Q & A    Archive
Page 100

Name: Brian C.
E-mail: canadab@ghostshipfilms.com

Josh,

Do you get the impression that this Pilalidis George can't be 'for real?' Could anyone be pulling your leg? Heh.

What do you think about the 48 Hour Film Project? Our company has decided to participate and was selected in the first round of applicant. Starting Friday evening at 6:30, we draw a random Genre, character, prop, and a line that must appear in a 5 - 10 minute film. We then have 48 hours to write, cast, shoot, edit and score. Of course, we have had to lay out 100 bucks for the priveledge (application fee 10 and participation fee 90 once selected). I have never liked laying out cash for the priveledge of participating in anything but this seemed like fun and it was only a hundred dollars. Any thoughts?

B

Dear Brian:

Yeah, it seems like a sure-fire way to make a crappy movie. The difference between a good production and a bad production is pre-production. A decent script needs to be thought about extensively, written, re-written, and re-written again, which can't be done in 48 hours. All in all, it's nothing more than a silly idea, but have fun anyway.

Josh

Name: Francois
E-mail: marx@metroweb.co.za

Josh

Not black, but Coloured or "Kleurling". And who cares about the last word? Getting the point acoss is what counts. You STILL stay on gay rights. I never mentioned anything about gay or gay rights. I said I don't agree with them. Why do you stay on that issue? But you don't talk about the rights of beastility or the incest. Your true colours lie in those answers.

If you say as filmmaker you don't have to advocate the good, what do you advocate then? I bet you will say "choices for people" , basically what everyone in the NEW AGE WORLD ORDER is saying, in other words PC nonsense. Would you like it if someone taught your childern that drugs is right? You are clearly not a parent. I know about Lunatics. A love story. What is so wrong about that. Nothing! Why do you feel so threatend, feeling you have to vehemently defend yourself? Must every director who "don't want to make 'nice" films make anger-at-the-world films expressing dissapointment at everything? Like Eminem? Pandering is what we ALL do, you included. People try to change the world all the time, I do too, but to make them feel good about themselves. People arent robots. PC is people's spitefull way to not change but MAKE you accept whatever they do, leave you branded and labelled if you don't. Nonsense! The left call it PC, the right call it censorship. The truth is hidden always to benifit somone one group. Pandering is it? We (directors) should cut it out, don't you think? Millions of dollars is spent in NASA looking for aliens outhere, where people, animals, earth is dying right here. All for the liberal liberation of man? PC is crap forever.

If you ever come to South Africa never call a Coloured "black man".
Ever.

Francois

Dear Francois:

Just so we can get this out of the way, I don't agree with pederasty or beastiality because in both instances the other party is not in a position to consent. Adults must look out for the underaged, and animals have no way of agreeing. As for incest, other than the blood issues which are real, if a brother and sister of legal age want to have sex and not have children, that's their business, not mine. And as for two consenting adults of either gender having sex, whatever thay want to do in the privacy of their own home is, once again, their business and not mine. As for what I advocate in my films or my opinions, it has nothing to do with "choices for people" as you so blithely assume, it's strictly what I think. My point of view, good or bad, postive or negative, which doesn't have to conform to anyone else's POV. I don't care what you or anyone else thinks. And I don't have to be positive if I don't want to. And pandering is not what everyone does, just those that want to be liked. I don't care if you or anyone else likes me or agrees with me, it means nothing to me. I believe that movies at their best are an art form, and you certainly don't have to get a lollipop at the end of every story. Many stories are sad, depressing, unhappy, unjust, and plain old mean, but they're all worth telling. And get off the PC schtick. The only thing that you can do is express yourself honestly. Period. If you pander to the crowd you are ultimately an asshole. Meanwhile, if you're not white and you're not black, what the heck are you? Striped like a zebra? And why can't you call a black man a black man in South Africa? Colored is a silly term. White people are more colored than black people -- white people turn red when they're angry, blue when they're cold, green when they're sick, and brown when they're tanned. Black people stay mainly one color. But maybe it's just PC there in South Africa to not use the term "black," so you're just being PC, right?

Josh

Name: Paul Becker
E-mail: paulbecker13@netscape.net

Dear Josh,

I have a friend that is an extremely good writer. She has three published books, the recent a childrens book "Caleng and the Moonstone Pearl" ISBN: 1-4107-4611-9. She also has several screen plays written as well. I have been trying to get her publicity localy and nation wide but just don't know what I am doing! She has a book signing here in St. Louis in Sep. at Barnes and Noble. She self published said book through First Books. I was hopeing you could give me some advice or if you are interested take a look at some of her work. It seems you both have the same interests in works. Maria writes from the dark twisted side. I really think if nothing else her works will entertain you thouroughly!

Best Regards,
Paul Becker

Dear Paul:

I certainly wish her all the best, but I don't want to read her stuff, or anyone else's either. I'm only interested in making films based on my own writing. And I've got my next twenty books lined up and ready to read, and they're all non-fiction. What you might want to do is query some agents and see if they'd be interested in reading her books. Good luck.

Josh

Name: John Hunt
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Josh,

"King Kong" was the one I came up with as well. My father is fond of telling the story of when he went to see it as a kid. He was about seven and he went to the theater at nine in the morning with a group of kids comparable to "The Little Rascals". For a quarter you could stay in the theater all day and they watched "Kong" four times. My Dad never actually saw Kong himself because everytime the Ape appeared my Dad would shut his eyes. I've always thought that would make a great scene in a movie.

It's an interesting parallel because if I went to a theater showing "The Hulk" I would have my eyes closed too. This animated character-bit is nothing but public masturbation; "Hey, look what I can do!!" I'd rather they do it their basement like everyone else, but I suppose they have too much money for that. The old Bill Bixby series at least knew what sort of story it wanted to tell, essentially a reanimation of "The Fugitive". The pilot for that series was really well done, for a TV show. Do you remember Eddie Murphy's "I'm Gumby, dammit!" routine? If they had made "The Hulk" with Murphy's Gumby on steroids I might have been intrigued.

John

Dear John:

I liked in "Cider House Rules" that the only film they had at the orphanage was "King Kong," and they all watched it every week and had a great time. Later, Charlize Theron asks Tobey Maguire if he likes movies and he says, "Yeah, 'King Kong' is great." It's certainly the most influential movie on all of the effects guys I know. They can go on endlessly about Willis O'Brien and Marcel Delgado. I love the fact that Cooper and Schoedsack, the directors, played the pilots that kill Kong.

Josh

Name: Eric Rosenthal
E-mail: eric30202002@yahoo.com

Hey Josh,

Beekeeper outfits, that's a good one! I read somewhere that Muslim women have to cover themselves because the prophet Mohommed kept a harem of really hot babes and didn't want anyone seeing this and getting jealous. Thank god we've got separation of church and state, at least to some degree.

Eric

Dear Eric:

Amen. Now if we can just get all those asshole politicians to stop invoking God in every speech, and saying horseshit like only male/female marriages are "sanctified," and nonsense like that, we'll be doing a lot better. Every time one of these idiots ends their speech with "God bless America," I want to ask, "Of which God do you speak?" And what about the Agnostics and the Athiests, don't they count, too? Everyone seems to have forgotten that the founding fathers of this country were mainly Athiests, as was Abraham Lincoln (he actually wrote a book about being an Athiest before he became president).

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc@mac.com

Josh,

I have only watched "2001" twice. Once on the largest sceen in Michigan at the time, at the "Americana" theater in Detroit back in the mid-eighties, and once in college on the big screen.

The "Americana" screening was the shit. They ran the film for a short time to introduce their new huge screen and sound system. It was awesome!

I also agree that it was intended to be watched that way and that is the only way it should be seen.

Cynthia mentioned watching part of "2001" while listening to Pink Floyd's "Echoes".

The Floyd was pretty close to doing the score for "2001", so close in fact that they had already tracks in mind and were ready to go into the studio to record them, however, Kubrick decided to use the now famous classical tracks for the film.

I agree with Cynthia about wayching that part of the film and listening to "Echoes" by Pink Floyd. It makes me wonder how their stuff would have worked in the film. We can only guess!

Scott

Dear Scott:

I never heard about Pink Floyd doing the score for "2001," and considering the film was made in 1966-67, Pink Floyd was nobody at the time, so I have difficulty believing it. By 1967 Pink Floyd was only known for their one hit at the time, "See Emily Play." They hadn't done any of their long, trippy music yet. I do know that the great Jerry Goldsmith was hired to write the score, and did in fact write and record it, but it wasn't used. Of course, the juxtaposition of the old classical against the new space footage is brilliant. He made it all work again, too, in "A Clockwork Orange."

Josh

Name: Darin
E-mail: none

Hey Josh,

Here's another example of the recently oppressed becoming oppressors:
Liberia.

Liberia was formed in the early 1800s by freed African-American > slaves. In Liberia you can't be recognized as a citizen unless you are black.
There is also a huge caste system, with direct descendants (2%) of slaves being on the top, and natives (98%) being on the bottom. As in most caste systems, the lower caste is treated as backwards and stupid.

Not to mention that Liberia is very unstable and the US has bailed them out on numerous occasions. Now, lo and behold, Bush wants to invade the country. That has very odd parallels to Iraq, don't you think?

Darin

Dear Darin:

I must say that I slightly resent this idea that America is the world's policeman. I'm beginning to feel like an isolationist. Is this really our problem? Considering there is still a lot of hunger and poverty in our own country, and many people don't have any health care. My dad, a fine representative of the conservative right, recently said that it's good for people to not have health care because "it gives them incentive." The average income for a family of four in the U.S. is $38,000. If you're paying $1,000 a month in rent, that leaves $24,000 a year to feed, clothe, and educate, which is truly insufficient. And we're blowing hundreds of billions of dollars rebuilding Iraq and invading places like Liberia? I don't get it.

Josh

Name: Jim
E-mail: JEaganfilm@aol.com

Josh,

Is this the same Bill Maher that did Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death? The poor guy just hasn't had much luck in choosing movies. But he really is one of the few smart comics working right now. Maher and Carlin are the only guys that I actually make an effort to watch on HBO. What's interesting to me how how many people really hate the guy. Friends of mine think he's just a major asshole and can't stand him. Personally I find his comments to be refreshing. His comments on the current political issues are generally much more intelligent than the editorials you'll find in the major newspapers. We've gotten to the point in this country where a few standup comedians are doing the job that the chickenshit journalists are too scared to do, and he does it in a very entertaining way.

I haven't seen his HBO show but I'll have to check it out (ie download it since I dont have HBO). Whats interesting about Maher is that he always finds the core truth in an issue. He's such a bright guy that consistently finds the side of it that you don't see in the newspapers or on the news. I think one of his better comments is how people need to learn to hold two opposing views in their head at the same time. The close-minded assholes around the world are the reason why everything is so fucked up all the time. If people would learn to consider both sides of an issue rather than mindlessly following the instructions of their old books then we might be a more peaceful society. I think that guys like Bill Maher actually perform an important function in society, we need more like him. I'd also like to see more movies with something honest and relevant to say, but thats probably asking too much.

Dear Jim:

I'd like to hear what you think once you see the show. I agree, he's doing society a service by saying things that no else has the guts to say. He takes on women at the end of the show and says that our society has become totally feminized, that safety is more important than fun, sensitivity is more important than masculinity, and everything is now about "the kids." I think he's right on the mark.

Josh

Name: Cynthia E. Jones
E-mail: cynthiaejones@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I've been perusing the last page of comments with amusement. Apparently your new, typographically challenged visitors are unaware that you are not The Pope. This made me think: when did people in the public eye begin to be expected to be role models? And why are we so upset when rich/famous/influential people have opinions of their own that might be unpopular? I recall, recently, that Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and Sean Penn were singled out as "anti-war" and people were choosing not to watch their films. I believe this included a "Bull Durham" 15th-anniversary baseball Hall of Fame party or something, where they chose not to invite the stars of the film. Someone involved was quoted as saying, "Actors have no right to voice their political opinions; that's not what they're there for." The question is: Who MAY voice their opinion? Shouldn't it be all of us? Isn't that the point of "america"? Freedom of speech? And isn't the internet, well, protected by that right? Maybe I'm crazy here, but if you started spouting crap like, "Drugs are bad, and homosexuality, while not wrong, is fine as long as no sex acts occur...." I'd never visit your site again.

Oh, yeah. Movies. Danny Boyle has come out with an alternate ending for "28 Days Later," which will be released in the theaters on Friday the 25th. (This, apparently, is the 29th day of release.) I think this is the first time something like this has happened, pre-video, yes? Neat trick...still haven't seen either version.

And, yes, "2001" should only be viewed on the big screen. My favorite lo-fi special effects moment in the film is during the "To Jupiter and Beyond" sequence (you know, the last 23 minutes, when you should play Pink Floyd's "Echoes" at home and it works really well), when the "universe" is "expanding." Apparently Kubrick just used paint on a piece of glass, shone light through it, and then overcranked the hell out of it to make super slo-mo universe expansion. Brilliant. Who needs CGI?

Cindy

Dear Cindy:

Kubrick certainly didn't. Regarding opinions, many people got on their high horse about Michael Moore's little speech at the Oscars, and I think he was really the only worthwhile thing on the whole show. And, of course, everything he said was true. We started a war for no Goddamn reason -- that's nearly bankrupted this country -- other than to suit George junior's blood-lust. Iraq was no threat to us, and had no connection to Al Queda, either. It was all crap. And now we're $430 billion in the hole, and spending about $40 billion a month to stay there. And they hate our fucking guts. That country will never be a democracy. Once again, I'm convinced that if a Republican opens their mouth they're either lying, trying to take away someone else's rights, or trying to steal from the poor to give to the rich.

Josh

Name: Joshua
E-mail:

Josh,

I wrote about the "deal" with 2001 a little bit ago, and reading responses I thought about how little I go to movies. Mostly because I could care less about wasting the enormous amount of money it costs to even go to the movies on films such as 2 fast 2 furious. Being an unemployed broke student, I find myself seeing more matinees just to spare the couple extra dollars for lunch or something. But my point is that i find it hard to sit through a slower movie without the excitement of the big screen complete with surround sound. It also sucks that there's virtually nowhere, where i live, to go see older films on the big screen. Hope thats no problem where you live. thanks for listening (or reading).

Dear Joshua:

There's virtually nowhere in the Detroit metropolitan area to see old movies, either. Once Hollywood broke me of the habit of going to the movies, which I minimally did five times a week for over twenty years, I haven't got much interest going to the movie theater anymore. And since I really won't tolerate people talking around me, it frequently results in a tense situation, which I can also live without. Besides, I can sit at home, watch the DVD, smoke, pause it when I have to pee, and all is fine.

Josh

Name: kathy
E-mail: kathyrettig@earthlink.net

Dear Josh:

Does anyone know what happened to the real John Larouche with the impact of the film Adaptation, or irregardless of it? That is what I am most interested in after watching the movie twice, besides seeing more Chris Cooper movies.

Dear Kathy:

Maybe you should read the book "The Orchid Thief." It seems like it would be a lot more interesting than the film.

Josh

Name: Pilalidis George
E-mail: AGAMEMMNON@MSN.COM

I'TS OK JOSH,SORY: I WAS STIUPED TO THINK I CAN TAKE SAMS ATENTION BUD LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM FROM VIRGIN STEELE AND MAYBE YOU ANDASTAND MI:

Dear Pilaldis:

Sam is the Great Oz, and nobody sees the Great Oz, no how, no way. That's just how it goes. Good luck on your project.

Josh

Name: John Hunt
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Josh,

Two cents on the "2001" subject. There are those who believe that "The Matrix" offered break-through special effects. They need to go back and compare "2001" with any of the other science fiction movies of its day. There was a sea change in sophistication which I doubt we will ever see again. Was there another film with a comparable quantum-leap in special effects? In today's special-effects obssessed Hollywood the effects in "2001" still stand up, thirty-five years later.

Something which "2001" has which special-effects movies of today lack (there are no science fiction movies being made) is motivation for its effects. Arthur C. Clarke's story logically requires the effects. Movies today look for excuses for effects which make no sense. I won't see "The Hulk", but who here thinks you could really swing an Abrams tank by its barrel without the barrel simply breaking off?

A great story draws inspiration from other great stories, as you've remarked. Hal is the modern Frankenstein and, like the best monster movies, "2001" leaves you feeling great sympathy for the monster, in this case Hal. Anyone who wasn't provoked by Hal was brain dead.

In short, I guess, "2001" was a such a great movie that on the basis of it alone I forgive Kubrik for "Eyes Wide Shut".

John

Dear John:

The only other film to have that much of an impact, special effects-wise, would be "King Kong" in 1933. All effects after that owed something to Willis O'Brien, the great early special effects man. But the point, which I've made before, is that Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsak, who directed "King Kong," had no intention of making a "special effects film," they only resorted to effects when they realized they couldn't achieve their vision any other way. As you said, the effects are there to help tell the story. In the effects films of today, the effects are the point, which to me is a great big bore. And why, BTW, does the Hulk need to be a digital effect? It's just a big muscular human painted green. As the NY Times said, it looks like Gumby on steroids.

Josh

Name: Reggie
E-mail:

Hey Josh,

Thanks for the quick answer. This is a great website.

Yeah, the zoom lens is 17-69mm. Must be a Russian thing.

You've piqued my interest in the Canon Scoopic. Now before I ask any more questions, let me point out that I'm still a newbie to filmmaking. I want to buy one of these less expensive cameras so that I can actually get some hands-on experience and learn the craft. So if these questions seem ridiculously ignorant, please forgive me.

Anyway, I found a Scoopic online and I noticed that the zoom lens starts at 13mm. Now, you said that the lens can't be changed. Question: If I wanted to do some "Evil Dead"-style shakey-cam/fake steadicam work, would setting the lens at 13mm adequately prevent the worst of the shaking? Or would I need to get a camera that I could put a wider lens on?

Also, if I were filming in a small room, say 10x10, would that 13mm be wide enough? Or would I be stuck doing close-ups and medium close-ups of the actors?

Thanks again,
Reggie

Dear Reggie:

I honestly think you ought to borrow a 16mm camera first and play around with it before buying one. Old 16mm equipment that no one uses anymore is all over the place, particularly at colleges. Many community colleges purchased 16mm equipment back in the '70s and '80s and it's not used anymore. Although I think the Scoopic is a good camera, they don't make it anymore so it will be difficult getting it serviced or getting decent batteries. That's what's nice about the Bolex and the Krasnogorsk, no batteries, they wind up. But you can only get about 45 seconds of shooting on a wind. How much are they asking for the Scoopic? I just saw a Bell & Howell 16mm Filmo with three lenses for sale here for $300, which seemed like a good deal. But I still think you should try borrowing the equipment first and see how that goes. Good luck.

Josh

Name: Pilalidis George
E-mail: AGAMEMMNON@MSN.COM

TSE:TSE:TSE WHAT FOR A STIUPID ANSWERE:WITH A MINDE LIKE YOURS,I'AM WONDERING HOW IT IS POSIBLE THET YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH FILMS?????AND THIS IS YOU WAY TO GIVE ANSWERS; WHAT DU YOU THINK YOU AR; YOU DON'T HAVE EVEN THE 12% FANTASY FROM MI, AH WY I LOSE MY TIME WITH YOU YOU MUST LERN ABAUT RESPEKT :GIASU

Dear Pilalidis George:

I'm good at giving stupid answers, it's one of my best qualities. I've been doing it here on this website for five years. Stupid-Answers-Are-Us. Of course, when I get stupid questions it inspires me to even stupider answers. BTW, do you write in all caps because you mean to be yelling?

Josh

Name: Paul
E-mail: pwfuture@aol.com

Dear Josh:

You said 2001 in a theater was "...as close to a religious experience as I've ever had." I agree, having caught a revival in SF about a decade ago.

One thing beat it: Space Station 3D in Imax. A documentary, shot by astronauts. In 3d. In bigger-than-life Imax. Yes, it's narrated by Tom Cruise, but that's bearable. It is an amazing experience - you all but are ON the space station. Man, it was powerful!

Thanks for a great site -
Paul

Dear Paul:

I saw "Apollo 13" in Imax and immediately thought that "2001" ought to be transferred to Imax and re-released. At least at the Imax theater people shut up and watch the film.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

I saw "Capturing The Friedmans" last weekend and I liked it for the most part. I don't think it was as solid as some other documentaries that I have seen lately but it was very engrossing. I recommend checking it out. The subject matter does get a bit draining after awhile but it's still totally worth seeing.

On another note, Ari Fleischer was a guest on Letterman the other night. I thought of you while I was watching because Letterman asked Fleischer about Bush's pronunciation of the word nuclear. It was hilarious! He asked Fleischer if he could maybe make a few phone calls or something to stop Bush from saying nu-cular because it drives him up the wall. I just wish Colin Powell would stop pronouncing his name as colon; as in the lower part of the large intestine. It's really kind of disgusting.

Best,
Jean

Dear Jean:

I think that Bush thinks it's cute and makes him more of an average guy to say "nuc-u-lar." I'll bet I would like "Capturing the Friedmans," I just don't want to go to the movie theater anymore. The last time I went I nearly got in a fist-fight because I simply will not tolerate the dolts that talk through movies, and I'll happily tell them so.

Josh

Name: Francois
E-mail: marx@metroweb.co.za

Josh

There you go again; drawing conclusions. I never put anyone down! I don't agree with what they are doing and NEVER will. Who are you to judge when you say don't? Besides, since when is dissagreeing "putting" others down? Then everyone does that. The irony of it all is that you are decriminating but furthermore contradicting yourself and I quote "the discrimination or oppression of anyone pisses me off". Don't talk discriminantly about South Africa like you're better because, believe me you are not. Despite all the trash that happened here I still am SA! And how can you champion drugs openly? It is exactly what I tried to make people (directors) here understand. 13 yo read this site and they see it. Directors should be guides for life. Don't you get it? Blacks aren't Blacks but African American today and Black tomorrow. The same goes for Caucasian or White or Oriental or Japanese. Where does this nonsense end? Making movies with good ethics should be our mission. It don't have to be "ALL" rated but the theme should be positive, but never in a PC way. That will just send the wrong message, make the good hard work go undone and hide things under a lie. And although I am not a white man, it doesn't make sense to trash them, like you do your own race (read your quote above); I have never heard of a man trashing his own race before! Do you see how the world is losing it? When races fight and same races in-fight, like you, you know your back is up against the wall. However, I truely believe that if we can get rid of PC than the whole world WILL be better. It's up to us as directors to pave the way and guide the people to the truth.

By the way I hit back at you with "high flying hits" for three reasons. You swore at me, you defended yourself by going into South AFricas history (violent as it were) and the other reason I'll leave for you to figure out, because you speak to much stuff that you don't understand.

Francois

Dear Francois:

You and all the other bigots of the world bore me. Homosexuals have just as much right to freedom as you or anyone else. I'm not trying to oppress you or deny you your rights, I'm simply disagreeing with you in no uncertain terms. And just because I'm a filmmaker doesn't mean I have to be a role model. I tell the stories I want to tell, and I make the points I want to make. Making points that you feel others will benefit from, whether you truly believe them or not, is called pandering, and I feel that's far worse than being PC. I am a marijuana smoker and advocate, and if you feel that's inappropriate you have the freedom and the right to not come to this website. Do keep in mind that on my website you'll never get the last word. Start your own website and you can have the last word. But if you are in fact a black South African, and you think that gay people aren't worthy of as much freedom as you, then you've learned nothing from aparthied. Of course, it's historically very common for the recently oppressed to immediately become the oppressor. Nor do I feel the slightest bit superior to you, all other South Africans, or anyone else in the world, except the Muslims, of course, who keep their women in bee-keeper outfits.

Josh

Name: PILALIDIS GEORGIOS
E-mail: AGAMEMMNON@MSN.COM

HALLO MISTER JOSH, i ASK APOLOGISE FOR MY BAD ENGLICH WRITE.i SPEEK BETER. THE LAST 2 YEARS I HAVE ONLY ONETING IN MY MINDE TO CONTACT SAM RAIMI I SEND LETERS E:MAILS BUT NOTHING. MAYBE DON'T EVEN SAM HAF TIME FOR ME BUT NEVER MIND THE LIfE GOES ON:IM NOT A DREAMER I DON'T HAVE RELTIONS OR MONEY AND I KNOW IT IS DIFICULD FOR MI ANYWAY: THE REASON IS TO MAKING A FILM CALL IT HOUSE OF ATREUS IT IS ABAOUT AGAMEMMNON WHEN HE TURNS BACK TO ARGOS AFTER THE FALL OF TROY AND I HAVE IMAGIN THE BEGINING LIKE THIS:::IN MY DREAMS I SEE A MAN STANDING IN ABOAT LOOKING UP IN TO THE STORMING NIGHT AND BETWEEN THE THUNDERSAND LITHINGS HE SE THE ANGRY AYES OF APOLLO AND THEN HE RISE HES ARMS AGAINST THE WIND AND SCREAM (I HAVE DESTROY THE KINDON OF ILION I AGAMEMMNON THE KING OF ARGOS AND WHEN HE TURNS HES HEAD TO MI THEN ISEE MAYSELF..::::::::: HOUSE OF ATREUS)ME FATHER TOLD MI WHEN I WAS 8 YEARS OLD ABAUT ACAMEMMNON AND I REMEMBER HE TELL THET IN OR VEINS IS THE BLOOD OF HEM THE NAME PILALIDIS WAS BEFORE 3000 ATRIDIS THIS TEL HIM HES FATHER AND GRAND FATHER MAEBY I'AM I DON'T KNOW BUT BEFORE 3 YEARS AFTER ONE ALBUM FROM THE ROCK BAND VIRGIN STEELE (HOUSE OF ATREUS) I DON'T CAN LET A STORY LIKE THIS WITHAOUT TO BRING IT ON THE SCREEN AND BELIVEMI I CAN IF SOMEWONE HELP MI?? DETAILS I CAN TELL YOU ABAUT MI ONE OTHER TIME IF YOU CAN MAKE SOMETHIN I THANK YOU AND IF NOT?????THAN I THENK YOU TO GERGE(ATRIDIS)PILALIDIS

Dear PILALIDIS GEORGIOS:

You've got this all so well worked out why ruin it by making a film out of it? Just keep dreaming. And I can't imagine why Sam hasn't gotten back to you.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com

Josh,

I have seen every episode Bill Maher's show on HBO. I am glad that he was able to revive his show and on cable too! Now he can say more and get away with it, since he doesn't have the network breathing down his neck.

I also watch "The Daily Show" with John Stewart who is quite funny as well, but the show is more toned down then Maher's show and it parodies news more than anything else. It is on Comedy Central at 11:00pm every night. I think it airs at 7pm too.

Lastly, I went to see the most beautiful film on Friday and if it comes to MI, I suggest you get the hell out of the house and break your pact and go to the theater to see it.

The New Zealand film "Whalerider".

I recommend it to all here. In the midst of the Summer Hollywood sludge, it is a shinning light.

Scott

Dear Scott:

This new one of Bill Maher's, "Victory at Home," is a stand-up routine, not his new show, which starts again on Friday. This was an amazing piece of stand-up. So much of it is worth thinking about. He discusses the idea that things really are better and worse in this world and you can say so. Our system here is in fact better than the Muslim system of stonings, beheadings, and keeping half of their population oppressed and in bee-keeper outfits. I'm still laughing.

Josh

Name: Joshua
E-mail:

ok Josh,

i just watched 2001 for the first time and dont understand why it got/gets as much talk about as it does. Was it just the score or what. just too slow for me. I found that i could put that film on and make out with my girlfriend without paying attention, look up every once in a while and still get all the detail about what's going on. Whats the deal?

Dear Joshua:

Every film you see now with special effects owes a debt of gratitude to "2001: A Space Odyssey." This film was the beginning of the modern, special-effects film that was followed-up on by "Star Wars" and all the rest of them. The only difference is that "2001" was made for adults, and never had a thought of video or TV in mind when it was made, so it is only meant to be seen in a huge theater in 70mm 6-track stereo. If that's not how you saw it, then you didn't see it. Also, it was made at a time when a director didn't have to over-cut the shit out of a movie to try and hold the attention of ten-year-olds. "2001" was meant to be an amazing movie-going experience, and it was. I went back and saw the film at the theater every year for about ten years. With movies in the utterly disposposable state they're in, no one under a certain age can even imagine how important seeing a movie like "2001" in the theater in 70mm was. It's as close to a religious experience as I've ever had.

Josh

Name: Reggie
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

I was wondering if you know anything about Krasnogorsk cameras, the Russian spring-wound ones? From what I understand, they're comparable in image quality to Bolexes. I don't think I've ever seen anything shot on one of these spring-wound cameras. How would you say the image from these cameras generally compares to other 16mm cameras? Is it significantly worse?

If I were to film with one of these cameras using one of the really fine-grained 16mm film stocks that are available nowadays, do you think that the picture would at least look as good as THOU SHALT NOT KILL looked?

The Krasnogorsk I'm looking at has a 17-69mm zoom lens. Is that really going to be enough range? The guy is also offering an 8mm lens. Do you think that's wide enough?

Thanks,
Reggie

Dear Reggie:

I hear they're perfectly good cameras and very comparable to a Bolex, but I've never shot with one, nor actually seen one in person. I have shot with a Bolex, though, and if you do everything right it looks great, certainly comparable to TSNKE, which was shot on high-speed stock. The thing is with a fully-manual camera is that it's very easy to screw up and forget to set the xposure, or to set it, then open back up because you can't see anything, then forget to stop back down. I don't know how well the reflex system on the Krasnogrosk works, but on my Bolex it sucks. If you could get your hands on a Canon Scoopic you'd probably be even better off. It's got a beautifully sharp zoom lens, the reflex system is great, and the registration is far superior to the Bolex -- I've compared them. Meanwhile, it's a 17-69mm zoom? That's wonderfully odd. But if you have an 8mm lens, too, well that should cover you. I didn't know you could change lenses on that camera. You can't on the Scoopic. If you get it and shoot with it, let me know how it works, OK?

Josh

Name: Jake Rose
E-mail: jacob709_902@hotmail.com

Josh,

I just got my first exposure to your work in the form of a VHS rental of 'Running Time' after being interested by the brief mention of it in Bruce Campbells autobio. I enjoyed it immensely. I have two questions.

a) Why didn't you use 35mm? Was it simply an expense thing or was there some more artistic/technical reason? The 16 looked good, good enough that I couldnt really pick up on it except for in certain shots.

b) How/where/how much to get a copy on VHS. Your sales link seems to be DVD only, I'm worried my only ownership option is to swindle it from my rental place and flee the country. I'm not completely sold on this idea, so some guidance would be appreciated.

Jake Rose, Nova Scotia, Canada.

PS- Congratulations on not liking 'Ghost World'. Being 18 when I first watched it, I was filled with the same disdain for those characters as I was for the 'realistic' after school specials I saw growing up.

Cheers Again,
Jake Rose

Dear jake:

Hey, I've been to Nova Scotia. The cops actually kicked me and my friends out of Halifax. "Running Time" is available on VHS and I believe you can order it from most of the big retailers, or you could go to Anchor Bay's website and order it directly from them.

My main reason for shooting 16mm on RT was budget, but also that the cameras are much smaller and it made shooting inside the truck a lot easier. I like 16mm and if given a choice I'd take it over DV any day of the week.

Josh

Name: John Hunt
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Josh,

Both India and Pakistan seem to have invented nuclear weapons before bothering with air conditioning. Who can reason with fanatics like that?

On what planet are you considered politically correct? One of the problems with that term is it generally means that someone is making a sweeping statement that some else disagrees with. "Family Values" is just as PC as "Liberal Democracy" but the two are often diametrically opposed. I guess that, to me, political correctness means holding an opinion only because a larger group with which one wishes to be identified also holds that opinion. No truly considered opinion or belief should be described as PC. If Frankie in .za wants to bark at somebody (to salve a conscience, perhaps?) then he should look for someone who doesn't defend his beliefs in two-thousand word essays.

John

Dear John:

LOL on India and Pakistan having Nukes but no AC. These are people that have no running water, but have ultra-sound machines in every tiny little village so they can abort the female babies. And the fate of the world is in their hands? Yikes! BTW, did anyone see Bill Maher's new HBO comedy special? It was really terrific and made me laugh out loud and think, which is pretty impressive. I need to watch it again because there was so much good stuff I couldn't get it all the first time. I loved him picking on the Catholic church and saying that they're all gay, they wear flamboyant robes, funny hats, and all the boys have to kneel down to crotych level and open their mouths to receive God. And the keep having meeting about why they should stop fucking children, but can't actually decide to stop.

Josh

Name: Brian C.
E-mail: canadab@ghostshipfilms.com

Hey Josh,

You hit the nail on the head with "Close Encounters." After the mid-point in the film Spielberg loses the humanity of the film and replaces it with fairy glamour (gee - I saw a pretty UFO). I couldn't possibly give a crap about the film from that point forward.

In the good news category, we have been asked by the Dead By Dawn Horror
Film Festival (www.deadbydawn.co.uk) in Edinburgh, Scotland to show our latest film, "Demon Sight" at the 2004 festival. I thought it a nice change for the festivals to be soliciting us instead of the other way around. They featured Bruce's new film "Bubba Ho-Tep" for the 2003 festival.

- oh yeah, keep flaming the gay-bashing biggots from South Africa - it's hysterical. :)

B

Dear Brian:

Congrats on being asked to show your film, that's great. Good luck and I hope you knock 'em dead.

Josh

Name: roy
E-mail: boomdock4u@hotmail.com

dear josh...

i have only recently started discovered your site...and i have to say that you are such a joy to read...thank god there is someone who doesn't follow the herd....anyways my question is BEFORE WRITING A SCREENPLAY,HOW MUCH DO YOU PREPLAN...ie HOW MUCH OUTLINING DO U DO...AND WHAT ARE YOUR OUTLINING METHODS...

thank you

Dear Roy:

I pre-plan as much as possible. First, I outline the story in just a standard outline form, then I write a treatment, then I write the script. I believe that it is completely imperative that you know your ending before you start the actual writing, because everything in a good story is leading to the ending. When you're actually writing the script you should not be dreaming the story up, you should already know it and be filling it out. Good luck to you.

Josh

Name: Francois
E-mail: marx@metroweb.co.za

Josh
Are you descriminating, Josh Becker?

If you had some common sense you would have realised that I wasn't targeting you, but PC, small minded yourself!!! You didn't have to fly off the handle but insecurity does that, quick and "violent" defence. Now I know how insecure you are.

This letter wasn't aimed at gays but PC, yet you drew your own 'way off' conclusion. Do you think that only South Africans dislike gays? Do you think the rest of the world had already embraced gays during apartheid? No. You never commented on the beastiality or incest or dope issues. Talk about small minded. Selective focus! I check how you are, mate, and where you're coming from. Where's you're high flying movie hits? Read the reviews of your films man, no-one likes it! Catch a wake-up! Before you say anything about South Africa, check yourself. You know less than you think.
This was just a e-mail not even targeted at you and you COMPLETELY freaked out. We laugh at you. You could have at least conducted yourself in a civilised manner. Now you pulled everything out of context.

By the way, I'm not white, jy sien!

Francois

Dear Francois:

Yeah, well, I like dope, too. And sorry for calling you white. But the discrimination or oppression of anyone pisses me off. I don't care in what name it's done, call it morality, religion or anything else. If you're putting someone down, as you clearly were, I don't like it. And coming back at me that I have no "high flying hits" means nothing. If you think you're superior to anyone, you're crazy.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com

Josh,

Kudos to you on both the subjects of religion, war and your reply to Francois from South Africa.

Coming of my trip to Brasil I was really hit by something about that country which is a very possitive thing to me amidst all its problems.

Brasil has a many socio-economic problems and there are many poor people, however, one thing that interests me most is that every Brasilian considers themselves a Brasilian regardless of race, color, or religion.

There doesn't exist this false PC thing which we have in America. Blacks are supposed to be called "African Americans" here and so on. The right blames the left here and the left blames the right for the PC world we live in now, but we are still quite a racist country.

What I realized about countries like Brasil is there is no discussion between the right and the left about any of these issues.

If you are Brasilian, you are Brasilian, and that is that. There are as many different races in Brasil as there are in America including German, Dutch, Japanese, and Black.

The southern part of the country was settled primarily by the Dutch and Germans and much of the architecture is very much like Bavaria. You don't even believe you are in Brasil.

Anyhow, I have also been reading the novel "The Life of Pi" by Yann Martel and I highly recommend it. The way it deals with human relations, animals, religion and survival is very inteliigent and I think it should be required reading in schools.

Lastly, I went to see "28 days Later" last night and it was just ok. The use of DV was done well and the format was utilized well to compliment the story.

The first half of the film was quite good, however, the second half ran amuck and left me bored. The film kept slipping into too many cliches and the whole exitement of any kind of story failed in the end. Nobody knows how to end a film anymore.

I was thinking about "Minority Report" after reading the post to you here. I hated that film too for many of the same reasons you did, however, the thing that pissed me off the most was that the development of Colin Farrrell's character was built up and then he just gets killed so easily. It was a cop out. That movie sucked!

This is the worst summer for films and I hope that Hollywood realizes the shit they are putting out isn't selling any tickets.

That's it.

Scott

Dear Scott:

I assure you that Hollywood won't realize anything. They'll fire a few executives and write off the rest.

Josh

Name: Keith
E-mail: Keithrobinson@krobin.freeisp.co.uk

Dear Josh,

i think you hit the nail on the head concerning Spielberg...He thinks that life is always fair, have you noticed that since Jurassic park, everyone of his films ends with an out the blue solution...the protagonists are about to die and then bam, something unbelievable happens...like the t rex just showing up to save sam neil and the airplanes to save tom hanks in private ryan...these things just dont happen in real life....maybe in spielbergs happy, lucky life...

just thought id add this to the conversation...

Dear Keith:

Yeah, he has a very poor sense of drama, and I think you can only understand that from life, not other movies. The biggest problems of Spielberg's life were his bomb movies, like: "1941," "Hook," "Always," "A.I." and "Minority Report."

Josh

Name: John Hunt
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Josh,

One other thing about "Close Encounters" was that it had great timing. The UFO buzz was reaching a crescendo there in the mid to late 70's, as was interest in Bigfoot, Nessie, the Bermuda Triangle and all manner of pseudo-science. Remember "Project Blue Book"? Gerald Ford ordered a review of all info pertaining to UFO's. A great many people were aware of the imagery of "Close Encounters". It was also the middle of the Cold War and people today who didn't experience that atmosphere will never understand how much people wanted there to be a beneficent something looking over us. Star Trek tapped into that feeling as well.

I've been struck by how few post-apocalyptic movies there have been since the end of the Cold War as opposed to the late seventies and early eighties. There was a widespread feeling that a nuclear war would bring about a new beginning and any number of movies, TV series and even music videos were based on variations of this premise. I can think of probably twenty movies just in the years 1975-85 without really trying. I was actually in Lawrence, Kansas when "The Day After" premiered and knew a lot of people who were extras. There is no replicating that context, and "Close Encounters" is likely dated by the contextual shift.

John

Dear John:

I don't think people take the threat of nuclear annhilation as seriously now as they did then. In the 1960s it felt very real and very imminent. Having just watched the Indian documentary, "War and Peace," which premiered the other night on Sundance, about the tension between India and Pakistan, and both of their attitudes toward their nuclear weapons, the world could end any moment and it might very well have nothing to do with us, terrorism, or the relationship between Christians and Muslims or Jews and Muslims. The real issue appears to be the relationship between the Hindus and the Muslims. In the film they show a Muslim group with a map of the world with the Muslim countries colored green. Beside it is an entirely green map that is titled "100 years from now." People in Pakistan are saying that they're very pleased to have nuclear weapons so now they can defend any Muslim country anywhere in the world. Both countries are so fucking backward it's very easy to imagine either one pushing the button without a second thought. Maybe humans and all of their stupid infantile bigotry -- my relgion is right, your's is wrong, I'm holy, you're an infidel -- aren't worthy of living on this beautiful planet.

Josh

Name: Francois
E-mail: marx@metroweb.co.za

Josh

What's this rubbish about POLITICAL CORRECTNESS? Why are you all so insecure that you dare not attack anything it defends? I am by far the biggest Anti-PC out there I will never allow that PC-Leftist-Liberal-Trendies stop me from making a movie that steps on who-ever's toes! It is the weak that inspired PC and the weak that breed PC but it is the strong who keeps the mind clear.

Everyone always says "I have no problem with gays..." etc. just so that they wont be branded. It is SO our duty as directors (artists) to guide society to the right and morally correct path and to make the world realise its losing control. Should beastiality be legalised "just-because-it-happens-in-the-privacy-of-their-own-homes"? Should incest be legalised as well? Come on, get real! Wake up! Don't you all see how PC is deliberatly throwing away ethics and morality in order to gain more and more money? Young ones should be taught the correct ways of life NOT the PC way of life. No punk-ass will ever teach my daughter that gays, beastiality, dope, incest etc. is "right" i.e. your own choice! They have to be tressured, as well as our fellow man.

Sure, PC (I hate that word!) will make me sell fewer films but the ones that make it, will hit hard, that is my goal. But there's always a more hungry producer out there... I'm sitting here, Josh, thinking about you and Oprah and Ricky Lake and how you ALL HAVE to say the right PC things in order to sell your livelyhood products. What a shame! You have all been swomped by it and now can't get out. And the only reason why it happened, is because you LET it happen.

Someone director here please take a moment- make films that is morally correct, not Politically Correct. We all recognise ethical stories and messages and it DOES make us feel good. "Do the right thing".

Francois

Dear Francois:

What the hell are you talking about? I'm politically correct? Fuck you! I say exactly what I mean and what I feel. I take it from your little rant you're anti-gay rights, which as far as I'm concerned means you're a biggot. Perhaps this is a hold-over from your days of aparthied there in South Africa, when all whites thought themselves superior to the blacks. You're lucky when the blacks finally got equal rights and Nelson Mandela came in all of you whites weren't tossed into the ocean for over a hundred years of rotten, biggoted, self-serving, evil behavior. Gay people have exactly as much right to freedom as you or anyone else. I'm sure as shit not going to be lectured to by some small-minded South African biggot. Fuck off!

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66@mac.com

Josh,

I went to see "Close Encounters" in the theater when I was 11 years old and at that age I loved the film. I agree that the first part of the film is still very good, but the second part does not hold up too well now.

The absence of the aliens and the "implied" alien effect worked very well on my young mind at the time.

One of the coolest parts of the film for me when I first saw it was that while watching the scene where the mother and little boy are having there encounter in the house, I noticed that the t-shirt the boy was wearing was the exact speckled t-shirt shirt that I was wearing while watching the film.

My mother purchased the t-shirt for me at Sears months before the film's release obviously without knowing anything about the film.

My cousin looked over at me in the theater with a surprised look on his face and I looked at him with a similar look. It was a little freaky to an 11 year old kid.

It was strange because after the film was over, I was walking out of the theater with my cousins and some people were staring at me and my shirt. I was kind of freaked out for a while after that.

Scott

Scott:

The bottom-line of this discussion is that for me I cared about Richard Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon's characters, something that Spielberg hasn't been able to do for me since "E.T.", and that film fell apart completely halfway through. I think Spielberg had a grain of human empathy near the beginning of his career, but he hasn't had any for the past twenty years or so. This may be due to the fact that he's never had to struggle for anything. He went straight from high school to being an employed TV director at Universal. He knows nothing about the struggle that everyone else has had to go through.

Josh

Name: Ed
E-mail:

Dear Josh,

Since the current topic of discussion is Close Encounters, I was curious as to what you thought of Spielberg's recent foray into science fiction, Minority Report.

In some ways it's more intellectually challenging than Close Encounters.

Dear Ed:

It's absolute garbage. I don't think there's anything good about it, Cruise is awful, the photography is ugly, he took a decent Phillip Dick story and ruined it -- since it's the story of a retiring cop at age 65, of course get Tom Cruise. And for his best buddy of the same age, get Max Von Sydow. Meanwhile, Cruise working at the computer was one of the stupidest things I've ever laid eyes on. The only thing I can say in its favor is that it's minisculy better than that last SF piece of shit he made, which thankfully has left my mind.

Josh

Name: John Hunt
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Josh,

I also enjoyed "Close Encounters" and have thought about why. I think that, given that you accept that the main characters (Dreyfuss, et. al.) have a type of psychic obssession, the characters respond proactively. They are intelligent, without being unnaturally so, resourceful and yet retain doubts in spite of themselves. The government heavies, particularly the French guy, aren't just wearing dark sunglasses and not saying anything. They too are resourceful and adapt to changing conditions. I also agree with you about the special effects. Spielberg, for the most part, saved them for the finale, something he would never think to do these days. Most of the alien encounters are inferred visually. I think that is the reason why the truck scene was so powerful.

On a different note, I just read an article that said that corporate Hollywood has been stunned by the failure, in general, of the blockbuster sequels of this summer. Apparently the only two to do well have been "Matrix" and "X-Men", with "Charlie's Angels", "Leagally Blonde" and "Terminator" unlikely to break even before going overseas. Personally, I think it's great, May all sequel go the way of their inspiration, the Dodo.

Finally, I completely bought Terry and Phil as friends. I've had that sort of experience myself and you're right, it just happens. Maybe it is a guy thing, though I don't generally buy that as an explanation. But it certainly happens and you captured it well. It is one of the great strengths of "Hammer" and is really the progressed theme throughout the movie. "Hammer" is not so much about Phil and Elaine as about Phil discovering Terry and his world view. Thanks as always,

John

Dear John:

Thanks for stepping in the "Close Encounters" debate. I don't think that someone who wasn't there when it opened can appreciate the power that film had at the time. I was so stunned the first time I saw it that I just sat through it a second time to figure out what the hell I had just seen. I really do like the first half of the film, and I think it has a terrific sense of awe and wonder. Sadly, the final third is poorly thought through and very silly, which was clear to me on the second viewing. But all those scenes with the little kid and things going nuts in his house, and people just sitting outside waiting for the alien ships is all pretty cool, I think. I also really like the scene when the authorities first catch Dreyfuss and Francois Truffaut and Bob Balaban are interviewing Dreyfuss, show him some paitings of Devil's Tower and he tosses them aside, saying, "I've got one just like it in my living room." Then he says, "I want to speak to the man in charge." Balaban says, "M. Lacombe is of the highest authority." Drefuss leans in and says, "He doesn't even speak English." Once again, though, I still think it's FAR superior to all of the "Star Wars" films put together.

Josh

Name: Kim
E-mail: mrsdagle@yahoo.com

Hey Josh,

I have finally seen Hammer, yay! I really enjoyed it. You seem to have gone against the grain in regards to period stories. One would expect bubble gum rock in the score and uniform costuming. I loved the jazz score, pleasant surprise.
The parents were interesting because they were satirized (the smoking, tv heads, etc) but still very real. For the past 25 years we have seen such cardboard characters for that time era, the Buckleys were refreshing.
I can see why no one will distribute it though. We have pretty much outlawed historical context. It is no longer acceptable to portray historical moments without some amount of PC, revisionist filters on the lens. So the smoking, drinking pregnant lady pretty much kills any chance of wide (and not so wide) distribution.
I thought the story went well; Lorraine's and Phil's "motivations" seemed real enough. I didn't really understand why Terry was so (instantly) attracted to Phil, though. He lit up like he was in love. They were both there to score with Lorraine but failed in all capacities to really snag her.
I am very impressed with the musical numbers in the "hootenanny" scene. They weren't bogus like some bad talent show but very entertaining.
Thanks for a great film,
Kim

Dear Kim:

I'm so glad you liked it. It is ultimately kind of a male friendship story with a male-female love story thrown into the middle of it. Perhaps women don't experience such things, but I've certainly met guys that I immediately wanted to be friends with. Make cameraderie can fire up instantly, I think, just like lust. I do think that Phil is more impressed with Terry early on than vice versa. It's not until Terry sees Phil's dilemma that he sympathizes with him. But at the finale who ends up together? And the drinking and smoking pregnant woman is certainly part of the time period. There was absolutely no thought of not doing such things when one was pregnant. My mom felt that she was gaining too much weight when she was pregnant with me, so the doctor perscribed Benzadrine, a strong form of speed, which my account for who I am. Once again, I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

Josh

Name: Ben
E-mail: bendab02@yahoo.com

Josh,

Boy, that was sarcastic, wasn't it? I wasn't asking you to defend Spielberg, but I was hoping for an elaboration about why you enjoyed it, and how it qualified as a good movie. So I guess when people ask if you've ever enjoyed a movie purely for the entertainment, you could probably cite "Close Encounters" rather than simply saying that you don't enjoy crappy movies. And why can we brag about special effects from 1978 but nowadays movies that have ground-breaking special effects but little else get insulted? Maybe some other visitor of this site might have an opinion.

And by the way, the reason I wouldn't ask Spielberg or his millions of fans was specifically because your opinion was the only one I was interested in. But, oh well.

Ben

Dear Ben:

Sorry if I was sarcastic to you, but it's difficult for me to retain any of the good feelings I once had for some of Spielberg's films. The only one that I can honestly defend is "Jaws." But I still retain some warm feelings for both "Close Encounters" and "Star Wars" simply because they both seemed very fresh there in 1977-78, and were the follow-ups on "2001" that I had been waiting for for ten years at that point. I don't think either film holds up very well, but I'd certainly take "Close Encounters" over "Star Wars" if for no other reason than it's about people. But, once again, I'll take "Jaws" over everything Lucas has ever done and everything Spielberg has done since then.

Josh

Name: August
E-mail: joxerfan@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

I noticed someone asked you about your favorite romantic comedies, and thought your selection was incredible, especially since I'd seen all but one. Somewhat pleasantly surprised that you liked "When Harry Met Sally" - any particular reason?

Also, let's set you up for another list - your favorite westerns. Our local TV/movie writer here compiled his list of 100 Best, and it was pretty comprehensive, even including some Tom Mix silents, as well as some films that he explained as "frontier" films even though they were set in the 1700's. The usual choices like "Shane" "Stagecoach" and "High Noon" were in his top 10, although I was a little surprised to see "The Searchers" at number one.

I'm not sure what my top choice would be, but "Red River," "Rio Bravo," and "El Dorado" would be right up there.

Regards,

August

Dear August:

I like "When Harry Met Sally . . ." because it's well-written, well-performed, well-directed, funny, and it dramatically works very well. No, it's not entirely original, and it seems like the unauthorized sequel to "Annie Hall," but Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner took it very seriously, I think. More so than anyone else since.

Okay, here's my fifteen top westerns (in no particular order):

1. True Grit
2. The Big Country
3. Red River
4. Stagecoach
5. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
6. Hell's Heroes
7. Warlock
8. The Shootist
9. Ulzana's Raid
10. The Wild Bunch
11. Dodge City
12. Jesse James
13. The Professionals
14. Unforgiven
15. The Outlaw Josey Wales

Josh

Name: Francois
E-mail: marx@metroweb.co.za

Josh

Just a few quick questions: how important is rehearsals to you? Do you even do them? I can understand a complex scene to be rehearsed before filming but wwhat if it is as story like "You got mail" for instance? It is just basically talking-heads. So how important is rehearsals then? I am directing a stageplay at the moment and if that is anything to go by Id say it is VERY important. Yes, stage and screen differ but there is a link in that regard. In film I generally stay with one rehearsal. That keeps the exitement, spontanaity and prevents burnout. I think I am right in this regard and'll stay stuborn but again, you know more so I'll listen. (Spielberg never rehearses so what do I think?)

Francois

Dear Francois:

I'll take as many rehearsals as humanly possible. I rehearsed "Luantics" for a week, and I rehearsed "Running Time" for a week. It's all invaluable, and that's when any improvisation should occur. That way, if any of it is good it can be written down and inserted into the script. Improvising in front of the camera is generally a mistake, and it wastes valuable shooting time. And I don't believe in the burn-out or going stale concept. Once the actors are on the set or location and in front of the camera and crew, it will all certainly come back to life.

Josh

Name: Kevin
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

Have you watched the old movie "The Rose Tattoo"? If you did, I was wondering what you think about that movie. Also, I noticed you had "The Cider House Rules" in your favorite list. Is there an older version of this? Because I watched a seemingly up to date version (90s movie maybe) of it, and I didn't think it was that good.

Dear Kevin:

Yes, I have seen "The Rose Tattoo" and I didn't like it. I thought Burt lancaster gave the worst performance of his career in it, and I don't see the appeal of Anna Magnani. And no, there was no earlier version of "The Cider House Rules," it's a recent book. I certainly didn't think it was great film, but one of the better ones of recent memory. I never bought Michael Caine's accent, though.

Josh

Name: Ben
E-mail: bendab@yahoo.com

Josh,

I just saw "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." What exactly did you like about this movie? For the life of me, I can't see the structure, or rather, I can't see anything in it that illustrates any kind of arc.

The space ships were unmistakably established early on, so it wasn't a story of "are there or aren't there aliens?" tension. It wasn't like an invasion movie where they show up early on and the tension is built through the battle. So what's left? Some intangible interior journey? You might say that his close encounter and subsequent obsession was the inciting moment, and his wife leaving him was the complication, but it didn't increase the tension because he seemed to not care. The only tension I felt was frustrating impatience.

You say that a good movie will tell you where it's going to end by the close of the first act. As in, they will win the World Series, or they won't. They will get married, or they won't. He'll defeat his foe, or he'll be defeated. But what about this one? Unless we're being charitable, there is no way of knowing when it's going to end until the credits roll. And if we are being charitable, then we could say "when he understands what the signs mean." Okay, fine. So he gets on a ship. I'm glad he's happy, but I have no fricking clue what the filmmaker was trying to tell me.

So, if you would, enlighten me.

Ben

Dear Ben:

I have a good idea, write to Spielberg, or any of his millions of fans. But since I'm not one of them, I'm not going to defend his films. I enjoyed the film on a straight entertainment level that is forever being bandied about as having termendous meaning these days, which I don't agree with. It was also rather ground-breaking in its use of special-effects in 1978. That's it.

Josh

Name: Leepy
E-mail: lee.price@musicradio.com

Hey Josh

Like yourself and a few others on this site, I've stopped going to the cinema - or rather, the multiplex. All the smaller cinema chains and independents round here went the way of the dodo years ago.

I may get shot down in flames for this, but I caught Tin Cup on TV last night... and (despite disliking golf!) really enjoyed it. I thought Costner was great in this light, frothy role.

I was talking with a friend last night about ensemble TV shows/films/comis strips. It seems in many the central character isn't as interesting as the other players. In the Muppets, Kermit isn't as bizarre as the other mainstays. My friend and I came to the conclusion that the central characters in these stories are slightly anonymous, so the viewer/reader can project their own identities onto them, as if they were experiencing the adventure/story. It seems to me that flawed characters are much more interesting to write and perform than characters who mentally are poerfect athletes. I guess at the end of the day, conflict is drama, so why not start with a protagonbist who is troubled. My friend mentioned Buck Rogers - what a dullard!

I just wondered what your thoughts were on this phenomenon of dull characters at the centre of ensemble stories.

Catch ya later.

Lee

Dear Leepy:

The lead character isn't the dullest character on purpose, it's just a standard trap of bad writing. If the writer doesn't really know their story, or the story's point, then the lead character who represents the point of the story will be shallow and dull. It's so common it's ridiculous.

Josh

Name: Gigi
E-mail: futurefossil@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I was just wonderin. Who "decides" who gets a star on the hollywood walk of fame? How does that work? For some reason, when I heard that Brittney Spears was getting her star along with Anthony Hopkins, something in my brain said...hmn. What's wrong with this picture?

Dear Gigi:

You need to read my article about the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which explains the whole thing, although the price is much higher now, I believe. But basically you just buy it.

Josh


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