," which had a terrific performance by Eddie Albert.

Dear Will:

Clearly, you need to see more adult films. Have you ever considered having your kids see adult films, as opposed to you having to watch kid's films? Or is this idea just verboten? If kids can't have exactly what they want then all hell will break loose? My family went to the movies every week or two when I was young and there was absolutely no question that whatever film we saw was going to be suitable for my parents as well (from early on, I generally got to choose). Of course, I had no interest in kid's films by the time I was eight or nine. I distinctly recall being perhaps eight and sitting all day through "The Longest Day" (yes, it was) and "The Blue Max." This is undoubtedly why films aimed at adults don't make much money any more, and therefore aren't given very good budgets. If adults see them at all it's on cable or video after the kids have gone to bed, or are off playing video games.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhayw@gmail.com
Date:               6/30/15

Dear Josh:

It was kind of you to personally tell Eric Roberts about what was going down, and it was cool that he seemed cool. Do you think he was sabotaged by the producer when he pretty much turned bad on you? Or do you think he was being "fake cordial" when you explained to him the situation and planned to sabotage you regardless? Thanks again for responding to this line of questioning, it's very interesting to me.

Dear Justin:

I believe that he was being "fake cordial" and was in bed with the producer from the beginning. It was a doomed production and I knew it from very early on. The only reason i stuck with it as long as I did is that I wanted another feature credit, but I didn't even get that. On a purely perverse level I would like to see what they ended up with. The DP, Dan, said that they followed my shot list all the way through, and I'd just love to see what was made of it, considering there are many times when I have to read my shot list several times to figure out what I meant.

Josh

Name:             William Grabowski
E-mail:            nightrun7@yahoo.com
Date:               6/30/15

Dear Josh :

Thank you for this incredible website, which I'm very late in discovering. I've made up for that by devouring its contents. I grew up in Cleveland, OH, with The Ghoul, and have made it to 57 years of age. Full-time freelance writer/editor. I've learned more about structure, and screenwriting (I've written 2 movie tie-ins, Castro's Cadillac the one I can mention because not under NDA), by visiting here than I can say. I "get" your take on matters, life and especially the brutal realities of making a so-called living from nothing but writing. Thanks so much.

Dear William:

It's my pleasure. I'm glad you got something out of my ramblings, which, from the outset, nearly 17 years ago (the site began in August, 1998), was my point. Sadly, I don't think the state of motion pictures has improved all that much in the interim. I switched cable companies and I now get all of the premium channels. I've bailed out on more movies in the last month than I have in my whole life. If one has a sense of story structure it's completely evident within 15 minutes if the filmmakers have a story to tell or not. I just watched "Whiplash" for the third time, and though it's not great, it's certainly a good, well-made film, and undoubtedly the best film of 2014. You absolutely know in the very first scene what the film is about--that's how it's done. Telling a story is not a mysterious craft.

Regarding your second question, what do I think of John Carpenter? Not much. He's never made a film I really like, although, for the most part, his films are watchable.

Josh

Name:             Will Dodson
E-mail:            wdodson52@hotmail.com
Date:               6/30/15

Dear Josh :

I saw my 4,593rd movie yesterday, Werner Herzog's "Into the Abyss." By coincidence, the Supreme Court ruled that executions could use a drug that potentially causes excruciating pain. Have you seen it? Herzog clearly states he's against the death penalty, but in detailing the murders committed by Jason Burkett and Michael Perry, and interviewing family of the victims, you almost want to kill these guys yourself. At the same time, he interviews Burkett's father (also in jail), a prison chaplain, a retired death row guard who now protests the death penalty--all of whom break down at some point--and it's hard to imagine supporting the death penalty. Personally, I have always been against the death penalty for ethical and economic reasons (e.g. life in prison is cheaper for the taxpayers). Still, I wasn't expecting to be as moved as I was by the film. So a double question: if you've seen the film, what did you think? And what's your position on capital punishment?

Dear Will:

I'm against it, as pretty much all civilized countries are. "Beyond a shadow of a doubt" is murky realm that has proven incorrect on too many occasions. I have not seen Herzog's film, but I will immediately put it on my Netflix list. I think he's one of the last truly exception filmmakers working. If I could actually make it through an entire new movie I ought to break the 5,000 mark very soon. What would you say was the best film of 2014?

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhayw@gmail.com
Date:               6/29/15

Dear Josh :

Regarding this movie "Intent," Any way you saw the final piece? As unreasonable as that is... If you did, (and I'm asking two questions in one) what did you think? Thanks

Dear Justin:

It was never completed, as far as I know. My buddy Dan was the DP, who made it through the whole shoot, and he's never seen it, either, or any part of it. I'm certain that they didn't have anywhere close to what they needed to cut it together, and I have no doubt that what was shot after I left was useless anyway. It was a prime example of what occurs when arrogance meets ignorance. The producers, who had never made a movie, thought they knew better than we--the director, DP, 1st AD, Steadicam operator, etc.--and shut us all down. So fuck them. That was about a million bucks flushed down the crapper.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               6/28/15

Dear Josh :

Regarding the comment about Molassia (which I have never heard of by the way). Perhaps you have heard of Emperor Norton (Joshua Abraham Norton (c. 1817–1818[2] – January 8, 1880) he was a fascinating fellow who declared himself Emperor of America in the 1850s. He walked around in a royal outfit and was embraced by the people of San Francisco.

Dear Paul:

I'd never heard of him until you brought him up. He's just one more crazy person. Anyway, since I wrote that little essay it seems that most everyone has finally embraced the idea of getting rid of the Confederate flag, which is a good thing. And now marriage equality and Obamacare are the laws of the land. Life is improving, and Obama is leaving a fine legacy. And the Republicans have no candidate, so life may well continue to improve.

Josh

Name:             Remo
E-mail:           
Date:               6/26/15

Dear Josh :

Regarding your Confederacy essay, there is, within the state of Nevada, a micro-nation called Molossia, which is its own country. Is that micro-nation illegal in the way the Confederacy was?

Dear Remo:

Kevin Braugh, "President" of Molossia, never seceded from the Union, nor has he and his "republic" ever been recognized by this country, the U.N., or any other country. This has nothing to do with what I was talking about.

Josh

Name:             Keith
E-mail:            alwayslikethis882@gmail.com
Date:               6/19/15

Hi Josh :

Have you heard about the US Treasury's plan to remove Alexander Hamilton from the ten dollar bill? I think it is a damn shame and a sign that most Americans are poorly educated about their national history. Hamilton was a great founding father. I am in favor of having a woman like Harriet Tubman added to our paper currency, but I'd rather see Andrew Jackson removed from the $20, as was originally proposed. Here is an article on the subject by Ron Chernow, who wrote a fascinating biography of Hamilton in 2006. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/save-alexander-hamilton-119176.html#.VYMx0_mbzDd

Dear Keith:

I am a big fan of Alexander Hamilton. He and George Washington were the originators of the Democratic party, called Federalists at the time. Thomas Jefferson and his gang were traitors, pushing for states' right over a solid federal government, and, as history has proven, they were wrong. As Mr. Chernow wrote, I'm all for emblazoning the image of an important woman somewhere--although there is certainly a dearth of important women in this country. I had the discussion last night about who that woman should be, and we couldn't decide on anyone. Harriet Taubman, Susan B. Anthony and Eleanor Roosevelt certainly have their points, but none of them came anywhere close to achieving what Alexander Hamilton did. That's partially why I am a supporter of Hillary Clinton--I'm extremely interested to see what a woman will do with this country, and I think it's about time. Not to mention that she's far and away the best candidate. Let's wait to see what she does, then let's put her on some currency, but not the $20 bill. Regarding Andrew Jackson, he was more of a war hero than a president. I think he's misrepresented in his relation to the Native Americans, many of whom he considered friends and respected. But the move westward across the Mississippi by the white man was inevitable as we continued to build up on the eastern seaboard, which Jackson tried to explain to the Indians, but to no avail. Nor can you blame the Indians for fighting for the land they lived on. That's simply how history shakes down.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhayw@gmail.com
Date:               6/11/15

Dear Josh :

I never heard about this, "Intent" movie. Just looked it up on IMDB. What do you mean the producers sabotaged the movie? And what was so bad about Eric Roberts? You have a thick skin. No matter what happened I would blame myself and sulk for months. But I tend to be pretty hard on myself.

Dear Justin:

I guess you didn't read "The Making of 'Intent'." while it was up, before the producers of the film had their lawyers threaten me to take it down. Early into Michigan's 40% incentive program in 2009 I was hired by these first-time producers to direct a film one of the producers wrote. It was sort of a lame CSI thing, but I was happy to get the job. Anyway, without going into a million details, it went to hell in a handcar and I walked off the film a week into shooting. First the producer and Eric Roberts took over the direction, then, when Eric left, it was just the producer, who didn't have the slightest clue what he was doing and never got off the phone. I brought in the DP and he stuck it out--many people quit or were fired--and he said it was a shit-storm. One example is that they didn't shoot any of their inserts, then picked them all up at the end in front of a green screen, and I don't think they had plates. Anyway, six years later it has not been released. As my old sales agent used to say, "Film does not age like wine, it ages like fish." I daresay that "Intent" will never come out. C'est la vie.

Josh

Name:             Alien Termite
E-mail:           
Date:               6/08/15

Dear Humanoid Josh :

A random question for you, one that's been put to many film buffs over the years; who do you prefer, Keaton or Chaplin? After viewing several films from each over the past couple of weeks, I must say I'm more in the Chaplin camp myself. I'm particularly a fan of "Modern Times", "City Lights", and "The Great Dictator". I actually found the final speech from "The Great Dictator" quite moving, and pretty ballsy for its day.

Dear Alien:

I prefer Buster Keaton, who has made me laugh harder more times than Chaplin. Keaton's films "The General," "Our Hospitality," and "Steamboat Bill, Jr.," I think, are funnier than anything Chaplin ever made. But I have a great and abiding love for Chaplin, too, and I think he set the stage for the other silent comedians. Sadly, Buster Keaton couldn't cut in sound films, and everything you named of Chaplin's is from the sound era ("City Lights," which is brilliant, is still silent, but has a music score). "The Great Dictator," in my opinion, is way too long. I watched "Limelight" (1952) again not too long ago and enjoyed it in its highly sentimental way, but the best scene by far is the routine between Chaplin and Keaton, who steals the show.

Josh

Name:             Russ
E-mail:           
Date:               6/06/15

Hello Josh :

Interesting comment on Intent and Harpies. I'm not surprised by Roberts since I've seen him in interviews and he does seem to be full of himself for someone who is overshadowed by his sister in the business. Baldwin is another one who is overshadowed by family members. I guess they think by being divas that they can make themselves feel important. Can directors ever get the actors they want or just the producers? Can directors fire an actor and replace him with a more professional one? I thought the director was the boss on set. Or does that have to be specifically written in a director's contract?

Dear Russ:

If it's an independent production I can do whatever I want, but on TV I couldn't fire anyone, nor can any other director. I have a big say in casting and if I've chosen badly (and the producers have OKed them), that's my problem. Not to mention, once you've shot with an actor, if you replace them you'd have to reshoot their footage, which is certainly not happening on a TV show or most independent productions. The bottom line is that most actors are wonderful and are giving you all they've got, which isn't mentioned too often. The problem actors get all the press. Bruce Campbell, Lucy Lawless, Kevin Sorbo, Renee O'Connor, and most of the rest show up, are in a good mood, know their lines, are completely cooperative and are total pros, but there's no story there.

Josh

Name:             Justin Hayward
E-mail:            justinhayw@gmail.com
Date:               6/02/15

Dear Josh :

So I've had many professional director jobs that I considered failures. Honestly, I feel 1 out of 4 jobs aren't failures, but that's just me. It's a tough thing to realize every time. And, I know the old cliche, you never learn if you don't fail. Are there any moments as a professional filmmaker that you feel a failure made you a better director?

Dear Justin:

Not really. Early on I made screen direction errors, but I cleaned those up and never did them again. The failure of "Harpies" was not my fault--I had a script with FX on every page and no FX budget, and I had that stupid shit-head Stephen Baldwin, who wouldn't learn his lines or get into costume, and there was nothing I could do about that, either. On that unreleased piece of shit, "Intent," I had the worst amateur producers on earth who sabotaged the entire production right from the beginning, and I had that asshole, Eric Roberts, who was nothing more than obnoxious prick. When left to my own wiles, like on my films, or Hercules or Xena, I always delivered a competent job that cut together nicely and pleased the producers. I feel good about what I've done.

Josh

Name:             Trey
E-mail:            goonersmithy@gmail.com
Date:               5/28/15

Dear Josh :

I just re-watched "Running Time" on DVD and it's easily my favorite of your films. The black and white photography is gorgeous and I love the one shot technique. It's really impressive that, unlike Hitchcock's "Rope", you actually move all around LA instead of being confined to just one apartment. Anyway, my question is who owns the rights for release? Are they still with Anchor Bay? Do you think we'll ever get a blu-ray release? Hope all is well.

Dear Trey:

I'm really glad you like it. I do, too. And I honestly think it was an influence on "Birdman," which nobody has commented on. I own the film and was all set to make a deal with Synapse Films, but there are unpaid bills on the film that they didn't want to deal with and I presently can't. So, alas, it sits. But it's still available on my website, even if it's not Blu-Ray.

Josh

Name:             Alien Termite
E-mail:           
Date:               5/22/15

Dear Humanoid Josh :

Did Chris Dinnan's film make it into Cannes?

Dear Alien:

No, it did not. Not many films do.

Josh

Name:             Keith
E-mail:           
Date:               5/15/15

Hi Josh :

Do you think there has ever been a time in Hollywood's history that it was easier to break into the filmmaking business than it is now?

Dear Keith:

Certainly. Back during the silent era I think you could just show up at a studio and ask for a job. They'd start you off sweeping up--as John Wayne did--then you could work your way up. It was always better to know somebody, or be related to somebody in the business. Now, i don't know what the criteria is.

Josh

Name:             TJ
E-mail:            TDriscoll@kw.com
Date:               5/1/15

Hey Josh :

long time no talkie (It your Dean from 'Hammer')...Hope things are well with you? Have some questions about 'Running Time'? How much choreography of the shots did you do prior to the shooting? and what were the major problems you ran into during production?

Dear TJ:

Long time no hear. All of the choreography was worked out in advance. There's no way to get the actors and the camera in the places you want them at the right moments unless you work it out in advance. Unlike my other films which I either storyboarded or made shot lists, for RT I drew overhead diagrams of the floor-plans, where the actors would be as where the camera would be. This was imperative to get the cuts between reels to come out in the right places. It's very similar in "Birdman" except they had the ability to do digital transitions, which I thought they used well. Also, I stayed in real time, whereas they are doing time transitions because their story takes place over a couple of days. I'd love to hear a comparison between RT and "Birdman." Are you still in Alaska?

Josh

Name:             David R.
E-mail:           
Date:               5/1/15

Dear Josh :

Who do you like to win the big boxing match this weekend? I'll take Mayweather.

Dear David:

I predict Mayweather on points. I think he'll dance around and stay away and pop Pacquio now and then, then take it to a decision. This fight should have happened 5-6 years ago.

Josh

Name:             Andrew Harris
E-mail:           
Date:               4/26/15

Dear Josh :

I see you have several historical novels that you have recently published and that you also have experience in movies. Which novel do you believe would make the best motion picture? I am getting started as a film producer and would like to try to get one made. Thank you, Andrew Harris

Dear Andrew:

Write to me personally at josh@beckerfilms and we can discuss it.

Josh

Name:             JF
E-mail:           
Date:               4/25/15

Dear Josh :

Your answer about Birdman's got me curious - what are your favourite movies about making movies? Is it a subgenre you like or don't particularly care for given you've lived in Hollywood and been through the trenches yourself? Obviously there are stone cold classics like Singin' In The Rain or Sunset Boulevard, but what of more recent takes like The Player or David Cronenberg's latest, Map To The Stars? (My own dubious top 5 of the last 25-ish years since no-one asked: Matinee, Ed Wood, The Wizard Of Speed & Time, The Player, Mulholland Drive) Bonus question: should we still hold out hope for a Synapse edition of Running Time, or has that ship sailed? Best wishes, JFSpine Chillers update please?

Dear JF:

What I dislike most about movies-about-movies is that they rarely if ever show the process correctly. Since movies are very much a hurry-up-and-wait process, false drama is constantly used to create tension, like the leading lady won't come out of her dressing room, or the director is pitching a fit. Ultimately, most of filmmaking is in either pre- or post-production, which often takes years. Anyway, a good one in my opinion is "The Bad and the Beautiful."

Josh

Name:             lou
E-mail:           
Date:               4/25/15

Dear Josh :

Spine Chillers update please?

Dear lou:

The first nine episodes are completed and the idea is to stick them all together and see if someone will release them. The final two episodes, "Spoon Dog" and "The Wraith," will remain unseen until then. What happens after that, only God knows. Chris wants to make a feature, Paul and his good buddy Robbie, who starred in "Road Kill," have another script they want to do, and I'm just watching it all shake down.

Josh

Name:             Jeff C.
E-mail:           
Date:               4/22/15

Dear Josh :

You're liked that piece of shit, "Birdman"? I found the characters totally unlikeable, the plot was ridiculous, the constant camera movements was jarring and nauseating.

Dear Jeff:

Then I guess you wouldn't like my film "Running Time" which is it's direct precursor. "Birdman" is about the relevance of art--does it means anything? You can paint a buffalo on a wall, or you can paint the Sistine Chapel. Does one have more meaning than the other? Does being Birdman or Batman have more meaning than doing a four character drama based on Raymond Carver stories? Can he actually fly, or does he just hit the pavement below? These are questions that I think about. What matters? If Ed Norton tries to fuck Naomi Watts right before the scene, is he an asshole or is he a real actor trying to find the moment? I wouldn't argue that "Birdman" got Best Picture because it brought up the most questions. Did Alan Turing invent the Turing Device and have a decisive a profound impact on WWII? Yes. Did the kid in "Whiplash" learn to play the drums? Yes. Did Birdman fly away at the end? I kinda fuckin doubt it.

Josh

Name:             l
E-mail:           
Date:               4/22/15

Dear Josh :

What's your advice about working for free in the hopes of getting exposure down the road or do you think freebies just result in more freebie requests?

Dear I:

You're worth what you charge. If you haven't got much production experience, then it's a good thing to get on a set and see how they run. Regarding writing, I not only wouldn't write a script for free, I wouldn't even read a script for free. As John Gregory Dunne wrote in his book, "Monster," every asshole studio executive thinks that they're a writing, they just don't have time. Anybody who has time to actually be writer must be an asshole. I'll write a three-page treatment if I honestly and truly feel like they will pay me for a 12-page treatment, but that's as far as I will go. Now we need a contract.

Josh

Name:             Bob
E-mail:           
Date:               4/19/15

Dear Josh :

I don't know if this question makes a lot of sense, but which film do you think holds up over time better, The Shawshank Redemption or LA Confidential? I like LA Confidential more but I am thinking both about the same.

Dear Bob:

I like them both very much. If I have a gripe it's with "L.A. Confidential" because it became needlessly violent at the end. Both films look great and have a terrific sense of their time period.

Josh

Name:             Tim
E-mail:            NativeBlood66
Date:               4/17/15

Good Evening Josh :

It's been a while since I've written. Have you ever noticed at times that the more you attempt to apply rational thought to some situations that occur in life or questions that come up the less sense these situations or questions seem to make? It's like that damn "brain cloud" is working over time or something. In any event I just read your story "The Gospel According to Judas" which you wrote in 1997 and which also somehow has floated beneath my radar all these years. I read that right after I read "The Oppressor Is Always Wrong - Jews vs. Everybody". Both of those writings are awesome Josh. While "Oppressor" is total truth "Judas" smacks of the truth. I've picked apart so many of your writings concerning this that it wouldn't make sense to the average Joe I guess. In "Oppressor" you mentioned "imaginary God" but I've read your responses on other questions where you seem to admit the validity of the existence of a man called Jesus in ancient Israel. Therein came my mind screw which I did entirely to myself. How? Because even though I have gone to great lengths to rid myself of religious indoctrination and dogma seeing the name "Jesus" still rang some supernatural ding-a-ling in my head. That's how powerful it is. You allow for Jesus and his existence but you never said or wrote that his existence was a supernatural one. "Judas" clarifies with a between the lines cup check if you know what I mean. For me personally your writings have been liberating. How did we get here and is there any purpose behind it all? Who the hell knows? Thanks again for the time you devote to your website and your writings. Have a great weekend. Tim

Dear Tim:

Why wouldn't there be a fellow named Jesus of Bethlehem? The Romans were exceptionally adept at keeping records. But I put forth that he was just a man with a theory, and a good one at that. God isn't anything more than the love we display to one another. Pre-Jesus God was a vindictive prick who would make you burn in hell for all of eternity for eating shellfish. Post-Jesus God was love and how kind can we be to one another. Of course, the Romans didn't buy this theory, nor did many Jews, but it's a pretty good theory. Is it true? Well, I personally think it's a better theory, but it's not more than that. If you've read my essay, "Entropy," I think that God is just a closed system and we can either be kind or assholes, it's up to us. Nothing is going anywhere. Let's take on the Muslims, shall we? What's the difference between the Sunni and the Shi'ites? Who is more directely related to Mohmmad? All of us. One group is descended from Mohammed's cousin, the other is directly related to Mohammed--if we care to buy the literature from 1,500 years ago. I think it's all a bunch of nonsense. I think the Inuit eskimoes have a every bit as much right to believe that God is a walrus. I think the Hindus have every bit as much right to believe that God has ten million names. It's all mythology. If you think that killing a cartoonist for depicting Mohammed ought to be killed then you're an infidel that's unworthy of the belt you use to keep your pants up.

Josh

Name:             Paul
E-mail:           
Date:               4/16/15

Dear Josh :

This is for your webmaster. What happened to the search button on the site ? Can it be brought back ? It was useful to look up topics.

Dear Paul:

I may have overlooked/forgotten about it and accidentally left it out when I redesigned the front page. The script should still be there and I may be able to find the search button on an older version of the main page. I'll look into it.

Kevin

UPDATE: Search Engine re-added to the front page.

Name:             Brian
E-mail:           
Date:               4/11/15

Dear Josh :

What were some of the last truly great films to come out of Hollywood that you can remember? I last saw Unforgiven (1992) and i think its a little overrated though by no means a bad film; the moral ambiguoity was well written i thought

Dear Brian:

What's ambiguous about it? Little Bill killed his Bill Munny's friend. Now he's going to die because he took on someone tougher than him. "Who owns this shit-hole? "I bought it from Greely." "Good. Now anyone who wants to live better step away from that guy. Anyone who decorates his place with my friend better be willing to die." And he shoots him. "You must be William Munny out of Kansas City. Assassian of women and children." "I've killed women and children. I've killed everything that walks and crawls. And now I'm about to kill you, Little Bill." Does Little Bill not deserve to die? He killed Ned.

Josh

Name:             The Archivist
E-mail:            Echo Chamber
Date:               4/9/15

Dear Josh :

I suspect others will also remind you but here is the complete exchange you made last year:

******************** ******************** Name: Nicholas E-mail: therealnickelass@yahoo.com Date: 11/11/14 Dear Josh : Now that Starz has given the go ahead for a new Evil Dead tv show what are the odds that we will ever see a Josh Becker directed episode... or would you even want to travel down that road again?!? I only ask because you were pretty involved with Hercules and Xena throughout the years they were running. As well as Jack of All Trades. Dear Nicholas: You will NEVER see a an episode of "Evil Dead" directed by me; that is an utterly impossibility. And, quite frankly, I would rather shoot my toe off with a shotgun than get anywhere near anything Evil Dead-like under any circumstances. I'm being interviewed by the BBC in less than an hour (to be broadcast on Nov. 15) and I will certainly tell them so. Josh ******************** ********************

The "I would rather shoot my toe off with a shotgun" implies you would turn down an offer to be involved.

Dear Echo:

You're right. I guess since I knew that I would never be hired I took the offensive. But of course, were they to hire me I would take it, strictly for the money. But that will not occur. I certainly don't sit here and mope about it; nor is it something I particularly desire. C'est la vie. And I don't know if the BBC ever ran that interview, either. I got a sense that they couldn't get anybody else to discuss the film but me, and apparently they didn't much care what I had to say. To me, this ongoing in interest in ED is part of the omnipresent interest in crap, which seems to fuel many people, with Quentin Tarantino at the forefront. I believe that it has dulled everybody's interest and ability in discerning what's good. I've now seen most of the big, Oscar-nominated pictures of 2014 and there isn't a great film in the bunch. I enjoyed: "Whiplash," "The Imitation Game" and "Birdman," but none of them are anywhere near terrific, and none of them made me feel like I needed to see them again. I don't think that I've ever made a really good film, but I certainly have tried. And I believe the aforementioned movies tried, too. Maybe it's just not in in the zeitgeist of the times. I must say, though, that this never-ending discussion of ED is wearisome.

Josh


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