Q & A    Archive
Page 104

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

Josh,

Quick comment to Scott; Doctor's estimate, based on statistical averages, mostly so people can work out end-of-life issues. Doctor's can then refer the patient to support personnel who can get them set up with Hospice and other public services which are available for the terminally ill. My wife has to make that call regularly and there is nothing easy about it, but it's important for the patients and especially their families.

John

Dear John:

No doctor will tell you for a fact that you only have three months to live because they don't know for sure, and they know they don't know. Doctors, for the most part I would say, do the best they can given their limited knowledge. I know too many people, including myself, who have been misdiagnosed because they're seeing the wrong specialist. I went through serious problems with my Temporo-Mandibular joint in my jaw as a young man which caused terrible headaches. I saw a GP, a neurologist, and an orthopedist, all of whom couldn't find any problem given their knowledge, and all of them told me it was psychosomatic and I should see a psychiatrist. Finally, my dentist asked me if my jaw always crunched like it was doing, and I said yes. He asked if I had headaches, and I said yes. He said, "I think you've got a problem with your TMJ," sent me to a specialist and it got fixed (which only took another ten years).

Josh

Name: Nick Benedetto
E-mail: frankiediamonds@webtv.net

Hey Josh,

First you say that Gene Autry has five stars on the Walk of Fame, then you include him in a list of nine people who only have a star in the Stage Performance category. Which one is correct? And by the way your list of nine people only has eight people on it. Do I have to handle everything?

Nick

Dear Nick:

Sorry if there are only eight people in a category of nine, but as for Gene Autry, the other four stars are for other things, movies, radio, TV, etc.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

On that guy in "LaMancha" - he was Jean Rochefort, who presumably is an acclaimed actor in France. He certainly looked the part of Quixote to a T. There were several problems though, only one of which is dealt with in the documentary. While Gilliam oooos and aaaahs as Rocheforte films his first scene, I couldn't understand a word the guy was saying - his mastery of English was very very muddled. I was mystified as to why Gilliam needed to import a French actor to play a Spanish character in a film being shot in Spain, with the dialogue in English.

Next, he was, I felt, *too* close to the character's age and physique - Rocheforte was born in 1930, and was by no means a rugged guy like, say Sean Connery or Gene Hackman. To wear armor and ride around on horseback all day, they really needed to cast a talented 50 year old who could play 70.

And third - he ended up with prostate problems, unexpectedly, which made riding on horseback impossible. But I feel if it hadn't been that, he would have ended up with a heat stroke or a heart attack or something else anyway.

As I wrote to you before, it mystified me as to why Gilliam was so ineffectual in general. Why didn't he just cast another actor quickly? No American audience member is going to say "Wow, it's so bad we don't get to see Jean Rocheforte." Just fly Ben Kingsley or someone in. Sheesh - I bet Terry Jones would have made an awesome Quixote.

It kinda reminds me of the story behind "Solomon and Sheba," the details of which I'm sure you'll remember far better than I. I gather Tyrone Power was the lead, but died halfway through filming, and much of the movie had to be reshot w/ Yul Brynner in the lead. Big pain, big expense, but they got a movie out of it. Giliam supposedly is still trying to get the rights to "his" film back from the financers, and co-star Johnny Depp supposedly is still interested in picking up filming if it comes to fruition. Ed Wood would be proud!

Regards,

August

Dear August:

That's what disturbs me about it and why I didn't rush out to see the documentary -- it sounds like an apology for Terry Gilliam's egocentric, idiotic behavior. It sounds like bad casting to start with -- a Frenchman as a Spaniard speaking English -- then Gilliam is too much of an "artist" to recast, meaning he doesn't give a shit about the millions of dollars that have already been spent. A movie is a high-stakes business venture, it's not a play being put on by friends. The second you find out that your actor is too old to ride a horse or wear the armor, which should have all been discovered in pre-production, not during production, you recast the part. It's more about a lame filmmaker than an unlucky artist. I have no interest in lame filmmakers, and if I did I'd watch "Project Greenlight."

Josh

Name: Kit
E-mail: kit_sivyer@hotmail.com

Heya again.

Now you mention about the story petering out in Bubba... well, I guess it kidna does, but it didn't really matter for me, cause you really got to care for the characters...anyways, I hope you enjoy it...

Some other recent movies that I also enjoyed are Phone Booth and One Hour Photo... seen em? If so, what did ya think?

Another movie that I think you may like is The Night We Called It a Day, about Frank Sinatra's disasterous 1974 tour of Australia... Dennis Hopper's plays ol' Blue Eyes, and is quite good (Tom Burlinson, who actually provides the singing voice of Sinatra, is bloody amazing, you'd think it was The Chairman of the Board himself) so if you can, check it out.

And as for Westerns, I saw The Magnificant Seven the other day for the first time and I thought... they're never gonna make movies like that again (probably the last great American western too... well according to the documentary accompanying the DVD. lol)... shame really.

Dear Kit:

Oh, "The Magnificent Seven" is nowhere near being the last great American western, which clearly and obviously goes to "Unforgiven" over 30 years later. In between there was "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "El Dorado," "True Grit," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Ulzana's Raid," "Valdez is Coming," and "The Shootist," and I know I'm missing a few more.

Josh

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

Josh,

As to your question regarding "LOST IN LA MANCHA" about why Gilliam did not hire a healthy actor is that he was healthy and it wasn't until a week into the shoot where he started to have severe pains in his sides which turned out to be back related.

The actor was in his seventies and when it comes to casting the right actors for the right parts, you should know better than most that when you choose an actor, it is for various reasons. Gilliam really liked his audtion and his look as well.

His health wasn't an issue at all at the time of the casting and the beginning of production.

I commented on this Documentary before in response to August's comment on how she felt the documentary was boring (I disagreed), but you did not post it my comments and respond to them.

I felt it was a good documentary too, but I like Gilliam more than you do. I was fortunate enough to meet him in London, since he is close family friend with an English friend of mine.

He lives in London, but he is an American originally from Minnesota. The only American in Monty Python.

He is really funny in person and very good humored. I liked him personally, but I don't like all of his films.

As for the Doctor's diagnosis of Warren Zevon's Cancer and how long he had to live, yeah Doctors do make estimates with this, but in my opinion, they should never make such clear cut estimates. I think it has more to do with insurance issues and statistics than it does with the patient.

Zevon's son was pretty pissed off in the recent interview, since he believed the Doctors were not giving an estimate, he felt they were sure that Warren only had up to 3 months to live, due toi the type of cancer.

That is what I meant by what I said in my last post. life is too unpredictable to be so sure about something like cancer and its course.

Too bad you are not a Zevon fan, I think some of his lyrics are some of the greatest in music.

Scott

Dear Scott:

I've had a lot of Zevon's songs played for me. I do think he's a bright lyricist, but as he lamented himself in that long Uncut interview, he's not much of singer. I guess my point about Gilliam is, if he cast an old, reasonably unknown actor in the lead, who then got sick very early into production, why not immediately replace him? You haven't shot that much.

Josh

Name: Katherine
E-mail: Werthwhile@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I loved your article "Jews in Film." I think you're right on the mark about non-Jews playing Jews in film. I've been asked to teach a class on Jews in film, and I'm thinking of focusing on the way relationships are shown: e.g. only our parents married other Jews, Jews today date non-Jews (Keeping the Faith, for example). Any thoughts on films I should show? I appreciate your answering! Thank you!

Dear Katherine:

The most famous film is probably "Gentlemen's Agreement," which won Best Picture in 1947, and is about young Gregory Peck as a magazine writer "passing" as a Jew to see what it's like. Peck is a rather improbable Jew, but then he's not really supposed to be one. There's also from the same year "Crossfire," about a Jew killed in a hate crime (1947 was the breakthrough year for presenting the Jewish issue on film). It's not really addressed all that often after that, though. There's "Goodbye Columbus" from 1969 which is pretty amusing, about a lower-class jewish boy marrying a rich Jewish girl. That's probably an appropriate film for your subject. "Kissing Jessica Stein" sort of seriously deals with its Jewish character, although it's about two women dating.

Josh

Name: Ben
E-mail: dalty_smilth@hotmail.com

Josh,

have you seen the documentary LOST IN LA MANCHA? It's about Terry Gilliam's attempt to make a movie about Don Quixote. It ends up with them stopping production after six days of filming, mostly because the actor who is playing Don Quixote seems to have some sort of medical problem. It's probably not the best documentary ever, but it's interesting. I think it should be required viewing for anyone who is interested in becoming a filmmaker.

Dear Ben:

I have not seen it yet, but I don't much care for Gilliam, and I have no doubt that if he completed the film it would have sucked. And why did he have to cast that actor? Why not cast a healthy actor?

Josh

Name: Lee
E-mail: Lee.price@musicradio.com

Hey Josh

Soz - didn't mean to 'Bill-Hicks' you to death!

I'd like a reading recommendation, if I may. I've read screenwriting books by Lew Hunter, Bill Froug, Richard Walter, Michael Hauge, Linda Seger, Goldman, Egri and (I think this is it) McKee. Just wondered if you could recommend any other screenwriting books I should look up.

I also love reading about filmmakers talking about their craft. Just finished 'Picture' by Lillian Wish-I-Could-Remember-Her-Surname and Sidney Lumet's Making Movies. I've been dipping into Boorman's Money Into Light but found it a bit dry. Again, any recommendations?

I know you bash Spielberg and I can see why his black and white storytelling irks. I like his earlier films the most, particularly Sugarland Express, Duel and Jaws. Just wondered what you thought about ET. I think it's very tender and am moved by it. (A character says, "Penis-breath" in a Spielberg film?!?)

Oh, a quick Spielberg story. A friend's brother is an animation in-betweener. He was working on a Spielberg production when the man himself visits the studio. Aparently he takes a phone call and the conversation is TOTALLY centred around how much his latest movie grossed. I lost a little bit more rose hue in my tinted spectacles when I heard that story.

Later.

Lee

Dear Lee:

No, don't say you lost respect for Steven Spielberg, that's too sad. Luckily, I have no respect to lose. But I do agree with you, I like "Jaws" and "Duel," and sort of like "Sugarland Express." The first half of "E.T. was okay, but the second half was garbage. Guys in suits surrounding the house, the whole evil government involvement, the kids flying on their bicycles, I could give a shit less.

Meanwhile, it sounds like you've read every book on screenwriting. What the hell else do you need to know? The best way to learn it is to just keep doing it. Reading about it will only get you so far. It's like shooting pool or riding a skateboard -- the more you do it, the better you get. I just cranked out an entire screenplay from beginning to end in three weeks, and that's with three rewrites. Honestly, I think it's pretty good, too. But it all seems very second-nature to me now, 29 scripts in, and that comes from practise.

Also, the book "Picture" is by Lillian Roth, and I thought it was quite good. Have you read any of Peter Bogdanovich's books on filmmaking? "Who the Devil Made It?" or "Pieces of Time" or "This Is Orson Welles"? They're all darn good. I just read David Puttnam's "Movies & Money" and enjoyed it. I also like any film director's autobiography, like King Vidor's "A Tree is a Tree" or Joseph Von Sternberg's "Fun in a Chinese Laundry" or William Wellman's "A Short Time For Insanity."

Josh

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

Josh,

I was just making a joke about Jospeh Cotton to see if you were awake this morning. Yeah, he lived 15 years after having a major stoke.

I know Hitch made 'Psycho" independently, but he still had to get it past some censorship boards to get the rating it did and that is what his daughter was refering to with the extra cutting.

Bill Hicks is pretty funny, but he has been dead for sometime now. I don't think he is that great like everyone here who has been promoting him, I would leave that to Lenny Bruce who was more more intelligent than Hicks.

Some of Hicks stuff is funny and he brings up some great ideas, but some of it is just downright not funny to me, however, he took a lot of risks and i suppose he was a voice for the liberal left I suppose at the time. Unfortuntately, he didn't have the chance to prove that since he died so young.

Speaking of illness, I just purchased the new Warren Zevon CD "The Wind" and I like it. He was diagnosed with Terminal lung cancer last year which I had been following since his diagnosis.

VH1 has been running a nice documentary on him which is based around him recording the album during the fall of last year and the spring of this year. Doctors gave him 3 months to live after his diagnosis in September of last year and he is still alive.

I have always enjoyed his music and it's honesty, and he says a lot of good things in the documentary about living knowing he is going to die soon.

He was just recently interviewed and said that he was glad, since he was able to see his twin Grandchildren born and he was able to see the release of his album.

What i would like to know is what give doctors the right to pout a time limit on someones' life who is terminially ill? That's fucked up.

Scott

Dear Scott:

I already commented on Bill Hicks earlier today, so I really haven't got anything else to say on that subject. I'm not a Warren Zevon fan, although a good friend of mine is and so I'm aware of his illness and new record. I'm sure the doctors were just giving him an estimate. There's nothing exact about medicine and doctors certainly know it. Hell, at least the wash their hands now and don't smoke cigars while operating, like they used to.

Josh

Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: upon request

Dear Josh:

Hell's Bells!
Well then, I say we have you to thank for the re-issuing of the DVD's with the participation of Lucy, Renee and Rob's commentary. If you hadn't brought that all to Rob's attention, we fans would be missing out on a decent product! And I'm so glad Rob followed up too, on how his creation is being peddled. It's a no-brainer, isn't it? To try to get the main stars to provide insight and make the product as inviting as possible?!
The only thing I can think of is Davis-Panzer assumed wrongly that the big wigs wouldn't be available, or would be too much money and skew their predicted profit margin.
("Did you schedule any celebrity appearances?...Well, we contacted
Bruce Campbell, but he was too much money."
)
Well, anyway, THANK YOU for speaking up. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I could probably get dozens of fans to shoot off emails to D-P in the next 24 hours, asking that you be invited to comment on season 2, is that something you'd like us to do? Or maybe that would only succeed in burning Peter Davis' butter more, regarding you.

I saw one installment of "A Decade Under The Influence". One critique I have is the. I don't know if there's a term for it. but the cut-aways to old footage or stills, with a footer saying what the film is, and who is starring, the year.
Well, they would do that, but it wouldn't stay on the screen long enough for me to 1-- figure out myself what they were showing, and/or 2-- read the text!
It was aggravating! And I'm from the MTV generation that is supposed to be digging that kind of editing. Jiminy Crickets! I'd rather have 15 more seconds of film footage with a voice-over, than a longer look at Scorsese's impossible eyebrows. LMFAO!

Did you find that at all irritating too? (the cut-aways, not the eyebrows. Heh.)

Dear Diana:

It wasn't me, it was Rob. Quite frankly, given the way the DVD set looks, I don't think Davis/Panzer had any intention of including any interviews with it, as they apparently didn't include with the video tapes, and Anchor Bay objected. So Peter Davis, who is an older gentleman, rented a DVD of some movie and saw that they had an interview with the director, figured that's the way to go, so they contacted me and some other directors, the DP, and the art director, and never even considered contacting Lucy, Renee, Ted, or Rob. You can see from the packaging that the disk with the interviews was added later (it's in a little paper envelope and shoved in a pocket, it hasn't got an official slot) and is not even listed on the front. Then they almost edited me out of thing completely, which is okay with me because I look like hammered shit.

Josh

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

Hey Josh

I just want to second what Lucas said about Bill Hicks: get some of his stuff, dude. I've only recently been introduced to his work. The guy's more than a stand up - he's a preacher of common sense. The DVD 'Totally Bill Hicks' includes his performance at the Dominion Theatre and a Channel 4 documentary. There's also an unofficial book of his life: Screaming in America. He packed so much into 32 years. He embodies the true sense of tragic loss. He was a huge hit at Austin's comedy house when he was still a teenager - he was just blowing all these older comedians off the stage. Bill didn't care if the audience liked him. He'd turn his back to them. You can find some real vitriolic stuff on the internet. You can stream one gig he did where a female audience member heckles him and he goes into this 'drunk cunt' routine that is just... refreshing. If only comedians today had balls like that. And his material on Gulf War One could be transposed onto Gulf War Two the Sequel.

I was going to recommend Bill last week, but didn't. Lucas is right - get this guy's stuff, Josh. I'm sure you'll REALLY like it.

Best

Lee

Dear Lee:

Okay, okay. Where have I been?

Josh

Name: Kit
E-mail: kit_sivyer@hotmail.com

Heya Josh... I also reccommend you buy a Bill Hicks CD or two... what he has to say on smoking (and all drugs for that matter) is priceless ("Non smokers die.... Everyday") Well, what he has to say about anything is pretty priceless... http://www.billhicks.com has some good samples of video and audio if ya want to check it out...

The fact that he died at 33 and we have to put up with crap such as what passes as entertainment today (Hollywood, et. all) is a crying shame.

In fact, the only new movie that I've seen this year that I would pay to see at least more than twice in a cinema is Bubba Ho Tep. I managed to catch it at the Gold Coast film festival this year, and it was just bloody fantabulous! Everything about the movie worked for me.

Naturally, it probably won't get a release down in the land of Oz (yeah, all you can see in Australia these days is Hollywood crap..) so I'm glad I caught it.

Anyways, thanks for reading the rant... and thanks for the essays on structure too... I think I'm a better writer because of it (not that I ever was one to begin with)

Cheers,

Kit

Dear Kit:

Just keep at it and you'll certainly keep improving. Can you believe it, I haven't seen "Bubba" yet. Bruce has already warned me that I may well not like it because the story just sort of peters out, but I'm still eager to see it. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

Well, I went to the website and I listened to and watched everything there on Bill Hicks, so I certainly have a sense of him now. I absolutely agree with his political and sociological viewpoints, I just didn't find him funny. I didn't get one single laugh out of nearly an hour of his stuff. I was continually amused, and he makes many vaild points, though. I liked his statement about, fuck my inner child, let's get in touch with our outer adults.

Josh

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

HALLO JOSH.I'AM WONDERING SOMETIMES WHEN I REMEMBER ABOUT BRANDON LEE, HOW WAS POSIBLE TO HAPEN A MISTAKE LIKE THIS TO BE THE GUN WITH REALY BULLETS LOADED????I HAVE LIKE THIS ACTOR,AS SOME OTHERS???IN MARTIAL ARTS ACTORS.WE HAVE ONE PROBLEM IN GREECE NOW,ONE 58 YEARS OLD WOMEN SAY, IRINI PAPPAS ARE SHY´S MOTHER,BUT IRINI SAY NO,AND I DON'T UNDARSTEND WHY SEE WAIT SO MANY YEARS TO TELL THIS. VERY VERY STRANGE????WHAT ELSE WE GONA HEAR TODAY,THAT MANDONA ARE THE DOUGTHER FROM JANIS JOPLIN,ha.ha.ha CHAO GEORGE

Dear George:

No, I'm Irene Pappas's child. Apparently, John Barrymore's dying words were, "I'm the illegitimate son of Buffalo Bill!"

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Hi Josh,

I saw "America Splendor" last night and really enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, it was the best new movie I have seen in a long time. I know that you are sick of going to the theater but you should think about checking it out. Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis' performances alone are worth the trip.

And I HIGHLY recommend Bill Hicks "Rant in E-Minor". I have a collection of comedy albums and "Rant" is one of my all time favorites.

Best,
Jean

Dear Jean:

Okay, thanks for the recommendations.

Josh

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

Hey Josh,

You bring up a good point with the old studio heads and how they felt about movies. There were a few interesting guests on Larry King the other night.

I am not a big fan of Larry King, but I watch it from time to time.

His guests were Alfred Hitchcock's daughter Patricia and a few leading ladies from Hitchcock's films including Tippi Hedren (The Birds), Janet Leigh (Psycho), and Eva Marie Saint (North by Northwest).

One of the things I found interesting that his daughter said was that when he shot and cut his some of his films, he deliberately included alternate shots, scenes or extended scenes which he felt he would have a hard time getting by the studio heads.

He knowingly cut these alt scenes with scenes he wanted to get through in the films.

He used these scenes knowing that if they wanted to cut them then he would have a bargaining tool for the stuff that he definitely wanted to leave in, however, they never knew which were which, so I think she said it worked almost 95% of the time which is pretty damn good.

She said that "Psycho" was a prime example of a film in which he employed this idea and it worked.

I say this because what I realize is that in the history of Hollywood, Directors have always had trouble with the studios and the powers that be to get their films made. However, I agree with you that the difference between then and now is not that executives have bcome less harsh, but they don't really give a shit about movies, just about marketing and money.

BTW, it was cool to hear Hitch's daughter say that his favorite of all his films was "Shadow of a Doubt" which happens to be my favorite Hitch movie as well. Jospeh Cotton was a great actor and he died too young.

Take care,
Scott

Dear Scott:

Joseph Cotten died too young? He was 90-years old. I hope I die that young. I must admit that "Shadow of a Doubt" isn't one of my favorite Hitchcock films, although it's certainly well-made and I really like Theresa Wright. Above that I'll take: "Notorious," "Psycho," "North By Northwest," "Frenzy," "The Birds," "The 39 Steps." Meanwhile, I used a very similar system when working on TV shows. I would mark all of the scenes I felt ought to be cut, which they would never cut before we started shooting, but the second I got into any trouble keeping up with the schedule, they were always more than happy to cut those scenes to get back on schedule. Also, keep in mind with Hitchcock, he made "Psycho" independently so he didn't have to deal with the execs telling him what to cut, and also so that he made most of the money, which is when he finally got rich at 61-years old.

Josh

Name: John Rambo
E-mail: thisisjohnrambo@yahoo.com

Dear Josh,

It's been a while. I was wondering what work you are most proud of doing. I think all your work on Xena and Hercules was awesome.

Also what do you think of Dragon the Bruce Lee Story, it was released in 1993.

Thanks,

John J. Rambo

P.S. I hope you had a happy birthday.

Dear John:

I kind of liked "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story," and I thought Jason Scott Lee did a very good job. It's not a great biopic, but I liked its spirit.

I think my most original and mature work is in "If I Had a Hammer," even if it never got released.

Josh

Name: Lucas
E-mail: already given

Hiya Josh,

You wrote: "All we can hope for is a major earthquake along the San Andreas Fault and perhaps all of the studios will crumble, then the debris will float off into the ocean."

You, sir, desperately need to go and buy a Bill Hicks album or two. "Arizona Bay" or "Rant in E-Minor" will do fine. The man appears to have shared a few opinions with you - "Arizona Bay" revolves around the idea that the world would be a much better place if California was destroyed by an earthquake, leaving a body of water called Arizona Bay.

I'd get into the specifics and unique qualities of Hicks as a stand-up, social critic and philosopher all in one, but it's pointless if you haven't heard any of his stuff. You dig the way Bill Maher just tells it like it is, well Hicks was the undisputed king of that. And he can make me laugh until I physically hurt. I strongly suggest you go pick some of his work up.

Lucas

The preceding endorsement was brought to you by no-one in particular.

Dear Lucas:

That's a terrific recommendation. I keep forgetting his name because it's too similar to Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, and Danny Hicks who was in ED2. Look, it's not that I want to see any harm come to my friends in LA, but I think the Hollywood film industry is so internally fucked up that it may very well be unfixable. As big of assholes as Harry Cohen, Darryl Zanuck, Louis Mayer, or Sam Goldwyn may have been, they really and truly loved movies. The people running the studios now don't, and are therefore entirely unqualified, unsuited, and ill-equipped to decide what films should be made or why.

Josh

Name: Saul Trabal
E-mail: ghost_kingdom@yahoo.com

Cynthia wrote below:

"A movie executive was brought on and said, "Well, what this means, is that we're going to have to get a better product if people want better word of mouth."

HAH!!! Yeah right.

If there's one thing I've learned, it's this: NEVER, EVER underestimate the stupidity of people.

To be frank, most people by and large are just not very bright. And I'll even go so far as saying that it's silly to expect thought-provoking entertainment to come out of Hollywood.

Hollywood movies are fast food for the brain. And to expect thought-provoking entertainment to come out of Hollywood would be like going to Burger King and expecting a salmon steak. That's how ridiculous such expectations are, to be brutally honest.

Films like MIDNIGHT COWBOY and THE LAST DETAIL would be laughed out of pitch meetings today, and the people who thought them up would be looked at as mentally unbalanced.

Nooooooo-I don't sound TOO cynical.

Dear Saul:

And you're still not as cynical as me. I don't believe that Hollywood can be turned around anymore because no one working for any of the studios has the slightest clue was a decent movie is. They've never seen one and they don't care. When you're the seventh division down of a giant conglomerate, the only thing that matters is the bottom-line. If the bean-counters tell you that you'll absolutely make some minor profit from making "Jeepers Creepers 2," than some film no one has ever heard of before, you're making "Jeepers Creepers 2" every single time. All we can hope for is a major earthquake along the San Andreas Fault and perhaps all of the studios will crumble, then the debris will float off into the ocean.

Josh

Name: Aaron
E-mail: agraham83@hotmail.com

Hey Josh,

I was just curious as to your opinion of the career of Roger Corman. I recall a story you told in an earlier post, but haven't been able to find any real mention of what you thought of his movies at AIP.

Also, I Just read Joe Bob Briggs' latest book, "Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed History", and he mentions your Film Threat interview with Quentin Tarantino in his section on "Reservoir Dogs" quite a bit, stating how he feels it's the most honest interview we have of QT talking about his influences for "Reservoir Dogs".

Best Regards

Dear Aaron:

Thanks for telling me about Briggs' book, I'll have to read it now. I thought it was a good interview, but Quentin hated it and never spoke to me again. I ran into him at the opening of "The Thin Red Line," and said hello to him and he ignored me like I wasn't there. As for Roger Corman, I just wish he had better taste and actually knew what a decent movie was. As a kid I enjoyed his E.A. Poe/Vincent Price films, although none of them hold up very well, nor have the got the slightest bit of style or visual interest, but Price is good. All in all, though, I'd say Corman is just a crappy filmmaker with no taste.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I saw an interesting piece on the news the other day about how major corporate films cannot rely on opening weekend gross any more. Generally, as you well know, even crappy movies had a chance because of the opening weekend advertising blitz, and they would have to wait until Monday to know if a movie sucked. Well, now since to cell phones and two-way text messaging and all that, people who see a movie at noon on opening day are telling their friends in line on the other side of town to "Skip it," if it sucks. This means that word of mouth gets out too fast for shitty movies to get enough money to justify making them.

A movie executive was brought on and said, "Well, what this means, is that we're going to have to get a better product if people want better word of mouth."

Hallelujah! Someone realized this?! And he works in the accounting department of the production company?! Now we just need everyone else to figure it out. Maybe technology will save film, after all, and not destroy it.

Meanwhile, I watched "Britannia Hospital" on DVD last night and had a lovely time. I rented it at "Video Vault," which is a rent-by-mail service just like Netflix, except Video Vault has Russ Meyer movies, Japanese Animation, Blaxploitation, the "Theremin" documentary, you know...the stuff Netflix won't carry. They're not super-cheap, though. Check out https://www.videovault.com if there's stuff you can't find in your hometown. Just thought you might like to know.

Take care,
Cindy

Dear Cindy:

Yeah, well, one guy making a realization isn't anything to bank on. This has been going on for a long time now. Thanks for the info on Video Vault. I feel like I'm getting close to having used up Netflix.

Josh

Name: Angelo
E-mail: mmike10371@aol.com

Dear Josh:

What do you think of Alex Proyas' films? If the name isn't exactly familiar, I don't blame you, since the only movies of his anyone's really heard of are The Crow and Dark City.

Dear Angelo:

I really thought "The Crow" was awful. Pure M-TV drek. I didn't see the other one.

Josh

Name: dustin
E-mail: dustglas@hotmail.com

can you shed a light on why they sell short ends and if they are any good or not for us? do you take a chance they are exposed by the previous person ? d

Dear Dustin:

The folks that sell short-ends guarantee them. Most of the stock is in fact not even short-ends, it's simply brand-new stock that's being resold. Kodak will not take film back. Therefore, when you buy a huge amount of stock for your film, then don't use some of it the only place to get rid of it is at Steadi-Systems or Hollywood Film and Tape. Also, frequently when you're shooting a film, you'll end up with half a roll or more unexposed that you must take out of the camera because it's not long enough to cover your scene. These are the short ends, which all generally run from 600-800 feet (of 35mm), and they say that they test them. I've never heard about any problems with them. I've never used short-ends, but I have bought their re-canned stock, and it was fine.

Josh

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

Josh,

Have you seen "A Decade Under The Influence" currently running on IFC? I was wondering what you thought of it. Many of the directors and actors echo sentiments expressed (better) here as regards the decline in Hollywood movies.

I must say that I thought a lot of them were being disingenuous, though. Scorcese and Bogdonovich are there complaining that no one makes five to ten million doolar films anymore. Can't they afford to make those films? At one point Scorcese is complaining about the rise of comic book movies, which he says he deplores. He mentions "Spiderman" as a specific example of what's wrong with Hollywood today but can't even get off with a clean opinion there. He had to throw in that he loves Sam Raimi's films even though, from what I gather, "Spiderman" is as true a Sam Raimi film as one can find. Like I said, at least as far as the directors are concerned, "Decade" struck me as posing.

John

Dear John:

I did see it, and I was a bit surprised hearing Scorsese discussing Sam. I must disagree however that "Spider Man" is as "true a Sam Raimi film as one can find." Sam didn't write "Spider Man," he was just a director for hire on it. A true Sam Raimi film would be any of the films he's written, like any of the "Evil Dead" films. Of course, I completely agree with Mr. Scorsese and his disregard and disdain for comic books movies--I absolutely hate all of them. As Bill Maher said this week on his show in the section called "The New Rules," where he said, (and I paraphrase), New Rule, stop making shitty movies. When I was a kid Hollywood didn't give a shit about me, they made movies for adults that challenged me and made me a better person. The movies they make now, as Maher said, are for dropping your kids off at while you go shopping. They're all pandering. As Scorsese said, Hollywood only wants to make Spielberg and Lucas films now, but sadly there's only one Spielberg and one Lucas and nobody else can make those films (and neither can they, as far as I'm concerned). I enjoyed watching "A Decade Under the Influence" because I whole-heartedly agree that films were a million times better back then, more diverse, far more interesting, and had something to say. The death of creativity in Hollywood was "Star Wars," and it has never recovered. All of these comic book films are just half-assed follow-ups, and I agree that they are all soulless corporate garbage.

Josh

Name: Tanya B.
E-mail: tagma@burnet.ru

Mr. Becker,

OK, I know it's not very interesting question but everyone has asked you all I wanted to know. That's why I ask you something nobody would ask.
You said: "He's (Crispin Glover) a nice guy, too. Bruce and I hung out with Crispin and his girlfriend at the last Anchor Bay party in Las Vegas, and we all ended up in the same limo. He's a little weird, but very pleasant."

Why is he weird? The way he talks or how he looks or about what he talks. I like him as an actor, he is great actor, I just don't really get in what way he is weird. I would like to know your opinion.

T.

Dear Tanya:

I mean it in only the most pleasant, nicest way. He's perhaps a bit spacey, and his girlfriend is a mortician. They're not your average couple, but they're both very nice.

Josh

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

Dear Josh:

Uh-oh - I almost missed this one - you observed that you had "something of an imbroglio with the production company" - is this Anchor Bay? I thought they had been really reallty decent to you in the past. That sucks. What was the deal?

Regards,

August

Dear August:

No, it wasn't Anchor Bay (who have always been very nice to me), it was Davis-Panzer that produced the DVD sets. These are the folks that brought you "Highlander" and it's multiple sequels. Anyway, I was the first of five directors to be interviewed, so I was there when they were setting up and there was a lighting-camerman, a sound man, a co-producer, and the producer, but no director on the crew. As I sat there and watched while they were lighting me, I couldn't help but notice that they were making some big mistakes, like they had one camera aiming at me, while the other camera was set up shooting over my shoulder to an empty spot on the couch (the producer/interviewer was sitting in a chair beside the camera out of frame). I asked, "What's the second camera shooting?" The producer said, "We need something to cut away to." I asked, "An empty spot on the couch? Am I being interviewed by the invisible man?" The producer asked what I would do? I said I'd take the second camera and put beside the first one, get one into a close-up and the other in a medium shot, that way you could cut between the two shots. They quickly reset the camera, then from there I just kept saying, "Well, if I were directing this, I'd relight now," which they did, then "If I were directing I'd get rid of these samurai swords on the table behind my head because they look like they're sticking out my ear," etc. Anyway, the interview was okay, but the producer had never watched my episode and had no specific questions about it, which I thought was lame. When I got back to Detroit I spoke with Rob Tapert on the phone and told him I'd just done this interview, which he knew nothing about. Rob got angry and said, "Why didn't they contact Lucy? Or Renee? Or Ted? Or me?" I said I didn't know, but if I were doing the DVD release of Xena I certainly would have contacted them. I then went on to tell Rob about the shoot and the lack of director. A few days later I got a call from Peter Davis (of Davis-Panzer) who ripped me a new asshole for bad-mouthing the shoot to Rob. That's the story.

Josh

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

Hey Josh

Back again.You know what? I'm not gonna let the bastards grind me down. I'm a screenwriter here in the UK. I've got an agent and have written a few things for children's TV (Sooty/Bob the Builder amongst other things). I also write spec' film scripts. I'm not a genre writer; my work concentrates on real people. Social drama... I don't how one would categorise them. One story I'm proud of is called TROLLEY BOY. The quick pitch is: OF Mice and Men in a supermarket. It's based on my experiences of working with a learning disabled man at a supermarket and teaching special needs classes. Writing based on your own experiences is always the richest writing. And we've been trying to sell TROLLEY BOY for three years, now. We got close with a BBC single film slot, but no cigar. There seems to be no commercial market for small, personal stories with heart. I've been so depressed I haven't written a screenplay for almost 2 years, now. (I also had a bad experience on the last Sooty project. I was completely rewritten and they didn't involve me. I only found out when the VHS arrived through my letterbox. Out of the six writers on Sooty, four of us demanded that our names be taken off the credits). So I've been down for a while.

Now something has happenened in my private life that I feel compelled to write about it. And I've decided, fuck em'. I'm gonna write it. I've been saving for the last year and have bought my own Arriflex BL 16, some wide lenses... the whole kit. Now I own the means of production, I don't have to wait for anyone's permission. I can make short films based on my personal writing, limited only by my pay packet.

Maybe, JUST maybe, there might be a renaissance and small, personal pictures with heart will make a come-back. The kind of stuff Alan Clarke did.

Nah, I don't believe that. But what else can I do? I've got to write what I care about and hope there's ONE producer out there who actually wants to make a picture that speaks to people. And if that never happens, I've got my BL.

Christ I'm rambling. What's my point? Write what you care about, I guess. TRY and find a producer with a soul. And if you can't, make your own stuff, get it on the net and cut out the middle man.

Tim Roth and Gary Oldman are keeping Alan Clarke's spirit alive. Nil By Mouth is a superb film. But what if you're not Tim Roth and Gary Oldman?

I've got it. Build a time machine, go back 30 years and everything will be fine.

Gotta go. American Pie 13 is showing at my local, independent cinema. Oh, wait a minute, they closed that cinema down.

Guess I'll watch Kes on DVD.

I think I'm more depressed than when I started this ramble.

Lata dude.

Lee

Dear Lee:

I think you've got the right idea. Fuck them, write what you want and make the pictures you believe in. This isn't a dress rehearsal, you've got to go for all the gusto you can. Before you know it you'll be dead. You've got an Arri-BL, which is a great camera, you can shoot your film one roll at a time on weekends. Look at "Pi," which was ridiculously cheap, and it's an interesting, visual film with an actual story. And finally getting a budget didn't help Darren Aronofsky any. Having no money can be very stimulating to the imagination. Go with it. I take great heart from other super-low-budget films that pulled off being good films, like "Stranger Than Paradise" or the films of Joseph H. Lewis or Edgar G. Ulmer. Good luck.

Josh

Name: james
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

i read most of the posts here and it sounds to me that you are a jealous, bitter, old man, who hates everyone and everything to do with movies...i cant remember when you said 'i liked that movie and i liked the director'...you think everything in the past 10 years was shit

shit, now 'thou shalt not kill...except' that was shit

a guy gets someone close to him killed and then takes revenge...wow i never saw a movie like that before

Dear james:

Yes, I do think most all films of the past ten (or twenty) years are shit. As for the revenge plot of TSNKE, I admit it's a rather simple-minded, but then again, it was a super-low-budget movie. When I see that same plot in expensive films like "The Gangs of New York" and "Open Range," that's when I get mad. As for thinking my film is shit, go ahead, what do I care, you won't be the first one. But don't for a second believe I don't love a great many movies, apparently just not the same ones as you.

Josh

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

Hey Josh

You said you like Goodfellas, and I think it's a good film, too. But have you considered this? Scorsese and Pileggi seem to be protecting the protagonist, Ray Liotta's Henry Hill. He never commits murder; he's always on the periphery of the action. He isn't involved in the murder of Batts. He helps to cover it up, but that's it. In this way the story is quite moral. But then maybe that's the point - Henry avoids incarceration (albeit as a 'Shnook' under the Witness Protection Program) because he's essentially a good guy.

We don't need our protagonists to be angels, we just need to understand why they do what they do. Maybe Goodfellas would have been a better, braver film if Henry had got blood on his hands?

I have a copy of the Goodfellas screenplay here at work and dip into it when I've got some down time. I've been thinking about this a lot and wondered what your thoughts were.

Happy belated birthday, BTW dude.

Lee

Dear Lee:

He does go across the street and beat that guy in the face repeatedly with his pistol, which was pretty bloody. I do think he's a somewhat weak main character, but that is part of what leads to his downfall. He's also something of a cypher for us to get a bird's eye view into the mob. I've always felt that Pesci and DeNiro were more important characters than Liotta. It's a second-person point of view, the real lead character is our lead character's friend.

Josh

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

Josh,

I just watched "Bowling for Columbine." It was very well done. I thought the general idea was to come to a conclusion, but it didn't seem as though Michael Moore ever did. From the film's point of view, there is no answer as to why America has the highest gun death rate. On a side note, I'd be interested to know how suicides fit into those numbers, in various countries.

I wasn't impressed with the "The Rainmaker" moment towards the end where Moore follows Heston with a picture of the victim. It was rather silly.

Otherwise, it was a terrific film--propaganda at its best.

The only thing that I would have like to have heard more on is the brief moment where Heston suggests ethnic diversity to explain the high gun death rate, but backs off it completely. I know that Moore said that there is lots of diversity in Canada, too, but I would wonder if the whole melting pot factor also leads to the high gun death rate. It may be a simple fact that people don't get along with anyone better than their own race, as a whole. Naturally, there are millions of people like you and I who could work, live, play, and exist with any person of any race and never have a problem, but perhaps the bigger picture of humanity isn't the same. Heston apparently realized that he might be entering into politically incorrect zones and didn't feel the controversy was worth it.

And the animation in the middle--very entertaining. Again, propaganda factor aside, it was cute.

But I can't blame anyone for distributing propaganda. If a person believes in something, even despite its faults, then they have no obligation to "show both sides." Do you agree?

Ben

Dear Ben:

It's his movie and he can show what he wants. There's no rule that says you have to show a balanced picture of things. My problem with "Bowling for Columbine" is that it leads you in the wrong direction, then doesn't own up to the facts. We don't really have a big problem in the country with white kids shooting white kids, which is what occurred at Columbine. The big issue is blacks shooting blacks and Latinos shooting Latinos. And in many of those instances it's within families. I think that's where Heston was going and stopped. Still, I appreciated Michael Moore confronting him.

Josh

Name: walt flannagan
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

i have been trying to get a copy of lunitics a love story...but they are always 50 dollers on ebay and other places, i finally bought a 'bootleged' copy. but it was very bad quality

why dont you sell bootleged copys of it

Dear Walt:

'Cause it's against the law, dude, that's why. They show the film on cable all the time, tape it.

Josh

Name: james
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

yes i have noticed that most of todays movies are remakes...there are a few movies in the past few years that were good and original

i enjoyed spider man...except that scene where spider man is hanging on to the girl and a trolly full of kids and the green goblin is about to hit spidy but a bunch of new yorkers throw garbage at him...what the hell...have you talked to sam raimi about this scene, the only reason i can figure he put it in the movie was because of 9/11 which may of been good at the time but 10 years from now that scene will just look stupid

i just saw freddy vs jason, i know this movie is a sequil to alot of sequils and is not original at all...but seeing freddy and jason fight was just good dumb slasher fun

Dear James:

How old are you? Nine? Any super hero doing anything is stupid -- it's a guy jumping around in a leotard -- why pick on individual scenes? And really, who gives the slightest shit about Freddy or Jason anymore? Come on.

Josh

Name: Robert M. Hensel
E-mail: poeticbob13126@aol.com

Dear Mr. Becker,

I was wondering if you would be kind enough to send me an autograph? Also, if it wouldn't be much of a bother, could you please address it to Robert as well? Above, you will find my home address. I find your work to be truly inspiring and enjoyable. To tell you a bit about myself. I am a 34 year old man born with a birth defect known as Spina Bifida. I am an advocate for the disabled & an International published poet. I am also in the Guinness book of world records for the longest non stop wheelie in a wheel chair, for which I covered a total distance of 6.178 miles. The reason for my attempt, was to help raise money for wheelie chair ramps in my community. See I feel, just because I am disabled, in no way means unable. There is ability in each and every form of disability. It is my life long ambition to one day prove to the world that time has come for us to begin to look beyond ones crippled shell, for it is only within, that our most greatest treasures can then be truly discovered. Well, my friend I most go. Keep up the good work:)


P.S. Please take a moment to read some of my poems online. Just type Robert M. Hensel under the google search or whatever one you may choose!


Yours Truly,
Robert M. Hensel

Dear Robert:

Thanks for the nice comments. The signed photo is on it's way.

Josh

Name: Diana Hawkes
E-mail: upon request

Dear Josh:

I piped in very late to your birthday thread August set up for you at sci-fi fandom.com--I was traveling.
After hearing your voice on the radio interview, and seeing how down right chipper you are here lately, there's no way you're old Josh! Did you have an Alaska-esque encounter during that black out waltz around your neighborhood, or something? LMAO

I got such a thrill out of hearing you, I didn't envision you sounding so... upbeat... and enthusiastic... and it was through a telephone to boot, so hearing you on the season 1 DVD of Xena will be a real treat. Will I see you too? I forget. I still have to buy a player, dammit.
I've learned that they will re-release season 1 with added commentary from Rob, Lucy and Renee, who will also do commentary for the season 2 DVD's.
Since Rob and Lucy are still in NZ I gather, dealing with Boogeyman, I guess it hasn't happened yet.
Have you been asked to come back to LA to contribute for season 2? It seems you should- you directed 3 eps!

Where was I? Oh yea, I wondered if you remembered what you were going to say, regarding the subject of "The Method" as an acting tool.
During the interview, George the poet was explaining that Stanislovski wrote 3 books, and that The Actor's Studio only drew from part of the 1st one, and Stella Adler and Lee Strausburg based their tutelage on just that one part, but that Stanislovski ended up *rejecting* method acting in his later books.
I could hear you try to interject, but George barreled on with his point. I wondered what you wanted to comment on.
See, I half-recall reading that Adler went back and studied with Stanislovski and so came to be at total odds with what Stausburg was doing, that she negated "the method."
Anyway, do you recall what you wanted to say there?

Oh, and I guess I'm fairly attractive too and I used to be a geek, I don't know how to determine if I still am. I'm a Xena avid fan, does that make me by default a geek? Or are we talking Movie Salon Geek-a-tudeT?

Dear Diana:

Maybe all geeks think they're attractive, that's part of what makes them geeks. I'm not sure that people remember anymore what a geek actually is: he was the guy who bit the heads off live chickens at the freak show. Anyway, what I was going to say about the Method is that it's only so helpful, I think. Unless you're doing a play or a high-budget movie with a long schedule, it's difficult to put to use. In low-budget films or TV, you really must have your shit together immediately, there's no time to go wandering around mumbling to yourself trying and find your character, and nobody is going to wait for you. Also, when you're trying to shoot quickly and an actor blows a line, frequently you won't even cut the camera, you'll just say "pick it up two lines back," and the actors simply back up and keep going. And if they can't do that, in my opinion, they're not really good actors.

As for the Xena DVDs, I saw the director interviews on the extra disc and I'm barely in it. I also couldn't get to sleep the night before, so I have big bags under my eyes and basically look like hell. And since I had something of an imbroglio with the production company, they may well not have me back for the season two DVDs.

Josh

Name: james
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

texas chainsaw massacre is being remade...whats wrong with people, why fix whats not broken

what do you think about the original and the remake...i just saw the trailler for the remake and it looks stupid and long

Dear James:

I'm a big fan of the original, and I hate remakes. So there you have it. But everything's a remake or a sequel now, or didn't you notice?

Josh

Name: Muhammad Shahid
E-mail: msng_79@yahoo.com

Dear Josh:

Hey. I am interesting in making a 99 cent store in my area, I live in NC USA, but don't know where from I get the stuff for my store. plz help me if you can.
Shahid

Dear Shahid:

As I seem to the the worldwide expert on .99-cent stores, I say go to China and get slave labor to make your products for free, then you can retail at .50-cents and still make a profit.

Josh

Name: Jean
E-mail:

Happy Birthday Josh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Although, I think I am a few days late with the B-day wishes. That's a bummer that you had to bake in the heat during the blackout. My cousin Jeff lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan. He had to walk home on Thursday and was so disgusting and sweaty when he got home that his girlfriend would not let him sit on the couch. He had to walk home on September 11th as well but that was a completely different situation. They actually had fun during the blackout. He said that everyone was sitting outside into the wee hours of the morning because it was too damn hot to stay indoors. So they had a block party! Everyone cleared out their refrigerators, lit some candles, broke out the guitars, downed a lot of beers and had a great time! He told me that as the night went on and the warm beer began to soak into peoples bodies couples were disappearing into their apartments to have blackout sex (his phrase, not mine). Then they would wonder back to the party to a lot of hooting and hollering. I was a bit jealous that I missed it.

Hey! I'm straight, I've been told that I am attractive and I'm a movie geek! And you think you saw some trolls at the L.A. County Museum. I got that beat by a mile. I went to E3 this year with a friend who works in video games. E3 is the big, dumb video game convention that is held in LA once a year. Now, I have never liked video games and I have always thought that playing video games was stupid and boring. But she begged me to go with her and promised some excellent people watching. My God was she right! I saw people who looked like they had not seen the sun in decades. Not to mention the people who were so fat that they had to ride around on those electric scooters. There were a bunch of dudes dressed as characters from "The Matrix" and they kept staging these little kung fu battles. There was also a basic lack of personal hygiene. I'm not trying to say that I'm the coolest kid on the block but these people were so nerdy it was scary and a little sad. I was just glad that I had smoked a huge bowl before I went down there.

Keep it real Josh! Wit yo bad 45 year old self!

Jean

Dear Jean:

Everyone's defending themselves now that they're both attractive and geeks. Comedian Rip Taylor used to like to pick on ugly people because they'd never come up to him after the show and complain. Meanwhile, I bet everywhere was more freindly and community oriented before there was electricity, TV and AC. As I walked around my neighborhood during the blackout it was the same thing, people sitting outside drinking warm beer and talking. My friend said that her kids, unable to watch TV or play video games, played chess instead. I mainly just read, so all in all, it wasn't so bad.

Josh

Name: Tony Mitchell
E-mail: mitch_2209@hotmail.com

Hi Josh,

I'm not quite as old as you but I was called an "old fart" last night by a female friend of mine because I dared to describe a film we saw together as a "piece of shit". The film was called "Sex and Lucia" (A Spanish film I doubt you will hear about it) and I won't bother to describe it. If it wasn't for the uncomfortableness of the seats in the theatre I would have gladly fallen asleep. The day before I saw "It Happened One Night" and I was delighted by it. Sure, it was predictable but it had a solid storyline and it was actually funny and I liked and cared about both characters. One review of the "Lucia" film described it as a masterpiece - it seems that reviewers these days are dazzled more by photography, plot twists and smouldering acting than a decent story and wouldn't know a genuinely likeable character if they fell over one.
I'm happy to be an old fart. I like being an old fart. Until they start making decent films again I will continue to be an old fart.

Dear Tony:

Bruce Campbell took his fifteen-year-old son to the last "Star Wars" film, and when they came out Bruce asked, "What did you think?" His son said, "It was great." Bruce replied that he didn't like it, so his son said, "Okay, I guess it wasn't very good." Bruce asked, "Well, is it great or is it not very good?" His son shrugged, "How am I supposed to know, I guess I've never seen a great movie." Of course, once you have seen a great film or two, then you have this horrible thing called perspective. That's the attribute I won't give up on. I'll never grade on a curve. "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron" may well have been one of the better films of 2002, but that doesn't make it anything other than a crappy kid's film with a bad script. "Open Range" may be one of the better films of 2003, but it's still a piece of shit.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

You had said "A college guy? Jeez, I thought it was the pretty girl pictured there. Bummer." The girl in the picture is actually Rose McGowan, from "Scream," the tv series "Charmed," and an ex of Marilyn Manson. Raise your hand if Ewwwww.

Funny story about the pretty girl at the museum film showing. Sad but true. You might want to check out the Stardust Ballroom, however - I hear it's loaded with tomatoes.

Regards,

August

Dear August:

"Tomatoes, that's rich. Okay, I'll put on my blue suit and I'll go to the Stardust Ballroom, and you know what I'll get? Heartache. I'm a fat, ugly little man." I always felt like they should have dropped the "little" adjective as it does not describe Ernest Borgnine at all. Still, he was much better than Rod Stieger in the TV version, who also wasn't little.

Josh

Name: Scott
E-mail: sspnyc66

Josh,

Yeah,

Our society has become a throw away society and computers are on top of the list. The problem is the plastic they are made with along with many other plastics can't be recycled and it will never biodegrade.

Most people don't give a thought to where these things go when they get thrown out because it doesn't affect them immediatley, however, in the long run it most definitely does.

What we have done as humans is created a new situation where nature has to adapt around our garbage and amazingly it does, but not without consequences.

You have mentioned that humanity is the Religion of all humanbeings, yet if we continue at this rate of a society with throw away material, it will surely out live us all and it also has a negative impact as well which doesn't say much for humanity.

I watched a great series on PBS about Australia, since I have been there before, it was quite an interesting series for me to see.

One segment was about the quality of life there and it also centered on a couple who became billionares by starting a company which recycles a great deal of the trash from NYC (Which is a shitload,let me tell you).

Many things are made into other items and much of what their company recycles is rejected by many other recycling businesses in America.

Their business is of course in America, but they are Australian and live in Australia.

This is forward thinking instead of backwards thinking which is the problem with the throw away society mentality. The trash just doesn't disappear, it gets dumped somewhere.

Scott

Dear Scott:

As George Carlin said, maybe Mother Nature really wanted plastic and created humans so that we could make the plastic. Then we'll be gone and all that will remain will be plastic. So maybe the point of life is plastic.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

I just watched Pearl Harbor, and was I offended! When are people going to stop blaming the Japanese for the events of Pearl Harbor? As soon as these hateful, moronic directors like Michael Bay and Mel Gibson stop promoting racism under the guise of artistic expression, then we might have a chance to be able to see a good film produced.

Thanks for your support,
Ben

Dear Ben:

I agree that "Pearl Harbor" sucked, but who should we blame for the attack? The Hungarians? The Japanese attacked us and destroyed half of our navy, which seems worthy of collectively pissing us off enough to go to war. Of course, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was rather similar to our recent attack of Iraq--except that we were blockading Japan, so they had a lot more reason to attack us than we had to attack Iraq, which was all based on false accusations of having WMDs and a fleet of unmanned planes that could drop nuclear bombs on America. After this Iraq assault, I think we've forever given up the moral high ground.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Happy birthday! Here's to another 45. At least you got to enjoy Sunday in air-conditioned splendor.

If it's any consolation, I thought Akasha was a cute chick, too, but it turns out it was just a picture of Rose McGowan. Damn the internet!

By the way, as a cute chick who loves to go and see old movies in old movie theaters, I was offended by Rick's comment at the LA County Museum. Of course, I must admit that most of my movie-geek friends are, in fact, male. And I know I'm a freak, as evidenced by my run-in with a male movie geek the other night:

I met a guy who is in a band called "The Bicycle Thieves." I said, "Oh, so you're a big Vittorio de Sica fan?" and he stared at me for a moment before saying, "uh..yeah." He then went on to rant about good old movies, foreign films, weird independent films, IFC, documentaries, how there are no good new movies, how pan-and-scan sucks, and I swear to God he was channeling you. He seemed so stunned the whole time that a girl would want to be listening to this, and told me how his girlfriend doesn't really care about these things.

Of course, I'm the freak who wouldn't dream of dating someone if he wasn't a movie geek. Whatever. We're out there. We exist.

Have an excellent Monday.

--Cindy

Dear Cindy:

I think I'm a decent-looking guy, too. And Rick wasn't bad-looking, either. However, for the most part, movie geeks are an unsightly, ungainly group. In that same constant group of movie geeks seated up near the screen at the LA County Museum for many years, most of them looked like homeless people with bags full of odd items and newspapers, pocket-protectors jammed full of pens and pencils, very fat people, and lot of folks with really bad hair. Rick enjoyed pointing them out and declaring them to be our peer group. I don't think Rick truly accepted it, though, because I think he believed his true peer group were the attractive gay men. I don't know that I've ever met an attractive, straight female who was a true movie geek.

Josh

Name: Saul Trabal
E-mail: ghost_kingdom@yahoo.com

Josh,

Here's what I found on Amazon:

TRIUMPH OF THE NERDS (1996)


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/6304170408/ref=pd_sim_video_1/002-4718387-1428808?v=glance&s=video

Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet (1998)


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/6305128235/ref=pd_sim_video_1/002-4718387-1428808?v=glance&s=video

FYI, Steve Jobs got the idea for the GUI (Graphical User Interface) in the mid-1970s from Xerox. Xerox never bothered to do anything with the GUI, so Jobs took off with it. The first NERDS documentary goes into it very well.

Both of these are really good documentaries. I have yet to read ACCIDENTAL
EMPIRES, but I want to.

One thing that annoys me about computers is how quickly they become obsolete. If you buy a new one today, for let's say, $1500, its value will drop by 60% in a year. The technology is improving at such a dizzying rate that I sometimes wonder if it's really worth it to buy a new computer. It depends on the individual, I guess.

I have a friend who is a MAJOR computer geek. He's got 50 computers at home(!!). He got an email from someone in Southern New Jersey-a person who was getting rid of a bunch of computers: Sun boxes, PCs, and Macs. So, we hopped into my friend's VW Van and rode down to meet the guy.

We met on this small stretch of road. I swear, it almost felt like I was part of some sort of drug deal! LOL!! Anyway, this fellow had a Subaru station wagon LOADED with over a dozen computers and monitors. The car was so loaded that it was nearly touching the ground.

My friend planned to hold on to some of the computers and later sell a few at the Trenton Computer Fair, which sells new and used computers. We go every year.

Anyway, we load up the van. The thing was packed with computer stuff-it was amazing *we* could fit in it!! Quite a few of the Macs were once owned by NASA.

I turned to my friend and asked him, "If all of this computer equipment were brand new, how much would all this be worth?"

My friend thought for a few moments. Then he said, "Probably close to $10 million."

Sheesh!! And now, all this stuff was basically worthless. I used to think cars lost their value more than any other product. Na-uh. Not like computers.

TTYL.

Saul

Dear Saul:

Here's my theory about all electronic goods -- they're all disposable. My rich buddy bought a laptop for $9,000 at the same time I bought mine for $999. Guess what? They were both outdated and worthless at the same time, and did he get $8,000 more use out of his? I doubt it. My VCR jammed the day before yesterday -- wham! In the trash. I bought a new, four-head model for $59.95, and when that stops working -- whammo! In the shitter. This Dell computer was one of their TV specials for $799, and when it breaks or becomes outdated, we'll see which occurs first, out with the rubbish. It's like toasters or coffee-grinders. They break, trash 'em. It's not worth fixing almost anything anymore.

Josh

Name: Saul Trabal
E-mail: ghost_kingdom@yahoo.com

Josh writes:

"Did you see the cable film "Pirates of Silicon Valley"? I thought it was pretty good, with Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates and Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs. It shows them both stealing their operating systems from Zenith, who had put a lot of money into developing the home PC, then didn't follow up on it. Then Jobs adapts this into the Mac system which he won't license to anyone, so Gates just flatly rips him off, turns it into Windows and licenses it to every Japanese company. At the end, when Jobs realizes that Gates has ripped off his system, they have a terrific confrontation. Jobs accuses Gates of stealing his system and says, "My system is better!" Bill Gates just laughs and says, "It doesn't matter." The final titles say that Steve Jobs lost his job a few months later, while Bill Gates is now the richest man in the world."

Yeah, I saw it. Eh! I was indifferent about it, to be honest. A MUCH better take on this, which you should see, is TRIUMPH OF THE NERDS and NERDS 2.0, HISTORY OF THE INTERNET, based on Bob Cringely's book ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES.

Find out more about Bob Cringely here:

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/bobsworld.html

I do agree that it doesn't matter if Jobs' OS was better. Who gives a shit? In the long run, Bill Gates gained control of most of the world computers. I'm not crying for Jobs, though. He's made his big money. Pixar has made him some megabucks.

I will say that Steve Balmer cracks me up though. I swear, that guy must take expresso through an IV. He's one of the most hyper pitchmen I've ever seen.

Saul

Dear Saul:

I'll keep my eyes peeled for it (like bananas). I checked and they don't have it at Netflix. I think they need to try a bit harder at Netflix, personally.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

To answer your question, Akasha the Moderator of the Xena section of SF-Fandom.com is a college guy from Oklahoma, I believe. The "handle" is after an Anne Rice character.

All are welcomed to surf around - sections on Cleopatra, Jack of All Trades, Hercules, even Trek, Tolkein, general movies, and other stuff to make a Film Geeks' Salon geek proud. (This was the site that a lot of fans gravitated towards after the Studios USA one ended.)

Regards,

August

Dear August:

A college guy? Jeez, I thought it was the pretty girl pictured there. Bummer. I remember about twenty years ago at the LA County Museum with my late friend Rick seeing some old movie, just as we had there hundreds of times before. I kept looking back over my shoulder as we went to our usual seat down front, and Rick asked what I was looking at? I said that there was a pretty girl in the back. Rick guffawed and waved his hand, "Oh, come on, attractive people don't come here and watch old movies, stop kidding yourself."

Josh

Name: Lucas
E-mail: lucas@christyouregullible.net

Hi Josh,

Re: the history of operating systems & Apple vs. Microsoft - if you or anyone else is interested, I stumbled onto an epic-length essay here:

http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginning.html

which deals with that topic among a couple of other things. I've never read any of this guy's fiction (he makes his living as a novelist), but it's clear that he knows his shit inside and out. It's a good way to kill 45 minutes or so, and a fun read. He manages to make some of the most dry stuff imaginable readable, which is pretty impressive.

Also, happy belated birthday. Does it feel like 18 was just yesterday, or a thousand years ago? Or both? Just curious.

Ciao,
Lucas

Dear Lucas:

I was eighteen in 1976, the Bicentennial year. It seems like a hundred years ago. I had just moved to Hollywood for the first time, I was living across from Paramount Pictures in a one-room apartment that cost $65 a month, including utilities. My favorite films that year were: "Taxi Driver," "Carrie," "Network," "The Tenant," "All the President's Men," "The Shootist," and "Rocky," and I went back to see each of them over and over again. Movies were great and seemed like they always would be. That's what I miss is great movies. I just saw "Open Range" yesterday and it was crap, with a really shitty script. They can't even make a run-of-the-mill western now, even if they have a lot of money. As my friend said upon leaving the theater, "If you were going to make a multi-million dollar western, you might try reading a book," meaning Louis L'Amour, Luke Short, Max Brand, or any other western writer. But no, that's obviously too much to ask. So, I've made it to 45, but now I'm stuck in this world of dull, thoughtless and inept movies, and I no longer see the clear point that I did when I was a young man. I'd still like to make the best movies I possibly can, but how and for whom I no longer know.

Josh

Name: Angelo
E-mail: mmike10371@aol.com

Dear Josh:

I was raised Greek Orthodox, but in my freshman year in high school came to believe in the Catholic Church, which is very similar. So, I am pretty familiar with both faiths and many others, as well as atheist and Christian philosophers. I can assure you many Catholics and Christians came to their faith through a period of discernment and study. It certainly hasn't been all easy for me, either. I have not decided to "turn off a portion of my brain" and merely went along with what I was told, as did many other Christians, a notable one who was a former atheist called C.S. Lewis.

I would like to know just how do you justify your statements that religion is just an "opiate for the masses?" That religion is the pretext for all evil? You realize, of course, that atheist nations have had horrible human rights violations, and that the USSR, which had atheism as the rule of law, killed 40 million of its own people? That Christians were at the forefront of movements to make women and children acceptable in society, Christians made the first hospitals and were at the forefront of the anti-slavery movment?

As for your statements that in "Religion, at its very heart, means I'm right and you're wrong, or you're right and I'm wrong, but someone's always got to be wrong," Mother Teresa said that it's your job to help the Catholic become the best Catholic, the Muslim become the best Muslim, the Jew become the best Jew, etc. I myself have many Buddhist friends who I admire, and Catholics have found much in common with Buddhist monasticism. The statement that "you're wrong, I'm right" hardly has any relevance when you study what Catholicism is really about (I know, you were talking about all religion, but I'll just cover this one now). When you get very basic, no one is truly outside the Church by virtue of the fact that they are human, have a soul, and therefore have the ability to receive grace and become better people, whatever their faith. The Catholic Church (and many other Churches, including my former Orthodox faith) say that they have the FULLNESS of the means to salvation, which meas that they have all the sacraments in which God's grace is given. But, of course, God's grace comes to all those who ask it.

When I was loyal to the Orthodox Church, I never experienced Catholics being in any way rude towards me or condescending, whether it was nuns at my school or teachers. Catholics almost always said how they admire the Orthodox Church. And, do you have any idea of what the Catholic Church's objective for social justice in the world is? One of its tenets is to use their impartiality to unite people.

"If you actually believe that Jehovah is an old (white) man with a long beard who is watching each and every one of us over six billion humans and judging us, you're an imbecile." You may no be an imbecile, but not too far off if you believe this. However, this shows how poorly you really understand Christianity. Catholicism teaches nothing of a man in the sky or with a beard. They teach of a God (along the lines of Aristotle and Plato, who then influenced Augustine and Aquinas), in fact, the only type of God, or with the only type of nature a God can have, that can create the world. A God that was around before time, therefore outside of time. C.S. Lewis compares this to like being the author of a book; all the characters and events are before you at once. It is also a God composed of pure spirit, since all physical things need a cause, and God needs no cause because he is eternal. He does not travel constantly forth and back in time at the same time to be eternal, but merely transcends time.

I am very aware of the abuses of the Church. However, the Church has always came away stronger from crises and scandal. And, you often confuse human judgement with a divinely instituted Church in your essay. Please study this stuff more closely before you give off a big, emotional, and superificial argument. Obviously, your argument isn't hard to come by with all the anti-Catholic sentiment in history books, but if the only counterpoint to your arguments is the kind of mindless following of religion you think it is, don't you think people would come to your conclusion by the masses?

Oh, and atheists can often be pretty hateful, if you hadn't noticed.

Dear Angelo:

I appreciate your thoughtful response. What gets me down with your argument, and all religious people, is the false knowingness of what or who God is.

"When you get very basic, no one is truly outside the Church by virtue of the fact that they are human, have a soul, and therefore have the ability to receive grace and become better people, whatever their faith. The Catholic Church (and many other Churches, including my former Orthodox faith) say that they have the FULLNESS of the means to salvation, which meas that they have all the sacraments in which God's grace is given. But, of course, God's grace comes to all those who ask it."

Accept this, I am outside your church, as well as all others. I do not believe in salvation, nor "the sacraments in which God's grace is given," which to me is utter nonsense. I do not believe that the bibles, old or new, have anything to do with God -- they were written by humans about other humans. There is no Jehovah, Jesus was a human man that was conceived by Mary and Joseph fucking, and his sperm making contact with her eggs. The virgin birth is total mythological crap that predates Christianity by thousands of years. All of this silly dogma is absolutely meant as an antidote to actual deep thought. To accept these hoary old myths as the "truth" is to shrug off your responsibility as thinking intelligent adult person. To believe that God is outside of you is to be a failure in the human family.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

Some of your fans have posted some birthday wishes at a fan site - you can view them here: http://www.sf-fandom.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=5471

Regards,

August

PS - no pop-up ads, membership requirements, or offers to enlarge your bust size, I promise.

Dear August & Co.:

Thanks so much for the birthday wishes. It was very sweet of all of you. Who's Akasha the Moderator?

Josh

Name: Saul Trabal
E-mail: ghost_kingdom@yahoo.com

Happy B-day Josh. I'm an August baby myself-just turned 38. I live in Northern New Jersey-and the blackout was freaky. I took my mom to the hospital to stay overnight because she had major heart surgery in 2002 (part of the aorta was replaced), is blind in one eye and had a minor stroke. She's 74. The heat was beginning to affect her, so I admitted her to the hospital. Fortunately, she was okay, but it was scary. She's all I got. I got power at 2 a.m., and Mom came home later that day.

About the worm-yeah, I got that stupid POS. I have 6 computers at home-4 Macs and 2 PCs. I'm a Mac person by default (I started using them at the School of Visual Arts in 1988), but I keep Windows machines around because they're important to know-since that's what most people use. It took me about 4 hours to get my Windows 2000 machine up and running properly.

Frankly, I don't know who angers me more-Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Microsoft has IMO a sub-standard product when it comes to Windows, and Apple basically dropped the ball in the 1980s when they had the chance to take over as the lead supplier of computers/OSes for the world. Now, they occupy only a small section of the market. But since I like the Mac, that's what I primarily use.

Although, the truth is that I really don't give a damn *what* type of computer/OS I'm using-as long as it's reasonably hassle-free.

Have a good one.

Saul

Dear Saul:

Did you see the cable film "Pirates of Silicon Valley"? I thought it was pretty good, with Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates and Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs. It shows them both stealing their operating systems from Zenith, who had put a lot of money into developing the home PC, then didn't follow up on it. Then Jobs adapts this into the Mac system which he won't license to anyone, so Gates just flatly rips him off, turns it into Windows and licenses it to every Japanese company. At the end, when Jobs realizes that Gates has ripped off his system, they have a terrific confrontation. Jobs accuses Gates of stealing his system and says, "My system is better!" Bill Gates just laughs and says, "It doesn't matter." The final titles say that Steve Jobs lost his job a few months later, while Bill Gates is now the richest man in the world.

Josh

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

Then, josh welkome to 45 AND (HRONIA POLLA )next month on 21 am going to be 46.GEORGE

Dear George:

Thanks. 46? Jeez, that's old. I hope I die before I get old. Hey, wait a minute, I'm already old. Nelson pops up, "Ha-ha!"

Josh

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

Hey Conan,

Quit whinning about living through the Blackout in the saftey of the cushy suburbs. I survived the blackout and 9/11 in the Big Apple here, so that must make me fucking Superman.

Yeah, We had 90 Degree heat and 90% humidity too, but 90 degree heat in this city is like 110!

What and adventure, going to Times Square at night without any lights. It was like the apocalypse. People were very calm here. People I talked to in Detroit were more freaked out than anyone here. Funny

Happy Birthday old man.

Scott

Dear Scott:

Thanks. I wasn't whining, I just mentioned it. I got over a hundred pages read, I'm fine with the whole thing. However, I am happier with my AC running, as well as this computer, sans Blaster Worm. Okay, maybe I was whining, what of it? I'm a wimp, so there.

Josh

Name: D. Huffman
E-mail: L5g@excite.com

Dear Josh:

I know with 16mm, 24 frames equals a foot, at least I believe that's what it is, but how about super 8?

Dear D. Huffman:

You're screwed up from the get-go. It's 24-frames-per-second in both 16mm and 35mm. In super-8 it's either 18 frames-per-second or 24 frames-per-second. In any case, there are 40 frames in a foot of 16mm, and 16 frames in a foot of 35mm, but I'll be damned if I can remember how many in a foot of super-8.

Josh

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

Dear Josh,

In the words of Porky Pig to Marvin the Martian:

Happy B-b-b-b-b-b-irthday, you b-b-b-b-thing from another world, you.

Any of the old high school gang in town to celebrate w/ you?

Regards,

August

Dear August:

Not a one. Sam and Scott are in LA, Bruce is in Oregon, and Rob is in New Zealand. But I'm so fucking happy to have power again I could care less. Twenty-seven hours without the use of an air conditioner or a fan when it was 90 degrees and 90% humidity was a true test of my will. But I got over a hundred pages of "Theodore Rex" read, which was good. And that's after battling the Blaster Worm virus for two days before that.. I feel like
Conan. Thanks for remembering my birthday. I'm 45-years old, for Christ
sake!

Josh

Name: Frankie
E-mail: cassal@earthlink.net

Dear Josh:

28 scripts in 21 years! That's amazing!! I'm also a writer and was surfacing to find production companies in search of scripts when I saw your website. I just finished reading Bruce Campbell's "Chin..." book, then to see your name was just sort of kismet. Do you have any advice for a writer with a low budget horror trying to produce it? Any advice would be great.

Congratulations on your scripts.

Frankie

Dear Frankie:

I'm just about done with the 29th script, and I haven't written a script in four years. I'm very pleased to have broken that trend. My suggestion is more of thought for you to consider -- I don't think anyone is buying low-budget horror films at this point. You might do better, in a serious messed up market, making something more dramatic and realistic. Good luck to you and come back if you have any other questions, which I'd be happy to try and answer.

Josh


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